Jumaat, 19 April 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'Heroes' may make a comeback

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 12:22 AM PDT

According to Tvline.com, MSN would like to pick up and reboot Heroes, the superhero series that was initially offered by NBC.

If this happens, the series will not return to television: instead, it will be shown on the group's streaming platform, which is linked to the Xbox 360.

Just like Netflix and soon Amazon, Microsoft-owned MSN wants to join the TV series market. The web portal is counting on the popular series from the 2000s, Heroes, for its launch.

The new version will show the adventures of new characters. Viewers will also see some familiar faces with superpowers from the original series, who will be invited to feature in the new series.

The original series, created by Tim Kring, aired from 2006 to 2010 in the United States. The first two seasons did very well on TV (and illegal download sites) but the public tired of the drama. Barely 7 million people watched the last season, whereas twice that number watched the first.

Bomb-themed episode of 'Castle' rescheduled

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 11:59 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A bomb-themed episode of U.S. television crime drama Castle has been rescheduled because of its close timing to Monday's deadly bombings in Boston.

Broadcaster ABC said on Thursday that the 22 April episode of Castle, which follows a crime novelist and New York police detective, will switch dates with the 29 April episode.

Series star Stana Katic said on Twitter that the move was made "out of respect" for the victims from the twin blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The bombings killed At least three people and injured 176.

Broadcaster Fox on Tuesday pulled a recent episode of animated series Family Guy from rebroadcast because it had an unconnected storyline of the Boston Marathon and a bombing.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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WRAPUP 17-Boston Marathon bombing suspect caught after day-long manhunt

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 07:44 PM PDT

WATERTOWN, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Police captured a 19-year-old man suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings with his older brother after a day-long manhunt on Friday that closed down the city and turned a working-class suburb into a virtual armed camp.

Members of the public cheer as police officers leave the scene where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, was taken into custody in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Members of the public cheer as police officers leave the scene where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, was taken into custody in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The break in the case sent waves of relief through the Boston suburb of Watertown where armoured vehicles roamed the streets and helicopters flew overhead through the day.

Residents and police officers cheered and clapped when the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was caught after an exchange of gunfire with police.

A Massachusetts State Police spokesman said Tsarnaev was bleeding and in serious condition in a hospital. He had been hiding in the stern of a boat parked in the backyard of a house in Watertown, police said. A resident called police after seeing blood on the boat.

President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House after the suspect's capture that questions remained from the bombings, including whether the two suspects received any help.

The Boston Police Department said in a message on Twitter: "CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody."

Boston Mayor Tom Menino said, "we got him" on Twitter.

Tsarnaev is one of two brothers believed to have set off bombs made in pressure cookers and packed with ball bearings and nails at the finish line of the world-famous event, killing three people and injuring 176.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed on Thursday night in a shootout with police less than a mile from where Friday night's capture took place.

"We are so grateful to bring justice and closure to this case," Massachusetts State Police Chief Colonel Timothy Alben told a news conference. "We are exhausted folks, but we had a victory here tonight."

Monday's bombing have been described by Obama as "an act of terrorism." It was the worst such attack on U.S. soil since the plane hijackings of September 11, 2001, and set nerves on edge across the United States with a series of security scares.

Police cars and armoured vehicles surrounded the house on Friday night shortly after police told a news conference that the suspect fled on foot and was still on the loose. After the capture of Tsarnaev, authorities said the investigation was still open.

Police in New Bedford, Massachusetts, 60 miles (96 km) south of Boston said three other people had been taken into custody for questioning about Monday's bombings. No other details were provided.

Earlier on Friday, Alben said that officers went door-to-door in Watertown and searched houses. During the search for the men on Friday, two Black Hawk helicopters circled the area. SWAT teams moved through in formation, leaving an officer behind to ensure that searched homes remained secure, a law enforcement official said.

The normally traffic-clogged streets of Boston were empty on Friday as the city went into lockdown during the manhunt. Public transportation had been suspended and air space restricted. Famous universities, including Harvard and MIT, closed after police ordered residents to remain at home.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said late on Friday afternoon the "stay-in-place" order for Boston had been lifted and mass transit reopened.

The brothers had not previously been on the radar as possible militants, U.S. government officials said. But the FBI in 2011 interviewed the older of the two brothers, acting at the request of an unidentified foreign government, a U.S. law enforcement source said. The matter was closed when it did not produce any derogatory information, according to the source, who declined to be identified.


Some details emerged on Friday about the brothers, including their origins in the predominantly Muslim regions of Russia's Caucasus, which have experienced two decades of violence since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The younger brother described himself on a social network as a minority from a region that includes Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.

A man who told reporters he was an uncle of the brothers said they came to the United States in the early 2000s and settled in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, area.

Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in suburban Washington and has not spoken to the brothers since 2009, said the bombings "put a shame on our family. It put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.

In separate interviews, the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers said they believed their sons were incapable of carrying out the bombings. Others remembered the brothers as friendly and respectful youths who never stood out or caused alarm.

"Somebody clearly framed them. I don't know who exactly framed them, but they did. They framed them. And they were so cowardly that they shot the boy dead," father Anzor Tsarnaev said in an interview with Reuters in Dagestan's provincial capital, Makhachkala, clasping his head in despair.

The FBI said the twin blasts were caused by bombs in pressure cookers and carried in backpacks that were left near the marathon finish line as thousands of spectators gathered.

The mother, Zubeidat Tsaraeva, speaking in English, told CNN, "It's impossible, impossible, for both of them to do such things, so I am really, really, really telling that this is a setup."

The bombings elicited a response from Moscow condemning terrorism and from the Russian-installed leader of Chechnya, who criticized police in Boston for killing an ethnic Chechen and blamed the violence on his upbringing in the United States.

"They grew up and studied in the United States and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there," Ramzan Kadyrov said in comments posted online. "Any attempt to make a connection between Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs is in vain.

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the biggest mosque in the area, said in a statement that "after the terrible and sad events of last night, the criminal of the bombings on the loose" it was shutting its doors until further notice.

(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, Jim Bourg, Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Daniel Lovering and Ben Berkowitz; Writing by Grant McCool; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Related Stories:
Boston's mayor tweets "we got him" after bombings manhunt ends

Three people being questioned in connection with marathon bombings
Search for Boston bombers likely relied on eyes, not software
Timeline - Boston Marathon bombing suspect captured

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Strong quake hits China, 100 may be dead, injured

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 07:37 PM PDT

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - About 100 people could have died or been injured in a 6.6 magnitude earthquake which struck near Ya'an city in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on Saturday, close to where a massive temblor struck in 2008, killing almost 70,000.

The earthquake occurred at 8.02 a.m. local time (0002 GMT) in Lushan county and the epicentre had a depth of 13 km (8 miles), state news agency Xinhua reported.

The quake was felt strongly by residents in neighbouring provinces and in the provincial capital city of Chengdu, causing many to rush outside, according to accounts on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service.

Xinhua said two people had been confirmed dead so far. Reports carried by other state media, citing Sichuan authorities, including the People's Daily microblog, said around 100 could have died or been injured.

Multiple aftershocks jolted the area after the quake took place. Tthe largest aftershock in magnitude was marked at 5.1, shaking Sichuan's Lushan and Baoxing counties at 8:07 a.m.

The U.S. Geological Service initially put the magnitude at 7, but later revised it down.

A resident in Chengdu, 140 km (85 miles) from Ya'an city, told Xinhua he was on the 13th floor of a building when he felt the quake. The building shook for about 20 seconds and he saw tiles fall from nearby buildings.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee and Lu Jianxin; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Related Stories:
Earthquake with magnitude of 7.0 hits county in China's Sichuan-media

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Boston Marathon bombing suspect captured - police

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 06:14 PM PDT

WATERTOWN, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Police captured a 19-year-old man on Friday night suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings with his older brother after a day-long manhunt using helicopters and heavily armed officers in a Boston suburb.

Police officers and SWAT team members greet each other after a police assault on a house on Franklin Street in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. REUTERS/John Taggart

Police officers and SWAT team members greet each other after a police assault on a house on Franklin Street in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. REUTERS/John Taggart

The Boston Police Department said on Twitter that the suspect was in custody and officers were sweeping the area. Authorities identified him earlier as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, one of two brothers believed to have carried out Monday's attack at the world-famous event, killing three people and injuring 176.

Police cars and armoured vehicles surrounded a house in Watertown on Friday night shortly after police told a news conference that the suspect fled on foot and was still on the loose.

The apparent break in the investigation came after an intense manhunt that virtually closed the city of Boston.

Monday's bombing on the finish line of the marathon was described by President Barack Obama as "an act of terrorism." It was the worst such attack on U.S. soil since the plane hijackings of September 11, 2001.

Images showed that the three-story house where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was caught had a tarp-covered boat parked on a trailer in the backyard.

Earlier on Friday, Colonel Timothy Alben told a news conference that officers went door-to-door in Watertown and searched houses.

During the search for the men on Friday, two Black Hawk helicopters circled the area. SWAT teams moved through in formation, leaving an officer behind to ensure that searched homes remained secure, a law enforcement official said.

(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, Jim Bourg, Svea Herbst-Bayliss, Daniel Lovering and Ben Berkowitz; Writing by Grant McCool; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Related Stories:
Boston's mayor tweets "we got him" after bombings manhunt ends

Three people being questioned in connection with marathon bombings
Search for Boston bombers likely relied on eyes, not software
Timeline - Boston Marathon bombing suspect captured

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

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Envirotac makes inroads into plantations

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 06:21 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Envirotac II is making inroads into the Southeast Asian region's plantations in the construction of roads in difficult terrains, with proven track records in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Smart Construction Solutions founder Vincent Benedict says Envirotac II is a water soluble, vinyl acetate-acrylic copolymer which stabilises the soil and controls the dust.

"We are working with several big palm oil plantations currently both in Malaysia and Indonesia. We are also in the verge of securing a large road project in Western Africa.

"Other countries in the Asia/Pacific Region are also being pursued," he tells StarBiz.

Smart Construction Solutions had undertaken a Malaysian plantation company's road project in Indonesia linking the plantations with the road leading to the jetty and the road is still firm after 11 months.

It has also carried out test projects for companies in Sabah, especially in very difficult terrain due to land erosion. He eyes about 5,000km of proposed roads in Sabah and 10,000km in Sarawak.

If all goes well, it is set to clinch a major road project in the Republic of Niger where a Malaysian company wants Smart Construction to build 6,000km of roads over five years.

To prove the durability of Envirotac II, Vincent recently undertook a trial project for the company in a plantation in Tanjung Malim, Perak.

He describes Envirotac II as an environmentally-safe, low cost acrylic copolymer. When applied to soil or sand, it will penetrate and coat the surface, he explains.

When it dries, it forms a water-proof, UV-resistant, solid bond which binds the soil particles.

Vincent adds by increasing the concentration of Envirotac II, this would result in a highly durable surface which can withstand heavy traffic.

To recap, Envirotac II is a proprietary blend of polymers that use proven long-chain nano-technology to form complex bonds at the microscopic level between aggregates.

The Envirotac II product is developed by US-based Environmental Products & Applications and it had appointed Smart Construction Solutions as its exclusive distributor for Asia-Pacific and Africa.

Basically, Envirotac II allows existing soils and sands that would normally have no load bearing capabilities, to be used for roads, parking lots, trails and other heavy traffic areas at a fraction of the cost of traditional asphalt construction.

"The cost and speed of construction is adistinctadvantage over concrete roads and even asphalt.

"The cost to maintain an Envirotac II stabilised road is only about 20% of the original cost. Depending on traffic volume maintenance can be yearly or within three to five years of constructing the road," says Vincent.

Essentially, Envirotac II makes the stabilised road waterproof and dust free and can cater for heavy haul traffic. Envirotac II stabilised roads are all weather roads with excellent traction even during heavy rains.

Vincent says no stones are used in constructing an Envirotac II stabilised road making it easy to construct roads in rural and areas far from a quarry.

He adds the projects undertaken are mostly roads but the company was also using Envirotac II for slope stabilisation, especially in the light of Malaysia's heavy rainfall and soil erosion in the difficult terrain.

"Smart Construction Solutions has appointed Akar Indah Sdn Bhd as our agent for the government sector in Malaysia," he says.

FAA approves Boeing Dreamliner battery system design

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 06:14 PM PDT

ATLANTA: U.S. regulators on Friday approved a revamped battery system for Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner, a crucial step in returning the high-tech jet to service after it was grounded in January because the plane's lithium-ion batteries overheated.

The Federal Aviation Administration approval of design changes allows Boeing to immediately begin making repairs to the fleet of 50 planes owned by airlines around the world. Other global regulators must approve Boeing's design for repairs outside the United States, but were expected to act quickly now that FAA had given its blessing.

The FAA action all but ends a grounding that has cost Boeing an estimated $600 million (393.9 million pounds), halted deliveries and forced some airlines to lease alternative aircraft. Several airlines have said they will seek compensation from Boeing, potentially adding to the plane maker's losses.

The agency also said the jet retained permission to fly up to 180 minutes over remote areas and oceans once U.S. regulators allowed the Dreamliner to return to the skies. There had been talk of scaling back the approved range, known as ETOPS, which would have limited the use of the fuel-efficient jet.

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney said the 787's promised benefits "remain fully intact" and reaction in the industry was joyous.


"We're back in business, baby!" tweeted the Washington Aerospace Partnership, a group of business, labor and local government leaders supportive of Boeing.

"This is a good step forward," United Airlines said in a statement. United is the only U.S. carrier with 787s and plans to add them to its schedule starting May 31. Plans to launch service from Denver to Tokyo Narita are set for June 10, but depend on completing the modifications by then, it added.

In theory, the planes could be carrying passengers again within a week. Boeing said it takes five days to refit each jet and that no regulatory barrier prevents airlines from putting planes into service after the work is finished. In practice, however, airlines typically perform "check flights" before carrying passengers, Mike Sinnett, chief 787 program engineer, told a news conference Friday.

With 10 teams already in place around the world and Friday's approval to begin work, installation could move quickly and then "it's up to the airlines" when they begin using the plane, Sinnett said.

The FAA said it will issue an "airworthiness directive" next week that formally lifts the U.S. ban on passenger flights.

Earlier Friday in Tokyo, Japan's Transport Minister said the 787 review was very near completion, but it was unclear how quickly the plane could resume passenger service there. Nearly half of the planes in service are owned by Japanese carriers.

Mark Rosenker, who headed the National Transportation Safety Board under President George W. Bush, said the FAA clearly believed that Boeing's proposed changes would avert further problems.

"It should give the flying public a sense of safety and reliance and well-being," said Rosenker. He said he expected airlines to resume flying the planes in May.


Much of the design change in the battery system already is well-known, thanks to Boeing's detailed descriptions of the system to customers, legislators and media.

Before the planes can fly, they must be fitted with a "containment and venting" system for both lithium-ion batteries on the 787, the FAA said. That includes a stainless-steel enclosure to prevent heat, fumes or fire from spreading if a battery overheats in flight. Batteries and battery chargers must also be replaced with different components, the FAA said.

Boeing also will install the new system on planes produced since the grounding that were barred from being delivered. "They're running out of space on the tarmac," outside the factory near Seattle, said Congressman Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat who has the factory in his district. He said Boeing expects it will take five or six months to clear that backlog.

He said he did not have a problem with the FAA approving the fix before the NTSB holds a hearing on it next week, since accident investigations often take longer than regulatory action. "There's a lot more we need to learn about lithium-ion batteries and technology," he said.

Sinnett said Boeing still expected to deliver all of the Dreamliners it had planned this year. The company has been conducting flight tests of the new planes so they can be delivered quickly when the new systems are installed.

But costs remain unclear. Boeing has not put a dollar figure on the battery crisis, but some analysts estimate it cost $50 million a week. Others said that seemed high.

Richard Aboulafia, aviation analyst at Teal Group, said Boeing also faced claims from airlines for the grounding, which would compound the much-higher-than-expected cost of launching the new aircraft. Boeing had expected to spend about $4 to $5 billion on the new composite plane, but the cost was now closer to $20 billion, he said.

"This has just been another increment of pain on top of a whole lot of other pain," Aboulafia said.

Nevertheless, Boeing's stock rose 2.1 percent Friday to $87.96, and has gained 18.3 percent since the 787 was grounded on January 16.

In approving the change, the FAA is indicating that it believes Boeing's fix is adequate to address the risk of fire on the plane. However, the NTSB continues to investigate what caused a battery to catch fire on a Japan Airlines plane that was parked at the airport in Boston. A second battery overheated during an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan a few days later, prompting regulators to ground the Dreamliner.

The NTSB, the top U.S. transportation investigator, is still investigating what caused the Boston fire. Boeing has said its redesign addresses more than 80 potential causes, and therefore is more rigorous than if a single cause had been found.

The NTSB said Friday it would call officials from the FAA and Boeing, including Sinnett, to testify, along with people from Thales SA of France, which makes the battery system, and GS Yuasa Corp of Japan, which makes the battery.

Asked Friday why Boeing trusted engineering assumptions that were proved wrong by events, and why Boeing or the public should trust them now, Sinnett said the company had learned to be more conservative in testing batteries, and applied that to the new system. He said the NTSB hearings next week would look into the question of whether the original system should have been safer.

As for other "unknown unknowns" that may lurk in the plane, he said, "There will be some significant special attention given to this and what we have learned from it." - Reuters

Dell shares at two-month low after Blackstone pulls out

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 06:12 PM PDT

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO: Shares in Dell Inc dived to a 2-month low on Friday after Blackstone Group LP withdrew from a three-way battle to buy out the company, citing a crumbling personal computer market that has reduced financial forecasts at the world's No. 3 PC maker.

Its withdrawal eases the way for founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake to go ahead with a $24.4 billion deal to take the company private for $13.65 a share, in what would be the largest private equity-led buyout since the 2008 financial crisis.

Dell's stock fell 4 percent to close at $13.40, below that original offer price and the lowest level since February 6.

On Friday, Dell said its special committee, set up to review competing offers, was continuing discussions with both its billionaire founder and the other bidder, activist investor Carl Icahn, and still saw a deal closing by the fiscal second quarter.

The bid by Silver Lake and Michael Dell, however, has aroused the ire of major investors, including top independent shareholder Southeastern Asset Management, who complain that the offer undervalues the company.

Blackstone initially offered $14.25 a share. Icahn, who has taken a significant stake in the company, remains in the running and has proposed $15 per share for 58 percent of Dell.

It is unclear how Southeastern would respond. The fund management firm declined to comment.

Icahn, who is known for aggressively pushing for changes at companies he invests in, did not respond to requests for comment. But the Wall Street Journal cited a source "familiar with his thinking" as saying the billionaire investor will wait to see how shareholders vote on Michael Dell's bid.

If they reject his offer, Icahn would consider launching a hostile bid, the Journal cited the unidentified source as saying.

"I don't feel comfortable one bit that shareholders are getting a fair price," Don Yacktman, president of Austin, Texas-based Yacktman Asset Management, told Reuters on Friday.

Yacktman, whose firm owned 14.91 million shares of Dell, or a slightly less than 1 percent stake in the company as of December 31, said that while he is disappointed that Blackstone pulled out of the bidding, he is hopeful that Icahn's presence in the process will result in a better deal for shareholders.

"I would obviously like to see more players, but Dell still has to deal with Carl Icahn and Icahn can be a tough guy to deal with."


Blackstone's abrupt withdrawal a mere month after launching its bid is the latest twist in an increasingly complicated tussle over Dell, which began with a February announcement of Michael Dell's proposal to take his company private.

The self-made billionaire wants to take the company he founded in 1984 in a college dorm-room off public markets, hoping to transform it into a provider of enterprise computing services away from investor scrutiny. But shareholders complain such a deal deprives them of a chance to share in the future benefits of a successful overhaul.

"By being private, Dell can make many more strategic decisions, particularly around pricing to grow and upsell into its customer base," Um wrote on Friday.

"Being private also takes the customer discussion away from the operations of the company ... and will allow the company to focus on its products and solutions."

Some analysts have wondered whether Dell, which in the past decade has steadily ceded ground to its rivals in the global market, is as attractive a buyout target as a three-way battle would suggest.

Personal computer sales plunged 14 percent in the first three months of the year, the biggest decline on record, as tablets continued to gain in popularity and buyers appeared to be avoiding Microsoft Corp's new Windows 8 system, according to leading technology tracking firm IDC.

Dell was hailed as a model of production innovation as recently as the early 2000s, pioneering online ordering of custom-configured PCs and working closely with Asian component suppliers and manufacturers to assure rock-bottom costs.

As of 2013's first quarter, its share of the global PC market had slipped to 11.8 percent, behind Hewlett Packard Co and China's Lenovo Group Ltd . - Reuters

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Tennis: Playboy to showman for 'Baby Federer' Dimitrov

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 06:06 PM PDT

MONTE-CARLO, Monaco: Grigor Dimitrov shed his playboy image on Friday in the millionaires playground of Monaco, giving Rafael Nadal a huge fright before the Spaniard reached the Monte Carlo semi-finals.

The 21-year-old Bulgarian, a former Wimbledon and US Open junior champion, has had a lot to measure up to as well as live down.

Dubbed 'Baby Federer' for his undoubted potential, the colourful Dimitrov had been making more headlines for his reported romantic links with Serena Williams and then Maria Sharapova rather than his achievements on court.

After breaking into the top 100 in January 2011, it wasn't until almost two years later that he broke the top 50.

"The huge expectations that weighed on him didn't help," said Patrick Mouratoglou, who was Dimitrov's coach until last summer.

His performance on Friday, where he lost 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to eight-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal, should help him into the top 30 next week.

It's reward for a 2013 campaign which has seen him rewarded for his improved physical condition, once his major weakness.

With new Swedish coach Mikael Tillstrom at his side, Dimitrov reached his first final, losing to Andy Murray in Brisbane in January.

At the Indian Wells and Miami Masters, he suffered early defeats - but they were at the hands of world number one Novak Djokovic and Murray, the second-ranked player.

"The objective this year was to remain in good health. If I can do that, then making the top 20 will be in my hands," said Dimitrov, whose challenge on Friday was eventually undermined by cramp as well as Nadal.

But what about that ongoing Federer comparison?

"What can I say to that?," said Dimitrov, the first man to take a set off Nadal in Monte Carlo since 2011.

"I don't think it's true. What do you think?" Nadal, bidding for a ninth successive Monte Carlo title, has no doubts over Dimitrov's potential.

"He has everything needed to become a very good player. He's got all the shots," said the Spaniard. -AFP

Golf: Streelman shares lead at rain-hit RBC Heritage

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 06:03 PM PDT

HILTON HEAD, South Carolina: Kevin Streelman birdied three of his first five holes en route to a one-under-par 70 to seize a share of the RBC Heritage lead before second-round play was suspended Friday.

Streelman is tied with Steve LeBrun and Charley Hoffman, who finished their second rounds at three-under 68 and one-under 70, respectively.

The three leaders have totals of six-under-par 136 at the $5.8 million PGA Tour event at the Harbour Town Golf Links course.

"I didn't hit it quite as crisply as I did yesterday and had a lot of putts around the edge, but overall if I can keep myself in position to contend on the weekend I'm happy," said Streelman.

Play was suspended because of rain with 17 players still on the course. They will finish their rounds on Saturday morning, with the third round starting straight after.

England's Luke Donald (68) and American Bill Haas share fourth place at five-under while Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Australians' Stuart Appleby (68) and Marc Leishman (71) are part of a group of seven players tied for sixth at four-under 138.

McDowell tied for the low round of the day at four-under 67.

Donald, who lost in a playoff at Hilton Head to Brandt Snedeker in 2011, said: "I managed my game very well. I kind of didn't feel very comfortable over the ball, but I missed it in spots that I needed to miss it."

Co-leader LeBrun said: "I've hit it really well. I took a week off last week and I feel fresh and ready to go. For me, it all comes down to the short game."

Hoffman started on the back nine and opened with a bogey at the 10th, but bounced back on the 12th with a seven-foot birdie putt.

He stumbled to a bogey at the 15th and then parred the next seven holes before rolling in another birdie at the fifth. Hoffman closed with consecutive birdies at the 8th and 9th to join Streelman atop the leaderboard. - AFP

Leading second-round scores here on Friday in the $5.8 million US PGA Tour Heritage tournament (USA unless noted, par-71; play suspended with 17 players still on course):

136 - Kevin Streelman 66-70, Charley Hoffman 66-70, Steve LeBrun 68-68

137 - Luke Donald (ENG) 69-68, Bill Haas 68-69

138 - Johnson Wagner 67-71, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 69-69, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 71-67, D.H. Lee (KOR) 70-68, Pat Perez 68-70, Stuart Appleby (AUS) 70-68, Marc Leishman (AUS) 67-71

139 - Martin Kaymer (GER) 69-70, Tim Clark (RSA) 68-71, Billy Horschel 71-68, Richard H. Lee 68-71, Jordan Spieth 70-69, Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 70-69, Justin Hicks 69-70, Darron Stiles 70-69, Webb Simpson 68-71, Stewart Cink 70-69, Ted Potter 68-71 - AFP

Cycling: Nibali lands overall Trentino win

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 05:56 PM PDT

MILAN: Italian Vincenzo Nibali underlined his form ahead of the three-week Giro d'Italia by winning the final stage and taking overall victory at the 37th edition of the Giro del Trentino on Friday.

Overnight leader Maxime Bouet went into the fourth and final stage, held over 166.8 km between Arco and Sega di Ala, with a 3min 19sec lead on Belarusian Kanstantsin Siutsou of Team Sky and 3:56 on Astana team leader Nibali.

However the Frenchman who rides for AG2R, struggled early on the tough, 11km final ascent on which reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins fell off the pace after suffering mechanical problems.

In the end, Bouet trailed over the finish line 4:42 behind Nibali, missing the title by just under a minute.

Nibali completed the five-stage, four-day race in a total time of 17hr 49min 11sec, with fellow Italian Mauro Santambrogio second at 21sec and Bouet third overall at 55.

Former Tour de France champion, Australian Cadel Evans, was eighth overall at 2:18 having come over the finish line one minute behind Nibali.

"Winning on a climb like this is the biggest thing for me right now," said Nibali, who finished third overall at last year's Tour de France behind Wiggins and Briton Chris Froome.

"There is still a couple of weeks to the Giro, and Wiggins remains my main rival, but I saw both (Cadel) Evans and (Ivan) Basso in clear progression."

Wiggins, who lost precious time after angrily throwing his malfunctioning bike to the side of the road around 5km from the finish, trailed home 1:39 behind Nibali to finish fifth overall at 1:40.

Sky team sports director Marcus Ljungqvist rued the lost chance to win the race, but is satisfied Wiggins is in form ahead of his bid for victory at the Giro.

"It was some bad luck there for Brad on the climb," he said.

"He was almost back to the lead group when Nibali attacked.

"That was always going to happen and you really can't afford to give the top guys any time. In the end he expended a lot of energy but it's just one of those things. It was a great effort.

"We need to focus on the good things from this race and that is two stage wins and some good work and form building ahead of the Giro. With some rest for a few guys we will be ready for May."

The Giro d'Italia, a major objective this season for Wiggins and Nibali, will be held May 4-25. - AFP

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The Star Online: Nation

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Anwar Ibrahim's "clone" fails to make it to ceramah

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 09:32 AM PDT

PERMATANG PAUH: The excitement over the appearance of a "clone" of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim fizzled out when the man failed to attend a ceramah in Kubang Semang.

The man, believed to be from Thailand, is said to be the "actor" in the alleged sex tape featuring a man resembling the opposition leader.

PKR candidate for the Sungai Acheh seat, Badrul Hisham Shaharin, said a police colonel from Thailand, who did a forensic investigation on the video, was also supposed to attend the ceramah with proof that Anwar was not the man featured in the tape.

The group escorting the colonel is said to have been held up at a police station in Alor Setar.

A forensic findings of the sex tape, however, made its way to the ceramah and was displayed to the public.

The findings implied that Anwar was not the man in the video.

GE13: Two independents share vision of being community candidates

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 09:15 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Two independent candidates say they will pool their limited resources to support each other against the big names in the general election.

Simon Lee will be contesting the Bukit Gasing state seat while Liew Wei Beng is tackling the Damansara Utama seat.

They said the mutual support was based on a shared vision of being "community candidates."

They opted to be independents because that is how they can best represent the people's interest without being influenced by any political party.

"We are both capable independent candidates, experienced in local issues, have good working relationship with the local authority, as well as the Selangor state government. "We believe the electorate will be objective in their choice and not be swayed by party politics alone," they said in a joint statement.

They added that in the event of a "hung" state assembly, they will cooperate with the coalition of their constituents' choice.

On the issue of "vote splitting", they appealed to the people to vote based on a candidate's suitability, rather than the party.

GE13: First-timer Kota Laksamana candidate bad choice, says Malacca DAP

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 08:24 AM PDT

MALACCA: Malacca DAP has apologised to voters over the party's choice of candidate for the Kota Laksamana state seat.

State DAP director of election campaign and operation, Sim Tong Him (pix) , said the party leaders failed to listen to the wishes of the state DAP and electorate when it nominated first-timer Lai Keun Ban.

The DAP will be facing PPP's Datuk Chiw Tian Chai in Kota Laksamana in the May 5 polls.

Sim said the "bad choice" by the party will affect the outcome in the general election.

"Our voices were not heard by the party's leaders. We have appealed to our leaders but all has been in vain," Sim told an impromptu press conference at the party's headquarters on Friday night.

The press conference was attended by state DAP chairman Goh Leong San and all the candidates contesting in the May 5 polls, except Khoo Poay Tiong, who is said to be aligned to secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Sim, nominated for the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat, said the candidates chosen by headquarters elicited negative response from members and supporters.

"There will be repercussions if the party's leaders insists on Lai as the candidate," Sim said.

Lai was announced as the candidate by the DAP headquarters on Thursday.

The announcement prompted the Alor Gajah parliamentary candidate, Damien Yeo, to threaten to pull out of the race.

In his Facebook posting on Wednesday, Yeo said he would withdraw if Guan Eng do not respect the decision of the state DAP.

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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First Look: R.I.P.D.

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 03:23 AM PDT


THIS supernatural action-adventure stars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds (pic) as two undead police officers.

A young cop, Nick Walker (Reynolds) dies and "travels" to the other side to join forces with the otherwordly Rest In Peace Department (R.I.P.D).

Walker and Roy Pulsipher (Bridges) are dispatched to earth to protect it from an increasingly destructive array of creatures refusing to move peacefully to the other side.

Directed by Robert Schwentke (Red) and based on the comic book Rest In Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov.

It also stars Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker.

R.I.P.D. will be enforcing the law in Malaysian theatres on July 18.

Trailer Park: Temperatures rising

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 03:19 AM PDT

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

KATNISS Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) changed everything when she decided not to play by the rules of the Hunger Games held at Capitol, Panem (in the first film, The Hunger Games).

The story continues with Katniss, without her knowing it, becoming a beacon of hope for the people living in this dystopian future under the rule of the totalitarian President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

In the sequel's trailer, we see how her actions bring about great consequences as Snow feels threatened by her popularity. So, he relegates her to the dull role of a pretty victor, alongside Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). With Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) advising him, Snow counters any uprising with a violent reaction, courtesy of tall guards wearing fearsome white uniforms.

As with the first film, there are a couple of interesting costumes (especially the ones worn by Elizabeth Banks' Effie Trinket). And what would the young adult genre be without romantic entanglements? The Team Gale vs Team Peeta argument heats up in this second film.

Catching Fire ignites in Malaysian cinemas on Nov 21.

Coming Soon: Iron Man 3

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 03:17 AM PDT

Iron Man 3

BILLIONAIRE Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, was in his groove in The Avengers. Unfortunately, things haven't been the same for him since then, and it gets worse when his world gets torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin.

He goes on a journey of rebuilding and retribution, and discovers the answer to a question that has haunted him for a long time: does the man make the suit, or does the suit make the man? Starring Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle and Ben Kingsley.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Hitting the bullseye

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 03:12 AM PDT

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artists: David Aja, Javier Pulido

I HAVE never been a big fan of Hawkeye. It just never made sense that a guy with a bow and arrow could stand his own alongside superheroes like Captain American, Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor and Hulk.

However, thanks to the latest ongoing Hawkeye series, Clint Barton has now been elevated to my favourite Avenger currently.

Hawkeye is probably one of the most perplexing Avengers ever. I mean, come on, the rest of the Avengers have (in Barton's own words): "armour, magic, super-powers, super-strength, shrink dust, grow rays, magic, healing factors..."

Hawkeye? "I'm an orphan raised by carnies, fighting with a stick and a string from the Palaeolithic era," he muses, as he falls out of a highrise and onto a car, breaking his pelvis, ribs, and a dozen other bones in his body.

The first story in this new graphic novel, My Life As A Weapon (which collects issues #1-#5 of the series) begins with Barton spending six weeks in hospital recovering from those injuries, which perfectly sets up the notion that this is not an immortal, indestructible superhero we're reading about – he's just a normal guy who happens to be pretty good at using a bow and arrow.

What writer Matt Fraction has done with this book is put the emphasis on this more ordinary and mortal side of the character, thus making Clint Barton (not Hawkeye) the central focus of the story.

Have you ever wondered what the Avengers do during their spare time, when they're not out er... avenging and saving the world? Thor would probably be back at Asgard drinking mead, super genius Bruce Banner would be back in the lab, and Wolverine has got a mutant school to run. But what does ordinary mortal Clint Barton do when he's not Hawkeye?

Well, that is pretty much the premise of this entire series. It's the story of what Barton does when he is not being an Avenger. They might as well have called it Clint Barton instead of Hawkeye.

However, if they had done that, they would have had to leave out the other pivotal cog in this great series. After all, Barton is not the only character to bear the name "Hawkeye" – the series also features Kate Bishop (of the Young Avengers) as his regular partner-in-crime during his off-duty activities, and the interaction between these two Hawkeyes is one of the best parts of this series.

Fraction's writing here is more down to earth and creative than his other Marvel titles (he currently pens Marvel Now Fantastic Four and FF), giving Hawkeye a more human face and a warmer, more likeable and accessible character as well.

Regular artist David Aja's (as well as Javier Pulido, who drew the two-issue The Tape story) artwork gives the series a very earthy and playfully cartoonish feel, which – combined with Fraction's smart dialogue and brilliantly structured plots – makes it one of the most fun and enjoyable series among Marvel's current roster of titles right now.

Also, trust me when I say that it is one of the most re-readable books in the Marvel lineup.

The pages are filled with some innovative storylines (a whole issue about Barton trying to sort out his trick arrows stands out in particular) and smart, amusing dialogue (an entire page is dedicated to a conversation in which Clint tries to explain to a neighbour of his that his superhero code name is Hawkeye, not HawkGUY); and even the occasional superhero cameo is given this light touch – later on in the series (in issue #06), Wolverine and Spider-Man discuss TV soap operas after a battle with AIM; and in the same book, Barton calls tech wiz Tony Stark in to help him hook up his ancient home cinema system and untangle the wires.

Hawkeye doesn't feel like a superhero comic, because it's not. Sure, its main character is an Avenger, but unlike the heroic, invincible Hawkeye you see in the Avengers books, this version of Hawkeye is vulnerable, insecure, and a classic screw-up who has turned out to be my favorite Avenger yet.

Get it, and read it. You won't regret it.

Meet a good comic

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 03:10 AM PDT

THE graphic novels featured here are available at Kinokuniya, Suria KLCC, and are also part of the bookstore's 12th anniversary "Meet a Good Book" promotion throughout April, in which walk-in customers will get a 20% discount on all featured titles (25% for Kinokuniya Privilege Card members), with purchase of another item.

Other graphic novels included in this promotion include Costa Award-winning Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes; volume one of Marvel's All-New X-Men; Vertigo's apocalyptic period masterpiece The New Deadwardians; the massive Judge Dredd: The Complete Brian Bolland; Mark Millar's hard-hitting Superior; and Midnight Fisherman, by award-winning manga artist Yoshojiro Tatsumi.

Retro sci-fi rocks!

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 03:09 AM PDT

It's back to the future this week with a collection of sci-fi strips by some of the biggest names in today's comics scene.

All-Star Future Shocks
Writers: Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, etc
Artists: Kevin O'Neill, Brian Bolland, John Higgins, etc

I MAY not be the best person to review this fourth graphic novel collection of some 50 Tharg's Future Shocks comic strips.

I landed the gig thanks to an over-enthusiastic message to the coordinator of Worlds Of Wonder, which said, "PUH-LEEESE lend me this book when/if you get it!", when I first heard about it.

Now, this was on account of the fact that I am a bit of a Gaimaniac – I'm not quite sure if that's an actual term, but for those currently scratching their heads, it means I'm a fan of Neil Gaiman, author of the groundbreaking Sandman series.

There are only four of his stories here, but for comic fans – in particular those who follow Judge Dredd – the other names should be equal incentive to pick up this book.

Among the writers featured in this collection are noted names like Grant Morrison, Alan Grant, Mark Millar, Peter Milligan and John Wagner.

The artists, meanwhile, include people like Steve Dillon, Mike McMahon, Brian Bolland, Alan Davis, Will Simpson and John Hicklenton – all of whom have drawn or lettered titles that even a neophyte like myself has heard of.

For those unfamiliar with the sci-fi comics scene, Tharg's Future Shocks is actually the graphic version of sci-fi short stories.

Limited to around three to five pages on average, each strip tells its own self-contained story, all with some sort of interesting twist at the end.

The stories themselves are mostly variations on standard sci-fi tropes, like first-time alien encounters, apocalyptic scenarios, artificial intelligences, mutant powers, genetic engineering and futuristic superheroes, among others.

But don't worry if this sounds boring; unless you are a seriously jaded sci-fi reader, the visuals and text of these strips combine to elevate these short stories into interesting, and often darkly humorous, vignettes.

The twists at the end of the stories – usually quite literally presented in the last couple of panels – were, for me, the best parts of the strips.

And how can you not laugh when a futuristic Captain Ahab tries to lure in his hated space whale nemesis with what turns out to be a very powerful space whale mating call (Old Red)?

The final panel where our futuristic Moby Dick tries to mount the Melville spaceship (a little tip of the hat there to original author Herman Melville) is priceless!

Visual gags or easter eggs such as the Melville reference can be found in more than one of the strips.

Look out for pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in one of Gaiman's strips, and take note of the credits there as well.

While some of the story ideas may seem a bit dated – the mind-control technology in Alec Trench – Zombie! comes to mind here – readers should note that these strips were produced across a range of years from 1977 to 2012.

Published in the British weekly sci-fi comic 2000AD, these short strips actually served as a kind of testing ground for new artists and writers, many of whom have gone on to become big names in the comics world.

Therefore, much of the work seen here is actually the earlier efforts of the famous names in the credits (the book's alien host Tharg would have you believe that they are actually just robots doing his bidding).

This is actually the fourth collection of Tharg's Future Shocks strips; the first two being a collection of Alan Moore's work – Alan Moore's Shocking Futures (1986) and Alan Moore's Twisted Times (!987), and the third, The Best of Tharg's Future Shocks (2008).

Those who have previously read the 2008 collection should note that there is some overlap with this one, as that book featured all the strips from Gaiman, Milligan and John Smith, as well as about half of Morrison's.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro watch

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 05:39 AM PDT


Parts of Jalan Damansara heading towards Bangsar will be closed to traffic from 9pm to 6am every day until April 30. For details, call 012-564 9371 (Munusamy).


Toll Plaza A on LDP (Sunway to Puchong) will be closed from 6am to 10am today. For details, call 03-7494 7333.


Pranic Healing Centre is having a free preview on pranic healing at 7pm today at the Centre For Pranayoga and Self Transformation, Zenith Corporate Park, Block D, Unit 41-1, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya. To reserve a seat, call 012-974 2028/ 03-7887 1028 or visit www.pranichealingmalaysia.org


The Mines is organising "My Mum, Our Story" contest. Partici-pants are invited to share an interesting story of them and their mothers. It is open to contestants aged 18 years and above. Deadline is May 4. For details, call 03-8949 6333 or visit www.facebook.com/theminesshoppingmall


Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Self-Realisation Society is having an introduction to kriya yoga at 17-4, Jalan 1/114, Kuchai Business Centre, off Jalan Kuchai Lama, KL on April 20, from 3pm to 5pm. To RSVP, send SMS to 012-385 0267/ 016-535 7335 or visit www.klsrf.net / www.facebook.com/KLSelangorSRF


GGP Grief Support Group will hold meetings every Sunday from 2pm to 4pm from now till July 7 at 3rd floor, Bangunan Yin (SIBKL) Jalan Damansara, KL. Admission is free. To register, call 012-387 8668 or email ggpoutreach@gmail.com


Ovation Vocal Specialist is offering free vocal checks and consultation at 45A, SS21/37, Damansara Utama, Uptown 37, PJ, every weekday from 4pm to 8pm. To book a place, email nick.at.ovation@gmail.com or call 012-200 7083.


National Association for Gifted Children Malaysia is organising a free public talk on "Challenges gifted children face at home and school" tomorrow at 83B, SS 14/1, Subang Jaya at 3pm. For details, email geeclau@yahoo.com


There will be a dhamma talk on April 19 at 8pm at the Buddhist Maha Vihara. For details, visit www.buddhistmahavihara.com or call 03-2274 1141.


There will be a free talk on mindful parenting on April 27 at Sentul Buddhist Temple from 3pm to 5pm. For details, call 012-683 3112.


The St Michael's Institution Alumni Association, Klang Valley will hold its 2013 annual dinner at the Tropicana Golf & Country Club, Petaling Jaya starting at 6.30pm, on April 27. For details, call 012-3661223 (Francis), 019-2225660 (Michael) or 016-2737808 (Helen).

Budding cagers all set for AND1 Streetball Challenge’s opening leg

Posted: 19 Apr 2013 05:39 AM PDT

THE drive forward is gaining momentum for another exciting start at the opening leg of the AND1 Streetball Challenge, to be held at IOI Mall in Puchong on April 28.

Over the past decade, the three-on-three basketball tournament has been providing an alternative for budding cagers to gain exposure in the competitive environment.

The youngsters' desire to be part of this season's five-leg series has remained strong as the challenge is rated as a familiar feature in the domestic competitions calendar.

And the challenge's friendly partners have also renewed their support to back the initiative at the grassroots.

At the launch of the challenge held at the basketball equipment retail outlet Hoops Station in Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur recently, Nestle Products sports marketing manager Ng Ping Loong also sensed the eagerness of budding cagers as they anticipate the start of the challenge for the season.

Former Management Science University mates Lin Wai Kit and Mohd Taha Jelani indicated that they would continue to soak up the atmosphere and join in the fun in the men's Under-25 category.

The duo emerged as two of the top three performers in the In Search of Freestylists' contest last year.

The 24-year-old Taha, who is pursuing his second degree in law, said he had many unforgettable memories, including finishing top three in the freestyle category since participating in the challenge in 2009.

"I have been developing a close bond to stay connected with the challenge over the years. It was a pleasant surprise as I did not expect to be among the top three freestylists last year.

"Freestyling is a different ball game because it is unlike the conventional basketball focusing on fundamental skills. Freestyle allows us to express ourselves and attempt more tricky moves with the basic skills," he added.

Meanwhile, sound engineer Wai Kit, who turns 25 in October, is also aiming to broaden his experience in his final season competing in the Under-25 group.

This season, the In Search of Streetballers will be replacing the In Search of Freestylists contest. And a maximum of three promising cagers will be selected as recipients of the award for each leg.

The Best Shooter and Slam Dunk contests are the two other side events included in the challenge for this year.

The hosts are also setting up stations for the NBA Beat X Box for participants and spectators to engage in the simulation games in-between matches during the challenge.

For the upcoming first leg, the hosts are throwing in a Kobe Bryant basketball each as a reward to the first 100 teams to sign up. And they can accommodate up to 300 teams in six categories for the upcoming first leg.

The five other age-groups are boys' Under-13, boys' Under-15, boys' Under-18, girls' Under-18 and men's Under-21.

Following the opening leg, four other legs have been lined up at Sutera Mall, Johor (June 16), East Coast Mall in Kuantan, Pahang (July 6), Penang Times Square (Sept 14) and Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur (Oct 20).


Venue: IOI Mall, Puchong

Date: April 28

Categories (six): Boys' Under-13, Boys' Under-15, Boys' Under-18, Girls' Under- 18, Men's Under-21 and Men's Under-25

Entry Fee: RM90 per team. Each player will receive a jersey and a ball for each team.

Closing Date: April 21

Prizes: Basketball products and goodies for the top four teams in each category.

Registration Centres

- World of Sports
IOI Mall (03-8070 0664); Tropicana Mall (03-7728 0620); Subang Parade (03-5631 9578)

- World of Outdoor
The Gardens (03-2287 5930)

- Hoops Station
Lot 10 (03-2110 2398); Summit USJ (03- 8023 1229)

- Echo Park
Times Square (03-2144 0211); 1 Utama (03-8941 4211); Sunway Pyramid (03- 5638 1121)

- Infinity Sport House
The Mines (03-8944 2684)

- MVP Basketball Store
Klang (03-3081 3420)


- Official beverage: Milo

- Official media: StarMetro

- Official radio: One FM

- Sanctioned by: Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA)

Enquiries: 03-9173 1066; 012-358 5911 (Wong); 017-657 0082 (Ahmad)

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