Khamis, 28 Mac 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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Iran, North Korea, Syria block U.N. arms trade treaty

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 08:15 PM PDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iran, Syria and North Korea on Friday prevented the adoption of the first international treaty to regulate the $70 billion (46 billion pounds) global conventional arms trade, complaining that it was flawed and failed to ban weapons sales to rebel groups.

Iran's Ambassador to the U.N. Mohammad Khazaee speaks before the U.N. Security Council at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, June 9, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Iran's Ambassador to the U.N. Mohammad Khazaee speaks before the U.N. Security Council at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, June 9, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

To get around the blockade, British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant sent the draft treaty to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and asked him on behalf of Mexico, Australia and a number of others to put it to a swift vote in the General Assembly.

U.N. diplomats said the 193-nation General Assembly could put the draft treaty to a vote as early as Tuesday.

"A good, strong treaty has been blocked," said Britain's chief delegate, Joanne Adamson. "Most people in the world want regulation and those are the voices that need to be heard."

"This is success deferred," she added.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman, told a group of reporters, "We look forward to this treaty being adopted very soon by the United Nations General Assembly." He declined to predict the result of a vote but said it would be a "substantial majority" in favour.

U.N. member states began meeting last week in a final push to end years of discussions and hammer out a binding international treaty to end the lack of regulation over cross-border conventional arms sales.

Arms control activists and human rights groups say a treaty is needed to halt the uncontrolled flow of arms and ammunition that they say fuels wars, atrocities and rights abuses.

Delegates to the treaty-drafting conference said on Wednesday they were close to a deal to approve the treaty, but cautioned that Iran and other countries might attempt to block it. Iran, Syria and North Korea did just that, blocking the required consensus for it to pass.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had told Iran's Press TV that Tehran supported the arms trade treaty. But Iranian U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told the conference that he could not accept the treaty in its current form.

"The achievement of such a treaty has been rendered out of reach due to many legal flaws and loopholes," he said. "It is a matter of deep regret that genuine efforts of many countries for a robust, balanced and non-discriminatory treaty were ignored."

One of those flaws was its failure to ban sales of weapons to groups that commit "acts of aggression," ostensibly referring to rebel groups, he said. The current draft does not ban transfers to armed groups but says all arms transfers should be subjected to rigorous risk and human rights assessments first.

'HELD HOSTAGE'

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari echoed the Iranian concerns, saying he also objected to the fact that it does not prohibit weapons transfers to rebel groups.

"Unfortunately our national concerns were not taken into consideration," he said. "It can't be accepted by my country."

North Korea's delegate voiced similar complaints, suggesting it was a discriminatory treaty: "This (treaty) is not balanced."

Iran, which is under a U.N. arms embargo over its nuclear program, is eager to ensure its arms imports and exports are not curtailed, diplomats said. Syria is in a two-year-old civil war and hopes Russian and Iranian arms keep flowing in, they added.

North Korea is also under a U.N. arms embargo due to its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Russia and China made clear they would not have blocked it but voiced serious reservations about the text and its failure to get consensus. A Russian delegate told the conference that Moscow would have to think hard about signing it if it were approved. India, Pakistan and others complained that the treaty favors exporters and creates disadvantages for arms importers.

If adopted by the General Assembly, the pact will need to be signed and ratified by at least 50 states to enter into force.

Several diplomats and human rights groups that have lobbied hard in favor of the treaty complained that the requirement of consensus for the pact to pass was something that the United States insisted on years ago. That rule gave every U.N. member state the ability to veto the draft treaty.

"The world has been held hostage by three states," said Anna Macdonald, an arms control expert at humanitarian agency Oxfam. "We have known all along that the consensus process was deeply flawed and today we see it is actually dysfunctional."

"Countries such as Iran, Syria and DPRK (North Korea) should not be allowed to dictate to the rest of the world how the sale of weapons should be regulated," she added.

The point of an arms trade treaty is to set standards for all cross-border transfers of conventional weapons. It would also create binding requirements for states to review all cross-border arms contracts to ensure arms will not be used in human rights abuses, terrorism or violations of humanitarian law.

The main reason the arms trade talks took place at all is that the United States - the world's biggest arms exporter - reversed U.S. policy on the issue after President Barack Obama was first elected and decided in 2009 to support an arms treaty.

Washington demanded that the conference be run on the basis of consensus because it wanted to be able to block any treaty that undermined the U.S. constitutional right to bear arms, a sensitive political issue in the United States. Countryman said the draft treaty did not undermine U.S. rights.

The National Rifle Association, a powerful U.S. pro-gun lobbying group, opposes the treaty and has vowed to fight to prevent its ratification if it reaches Washington. The NRA says the treaty would undermine domestic gun-ownership rights.

The American Bar Association, an attorneys' lobby group, has said that the treaty would not impact the right to bear arms.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

North Korea readies rockets after U.S. show of force

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 08:11 PM PDT

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea put its missile units on standby on Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) watches soldiers of the Korean People's Army (KPA) taking part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area on March 25, 2013, in this picture released by the North's KCNA news agency in Pyongyang March 26, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) watches soldiers of the Korean People's Army (KPA) taking part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597, in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area on March 25, 2013, in this picture released by the North's KCNA news agency in Pyongyang March 26, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation", the official KCNA news agency said.

The North has an arsenal of Soviet-era short-range Scud missiles that can hit South Korea and have been proven, but its longer-range Nodong and Musudan missiles that could in theory hit U.S. Pacific bases are untested.

On Thursday, the United States flew two radar-evading B-2 Spirit bombers on practice runs over South Korea, responding to a series of North Korean threats. They flew from the United States and back in what appeared to be the first exercise of its kind, designed to show America's ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes "quickly and at will", the U.S. military said.

The news of Kim's response was unusually swift.

"He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA (Korean People's Army), ordering them to be on standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theatres in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea," KCNA said.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported there had been additional troop and vehicle movements at the North's mid- and long-range missile sites, indicating they may be ready to fire.

"Sharply increased movements of vehicles and soldiers have been detected recently at North Korea's mid and long-range missile sites," Yonhap quoted a South Korean military source as saying.

It was impossible to verify the report which did not specify a time frame, although South Korea's Defense Ministry said on Friday that it was watching shorter-range Scud missile sites closes as well as Nodong and Musudan missile batteries.

The North has launched a daily barrage of threats since early this month when the United States and the South, allies in the 1950-53 Korean War, began routine military drills.

The South and the United States have said the drills are purely defensive in nature and that no incident has taken place in the decades they have been conducted in various forms.

The United States also flew B-52 bombers over South Korea earlier this week.

The North has put its military on highest readiness to fight what it says are hostile forces conducting war drills. Its young leader has previously given "final orders" for its military to wage revolutionary war with the South.

ECONOMIC ZONE

Despite the tide of hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang, it has kept open a joint economic zone with the South which generates $2 billion a year in trade, money the impoverished state can ill-afford to lose.

Pyongyang has also cancelled an armistice agreement with the United States that ended the Korean War and cut all communications hotlines with U.S. forces, the United Nations and South Korea.

"The North Koreans have to understand that what they're doing is very dangerous," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.

"We must make clear that these provocations by the North are taken by us very seriously and we'll respond to that."

The U.S. military said that its B-2 bombers had flown more than 6,500 miles (10,461 km) to stage a trial bombing raid from their bases in Missouri as part of the Foal Eagle war drills being held with South Korea.

The bombers dropped inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, in South Korea, and then returned to the continental United States in a single, continuous mission, the military said.

Thursday's drill was the first time B-2s flew round-trip from the mainland United States over South Korea and dropped inert munitions, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

Victor Cha, a North Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the drill fitted within the context of ramped-up efforts by the Pentagon to deter the North from acting upon any of its threats.

Asked whether he thought the latest moves could further aggravate tensions on the peninsula, Cha, a former White House official, said: "I don't think the situation can get any more aggravated than it already is."

South Korea denied suggestions on Friday that the bomber drills contained an implicit threat of attack on the North.

"There is no entity on the earth who will strike an attack on North Korea or expressed their wishes to do so," a spokesman for the South's Unification Ministry said.

Despite the shrill rhetoric from Pyongyang, few believe North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, will risk starting a full-out war.

Still, Hagel, who on March 15 announced he was bolstering missile defences over the growing North Korea threat, said all of the provocations by the North had to be taken seriously.

"Their very provocative actions and belligerent tone, it has ratcheted up the danger and we have to understand that reality," Hagel said, renewing a warning that the U.S. military was ready for "any eventuality" on the peninsula.

North Korea conducted a third nuclear weapons test in February in breach of U.N. sanctions and despite warnings from China, its one major diplomatic ally.

(Additional reporting by David Alexander in Washington; Editing by Warren Strobel, Paul Simao and Raju Gopalakrishnan)


Related Stories:
North Korea pushes up state of missile site readiness - report

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China to spend $16 billion to tackle Beijing pollution crisis

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 07:37 PM PDT

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will spend 100 billion yuan (10.5 billion pounds) over three years to deal with Beijing's pollution, an official newspaper reported on Friday, as the government tries to defuse mounting public anger over environmental degradation.

Beijing's government has pledged to improve sewage disposal, garbage treatment and air quality, as well as crack down on illegal construction, the China Daily newspaper said, citing a three-year plan released on Thursday.

Air quality in Beijing, a city of around 20 million people, has mostly stayed above "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" levels since the beginning of this year.

Pollution was one of the key themes at the recent National Party Congress, where China's new leaders were confirmed. Many Chinese feel the government lacks bite when it comes to enforcing policies designed to protect the environment.

Beijing's plan includes laying or upgrading 1,290 km (800 miles) of sewage pipeline, building five garbage incineration plants, setting up 47 water recycling plants and upgrading 20 sewage disposal plants, said China Daily.

Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun called on the government to allow the private sector to participate in these investments.

The government also plans to curb illegal construction and land use, and will compile a list of illegal buildings for demolition next year, Beijing Deputy Mayor Wang Wei told China Daily.

Most of China's major cities are plagued by pollution of one sort or another. Earlier this month thousands of dead pigs were found floating in one of Shanghai's main water sources.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Stephen Coates and Miral Fahmy)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


'Criminal Minds' star tops with Church-going Americans

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 09:16 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Criminal Minds star Kirsten Vangsness topped a list on Thursday of the most appealing TV actors among faith-based audiences, while Sandra Bullock was the most popular movie star among that group.

Vangsness, 40, who plays fun-loving FBI technical analyst Penelope Garcia on the CBS show Criminal Minds, is openly gay and announced her engagement to her longtime girlfriend in 2009.

Actors on the popular crime shows NCIS and CSI also fared well in the 2013 rankings of the most appealing celebrities by survey respondents who said they attend regular services at their house of worship.

The findings, released by E-Poll Market Research, were based on surveys of 1,100 Americans aged 13 and older who were asked to rank more than 40 attributes as well as their awareness of celebrities.

James Earl Jones, Sean Connery and Morgan Freeman, who has played God or God-like figures several times, rounded out the top four movie stars.

NCIS actress Cote de Pablo ranked second among TV actors, followed by 91-year-old Hot In Cleveland actress Betty White and NCIS stars Sean Murray and Pauley Perrette.

Connery, Taraji P. Henson, Amy Adams, Dwayne Johnson and Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus Christ in the 2004 film The Passion Of The Christ, are all more popular with faith-based audiences than among the general U.S. population, the poll found.

Gerry Philpott, CEO of E-Poll Market Research, said it was no surprise that actors on CBS shows appealed to people who value their religious faith highly.

"For years, CBS was known as the conservative network. ... So I think people who might be more faith-based or religious may have a habit of watching CBS more often," Philpott said.

"These are very entertaining shows, but they don't push the envelope when it comes to content. They are not trying to be controversial," Philpott added.

More importantly, he said, the top 20 movie and TV actors do not have much dirty laundry.

"I don't think you could pull a scandal out of any of these film or TV actors, and I think that may be more telling than anything else," Philpott said.

US TV icon Barbara Walters set to retire in 2014: reports

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 05:48 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: US broadcasting icon Barbara Walters, 83, is poised to announce her retirement next year in the coming weeks, US news media reported Thursday.

The New York Times, quoting "an executive familiar with the newswoman's plans," said a formal announcement of Walter's retirement would likely be made on "The View," a daytime talk show on ABC that she co-hosts.

It would be followed by a number of specials and retrospectives on Walters' long career at ABC News, which she joined in 1976 after a long stint as co-host of the NBC breakfast show "Today," the source said.

The Hollywood Reporter, a showbiz trade journal, said it was told by its sources that Walters - who weathered a bout of chicken pox at the start of this year - was poised to retire in May 2014.

There was no immediate comment from ABC News or from Walters herself, who on March 20 told her 1.167 million Twitter followers that "The View" would return April 1 after a spring hiatus with "great guests to come - that's no joke!"

In a career spanning more than half a century, Walters sometimes made news herself.

In 1976 she became the first woman ever to anchor a US evening network newscast, and her interviews with entertainers and politicians, notably on ABC's "20/20" newsmagazine program, were often must-see viewing.-AFP

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


The people's response

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:00 PM PDT


Mohd Wazir Barmawi, 33, bank executive, Selangor and Malaysian supporter

"I think the gag order imposed under FAM's Article 88 deprives a person of his freedom of speech. If we look at Datuk K. Rajagopal's statement, he was pointing out a problem. It seems that FAM prefers to discuss problems instead of finding solutions. The national coach is definitely the right person to comment on his team and the M-League."

Fazal Azwandi Abu Bakar, 30, executive

"Article 88 is a draconian law and is not relevant anymore. FAM should be open to criticism. If they can't handle the heat they should leave the kitchen. FAM needs a revamp and it should be from top to bottom. The bigwigs who have been on the job have not done anything to improve our football standards."

Elroi Yee, 30, TV director

"I personally feel that FAM is run by an incompetent bunch of people. If they can't handle a simple constructive criticism how are they going to improve the standard of our football. If they have the guts, they should just sack the national coach and pay him compensation instead of abusing their power under the Article 88.

Hussein Shaharuddin, 33, photographer

"I find it ridiculous for a person to be punished for being honest. What Rajagopal said was a fact. Can FAM say otherwise in this issue? Even FIFA accepts and responds to criticism but FAM just hushes people up."

Awang Mahyan (former Sarawak coach)

"Why do people get worked up when someone tells the truth? This is all part and parcel of the modern game and we should be more open-minded in accepting criticisms. I think FAM is going overboard by shutting the mouth of coaches and officials. What they should be doing is to improve the game and not kill it.

Sidhatrtha (local Brazil fan)

"It is a fair comment. What was said was in the best interest of the game. We do not have good strikers and that is a fact. In fact, everyone knows it by just looking at our poor FIFA rankings and dismal showings at international matches. The truth hurts and by penalising the coach we are not going to move forward."

Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad (Malaysian Hockey Confederation vice-president)

Every association has a way of dealing with such matters but they do not allow discussions on policy matters. We, in hockey, have such a ruling. But we allow coaches to comment on team matters that are relevant and positive in nature. Of course, when you criticise you have to make sure the rules are followed and know what you are saying. Procedures have to be followed to raising sensitive matters. At times this may seem harsh but it is to avoid anyone running down the association without any proof or using the platform to create mischief.

Rao Rallapilli (businessman)

A coach should have more say than the president or management team because he knows more about the game. A coach is answerable to the fans. I feel that our coaches deserve to say more. Unlike the EPL, our coaches hardly speak out. I think it's time that FAM is run by sportsman or sportswoman and not be totally dependant on politicians and royalty. Probably then, the whole scenario in Malaysian sport will change.

Datuk Naim Mohamad (MNCF deputy president)

A coach must bring up their grouses through the proper channel. But then again, if the coach has proposed something to rectify the matter, only for the association not to do anything about it, then it would be fair for to coach to air his views.

Fadzli Failul Rahman (entrepreneur)

It is an unofficial gag order. Archaic law. The association's self-esteem cannot be too low to not accept any criticism, not even from the coach. It is a bad thing if they want to see the sport move forward.

Ali Azis (managing director)

There is no logic behind the rule (Article 88). If the coach cannot comment on his own team, how can we rectify the weaknesses? The rule should be scrapped if we want to see football rise again in the country.

Holloway Cheah (national bowling coach)

In the West, coaches can say whatever they want and not get punished for it. Over here it is different. But it is also how you bring up the matter. If I'm not happy with certain things, I will talk to the association first, rather than the media. If the team is not performing well, I will blame myself first before pointing fingers at others.

Five memorable football manager rants

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 04:51 PM PDT

Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan's rant against Sir Alex Ferguson during the 1996 Premier League title race is one that will never be forgotten by football fans. Keegan – then manager of Newcastle United – famously blew his top live on television after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that teams tried harder against his team than Newcastle.

"I'll tell ya – you can tell him now, he'll be watching – we're still fighting for this title. And I'll tell you honestly, I will luv it if we beat them – luv it!'

Jose Mourinho

The Portugese-born manager of Real Madrid is no stranger to controversy. After losing to arch-rivals Barcelona in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in April 2011, he sensationally accused European football governing body UEFA of conspiring against Real Madrid in favour of their rivals. His tirade earned him a five-match European ban.

"I don't understand why. I don't know if it's the publicity of Unicef (Barcelona's then-shirt sponsor), I don't know if it's the friendship of (Spanish football federation president Angel MarĂ­a) Villar at Uefa, where he is vice-president, I don't know if it's because they are very nice, but they have got this power. The rest of us have no chance."

Sir Alex Ferguson

The most-decorated manager in England, the Manchester United manager is not averse to airing his views publicly. He went on one of his many tirades after his team lost 2-1 to Chelsea on March 2011. In an interview, he stated that decisions did not go his team's way, and laid the blame specifically on match official Martin Atkinson. He received the heaviest punishment of his career in the form of a five-match touchline ban and £30,000 (RM140,000) fine.

"You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway, and we didn't get that. I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared the worst."

Arsene Wenger

Nicknamed "The Professor" in football circles, the Arsenal manager is known to give measured replies and rarely loses his cool during interviews. However, in a rare outburst in February this year, Wenger lashed out at journalists who questioned his tactics and whether he was being a offered a contract extension with Arsenal.

"You think I am so naive that I don't see what is behind that? You think I am a complete idiot? I'm angry because you give wrong information. The lie is targeted to hurt. It's easy to say people are not happy and on top of that say he's extending the contract. I don't accept lies when the target behind it is to manipulate people."

Rafael Benitez

During his tenure as Liverpool manager, the Spaniard was constantly at loggerheads with Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In a memorable interview in January 2009, he let loose on Ferguson, reading "facts" from a piece of paper about his conducts towards match officials and how the fixture list was weighed in Man United's favour. Some have put this rant on the same level as Kevin Keegan's "luv it" tirade.

"During the Respect campaign – and this is a fact – Mr Ferguson was charged by the FA for improper conduct after comments made about Martin Atkinson and Keith Hackett. He was not punished. He is the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things."

Wei Feng and Daren vow to deliver the goods in Axiata Cup

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:13 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian fans have seen the best of Lee Chong Wei at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium (KLBA) in Cheras.

Now, in his absence, two others – Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng – have vowed to step up and give the home crowd a fantastic treat when Malaysia begin their campaign in the return leg of the Axiata Cup, which starts at the same venue today. Malaysia will field either Daren or Wei Feng in the opening match against Singapore today and both have vowed to thrill the home fans if given the mandate to draw first blood.

Wei Feng said that playing on home ground had its ups and downs but "I will use it to my advantage".

"The atmosphere will surely be different. In Surabaya, the fans jeered us. Here, we will have great home support and I am counting on it to give my best," said the 25-year-old Wei Feng.

"My most memorable outing in Malaysia was when I reached the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open last year. I'm hoping to give another good account of myself."

Wei Feng was given a chance to strut his stuff once in Surabaya – during the tie against Indonesia – but he went down 16-21, 11-21 to Tommy Sugiarto much to the joy of the vociferous and fanatical home fans.

"Tommy is a strong opponent. There are others too like Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and South Korean veteran Lee Hyun-il. They'll be tough nuts to crack but, hopefully, I'll be able to win in front of the home fans ... if I'm given the opportunity to play," said Wei Feng.

Daren admitted that playing at home would be more challenging.

"The pressure to perform will be much higher here compared to Surabaya because everyone will be expecting me to deliver the first point now – just like how Chong Wei normally does. I'll surely give my best," he said.

Daren endured mixed fortunes in his debut as the country's first singles in the first leg of the Axiata Cup in Surabaya. He was fielded in three ties but won twice – against Antonino Benjamin Gadi of the Philippines and Scott Evans of Ireland (Team Europe). He lost the crucial one to Tanongsak.

The others in the Malaysian team are Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, Lim Yin Loo and Tee Jing Yi. Chong Wei's name has also been registered but he prefers to give the youngsters the opportunity to play.

Malaysia are in the running for the semi-finals after finishing third with 11 points in the eight-member field. Only the top four teams in the standings will make it to the elimination round, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur on April 13.

This year's format of the Axiata Cup is quite intriguing. Each team will play in four events – men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles – and every team will gain a point for every match won.

If teams are tied with the same number of points, their positions will be determined by the Badminton World Federation, who will look at the games won by the teams, followed by the points won by the teams.

If the tally is still tied, then the result of the men's singles will be the deciding factor between the two teams.

Thailand, who are in the lead with 13 points, and Indonesia are favourites to finish as the best two teams based on the depth and determination of their teams.

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The Star Online: Business

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Perak Corp and TNBF in marine services deal

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:42 PM PDT

Friday March 29, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Perak Corp Bhd, via its 50%-owned unit, Lumut Maritime Terminal Sdn Bhd (LMT), has entered into an agreement with TNB Fuel Services Sdn Bhd (TNBF) to provide marine services to ships chartered or hired by the latter.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company said the ships chartered would be used for the carriage of coal that would arrive and unload at Lekir Bulk Terminal for the consumption of TNB Janamanjung Sdn Bhd.

It said LMT has been providing TNBF with the marine services since 2002, and with the new agreement, it said the existing agreement shall continue at the current price up to March 31, 2015.

"Thereafter, for a further period of 15 years to March 31, 2030, an agreed increase on its current rates based on cargo throughput shall apply," it said.

 

KLIA can be among top 20 busiest by 2020

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:34 PM PDT

bksidhu@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: KL International Airport (KLIA) is today the 27th busiest airport in the world by passenger volume and by the turn of the decade it is expected to join the ranks of 20 busiest.

Maybank Investment senior analyst Mohshin Aziz told StarBiz that this projection was itself attractive for any airline that was ambitious to be a global player not to overlook flying into KLIA.

KLIA's connectivity, traffic volume, a thriving domestic market and that it houses Asia's biggest low-cost airline hub, also count as factors attracting these airlines.

But only a decade ago, KLIA saw the departure of British Airways (BA), Lufthansa and Qantas.

Full service carriers also need business traffic for the yields besides connectivity and traffic volumes and that is where KLIA paled then in comparison with its rivals Singapore's Changi and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi.

But things have certainly taken a drastic turn since.

Today, KLIA has 56 airlines flying out of the hub, three more will join by May 1, and by yearend KLIA could have more than 60.

Lufthansa returned some years ago, Air France comes back on April 23 after 30 years, Turkish Airlines and Philippines Airlines, after a decade of absence.

"The whole economic make-up of KL has changed, there is strong economic growth, more foreign companies are based here than a decade ago, the number of business travellers are higher and there is a huge domestic market and Malaysia is more visible on the tourism map,'' said an expert.

The wining of several awards including "best airport in the world' in its category helps it attract more airlines.

Airport Council International, a body that tracks the movement of passenger and aircraft traffic in global airports on Tuesday released its preliminary figures in which KLIA stood at 27th place for handling 39.8 million passengers in 2012.

Suvarnabhumi is ranked 14 with 53 million passengers, Changi a notch lower with 51 million, and Jakarta at 9th place with 57 million passengers, mainly due to a thriving domestic market as its growing middle class population takes to the skies.

Suvarnabhumi and Changi will continue to be a threat to KLIA but they also have their own issues of space and slots.

"How much more can these airports grow, and Suvarnabhumi already has the widest connectivity, how much more can it grow?

"And if you look at Soekarno Hatta, it is always packed and getting prime slots can be a challenge and the same is for the other two, especially at night and both airlines and passengers hate delays,'' said Mohshin.

Mohshin felt that KLIA had all the building blocks in place to attract airlines, the slots, the space and the volume.

Though KLIA will never be number one, he believes it can be number two or even three.

"It is all about growth and growth and infrastructure efficiency, and KLIA has that,'' he added.

Whether BA and Qantas return or not, the volume coming from Asian and Middle Eastern carriers is sizeable and Mohshin said KLIA should focus on that more.

Besides BA and Qantas, MAHB is courting several airlines including Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Indigo to use KLIA, and it will be no surprise if it adds one or two more for this year.

 

Banks lead KLCI higher for fifth day

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:31 PM PDT

Published: Friday March 29, 2013 MYT 9:31:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI extended its gains early Friday, which was the fifth day of gains, underpinned by gains in banks and telcos, on the final trading day for the first quarter.

Window-dressing activities were seen with fund buying of index-linked stocks as the KLCI bucked the regional markets despite some concerns about the impending general elections.

At 9.14an, the FBM KLCI was up 3.62 points to 1,677.66. Turnover was 33.65 million shares valued at RM29.18mil. There were 99 gainers, 53 losers and 98 counters unchanged.

Maybank KE Research said the KLCI's resistance level of 1,675 and 1,699 would cap market gains, whilst obvious support areas were at 1,644 and 1,673.

Hong Leong Bank rose 14 sen to RM14.58, HLFG 12 sen to RM15.06, CIMB and RHB Cap seven sen higher to RM7.72 and RM8.70. Insurer Takaful rose 14 sen to RM6.99.

Among the plantations, KL Kepong rose 22 sen to RM20.96 and Genting Plantations eight sen to RM8.68.

Apollo was the top gainer, up 27 sen to RM3.82 after posting a stronger set of earnings.

Petronas Dagangan fell 16 sen to RM23.28, UMW 14 sen to RM13.26, MAHB 13 sen to RM5.66 and Gamuda five sen to RM4.08.

 

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies


Hugh Jackman seeks mortality in 'The Wolverine'

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 01:27 AM PDT

The first trailer for The Wolverine has been released ahead of the film's summer release.

After several teasers, Fox has unveiled a 2'30'' trailer offering spectators a better look at events in the movie. The clawed mutant will travel to Japan in an attempt to shatter his immortality, which he sees as a curse.

Hugh Jackman will reprise his role as Wolverine for the sixth time, opposite a duo of villains made up of Svetlana Khodchenkova and Will Yun Lee, who will play Viper and the Silver Samurai.

A shorter trailer with other images meant for North America was also available exclusively on Trailers.apple.com.

James Mangold's The Wolverine will be internationally in July.

(Relaxnews)

'Matrix' creator making sci-fi series for Netflix

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 12:00 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Netflix is teaming up with the creative force behind The Matrix action movie franchise for a new science fiction series that will be available only to subscribers of the video streaming service.

Sense8, a 10-episode series described as a tale of minds linked and souls hunted, will debut on Netflix in late 2014, Netflix said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Several years ago, we had a late night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born," directors Andy and Lana Wachowski said in a statement.

Sense8 is the siblings' first television project. The Wachowskis were behind The Matrix movie trilogy and films like V For Vendetta and Speed Racer.

Sense8 marks the latest foray into original programming by Netflix, following the Kevin Spacey political drama House Of Cards. All 13 episodes of House Of Cards were released exclusively to Netflix subscribers in February.

The Wachowskis will work with Joe Straczynski, who wrote the story for the 2011 movie version of Thor, with whom they said they share "a love of genre and all things nerdy."

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The Star Online: Nation

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Cleaning feet with a pure heart

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 08:55 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Christians gathered to observe Maundy Thursday, the fifth day of the Holy Week, which precedes Good Friday.

The highlight of the ceremony in churches on Thursday was the washing of the feet, a re-enaction of Jesus Christ washing the feet of the 12 apostles during The Last Supper, which was his last meal before his crucifixion and death on Good Friday.

At the Chapel of Kristus Aman in Taman Tun Dr Ismail yesterday, Rev Father Philip Chua presided over mass before a full congregation.

He explained the significance of the feet washing ritual, as he urged the congregation to continue serving one another.

Parishioner Khaw Tien Chye, who had his feet washed for the first time, said it reminded him to be humble.

"A church leader washing our feet is an act of humility which shows that everyone is equal before God," he said.

The altars in Catholic churches were also "stripped bare" in preparation for a solemn Good Friday.

This will be followed by Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday which rounds up Holy Week and marks Christ's resurrection from the dead.

Lahad Datu: ‘Imam Tua’ militant guard shot dead in Kampung Simunul

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 07:44 AM PDT

LAHAD DATU: A Sulu militant was shot dead after he assaulted the Malaysian security forces personnel with a barong' (a type of machete) during a search on a house in Kampung Simunul, Semporna, on Thursday.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the incident occurred when the security team was carrying out an integrated mopping up and search operation in the village at 8.40am.

He said the man, in his 60s, suddenly tried to hack the body of a member of the security personnel using the sharp object.

"During the assault, the security personnel managed to fire a shot at his assailant. However, no major injuries suffered by our man.

"Initial investigation found that the assailant was the bodyguard and an aide to Sulu terrorist, known as Imam Tua'," he told a press conference at the operation centre in Felda Sahabat 16 here.

'Imam Tua' is one of the terrorists killed in the gun battle with the national security forces at the water village on March 2, which also claimed the lives of six Malaysian policemen. Hamza said following a search on the house, the security forces team arrested two women, aged 45 and 30, who were the wife and daughter of the militant.

Both of them did not have any valid travel documents and were currently detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), he said.

He said four men were also arrested during the operation. Hamza said the national security forces had so far killed 68 terrorists, while arresting 121 individuals to facilitate investigation under Sosma and 443 others under other Acts.

Meanwhile, Hamza said village chiefs and household heads in Kampung Tanjung Batu would be allowed to join the assessment team and the National Security Council staff to assess the damage on their houses and village before they were allowed to return home on Saturday.

However, he said only villagers with complete documents would be allowed to return home, while those without documents would be placed in a temporary settlement. - Bernama

Five memorable football manager rants

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:54 AM PDT

Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan's rant against Sir Alex Ferguson during the 1996 Premier League title race is one that will never be forgotten by football fans. Keegan then manager of Newcastle United famously blew his top live on television after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that teams tried harder against his team than Newcastle.

"I'll tell ya you can tell him now, he'll be watching we're still fighting for this title. And I'll tell you honestly, I will luv it if we beat them luv it!'

www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RUNS3VoJ3mM

Jose Mourinho

The Portugese-born manager of Real Madrid is no stranger to controversy. After losing to arch-rivals Barcelona in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in April 2011, he sensationally accused European football governing body UEFA of conspiring against Real Madrid in favour of their rivals. His tirade earned him a five-match European ban.

"I don't understand why. I don't know if it's the publicity of Unicef (Barcelona's then-shirt sponsor), I don't know if it's the friendship of (Spanish football federation president Angel Mara) Villar at Uefa, where he is vice-president, I don't know if it's because they are very nice, but they have got this power. The rest of us have no chance."

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hofXdMHVjUI

Sir Alex Ferguson

The most-decorated manager in England, the Manchester United manager is not averse to airing his views publicly. He went on one of his many tirades after his team lost 2-1 to Chelsea on March 2011. In an interview, he stated that decisions did not go his team's way, and laid the blame specifically on match official Martin Atkinson. He received the heaviest punishment of his career in the form of a five-match touchline ban and £30,000 (RM140,000) fine.

"You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway, and we didn't get that. I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared the worst."

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JqcTWZ8GTE

Arsene Wenger

Nicknamed "The Professor" in football circles, the Arsenal manager is known to give measured replies and rarely loses his cool during interviews. However, in a rare outburst in February this year, Wenger lashed out at journalists who questioned his tactics and whether he was being a offered a contract extension with Arsenal.

"You think I am so naive that I don't see what is behind that? You think I am a complete idiot? I'm angry because you give wrong information. The lie is targeted to hurt. It's easy to say people are not happy and on top of that say he's extending the contract. I don't accept lies when the target behind it is to manipulate people."

www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RUNS3VoJ3mM

Rafael Benitez

During his tenure as Liverpool manager, the Spaniard was constantly at loggerheads with Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In a memorable interview in January 2009, he let loose on Ferguson, reading "facts" from a piece of paper about his conducts towards match officials and how the fixture list was weighed in Man United's favour. Some have put this rant on the same level as Kevin Keegan's "luv it" tirade.

"During the Respect campaign and this is a fact Mr Ferguson was charged by the FA for improper conduct after comments made about Martin Atkinson and Keith Hackett. He was not punished. He is the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things."

www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zGaXABfRTyA

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Clear-cut policy needed on chopping down trees

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 05:56 AM PDT

I WAS driving along Jalan Tuanku Antah (Rahang Road) recently and was shocked and disappointed to find that a huge raintree, which had stood for so many years by the roadside, had been felled by the authorities.

This fully-grown tree had survived all the development in the area but it could not survive a chain-saw.

Its only "crime" was that it was located near the main road.

However, this tree was never in the way of traffic as the road was wide enough for vehicles to pass by.

Last year, the road surrounding the tree was re-surfaced with new parking lots drawn up in front of a row of shophouses.

This tree, in fact, provided much-needed shade for vehicle owners using the carpark.

I have often noticed that the relevant authorities do not practise what they preach.

On one hand, they will say that we need to plant more trees to have a greener environment while on the other, they have no qualms felling full-grown trees that stand in the way of their development plans.

I managed to speak to two contract workers who were cleaning up the mess left after the tree was felled and they told me it was the work of the Seremban Municipal Council (MPS).

Someone in the council's landscaping department had better explain why the tree was so unceremoniously removed, as it was not posing a danger to passers-by and it did not seem to be diseased.

The Star published an article (Planting a tree does help, says don) on March 19, in which a professor from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) said that planting trees helped lower carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In school, we learnt that the photosynthesis process converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.

It is about time we have a comprehensive policy on when and why trees are removed.

It will be a sad day when in order to learn more about huge and mature trees, our younger generation would have to trek deep into the jungle for a hands-on experience.

Then again, there is no guarantee because even in forest reserves, illegal logging is happening.

MICHAEL NG
Seremban

Metro watch

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 05:56 AM PDT

PRAYER FOR PEACE

The Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM) is organising a Meditation Prayer and Heart Sutra Copying activity this Sunday (March 31) from 8pm to 9pm at Heoh Beng Temple, Kuala Lumpur. It is held in conjunction with the "3.31 1 Hour of Blessing for Malaysia", an event initiated by several non-governmental organisations from various faith groups to pray for the country's peace and harmony. For registration and inquiries call 03-7804 9154/57 or 03-2692 9839 before March 30.

RAMADAN BAZAAR

Applications are open to Malaysian citizens who wish to trade at the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) Ramadan Bazaar 2013. The forms will be issued in stages and according to trading areas: April 9 for Puchong / Kinrara areas; April 10 for Serdang / Seri Kembangan areas; April 11 for Subang Jaya. The submission date is between April 12 - 19. Applicants are required to take their own form and bring their IC along. For details, call 03-8026 4324 or visit bit.ly/WYnGGv.

EASTER CELEBRATIONS

A host of activities will be organised by Bangsar Shopping Centre this Sunday (March 31) at My Play Room located on the 4th Floor. There will be an Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Bunny walkabout and workshops on how to make fridge magnets and Easter Bunny Door Hanger. Registration is free for kids, For details, call 03-2094 7700 or visit www.bsc.com.my.

HEALTH TALK

In conjunction with World Kidney Day, Sentosa Medical Centre will be organising a talk by Consultant Physician and Nephrologist Dr Choy Kwan Loong and Diabetes Educator Vitdhia Muniandy this Saturday (March 30). This will be held at the Meeting Room, Lower Ground floor of the hospital from 10am to 12.30pm. Admission is free. For details, call Manpreet or Ros at 03-4043 7166 Ext 146/222.

BUSINESS COURSE

The Hardknocks Institute of Management (HAKIM) will be organising a course on 'The Secrets of Managing a Succesful Restaurant Business' on April 1 and 2 at Maharaja Hall, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya. Special discount for early birds and students, inclusive of meals. For more information, call Jamal at 012-397 1517.

CALLIGRAPHY DISPLAY

A joint Calligraphy Exhibition by Four Masters will be held from this Saturday (March 30) to April 7 from 11am to 6pm at the Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) exhibition hall (7th floor), Wisma Kebudayaan SGM. For details, call 03-9075 6876 or 03-2144 8686 or email sgmpro@sgm.org.my.

MEDITATION CLASS

A new Sahaja Yoga meditation class will be held every Tuesdays beginning from April 2 at 7.45pm at Taman Sea, Petaling Jaya. For details, call Richard Ng at 016-331 3978.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Kanye West’s new single to be called 'I Am A God,' claim rumors

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 01:23 AM PDT

Rumors regarding the title of Kanye West's new single appear to have been confirmed.

Rumors have been circulating the internet for the past few days that Kanye West's new album would be called I Am God, but it appears that those spreading the rumors were misinformed: it is his single, not album, that grants him the distinction.

Following these rumors, the Huffington Post is claiming that the single will in fact be titled I Am A God, citing "a reliable source in West's camp."

Spoken word artist Malik Yusef, who works closely with Kanye West, seemed to confirm these rumors, tweeting "@TeamKanyeChi its 'I am(A) GOD' FAMO #psalms 82," although this tweet appears to have since been removed.

No word yet on when we can expect Kanye's single.

#AskAdibah with actress and singer Adibah Noor

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 08:48 PM PDT

POPULAR actress and singer Adibah Noor recently joined us for an On The Spot live tweet session, which sparked a virtual avalanche of questions and caused the #AskAdibah hashtag to trend!

Adibah had expected some "naughty questions" - such as those picking on her plus-size proportions - but she was pleasantly surprised by the quality of queries received.

"Everyone asked very mature and respectful questions. Some were a little on the serious side, but none had any premeditated intention of malice. They didn't disregard me as, say, somebody with no brains!" said an appreciative Adibah.

Though she only needed to answer 20, she went on to answer many more as she enjoyed the adrenaline rush from interacting with other tweeters.

"You should continue doing these live tweet sessions! It's wonderful to reach out to real people, because so many of them out there can reach back to you," said the vivacious personality who remained upbeat throughout the session despite an early start to her day.

As the co-host of Suria FM's Ceria Pagi di Suria, Adibah has to be out of bed by 4am to make it in time for her 5am slot in the studio.

Her official duties at Suria FM include production meetings, programme brainstorming, lending her voice for public service messages, making announcements, and reading the news.

Busy schedule aside, the warm and hospitable lady made sure this writer was well plied with refreshments, and kept up a warm, lively conversation while taking on the chosen questions.

But even with her gift of gab, Adibah found balancing out her answers - ""Do I want to sound serious, political, light and easy, or entertaining?" - to be most challenging.

"The more politically-driven or government policy-centred questions were a bit tough for me, but I tried to answer everything in a very light way," she said, adding that she wanted to get her message across without being too serious.

When asked which question stood out from the rest, Adibah burst into laughter and said, "I don't know which one to pick lah! I would love to answer everything, they were all quite interesting."

She thanked the #AskAdibah session moderator, chambering student Leithiga K Mohanachandran, for "choosing some really awesome questions" from the vast selection received.

"They touched on many matters related to me, such as my experience from my teaching years, as an artiste, as a human being, as a rakyat Malaysia. All these are issues close to my heart," shared Adibah.

"I do follow political tweets and human rights issues. I may not participate in them, but sometimes I echo (the sentiments) by retweeting to show my support. After all, my world does not only consist of singing, music, getting entertained on stage, laugh laugh laugh - no. I do pay attention to what's happening around me," she mused.

When asked if any topic needed more discussion, Adibah singled out one brought up by Nurashikin Ahmad (@nura_ahmad), who asked: "Do you think that gender equality has improved in Malaysia? Why or why not?".

"I answered her question with another question: how much do we want to be equal with men? And what do we mean by being equal to men?," she said.

"Are we willing to go to the extent of receiving the same punishment that men get when they do something wrong? Or do you still expect people to be compromising or diplomatic when they scold you? I'm all for women's rights, but what I'm saying is, we really need to identify the specifics," Adibah added as she cited an earlier discussion.

As for future live tweet sessions, she hopes to someday see former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad entertain questions from other tweeters.

Adventures ahead

Next up for Adibah is the Chow Kit Road! Chow Kit Road! musical, which sees her in rehearsals from 2pm to 8pm on weekdays.

If the show's name brings the late Dato' Sudirman bin Haji Arshad to mind, you're right: the musical will feature 20 of the legendary singer's songs!

However, Adibah was quick to note that the story "has nothing to do with Sudirman.

"Usually, musicals will have music written specifically for it. But instead of having an original score for Chow Kit Road! Chow Kit Road!, we'll be using his work to portray the messages. It'll be staged at Istana Budaya from May 10-26 this year, so grab your tickets!" said Adibah.

"I also have a few songs waiting to be recorded, and a few artistes lined up to duet with me. Who will they be? You'll find out soon!" she teased.

Besides that, the host of reality show Bintang Mencari Bintang is also enjoying her search for talents.

"Not only do the contestants have to sing, but they must have a comedy sketch as well! It brings back the Sinaran Pasport Kegemilangan days when we had this sort of show," said Adibah.

With her hectic days sometimes only ending at midnight, Adibah favours low-key ways to unwind.

"If I'm not on a long leave, I'll just chill at home and watch DVDs. Or watch my cats play in the living room while caressing those who love to sit near me!" said the feline lover.

When asked if she had any advice for those aspiring to join the entertainment industry, Adibah confessed that she had never imagined turning her love for singing into a professional pursuit.

"In my #AskAdibah answers, I always said that other people have inspired me to do what I do now. It was others who believed that I had something, and they encouraged me along this path," she shared.

"So this is my theory: if you think you have some talent, you need get out there and go for any competitions at all, no matter how small they may be," urged Adibah.

"If you're working in a company, and it happens to have an annual dinner with a karaoke competition, just go for it! It's important to know it's not just you thinking that you are talented. You also need others - apart from family members - to acknowledge that you have talent."

And if your persistent efforts result in wins, that's even more concrete proof that you just might have something in you. "Work towards getting recognised by gradually going for bigger competitions, which will be judged by professionals and people from the industry. They just might scout you as a new talent," said Adibah.

"Just keep trying!"

Visit www.twitter.com/thestarec or search #AskAdibah on Twitter to read the full live tweet session's exchange. An enhanced version of this story will appear in the Star's tablet edition, The Star Editor's Choice March 31, 2013 issue. The app is available free from the App Store or Google Play.

Stones to headline Glastonbury

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 06:00 PM PDT

LONDON, United Kingdom: Rock giants The Rolling Stones will play Britain's Glastonbury Festival, the world's largest greenfield music and performing arts spectacle, organisers revealed on Wednesday.

The legendary group has not played the festival before, but speculation mounted that they could make an appearance after they revealed last year they were reuniting to play 50th anniversary shows.

Frontman Mick Jagger later tweeted: "Can't wait to play Glastonbury. I have my wellies and my yurt!"

The festival, which had a year off last year for the Olympics, will take place during the last weekend of June with the Stones headlining on Saturday.

Glastonbury attracts 170,000 party-goers to a dairy farm in Somerset, southwest England, and this year's event is already a sell-out.

Other acts confirmed on Thursday include folk group Mumford & Sons, rockers Arctic Monkeys and veteran performer Elvis Costello. Country star Kenny Rogers will also make an appearance on the main Pyramid Stage.-AFP

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