Isnin, 18 Mac 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Roaring on the tracks

Posted: 19 Mar 2013 03:03 AM PDT

Red FM gears up for F1 mania with the Toro Rosso team.

Many young boys would have gone to bed dreaming about driving fast cars for a living. Jean-Eric Vergne, 22, and Daniel Ricciardo, 23, are two young men who can say they are living out that dream. Both are currently here in Malaysia for F1, representing Scuderia Torro Rosso.

Scuderia Toro Rosso is the junior team of Red Bull Racing, with the aim of developing the skills of promising drivers for the senior team. Since 2010, the team has competed as a "true constructor" – independent of their sister team. The team is commonly known as Toro Rosso, which is Italian for Red Bull.

Scuderia is Italian for a stable reserved for racing horses, and is also commonly applied to Italian motor racing teams. Sebastian Vettel, driver for Red Bull Racing is the current World Champion who started his career with Toro Rosso.

Ricciardo has arrived in Malaysia, announcing that he is ready for the heat here. After just completing the Australian Grand Prix, he is on a roll with media events and racing. In his home country, he has proven to be a man of many talents. He performed a hip hop dance routine in front of a crowd on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River. He stunned members of the public and media that couldn't quite believe they were seeing a Grand Prix driver putting on a hip hop demonstration and that too after only a 30-minute training session!

Ricciardo learned the basics, doing a few spins and ending with what's known as a freeze, which involved holding his entire bodyweight on his hand with a bit of help from his head.

Both Ricciardo and his fellow team member Vergne aspire to be part of the Red Bull Racing team and do not think this is too much of a challenge as they are already part of the Red Bull family. However, they both realise they will be competing against each other, vying for that spot in the senior team. Vergne says: "My first priority for this year is to score as many points as possible. After that, like any other driver, I want to beat my teammate. I learned a lot from him last year and I feel I am ready to do better and move forward."

With the speed and glamour of F1 back in town this weekend, Red FM is giving 10 lucky listeners a chance to be in the thick of the action. Watch the fast cars as they zoom past when you win yourself two weekend passes on The Red Fix (8pm to 12am) with Terry and Azura all this week. They have four pairs of Hill Stand passes and a grand prize of two Grand Stand passes. The grand prize includes a paddock tour and The Red Fix team as your very own hosts. Here's your chance to meet Vergne and Ricciardo as they prep to race off.

If you have wondered what goes on behind the scenes as drivers gear up to race and engineers get ready to work their magic on the cars, Red FM is also giving one lucky listener and a partner the chance of a lifetime to walk in the paddock, accompanied by Terry and Azura from the Red Fix. Feel the excitement and adrenalin rush!

All you have to do is call in when you hear the cue to call and answer as many F1 trivia questions as you can in 10 seconds. The person with the most correct answers will walk away with the grand prize.

Simply tune in to Red FM or visit (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. n 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: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. contractor charged with passing nuclear secrets to Chinese woman

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:49 PM PDT

(Reuters) - A U.S. defence contractor in Hawaii has been arrested on charges of passing national defence secrets, including classified information about nuclear weapons, to a Chinese woman with whom he was romantically involved, authorities said on Monday.

Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, a former U.S. Army officer who works as a civilian employee of a defence contractor at U.S. Pacific Command in Oahu was arrested on Friday and made his first appearance in federal court on Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Hawaii said in a news release.

He is charged with one count of willfully communicating national defence information to a person not entitled to receive it, and one count of unlawfully retaining documents related to national defence. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Bishop met the woman - a 27-year-old Chinese national identified as "Person 1" - in Hawaii during a conference on international military defence issues, according to the affidavit.

He had allegedly been involved in a romantic relationship since June 2011 with the woman, who was living in the United States on a visa, and had no security clearance.

From May of that year through December 2012, he allegedly passed national defence secrets to her on multiple occasions, including classified information about nuclear weapons and the planned deployment of U.S. strategic nuclear systems.

Other secrets included information on the United States' ability to detect foreign governments' low- and medium-range ballistic missiles, as well as information on the deployment of U.S. early warning radar systems in the Pacific Rim.

Bishop had top secret security clearance since July 2002. A court-authorized search of his home in November found around a dozen individual documents each with classification markings at the secret level, the affidavit said.

The case is being investigated by the FBI's Honolulu Division and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in coordination with U.S. Pacific Command and the U.S. Army.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Mexico and Brazil reach deal to end short-term visa requirements

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:09 PM PDT

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico and Brazil have agreed to eliminate short-term visa requirements for each other's citizens, Mexico's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The agreement was struck following the January meeting between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, in Santiago, Chile, according to the statement.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff greets Mexican President-Elect Enrique Pena Nieto during a meeting at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff greets Mexican President-Elect Enrique Pena Nieto during a meeting at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The new, streamlined process is expected to boost travel between Latin America's two largest economies.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Paul Simao)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

New China leader Xi to meet U.S.'s Lew to discuss cyber row, trade

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 05:23 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will meet new Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at a critical time in relations between the world's two largest economies, with cyber hacking, the Chinese currency and market access high on the agenda for talks.

The meeting will be Xi's first with a senior foreign official since he was formally elected as president by China's parliament on Thursday. It is also Lew's first major trip since his confirmation, indicating the importance of the relationship.

China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping scratches his face during the sixth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's newly-elected President Xi Jinping scratches his face during the sixth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the head of government, pledged on Sunday to forge "a new type of relationship" with the United States and called for the end of a cyber-hacking row between the two countries.

A private U.S. computer security company said last month a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks targeting the United States. President Barack Obama raised the issue during a phone call with Xi last week.

Lew plans to press Chinese officials to stop cyber attacks directed at the United States. China, in turn, says it is the target of U.S. hacking attacks.

Li has said reform was necessary to deliver long-term economic stability and Lew will also push China to accelerate economic reforms.

Lew also wants Beijing to allow its currency to rise faster against the U.S. dollar and to take steps to increase market access for U.S. goods and to protect intellectual property rights better.

Later on Tuesday, Lew will meet Xu Shaoshi, chairman of China's National and Development Reform Commission, the economic planning agency that wields approval authority over major investment projects.

Lew will also meet newly-appointed finance minister Lou Jiwei, formerly head of China's sovereign wealth fund.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Asian shares rebound from Cyprus bailout scare, vote eyed

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:11 PM PDT

TOKYO: Asian shares rebounded on Tuesday from the previous session's steep falls, but investors remained wary over a bailout plan for Cyprus which was set for a parliamentary vote later in the day.

Confidence was partially restored by news on Monday that the Eurogroup decided to give Cyprus more flexibility over a bank levy which is part of the bailout conditions, after a teleconference of euro zone finance ministers.

A Greek finance ministry source said Cyprus would still need to raise 5.8 billion euros from the levy as planned, but could exempt smaller savings accounts from the levy than first planned.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 percent after slumping 1.5 percent to its lowest level since Jan 2 for its steepest one-day fall in two weeks on Monday.

Australian shares rose 0.6 percent, partly recovering Monday's 2 percent losses while South Korean shares <.ks11> opened 0.5 percent higher.

Japan's Nikkei stock average <.n225> opened 1.5 percent after shedding 2.7 percent for its biggest one-day percentage drop in 10 months on Monday.

"The worry about Cyprus is overdone, as the scenario there is unlikely to spread to bigger euro zone countries. Global markets were due for a correction after last week's long rally," said Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities.

Global stock markets fell on Monday following the euro zone's decision over the weekend on partially funding a bailout of Cyprus by taxing bank deposits, raising fears the measure could set a precedent for future euro zone bailouts, and destabilize its financial system.

The declines gave U.S. equities investors the opportunity to take profits after last week's extended rally. Investors also awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday for the Fed's assessment of recent positive U.S. economic indicators and signs it may consider scaling back its very accommodative monetary stance.

European shares fell on Monday, slipping further from multi-year highs hit last week, hitting shares in southern European lenders the hardest, while Italian and Spanish bond yields jumped on Monday. Safe-haven German yields hit 2013 lows.

The euro hit a three-week low of $1.2882 on Monday but was trading at $1.2944 early on Tuesday in Asia.

The dollar held steady around 82.725 against a basket of major currencies <.dxy>, after inching closer on Monday to a seven-month high of 83.166 hit last week.

While investors were cautiously watching developments in Cyprus, many remained skeptical of serious contagion from the island state to the broader European system.

"The uncertainties and potential fallout from the bailout plan in Cyprus have brought systemic risk back to the table," Morgan Stanley said in a research note, adding the situation could add to funding stress in the near-term.

"However, we note the level of stress is significantly lower than in the first half of 2012. This, in combination with still-abundant liquidity, portfolio reallocations into the (emerging market) asset class, and normalizing growth should keep periods of systemic risk short-lived and contained in nature," it said.

U.S. crude oil inched up 0.1 percent to $93.81 a barrel. - Reuters

Malaysia's KLCI snaps six days of losses

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:04 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI snapped its six-day of losses on Tuesday on mild bargain hunting for oversold blue chips, especially Tenaga and selected plantations.

At 10.42am, the FBM KLCI was up 6.11 points to 1,627.47. Turnover was 189.75 million shares valued at RM268.66mil. There were 217 gainers, 144 losers and 222 counters unchanged.

Bloomberg reported that Asian stocks rose, led by banks, with the benchmark regional index climbing after more than US$500bil was wiped from global equity markets on Monday amid concern that Europe will plunge back into crisis.

Maybank KE Research, in its technical outlook, said the KLCI made a key all-time high of 1,699.68 on Jan 4, 2013 followed by a swing low of 1,597.00.

"We do not like the local index's failure to sustain above the 62% retracement level of 1,660.46 convincingly, especially in light of the US markets' negative tone last night. As such, a temporary top was formed at 1,664.39 on March 11. Further downside volatility and turbulence will persist," it cautioned.

At Bursa Malaysia, plantations were among the major gainers. KL Kepong rose 32 sen to RM20.58, PPB Group 14 sen to RM12.44 and Genting Plantations 13 sen to RM8.55 but Batu Kawan - which is KLK's biggest shareholder - fell 12 sen to RM17.70.

Among consumer stocks, BAT was the top gainer, up 34 sen to RM60.86. Nestle fell the most, down 46 sen to RM60.40, Carlsberg 16 sen to RM14.22 and GAB 10 sen to RM18.50 while F&N shed six sen to RM18.30.

PetGas advanced 20 sen to RM18.60 while Takaful rose 14 sen to RM6.56 and Tenaga 11 sen higher to RM7.04.

Poll: Energy cost major concern in M&#8217;sia

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 06:42 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants shows that respondents across the Asia-Pacific cited the rise in energy and fuel prices as the most pressing issue facing businesses in the immediate future.

The survey also shows that 72% of senior executives identifying it as the most important factor for their future plans.

The survey, titled Drivers of Change in Asia-Pacific, reveals that Malaysian respondents were more sensitive to rises in fuel and energy costs than other respondents across the region.

It was also revealed that respondents from Malaysia highlighted the increased cost and accessibility of higher education as their second-most critical driver of change in the short term.

This differs to that across the Asia-Pacific, which ranked cyber security challenges for businesses as the second change driver.

ACCA Malaysia head Jennifer Lopez said: "In looking at the future challenges and opportunities facing businesses in Malaysia and the wider Asia-Pacific, we get more than just a snapshot of the business landscape today.

"While it might be predictable for finance and senior executives to identify fuel and energy costs as an issue in the short term, it is encouraging to see both roles looking to the same factors well into the next 10 years and beyond."

In the medium term (2016-2022), the factor businesses said would be top of the Asia-Pacific corporate agenda was the increased need for accountants to take on a business partner role and have a broader skillset within the company, with 82% of senior executives and 72% of accountants citing it as critical to their future business plans.

The report also shows the growing prominence of non-financial information reporting and integrated reporting in businesses, with three-quarters of senior executives who took part in the survey rating it as a major consideration for their future plans to 2022.

"It's interesting to note that Malaysian respondents rated these two drivers higher than otherwise reported across the region. This just goes to show that the chief financial offier and the accountancy function will play an increasingly central role in business," said Lopez. — Bernama


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Woods and Vonn reveal love interest

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 04:40 PM PDT

MIAMI: Tiger Woods, the 14-time major golf champion whose infamous sex scandal with multiple mistresses led to a 2010 divorce, is dating ski star Lindsey Vonn, the two US sports icons announced on Monday.

"I guess it wasn't a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods," Vonn said in a Twitter posting and a longer statement on her Facebook page that included pictures of the couple.

"Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy. I don't plan on addressing this further as I would like to keep that part of my life between us, my family and close friends. Thank you for understanding and your continued support! xo LV"

Woods posted a Twitter message that said, "Just posted some pictures of @Lindseyvonn and me on Facebook" and wrote his own statement revealing his relationship with Vonn on his Facebook page.

"This season has been great so far and I'm happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral," Woods said. "Something nice that's happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating.

"We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continue to compete as athletes."

Woods dominated golf until 2009 when his marital infidelity with several women was revealed, leading to a televised public apology and a break from golf in a spectacular fall from grace that cost him several rich endorsement deals.

Woods divorced Elin Nordegren the following year. The couple had a daughter, five-year-old Sam Alexis, and a four-year-old son, Charlie.

It was one year ago this week that Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill for his first PGA victory in 30 months, ending a drought that coincided with the aftermatch of the sex scandal.

World No. 2 Woods has already won twice this year, at Torrey Pines in January and at Doral earlier this month, and will resume his quest to beat the record 18 career major titles won by Jack Nicklaus next month at the Masters.

Woods, 37, is not the only star golfer with a sporting love connection. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is dating ninth-ranked women's tennis star Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

For Vonn it is a rare bright note in a season that has been marred by problems off and on the piste with a stomach ailment seeing her hospitalised, her revelations of battling depression for several years and her divorce with Thomas Vonn being finalised.

The 28-year-old's season came to a premature end when she tore right knee ligaments in the Super-G event at the World Ski Championships in Austria in February and underwent surgery to repair the damage.

She has said she plans to be ready to defend her Olympic downhill title at next February's Sochi Winter Olympics. -AFP

Shaaban looking forward to day when a local wins the Malaysian Open

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 05:07 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Shaaban Hussin believes that clocking the miles in the Asian Tour is the best way to prepare for a big tournament like the US$2.75mil Maybank Malaysian Open which starts on Thursday at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Shaaban, a Maybank ambassador, is among 22 Malaysians, including six amateurs, who will be gunning to be the first local to lift the Seagram Trophy. Joining him in the tournament is another Maybank's ambassador Danny Chia.

Other local hopes are Nicholas Fung, who earned an Asian Tour card through Qualifying School earlier this year, and highly rated amateur Gavin Kyle Green.

Shaaban said that the way for locals to aim for a win is to consistently play in big tournaments.

"If ever I had to choose playing in a local meet or to play in the Asian Tour, I will pick the Tour. For me the aim is to make it big in the international scene and any chance I get to play in an Asian, European or the PGA Tour is a bonus.

"The Maybank Malaysia Open is good for the local professionals because it is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour. Hopefully our local professionals can learn something from this week besides aiming to win it," said Shaaban.

Shaaban has been a regular in the Malaysian Open and reckons that his best outing was in 2007 where he finished in the top 30.

The 32-year-old, who has been playing on the Asian Tour since 2007, enjoyed one runner-up finish at the 2009 Cambodian Open and was in contention at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic before finishing tied 13th last year.

Earlier this month he competed in the Sail Indian Open where he made the cut for the final round.

After his exploits in the two biggies, Shaaban feels confident of handling the pressure in the Malaysian Open.

"You have to keep playing in more tournaments and keep practising. You must aim to play in the biggers tournaments so you learn to handle the pressure. This is the Malaysian Open and it is not a small event. When you are playing in the tournament you will know how difficult it is," he said.

"Shaaban said there is bright future for golf in the country considering the number of youngsters coming through the ranks. He said it is not an impossible dream to think of a local winning the Malaysian Open.

"We have many young and talented amateurs. I think one day we will see a Malaysian finishing in the top three or even win the Malaysian Open. It may take some time but if we keep at it the dream will become a reality," he said.

Lian-wei and team-mates ready to face Els and company

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 03:59 PM PDT

CHIANGMAI: China's trailblazer Zhang Lian-wei and rising stars Hu Mu and Ye Jian-feng will converge at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic next week as they go head-to-head with Major champions Ernie Els, Michael Campbell, Y.E. Yang and the Asian Tour's top stars.

The US$750,000 full-field Asian Tour event will be staged at the magnificent Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai from March 28-31, signalling the first time that Chiangmai will host a world class golf tournament.

Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee, Boonchu Ruangkit, Chapchai Nirat, Prom Meesawat and Chawalit Plaphol, winner of the season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open last month, will spearhead the local charge in the region's newest event.

The 47-year-old Lian-wei has blazed a golden trail for Chinese golf since he broke onto the scene in the mid-1990s. The self-taught golfer is his country's most successful golfer with five Asian Tour victories under his belt and despite his age, he believes he can still compete at the highest level on the Asian Tour.

"I have enjoyed my time on the Asian Tour as it allowed me to grow and become a truly international player. Through the Tour, I've had the opportunity to play in different countries and experience different cultures across Asia which helped me to develop as a golfer," said Lian-wei.

The 23-year-old Hu Mu, who is touted as the next great Chinese hope, has taken up membership with the Asian Tour this season as he seeks to establish himself on the region's premier Tour.

Hu Mu finished tied 39th in Myanmar last month and believes he can continue to make good progress in his career.

"I see a lot of good things and I just need to put everything together. I am already committed to playing a full season on the Asian Tour and I'm looking forward to it," said Hu Mu, who trains under American swing guru David Leadbetter.

Jian-feng has a slice of record on his part as the Asian Tour' youngest player following his participation in the 2004 Sanya Open in China at the age of 13.


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Timeless tales from Peter Lerangis

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 04:29 PM PDT

Peter Lerangis wants to write stories that will interest young adults today — and 50 years down the road.

WHEN the Greek sculptor Chares of Lindos built the Colossus of Rhodes (between 292BCE and 280BCE) to celebrate the city's victory over Antigonus I Monophthalmus, he was oblivious to two things: that the statue of the sun god Helios will only stand for 56 years before being destroyed by an earthquake, and that it would "force" a curious author to write a series of books about the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Peter Lerangis had been staring out over the island of Rhodes' harbour one sunny afternoon where the enormous bronze sculpture once existed when he was hit by a sudden epiphany.

"I nearly choked on my calamari. How could the ancients have constructed something so gargantuan? I became obsessed with the seven wonders. Why were they so wondrous? Why only seven? There had to be a story behind it. Why not try to uncover the greatest mystery of all time?" the zany 58-year-old author offers in an e-mail interview (yes, he sounds zany even via e-mail!).

In his new aptly-titled Seven Wonders series for young adults, Lerangis delved into the myths of the ancient world to bring forth an exhilarating tale of adventure that takes place around the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The story in the seven-part series begins in the first book, The Colossus Rises, with 13-year-old Jack McKinley being told that he has only six months to live. Our young hero awakens the next day on a mystical island that's run by an eccentric professor named Bhegad and discovers that he has inherited a deadly gene from the prince of a long-lost civilisation.

To find the cure, Jack and three other kids must embark on a mission to retrieve seven magic Loculi. However, locating the Loculi is no easy feat, as they have been missing for over 1,000 years and hidden around the world. With a good dose of high-octane thrills and absorbing ancient secrets thrown in, The Colossus Rises makes for a riveting read. Part of this could probably be attributed to the New York-born author's innate thirst for adventure.

"I always loved adventure novels, mainly because my own life was so ordinary. It was fun to escape into exciting books and still be able to sleep in a comfy bed at night," says Lerangis whose closest experience to an adventure came when an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit while he was rock-climbing in Yosemite National Park.

"The park was being evacuated beneath us while we were foolishly grappling with our hands and feet. On the positive side, we all escaped unharmed, and I was able to use the experience for the rock-climbing scene in The Colossus Rises," he shares.

While epic adventure fuels the momentum in the book, it's the humanising depiction of regular characters performing extraordinary tasks that really enlivens the story.

"I want the readers to always know that no matter how ordinary they may think they are, inside each and every one of them is real magic – extraordinary qualities owned by no one else on earth. And that's not fiction. It's fact," says the father of two.

Lerangis knows well the insecurities that dog adolescence – after all, the man has written extensively for children and teenagers throughout his career.

"I believe the doctors call it 'arrested development'! There is a part of me that never grew older. And I don't mind that at all," says the author who lists the likes of M.T. Anderson, Marcus Zusak, Anne Patchett and J.K. Rowling as some of his literary inspirations.

To date, Lerangis has published over 160 titles for young readers and has established himself as a prominent figure in the American young adult literary scene. Some of his notable works include the edgy WTF, the award-winning Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am and the intense Smiler's Bone, which was selected as one of the New York Public Library's Best Books for Teens in 2006.

"It's fun to make a living from the fruits of your own imagination, to see the evidence of your hard work as a beautiful book, to be able to meet your readers in schools and bookstores, and to know that your job opens minds, makes people think and gives the world something valuable without harming a soul," he offers.

That said, Lerangis has no problem infiltrating the current youth culture that has been complicated by social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube these days.

"We are all surrounded by youth culture, and keeping up with it is part of enjoying life. Besides, I have two sons, so staying rooted to youth culture prevents them from cackling at me," he reveals.

However, the way Lerangis sees it, he is not too bothered with crafting stories that suit the defining mood of a certain period's pop culture.

"I truly believe a story is a story. Tell it well and people will enjoy it. Jamming perfect cultural memes and references into a book can be the kiss of death – by the time the book is published, those references may already be stale.

"The best stories, I believe, should be timeless. I hope a reader will be able to enjoy The Colossus Rises in 2013 and 2063. And maybe even in 1963 in case time-travel is invented in the future."

Reaching for the stars

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 04:24 PM PDT

Before Demi Lovato became a big-time pop singer, she was a Disney tween star who struggled during her transition from child celebrity into adulthood. However, she turned her stints in rehab, issues with an eating disorder and bipolar disease around to become a role model for young people everywhere, as well as a tireless champion of a long list of causes close to her heart.

On top of all that, she also found the time to have a career.

Her latest single Heart Attack, taken from her upcoming fourth full-length album, is currently her biggest hit. That one single has placed her on top with pop's biggest stars like Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, who are all angling for chart domination.

With a No.12 debut on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, it is obvious that Lovato is not only holding her own but is primed for a full-on chart attack.

With all that she has going for her, it was only natural that Galaxie wanted the current X-Factor judge on the cover for its March 17 issue, which highlights Lovato's career in music, the good work she has done over the years to better herself, as well as to acknowledge the woman she has become.

In this issue, Galaxie also puts the spotlight on Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence who survived The Hunger Games and has become the toast of Tinseltown.

At the same time, celebrate the success of music's most credible star Ed Sheeran, and find out why Being Human actor Sam Witwer is so interested in Star Wars, and how he keeps sane in the business.

For TV buffs who love dashing men in suits, you'll love Galaxie's feature on Suits star Patrick J. Adams, who was in Kuala Lumpur last month to promote the show. Read how he regaled readers with stories from the set of the show.

Fans of fashion can enjoy a pictorial spread on the latest red carpet looks which shone in the spotlight as stars wore their best to attend this year's Oscars ceremony.

As always, Galaxie brings readers another fun issue packed with the latest juicy gossip from Hollywood, Bollywood and Asia, the latest music and film reviews, as well as loads of posters and goodies up for grabs.

Galaxie is published by Star Publications (M) Bhd. Galaxie can also be found online at (providing you gossip seven days a week!), and on Twitter@galaxiemag.


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Babyface among artistes invited for F1 charity gala

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 07:21 PM PDT

WHILE the famous Formula One cars are warming up to burn the track at Sepang this weekend, a very different kind of track will be seeing some action first at the SapuraKencana Petroleum Malaysia Grand Prix Charity Gala 2013.

Very much at home with red carpets, Hollywood stars Josh Hartnett and Teri Hatcher as well as Earth Wind & Fire's percussionist and vocalist Ralph Johnson are among the big names set to attend the black tie by-invitation only gala.

Not only that, 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer Kenneth Edmonds, better known as Babyface, will be returning to Malaysia to perform at the event.

"I had a good time the last time I was here. The impression I got of the country was that it is a beautiful one where the people are nice too," he said during a phone interview recently.

Edmonds has written, co-written or produced countless tracks for various artistes including Mariah Carey, Madonna, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, Mary J. Blige and Michael Jackson, to name a few.

Guests at the event can expect a performance of his hit songs from over the years and maybe even an onstage collaboration.

Edmonds, who is currently working on his new studio album, wished he was able to spend some time to see some of the famous sights of the country.

"The last time I was here, I got to walk around and see a bit of the city. I will probably do the same this time round," he said.

Committee to take SS7 field issues to Federal Government

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 07:14 PM PDT

SAVE the People's Field action committee has decided to take issues involving the SS7 Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) field to the Federal Government if Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim fails to stop the project.

The committee's secretary Esham Salam said PKNS had appealed and the Appeals Board would convene on April 25 to discuss the issue.

"As far as we are concerned, the state government had all the time to evaluate the situation and make a decision. The residents are frustrated with the situation," he said, adding that residents felt victimised because a decision had yet to be made.

"Khalid made a quick decision on the Subang Ria Park and Batu Caves Dolomite development project.

"Why is he taking so long to decide on this issue?" questioned Esham.

He said the Federal Government was represented by two board members and as such it would be more fruitful to bring up the matter to them.

He added that should the development be cancelled, the payout to PKNS was minimal, based on current market price.

The committee was also unhappy that no action was taken against the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) officers involved in the two contradicting Local Agenda plans that were discovered in May last year.

They said MBPJ conducted an internal enquiry but did not disclose its findings.

When contacted, MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez said the investigation by the disciplinary board had been completed and action would be taken soon.

"We are now awaiting a decision by Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad," he added.

He also said the recent claims of attempts by MBPJ officers to change the land status from recreational to commercial was actually a discussion on whether the amendments should be put up for public viewing.

"Only 10 were justified to be put up for public objection but the PKNS field issue was unanimously rejected by the councillors, assemblyman and the mayor," he added.

Derek also said the field should remain as recreational land.

Meanwhile, PKNS in a statement denied trying to re-zone the recreational land.

Its corporate communications manager Ishak Hashim said they respected and adhered to the legal process involving the field.

"The Appeals Board will decide on the fate of the field and we will adhere to any decision made by the board," he added.

Related Story:
SS7 residents lament lack of public facilities as population increases


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'Warm Bodies' heats up Korean film market

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 12:21 AM PDT

SOUTH KOREA (Reuters) -- Hollywood zombie comedy Warm Bodies has put an end to the three weeks' reign of Korean film noir New World on the weekend box office.

The horror romance pic landed at No. 1 on the chart after drawing in 423,332 cinemagoers during the weekend of 15 and 17 March, Korean Box Office Information System [KOBIS] showed Monday.

In Warm Bodies, 23-year-old British actor Nicholas Hoult stars as a zombie named R who befriends a human and begins to turn into a human himself., creating an unusual sense of excitement in the zombie community. This is Hoult's 11th film after recording another hit with his 10th movie, Jack The Giant Slayer, which sits at No. 9 on the chart.

Fashion King star Lee Je-hoon's new drama film My Paparotti made a handsome debut to the second slot with 360,333 audience numbers in the same time frame.

Opposite the veteran actor Han Suk-kyu of the hit blockbuster The Berlin File, Lee depicts a gangster with gifted vocal talents who comes to show his talent with the help of his cynical music teacher Sang-jin [Han].

While New World fell to the third position with 322,618 admissions, the smash hit comedy Miracle in Cell No. 7, now the third most-watched pic in Korean film of all-time, ranked at No. 4 with 180,960 audience numbers.

Kim Beom and Kim Kang-woo's mystery thriller The Gifted Hands slid down two spots and rounded off the top five after pulling in only 78,010 moviegoers.

Other popular movies in the top 10n were Hollywood fantasy Oz: The Great And Powerful, U.S. war drama Lincoln, Italian animated pic Gladiators Of Rome, Nicholas Hoult's adventure fantasy Jack The Giant Slayer and Han Suk-kyu's spy thriller The Berlin File.

Korean star Lee Byung-hun plays ninja bodyguard in G.I. Joe 2

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 06:20 PM PDT

Korean actor Lee Byung-hun makes another mark in Hollywood.

Director Park Chan-wook has been there, and so has director Kim Jee-woon. Hollywood may not be an undiscovered place for Korean directors as of this year: They've made their debut films there, released them, and experienced the red- carpet glamour.

Hollywood, however, still remains foreign to most Korean actors. One of the few exceptions is top actor Lee Byung-hun, whose performance in his 2009 Hollywood debut G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra left a mark.

The actor is now ahead of the opening of the sci-fi flick's sequel, G.I. Joe 2: The Retaliation, where he returns as Storm Shadow – the famous heroic character who works as a ninja bodyguard doing epic stunts. Lee, who enjoyed much success with the Korean period drama Masquerade released last year – the film remains the third-highest grossing Korean film of all time – says it was his "curiosity" that drew him to Hollywood.

"It was more of curiosity (than ambition)," said the 42-year-old actor during an interview in Seoul, South Korea, recently.

"Even after my second movie, I am still curious. I still wonder what I can actually offer in Hollywood and how much farther I can go with my career there. I'm up for new challenges and opportunities."

Shooting his second Hollywood film required a number of things, including mastering every script line in perfect American English and getting used to the Hollywood filmmaking system – which is vastly different from the one in South Korea.

Both directors Park and Kim have shared their difficulties getting used to the system, which they experienced while shooting Stoker and The Last Stand, respectively. Unlike the Korean film industry, where all the crew members work on the set until the director is satisfied with the shoots, working in Hollywood strictly requires start and finish, each day's work is done on time. Director Kim said the experience was "lonely" and "extremely challenging." Lee said it was "efficient but intimidating, sometimes".

"Director Park and Kim were all in the US while I was shooting this film," said Lee.

"Both of them would often text me (when they were frustrated) and say, 'I am going nuts' or 'I could just pack everything and go home now'. I'd giggle whenever I received the texts.

"But seriously speaking, I think getting used to the system must have been much harder for them than it was for me. From what I've seen, being a film director in South Korea is just totally different from being a film director in Hollywood."

Unlike Park and Kim, Lee got himself out there without an interpreter. Throughout the shooting process, Lee communicated with all of the US crew members without any help from a third party.

Director Jon Chu, who worked with Lee on the film, in fact said the actor surprisingly spoke "perfect English".

"I remember him coming into the project and everyone was like, 'Oh, he doesn't speak that much English'," Chu said.

"So I thought this would be interesting how we would interact with each other. But then he came in for a meeting and he spoke perfect English. There he talked about how he wanted the character to be more emotional and real. He wanted to create a rawer, rage-filled character rather than just a cartoon character. It was great. We could talk about the things below the surface."

Lee is undoubtedly one of Korea's most celebrated film stars, having starred in more than 40 films and TV drama series. He is noted for his strong presence and nuanced acting style.

"I loved that he could be really strong and powerful but at the same time have a sense of humour about himself," Chu said about Lee's performance in Kim Jee-woon's 2008 film The Good, The Bad, The Weird, where the actor appears as a villain.

"I loved that you were scared of him but also felt for him. That combination was very rare for me because usually I think in American action movies you are either a villain or a hero. The in-betweens are tough. And what I loved about Lee Byung-hun's performance in all these movies is that he plays the line very well. He plays it and goes back and forth. And that takes a real artist."

Lee's character in the G.I. Joe movies, Storm Shadow, is a Japanese-American who used to serve in the US Army's special operations group.

"He seems cold and cynical, mostly because of this traumatic experience he had in the past," Lee said. "And there is this scene in the movie where he simply explodes with all the suppressed emotions. That's one of the scenes that I considered the most important."

Lee's co-stars have nothing but respect for him. "His acting style is very strong and he can be very intense," said Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who stars in the movie with Lee. The actor said he was unaware of Lee's stardom in Asia until director Chu "educated him" about it.

"One of the most impressive things about Lee is that he is a very, very disciplined actor who takes his job incredibly seriously. Even in our world of cosmic mythology, he brings a very nice way to perform (his role). I'm very impressed with the guy. A nice guy, too." – The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation opens in cinemas nationwide on March 28.

'Oz' conjures up more North America box office magic

Posted: 17 Mar 2013 06:14 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES - Big-budget 3D fantasy adventure flick "Oz the Great and Powerful" for a second straight weekend was the top film at North American movie houses, earning $42.2 million, industry estimates showed.

Starring James Franco as a circus magician who ends up on the Yellow Brick Road, "The Wizard of Oz" prequel had a two-week total of $145 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Second place went to "The Call," which debuted with $17.1 million in sales. The film thriller stars screen siren Halle Berry as a 911 operator trying to rescue a young girl who has been abducted.

In third was a comedy, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," starring Steve Carell as a washed up magician who joins forces with street performer Jim Carrey, a street performer. It earned $10.3 million in its first weekend in theaters.

Fourth place went to was "Jack the Giant Slayer," which stars Nicholas Hoult in the title role as a young farmhand battling giants to save a princess. It brought in $6.2 million in its third week.

"Identity Thief," a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, was fifth, with $4.5 million in receipts.

Action film "Snitch" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson came win sixth place with $3.5 million in takings.

Seventh place went to "21 & Over," about three carousing colleges students celebrating a birthday milestone. It earned $2.6 million.

The Oscar-winning "Silver Linings Playbook" came in eight place with $2.6 million. "Safe Haven," a romantic drama adapted from a novel by Nicholas Sparks, earned $2.5 million for the ninth spot.

To round out the top 10, animated kids movie "Escape from Planet Earth," earned $2.3 million. - AFP


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Chow Kit's Pasar Raja Bot to get RM200mil makeover

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:46 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The well-known Pasar Raja Bot in Chow Kit here is set to get a RM200mil facelift, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday.

Muhyiddin said the project was part of the Government's efforts to modernise the existing market, set up in 1955, into an iconic landmark.

"The project will cover 48,000ha that will see it become a catalyst for growth for the area," he said in his speech when launching the project here.

He said the new market, scheduled for completion in 2017 and featuring a Malay architectural style, will house the existing 1,527 traders.

"The remaining lots will be offered to young entrepreneurs wishing to do business," he said, adding that the new multi-storey building would have 800 parking bays.

He said a temporary area would be set up for the affected traders, who will move into the new market in stages.

Also present at the event was Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin.

Lahad Datu: Sabah CPO - Fewer than 50 Sulu gunmen left in Kampung Tanjung Batu

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:43 AM PDT

LAHAD DATU: There are believe to be fewer than 50 Sulu gunmen left in Kampung Tanjung Batu, said Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib (pic).

Expressing his confidence that they would be decimated soon, he said the security forces were unperturbed over self-styled Sultan Jamalul Kiram's warning that Sulu gunmen would embark on guerrilla warfare in Malaysia.

"Jamalul Kiram can say anything he wants. We are all out to flush them out," he said at a joint news conference with Army First Infantry Division commander Maj-Jen Datuk Ahmad Zaki Mokhtar at Felda Sahabat 16 near here, on Monday.

Hamza said two clashes occurred on Monday, the 14th day of Ops Daulat, between the security forces and the terrorists at 8.05am and 9.45am.

He said Malaysia and the Philippines were discussing a request to claim the bodies of 28 terrorists who were killed in the mopping up operations.

In Kuala Lumpur, Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said the mopping up operations in Tanjung Batu would be completed in two or three days' time before residents were allowed to return home.

"The operations in Sungai Nyamuk and Kampung Tanduo had been completed and we are now ascertaining damage suffered by villagers," he told reporters. - Bernama

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Police suggest setting up crime prevention bodies in Tamil schools

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 08:43 AM PDT

KLANG: Police have suggested setting up crime prevention associations in Tamil primary schools in the state to enhance student awareness of crime prevention methods.

Selangor police deputy chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan (pic) said the move could educate students against breaking the law, as well as instilling discipline among them.

"Focus should be given to Year Five and Year Six pupils as they are preparing to enter secondary schools," he added.

Thaiveegan was speaking to reporters Monday after officiating a patriotic quiz contest among Tamil primary school pupils organised by the Malaysian Indian Visionary Association at a school in Kapar, near here. - Bernama


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Tamil hip-hop goes international

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 03:55 AM PDT

Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam and MC Sai are taking it to the next level.

THE Tamil music scene is booming and in South India, composers are churning out songs for movie soundtracks and albums.

Riding on its wave of success, Tamilians around the world are beginning to tap into its potential.

Whether they are from Malaysia or England, these artists are beginning to make a name for themselves among the Tamil diaspora.

Hip-hop, which had its origins in the 70s, is loved by most of the youths around the world. Artistes like 50 Cent, the late Tupac Shakur, Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z are some of the most successful artist in this genre.

These days, we can see lots of hip-hop artistes rapping in their own language and rappers from countries like France, Germany and South Africa are beginning to stamp themselves in the international market.

Indians, especially Tamilians, have always enjoyed songs from movie soundtracks. Noted composers like AR Rahman, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Ilayaraja have a wide body of work, and an ardent fan following which is just as impressive.

Many doubted that Hip-hop and Tamil could be brought together.

Indians are used to listening Carnatic and melodious songs, but the prospect of listening rappers rhyming with Tamil words – some doubted its ability to go international.

Mathangi Arulpragasam, or better known as M.I.A., is a female Tamil rapper who has collaborated with many international acts like Jay-Z and Madonna. However, she only raps in English has never rapped in her mother tongue.

Such thought was quashed when rappers like Yogi B, Dr.Burn and Suresh Peters started to bust a rhyme in Tamil.

In 2006, the release of Vallavan by Yogi B and Natchatra built the foundations of Tamil Hip-hop and many youths begun to embrace the genre.

The influence has spread to Asia and Europe and we can see many of international Tamil hip-hop artist emerging every year.

MC Sai and Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam are two artistes that are currently lighting up the International Tamil hip-hop scene.

Conquering the throne

Sairuban, better-known by his monicker MC Sai, has been in the scene for the past eight years. The 21-year-old rapper is under Rebelstar records and has just released his new album titled Simmasanam-The Throne.

Before the release of Simmasanam, he collaborated in 50 songs with several artist from Europe and Asia. Famed for his Tamil rap, the youngster is beginning to hit the right notes with the release of his new album.

Malaysia's influence could be seen in MC Sai's music as he is inspired by the music of Yogi B and Natchatra.

"As I grew up, one group that inspired me to do well in this genre is Yogi B and Natchatra,"

"I loved the way they made their music and to see youths supporting all their moves and singing to their tunes, that inspired to make the step up in hip-hop,"

Having performed in Malaysia several times, the London-based rapper performed at the Kuala Lumpur Indian Music Festival 2012 (KLIMF) and loved the whole experience.

"The whole idea of all the international artists gathering with all the local artists in the birthplace of Tamil hip hop was spectacular,"

"To see all the artists performing together, meeting, greeting and sharing each others experiences – It was priceless," he said

MC Sai is currently producing an album and he said that he will launch it in Malaysia in the near future. MC Sai is going places with his music and he is beginning to spread Tamil hip-hop music around Europe with several other artist like Kadhal Viruz, Charles Bosco and Arjun.

The man behind Magudi

Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam hit the big time when he produced a song with Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman. Penning the song Magudi Magudi for the movie Kadal, the 31-year-old is beginning to make his presence felt in the Indian music industry.

Born in Sri Lanka, Dinesh fondly known as ADK said that the opportunity working with A.R. Rahman was a blessing in disguise.

"When it comes to music, A.R.Rahman has always inspired me. My interest for music grew after listening to songs from the movie Kadhalan,"

"When I first met A.R. Rahman in 2011, it was like a dream come true for me. I stood front of him like a zombie and didn't utter a word," said Dinesh who has produced five albums so far.

A cup of coffee settled him down and the rest was history. Other than Magudi, Dinesh is also famous for songs like Goka Pearu and U Ate My Money.

He first started off as a web interface engineer and later became creative director for an international advertising agency. He was inspired to take up rap when he listened to one of Yogi B and Natchatra's song.

"In 2007, I was in my favourite saloon in Colombo listening to Madai Thiranthu on repeat for more than 20 times,"

"And it made me think, 'what the hell is this, it's brilliant!'," he said.

Dinesh performed in KLIMF and recently, he performed together with MC Sai in the Tamil Rap and Poetry (TRAP) Concert in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur.

Future is bright

According to Dinesh, the response in Sri Lanka for hip-hop is not the same as in Malaysia.

"Sri Lankans are more catered towards pop and Baila music. We have many talented rappers in Sri Lanka but they have yet to penetrate the market,"

"Some have gone into pop but they are still passionate about the music. So far Krishan and I are the prominent Tamil rappers in Sri Lanka. In the years to come, I'm expecting more artist to join us," he said.

In India, the genre developed when Yogi B and Natchatra launched Vallavan at Tamil Nadu and the response for it was superb. Youths around the state were crooning to their tunes and many composers were beginning to include hip-hop numbers into their soundtracks.

Inspired by the exploits of the Malaysian artist, Adhi and his crew Hiphop Thamizha are one of the most noted Tamil hip-hop groups in India.

Having just released their debut album Hiphop Thamizha, their hit song Clubbula Mabbula is dominating the radio airwaves in Tamil Nadu. Recently, Adhi collaborated with young composer, Anirudh Ravichendar for a song titled Ethir Neechal for the movie Ethir Neechal.

In Europe, the genre is beginning to take shape and MC Sai reckons is just the beginning.

"There are so many greater things to come in the near future for the European Tamil community,"

"All we need is the support from the fans and when it hits top gear, Tamil hip-hop is going to go places," said the youngster.

For Dinesh, he is hoping that Tamil hip-hop will go global in the near future.

"I'm sure the whole Tamil hip-hop fraternity will unite and my dream is to see Tamil hip-hop on par with other international hip-hop acts."

An enhanced version of this story appears in The Star's tablet edition, The Star Editor's Choice Sunday, March 17 issue.

Switching labels

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 01:56 AM PDT

PET Shop Boys have left the record label Parlophone after 28 years and will release their new studio album Electric through independent music publisher Kobalt in June, the British duo said last Thursday.

The British charttoppers said further details of their 12th studio album will be released soon.

The move by the duo, who have sold 50 million records worldwide since getting together 32 years ago, comes a month after it was announced that Parlophone was being sold to Warner Music. Parlophone was previously one of EMI's most prized assets but Vivendi's Universal Music Group agreed last year to sell the label to satisfy European regulators over its purchase of EMI's recorded music business.

The Pet Shop Boys said when they signed with Parlophone, whose artistes also include Coldplay, they had no idea how long or how successful the relationship would be.

"However, it is also exciting now to commence a new phase working with a new team in a new business structure, and we look forward to a creative and equally fulfilling relationship with Kobalt," bandmates Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe said in a statement on their website.

Kobalt is a fastgrowing independent music publisher set up in 2000 by Swedish businessman Willard Ahdritz, who established a new publishing model to release and market records while giving the musicians greater control and ownership of their work.

The label's first international album release, Push The Sky Away by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, debuted this year at No. 1 in seven countries and in the top four in 13 other countries. – Reuters

Morrissey cancels rest of US tour due to health problems

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 01:17 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British singer Morrissey has canceled the remainder of his U.S. tour for medical reasons, after suffering a number of ailments in recent months including a bleeding ulcer and double pneumonia, his spokeswoman said.

The former front man for the alternative rock band The Smiths has pulled out of the last 22 concerts on his itinerary, starting with one scheduled for Monday in Lawrence, Kansas, his publicist, Lauren Papapietro, said late on Friday.

"Despite his best efforts to try to continue touring, Morrissey has to take a hiatus and will not be able to continue on the rest of the tour," she said in a statement. "Morrissey thanks all of his fans for their well wishes and thoughts."

The canceled shows include stops in Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Denver. The tour had been set to wrap up in San Francisco on 30 April.

Morrissey, 53, already had canceled 21 shows over the past year, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

The tour previously had been put on hold, with a number of concerts postponed, when he was hospitalized in late January in the Denver area with a bleeding ulcer. In recent months, he also has suffered damage to the lining of his esophagus from stomach acid and double pneumonia, Papapietro said.

He had resumed the tour with a 27 February performance in San Diego followed by several more appearances before falling ill again.

Morrissey, who co-wrote The Smiths' 1985 song Meat Is Murder, made vegetarianism a prominent part of his tour by asking that his March 1 concert at Staples Center in Los Angeles be held with no sales of meat at the venue's outlets.

But Staples Center arena operator Anschutz Entertainment Group declined the request and kept meat on the menu.

Morrissey, whose hits include First Of The Gang To Die and Irish Blood, English Heart, toured North America last fall and performed in Australia and New Zealand in December.

Ticket holders whose shows were canceled in his latest U.S. tour can get refunds at the point of purchase, the singer's spokeswoman said.


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