Isnin, 29 April 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Arab League seems to soften Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 09:13 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arab states appeared to soften their 2002 peace plan on Monday when a top Qatari official said Israel and the Palestinians could trade land rather than conform exactly to their 1967 borders.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, made the comment after he and a group of Arab officials met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss how to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani as they meet with members of the Arab League at Blair House in Washington, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani as they meet with members of the Arab League at Blair House in Washington, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Sheikh Hamad appeared to make a concession to Israel by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps, although it has long been assumed that these would be part of any peace agreement.

Kerry has made no secret of his hope to revive peace talks, which broke down in 2010, but it remains unclear whether U.S. President Barack Obama will decide to back a major U.S. effort.

In convening the group, Kerry is trying to ensure that a new peace process would have the backing of the Arab states, who, if they were to offer Israel a comprehensive peace, hold a powerful card that could provide an incentive for Israeli compromises.

"The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the (possibility) of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land," he told reporters after the meeting at the Blair House, the U.S. president's guest house.

Monday's talks included the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari foreign ministers as well as officials from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also attended part of the meeting.

The Arab League proposal offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in a 1967 war and accepted a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

Rejected by Israel when it was originally proposed at a Beirut summit in 2002, the plan has major obstacles to overcome.

Israel objects to key points, including a return to 1967 borders, the inclusion of Arab East Jerusalem in a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.

The core issues that need to be settled in the more than six-decade dispute include borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by David Brunnstrom and Bill Trott)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Retailers to compensate victims of Bangladesh disaster

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:58 PM PDT

DHAKA (Reuters) - Two Western retailers have promised to compensate families of garment workers killed while making their clothes in a Bangladesh factory building that collapsed last week in the country's worst industrial accident.

Rescue workers attempt to rescue garment workers from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Rescue workers attempt to rescue garment workers from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

The pledge from Britain's Primark and Canada's Loblaw came after the owner of the collapsed Rana Plaza was brought before a court in Dhaka on Monday, where lawyers and protesters chanted "hang him, hang him".

At least 385 people were killed in the disaster, the latest incident to raise serious questions about worker safety and low wages in the poor South Asian country that relies on garments for 80 percent of its exports.

With almost no hope left of finding further survivors, heavy machinery has been brought in to start clearing the mass of concrete and debris from the site in the commercial suburb of Savar, about 30 km (20 miles) from the capital Dhaka.

Eight people have been arrested - four factory bosses, two engineers, building owner Mohammed Sohel Rana and his father, Abdul Khalek. Police are looking for a fifth factory boss, Spanish citizen David Mayor, although it was unclear whether he was in Bangladesh at the time of the accident.

There were angry scenes as Rana, a local leader of the ruling Awami League's youth front, was led into court on Monday wearing a helmet and protective police jacket, witnesses said.

"Put the killer on the gallows, he is not worth any mercy or lenient penalty," one onlooker outside the court shouted.

Rana, who was arrested on Sunday by the elite Rapid Action Battalion apparently trying to flee to India, was ordered to be held on remand for 15 days for interrogation.

Khalek, who officials said was named in documents as a legal owner of the Rana Plaza building, was arrested in Dhaka on Monday. Those being held face charges of faulty construction and causing unlawful death.

Bangladesh does carry out the death penalty for murder and for most serious categories of manslaughter.

About 2,500 people have been rescued from the wrecked building, which housed several factories on the upper floors, but hundreds of the mostly female workers who are thought to have been inside remain unaccounted for.


The collapse was the third major industrial incident in five months in Bangladesh, the second-largest exporter of garments in the world behind China. In November, a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in a suburb of Dhaka killed 112 people.

The industry employs about 3.6 million people, most of them women, some of whom earn as little as $38 a month.

Anger over the disaster has sparked days of protests and clashes. Many factories remained closed on Monday due to labour unrest and police used tear-gas to quell demonstrations.

Primark, which was supplied by one of the factories operating at Rana Plaza, said on Monday that it was working with a local NGO to help victims of the disaster.

"Primark will pay compensation to the victims of this disaster who worked for its supplier," said the company, owned by FTSE 100-listed Associated British Foods.

"This will include the provision of long-term aid for children who have lost parents, financial aid for those injured and payments to the families of the deceased."

Loblaw Companies Ltd, which had some of its Joe Fresh clothing line manufactured at Rana Plaza, said it too was offering compensation.

"We are working to ensure that we will deliver support in the best and most meaningful way possible, and with the goal of ensuring that victims and their families receive benefits now and in the future," said spokeswoman Julija Hunter in an email.

Primark and Loblaw operate under codes of conduct aimed at ensuring products are made in good working conditions.

Spain's fashion label Mango told its followers on Facebook at the weekend that it had not carried out a "social audit" of Mayor's company Phantom-Tak, with which it had an unfilled sample order, but would have done so had it gone on to place a full order.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, said it was sending a high-level mission to Bangladesh in the coming days.

"Horror and regret must translate into firm action," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement. "Action now can prevent further tragedy."

Officials in Bangladesh have said the eight-storey complex had been built on swampy ground without the correct permits, and more than 3,000 workers - most of them young women - entered the building on Wednesday morning despite warnings that it was structurally unsafe.

A bank and shops in the building closed after a jolt was felt and cracks were noticed on some pillars on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Sarah Young in London and Susan Taylor in Toronto; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China says detains 19, seizes weapons after Xinjiang unrest

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 07:40 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained 19 people and seized homemade explosives and weapons following a bloody clash between residents and officials which killed 21 people last week in the restive region of Xinjiang, state media reported.

The violence, in the heavily ethnic Uighur part of Xinjiang near the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, was the deadliest in the far western region since July 2009, when nearly 200 people were killed in riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi.

The government has labelled the violence in Kashgar's Maralbexi county as a "terrorist attack", though the exiled World Uyghur Congress has said the shooting and killing of a young Uighur by "Chinese armed personnel" prompted the Uighurs to retaliate.

Many Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who call energy-rich Xinjiang home, chafe at Chinese restrictions on their culture, language and religion. China says it grants them wide-ranging freedoms.

Police have now rounded up 19 people in Kashgar, Urumqi and another part of Xinjiang called Bayingolin, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Monday.

Members of the group who carried out the attack "regularly watched video clips advocating religious extremism and terrorism and attended illegal preaching ceremonies", Xinhua said.

"Since early December 2012, they had always gathered ... to do physical training and to practise killing skills they had learned from the terrorist video clips," the English language report said.

It said the unidentified group had tested explosives, made bombs and remote controllers and planned to "do something big" in densely populated areas of Kashgar in the coming months.

"The group members were spotted making explosives on April 23 by local police and community workers, which led to the deadly clash," the report said.

Vice Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei said police also seized homemade explosives, weapons and East Turkistan flags, Xinhua added.

China accuses armed Uighur groups of having links to Central Asian and Pakistani Islamist extremists, and of carrying out attacks to establish an independent state called East Turkistan.

Many rights groups say China overplays the threat posed to justify its tough controls in Xinjiang.

"China's unilateral accusations lack transparency and they are using so-called terrorism as an excuse to repress the Uighur people. The clash was a direct result of Chinese provocations," said World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit.

Meng said the government would mount an "iron-handed crackdown against terrorism", Xinhua added.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Rod Stewart, CeeLo Green to sing on 'The Voice'

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:37 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singers Rod Stewart and CeeLo Green will perform live in May on U.S. television singing competition The Voice, a prominent spot for artists to promote upcoming albums.

Network NBC said on Monday that Green, a former judge on the popular contest, is slated to perform his new song Only You. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stewart will perform material from his upcoming album, Time, his first release of original material in over a decade.

Stewart (pic) and Green will perform on the May 8 episode, while Grammy-winning country-pop trio Lady Antebellum will promote their forthcoming album Golden on the May 14 episode.

Pop singer Robin Thicke, singer-producer Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. will all perform on the May 14 episode of The Voice, which averages about 14 million viewers over its two weekly shows.

The competition's fourth season, which installed pop singers Shakira and Usher to replace Green and Christina Aguilera as judges, reaches its climax in June, when one of the aspiring contestants will be proclaimed the winner and get a recording contract.

Mad about Mikkelsen

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:41 PM PDT

The Danish actor cooks up an interesting character with Hannibal.

IT took a good two hours before producer Bryan Fuller could convince actor Mads Mikkelsen to star as the notorious serial killer, Dr Hannibal Lecter, in the new TV series Hannibal. The Danish actor was hesitant only because, to him, the character had already been portrayed to perfection by British actor Sir Anthony Hopkins.

"I was very concerned. Why would I repeat something that has been made to perfection already? But Bryan Fuller gave me the script and explained his vision to me for two to three hours, and he convinced me that we would be doing something totally different. So, I agreed. But I was very reluctant, at first," says Mikkelsen in a telephone interview from South Africa where he is shooting a Western called Salvation.

The series is a prequel to Thomas Harris' novels and the five films which the books inspired. In Fuller's Hannibal, Dr Lecter has not yet been incarcerated. His identity as the terrifying, cannibalistic serial killer is still a secret and the other characters on the show know him only as a successful psychiatrist.

When the series begins, Dr Lecter is recruited by the FBI to help Will Graham, a troubled consulting FBI profiler, work through some issues. Graham's problem is his ability to empathise with the killers he profiles: he visits a crime scene and is able to see exactly what happened and, worse still, he is able to get inside the mind of the killer.

Portraying the back story of Lecter is tricky – the audience already know exactly who Lecter is and what he is capable of. The secret is already out, so how can Fuller possibly portray Lecter as anything other than a monster?

It was this aspect of the show and the character that appealed to 47-year-old Mikkelsen.

"What we are doing is something else. We are starting before he is in jail. He is a man out in the real world who has to make real friends and behave, to a certain degree, normal," the actor says.

One major difference is that in the movies and the books, Lecter was already incarcerated and therefore, he was entrapped. In the series, he is a free man. This, explains Mikkelsen, will give the TV viewers a chance to see a different side of Lecter.

Though he hasn't had the opportunity to meet Hopkins, Mikkelsen is aware of the one tip his predecessor had for him on playing the formidable character.

"He gave me one word of advice and that is not to play him (Lecter) evil. I totally agree because everything Lecter does is quite evil so there is no need to add to that. It was good advice," he says.

Would he want to meet Hopkins?

"Oh, yes! I would love to have a conversation with Anthony Hopkins, whether it is about Hanibal or not. In fact, I think I may prefer not to talk about Hanibal with him," he says with a laugh.

Mikkelsen finds it interesting and "joyful" to play the part of Hannibal Lecter the ruthless serial killer.

"I have in mind a theory that he is a fallen angel. He is as close to the devil as anyone can be. He has no specific reason for doing what he does except that he sees the beauty in death.

"The thing about Hannibal is that he is not a character who has deep troubles or even a dark mind. He is a very happy man. He enjoys life. Every day is a new and wonderful day for him. What he does is grotesque but, in his mind, it's a beautiful day. He is kind of a happy character to play, actually," he adds.

Because of the different circumstances in which the television series is set, it is quite safe to say that Mikkelsen's version will stand apart from his predecessors (other than Hopkins, Lecter was also played by Scottish actor Brian Cox in the 1986 film Manhunter).

However, Mikkelsen is acutely aware that he will be scrutinised for his interpretation of the character but is certain that he can and will make the character completely his own. In an interview with The Telegraph recently, he intimated that copying the past would be "certain death".

Having said that, Mikkelsen points out that some aspects of the character, however, will inevitably be the same.

"The character is the character. We can't change that. He loves fine arts. He loves food. Everything banal, he hates. And he wears a three-piece suit. For that reason, we can't detach ourselves totally (from how he has been portrayed)," he reasons.

Mikkelsen is also pleased to be working with Fuller, whom he describes as "brilliant".

"He is probably the most energetic man I have ever worked with. He wants (to have) his hand on everything. He is just a brilliant, brilliant man and we should be thanking God every day that he ended up being a writer," he says.

Prior to Hannibal, Mikkelsen won praise for playing the villain Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale. Playing a baddie, however, isn't something the actor consciously chooses.

"Apparently, in American films, I am very much the bad guy," he says with a laugh. "But back home in Denmark, I have played a variety of roles … a family man, a drug dealer, a man falsely accused of paedophilia. I agree to do a role if I find it interesting. And if they cast me as a villain again, I will do it if it is interesting," he says.

> Hannibal airs every Tuesday at 10pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701) and AXN HD (Astro B.yond Ch 721).

An acquired taste

Posted: 30 Apr 2013 01:44 AM PDT

IT goes without saying, Hannibal Lecter is a foodie.

Well, that is, if you don't take into consideration the ingredients he uses in the preparation of his divine meals belong in the morgue rather than in his well-stocked fridge.

The title character (Mads Mikkelsen) in Hannibal is often seen cooking an elaborate dish for himself and, sometimes, a guest. What his unsuspecting guests don't realise is when Hannibal says he loves to have them for dinner, he means it literally.

For food stylist Janice Poon, the chance to create fake human organs for the show was just too delicious to say no to. In a telephone conversation with Poon who lives in Toronto, Canada – where Hannibal is also filmed – she shared that, creatively, she is allowed to be as imaginative as she wants on the show. "You can push the idea as far as you want. Nobody is going to say that it's over-the-top, or it's too gruesome."

She details her culinary adventure for Hannibal on her entertaining blog ( – complete with illustrations, photos and actual recipes. From the blog, you will discover that she calls her nephew (a sports medicine intern) and niece (a physiotherapist) to get ideas on how to replicate a dish that Hannibal makes out of a girl's thigh, for instance.

According to Poon, her family members don't think her questions are weird because they are all adventerous when it comes to food. "We are championship eaters and we are all avid cooks. I think, in many ways, because we have a Chinese background, we basically (eat) anything if you can make it into food," she said with a laugh.

On the show, whenever Hannibal is cooking, real organs are used – "organs of pigs are almost exactly the same size and configuration as humans" – but when the actors are eating, Poon uses "a lot of bread, potatoes and glutinous rice flour" to replace them.

Sometimes, using real meat is not an option as it cannot be kept at room temperature for a long period of time, especially since a scene may be filmed a dozen times. "I have to give them something manageable, something easy to chew and nothing that would stick to their teeth and nothing too spicy."

Poon added that although each dish has its difficulty, the hardest thing she has had to prepare for the show so far is tongues. "Hannibal was feeding his guest what he said were lamb's tongues.

"Hannibal is, of course, always lying about what he is serving his guest. I didn't want to serve lamb's tongue because it is too small. I wanted them to look like children's tongues. I just thought the actors didn't want to eat (lamb's tongue) bite after bite after bite – cutting that tongue tip every time.

"So I made fake tongues out of bulgar (wheat) mixture to get that bumpy quality. But I had to form each one by hand and I had to estimate how many tongues I needed for a two-and-a-half page script. I made 60 of these tongues, steaming three at a time. Honestly, I was very lucky. If they had done one more take, then I would've been in trouble."


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Pandelela needs to perform better in the platform individual

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:38 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The heat is on Pandelela Rinong as she heads to the remaining two legs of the FINA Diving World Series in Mexico next month.

Last season, Pandelela finished second overall in the 10m platform individual. But this season, she has been struggling for form.

After the completion of the four legs, Pandelela is ranked third overall with 40 points. The two-time National Sportswoman of the Year finished last in the third leg in Edinburgh and fifth in the fourth leg in Moscow on Sunday.

It is only her consistency in making the finals in all the four legs so far that has helped her to stay in the top three.

Two-time Olympic champion Chen Ruolin of China leads with 52 points followed by Russia's Yulia Koltunova (44). Chinese teenager Si Yajie, who did not compete in the first two legs in Beijing and Dubai but won the subsequent two legs, is fourth on 36 points.

Pandelela must find her way back to the podium in the last two legs in Guadalajara (May 17-19) and Mexico City (May 24-26) or she can forget about a top three overall finish.

The champion will receive US$12,000 while the runner-up will take home US$10,000. The third overall finisher will get US$8,000.

The winner of each leg earns 18 points, followed by 16 for a silver and 14 for a bronze. The rest who did not make the podium will take home points ranging from 12 to three depending on their final positions.

Pandelela said she needs to buck up fast.

"I will have to find out what went wrong when I return to training later this week. I will discuss with coach Yang (Zhuliang) to work things out.

"Hopefully I can bounce back in the last two legs in Mexico. I am determined to be a better diver," said the 20-year-old from Moscow.

Pandelela added that the competition was stiffer this year.

"Ruolin is as good as ever. Yajie has been a revelation this year. As for Yulia, she is getting better and more consistent since the World Championships (in Shanghai in 2011). It is not easy to get on the podium," said Pandelela.

The Sarawakian, however, is pleased with her form in the 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee. The duo, who won the silver in Edinburgh and Moscow, are second overall with 81 points.

China's reigning Olympic champions Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao lead with 108 points.

In the women's 3m springboard synchro, Wendy Ng Yan Yee-Cheong Jun Hoong are third overall with 72 points behind China (108) and Ukraine (78).

Jazeman finishes third despite a tough weekend

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:16 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: A third-place finish in the second round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series (FR3.5) at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain proved to be a consolation for youngster Jazeman Jaafar.

Challenging weather conditions combined with the 20-year-old Malaysian's inexperience of the FR3.5 put him on the back foot at the start of the weekend. He was placed 18th in the first race on Saturday.

Jazeman, however, made a strong recovery to drive from 23rd spot on the grid to a 12th place finish in the second race on Sunday. It earned him a third place rookie podium.

He now lies 13th overall with 12 points after the first two legs of the nine-round season.

The biggest problem for Jazeman was during the qualifying sessions as he could not find the pace he wanted with his Carlin FR3.5 car.

Jazeman only posted the 21st quickest time for the first race.

He was then caught in the torrential rain during qualifying for the second race, aquaplaning off the track. His car stalled and he was unable to post a lap time.

"It was a tough weekend for me as I wasn't able to extract the potential from the car. I struggled to get the temperature into the tyres and didn't really get on top of the car set-up. The difficult weather conditions did not help either.

"It is all a learning process for me. I'm racing in a super competitive series, so there will be weekends like this as I continue to gain experience and build up more mileage and better understanding of the car.

"There are always positives to take away from racing. This weekend is no exception as I gained more FR3.5 racing experience in the wet," said Jazeman.

The third round of the championship will be a supporting race for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix from May 24-26.

A valuable opening round lesson for Amirul and Husni

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:07 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Debutants Amirul Hafiq Azmi and Husni Aizat Abdul Malik can take pride in their performances in the Moto3 class of the Spanish National Championships at the Catalunya Circuit on Sunday.

Torrential rain made it a difficult race for the Touchline SIC AJO duo and they also had to contend with a packed 46-rider grid. At the end of the day, both garnered a point each from the two races.

Amirul, a graduate of the Red Bull Rookies programme, started well from 11th on the grid to be in the top 10 in the beginning of Race One.

The 17-year-old, however, couldn't cope with the cold weather and crashed out on the final lap.

"The condition was terrible due to the rain. I was doing well at the start of the race but it became slippery later on. I could not feel my hands towards the end of the race. To make matters worse, I lost traction on the final lap," said Amirul, who took Race Two on a much more conservative note and managed to finish 15th.

"I hurt my hands after the crash, so I just took it easy in Race Two. There are still more races to come so this is a learning curve," added Amirul.

Husni, a runner-up at the SIC 250 Ninja Cup, described the two races as a mind-blowing experience.

"This is my first race in Europe. I wasn't expecting anything at all. But to finish with a point is just awesome," said Husni who finished 15th in Race One but crashed out in Race Two.

"I tried to improve my pace in Race Two after gaining confidence from the first race. Right after the start, I managed to be in 12th position. But I think I was too eager. After four laps, I lost control of my bike," said the 19-year-old Husni.

The duo will resume their campaign in Aragon on May 26.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Would you stand up and disagree when your boss is wrong…?

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:42 PM PDT

MALAYSIANS are an interesting lot. The recent political rallies and campaigning have seen many people standing up for what they believe in and outrightly disagreeing with what they believe to be wrong. But I suspect few of them would say yes if asked, "Would you stand up and disagree strongly against your boss if his decisions are obviously wrong?"

It almost seems like we dare to take a stand at publicly with large groups but will retreat privately to our agreeable selves in the office.

With election day looming, the political parties are hard at work putting on perhaps the most intense campaign Malaysia has ever seen. The months building up to this Sunday have seen feuds between party members and the heads. I believe for every few who have voiced out their disagreement, there are many more who are probably passively discontented but still did their jobs accordingly.

Translating this to our corporate context, it is not uncommon too to find employees who disagree with their bosses but proceed to carry out their work. In a past article (StarBiz, March 5), I looked at Talent-Motive Alignment. For today, let's explore a little more on the misalignment of ideas and values between you and your superiors your manager or all the way up to the chairman of the company.

But what's different this time is that it may seem as though your hands are tied and the bad decisions made automatically mark you guilty by association.

So, what if you are asked to carry out a task that you disagree it with and how do you deal with it? The textbook advice is of course to ask you to switch off your brains and just take orders OR get another job! But let's look at some scenarios and see how we can go beyond the normal reactions.

● You and your boss have a differing perspective/values

If your boss believes in hiring externally instead of promoting internally like you do, then, it is a matter of weighing the pros and the cons. There is no need to go head-on just yet with a debate. Instead, tactfully present the pros and cons of each option. Subtly cite examples with pit sounding condescending. I see no reason to leaving the company just yet. While you stay on and try to influence your boss, be open-minded too to see the pros and cons of his preferred approach. However if it is a matter of differing values and your boss's approach seems to harm others, then try to first understand his beliefs, explain why it is not benefiting others.

● An obvious bad judgment

You can almost predict the outcome of the decision but your boss just doesn't or won't see it. In cases like this, no convincing will do much help. Instead, strike a friendly deal with your boss that if the outcome is bad as you predicted, the next time this scenario arises, you get to make the call. That is, if it's not a crucial decision that has deep impact.

● Directives from the board or higher authorities

Many times, direct decision makers are surpassed when orders come from the highest floor of the office. In cases like this, impact of decisions from the board can either be drastic or neglect-able. If many of your colleagues do not agree with the board as well, gather a group and cordially ask one of the decision makers to better understand the justification behind it. If you and your group of colleagues still strongly disagree, then it should be made known with good justifications as well. Ask for an explanation from the board. Until then, if you don't receive a satisfying response, then consider if this is the company that you still wish to work for.

Change and demands for change at your workplace don't need to result in a protest. You can request for reasonable explanation for what you don't agree with. I would like to believe that there are some bosses and boards of directors who would respond sufficiently if we would ask politely using our magic words please and thank you!

Elisa is head of talent assessment in Leaderonomics and has worked with conventional Baby Boomers bosses, demanding Singaporean bosses, young and modern Gen X bosses of all races and ages. She has learnt that most bosses are unique and somewhat reasonable most of the time.

KPJ Healthcare to maintain dominance in local market

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:37 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: KPJ Healthcare Bhd's aggressive expansion plan of two new hospitals per year could help maintain its dominance in the local healthcare sector, said RHB Research.

In addition, its active pursuit of the lucrative healthcare tourism market could lift its profile over the longer term, it said in a note.

"The management has reaffirmed that the company would stick to its internal target of opening at least two new hospitals annually to meet its longer-term goal of owning at least 40 hospitals by 2020," RHB Research said.

The company has targeted revenue contribution from medical tourism business to grow to 25% by 2020 from the current 10%.

The research house said KPJ intended to transform three of its existing hospitals at Damansara, Johor and Ipoh into reference centres for oncology treatment.

These hospitals would be upgraded to include new facilities in oncology and radiotherapy treatment, while an additional nuclear medicine facility would be introduced at the KPJ Johor Specialist hospital by second quarter of 2013.

RHB research said KPJ has earmarked its new flagship hospital in Bandar Dato' Onn as a medical tourism hub.

"We are positive on this, as KPJ's bold move into the more competitive but lucrative medical tourism industry, could lead to improvement in margins over the longer term," it added.

Upon opening in 2014, the hospital will house six centres of excellences in the field of oncology, women and child, cosmetics and reconstruction, orthopedic, cardiology and geriatrics. "Services would be priced competitively to tap into the more price-sensitive foreign community from Singapore," it added.

RHB Research has maintained a "buy" call on the stock with a revised fair value of RM7.14. — Bernama

Malaysia gets high marks from IMF

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 06:32 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has ranked Malaysia highly among developing countries in terms of showing institutional strength which covers areas such as political stability and better bureaucracy.

The index measuring institutional strength ranges from zero to 100 with a higher score indicating strong political stability, better bureaucracy, fewer conflicts and less corruption.

Malaysia scored in excess of 70, way ahead of Indonesia, India, the Philippines and even higher than China which also featured highly in the rankings, IMF said in its regional economic outlook for Asia and the Pacific.

It said countries with greater political stability stemming from government unity, a strong Parliament and popular support, as well as less corruption and a better bureaucracy are more likely to resist the temptation to expand public spending during boom times.

As a result, it would create more fiscal space for counter cyclical fiscal policies during downturns, the Washington-based agency said.

It added that distortive food and energy subsidies, which impose a direct fiscal cost of more than 2% of Gross Domestic Product per year in China, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia and South Asia, could be gradually phased out.

IMF also said that they could be replaced by targeted programmes such as direct cash transfers.

Malaysia has already instituted a cash handout programme called 1Malaysia People's Aid or BR1M aimed at reducing the financial burden of the lower income and unemployed group but it is not related to subsidies. Bernama


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

GE13: Foon Yew High School to be built in Pasir Gudang

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:49 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The government has approved the setting of another Foon Yew High School to be located in Pasir Gudang to cater to the growing student population in the state.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said this was due to Barisan Nasional's concern for all the races in the country.

"I hereby announce that the government has approved the construction of the second branch of Foon Yew School," he said.

Meanwhile, Foon Yew High School Management Committee vice-chairman Tong Sing Chuan, when met at the event, said they were very happy with the announcement.

"We will build the new branch on an eight-hectare site in Seri Alam, Pasir Gudang. The first branch of the school is 10 years old now and can no longer accommodate the rising number of students," he said. It is estimated that about 6,000 students would sit for the school's entrance examination each year.

"We are thankful to Najib for approving the construction of the second branch of our school. This is indeed a very special gift for the school's 100th anniversary," he said.

Presently, over 10,000 students are enrolled at the main Foon Yew campus in Stulang and branch campus in Kulaijaya.

Meanwhile, Johor Baru incumbent Tan Sri Shahrir Samad rubbished reports of him leaving Barisan to join Pakatan Rakyat.

He described the rumours as "old story" and hoped that the people in Johor would see the big picture under Najib's transformation programmes to develop the country.

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

Chief Secretary: No directive on not allowing civil servants to work overtime

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:45 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: All government officers are advised not to believe a short messaging service (SMS) text on a directive from the office of the Chief Security Officer to the Government asking them not to work overtime.

Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa said the SMS which contained a directive disallowing just anyone from being in the vicinity of government offices was not true.

He urged government officers and members of the public not to believe the rumour or other unfounded allegations on the government administration which was spread by irresponsible parties via SMSes, Facebook, Twitter, blogs or other social media.

He said in a statement that circulars on security administration were normally issued periodically by the office of the Chief Security Officer the Governemnt to all the ministries and government departments and agencies in the 14 states as reminders to government officers to ensure the security of government buildings and assets and those on duty.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is investigating the SMS which claimed that the government administration in Putrajaya had issued the directive which took effect on Monday.

It said in a statement that it had received several reports relating to the spreading of false SMSes and called on those responsible, including those sponsoring such activities, to immediately cease such actions or face the legal consequences.

It added that those found guilty of spreading false information via SMS or social media could be fined not more than RM50,000 or jailed not exceeding a year, or both.

The MCMC also reminded the public not to simply believe everything that they read online and to verify all the information that they receive before forming any views or conclusions on an issue, or forwarding the SMS. - Bernama

GE13: Gelang Patah will be returned to MCA in next GE, says Najib

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:37 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat will be returned to the MCA in the next general election.

He said the seat has always been MCA's and would go back to the party in the 14th general election.

"This is just temporary. This is just a five-year TOL (temporary occupational license)," he said in his speech during a dinner with various non-governmental organisations at the Southern University College here Monday night.

The seat is being contested by Mentri Besar Datuk Ghani Othman and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Najib also said that he agreed that a Chinese vernacular school be built in Iskandar Malaysia.

"(MCA president) Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek whispered to me earlier that the Iskandar Malaysia region needs a Chinese school and I agree to his suggestion.

"MCA can help find an under-enrolled rural Chinese school to be relocated to complete the education system in the Iskandar Malaysia region.

"Then not only will we have 12 universities in the area but we will also have a new Chinese school so that parents can easily send their kids to school," he said.

It was Najib's first visit to the college as Prime Minister.

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

Related Stories:
GE13: Campaign Trail - Gelang Patah
GE13: Gelang Patah fight goes up a notch
GE13: Abdul Ghani to slug it out with Kit Siang in Gelang Patah
GE13: MCA's Jason Teoh has started to campaign for Ghani in Gelang Patah
GE13: Indians have the swing vote in Gelang Patah, says Dr Subra
GE13: MCA's Gelang Patah chief Jason Teoh resolves to tackle grassroots issues


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Django Unchained' gets China release after 'issues' resolved

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:51 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Quentin Tarantino's violent slavery revenge fantasy Django Unchained will be released in China in May, its U.S. distributors said on Friday, and a Hollywood source said additional cuts had been made after Chinese authorities halted the film's initial rollout this month.

The movie was pulled from theaters in China minutes into its debut screenings on April 11 for "technical reasons," according to a Shanghai movie theater official.

The Chinese government censors all movies before they can be released. Scenes that contain nudity, politically sensitive issues, as well as extreme levels of violence, must be edited out before the film receives a go-ahead from the authorities.

"We are delighted that audiences throughout China will be able to experience Django Unchained beginning Sunday, May 12th. There is tremendous excitement, anticipation and awareness for the film and we thank the local authorities for quickly resolving this issue," Columbia Pictures said in a statement.

Columbia declined to comment on what changes, if any, had been made or why the movie, the first work by Tarantino to be shown in the increasingly important Chinese film market, was pulled from movie theaters in China earlier this month.

Anticipation was high for the April opening of Django because of reports that it would have only minor cuts by Chinese censors, despite Tarantino's reputation for violence.

When its was pulled from movie theaters, Chinese media quoted industry insiders as saying the cancellation was probably due to some nudity that may have escaped initial attention.

A Hollywood source close to the film said on Friday that additional cuts had been made for the newly approved Chinese version but declined to elaborate on what they were.

The film stars Jamie Foxx as a slave-turned-bounty-hunter who wreaks revenge on slave plantation owners while on a mission to free his wife. It features Tarantino's trademark style of extensive graphic violence, along with dark humor, and in one scene Foxx's character is strung upside down wearing only a skimpy cloth.

China has become the largest international market for Hollywood films, with its box office takings for U.S. films growing by 36 percent in 2012, according to a Motion Picture Association of America report in March.

Django Unchained won two Oscars in February for Christoph Waltz's supporting actor turn as a dentist who became a bounty hunter, and for Tarantino's screenplay.

'Pain & Gain' knocks Cruise's 'Oblivion' from top spot

Posted: 28 Apr 2013 08:51 PM PDT

REUTERS - Mark Wahlberg's dark comedy Pain & Gain brought enough box office muscle to knock Tom Cruise out of the No. 1 spot on movie charts in the United States and Canada.

Another box office heavyweight, Robert Downey Jr., scored big overseas with the international debut of Marvel superhero sequel Iron Man 3.

Pain & Gain took in US$20 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters over its first three days, according to studio estimates released on Sunday. Cruise's sci-fi thriller, Oblivion, slipped to second place with US$17.4 million.

Iron Man 3 hauled in US$195.3 million in 42 international markets, distributor Walt Disney Co. said, a total that surpassed the international opening of The Avengers. The movie arrives in the United States and Canada on Friday to kick off Hollywood's lucrative summer blockbuster season.

Receipts for Pain & Gain beat pre-weekend forecasts for a debut of at least US$15 million. The film is based on the real-life story of Miami bodybuilders who kidnap a wealthy deli owner and plan to steal his fortune. When their plot goes awry, the criminals scramble to escape being caught.

"We were estimating high teens, so anything with a two in front is good," said Don Harris, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Paramount Pictures, the Viacom Inc. unit that released the movie.

Paramount Pictures produced Pain & Gain for US$26 million. Dwayne Johnson stars alongside Wahlberg in the film, which is directed by Michael Bay of the blockbuster Transformers series.

Oblivion, a post-apocalyptic drama about the last humans on Earth, brought its two-week total in North America (the United States and Canada) to US$64.7 million. Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures estimated international sales through Sunday at US$134.1 million, bringing the film's worldwide total to US$198.8 million.

Baseball drama 42, about Jackie Robinson's debut as Major League Baseball's first black player, finished in third place with US$10.7 million domestically.

In fourth place, new romantic comedy The Big Wedding earned US$7.5 million. Despite a big-name cast including Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon and Katherine Heigl, the movie was ravaged by critics. Only 6 percent of reviews on the Rotten Tomatoes website recommended the film.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. distributed The Big Wedding, and Millennium Films covered most of the US$35 million production cost.

In the No. 5 slot, animated Stone Age comedy The Croods grossed US$6.6 million.

North American ticket sales for all movies this year reached nearly US$2.9 billion, running 11.8 percent behind sales at the same point in 2012, according to the box office division of

The release of Iron Man 3 next weekend is expected to jump-start domestic sales. is projecting US$151 million in North American receipts over the film's first three days, which would rank as the biggest opening so far this year.

Disney's executive vice president for motion picture distribution Dave Hollis declined to make a prediction for the film's U.S. opening, but was optimistic based on the overseas numbers.

"To say that we are encouraged by these results is an understatement," Hollis said.


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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GE13: Lower land premium is Azmin’s promise to Gombak houseowners if he retains seat

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:59 AM PDT

GOMBAK PKR candidate Azmin Ali is hoping to resolve outstanding issues in the constituency if he wins in GE13.

Azmin, the incumbent for the Gombak parliamentary seat, said most of the issues had been resolved except for one main issue concerning land premium.

He said the residents comprised mainly Malays, from the middle- and lower-income groups.

They cannot afford to pay the high premium.

"Gombak is an urban area and the premium is high, as it is close to the city. We have managed to settle the issues in Kampung Sri Gombak and Kampung Gombak Setia," added Azmin after a ceramah in Gombak recently.

He said the premium ranged from RM2.50 psf before but that they had managed to bring the price down to RM1.50.

Azmin said he hopes to bring the price down further, to RM1, if re-elected.

"This has benefited about 250 families. They have managed to get their land titles to pass on to the next generation," he said.

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

Metro watch

Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:55 AM PDT

Partial closure

The middle and fast lanes at KM14.5 of the New Klang Valley Expressway for KL-bound traffic will be closed from 10pm to 5am until May 17 to facilitate construction works for the LRT line extension project for the Kelana Jaya Line. Safety signage and speed limit reminders will be installed, and a contra-flow opening will be opened at KM14.95 and KM14.35 to give the KL-bound traffic an additional lane to move towards the city.

Lane closure

Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp) will be closing the right-most lane on Jalan Teknologi for a length of 100m (both directions) until Nov 4. The closure is to facilitate preparation for the construction of MRT piers on the road median. The closure involves comprehensive traffic management plan that has been deliberated thoroughly with all authorities to ensure uninterrupted traffic flow. A 24-hour MRT Ronda will be patrolling along the route to attend to any emergencies. For enquiries, call the MRT Hotline at 1 800 82 6868.

Temporary closure

Kesas Sdn Bhd will be temporarily closing two of its Rest and Service Area (RSA) along the Kesas Expressway to facilitate cleaning works. The Kinrara RSA will be closed today from 7am to 11am. The Awan Besar RSA will be closed on Wednesday from 7am to 11am. The temporary closure is to enhance the RSA's cleanliness for the comfort of highway users. Business at the RSAs will resume as usual from 11am. For enquiries, call the Kesas Hotline at 03-5633 7188 or visit

Works delayed

Works by a Syabas contractor scheduled for today has been postponed. The scope is to upgrade the water supply system in the Hulu Selangor and Kuala Lumpur districts. Syabas will issue a notice on the updated water supply disruption schedule soon.

Book fair

The Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair (KLiBF) is ongoing until May 5 at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur. It is open from 10am to 7pm from Monday to Thursday, and 10am to 9pm from Friday to Sunday and on weekends. An eBook Fair 2013 will be held at PWTC's Kedah-Johor Room as part of the event, featuring eBook publishers like Pelangi, PTS, KarnaDya, Pustaka Nasional, and MDEC. For details, visit

Blood donation

A blood donation drive will be held today and tomorrow from 10am to 4pm at Concourse Area, The Weld, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. Blood donors are encouraged to do their part to help someone in need.

Free class

A free two-hour class called How to have a Simple, Daily Spiritual Practice will be held at 8pm tomorrow at Losang Dragpa Centre, 1, Jalan 17/21F, Section 17, Petaling Jaya. For details, call 03-7968 3278.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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GE13: Don’t take risks, voters told

Posted: 28 Apr 2013 04:07 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Voters especially the young have been advised to weigh the risks before deciding to change the government.

Permas Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said if there was a change of government, the people would have to suffer for five years under the opposition before the next general election.

"The young voters have not experienced hardship as they grew up comfortably and can get anything easily due to the success of the country under Barisan.

"I hope that people do not take unnecessary risks and vote based on anti-government sentiments and emotion," he said after a walkabout with the Pasir Gudang parliamentary candidate Normala Abd Samad at a pasar malam here.

Khaled said young people must realise the importance of electing a government that was stable, genuine and had a proven track record.

Khaled, who is also Higher Education Minister, also hit out at the Opposition for being out of ideas and harping on issues that have been resolved to stir-up the people's hatred towards the government.

He pointed out that the opposition was using various tactics to hoodwink voters including announcing that they would win many parliament and state seats in Johor.

"Do you think that Barisan or Umno will just sit and allow them to take over the state without putting up a good fight to defend our stronghold and counter their accusations," he said, adding that the opposition was also taking a gamble contesting in Johor.

Khaled said the opposition did not even have enough local leaders to be fielded as candidates and also for playing the same national issues.

"They are out of ideas and leaders. That is why not many local leaders are chosen as candidates," he said.

Asked about Chinese voters, Khaled admitted that there were sentiments due to national issues but expected them to warm up to Barisan before GE13.

"I am confident that the Chinese will support me based on the rapport that I have formed with my voters in Pasir Gudang all these years," he added.

On his campaign trail, Khaled said that so far everything was moving well and that he would strive to meet with as many people as possible.

One of the hot seats in Johor, Pasir Gudang is a mixed seat with 98,798 voters.

GE13: Pang ready to tackle people’s issue first

Posted: 28 Apr 2013 04:08 PM PDT

KUANTAN: No issue is too petty as far as Semambu assemblyman Datuk Pang Tsu Ming is concerned.

While other contesting candidates are busy campaigning in areas with large crowd turnout, Pang chose to attend to complaints by the people.

He spent over one hour to assess for himself the ground situation of damaged drains and flooding problems in Taman Tunas Jaya, near here, brought to his attention by two residents.

Pang even contacted and invited officials from the Kuantan Municipal Council to accompany him during his impromptu site visit.

"The local council will prepare a report on costing and seek the necessary approval for funds to carry out the project.

"I will follow up and try to get additional funds from the Housing and Local Government Ministry or the Prime Minister's office," he said when met.

Pang said both problems were related to the major floods which occurred in December last year after a heavier than usual downpour for several hours.

During the incident on Dec 24, almost the whole of Kuantan town was flooded, resulting in substantial damages to homes, schools, shoplots and other properties.

He said a flood mitigation project was necessary to divert upstream water to Sungai Galing to avoid a similar recurrence.

Pang urged the voters to support him for another term so that he could continue serving the people.

He will be facing Lee Chean Chung of the PKR and an independent Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli in a three-cornered fight.

Meanwhile, resident A. Jeamary, 58, said the drainage was damaged due to last year's floods and she had contacted Pang twice to inform him of the matter.

"Pang was very friendly and promised to help resolve the matter. I would have voted for him but yet to change my address from Gopeng, Perak," said the single mother with five children.

Another complainant Susan Ng said she had lived in the neighbourhood for 30 years and last year's floods were the worst with water seeping into the living room, causing much damage.

Ng said several construction projects nearby aggravated the situation and urged the authorities to improve the drainage and irrigation system.

GE13: PKR candidate reports on offensive SMSes

Posted: 28 Apr 2013 04:10 PM PDT

KUANTAN: PKR's Kuantan candidate Fuziah Salleh (pic) has lodged a police report over several obscene SMSes sent to her purportedly by a prominent TV personality.

Fuziah said the messages had been sent to her mobile phone since June last year by a person claiming to be TV3's Datuk Karam Singh Walia.

"This person has always attacked me on the Lynas issue but I have never responded because there is no point to. But when the sender went on a personal level and sexually harassed me in the latest SMS, I need to seek protection from the police because I am worried for my safety," she told reporters at the Kuantan police headquarters here.

Fuziah, who is the incumbent Kuantan MP, showed reporters copies of the five SMSes, of which the contents became increasingly offensive from June 19 last year to April 27.

In the latest SMS sent at 3.02am on Saturday, the sender threatened to put up allegations of a sexual nature against Fuziah everywhere in Kuantan and in schools.

"One of the SMSes was sent from a different number but it was signed with his name," said Fuziah.

In her report, the PKR vice-president urged the police to investigate the owner of the mobile phones used to send the vulgar messages and take action against the culprit.

"I take this as political intimidation to attack my credibility as a candidate. These SMSes are not only an insult to me as a woman but to all the women of Malaysia," she said.

Meanwhile, Karam vehemently denied he was the one who sent the SMSes although the handphone number was confirmed to be his.

"I was sleeping at that time and my phone was switched off. It could be somebody else. She must be out of her mind," he said when contacted.

Karam is well known for his environment protection stand.


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