Khamis, 25 April 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Thirty-eight feared dead in Russian psychiatric hospital fire

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 09:16 PM PDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A fire raged through a psychiatric hospital north of Moscow on Friday and 38 people were feared dead, Russian officials and media reports said.

There were believed to have been 41 people in the building when the fire broke out - 38 patients and three staff members - and three escaped, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. A ministry official said a nurse led two patients to safety.

The ministry said emergency workers had found 12 bodies so far and that the fire, which broke out in the middle of the night, had been extinguished.

A Health Ministry official confirmed that 38 people were feared dead, state-run RIA news agency reported.

There were bars on the windows of the single-storey building in Ramensky, 120 km (70 miles) north of Moscow, and some patients apparently died while trying frantically to make it to the main entrance to escape. Many others died in their beds, Itar-Tass cited an unnamed source as saying.

"After the fire alarm went off, a nurse ... saw fire at the end of a corridor. She tried to put it out but could not and led two patients out," RIA quoted emergency official Yuri Deshyovykh as saying.

Fires at state institutions in Russia such as hospitals, schools, drug treatment centres and homes for the elderly or handicapped have caused numerous casualties in recent years and raised questions about safety measures, conditions and escape routes.

More than 12,000 people died in fires in 2011 and more than 7,700 in the first nine months of 2012 in Russia, where the per capita death rate from fires is much higher than in Western nations including the United States.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said the fire started on or under the roof of the hospital at about 2:20 a.m. (11.20 p.m. British time on Thursday), but did not give its cause.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Capriles to challenge Venezuela election in court

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 08:58 PM PDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Thursday he will challenge President Nicolas Maduro's narrow election victory in the courts and that an audit of the vote being prepared by electoral authorities risked being "a joke."

Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Maduro, the hand-picked successor of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, won the April 14 vote by less than 2 percentage points. The opposition says there were thousands of irregularities in the election and that their figures show Capriles won.

Both sides had agreed to an expanded audit of votes by the National Electoral Council. Since then Maduro has been sworn in as president and the opposition has grown increasingly frustrated by what it sees as foot-dragging by officials.

Capriles has insisted that the audit process be rigorous and include all relevant paperwork from polling centres.

"If we don't have access to those notebooks, we're not going to take part in an audit that would be a joke on Venezuelans and a joke on the world," he told a local TV station.

"The next step will be to challenge the election, which must take place in the next few days. With all the proof, all the elements we now have, we are going to challenge the election."

The election council has not responded to a demand by Capriles that it give concrete details of the audit by Thursday. It has stressed, however, that the process will only check that the system worked properly and the election results are "irreversible".

Capriles conceded that his legal challenge, which could in theory result in all or parts of the ballot being rerun, faced a tough path through Venezuela's courts.

Critics say Chavez packed the judiciary with loyal appointees during his 14 years in power.

"We're not going to challenge the election with the expectation that the Supreme Court is going to give us a favourable reply, or that the justice system will work," Capriles said. "But we're going to go through all the legal procedures."


Both sides have called on their followers to march again on May 1, creating another potential flashpoint in the OPEC nation of 29 million people.

Capriles, a 40-year-old state governor who favours Brazil-style, business-friendly policies with strong social protections, confounded opinion polls to run a close finish against Maduro in the election, held just five weeks after Chavez's death from cancer.

The government calls Capriles a "fascist murderer" and blames him for post-election violence that it says killed nine people. This week, the "Chavista"-dominated Congress began an investigation of Capriles in connection with the unrest.

The government says the violence was proof that the opposition had tried to launch a coup, while the opposition accuses the authorities of exaggerating the unrest and including victims of common crime to boost its figures.

On Wednesday night, a televised news conference by the opposition leader was interrupted by a government "cadena" broadcast - which all local channels are required to show live - that held him responsible for the violence.

On Thursday, moments before Capriles was to be interviewed live on local station Globovision, another "cadena" began that lasted almost an hour and showed Maduro and his cabinet meeting business leaders in the western state of Zulia.

Again, the compulsory broadcast triggered noisy protests in wealthier Caracas neighbourhoods where opposition supporters banged pots and pans in a traditional form of demonstration.

"It's just like last night," Capriles said later. "In everything he does, Nicolas keeps showing that he's scared. He doesn't want the people to know what's going on."

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

U.S. suspects Syria used chemical weapons, wants proof

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 08:47 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Thursday the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad had probably used chemical weapons on a small scale in the country's civil war, but insisted that President Barack Obama needed definitive proof before he would take action.

A general view shows people searching for survivors among the rubble of an area, damaged by what activists say was a missile attack from the Syrian regime, in Raqqa province, east Syria April 25, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib

A general view shows people searching for survivors among the rubble of an area, damaged by what activists say was a missile attack from the Syrian regime, in Raqqa province, east Syria April 25, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib

The disclosure created a quandary for Obama, who has set the use of chemical weapons as a "red line" that Assad must not cross. It triggered calls from some hawkish Washington lawmakers for a U.S. military response, which the president has resisted.

In a shift from a White House assessment just days earlier, U.S. officials said the intelligence community believed with "varying degrees of confidence" that the chemical nerve agent sarin was used by Assad's forces against rebel fighters. But it noted that "the chain of custody is not clear."

While Obama has declared that the deployment of chemical weapons would be a game-changer and has threatened unspecified consequences if it happened, his administration is moving carefully - saying it is mindful of the lessons of the start of the Iraq war more than a decade ago.

Then, the George W. Bush administration used inaccurate intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq in pursuit of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that turned out not to exist.

"Given the stakes involved and what we have learned from our own recent experiences, intelligence assessments alone are not sufficient - only credible and corroborated facts that provide us with some degree of certainty will guide our decision-making," Miguel Rodriguez, White House director of the office of legislative affairs, said in a letter to lawmakers.

One senior U.S. defence official told reporters, "We have seen very bad movies before," where intelligence was perceived to have driven policy decisions that later, in the cold light of day, were proven wrong.

The term "varying degrees of confidence" used to describe the assessment of possible chemical weapons use in Syria usually suggests debate within the U.S. intelligence community about the conclusion, the defence official noted.

The White House said the evaluation that Syria probably used chemical weapons was based in part on "physiological" samples. But a White House official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, repeatedly declined to say what that evidence was. Nor is it clear who supplied it.

Chemical weapons experts say sarin, a nerve agent, can be detected in human tissue, blood, urine and hair samples, or in nearby soil or even leaves. But the chemical can dissipate within days or weeks, depending on ambient heat, wind and other factors.

Iraq is said to have used sarin 25 years ago in an attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja during the Iran-Iraq war. More recently, the agent was used in the 1994 attack by a religious cult on riders of the Tokyo subway system.

In Syria, U.S. officials said the scale of the use of sarin appeared limited. Nobody is "seeing any mass casualties" from the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, one U.S. intelligence official noted.

The United States has resisted being dragged militarily into Syria's conflict and is providing only non-lethal aid to rebels trying to overthrow Assad. Washington is worried that weapons supplied to the rebels could end up in the hands of al Qaeda-linked fighters.

But acknowledgement of the U.S. intelligence assessment appeared to move the United States closer - at least rhetorically - to some sort of action in Syria, military or otherwise.

A White House official told reporters that "all options are on the table in terms of our response" and said the United States, which has been criticized for not doing enough to halt the bloodshed, would consult with its allies.

The official said the U.S. military was preparing for a range of "different contingencies," but declined to give specifics. Options available to Obama could include everything from air strikes to commando raids to setting up a Libya-style "no-fly" zone, either unilaterally or in cooperation with allies.


But Obama appeared intent on deflecting pressure for swift action by stressing the need for a comprehensive U.N. investigation on the ground in Syria - something Assad has blocked from going forward.

Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, in an interview with Reuters, dismissed Western and Israeli claims that government forces had used chemical weapons and said it was a "big lie" that Syria was preventing the U.N. probe.

Assad has clung to power despite repeated U.S. calls for him to step down. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the revolt against his family's decades-long autocratic rule. A military stalemate has set in, but Assad has still been able to rely on support from Russia and Iran.

"The reality is that as a country we can't declare red lines and then do nothing when they are crossed. Eventually we have to do something," said Ariel Ratner, a former Middle East adviser in the State Department and now a fellow at the Truman National Security Project.

The Obama administration's sudden disclosure caught many off guard. It came just two days after Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and other U.S. officials appeared to play down an Israeli assessment that there had been repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria.

France and Britain have also concluded that evidence suggests chemical arms have been used in Syria's conflict.

"The intelligence community has been assessing information for some time on this issue and the decision to reach this conclusion was made within the past 24 hours," Hagel said.

The White House said it wanted to provide a "prompt response" to a query on Wednesday from lawmakers about whether Syria had used chemical weapons. The legislators' letter to Obama cited the assessments by Israel, France and Britain.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, one of the leading advocates of deeper U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict, said the intelligence assessment demanded a response.

"The president of the United States said that if Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, it would be a game-changer, that it would cross a red line," he said. "I think it's pretty obvious that red line has been crossed."

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, voiced concern that the public acknowledgement of the U.S. intelligence assessment could embolden Assad and may prompt him to calculate "he has nothing more to lose."

"Syria has the ability to kill tens of thousands with its chemical weapons. The world must come together to prevent this by unified action," she said.

In Brussels, the NATO alliance was "concerned by reports of the possible use of chemical weapons," an official said.

"As NATO has said in the past, any use of these weapons would be completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law, and if any side uses these weapons we would expect a reaction from the international community," the official said.

Patriot missile interceptors that NATO has sent to Turkey, a member of the alliance which borders Syria, would "help ensure the protection of Turkey against any missile attack, whether the missiles carry chemical weapons or not," the official added.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Roberta Rampton, Patricia Zengerle and Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Warren Strobel and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

MTV to make 'Scream' into TV series

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 08:45 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - MTV has set its sights on turning the popular Scream horror film franchise into a television series, the U.S. cable network said on Thursday.

MTV said it has ordered a one-hour pilot episode and that producer Dimension Films is in negotiations with the franchise's director, Wes Craven, to direct the pilot.

The series is expected to air in summer 2014, said MTV, a unit of Viacom.

The film series, about a masked serial killer who stalks his victims, began in 1996, and it had follow-up instalments in 1997, 2000 and 2011.

Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette were the main stars of the cast over the course of the four films.

The franchise, which was praised for its satirical take on the slasher subgenre of horror films, has grossed more than US$600 million worldwide, according to box office tracker


The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

UMW hits record net profit in 2012

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 07:16 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: UMW Holdings Bhd achieved a new record for its year ended Dec 31, 2012 when its total comprehensive net income increased 62.62% to RM1.57bil on the back of a 17.2% increase in revenue to RM15.86bil from a year ago.

Net profit attributable to equity holders improved 104.7% to RM994.3mil.

All four core business segments of the group reported better profits for 2012.

"2012 was another record-year for the UMW Group. In tandem with the increase in revenue, our profit before taxation increased substantially to RM2bil, from the RM1.4bil registered in 2011.

"We look forward to challenging ourselves for a better 2013," said Datuk Syed Hisham Syed Wazir, UMW president and group chief executive officer, in a statement.

Moving forward to 2013, Umw said that UMW Toyota Motor and Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd were targeting to sell higher units than the 295,759 units sold in 2012. The UMW Group had a market share of 47.1% in 2012.

UMW said that 2013 would remain challenging due to intense competition in the market, with aggressive promotions on new model launches in the automotive industry.

The Malaysian Automotive Association forecasts the total industry volume for the year 2013 to improve by about 2% to 640,000 units from the 627,753 units achieved in 2012.

For the equipment segment, revenue is expected to be slightly lower than 2012.

"Uncertain external factors may affect the demand for equipment. However, profitability of this segment is expected to sustain, resulting from better cost management and increased parts sales," said UMW.

Meanwhile, in the oil and gas segment, UMW is expecting an improved performance, contributed by a full-year contribution from the semi-submersible drilling rig 'NAGA 1', the contribution from NAGA 4 and the commissioning of the new Electric Resistance Welded and coating plant in China.

UMW said that NAGA 4 received a contract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd for a three-year period worth US$157.68mil (RM478.79mil) this month.

Fourthly, the performance of UMW's manufacturing and engineering segment is expected to improve on higher capacity utilisation for its automotive component plants in India and lubricant plant in China. UMW also expects increased sales of its Repsol and Pennzoil lubricants.


JTI worried about impact of illegal cigarette sales, cheaper local brands

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 07:10 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: JT International Bhd (JTI) is expecting the industry to "remain extremely challenging" this year due to the continued sale of illegal cigarettes and the impact from certain local brands being sold below the Government-mandated minimum cigarette price.

The company, which has the second-biggest cigarette market share in the country, cited a recent Goldman Sachs intelligence report that stated that illicit trade in Malaysia was the second-highest in the world.

"If you look at the illicit trade situation in the market today, total illicit trade (of the entire market) last year was at 34.5%, which is just a marginal decline from 2011's 36.1%.

"These are still very high figures, and we are the second-highest in the world," JTI's chief financial officer Thean Nam Hooi told journalists after its AGM.

While acknowledging the enforcement agencies' efforts to reduce the trade, he said any further drastic increases in excise duties might result in undesired outcomes for the industry.

"Any further drastic excise hikes would probably push total excise revenues down, so I can't gauge what the Government would do. But we are hopeful that there would be a pragmatic approach to excise taxation moving forward," Thean said.

The company's managing director Robert Stanworth hopes that any increase in the excise duties would be done in an organised manner.

"The important thing with excise duties, as we have experienced in many organisations in many markets, is that it be moderate and predictable.

"We understand that the Government might want to increase it from time to time, but it is important that it is moderate and predictable to a certain degree so that the market can absorb it," he said.

"Any large and sudden increase almost inevitably causes a decline in the legitimate market, resulting in lower revenues for the Government at the end of the day," Stanworth added.

Meanwhile, JTI said that while it did not have a formal dividend policy, any excess liquidity on top of its working capital needs would be returned as dividends.

On another matter, the company will rebrand its Mild Seven cigarettes to Mevius by the middle of this year.

This would involve the full range of the Mild Seven brand, an official statement said.

According to the Nielsen Retail Audit Report, JTI recorded a market share of 19.6% in 2012, compared to 19.9% the year before.

Its Mild Seven recorded an increase in market share to 4.4% last year from 4.1% in 2011. Winston's market share, in the meantime, declined to 9.8% last year from 10% in 2011.


More growth ahead for Pantech after strong earnings

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 07:04 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Research sees more upside for Pantech after it posted a strong set of results for the financial year ended Feb 28, 2013 (FY end-Feb 2013), prompting it to keep a Buy recommendation with fair value of RM1.

It said Pantech's RM55mil net profit for FY13, (up 59.4% on-year) were largely in line with its RM53.7mil forecast but slightly below consensus' estimate of RM57.0mil.

"Earnings fell 19.2% on-quarter but we deem this as normal given that sales are typically slower in the fourth quarter due to the many festivities.

"The trading division recorded stronger sales of RM384.1mil (up 25% on-year) and profit before tax of RM59.8mil (up 39% on-year), mainly buoyed by robust demand from oil and gas companies with their ongoing projects," it said.

RHB Research said margins from the division improved due to more efficient cost controls.

It noted that the manufacturing division's sales and profit before tax soared by 100% on-year and 247% on-year respectively, fuelled by strong contribution from Nautic Steel and a better product mix at its carbon steel manufacturing segment.

"We are confident that Pantech's outlook remains bright as we understand that management has been actively securing new contracts to improve the company's earnings profile.

"We do not discount the possibility of Pantech looking for new M&A targets to duplicate Nautic Steel's success. Management indicated it has plans to boost Nautic Steel's production capacity," it said.

RHB Research said it also learned that its stainless steel plant, which had weighed down the group's performance in the past, finally broke even. Hence, we expect positive contribution from this segment moving forward," it said.

"As we are bullish on the counter, we maintain our Buy recommendation and RM1 fair value, pegged to 9.0 times FY14 forecast diluted earnings per share, assuming all its shareholders convert their irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks (ICULS) before the 2017 expiry date," said the research house.



The Star Online: Sports

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Sports

Shock loss for Thien How-Wee Kiong as Chong Wei marches on

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 05:21 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's hopes for a double joy in the men's doubles at the India Open in New Delhi ended with the shock defeats of world No. 7 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong in the second round.

The Malaysian No. 2, who confirmed their tickets for the World Championships yesterday, lasted only 24 minutes before bowing out 12-21, 12-21 to Indonesia's unseeded pair Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra.

With their defeat yesterday, Malaysia's men's doubles hopes now rest solely on world No. 2 Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.

Former All-England champion Kien Keat-Boon Heong bulldozed past unknowns Surender Rathee-Neeraj Nashist of India 21-13, 21-8.

Today, however, they face an uphill task against South Korean Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang in the quarter-finals.

The Malaysians have never beaten the young Koreans, having lost twice at last year's Malaysian and Japan Opens.

National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her hoped that Kien Keat-Boon Heong would make up for Thien How-Wee Kiong's defeat.

"Thien How-Wee Kiong did not last long on court but I'd rather reserve my comments. Let's wait for a report from national coach Paulud Firman," said Kim Her yesterday.

"I hope Kien Keat-Boon Heong will take this opportunity to restore their confidence. They did not do well in the last two Opens in England and Australia. Hopefully, they'll get their act right.

"They have not beaten this Korean pair. This will be their first real test in India and I hope they'll live up to expectations."

There was also mixed fortunes for Malaysia in the men's singles when world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei marched into the last eight while Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin fell by the wayside.

Chong Wei, who is hoping to go one step better in the India Open after losing to Shon Wan-ho of South Korea in last year's final, disposed of Kazumasa Sakai 21-17, 21-9 in 33 minutes.

Today, he will take on India's H.S. Pranoy, who gave the home crowd plenty to cheer by upstaging Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 26-24, 21-9 yesterday.

Iskandar went down fighting 21-16, 27-29, 16-21 to Sai Praneeth B of India.

Malaysia's mixed doubles specialists Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying lived dangerously en route to a 19-21, 21-10, 23-21 win over Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Miyuki Maeda of Japan.

Today, they face Poland's Robert Mateusial-Nadiezda Zieba.

Teen sensation Guan out to make his mark in Zurich Classic

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 05:15 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS: Chinese 14-year-old schoolboy Guan Tianlang, two weeks after an historic Masters debut as the youngest player at Augusta National, will be out to make his mark again at a US PGA Tour event.

Tianlang will face a top tour line-up at the US$6.6mil Zurich Classic of New Orleans, nicknamed 'The Big Easy', hoping to advance his career after making the cut at the Masters and taking the Silver Cup as the best amateur at the year's first major tournament.

"I spent a month here last year and it's a great place for me," Tianlang said. "I feel great to come back here this year, especially after The Masters. It feels pretty good right now and I hope to play good."

Tianlang has not changed his preparation from what he used at the Masters, where he toured the course with world number one Tiger Woods and other idols in practice rounds, gaining precious knowledge to help improve his game.

"It's just like I normally prepare for a tournament," he said. "This is a really important tournament too. We've got 160-something players this time and it's not easy.

"I want to enjoy the week like in the Masters and hopefully make the cut. If not, it's still a great experience."

Tianlang, playing this week on a sponsor's exemption, said he might return home to China after this week's event and is uncertain if he will try and qualify for the US Open in June.

"I haven't decided yet," he said. "Everything on the schedule, we have to consider it."

After being penalised a stroke for slow play in the second round of the Masters, Tianlang said he knows he must be more decisive, especially in breezy conditions.

"My routine is not too bad," Tianlang said. "Probably have to make a decision quicker on windy days. I'll pay attention a little bit to it and probably speed up a little bit."

Tianlang said no course he has played in Asia matches the level of difficulty he found at Augusta National, particularly on its trademark undulating greens.

"The green is totally different, but I believe I've done a pretty good job at Augusta so far," Tianlang said.

"I think this is also a big course for me. I need to putt it good I think.

"And I should play really good woods to make the cut and go further, but I still need to play a really good couple of rounds."

American Jason Dufner is the defending champion and along with England's world number four Justin Rose is among only six of the world's 25 top-ranked players in the field this week.

Dufner edged reigning British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa in a playoff last year for his first US PGA triumph after eight years on the tour and 164 US PGA starts. — AFP

Clay expert Suarez sweeps aside Wozniacki in Stuttgart

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 05:16 PM PDT

STUTTGART: Denmark's former world number one Caroline Wozniacki exited the WTA Stuttgart Open on Wednesday, losing 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 to Spanish clay court specialist Carla Suarez in their first round clash.

Wozniacki, seeded seven and a finalist in the tournament in 2011, had only herself to blame after letting a 3-0 lead in the first set slip away to lose in a hard-fought tie-break.

However, Suarez, ranked 27th in the world to Wozniacki's 10th, eased through the second set against a demoralised Danish opponent to seal victory on her first match point and claim the scalp of a top-10 ranked player for the sixth time in her career.

Suarez, who has yet to win a WTA event despite reaching four finals, will meet Kazakh player Yaroslava Shvedova, ranked 10 places below her, in the second round.

Fifth-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic later enjoyed a 7-5, 6-7 (0-7), 6-3 win over wild-card Annika Beck, but only after the German put up a tough fight in the second set.

"I still don't feel really good on clay, but it's getting better," said Kvitova.

"It's better than it was in Katowice, but I want to improve more before Madrid.

"It's hard to keep the concentration high after the Fed Cup, but it's always fun to play with the girls," added Kvitova, who was part of the Czech team whose hopes of defending their Fed Cup title disappeared on Monday when they lost to Italy in the semi-finals.

Australia's Samantha Stosur, a finalist here in 2010 en route to reaching the French Open final, crashed out in the first round as she lost in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to former world number one Jelena Jankovic.

"I knew that Sam is a very dangerous opponent, so I am happy to have beaten her," said Jankovic.

"My self confidence is coming back and every win helps."

Stosur was gracious in defeat but reproached herself for a lacklustre performance.

"It was tough after a Fed Cup weekend, but that's not an excuse," she said.

"Jelena played consistently well and it's pretty disappointing to lose.

"I have a few things to improve, but there is a bit of time before the French Open." — AFP


The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

GE13: BN wins battle of the ceramahs

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 08:45 AM PDT

KUALA KEDAH: Barisan Nasional attracted more support than PAS for respective ceramahs that took place within 500m of each other Thursday night.

The Barisan ceramah attracted thousands of supporters despite a heavy downpour while the PAS camp was practically empty at around 9.30pm.

The huge showing for Barisan versus the low turnout at the PAS ceramah was a big embarrassment for the ruling Islamist party and an indication of growing support for Barisan in Kedah.

Kuala Kedah PAS information chief Ustaz Ridwan had called on organisers to cancel all PAS ceramahs in Kuala Kedah to attract a mammoth crowd to their camp in Taman Lembaga.

Speakers at the Barisan ceramah included former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad while Dr Mahathir's former aide Datuk Omar Abu Bakar and incumbent Kubang Rotan assemblyman Nasir Mustaffa spoke at the PAS event.

Dr Mahathir said the changes need to be made to ensure more development in the state.

"Pakatan Rakyat has been asking the people to make a change, so Kedahans should do so by changing the state government.

"Since they ask for changes, let's give them what they asked for," he said in his speech.

Dr Mahathir said he was confident that Barisan would win back the state based the support shown by the people.

He said he came to campaign in Kedah because he loves the state.

He hoped Kedahans would give the mandate to Barisan because they could give what the people here wanted.

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

GE13: 180 Teluk Bahang PKR members join BN

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 08:16 AM PDT

Published: Thursday April 25, 2013 MYT 11:17:00 PM

BALIK PULAU: A total of 180 PKR members closed down their Teluk Bahang branch and pledged their support for Barisan Nasional on Thursday.

Mustaffa Ahmad, the former chief, said that the members were disillusioned with the party's struggle and decided to throw their support behind Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Earlier, Mustaffa handed over their Barisan Nasional membership forms to Teluk Bahang candidate Datuk Shah Headan Ayoob Hussain Shah.

GE13: Donations to Chong Hwa school in Kuantan to be tax exempted

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 08:10 AM PDT

KUANTAN: Donations to the Chong Hwa school here will be given tax exemption, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib said the Government was aware that education was very close to the hearts of the Chinese community.

"The Chinese treat education seriously and contribute generously towards education.

"Tonight I would like to announce that contributions to the school will be exempted from tax," he said at a dinner hosted by the Kuantan Chinese community on Thursday night.

However, he did not spell out details of the tax exemption.

Najib also called on the Chinese to continue pledging their support to the Barisan Nasional government that had a good rapport with China.

He said the establishment of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) was a testament to the good bilateral ties between the two countries.

In his speech, Najib expressed his appreciation to the Chinese community.

"The hardworking nature of the Chinese and their business-savvy minds have contributed greatly to the nation's development.

"Personally, I think highly of the Chinese culture," he said.

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


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Future of London Sundance fest uncertain, says Robert Redford

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 09:24 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Robert Redford said on Wednesday that the future of London's Sundance film and music festival was by no means certain, as he launched the British version of an event that aims to boost interest in independent film.

Last year was the first time that the U.S. actor-director had ventured outside the United States with a version of the Sundance Film Festival, the world's leading independent film festival, that he set up in Park City, Utah, 35 years ago.

Redford said last year was "a toe-in-the-water experiment" and had been successful enough to repeat, with this year's line-up including the U.S. rock band the Eagles and the Canadian musician and performance artist Peaches.

But he was noncommittal on its future.

"It is hard to declare a length of commitment until you let it play out and see how it goes," Redford told a news conference before the festival at London's O2 venue from April 25-28.

Last year he told reporters that he hoped Sundance London would prove a success with audiences and allow him to expand the festival to other parts of the world as a counterweight to the Hollywood blockbusters that dominate cinemas globally.

When asked on Wednesday if he still planned to take Sundance to other countries, he replied with a curt "No".

Redford, 75, set up the Sundance Institute in 1981, which led to the film festival, to encourage emerging and aspiring filmmakers working outside Hollywood's major studios. But he said the sector continued its uphill battle.

"Independent film has always had to struggle for a place in the universe ... overall mostly due to the economy it is difficult," he said.

A slate of 119 films from 32 countries were shown at Sundance in January, and 21 U.S. and British films were selected for London as well as musical performances by Peaches and indie rock band British Sea Power. The Eagles are not performing.

This year's films include nine documentaries, which focus on a variety of themes ranging from a struggling British dairy farmer in The Moo Man, the ill-fated 2008 K2 climb in The Summit, and the History Of The Eagles Part One.

Others British premieres include Michael Winterbottom's Look Of Love, in which Steve Coogan plays porn king Paul Raymond; Lynn Shelton's comedy Touchy Feely about a massage therapist; and Barbara Kopple's documentary Running From Crazy about Mariel Hemingway.

Redford said he was particularly fond of documentaries and proud of the advances made in this genre in recent years, which he attributed to encouragement by the independent film sector.

"We kept pushing documentaries forward so that now in our festivals they take up pretty much the same space as others films do," he said.

Three in hot soup over topless Kate Middleton photos

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 09:03 PM PDT

PARIS (Reuters) - The publisher of a French celebrity magazine was placed under formal investigation for breach of privacy over the publication of topless pictures of Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

The photographer who snapped the pictures of the Duchess, or Kate Middleton, in the summer last year and a regional daily were also put under investigation, the last step in France before being charged, the source said.

Closer magazine, a weekly round-up of celebrity gossip, published in September a series of photos of the Duchess, the wife of Prince William, topless on holidays in southern France, something that incensed much of the British public.

The photos showed Kate slipping off her bikini top, relaxing on a sun lounger and at one point pulling down the back of her bikini bottoms. Buckingham Palace had called the photo spread a "grotesque" invasion of the royal couple's privacy.

The publisher of the magazine - the French branch of Italy's Mondadori - and the paparazzi who snapped the photos from a distance were put under formal investigation earlier this month, the judicial source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mondadori in a statement said the company "was not aware of any new developments in addition to what is already known on this matter".

The regional daily La Provence, which published pictures of Prince William and his wife in swimming suits during the same holiday, was put under formal investigation this week, the source said.

An investigation does not necessarily lead to formal charges.

The office of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge could not be reached for comment.

Gwyneth Paltrow named People's 'Most Beautiful Woman'

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 06:29 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: People magazine on Wednesday named Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow the World's Most Beautiful Woman of the year - a title previously held by Beyonce, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez.

The 40-year-old actress is married to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, and is a mother of two - Apple, eight, and Moses, seven.

She is now promoting Hollywood superhero blockbuster "Iron Man 3," which is due out in the US next month.

The blonde, blue-eyed Paltrow, who took home a best actress Academy Award for her role in "Shakespeare in Love," has in recent years taken on fewer acting projects in favor of spending more time with her children.

She also has published cookbooks, has been the face of Estee Lauder's Pleasures perfume, and has a partnership with celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson.

"I feel very lucky that I'm no longer in my 20s," Paltrow told People.

"Being a mother and getting to experience my life from a place of gratitude make me embrace the process of getting older and that every day is an incredible gift."

The Los Angeles native says she is "more in proportion now than I was when I was 20, so I feel better in a bathing suit now than I did before I had kids."

"But I think one of the most beautiful things about growing up is the self-acceptance that starts to happen," she told the magazine.

Paltrow has also starred in "Se7en," "The Talented Mr Ripley," "The Royal Tenenbaums," and "Contagion." She also had a guest spot on the popular musical television show "Glee." - AFP


The Star Online: Metro: Central

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Central

GE13: Travel agent joins the fray for wife’s sake

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 05:20 AM PDT

SINCE April 19, Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) independent candidate Yoong Tham Fook has not failed to visit his wife Choh Poh Meng, 57, at the Selayang Hospital.

Yoong, 59, said his wife had a stroke the day before Nomination Day and was admitted to the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) at the hospital.

"I have been visiting her either in the afternoon or in the evenings daily.

"I now have to organise my campaign as well as worry about her," he said.

Yoong, who joined MCA in 1972, said he had resigned from his position as the KKB MCA branch chairman after signing the nomination forms to stand as an Independent candidate.

"My wife and I were looking forward to campaigning as I am well known in KKB.

"As a travel agent, I organise trips for locals to visit Thailand, Singapore and China and have got to know them well. I have helped resolve some of their problems," he said.

Yoong said if elected, he would create business opportunities for the locals as well as develop the town as a tourism hub for Hulu Selangor.

GE13: Independent candidate for Kelana Jaya wants to bring fresh ideas to Parliament

Posted: 25 Apr 2013 05:19 AM PDT

KELANA Jaya independent parliamentary candidate Toh Sin Wah wants to dispel the assumption that independents are standing in GE13 to split the votes.

"We are spending our hard-earned money to contest. I am asking Malaysians to give me an opportunity to serve the country," said the 50-year-old businessman.

Toh was raised in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, and is currently living in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.

He sprung a surprise on Nomination Day when he turned up at the Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Hall to file his nomination papers as an Independent candidate for the seat, making it a three-cornered fight with Loh Seng Kok from Barisan and Wong Chen from PKR.

He said he was realising his childhood ambition by participating in GE13.

"I have been interested in politics since I was 12 years old but never joined any parties because I did not find any in line with my vision.

"I have received support and encouragement from my family, friends and former classmates and they believe I can become a good MP.

"I also believe that we should be moving towards political part- ies with no racial or religious boundaries.

"I appeal to the voters to give me a chance to go to Parliament so that I can introduce new ideas," he said.

Toh is using the elephant logo for his campaign and has printed banners and stickers with his motto "One world, one dream" and has even affectionately named the elephant Patriarch. According to Toh, the elephant represents qualities like power, leadership, endurance and honesty.

For many independent candidates, there is a risk of losing their deposit if they do not get at least 12.5% of the total votes cast but Toh is not deterred.

When asked about an unknown Independent candidate contesting, Loh said it did not bother him and that Toh was not a threat to him.

"Everyone has a right to contest as long as they can deliver," said the former Kelana Jaya MP.

Wong said despite the independent candidates, the big fight was still between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan candidates.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

GE13: State BN will keep its promise of upgrading and improving schools

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 05:57 PM PDT

lEDANG: The Barisan Nasional led Johor state government will continue to honor its pledge to put education in the forefront, and among them is to repair and upgrade old primary and secondary schools in the state.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said there are many old schools in Johor that were established before independence which are steeped in history.

He said the SJK(C) Pei Hwa primary school located in Sungai Mati here was established in 1929 and had its share of history when the school had to be shut down in 1932 for several years during the Japanese occupation.

"This school is a testament of the enduring spirit as it endured the tough times and flourished as they built their own secondary school and even a private school, all under the Pei Hwa banner.

"Sg Mati is a small town, but they have not let that stop them in establishing a school that has received numerous awards for excellence and good UPSR results over the past decade," he said.

Abdul Ghani was speaking at a special dinner after officiating SJK(C) Pei Hwa's new four storey school block which houses more than a dozen classrooms, canteen, computer lab, teachers room and the management office.

The new school block was built at a total cost of RM2.2mil with the Johor state government chipping in RM1mil. Construction of the new block was completed within a year in 2011 and had been operating since.

More than 1,500 people including Senator Ahamat Yusop, officials from the state education department, school headmistress Teo Ah Eeng and other state representatives and officials attended the dinner held recently.

Abdul Ghani said the school is one of the oldest Chinese schools in the state and that Ledang was also home to one of the oldest Malay schools as well.

"There are many schools in Johor that were in a dilapated state, but over the past several years, many of them have gone through extensive repair, restoration and upgrading works," he said, adding that the trend will continue as long Barisan was in power in Johor.

Abdul Ghani also announced an additional allocation of RM250,000 to the school to repair its termite infested old classrooms to the rapturous applause of the crowd.

He also helped draw out the lucky draw numbers for those in attendance where prizes included hampers, electrical items and bicycles.

The crowd were entertained for 90 minutes with various performances done by the pupils from the school, including dancing to the tune of Chinese, Malay and Tamil songs. A Malay student of the school also recited a poem fluently in Mandarin.

The school's yoyo club also performed a carefully choreographed performance in total darkness when the lights in the hall were switched off, barring only the green glow from the glow-in-the-dark yoyo.

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

GE13: Teruntum assemblyman and Kuantan MP get spousal support during campaign

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 05:56 PM PDT

KUANTAN: Family support is pivotal and two contesting candidates are hitting their campaign trail with their spouses in tow.

Incumbent Teruntum assemblyman Datuk Chang Hong Seong was spotted in several of his daily campaigning rounds accompanied by his wife Datin Koo Mui Ling.

Both were quick to flash their trademark smiles while offering handshakes and distributing campaign materials comprising leaflets, flags and badges to the people.

When met, Koo said she had no qualms to help out her husband to get the people's support.

"Our children are already grown up and they can manage on their own.

"They are aware of the political situation and given their full support to their father," she said.

Koo said she was delighted to be able to meet so many people of diverse background personally and would continue to be on the ground unless her husband requested her not to.

She said it was her responsibility to stand by her man and ensure Barisan Nasional retained the seat.

So far, the campaign trail has taken her to morning and night markets, residential areas, commercial centres and homes of the poor and needy.

Chang will be defending his seat against a new challenger Sim Chon Siang of PKR in a straight fight.

Sim is the Kuantan PKR service centre executive director and the special assistant to Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh.

On the opposing end, Fuziah was seen accompanied by her husband Prof Dr Russly Abdul Rahman, a director at the halal products research institute of Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang.

The couple, assisted by several campaign workers, were on their rounds in morning markets canvassing for votes from the people.

Fuziah, the incumbent Kuantan MP, said she would be extending a public debate to her opponent on issues affecting Kuantan folk.

She would face Kuantan Umno Youth division chief Datuk Mohamed Suffian Awang, who is also the political secretary to the Prime Minister, in a straight fight.

Fuziah is expected to use the Lynas issue and the frequent water supply disruption to pull her through while Mohamed Suffian will be highlighting the lack of service by her in the constituency over the last five years.

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

GE13: PKR member quit due to loss of faith in party’s leadership

Posted: 24 Apr 2013 04:05 PM PDT

KUANTAN: Former Paya Besar PKR division chief Zahari Mamat has quit the party along with 500 members due to loss of faith in the party leadership.

Zahari, who is contesting as an independent in the Paya Besar parliamentary constituency, accused the party leadership deviating from its original struggle.

He said the chaos in the party does not happen only in Pahang, but nationwide.

It is because there is cronyism in choosing candidates to represent the party in the GE13," he told a press conference here yesterdayon Monday.

Zahari's declaration of departure comes before any move was made to sack him by Pahang PKR.

He said he had not received any letter of termination from the party.

Zahari, 52, also called for the dissolution of 18 PKR branches in the division.

This, he added, would mean the 2,000-strong Paya Besar PKR members from the branches would not be supporting PKR-chosen candidate Murnie Hidayah Anuar, 29, in the fight for Paya Besar parliamentary seat.

"This candidate is not known to the grassroot. She has never done any groundwork.

"She is only here for four or five months. She does not know the problems faced by the people in Paya Besar," he said.

Zahari insisted that he did not act out of frustration because he was not chosen as a candidate but decided to contest as an independent after hearing feedback from the grassroot that wanted him to contest.

State PKR chairman Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman on Sunday said that PKR will sack two party members in Pahang - including Zahari - for contesting in the general election as independent candidates.

Zahari and former state PKR vice-chairman G. Ponnusamy are both going for parliamentary seats where the party had already named its official candidates.

Paya Besar parliamentary seat will see a three-cornered fight with Zahari, Murnie and Datuk Abdul Manan Ismail from Barisan Nasional.

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


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved