Khamis, 14 Mac 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Six killed in bar shooting in Mexican resort of Cancun

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 08:48 PM PDT

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Two men armed with a machine gun and a handgun opened fire in a bar on the outskirts of the Mexican tourist resort of Cancun on Thursday, killing six people and wounding five, the office of the state's attorney general said.

Cancun, a major tourist destination on Mexico's Caribbean coast, has largely escaped the drug-related violence that has racked Acapulco, a faded tourist hot spot on the Pacific coast.

Last month, six Spanish women were raped by hooded gunmen who forced their way into the Acapulco beach house the women had rented.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has vowed to reduce the violence that soared after his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, launched an assault on drug cartels.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2007.

(Reporting by Isela Serrano; Writing by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China picks Li Keqiang as new premier

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 08:41 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's legislature elected Li Keqiang as premier on Friday, installing an English-speaking bureaucrat as the man in charge of the economy, the world's second-largest, and its aim of reviving growth through consumer-led expansion.

China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the third plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing March 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the third plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing March 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The largely rubber-stamp National People's Congress, as expected, chose Li, 57, to replace Wen Jiabao.

Nearly 3,000 delegates gathered in Beijing's Great Hall of the People to vote on Li's appointment, putting the final stamp of approval on a generational transition of power.

Li drew only three no votes and six abstentions from the carefully selected parliament.

Li rose and shook hands with Xi Jinping, who was elected president by the legislature on Thursday, as legislators applauded. A beaming Wen walked over to Li, shook his hand and exchanged words.

While Xi is the country's top leader, Li heads China's State Council, or cabinet, and is charged with executing government policy and overseeing the economy.

As premier, Li is faced with one of the world's widest gaps between rich and poor, an economy over-reliant on investment spending and a persistently frothy housing market that has stoked resentment among the middle class.

More than any other Chinese party leader until now, Li was immersed in the intellectual and political ferment of the decade of reform under Deng Xiaoping, which ended in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that were crushed by troops.

As a student at Peking University, Li befriended ardent pro-democracy advocates, some of whom later became outright challengers to party control. His friends included activists who went into exile after the June 1989 crackdown.

Li, who has a degree in law and a doctorate in economics, will take the reins of an economy whose growth slowed in 2012 to a 13-year low, albeit at a 7.8 percent rate that is the envy of other major economies.

Analysts have described the Wen years as a lost decade during which economic reforms slowed and state-backed industries tightened their grip on the economy.

Both Xi and Li will need to deliver a blueprint to stabilise the real estate market. They need to do this quickly to calm a market in which real estate prices have soared 10-fold in major cities during the last decade.

Across China, people are resentful of the widening income inequality gap. China has 2.7 million U.S. dollar millionaires and 251 billionaires, according to the Hurun Report, but 13 percent of its people live on less than $1.25 (83 pence) per day, according to United Nations data. The average annual urban disposable income is just 21,810 yuan (2,319.72 pounds).

Failure to close this gap or deflate a dangerous property bubble could create a backlash that could even break the Communist Party's grip on power.


The new administration must also try to turn legions of cheap, assembly-line exporters into world-beating product-makers, while expanding domestic consumption, the economy's prime focus to ensure growth is more balanced.

Since he was elevated to the No.2 spot in the ruling party hierarchy last November -- a departure from the time of Wen, who was third-ranked -- Li has embarked on an urbanisation drive.

That project aims to bring 400 million people to cities over the next decade with the hope of turning China into a wealthy world power with economic growth generated by an affluent consumer class.

On the environment, an issue which is causing much anger across the country, Li added his voice to appeals to curb the toxic haze blanketing Beijing in January, but offered few specifics and said there was no quick fix.

In late November, Li promised to let non-governmental groups play a bigger role in fighting HIV/AIDS.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China's Li formally picked for premier

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 07:39 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's legislature elected Li Keqiang as premier on Friday, installing an English-speaking bureaucrat as the man to lead the world's second-largest economy and combat pressing woes like a frothy housing market and an over-reliance on investment.

The largely rubber-stamp National People's Congress, as expected, chose premier designate Li, 57, to replace Wen Jiabao.

China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the third plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing March 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang arrive at the Great Hall of the People for the third plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing March 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Nearly 3,000 delegates gathered in Beijing's cavernous Great Hall of the People to vote on Li's appointment, putting the final stamp of approval on a generational transition of power.

Xi Jinping was elected president by the legislature on Thursday.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; editing by Jonathan Standing)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'Lou Grant' star Ed Asner released from hospital

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 08:33 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Ed Asner was released from a Chicago-area hospital on Thursday, two days after leaving the stage during a performance and receiving treatment for exhaustion, the publicist for the former Lou Grant television star said.

Asner, 83, was on his way to Los Angeles and was told by doctors to get some rest, Charles Sherman said.

The Emmy-winning actor was hospitalized on Tuesday after appearing disoriented at the start of his one-man show FDR, in which he plays President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in Gary, Indiana.

"That's what the doctors surmised, it's exhaustion," Sherman said, adding that Asner has canceled upcoming performances of FDR in Milwaukee and Tennessee.

"Ed will resume performing FDR in mid-April, but, of course, we'll have to see how his health is," Sherman said.

Asner, best known for playing the gruff newsman Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and spinoff drama series Lou Grant, poked fun at his health on Twitter.

"Reports of my imminent demise are greatly exaggerated," Asner wrote on the social network on Wednesday. "They tell me I am suffering from exhaustion. Thanks for the good wishes!"

True stories

Posted: 15 Mar 2013 01:42 AM PDT

Malaysian-made documentaries are reaching a new level, and their makers have joined forces to improve the industry.

NOWADAYS, anytime an important event takes place, within minutes, you would find videos of it uploaded on YouTube and shared on social media. Case in point, the recent Russian meteor crash. It's probably safe to say that in this digital age, everyone is a documentary filmmaker. But, of course, the citizen journalists and the ordinary man on the street make simple, crude and raw videos. The professionals would have better equipment, as well as training and practice, to ensure that their work is of high quality.

In comes the newly minted Malaysian Documentary Association, or MyDocs. Conceived a few years ago, and registered late last year, MyDocs aims to make quality documentary-makers out of those interested to pursue such a craft.

"We've been talking about it for a long time, and we kept saying to ourselves we've got to get ourselves organised, get together and bring the industry forward," said MyDocs president Harun Rahman. "Before this we couldn't even get our documentaries shown on National Geographic and Discovery Channel. These are the big guys. After 2007, it all turned around."

Harun said with the documentary-makers and their experience, as well as the assistance of the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and international broadcasters such as National Geographic, the playing field opened up. Malaysian documentary-makers now have opportunities to make high quality documentaries and have them shown internationally.

The board members of MyDocs comprise established names in documentary and filmmaking, such as Ahmad Yazid and Lydia Lubon who made the documentaries on Al-Maunah and Mas Selamat for the Crime & Investigation Channel; former beauty queen Lina Teoh who has produced and directed documentaries for National Geographic and Discovery; award-winning director Dain Said (Bunohan), who is also a passionate documentary-maker; and Justin Ong who has had his film shown at a documentary showcase in Cannes, France.

Harun himself, the founder of documentary production company Novista, has 20 years' experience in the field, and is most well-known for his National Geographic film, Among The Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh, which won Best Natural History or Wildlife Programme at the Asian Television Awards 2010.

While our feature films have been winning international accolades since the beginning of this millennium, few are aware that we have an active and viable documentary-making industry here that is also internationally recognised. And most importantly, it is still growing.

"Those of us who got our documentaries shown on National Geographic learned a lot," said Harun. "We learned how to make documentaries at the international level. And we felt that it would be good for us to share our experience with others, because some of them would eventually work with us or work for us."

"Through all of my experiences I have learnt so much and would now like to help other Malaysians have the same opportunities that I have had," said Teoh, who was one of the chosen participants in Crossing Borders 2011, an international training programme for up and coming filmmakers. "And this is where MyDocs can help."

Harun said MyDocs would, first and foremost, provide a valuable network for aspiring documentary-makers.

"MyDocs is a platform for us to have workshops, training and internships," he explained. "We're also planning to have apprenticeships. You don't have to have paper qualifications. If you have an interest in documentaries, join one of the companies, work with us. If you're good with cameras, we can put you in a company to learn about documentaries."

With the experiences of the board members, Harun believes aspiring documentary-makers can learn how to make documentaries of international quality and get their films shown worldwide and not just in Malaysia. He said from his own experience, he has learned that there are matters such as getting a release for interviews and photographs used in a film in order for a documentary to be shown internationally. Then there is also the matter of transparency, where an international broadcaster or producer would scrutinise every aspect of a production or project, to ensure that resources are not wasted.

Harun said one does not need to have a journalistic background to become a documentary-maker, but only needs to have the inquisitive mind of a journalist and the stamina of a filmmaker, since some documentaries may take years to complete.

"At the end of the day it is passion, passion for your story, your subject matter," he added.

He said today with the advent of digital technology, it is easier and cheaper to make a documentary, and no longer are documentaries only made by the government and government agencies.

"Films have always been very expensive to produce, because of the equipment, lab work and all that," said Harun. "If you are not making a feature film, then you can't afford to do it, because you won't get your money back ... But now HD and SLR have come about and everything is digital, it has become so much cheaper to make a film. Now it all depends on your story. If your story is good, people will watch it."

One of the things MyDocs would like to see or make happen in the future is local documentaries having theatrical releases. But for now, the next immediate focus for MyDocs is in assisting Finas with Asian Side Of The Doc, an annual international co-production meeting, which is scheduled for next month.

"This is an international forum where many people are coming to talk about documentaries and have masterclasses," said Harun. "We will also have a pitching forum where you can present your ideas to TV stations and producers from all over the world. If they are interested, they will put money into your project and help you make your documentary."

Filmmaker and writer Zan Azlee, well-known for his documentaries and reports from conflict zones, thinks it is a good idea having such an association. He said Harun had talked to him about it while they were doing documentary workshops in Sabah last year.

"It's definitely good for young documentary filmmakers who are starting in the industry," said Zan when contacted online. "As someone who has been doing it for a while, I hope to see MyDocs representing the industry more, maybe act as a union or guild of sorts and looking into policies and regulations, like a bridge between the industry and maybe the government. I think there is a lot to do when it comes to creating awareness about documentaries."

Said Teoh: "MyDocs believes passion is the key to producing great documentaries and if this passion can be shared with more documentary filmmakers, Malaysia will continue to produce not only better documentary filmmakers but also amazing stories that can be seen by larger audiences."

Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in documentaries. For more details and to sign up, go to

Change is here

Posted: 15 Mar 2013 01:43 AM PDT

Red FM isn't afraid to put aside its tried and tested formula for something new.

THE only thing constant in life is change," says deejay JJ Fernandez, or better known by his on-air name JJ, during an interview at the Red FM office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, recently.

The popular radio announcer was fielding questions about Red FM's latest rebranding initiative which sees the introduction of a new logo and a simple, catchy tagline, "Living it!"

"Everybody is falling into one stereotype or another, saying you've got to be this or that. So Living it! is about empowering listeners to be brave enough to be themselves, to celebrate their individuality in a small way ... like Lady Gaga. She is who she is and she's not ashamed of it. We want people to be happy with who they are and what they've got," says JJ, explaining the meaning behind the theme.

But many may wonder why a radio station which has done considerably well (Red FM is consistently ranked as one of Malaysia's top five English radio stations year after year) would want to change its tried and tested formula and risk failure.

The station believes change is important in order to avoid falling into the rut of predictability. "Commercial radio has been around for a long time, hence there's a set way of doing things so much so it's become a format already. If you listen to most announcers, you know what's going to happen, you can almost see it coming like a train. But we want to try something different," JJ shares, adding that the move is also an effort to create Red FM's own identity.

More than just a name change, the station intends to translate the newly-minted tagline into its day-to-day radio segments. For instance, the idea of embracing one's self would not be complete without embracing one's own culture. As such, Red FM plans to dedicate an entire show to highlight the talents of our local musicians plus introduce a Malaysian music chart.

Besides that, a segment airing live performances by international and local acts is also in the pipeline, giving listeners a raw, authentic music experience.

Also, the station has started to broadcast the Red Bull Music Academy Radio on Sundays (2pm), where listeners can hear interviews and live performances by some of the world's hottest DJs such as Jazzy Jeff and Mark Ronson. JJ believes the segment will expose audiences to a wider music range.

Listeners can also look forward to a batch of fresh voices on the radio such as stand-up comedians Papi Zak and Kavin and Adam C. Of course, JJ himself is "new" to the group, having just joined Lil Kev on The Red Breakfast WTF! show last month.

But with so many changes in the works, will the station lose its sense of self or worse, its listeners? Fans of Red FM need not worry as part of the change is about going back to the basics of radio. Lil Kev believes many radio stations have "lost touch with their listeners" and the move, if anything, is an effort to reconnect with listeners.

For example, the deejay shares that the advent of social media has whittled down the practice of listeners calling up radio stations. "A lot of listeners now tend to post on Facebook pages or tweet their responses. While we appreciate and welcome that, we also want to hear from them by giving us a call," says Lil Kev.

"I remember receiving a call from a guy who played a recording of his wife giving birth. That was 16 years ago and recently, I got in touch with the caller and met his now 16-year-old son," he continues, adding that nothing satisfies him more than the ability to touch lives like this.

As such, the radio station is keeping its phone lines open all day, inviting listeners to call in at anytime of the day and talk about anything they want.

Meanwhile, Adam C, who helms The Red Rush, opines that the change is essentially a move to recover another fundamental aspect of radio.

He says, "When I turn on the radio, I want to listen to music. But many times, listeners find the deejays speaking more than there is music. That's why as a deejay, I only talk for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. I'm not the star, it's (all about) the music."

Keep an eye (or ear) out for more changes by tuning in to Red FM or visiting (live streaming is available). If you have something to say, pick up the phone and call 03-7728 1049 or join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on and follow the station on Twitter (@iloveredfm). Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6FM, Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8FM.


The Star Online: Business

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Maybank lowers Astro target price

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 07:19 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment is lowering Astro's target price on a discounted cash flow basis to RM3.40 from RM3.50 in tandem with its lower FY1/14 earnings estimates but the stock remains a Buy.

However, the research house continues to like Astro because it remains a proxy to Malaysia's income and population growth, its HD take-up rate and ARPU growth is encouraging, and its business is recession resistant.

It said in a report that FY1/13 earnings were in-line but expects FY1/14 to be weaker while FY1/15 estimates relatively unchanged. However, net DPS declared of 2.5sen brought FY1/13 DPS to 4sen, 33% above expectations.

"FY1/13 core net profit was down 32% YoY due to higher depreciation from B.yond set top boxes (STBs), 160,000 more standard definition (SD) STBs swapped to B.yond STBs and higher content cost. 4QFY1/13 core net profit was down 49% YoY only due to higher depreciation from B.yond STBs," it said.

It noted that 4QFY1/13 revenue and EBITDA both grew 9% YoY as subscribership rose 7% YoY and ARPU increased 5% YoY.

KLCI marginally higher at open

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 06:52 PM PDT

Published: Friday March 15, 2013 MYT 9:53:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: The local bourse's benchmark index opened 0.61 points higher at 1,641.35 but investor sentiment remained cautious with investors largely staying on the sidelines.

At 9.30am, the FBM KLCI was 0.05% up at 1,641.57. In the region, markets were mostly up.

At Bursa Malaysia, gainers outpaced losers 113 to 79 with 135 other counters trading unchanged. There were 77.25 million shares traded with a turnover of RM59.02 million.

Financial stocks were among the laggers with Hwang DBS down five sen to RM4.28, Hong Leong Bank shed four sen to RM14.36 and Affin slid four sen to RM3.36. KLK lost six sen to RM20.54 and GAB dropped 10 sen to RM18.50.

Among the top gainers, property developer KSL rose 11 sen to RM1.92 while Shell gained 25 sen to RM8.69.

Maybank sees 34% rise in debit card billings

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 06:50 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank expects debit card billings to rise by at least 34% this year to RM6bil, spurred by new products such as the Maybankard Visa Superman Debit and increasing promotions and customer awareness.

In a statement yesterday, deputy president and head of community financial services Datuk Lim Hong Tat said the bank was a clear leader in the debit card business in Malaysia with over 8.6 million debit cards today.

"This is rising by over 200,000 cards per month. Billings through our debit cards have been growing at a robust average rate of over 30% in the last few years. In 2012 alone, this stood at RM4.5bil," he said.

Lim said debit payments not only offered convenience to cardholders but also merchants, giving them cost savings, improved efficiency and better security by reducing cash handling.

He said the bank aimed to issue 150,000 Maybankard Visa Superman Debit cards within two months to consolidate its leadership in the domestic debit card market.

"The card is targeted mainly at fans of Superman as well as teenagers and young adults. It facilitates payments online, which is an important option for the targeted market segment given its increasing practice of making purchases via Internet, as well as other numerous benefits and discounts," he said.

Meanwhile, Visa Malaysia country manager Stuart Tomlinson said the company saw strong debit card growth in Malaysia as more banks promoted the advantages of cards and the benefits they offered.

"Debit cards are now the immediate choice for many card users and consumers are now comfortable using debit for all payments.

"We are seeing untapped segments such as students and young adults switching off to cash and onto electronic payments thanks to convenience, security, reward points, discounts and other privileges," he said. – Bernama


The Star Online: Sports

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Wei Feng brushes aside world No. 7 Kashyap to enter last eight of Swiss Open GP Gold

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 04:45 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: National elite shuttler Chong Wei Feng provided some joy at the Swiss Open GP Gold with a stunning performance to beat world No. 7 P. Kashyap of India in Basel yesterday.

Wei Feng who had earlier brushed aside Germany's Marcel Reuter in the second round, came back strongly against the fifth seed, rallying from a game down to win 18-21, 21-7, 21-16 in the third round.

Yesterday's win was a small measure of redemption following Wei Feng's poor showing at the All England last week.

The Kedahan, who is after his first GP Gold title, will face either fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark or Hong Kong's Wong Wing Ki in the quarter-finals today.

Another singles shuttler, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, will take on Japan's Takuma Ueda in his bid to make the last eight.

In men's doubles, the chase to become Malaysia's third ranked pair and a spot in the World Championships in August, intensified with all three pairs – Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock – making it to the second round on Wednesday.

Malaysia can have three pairs for the world meet if all three are ranked in the top 24. World No. 2 Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and world No. 10 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong are virtually assured of their place.

Currently world No.15 V Shem-Khim Wah are in the driving seat, having beaten Japan's Hiroyuki Saeki-Ryota Taohata in the second round at Basel, followed by the professional pairs of Zakry-Fairuzizuan (No. 18) and Teik Chai-Soon Hock (No. 19).

However, national doubles head coach Tan Kim Her believes that V Shem-Khim Wah still have a tough fight on their hands especially after their opening round defeat at the All England.

"For me, I think V Shem-Khim Wah wasted their chances after that early exit in Birmingham," said Kim Her.

"We will be fair on the professional pairs and only the top three based on rankings will go to the World Championship.

"At this point, Zakry-Fairuzizuan, who reached the quarter-finals at the All England have a better chance of overtaking V Shem-Khim Wah," added Kim Her.

In women's doubles, the fortunes of Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei just got better after pulling off an upset over seventh seeds Anneke Feinya Agustin-Nitya Krishinda Maheshwari of Indonesia in the first round.

They won 21-15, 20-22, 21-7 and will face Dutch duo Selena Piek-Iris Tabeling for a quarter-final spot.


(Malaysians only)

First round

Men's doubles: Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah bt Kang Ji-wook- Lee Sang-joon (Kor) 13-21, 21-14, 21-17; Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif- Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari bt Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler (Ger) 21-19, 12-21, 21-17; Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock bt Chris Langridge-Peter Mills (Eng) 16-21, 21-14, 24-22.

Women's singles: Lydia Cheah bt Nicole Grether (Can) 25- 23, 21-9. Women's doubles: Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei bt Anneke Feinya Agustin-Nitya Krishinda Maheshwari (Ina) 21-15, 20-22, 21-7.

Second round

Men's singles: Chong Wei Feng bt Marcel Reuter (Ger) 21-14, 21-17; Jan O Jorgensen (Den) bt Zulfaldi Zulkiffli 21-15, 21-11.

Men's Doubles: Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah bt Hiroyuki Saeki-Ryota Taohata (Jpn) 21-13, 21-17.

Women's singles: Juliane Schenk (Ger) bt Lydia Cheah 21-13, 13-21, 21-13.

Third round

Men's singles: Chong Wei Feng bt P. Kashyap (Ind) 18-21, 21-7, 21-16.

Rashid: Daren still has a long way to go

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 04:42 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: National singles head coach Rashid Sidek is not happy with shuttler Liew Daren's (pic) recent performances and has urged the world No. 13 to keep his head down and work hard in order to become a better player.

Despite reaching the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open in January, Daren suffered an opening round defeat at the All-England last week.

On Wednesday, the 26-year-old was once again uninspiring, falling to compatriot Mohd Arif Abdul Latif 15-21, 17-21 in the second round of the ongoing Swiss Open GP Gold.

It was Daren's second defeat to Arif in the international scene and Rashid has warned that the former still has a long way to go before he can become a quality shuttler.

He was ranked world No. 10 recently, but has now dropped to 13th spot.

"Daren's recent performances have not been good at all, especially with that latest defeat to Arif," said Rashid.

"He still has a lot to learn and he needs to improve the quality of his play.

"Although his ranking is high, his play suggests that he is not matured enough to take on opponents who have an extra trick up their sleeve.

"But there's still hope for him because I believe he has what it takes to go up.

"He must, however, be aware of his flaws and give more attention to his training and work extra hard in order to follow in the footsteps of (Lee) Chong Wei," added Rashid.

Meanwhile, the lack of quality singles shuttlers in Malaysia was apparent as KLRC's Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Nusa Mahsuri's Misbun Ramdan Misbun both failed to get past the second round in Basel.

Rachel chalks up another major win en route to final of NSC Series No. 1 championships

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 04:36 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Rachel Arnold continued her giant-killing feat to storm into the final of the NSC Series No. 1 Squash Championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The 16-year-old qualifier firmly held her own against Lisa Camilleri of Australia to record an 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 win in the semi-finals.

With yesterday's win, Rachel has achieved her first ever final appearance in a Women's Squash Association (WSA) tournament.

And she could well be on the way to become only the second youngest Malaysian woman to win a title after world No. 1 Nicol David, if she gets the better of Denmark's Line Hansen in today's final.

Top seed Hansen proved too strong for Egypt's Nouran El Torky, winning 11-6, 11-3, 13-11 in the other semi-final.

Rachel, however, did not start well against Camilleri, a former world No. 28 who is making a comeback after 17 months on the sidelines due to a foot injury.

The Malaysian looked lost in the early stages and trailed 3-9 at one point.

But she snapped out of the slump and reeled in eight straight points to take the first set.

It was all Rachel in the second set and despite a stiffer resistance from Camilleri in the third, it was a comfortable win for the Bukit Jalil Sports School student.

"This is my first WSA final and this is really an unbelievable feeling," said a delighted Rachel.

"I was just trying to play my best and go all out. This tournament has really been a pleasant surprise for me because I was never expected to reach the final.

"Getting through to the main draw was my initial target.

"But having beaten Siti (Munirah Jusoh) in the first round, my confidence grew and I started to play better too. I've not really thought about winning but I do know it took my sister awhile before winning her first title. I would like to get one over her though," joked Rachel.

Delia is Rachel's older sister and is currently the third ranked player in the country.

Meanwhile, in the men's event, top seed Ivan Yuen had to dig deep into his reserves to come back from two sets down before beating compatriot Elvinn Keo 11-13, 11-13, 11-8,11-3, 11-6.

"I had a terribly slow start, especially in the first two sets while everything Elvinn hit went it," said Ivan.

"But after losing two sets, I just told myself to forget about the pressure and go all out and it worked. Hopefully, I'll perform better in the final and give my opponent a real fight ... although I've never seen him prior to this tournament," added Ivan, who will take on Egypt's Ahmed Abdel Fattah for the title.



Men: Ahmed Abdel Fattah (Egy) bt Mahesh Mangaokar (Ind) 11-9, 8-11, 11-9,6-11, 11-5; Ivan Yuen (Mas) bt Elvinn Keo (Mas) 11-13, 11-13, 11-8, 11-3,11-6.

Women: Line Hansen (Den) bt Nouran El Torky (Egy) 11-6, 11-3, 13-11; Rachel Arnold (Mas) bt Lisa Camilleri (Aus) 11-9, 11-3, 11-6.


The Star Online: Nation

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Four suspected armed robbers arrested after car chase and shootout with police

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 08:21 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Four suspected armed robbers were arrested following a short car chase and shootout with police at the Rampai Business Park in Setapak.

The dramatic chase occurred on Thursday just as rush hour was winding down there.

City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah said police were monitoring the movements of a group of men for some time prior to the incident.

"When we moved in to apprehend the group, they resisted.

"The four men got into a car and attempted to flee the area," he said, adding that two police patrol cars gave chase.

He said the aggressive driving of the suspects forced policemen to open fire on the car.

"We managed to stop the car shortly after and arrested the four men," he said.

SAC Ku said investigations revealed the men have been linked to multiple robberies in Klang Valley.

"We also seized three cars believed to be used by the suspects," he said, adding that no one was hurt in the incident.

Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng wins Asia’s top literary prize

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 08:09 AM PDT

HONG KONG: Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng won the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize on Thursday for a novel dealing with the aftermath of Japan's wartime occupation of his country, becoming the first Malaysian to claim one of Asia's main literature prizes.

Tan, born in 1972, beat out four other authors, including Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, for the $30,000 (RM93,000) prize in what was described as a "far-ranging and intricately layered novel".

The Garden of Evening Mists, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012, tells the story of Yun Ling Teoh, the survivor of a Japanese prison camp who in her old age looks back at the early 1950s and her relationship with the mysterious creator of then-Malaya's only Japanese garden.

"It's partly about the co-existence of cultural refinement and artistry, and terrible barbarity," chair of judges Maya Jaggi told reporters, noting that Japan's occupation of Asia remains a raw issue even today, decades after the war's end.

"What this novel is doing is looking at that, but in such a subtle way, I think. It's not glib, it's about guilt and atonement and how love transforms people's conceptions of themselves and what they've done."

Tan published his first novel, The Gift of Rain, in 2007. It also dealt with the Japanese occupation and its aftermath.

He told Reuters in 2008 that he welcomed the growing recognition for Asian writers in the West but that talented Southeast Asian voices were sometimes overlooked.

"Obviously, the interest in Asian writing helps somebody like me, but we sort of feel we're on the edge, the outskirts," he said.

"A lot of the publishers have no real awareness of Southeast Asia."

The prize, first awarded in 2007, is for works by Asian writers written in or translated into English, and is intended to widen exposure of Asian literature in the English-speaking world.

This year's shortlist spanned Asia from Turkey to Japan and included Indian Jeet Thayil, who, like Tan, was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize The Man Asian Literary Prize said in October that it was seeking a new sponsor after the Man Group Plc withdrew its title sponsorship. An announcement is expected in April. - Reuters

Related Stories:
Malaysian books a place in longlist for Asian literary prize
Penangite's tale of emotional isolation in contention for Booker Prize
Literary festival to feature popular authors, works and dialogues

Now its maximum of 12 subjects for SPM students

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 06:43 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates are allowed to take two additional subjects despite the implementation of a 10-subject limit since 2010, said Education director-general Tan Sri Abdul Ghafar Mahmud (pix), bringing the total to 12.

SPM students are required to take six core subjects, namely Bahasa Melayu, English, History, Mathematics, Science, and Islamic Studies or Moral Education.

The rest can be made up of elective subjects including Chinese Literature, Tamil Literature, Syariah Islamiah Studies, Al-Quran and Al-Sunnah Studies, Islamic Tasawwur, and Visual Art Studies.

He was clarifying Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's statement that the 10-subject limit for SPM students remained unchanged. Bernama


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'Kick-Ass 2': The fake superheroes are back

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 02:28 AM PDT

The first trailer for the sequel of the 2010 film Kick-Ass, inspired by Mark Millar's comic book has been released. MTV has given a first glimpse of the Kick-Ass 2 trailer. Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz reprise their roles as masked superheroes without any powers, Kick-Ass and Hit Girl.

Jim Carrey also gives a stunning performance as Colonel Stars in the trailer.

Action comedy Kick-Ass 2, which is not suitable for younger audiences, is set for release on 16 August in North American cinemas.

Watch the trailer here

David O. Russell's next movie due December 2013

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 02:13 AM PDT

The director of The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell will again take part in the Oscars race next winter.

Columbia Pictures has set the release date for his new, still-untitled film as December 13, 2013.

North American audiences will discover Russell's new movie before 31 December, the last day on which films can qualify for a 2014 Oscar.

The film will focus on Abscam, a federal investigation that took place at the end of the 1970s during which a young FBI agent teamed up with a notorious con artist to stop the rampant corruption in Atlantic City's political circles.

Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams will star in the thriller. These David O. Russell regulars will be joined by Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K. and Alessandro Nivola.

The movie will be one of several Oscar 2014 candidates to be released in the fall. Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio will be released mid-November.

Olivier Dahan's Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman in the lead role will be in cinemas at the end of December. George Clooney's historical drama The Monuments Men is also expected before the end of the year.


Free Olympus Has Fallen Tickets

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 01:55 AM PDT

Disgraced former presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself inside the most secured building in the world, the White House, in the middle of a terrorist attack. He's alone and fighting to help keep the President and his presidency alive, but how does one man fight an army?

Olympus Has Fallen stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Morgan Freeman. The movie opens nationwide on 22 March. We have 25 pairs of tickets to the special screening of this movie thanks to Rainfilm.

To get a pair of passes, all you have to do is print this page and bring it along with you to our redemption table at GSC Mid Valley.

Please note this movie is rated 18 and tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. Each person will be given only one pair of tickets.

Redemption Details

Date: 21 March 2013 (Thursday)

Time: 8.00pm until all tickets are picked up

Venue: GSC Mid Valley

Screening Details

Date: 21 March 2013 (Thursday)

Time: 9.00pm

Venue: GSC Mid Valley

Rules & Regulations

1. This redemption is open to all eCentral fans.

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

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

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

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

6. Tickets are not exchangeable for cash.

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

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

9. For enquiries, please e-mail


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TNB to host 10th Asean Elenex

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 05:31 AM PDT

Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) will play host to The 10th International Exhibition of Transmission and Distribution and Electrical Engineering for the Asean region (Asean Elenex 2013) from March 20 till 23 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

AE 2013 is held biannually and it is a platform for local and foreign industry players to assess the latest technology and improve energy generation, transmission and distribution.

The exhibition will also feature renewable energy, which is very much in line with the Government's commitment to reducing its dependence on fossil fuel energy sources.

Held alongside will be the Industrial Automation 2013 (IA 2013), which is the region's top showcase for automated manufacturing process systems and innovative component providers.

TNB president/chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ir Azman Mohd said the exhibitions would serve as an excellent platform for industry players to exchange ideas, experience and knowledge.

"This year marks another successful collaboration with Malay­sian Exhibition Services. The theme of this year's joint exhibition is pertinent, as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced in October last year that the national energy objective is to have 5.5% of the nation's energy needs met by renewable energy by 2015. This is five years before the original target date of 2020," he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Exhibi­tion Services chairman Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin said that it would be the definitive platform for the country's energy and automation needs.

"AE 2013 and IA 2013 continue a strong tradition built over the years; a tradition of providing the top platform for industry players and enabling information and product updates to be easily disseminated," said Asmat.

Approximately 7,000 trade visitors across the region will have the opportunity to meet over 450 companies from 30 nations during this four-day event.

The companies include TNB, ABB Malaysia, Alpha Automation, Axis Electrical Components (I) Pvt Ltd, DPI Industries, Econix Hi-Tech Comp Pvt Ltd, Encompass, Kenesto Sdn Bhd, Mikro Sdn Bhd, Sun Power Automation Sdn Bhd, Toshiba Transmission and Distribution, Total Metering Solutions Sdn Bhd, United U-Li Corporation Sdn Bhd, Universal Cable (M) Bhd, VSD Automation Sdn Bhd and many more.

The Asset Management Confe­rence and Exhibition for Electric Utilities will be held alongside the showcase.

Scheduled for March 20 till 22, the conference will feature presentations by notable figures in the electrical engineering industry on a various range of topics.

Exhibitors and trade visitors will also enjoy additional value as TNB will be hosting free Power Talks on a daily basis during the exhibition period.

Both AE 2013 and IA 2013 will also host a B2B programme, where face-to-face business meetings will be conducted.

Pre-registration and further information is available at or The deadline is March 19 for pre-registration via online submission. Visitors can also register on site at Hall 1 of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

New postpaid plans for a richer experience

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 05:29 AM PDT

In conjunction with its Inter­net For All ambition, DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd enjoyed a strong take-up rate of DG SmartPlans and bundled smart devices in 2012.

Led by the push for a richer mobile Internet experience, DiGi is working with global "big boys" such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Opera Software to create new DG SmartPlans that provide the best Internet experience and the best value.

Effective today, customers who sign up for a DG SmartPlan (starting from as low as RM58 per month) will enjoy a richer mobile experience.

They will be able to share and connect with their loved ones and the online community via Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. A higher Internet quota of up to 4GB and unlimited surfing via Opera Mini browser makes this possible.

DiGi chief marketing officer Albern Murty said: "Malaysians are becoming an Internet society, leveraging on social networks to share news, business opportunities and opinions. DiGi is offers service plans that are relevant and supportive of this trend. We are confident that we can drive even more data traffic with our refreshed product positioning and growing base of smartphone users.

"With this in mind, we are making the right partnerships to offer the best packages to our customers.

"Being part of the Telenor Group, DiGi is in an excellent position to bring relevant digital services to Malaysians. Many more services such as this will be introduced over time to further foster the mobile Internet lifestyle."

In addition to the new DG SmartPlan, DiGi is also introducing new Postpaid Tablet and Postpaid Broadband plans together with a new feature, termed Postpaid Internet Top Up, which is available from RM1 and caters to customers who wish to extend their surfing experience once they have reached their quota.

For more information on the new plans, visit


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A watchful eye

Posted: 13 Mar 2013 11:11 PM PDT

</p> <p>The Journey of Sight art exhibition where visitors could check out some 20 artworks across different mediums, and participate in the Cafe in the Dark event that is part of the programme.

The Journey of Sight art exhibition where visitors could check out some 20 artworks across different mediums, and participate in the Cafe in the Dark event that is part of the programme.

During world glaucoma week, one should never lose sight of the condition that affects 70 million people worldwide.

ITS menacing nickname, 'silent thief of sight' should be an indication of its devastating potential.

Yet, glaucoma remains a disease that many may have only heard of, but ignorant on the extent of damage it can cause.

Glaucoma earned its ominous nickname because it can cause permanent blindness without any early warning signs or obvious symptoms in its victims.

It is the world's second-largest cause of blindness, and affects more than 70 million people worldwide – a figure that is expected to rise to a shuddering 88 million by year 2020, according to the World Health Organisation.

In Malaysia alone, it is estimated that over 100,000 people have glaucoma.

Non-profit organisation Save Ones Sight Missions (SOSM) founder Stevens Chan, is himself a victim. He was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2002 –then aged 45 – and lost his eyesight five years later in 2007.

He wasn't wearing any glasses back then, but recalled having terrible headaches and even painkillers prescribed by a doctor did not help.

"It was only later that another doctor told me I had contracted glaucoma. I was asked to undergo surgery immediately or I would become blind," said Chan.

"The condition caught me completely unaware. Both my wife and I didn't know what glaucoma was, and I found myself going through nine surgeries over a five-year period to control my increased eye pressure."

Despite the surgeries to regulate the pressure, Chan became blind in both eyes.

"The fact that I could no longer see wasn't a reality I was ready to accept. I sunk into depression for a long time. After coming out of it I decided to do something to raise greater awareness for this disease," says Chan.

SOSM was founded in 2009 together with his wife, with the hope of reaching out to as many people – with or without visual disabilities – on the prevention of eye disorders.

Chan says his initial plan to establish a foundation was not possible as there was a requirement for a RM1mil bank balance.

"In the end though, I managed to register (SOSM) as an NGO, with the primary aim of stopping unnecessary blindness in which 80% of it is preventable."

He cites that every year since 2009, seven million people have become visually impaired worldwide, which translates to one person every five seconds. If nothing is being done by 2020, one person will become visually impaired every second.

SOSM provides at least 50 eye health screenings annually, in addition to the 50 cataract surgeries and 250 pair of spectacles for the marginalised and needy.

SOSM also has an extension in the form of the Malaysia Glaucoma Society, which specifically addresses glaucoma.

Mar 10 to Mar 17 is also World Glaucoma Week, and the society has put together a series of events to mark it.

The first was the Run for Sight 2.0, a 5km blindfold run where participants ran in pairs. Held for the second year running at Central Park, 1 Utama on Mar 10, it was a roaring success, with overwhelming turnout of some 800 people.

The highlight of the event was an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. 118 students from SMK Subang Utama were tied together and walked blindfolded for 50 meters, surpassing the previous record of 100 people set in China.

However, the record has to be verified before it becomes official.

If you happen to be in 1 Utama shopping mall this weekend, make your way to the Café in the Dark programme that will take place at the old wing concourse area from Mar 15 to 17.

To allow the public to experience what complete darkness is, participants will be led into a specially constructed black box by a blind guide, where they will have a cup of coffee.

Chan says that the experience will be limited to just 150 participants per day and entrance fees charged will be channelled to SOSM.

"This will allow them (the public) to capture the blind's perceived view of an object, colour or scenery. We hope this encounter will move people to never take their eyesight for granted," Chan says softly.

For the second year running, a Journey of Sight art exhibition will be organised at the same venue, featuring over 20 pieces of artwork.

The exhibition's theme this year is 'How the glaucoma patient sees this world?'. Art pieces were contributed by renowned local and foreign artists, as well as students from One Academy.

A special full eye health check will also be conducted in collaboration with the Singapore Eye Research Institute.

"There will be a nominal charge of RM50 for every screening, which will be wholly donated to our society," adds Chan.

He says his organisation also carries out an 'adoption programme' for babies. Just this week, it raised funds for a 14-month-old baby to undergo surgery for glaucoma.

It is shocking to know that even toddlers could be born with, and children affected by glaucoma.

"Glaucoma has no cure and has no symptoms during the initial stages.

Most people would have lost 40% of their peripheral vision when they finally diagnosed with (glaucoma).

"It damages one's side vision before the central part, and fighting it is a lifelong battle," says Chan, who now moves about with a cane.

He stresses the importance of annual eye health checks by professional doctors who can detect abnormalities – especially among higher-risk groups. This include those aged 40 and above, have a family history of the disease, are frequent steroid users, have short- or long-sightedness, and are diabetics.

SOSM also organises forums, support group meetings and screenings, while selling workshops and exhibitions conducted by the visually disabled.

Asked how he is coping now – six years on – Chan admits very much that he is still "trying to get used to darkness".

"My hope is that there's an attitude change on people's part, so that they show as much concern for their eyes as they would for other bodily organs," says Chan.

For more info about Cafe in the Dark, visit They can be reached by email at

> An enhanced version of this story appears in the Star's tablet edition, The Star Editor's Choice, March 13 issue which is available on free download from your app store or google play.

Energize Your Day with the Essentials of Protein

Posted: 13 Mar 2013 05:51 PM PDT

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 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.


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