Rabu, 8 Mei 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

In the company of hot men

Posted: 09 May 2013 03:53 AM PDT

Sharing screen time with heartthrobs is all in a day's work for Park Shin-hye.

In South Korea, actress Park Shin-hye is often described by the media as having "saved a country in her last life". The expression, often used in envy, alludes to having a blessed life.

After all, the 23-year-old has shared the small screen with some of South Korea's hottest stars: actor-singer Jang Geun-suk, 25, in You're Beautiful (2009); rock group CNBlue's leader Jung Yong-hwa, 23, in You're Beautiful and Heart Strings (2011); and up-and-coming actor Yoon Si-yoon, 26, in her latest drama Flower Boy Next Door.

Next up - she will star opposite heartthrob Lee Min-ho, 25, of Boys Over Flowers (2009) fame, in a new drama series, The Heirs.

When asked which of her swoonworthy leading men she shares the best chemistry with, Park replies: "If I had to choose one, it would be Jang Geun-suk. He's been acting for a long time, so it was comfortable exchanging lines with him in scenes."

Park previously revealed on a Korean variety show that Jang's mother is a big fan of hers. In fact, she is a hit with mothers in general.

In an e-mail interview, she says of her fans: "I think there's quite a good range of age groups, generally between 10 and 30 years of age, but it does seem that I'm a favourite among mothers. I'm really thankful for that."

It is understandable, given the string of sweet and demure roles she has played. She established her status as the girl next door when she played angelic daughter-in-law Hana in Tree Of Heaven (2006).

In Flower Boy Next Door, she plays the shy and quirky Go Dok-mi, who spies on her handsome neighbour, played by Kim Jung-san.

When asked if the real Park Shin-hye is sweet or quirky, the actress says: "I don't think any of the characters I've acted thus far are completely different from my own character. Be it demure or lively, I think they all contain a part of me."

It may be hard to believe, but the fresh-faced beauty is practically a small-screen veteran, having made her acting debut 10 years ago in the popular tearjerker Stairway To Heaven (2003). She won the Child Actress Award at the 2003 SBS Drama Awards for her role as the younger version of the lead character Han Jung-suh.

"Stairway To Heaven was the first drama I worked on, and You're Beautiful was the drama that brought me beyond Korea to meet fans from other countries. That is especially meaningful to me," reflects the actress, who is studying drama and cinema at Chung-Ang University in Seoul.

Park has also appeared in movies such as romantic comedy Cyrano Agency in 2010 and the heartwarming melodrama Miracle In Cell No. 7, which was released last year.

The latter broke records just 52 days after its release and is now the third highest grossing Korean film in Korea.

On the difference between dramas and movies, she says: "It's easier for dramas to reach out to audiences, since dramas can be viewed at home. But films are different because one has to go out, look for a cinema and buy the ticket to watch the film.

"I think I still need to work harder at cultivating the ability of bringing audiences out of their homes into the cinemas." –The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

The finale of Flower Boy Next Door airs this evening on Channel M HD (HyppTV Ch 601) at 7pm.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Cleveland kidnapping victims endured decade of isolation, rape, beatings

Posted: 08 May 2013 08:42 PM PDT

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Three young women newly freed from a decade-long kidnapping ordeal in Cleveland endured their captivity in the dungeon-like squalid confines of a house, where they were raped, starved, beaten and kept in chains by the man who abducted them, authorities said on Wednesday.

Gina DeJesus arrives at her home in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress

Gina DeJesus arrives at her home in Cleveland, Ohio, May 8, 2013. REUTERS/John Gress

Their accused tormentor, Ariel Castro, 52, a veteran school bus driver fired from his job last fall, was formally charged on Wednesday with kidnapping and raping the women, who were rescued from his house on Monday evening shortly before his arrest.

His two brothers, initially arrested as suspects in the case, were not charged, and police said investigators had determined they had no knowledge of the abductions or captivity of the women.

The three victims, abducted separately from the surrounding neighbourhood and completely cut off from the outside world during their captivity, were found alive together when neighbours were alerted by cries for help from one of the women, Amanda Berry.

She told police that her escape two days ago was her first chance to break free in the 10 years that she was imprisoned in the house, during which time she conceived and gave birth to a daughter, now 6, authorities said.

The little girl was rescued along with Berry, 27, who was a day shy of her 17th birthday when she disappeared in 2003, and the two other women - Gina DeJesus, 23, who went missing at age 14 in 2004, and Michelle Knight, 32, who was 20 years old when she vanished in 2002.

Chilling new details of their captivity emerged as two of the women were treated to jubilant celebrations with relatives - Berry and her daughter arriving at her sister's house and DeJesus at her mother's home in separate homecomings captured on national television.

Knight remained in a Cleveland hospital, where she was listed in good condition.


Berry's pregnancy with her daughter was not an isolated incident, according to Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins, who said he had read portions of a police report from the initial investigation and was briefed by numerous police department sources.

Cummins said one of the three women - he did not know who - had suffered at least five miscarriages, which Castro is accused of inducing by starving her for weeks and beating her in the abdomen.

Berry's baby was born in a plastic inflatable kiddy pool on Christmas Day, 2006, authorities said. A paternity test will be conducted to determine the girl's father.

All three women were held in the home's basement for long periods, restrained with ropes and chains and occasionally starved, according to Cummins. He added that the victims were kept apart from each other in the house until their captor at some point gained sufficient confidence in his control over them to allow them to mingle.

Moreover, the councilman said all three women were abducted by Castro when he offered them rides in a vehicle.

Cummins said much of their ordeal was recounted by the three women as soon as they were freed.

"En route to the hospital there was just a flood of information shared by these victims immediately," he said. "One can only imagine the mental distress and eruptions of joy and emotions."

Castro, owner of the modest, two-story house, had been thought by neighbours to live there alone. Berry has said she only managed to call for help when he briefly left the premises on Monday.

"The only opportunity, after interviewing the young ladies, to escape was the other day when Amanda escaped," Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said at the news conference. "They don't believe that they've been outside that home for the last 10 years respectively."

Authorities said the women recalled leaving the confines of the house just twice during their captivity, on both occasions to go into a garage on the small lot while disguised in wigs and hats.

Tomba said that during their separation in the house, the three women were kept in different rooms but were aware of the others' presence.


Berry and her daughter could be seen from an aerial television camera arriving in a convoy of vehicles at her sister's house and entering through a back door.

DeJesus was rushed into the home she had not seen in nine years, clenched in a tight embrace by her sister Mayra. DeJesus hid her face in a yellow hooded sweat-shirt but raised her hand in a thumbs-up sign to spectators chanting "Gina. Gina."

Her mother Nancy DeJesus came outside after a little while.

"I want to thank everybody that believed," she said. "Even the ones that doubted, I still want to thank them the most because they're the ones that made me stronger, the ones that made me feel the most that my daughter was out there."

Neither Berry, who was last seen leaving her job at a fast-food restaurant, nor DeJesus, who vanished while walking home from school, spoke publicly.

Castro faced arraignment on Thursday morning, the prosecutor said.

Investigators took some 200 pieces of evidence from his house, which Tomba said was "in quite a bit of disarray," but found no human remains on the site. Police were still searching a second house.

The three brothers were arrested on Monday evening within hours of the women's escape. However, there was no evidence Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50, were involved, the prosecutor said.

However, the two brothers were slated to appear in court on Thursday on unrelated outstanding misdemeanour warrants.

"There is nothing that leads us to believe that they were involved or had any knowledge of this, and that comes from statements of our victims, their statements and the brothers' statements," Cleveland city prosecutor Victor Perez said, adding, "Ariel would have kept everybody at a distance."

Berry can be heard naming Ariel Castro as the man she was fleeing on the frantic emergency call she made to a 911 operator after a neighbour heard her scream and helped her break through a locked screen door.

Born in Puerto Rico, Ariel Castro played bass in Latin music bands in the area. Records show he was divorced more than a decade ago and his ex-wife had since died. He is known to have at least one adult daughter and son.

In 2005, Castro was named in a complaint of domestic violence in a custody dispute with his ex-wife that accused him of breaking her nose twice, knocking out her tooth, dislocating her shoulder twice and threatening to kill her and her daughters several times.

The complaint was eventually dismissed.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta and Barbara Goldberg; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Steve Gorman; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Bernard Orr and Eric Walsh)

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Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Bangladesh factory fire kills eight; collapse toll hits 892

Posted: 08 May 2013 08:14 PM PDT

DHAKA (Reuters) - Eight people were killed when a fire swept through a clothing factory in Bangladesh, police and an industry association official said on Thursday, as the death toll from the collapse of another factory building two weeks ago climbed to 892.

A fire fighter works to control a fire at a factory belonging to Tung Hai Group, a large garment exporter, in Dhaka May 9, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A fire fighter works to control a fire at a factory belonging to Tung Hai Group, a large garment exporter, in Dhaka May 9, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

The fire, in an industrial district of Dhaka, comes amid global attention on safety standards in Bangladesh's booming garment industry following the catastrophic collapse of Rana Plaza, on the outskirts of the city, in the world's deadliest industrial accident since the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984.

"It is not clear to us how the accident happened, but we are trying to find out the cause," Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told Reuters.

On Wednesday the Bangladesh government said it had shut down 18 garment factories for safety reasons following the April 24 collapse of Rana Plaza, which housed five garment factories making clothes for Western brands.

Salvage teams are still pulling bodies from the rubble of the building in Savar, around 20 miles (30 km) northwest of Dhaka, and on Thursday a spokesman at the army control room coordinating the operation said the death toll was now nearly 900.

Roughly 2,500 people were rescued from the building, including many injured, but there is no official estimate of the number still missing.

The government has blamed the owners and builders of the eight-storey complex for using shoddy building materials, including substandard rods, bricks and cement, and not obtaining the necessary clearances.

Bangladesh's garment industry, which accounts for 80 percent of the poor South Asian country's exports, has seen a series of deadly accidents, including a fire in November that killed 112 people.

The latest fire, in the Mirpur industrial district, broke out at a factory belonging to the Tung Hai Group, a large garment exporter, after most workers had gone home, police said.

A fire service official and BGMEA president Islam said the Bangladeshi managing director of the company and a senior police officer were among the dead.

Tung Hai Group says on its website that it has more than 1,000 employees and its customers include major Western retailers including Britain's Primark, and Inditex Group of Spain. It makes products including cardigans, jumpers and pyjamas.

(Editing by Matthew Green and Alex Richardson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Argentine congress passes judicial reform bill

Posted: 08 May 2013 06:27 PM PDT

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's Senate passed a court reform law on Wednesday aimed at "democratizing the judiciary," but critics said the move would leave judges vulnerable to political influence.

Under the reform, backed by President Cristina Fernandez and passed by 38 votes to 30, members of the board that chooses federal judges will be elected. The measure had already been approved by the lower house of Congress.

The National Chamber of Civil Appeals, the main body of appeals court judges, issued a statement saying the new law "violates the principle of judicial independence."

The reform is a lightning rod for criticism against the president as talk swirls of a possible bid by her supporters to seek a constitutional change to allow her to seek a third term.

Fernandez was re-elected in 2011 but the popularity of the 60-year-old Peronist Party leader has fallen over the last year amid high inflation and discontent over her economic policies.

More than 1 million Argentines took to the streets on April 18 in protest against her government.

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Guido Nejamkis; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Sapura play mind games with defending champs

Posted: 08 May 2013 03:52 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Sapura are playing mind games with defending champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the semi-finals of the TNB Cup.

Tomorrow is the first leg with the return leg on Sunday.

Sapura coach Tai Beng Hai said they would start as underdogs against KLHC, who strolled to the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) title with an unbeaten record.

"We played KLHC twice in the league and on both occasions we lost 3-2 despite taking the lead in both matches.

"I believe they stand a better chance of reaching the final as they've been playing consistently well. We only have a 40% chance of winning the match," said the former national coach.

KLHC have qualified for the TNB Cup final for the last five years and emerged champions in 2008, 2010, 2011 and last year.

Beng Hai said his players cannot play an open game like they did in the league.

"In both matches, we took the lead but we just could not maintain the pace because KLHC were just too good.

"They have world class players like midfielder Waseem Ahmed of Pakistan and defender Razie (Abdul Rahim). We also cannot afford to make mistakes as they have dangerous forwards," said Beng Hai.

Sapura, who finished third in the league, were the overall champions in 2005 and 2006. They finished joint third with Maybank last season.

KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj, however, is not taking Sapura for granted.

"They are the most unpredictable team in the league. They came close to beating us twice in the league," said Dharmaraj.

"They are dangerous in their counter attacks. They are a well disciplined team and are capable of beating us.

"We also have to watch out for their Pakistani player Khasif Ali as he has been scoring regularly from penalty corners," said Dharmaraj, who has been coaching KLHC since 2001.

Tenaga’s fiery forward can’t afford another green card

Posted: 08 May 2013 05:05 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari is walking a tightrope in the first leg of the TNB Cup semi-finals against Maybank at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

The Terengganu-born player is on the verge of suspension as he has collected six demerit points – one yellow and one green card – in the quarter-finals first-leg match against Terengganu last week.

If Firhan gets another green card tomorrow, he will miss the return leg on Sunday. A player is suspended for one match if he accumulates eight demerit points.

The 20-year-old Firhan, who has been called up for national team training for the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru in June, said that he must learn to keep his temper in check, especially against Maybank tomorrow.

"I received a green card and then a yellow card for clashing with Terengganu defender Azlan (Misron) in the quarter-final first-leg match.

"Now, I cannot afford to make a mistake on Friday or I will miss the crucial second-leg match," said Firhan, who is playing in his third season for Tenaga in the Malaysia Hockey League.

"My team need my services as I am one of the main forwards. However, I am not too pleased with my performance in the MHL.

"I have played in 14 matches but only managed to score six goals. It is not good for my standard as a national player.

"When I started the season, my mission was to score in every match. But I've failed to live up to my goal," said Firhan, who will feature in the Junior World Cup in Chandigarh, India, in December.

Firhan added that Maybank would be a tough side to beat.

"They have four Pakistan imports – Shakeel Abassi, Muhammad Waqas, Muhammad Imran and Shafqat Rasool.

"They are a strong side."

In the league, Tenaga outplayed Maybank 5-1 in the first match. But in the second match, the Tigers emerged 4-3 winners.

"It will be touch and go. I believe the return leg will be crucial to decide which team reach the final," said Firhan.

Besides Firhan, Tenaga defender Mohd Madzli Ikmar Mohd Nor is also on the verge of suspension as he has collected four demerit points.

Water skier Aaliyah making huge waves

Posted: 08 May 2013 05:11 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Water skier Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah is making waves in the world rankings.

The nine-year-old has moved up 30 rungs to No. 70 after posting a personal best score of 4,740 points in the wo­men's Open tricks at last wee­k­end's IWWF Waterski World Cup in Palem­bang, Indonesia. The SEA Games gold medallist also moved up to 18th in the world rankings for the girls' Under-17 tricks. She was previously ranked No. 29.

Hanifah Yoong, Aaliyah's father and coach, believes she is now on track to be one of the best skiers in the world.

"This augurs well for her bid to become one of the best skiers in the world before she is 15. Her main target this year is the Asian Championship in Palembang.

"As for next year, Aaliyah will focus on getting a top five, if not a podium, in the Junior World Championships for Under-17 skiers in Ukraine," he said. Aaliyah's next assignment is the Malaysian Nationals Waterski and Wakeboard Championships in Putrajaya from May 25-26.

After that, she will go for a training stint in France and Austria at the end of June.

While over there, Aaliyah will compete in the Meuzac Cup in France and the Fischlham Cup in Austria.

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The Star Online: Business

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Malaysia's biggest ever REIT jumps 3.9% on debut

Posted: 08 May 2013 07:12 PM PDT

Published: Thursday May 9, 2013 MYT 10:13:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: KLCC Property Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), Malaysia's biggest, rose as much as 3.9 percent to 7.53 ringgit per unit on Thursday.

The trust, which is a stapled REIT that bundles existing shares of KLCC Property -- owner of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, and units of KLCC REIT, raises no new money. The corporate restructuring was unveiled in November in a bid to lure yield-hungry investors.

KLCC REIT houses assets in excess of 15 billion Malaysian ringgit.It will be three times bigger than the Sunway REIT . ($1 = 2.9635 Malaysian ringgit) - Reuters


Moody’s: Malaysia's election outcome assures pro-growth policy

Posted: 08 May 2013 07:11 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional's retention of the federal government assures the continuation of Malaysia's pro-growth policy, says Moody's Investor Services.

It said the outcome supports the stable outlook for the sovereign and government-related issuers (GRIs) including Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas, A1 stable).

Below is the credit outlook issued by the international ratings agency on Thursday:

On May 5, Malaysia's (A3 stable) ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, retained its majority in parliamentary election, winning 133 of 222 seats in the national legislature.

The opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, increased its representation to 89 seats from the 82 it won in the 2008 election, and, according to preliminary results, won the popular vote.

Barisan Nasional's retention of government assures the continuation of Malaysia's pro-growth policy, an outcome that supports the stable outlook for the sovereign and government-related issuers (GRIs) including Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas, A1 stable).

But at the same time, Barisan Nasional's populist fiscal agenda clouds the prospects for fiscal reform.

With growth policies intact, the government is set to continue, if not accelerate, the development initiatives under its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

The ETP has been particularly successful in reviving private investment.

Since its promulgation in 2010, private gross fixed-capital formation averaged annual growth of 16.6% during 2010-12, up from 2.9% during 2005-09.

Budgetary support for household consumption has further bolstered domestic demand, providing a significant offset to the relative weakness in net exports, in view of Malaysia's heavy reliance on external trade.

Similarly, the election's completion and the additional fiscal transfers promised during the campaign should help sustain the momentum of investment and economic growth over the next two years.

Nevertheless, the long-term sustainability of government finances is contingent on fiscal reform, where the prospects are not so clear given the underlying features of Barisan Nasional's victory.

Although Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was sworn in on Monday, the opposition as of Wednesday had not officially conceded, citing irregularities in voting, and preliminary results reveal that the opposition had won the popular vote.

Consequently, Barisan Nasional's need to shore up electoral legitimacy may influence the pace of fiscal consolidation.

Already, it seems certain that populist spending measures brought up in both the budget passed last fall and during the election campaign will add to the burden of near-term government expenditure.

Moreover, the prospective implementation of a goods-and-services tax to diversify and increase the sources of government revenue may be as politically difficult as before.

But subsidy reform may be more tenable; Najib has publicly expressed his desire to reduce government spending on subsidies, while intending to use existing direct cash transfer programs to help the poor adjust to higher prices.

In the near-term, we expect the government to continue conducting fiscal policy in line with prevailing rules, including the requirement that current expenditures cannot exceed current revenues, as well as the 55% debt ceiling for direct government obligations.

Status quo for Petronas and other Malaysian GRIs. Notably, the Barisan Nasional victory helps to preserve the status quo with regards to GRIs.

As part of its electoral platform, Pakatan Rakyat sought to address higher living costs by "abolishing monopolies," which threatened various GRIs' prevailing business models.

These include Petronas and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (Baa1 stable), as well as Axiata Group Bhd (Baa2 stable) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (A3 stable), both of which operate in a more competitive market.

With Petronas in particular, the threat of an increased royalty payout and the redistribution of oil profits in the form of lower petrol prices would likely have resulted in a material deterioration in its credit profile.

Petronas' financial health and dominance in the domestic oil and gas sector is important to the sovereign given the state oil company's significant contribution to federal government revenues. Petroleum-related income has typically exceeded 30% of total federal government revenue.


Now you can use your mobile phone in S'pore to report dirty toilets

Posted: 08 May 2013 07:09 PM PDT

Published: Thursday May 9, 2013 MYT 10:09:00 AM

SINGAPORE: For those on the go, finding a clean toilet in Singapore and giving feedback on the best and worst commodes is now in hand with a new app for mobile phones and tablet computers.

The Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) already has the LOO Connect service on its toilet.org.sg website that allows people to pinpoint and comment on public facilities and to see those given three, four or five stars.

With the new app for Android smartphones and tablets, the non-profit group said it was "leveraging on the 'crowdsourcing' trend and technology to recognise clean toilets and encourage socially responsible behaviour".

"The mobile app also facilitates the collection of information by the RAS volunteers during mystery audits of toilets under the Happy Toilet Programme," it said in a statement.

A similar app for iOS devices will be out in July, it said.

An RAS survey last year showed the foulest toilets in Singapore - a wealthy Southeast Asian city-state where the government runs regular campaigns to promote cleanliness and courtesy - tend to be in coffee shops, markets, bus terminals, food courts and subway stations.

The cleanest are in government offices, hospitals and restaurants.

Bad design and poor cleaning were cited in the survey as causes of dirty toilets. But the overwhelmingly worst offenders - at 79 percent - were identified as "irresponsible users". - Reuters


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The Star Online: Nation

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GE13: EC - Protests, rallies won't change results

Posted: 08 May 2013 08:53 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Protests or rallies will not be able to change the result of 13th general election or cause the polls to be held again, according to the Election Commission (EC).

Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the unhappy candidate could apply for a review of the result by making a petition after the result was gazetted in accordance with the law.

"After the result is gazetted, he has 21 days to file a petition and if there is proof and the judge admits the existence of corruption, fraud or illegal acts, the High Court judge will declare the election result invalid.

"Only then a re-election will be called. A rally such as the one tonight will not change anything," he said when interviewed by Radio24 Wednesday. He was referring to the Pakatan Rakyat gathering at Kelana Jaya Stadium Wednesday night.

Abdul Aziz said despite issues over as indelible ink, and allegations of phantom voters and power blackout, the polls were clean and orderly and the EC was not involved in helping any party to win.

"I would say that GE13 was fair. The winner did not receive EC help while the loser was not because EC did not help. The votes of registered voters determined the winner and the loser."

Based on EC records, the highest number of petitions on GE results were 40 in 1999, 30 in 2004 and 26 in 2008, despite the 'tsunami' unfavourable to Barisan Nasional (BN). - Bernama

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

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Massive turnout at Pakatan gathering

Massive turnout at Pakatan gathering (Updated)

Posted: 07 May 2013 09:35 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: A massive crowd turned up at the Kelana Jaya Stadium here Wednesay night for the Pakatan Rakyat gathering.

Many were dressed in black, blowing vuvezelas and chanting "ubah". The crowd caused a massive jam along the LDP, the gridlock stretching some 10km from Puchong to Bandar Utama.

PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang and PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu were among the main speakers at the gathering.

Other speakers included PKR vice-president Nuru Izzah Anwar, PKR secretary general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, Bersih's Datuk S. Ambiga, PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli and newly-elected PKR MP for Kelana Jaya, Wong Chen.

Anwar also announced that Pakatan would hold another gathering in Penang on Saturday, and called on Malaysians to wear black every day from Saturday to protest the allegedly unfair general election.

The gathering ended around 11.30pm, although roads around the area remained gridlocked as participants blocked almost the whole highway near the stadium.

Hundreds of them spilled onto the LDP after the rally ended to cheer at passing cars.

There was zero police presence on the highway.

Anwar had previously said he would not accept the general election results, claiming it was riddled with fraudulent practices and irregularities.

Pakatan netted its best results to date in the polls, winning 89 parliamentary seats out of 222, while Barisan Nasional won 133 to form the new federal government.

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GE13: Khaled expected to be sworn in as Johor MB next week

Posted: 08 May 2013 06:16 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin is expected to be sworn in as Johor Menteri Besar next week after getting the consent of Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar Wednesday.

The newly-elected Permas assemblyman confirmed this after an audience with the Sultan at Istana Pasir Pelangi here during which they discussed the date of the oath of office of the Menteri Besar as well as the state executive council line-up.

Speaking to reporters later, Khaled said Sultan Ibrahim told him to go over the state executive councillors list before having another audience to present the line-up again.

"In Johor, the Menteri Besar's swearing in is held together with that of the state executive councillors. So, this will take some time. I will finalise the list this week," said Mohamed Khaled.

Present were Johor Council of Royal Court secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli and State Secretary Datuk Obet Tawil.

Mohamed Khaled said the 10-member Johor executive council would be made up of seven Umno assemblymen, two from MCA and one from MIC.

However, he said, he would have to consult the MCA over the party's representation since it had decided not to accept any position in the federal or state governments following its poor performance in the just-concluded 13th general election on Sunday.

Mohamed Khaled said Sultan Ibrahim wanted the state executive councillors to be made up of assemblymen who could work and think in the interests of the people of Johor to enable them (people) to get the best service possible.

On the strong presence of the Opposition in the state assembly, he said there was nothing to be afraid of if Barisan assemblymen carried out their responsibilities to the best of their ability.

Barisan retained Johor with a two-thirds' majority by clinching 38 out of 56 state seats while the Opposition secured 18 seats - 14 by the DAP, three by PAS and one by PKR. - Bernama

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

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Star Trek director boldly goes to conquer non Sci-Fi fans

Posted: 08 May 2013 12:04 AM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Director J.J. Abrams is hoping to persuade mainstream film audiences to boldly go where they have never gone before and embrace the next instalment of Star Trek, a franchise usually reserved for sci-fi geeks.

The man behind the cult TV series Alias and Lost told Reuters he initially hesitated when Viacom's Paramount Pictures asked him to take on the film series, whose instalments in 1998 and 2002 failed to draw crowds.

But then he worked out how to make Star Trek appeal to a broader audience, by forgetting its creaking legacy and focusing on the drama.

His first attempt to "reboot" the epic with 2009's Star Trek was a critical success, though analysts were disappointed with foreign box office sales of about US$130 million.

Now he is hoping to push even further towards the final frontier with the 3D sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, the 12th in the series, opening in Britain on May 9 and the United States on May 17.

"The idea was to make a movie that works on its own terms ... This (film) was not meant to be like an in-joke. This is very much for moviegoers and not just Star Trek fans," said Abrams (pic), wearing his trademark thick-rimmed black glasses.

The plot focuses on the crew's emotions and moral dilemmas to make "an action adventure thriller .. a little more visceral and thrilling", he said.

Most hardcore Star Trek fans welcomed Abrams' involvement in the series; he already had a huge geek fan base thanks to his TV and film back-catalogue. But Abrams himself was far less enthusiastic about the franchise when he first encountered it.


"I never really got it as a kid. I never really understood Star Trek. It felt very talky and still to me. I have come to appreciate what it is and what it means."

Since working his magic on Star Trek, he has already been asked to revive another sci-fi behemoth. In January, Walt Disney Co. said he would direct Star Wars: Episode VII, giving hope to that franchise's long-suffering fans who were disappointed by the last three instalments.

Star Trek Into Darkness again casts Chris Pine as the womanising Captain James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock, a mixed-race human-Vulcan who lives by the laws of logic.

The 23rd-century action starts with an attack on Starfleet's base in London by the one-man killing machine John Harrison, played by the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, best known as the detective Sherlock Holmes in the BBC drama Sherlock.

The crew of the Enterprise are soon face-to-face with their old foes the Klingons, but things are not what they seem.

Cumberbatch, 36, said it was daunting to be a newcomer on the Star Trek cast, but he bulked up and threw himself into the role of the villain.

"The 10-year-old in me relished throwing people around the set, jumping and flying through space and the air, and running through glass walls," he told Reuters.

Critics have not been as glowing in their praise for Abrams' second Star Trek movie as for his first.

"People are unlikely to charge out of the cinema with quite the same level of glee as they did in 2009; but this is certainly an astute, exhilarating concoction," wrote Andrew Culver in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

Abrams said no official discussions have yet started on a third movie but he would be "love to be in that conversation" if there was the demand for another.

Robert Downey Jr. won't be back for 'Iron Man 4'

Posted: 07 May 2013 08:27 PM PDT

While the third installment of the Iron Man franchise enjoys box office glory, taking in over US$351 million over the weekend, Hollywood is reeling in shock that the movie's lead, Robert Downey Jr. has indicated that he does not want to return for a stand-alone Iron Man 4 movie.

The actor, however, is open to the idea of returning as the iron-clad hero in Marvel's The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3.

Movieweb.com reports that in April the actor wanted to "retire" his Tony Stark character but he didn't leave a timetable as to when he wanted to do so. His latest, Iron Man 3 is the last movie Downey Jr. is obligated to do under his current contract with Marvel Studios.

In the meantime, the Marvel franchise has continued to attract a massive audience in worldwide cinemas, with US$175.9 million made in 54 international territories, bringing the global revenue for Iron Man 3 to just over US$680 million.

The Avengers 2 is slated for a May 2015 release and The Avengers 3 is due in 2017. Returning to the Avengers movie are stars Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders and Mark Ruffalo.

While The Avengers 3 does not have a director, The Avengers 2 will be directed by Joss Whedon.

Hummingbird zeroes in on the homeless

Posted: 08 May 2013 01:55 AM PDT

Jason Statham takes flight in Hummingbird, a movie which zeroes in on the homeless.

RESEARCHING into homeless people in London, director/writer Steven Knight found that 10% of them are former soldiers. It was remarkable to him that people who lived by strict rules and absolute orderliness at one point of their lives would end up living on the street. It has become a norm to ignore the homeless, but to Knight, each and every one of them have a story. He then fictionalised the story of a soldier who ends up homeless in the film Hummingbird.

In the film's production notes, Knight remarked: "I discovered there is a direct route between coming out of the army and becoming homeless ... I talked to a lot of homeless ex-forces people, and I started to put the bones of the story together."

The film revolves around an ex-special forces soldier named Joey Jones (Jason Statham) who becomes homeless after running from a military court-martial. While looking for a place to stay, he breaks into an empty apartment. Here, he tries to change his ways, giving up drinking and subsequently assuming the identity of the man who lives in the apartment. Joey finds work as a dishwasher in a restaurant and then later, an unofficial bouncer. His talents soon get noticed by a gangster, and he is recruited as a driver and enforcer to the man who rules the underworld in Soho, London. Joey, being a nice guy, shares his wealth by buying food for the shelter that once housed him. Unfortunately, his good fortune ends quickly when he's involved in a shooting.

To play this ordinary working-class Englishman who goes through so many different experiences within a movie, the producers immediately thought of action-star Statham.

Producer Guy Heely explained: "Jason Statham is the most incredible athlete, which means we were able to shoot the big action scenes very easily with him. He comes in and does it all himself and is the most proficient person on the set."

Knight added: "Statham has got a particular presence about him that makes it absolutely believable that he is this character. He was so committed to doing the research, to meeting homeless people, meeting ex-forces people and really getting the character right that it pays dividends on the screen."

Hummingbird is filmed largely on location in London, with focus on Covent Gardent, Chinatown and Soho, and mostly at night. Knight also wanted to highlight the River Thames as a sinister location for dumping of bodies, giving it a malevolent notion. Unlike most action-based films, however, Knight wanted to capture the beauty of the city as well. "What I set out to do was to say – OK we're going to be shooting in, for example, an alleyway where homeless people are sleeping, or some of the seedier sides of Soho, and the easy thing to do would have been to make it gritty. But what I wanted to do was to make it beautiful, and for the camera to have a dignity about it and for the whole thing to be done almost as if it were the pastoral look." – Mumtaj Begum

Hummingbird opens in cinemas nationwide on May 16.

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Illegally parked cars in Taipan causing bad congestion

Posted: 08 May 2013 04:44 AM PDT

SUBANG Jaya is infamous for its horrendous traffic congestion, especially in its business centres.

Illegal parking seems to be the main cause for the horrible traffic congestion in these areas as motorists do not want to use the multi-storey carparks provided and they often try to park as close to their destination as possible.

This causes problems for other motorists as they have to manoeuvre their vehicles around the indiscriminately parked cars.

A StarMetro visit to hotspots such as the Taipan Business Centre in USJ 10, SS15 and SS16 showed that motorists blatantly ignored the No Parking and Towing Zone signboards.

Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) enforcement director Major (Rtd) Mohd Rasip Rasul said a total of 25,270 compound notices had been issued from January to March this year, compared to 27,643 in the same period last year.

Although there has been a significant decrease in the number of compound notices issued, it does not mean the problem has ceased.

"Our enforcement officers check on the commercial areas every day to ensure vehicles do not commit any parking offences.

"Action will be taken against cars that are double-parked and those that overstay the parking time that they pay for," he said.

He added that traffic congestion in Subang Jaya was not new and motorists were aware of the parking spaces available but it all boiled down to their attitude.

"We need to educate the public on the parking spaces and traffic congestion that they cause.

"We will also look into a long-term solution to tackle the situation," said Rasip.

He added that motorists should also consider others, even though their errands would only take a few minutes.

In 2010, MPSJ had introduced a one-hour parking limit in the council-managed parking bays to curb the traffic congestion in Taipan.

However, it seems that the system has not really worked as the traffic congestion has not improved.

MPSJ councillor Dr Loi Kheng Min said the system had received positive feedback from the shopowners and employees working in the business centre.

"However, many shopowners and workers in Taipan are not in favour of the charges of between RM126 and RM189 monthly, compared to the council-managed parking bays," he said.

He added that the council was encouraging them to make full use of the multi-storey parking building so that visitors running simple errands could use the council parking bays.

To help ease the congestion, MPSJ recently came down hard on illegally-parked vehicles and the operation saw 15 compound notices issued for various offences such as not displaying parking tickets, double parking and indiscriminate parking.

Two cars were clamped and 10 more vehicles had the summonses lock strapped on to their door handles while two cars that were obstructing traffic were towed away to the MPSJ depot in Taman Perindustrian UEP Subang by MPSJ enforcement officers.

GE13: Blend of old and new faces for Selangor state exco line-up

Posted: 08 May 2013 05:15 AM PDT

THE selection of the new state exco line-up is similar to picking a football team during the off season.

Underperformers will be drop-ped, while freshly minted representatives with potential will replace them, with the hope that their potential would be realised.

In Selangor, the football anology applies well as the state constitution requires 11 people in the state executive council.

"According to the constitution, the exco must have 11 people, including the Mentri Besar. Not more, and not less," said Sri Muda assemblyman Shuhaimi Shafiei of PKR.

"There will definitely be at least two new faces from DAP in the exco, as Teresa Kok and Ronnie Liu did not contest for a Selangor state seat this time.

The other DAP representative on the old team is Ean Yong Hian Wah, who retained his Seri Kembangan state seat.

Ean Yong is expected to stay on, and the names speculated to replace Kok and Liu are Datuk Teng Chang Khim (Sungai Pinang), Hannah Yeoh (Subang Jaya), Lau Weng San (Kampung Tunku) and V. Ganabatirao (Kota Alam Shah).

Teng, who was the state assembly speaker, has the experience to help the state government.

A move to become an exco member may seem like a demotion, although he would be able to directly help out with the day-to-day administration of the government.

"It is up to the party. At this point, it is best not to speculate.

"Otherwise it may be seen as lobbying for positions," said Teng.

A political observer noted that Teng has a deep commitment to empowering the state legislative assembly to ensure there is a check and balance between the legislative and executive.

"I do not think he has achieved what he wants for the state assembly and as such, he may want to continue as Speaker to complete what he set out to do," he said.

Yeoh is a popular choice and is seen by political observers and journalists as a capable young leader.

But she is also a mother of two young children and an exco position on top of her duties as assemblyman may be overwhelming for the 34-year-old.

Lau, a chemical engineer, has performed well as a member of the Selangor Special Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) and will most likely get one of the two vacant exco positions.

Ganabatirao's name popped up following discussions that DAP may want to portray a multi-racial image for the party.

If that is the case, he is more likely to get the nod ahead of R. Rajiv (Bukit Gasing).

"In 2008, DAP only had M. Manoharan (Kota Alam Shah) as its non-Chinese assemblyman.

"But he was held under Internal Security Act (ISA) then, so the party had no option but to pick all Chinese for the exco positions," said a party source.

PAS is most likely to retain its current line-up of Iskandar Samad (Cempaka), Dr Halimah Ali (Selat Klang) and Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (Sijangkang).

However, there is a chance that the party may want to slot in Selangor PAS commissioner Dr Rani Osman (Meru) in the exco.

"I am open to whatever decisions the party leadership makes. If they want me in exco, I will accept.

"If they want me as Mentri Besar or Prime Minister, I will also accept. But I will not ask for the position," he said.

PKR's options for its exco is more complicated, with a political observer noting that Dr Yaakob Sapari (Kota Anggerik) had not been performing when holding the portfolio of agriculture, natural resources management and entrepreneur development.

Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanjan) is a "50-50" case, as she works hard but does not have much to show for it, said the same observer.

"And Tourism Selangor, an agency which she oversees, has not been doing well," she said.

The other two PKR representatives in the state exco, Dr Xavier Jayakumar (Sri Andalas) and Rodziah Ismail (Batu Tiga), look set to be retained.

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Kampung Bonor gets a kindergarten thanks to dairy company’s initiative

Posted: 07 May 2013 05:05 PM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Children in Sabah's interior Sook district can soon look forward to spending their mornings in classes with the building of a kindergarten there.

Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad had recently teamed up with volunteers from Raleigh Borneo to built the kindergarten in Kampung Bonor, one of the remotest villages in the district recently.

"This is the tenth kindergarten project Nestle completed with assistance from Raleigh as well as villagers," said Nestlé Malaysia's Corporate Responsibility Manager Immy Ooi Lay Imm.

Raleigh International is a UK-based educational development charity that strives to help people from diversified backgrounds and cultures discover their full potential.

"Nestlé believes that access to pre-school education is important, as a good foundation will shape and set the path for children," Immy said.

"Children of this community now have a more conducive learning facility, which we hope will help them excel in their studies with the completion of this kindergarten," she said.

The kindergarten project which took 10 weeks to complete was also supported by PACOS Trust – an organisation dedicated towards supporting indigenous communities in Sabah – who provided assistance with the initial planning stages of the project, which included assessment of the village and also in identifying and training the teachers to ensure the sustainability of the project.

The kindergarten will support the pre-school education of 17 local children aged between three and six.

The villagers who are mostly of Murut ethnicity, were excited with the construction of the structure, as it will also double up as a community learning centre to accommodate additional education sessions for the adults in the evening such as, traditional culture learning, and agriculture among others.

GE13: Rokiah: People who alleged that someone else had voted in their place should make police reports

Posted: 07 May 2013 05:02 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: People who alleged that they were unable to vote in GE13 as someone else had voted in their place have been advised to lodge police reports.

State election commission director Rokiah Hanum Ibrahim said so far she had only heard of one case officially about the matter on Sunday from a voter in Tebrau.

"I was informed that some candidates were making such allegations that people were unable to vote as when they got to the polling station, they found that their name had been struck off as they had voted earlier.

"This is a serious allegation and I hope that all these people will come forward and lodge reports," she said in an interview here.

Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching was quoted in an online news portal that she received five to six similar complaints and that the voters are waiting for her at her service centre.

Teo said that a woman had gone to SMK Kulai Besar at 10.30am, but that election commission officers told her that she "had already voted".

On the damages to four vehicles belonging to election workers in Skudai on Sunday, Rokiah said that it was a regrettable incident and said that they were head of voting centres who were tasked in bringing the ballots to the tallying centres.

"It is fine for them to transport the ballot boxes in their own vehicles as long as they come with a policeman," she said, adding that she was still waiting for the police reports on the matter.

She added that despite some minor glitches, the voter turnout was good.

Among the problems that they faced on polling include shortage of writing instruments, unstamped ballot papers and sudden influx of voters in a polling centre in Lima Kedai after lunch.

"Overall all the 910 polling centres opened and closed on time in the entire state," she said, adding that they had adequate amount of indelible ink as they had distributed over 35,000 bottles to all the polling centres.

On all the campaign material left strewn around the state, she said that based on the regulations, the parties had about two weeks to clear them.

GE13: Assemblyman comes to the aid of senior citizen

Posted: 07 May 2013 05:03 PM PDT

AYER HITAM: For Semarang assemblyman Datuk Samsol Bari Jamali, it was back to work on Monday after a grueling 15-day campaign period.

The first place he visited on Monday was the home of a 75-year-old woman after the back portion of her house was damaged by an uprooted tree in Kampung Haji Talib.

"Luckily, she was not hurt but the back portion of the house was damaged as the tree was uprooted during a severe storm on Sunday," he said, adding that arrangements were being made to repair the house and assistance was also being sought from the Welfare Department.

Samsol, 53, who is the incumbent assemblyman, also presented a personal donation to the victim.

He won the seat with a comfortable victory against PAS Alliar @ Ilyas A. Bakar with a majority of 8,075 votes.

He also thanked all the voters and election workers who helped him during GE13.

"I am grateful to everyone for their support, encouragement and guidance," he said.

Asked on when he plans to take a break after the long campaign, "I will take a break later but for now, attending to my constituents comes first," the incumbent said.

Semarang and Yong Peng are among the two constituencies within the Ayer Hitam Parliamentary.

Barisan Nasional's Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong won the Ayer Hitam parliamentary with a comfortable majority of 7,310 votes

However, the Yong Peng state seat fell to the DAP with a 2,475 majority.

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