Rabu, 15 Mei 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

The Apprentice spreads its wings

Posted: 16 May 2013 01:24 AM PDT

AirAsia founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes decides who to fire or hire on the reality show.

Nine years after The Apprentice first aired in the United States, an Asian version is finally hitting small screens here next week. The question though is: Is it too late?

The Apprentice was a hit out of the gate as it dangled the juicy carrot of working for flamboyant mogul Donald Trump. But over the years, its audience has steadily declined from more than 20 million viewers for season one (2004) to less than five million for season 10 (2010).

Budget airline AirAsia's founder and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, 48, will host the Asian edition and he declares that what has happened in the United States is "irrelevant".

Fernandes says: "Asians are not that interested in watching American candidates but are much more interested in seeing a Singaporean or Asian candidate and the local competition is much more relevant."

He adds: "I've never watched The Apprentice, to be honest."

Fernandes says he was initially reluctant to do the show, simply because he did not think that he had the right personality for it.

From Trump to The Apprentice UK's British business magnate Alan Sugar to the Italian version's businessman Flavio Briatore, these are personalities whom, he surmises, are "more aggressive on the show".

Indeed, Fernandes comes across as rather soft-spoken over the phone and not someone who would make for explosive TV. He adds though: "I didn't think I was that kind of person but it's funny, when you get in front of the cameras, you try to adapt."

Fernandes is known for turning the ailing AirAsia outfit around and trailblazing the rise of the budget airline in Asia. He also founded the no-frills Tune Hotels chain in 2007 and is the majority shareholder of the Premier League football club Queens Park Rangers.

All these various business interests fall under the umbrella of the Malaysian entrepreneur's leisure and entertainment corporation Tune Group, which was established in 2007.

Having to juggle a business empire with a TV show is "quite tiring, actually". He notes that previous hosts are at a different stage of their careers whereas he is "slapbang in it".

The launch of AirAsia India was announced in February and it is expected to commence operations in June.

While professing at first that he has no idea how he keeps all the balls in the air, he later adds: "I am probably one of the world's best time managers and I'm getting better at it. You can always manage as much as you want, as long as you have good people and you manage your time well."

In his case, these would include people such as chief executive officer of Tune Hotels Group Mark Lankester, 48, and chief executive officer of AirAsiaExpedia Kathleen Tan, 51.

The two serve as advisers to the contestants on The Apprentice Asia and Lankester says in the same interview: "The tasks and challenges are designed to weed out who is a mouse and who is a man."

Fernandes elaborates on the qualities he is looking for: "Fortitude, a determination to be the best, an analytical mind and a good communicator.

"My whole life has been about communication. With a company such as AirAsia, you're communicating with people from all walks of life, all demographics, all intellectual levels and different languages."

More than 30,000 people downloaded the application form online when the call went out last November and 12 were picked to compete on the show. The winner will get to be Fernandes' apprentice for one year and work in one of his companies and, according to the show's website, earn a six-figure salary.

Everyone else, though, will get the dreaded axe at some point. So, will Trump's catchphrase "You're fired" be the last thing they hear?

Fernandes says: "You'll have to watch and tune in to see whether I change it or whether I conform." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

The Apprentice Asia premiers May 22 at 9.05pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701/HD Ch 721).

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Suicide bomber targets foreign troops in Kabul - police

Posted: 15 May 2013 09:10 PM PDT

KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide bomber in a car targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying foreign forces in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Thursday, Kabul Police Chief Ayoub Salangi told Reuters.

Salangi said he feared there were casualties from the attack, which took place in the industrial zone of Kabul.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi, editing by Amie Ferris-Rotman)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

At least 6 dead after Cambodian factory collapses - union member

Posted: 15 May 2013 08:31 PM PDT

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - At least six people died when a shoe factory collapsed in Cambodia on Thursday and many others were injured, a member of the trade union at the plant said, amid concerns about safety standards at some Asian factories producing cheap clothing.

Cambodia has seen a rush of investment in recent years, especially into the shoe and garment sector, with Western and Asian firms attracted by its low-cost labour.

"There were about a hundred people inside the factory when it collapsed at about 7 a.m.," union member Sum Sokny, 29, told Reuters. She said five women and one man died at the plant.

According to one report, about 50 people were trapped inside the single-storey building, located in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Penh. The factory is owned by Wing Star Shoes Co Ltd.

The Phnom Penh Post, a daily newspaper, reported on March 22 that workers from the plant had stopped work and blocked a main road for about an hour in a protest over wages and working conditions.

Strikes over pay and poor working conditions are common in Cambodia, which like Bangladesh is home to numerous factories producing clothing cheaply for Western retailers.

A series of deadly incidents at factories in Bangladesh have focused global attention on safety standards in the country's booming garment industry, the world's biggest exporter of clothing after China.

A high-rise factory housing garment manufacturers collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24, killing more than 1,100 people were killed. That has sparked campaigns in the West to improve safety conditions at plants in the country supplying Western brand names.

(Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Paul Tait and Jeremy Laurence)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

U.S. tax chief forced out in IRS scandal

Posted: 15 May 2013 07:45 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington's top tax official was fired on Wednesday as President Barack Obama sought to stem a rising tide of criticism over the Internal Revenue Service's improper targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the IRS from the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the IRS from the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

With three congressional probes of the IRS looming and Republicans' calls for firings at the agency growing louder, Obama said he told Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to demand the resignation of Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner. Lew had done so, the president said.

"I'll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, (and) by putting in place new checks and new safeguards," Obama told reporters in the White House's East Room.

Obama's remarks came on a day in which he tried to regain the initiative amid a series of controversies that have threatened his second-term agenda. The Democratic president said new leadership was needed at the IRS to restore public confidence in the tax agency, whose reputation for political independence has taken a hit because of scandal.

"Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," Obama said. "I will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives."

The IRS revelations have added to a sense of a White House under siege, and a president struggling to recover his political footing in the face of fast-moving events.

Republicans continue to attack the administration's handling of militants' deadly attack last year on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. On Monday, the Justice Department came under fire for seizing phone records of journalists from the Associated Press as part of a criminal probe into intelligence leaks.

Obama spoke after meeting with senior Treasury officials on ways to quell the growing uproar after a government report found that poor management led to an "inappropriate" focus on claims by conservative groups for tax-exempt status.

Obama, who had been accused by Republican critics of reacting too passively to the scandal, promised to work "hand in hand" with Congress to fix the IRS. But he acknowledged the realities of a politically divided Washington, and urged lawmakers to deal with the matter in a way that does not "smack of politics or partisan agendas."

Republicans signalled, however, they were not satisfied with Miller's resignation and that they were determined to find out whether the White House encouraged, or knew about, the effort within the tax agency to single out conservative groups for more scrutiny.

Several, including Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, also complained they were misled by Miller and another top IRS official, Lois Lerner, over whether the agency had targeted conservative groups.

Many Republican lawmakers are sympathetic with groups associated with the conservative Tea Party movement, which have complained since 2010 about overly aggressive IRS agents.

"More than two years after the problem began, and a year after the IRS told us there was no problem, the president is beginning to take action," Senate Republican Minority leader Mitch McConnell said.

"If the president is as concerned about this issue as he claims, he'll work openly and transparently with Congress to get to the bottom of the scandal รข— no stonewalling, no half-answers, no withholding of witnesses," McConnell said in an apparent reference to congressional Republicans' frustration with what they view as the administration's lack of cooperation in the Benghazi probe.


Obama's announcement of Miller's firing came at the end of a day in which Republicans stepped up their calls for action against the agency chief.

McConnell and other Republicans, pointing to the IRS' acknowledgement that Miller knew about the targeting of conservative groups in 2012, have said that neither Miller nor his predecessor, Douglas Shulman, ever told lawmakers about the problem.

Miller had been on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet privately with lawmakers about the IRS scandal.

Max Baucus, a Democrat who heads the Senate Finance committee and will lead one of the investigations, said he did not believe Miller was forthcoming enough when they met on Tuesday.

"At one point, Acting Commissioner Miller knew about it and yet these practices were still going on," Republican Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, told Reuters.

In a message to colleagues after Obama's announcement, Miller said that there was a "strong and immediate need" to restore public trust in the nation's tax agency.

"This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days," Miller wrote.

Miller, a veteran IRS bureaucrat who took over as the agency's temporary chief six months ago, was still scheduled to testify on Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee, the first of three congressional panels to hold hearings on the IRS scandal. The Justice Department has launched a criminal probe.

Underscoring Republicans' determination to press forward with the IRS investigation, Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, asked Miller earlier on Wednesday to make sure that five mid-level IRS employees would be available for questioning.

Before the announcement of Miller's firing, CNN quoted a congressional source as saying Miller had said the IRS had pinpointed two "rogue" employees in the agency's Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for "overly aggressive" reviews of requests for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups.

Democrats also have expressed outrage over the IRS' actions, but mostly have avoided chastising the Obama administration.

Sander Levin, the leading Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, called Obama's announcement a "vital first step in achieving accountability" for the IRS and urged officials to impose a series of recommendations made in the report by the Treasury Department's inspector general.


Earlier, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner summed up many Republicans' attitude toward the IRS scandal, saying: "My question isn't about who is going to have to resign. My question is who is going to jail over this scandal."

The audit issued on Tuesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration described a series of problems within the IRS that led the agency to use "inappropriate criteria" for evaluating tax-exempt groups, in part by singling out scores of conservative Tea Party and "Patriot" organizations for increased scrutiny.

But the audit did not find evidence the IRS actions were motivated by partisan interests - a conclusion some Republicans do not accept. The notion of a federal agency targeting conservatives based on ideology feeds into a Republican narrative of growing government intrusion under Obama.

For the IRS and the administration, the stakes are particularly high in the scandal because the tax agency has an increasingly significant role in checking the tax status of non-profit groups that dabble in politics, and in enforcing parts of Obama's overhaul of the healthcare system.

Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller is among those who plan to push legislation that would suspend $440 million of IRS funding intended to help enforce "Obamacare."


Republicans have also called for the removal of Lerner, head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations office. Lerner apologized on behalf of the agency when she revealed the targeting of conservative groups last week.

Aides to Republican lawmakers probing the IRS said that as their bosses seek to determine whether the White House acted improperly, another focus of congressional investigators will be an Obama political appointee: IRS chief counsel William Wilkins.

He is the top legal adviser to the IRS, which has a quasi-independent status within the U.S. government. Wilkins takes the lead on all litigation involving the IRS, from Swiss banking probes to cases against tax protesters.

Wilkins' office was made aware of the targeting of conservative groups as early as August 2011, according to the inspector general report.

The report does not make clear whether Wilkins - who reports to the Treasury Department's general counsel - himself knew of the targeting in 2011, or when he first learned of it.

Another question is whether Wilkins, whose office employs about 1,600 lawyers, might have taken the matter elsewhere within the Obama administration.

The IRS issued a statement saying Wilkins did not participate in the August 2011 meeting, which the agency said involved "staff attorneys several layers below Wilkins."

The inspector general report puts much of the blame for the targeting on incompetence by lower-level employees and dysfunction among managers, but Republicans are aiming higher.

"I refuse to believe that lower-level officials would be making those kinds of decisions," Boustany said, adding it was too early to call for any particular official's ouster.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced on Tuesday he was opening an FBI probe into the scandal, said the criminal investigation could include looking into possible violations of the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting political activity by federal employees.

(Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal, Roberta Rampton, John Whitesides, Thomas Ferraro, Richard Cowan, Kevin Drawbaugh, Patrick Temple West, Dena Aubin and Nanette Byrnes; Editing by David Lindsey and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

SEA Games chef-de-mission Amiruddin aims high

Posted: 15 May 2013 03:50 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Wira Amiruddin Embi has pledged to lead Malaysia to do better than the previous SEA Games after being appointed as the chef-de-mission for the Myanmar Games.

"The people of Malaysia will certainly be hoping for a better result than the previous SEA Games ... so, we'll try to put up a better show," he said, before thanking the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for giving him the opportunity.

OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar announced the appointment of the 66-year-old Amiruddin, the president of the Malaysian Rugby Union (MRU), yesterday.

Myanmar, who are hosting the SEA Games for the third time after 1961 and 1969, have included three traditional games — kempo, chinlone and vovinam — among the 28 sports which also include football, athletics, boxing and aquatics.

"I'll check on the preparations for the Games with officials from the National Sports Council (NSC) soon and hopefully identify and rectify weaknesses, if any, to ensure a smooth preparation for the Games," he said.

Malaysia's best-ever achievement was in 2001, winning 111 gold medals as the hosts — Bernama

Lee-Chow aiming to be national No. 1

Posted: 15 May 2013 03:51 PM PDT

NATIONAL women's doubles players Lee Meng Yean-Chow Mei Kuan have set an ambitious goal for themselves – to become the country's top pair in two to three years' time.

The 19-year-olds only just broke into the senior squad at the turn of the year and will be making their Sudirman Cup debut at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil next week.

And Meng Yean couldn't hide her delight at being part of the Sudirman Cup team although she recognises that the chances of her and Mei Kuan playing "are remote considering we are third in the pecking order".

"I'm really excited to be part of the team ... we're both ready to play if called upon," Meng Yean said after a training session at the Putra Stadium yesterday.

After the Sudirman Cup, Meng Yean's attentions will shift towards the Singapore Open where she will partner Lim Yin Loo.

Meng Yen, however, hopes to build on her seven-year combination with Mei Kuan, who is also her best friend, in the hope of forging a formidable partnership and becoming the No. 1 pair in the country.

"Having played together for seven years, we understand each other's game really well. We hope to become the national No. 1 in two to three years time.

"Our objective this year is to be in the top 30 of the world rankings," said Meng Yean.

The pair are currently ranked 41st in the world.

Meng Yean-Mei Kuan also seem to be acutely aware of the pressure that comes with being national players.

"Every time we've been called up to the team, we always feel that we're carrying the burden and responsibility of the nation on our slender shoulders.

"So, even if we don't play (in the Sudirman Cup), we hope to support and spur our team-mates to glory!" said Meng Yean.

Coaches already know which pair will play in group matches

Posted: 15 May 2013 03:51 PM PDT

NATIONAL men's doubles coaches Tan Kim Her and Paulus Firman have already decided on which pair will face Taiwan and Germany in Malaysia's Group C matches of the Sudirman Cup, which will begin at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil this Sunday.

Malaysia have three pairs – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Lim Kim Wah-Goh V Shem – to choose from.

However, it will remain Malaysia's best kept secret until Sunday.

But one thing's for sure, there will be no scratch pairs at the tournament.

"It's a team event ... so, it's a no-brainer that we'll definitely field our strongest pair. That's for sure," said Kim Her.

"But it's all up in the air after that as we'll have to look at who we are drawn against in the quarter-finals.

"Rankings aside, we will field the pair who have been playing their best. So, it's crucial that all three pairs are ready to play."

Paulus said that although Koo-Tan are the strongest pair, the others should not be discounted either as proven by Kim Wah-V Shem, who won the Malaysian Open title earlier this month. The world No. 12 downed national No. 1 and world No. 3 Koo-Tan to land their first career title.

Paulus also hopes that the women will step up come competition time.

"The men's singles, doubles and mixed doubles remain our strongest chances at scoring points. But we can't just rely on them," he said.

"We will need the women's singles and doubles to step up to the task and shore up our chances too."

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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APM shares slip after rally, RHB Research maintains Buy

Posted: 15 May 2013 06:57 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of car parts maker APM Automotive Holding slipped in early trade on Thursday, after the recent rally, but RHB Research is maintaining a Buy recommendation on with a higher fair value of RM5.35 a share from RM4.85.

At 9.41am, APM was down three sen to RM5.41. There were 11,200 shares done at prices ranging from RM5.41 to RM5.45.

Its recent high was RM5.44 on Feb 2 and six-month high at RM5.94 on Jan 30.

The FBM KLCI fell 2.78 points to 1,780.25. Turnover was 458.58 million shares valued at RM244.43mil. There were 209 gainers, 257 losers and 236 counters unchanged.

RHB Research is maintaining a Buy recommendation on APM with a higher fair value of RM5.35 a share from RM4.85.

It said APM achieved improved operating margins during the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 helped by a weaker yen although it is likely to be clawed back by the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) customers.

The research house said APM's revenue for the quarter was moderate, growing just 3.0% on-year despite industry production had risen 12.2% on-year.

"This is likely due to price reductions demanded by OEM customers. Its earnings before interest and tax margin contracted to 12.8%, down from 14.4% in first quarter 2012, but was better than the 9.7% achieved in fourth quater 2012 that were adversely affected by inventory provisions relating to the depreciation of the yen," it said.

RHB Research said APM's sales of interior and plastic products rose 10.2% on-year but revenue from operations outside Malaysia fell 11.4% on-year due to the divestment of its Australian radiator business.

"Across its product segments, revenue was flat on-year at its suspension and electrical product line due to lower demand and the weak Euro currency," it said.

RHB Research added growth prospects for domestic auto-parts players will be capped by limited automotive sales volume potential and that Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) is only forecasting 2% total industry volume growth this year.

"Management also warned of higher parts and raw material costs. APM will also find it tough to penetrate regional automotive markets in Thailand and Indonesia due to the entrenched presence of Japanese tier-1 auto-parts suppliers.

"We understand that APM is likely to enjoy a reversal of some yen-related inventory provisions in second quarter 2013 after negotiating a cost pass through agreement with a major customer.

"Near term revenue could be lifted by orders from Berjaya Auto for components for the locally assembled Mazda 6," it said.


RHB Research maintains Buy on Maybank, FV RM10.95

Posted: 15 May 2013 05:52 PM PDT

Published: Thursday May 16, 2013 MYT 8:52:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Research is maintaining its Buy call on Malayan Banking (Maybank) with a fair value of RM10.95, which is 15 times CY 2013 earnings per share (EPS).

It said on Thursday there is no change to its earnings forecasts for now. Maybank is expected to release first quarter 2013 results sometime next week.

"The impending departure (Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar as its president and CEO following his appointment to the Cabinet) of does not change our view of Maybank being an excellent proxy to Economic Transformation Programme activities.

"Maybank would benefit from the pick-up in business lending activities now that the General Election overhang has been lifted. Maintain Buy call," it said.

RHB Research in the near-term, it believes Maybank already has in place a seasoned and experienced management team to cope with the departure and handle the daily operations.

It added 2013 earnings remains well supported by the group's existing loan and capital market pipelines.

"Beyond that, much would depend on the direction set by the successor, although we think this may just involve some fine-tuning given that the building blocks are already in place," said the research house.


Alliance Research sees turning point for Penang's Hunza Properties

Posted: 15 May 2013 06:04 PM PDT

Published: Thursday May 16, 2013 MYT 9:05:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Alliance Research expects 2013 to be a turning point for Hunza Properties as the completion of Gurney Paragon Mall in Penang by mid-2013 will provide significant boost to its earnings visibility and realised net asset value (RNAV).

"Over the longer term, we expect Hunza Properties to be transformed into an asset rich company with investment properties worth in excess of RM4bil," it said on Thursday.

Alliance Research said given improved prospects, it believe its share price at 71% discount to RNAV of RM6.55 is not justified.

"We recommend long-term investors to buy Hunza Properties with target price of RM2.62," it said. Its closing price on Wednesday was RM1.90.


Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Arnold Schwarzenegger in talks for 'The Toxic Avenger'

Posted: 14 May 2013 11:16 PM PDT

Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to take on a lead role in a reboot of the cult '80s horror/comedy film The Toxic Avenger, announced International Film Trust.

Steve Pink, screenwriter of High Fidelity and director of Hot Tub Time Machine, will direct.

Schwarzenegger will play a former Special Forces agent called The Exterminator as he helps a young man who becomes a super-strong monster after surviving the misdeeds of a corrupt chemical company.

The original Toxic Avenger was released in 1985 by horror-comedy specialist Trauma Entertainment. In that movie, a gym employee turns into a vengeful monster after having been exposed to toxic chemicals.


Surgeon details mastectomies, hails 'bold' Angelina Jolie

Posted: 14 May 2013 04:58 PM PDT

BEVERLY HILLS, California - Angelina Jolie was up and working with "bountiful energy" on her next film project just four days after having her double mastectomy, her surgeon said Tuesday.

Dr. Kristi Funk hailed the "bold" Oscar-winning actress's positive attitude as she underwent three operations - two in February and one in April - to remove tissue and reconstruct her breasts.

"To a large extent, I believe recovery reflects expectation. Angelina expected to feel well, to be active," she wrote in a blog posted the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills.

Brad Pitt, with whom she has six children, attended for all three operations, starting on February 2 with a "nipple delay" procedure which lessens the risk of losing the nipples.

"Her partner was on hand to greet her as soon as she came around from the anesthetic, as he was during each of the operations," said Funk.

The main surgery was on Saturday, February 16, and "went smoothly," she wrote. Two days later, good news: "The pathology returned and I called Angelina to confirm our biggest hope: all of the breast tissue was benign.

"On day four after her mastectomies, I was pleased to find her not only in good spirits with bountiful energy, but with two walls in her house covered with freshly assembled storyboards for the next project she is directing.

"All the while she spoke, six (surgical) drains dangled from her chest, three on each side, fastened to an elastic belt around her waist," she said.

The final operation was carried out on April 27, ten weeks after the mastectomies, reconstructing the breasts with implants, "which went extremely well, bringing an end to her surgical journey," she said.

The blog gave comprehensive details about the various surgical procedures and drugs involved in the double mastectomy, which Jolie revealed in an op ed article in The New York Times.

Speaking outside the Beverly Hills clinic earlier, Funk said she hoped Jolie's decision to have the operation - and to go public with it - would lead other at-risk women to take action.

"We hope that the awareness she is raising around the world will save countless lives," she said, adding that the clinic "applauds Angelina Jolie's bold choices regarding her BRCA mutation."

In the New York Times piece, the actress - whose mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56 - encouraged other women to address threats to their health.

She said she was confirmed as having the "faulty" gene, BRCA1, that doctors said gave her a 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. - AFP

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Wangsa Maju residents to do online petition to get immediate action from Syabas

Posted: 15 May 2013 04:18 AM PDT

WANGSA Maju residents are fed-up with the frequent water supply disruption in their area due to ageing water pumps. They plan to start an online petition drive to make Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) replace them.

Resident Alric Manickam from Wangsa Melawati said he decided to start the online petition with some residents after seeking advice from his lawyers.

"We are fed up with the poor service provided by Syabas, and for not taking our complaints seriously.

"Our lives have been affected badly. We cannot even bathe, do our laundry or cook at home.

"I have called Syabas many times but they have yet to respond," said Alric, adding that he would ask family members, friends and neighbours to write about their experience du ring the water crisis and upload pictures via the social media to show proof of their sufferings.

"I have to go to my sister-in-law's house for a shower,'' said P. Phelo-mena, another resident.

"My family has not had home-cooked meal for weeks,'' she added.

Another resident, who wanted to be identified as Baharom said: "Each time we complain to Syabas, a water tanker would be sent.

"However, they come in the afternoon when everyone is at work.''

Alric said since the beginning of the year, residents had to endure water cuts at least twice a month.

"The last was before GE13; it lasted for 10 days. Currently, the water supply disruption has lasted for four days.

"When we do get water supply, the pressure is so low that there is only a trickle," said Alric.

"Whe we complained, we were told that the water pumps are old and do not function properly.

"If this is the case, Syabas should take long-term measures and not let us suffer," he added.

Meanwhile, newly elected Wangsa Maju MP Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong said he was aware of the water supply disruptions and had asked Syabas to send water tankers to the affected residential areas.

"Syabas must come up with a permanent solution, such as upgrading the old water pumps at the Wangsa Maju pump station, which are 10 years old,'' he said.

"When I visited the station a few months ago, all five pumps had broken down. I am not surprised as the pumps are old," he said.

In January, a breakdown at the Wangsa Maju pump station had disrupted water supply to 82 areas in Kuala Lumpur and Gombak, affecting over 89,000 consumers.

It was reported that despite repairing the water pump at the Wangsa Maju pump station, water supply was still disrupted in several areas due to its inability to meet demand.

MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim aims to resolve restructuring of water services industry in Selangor

Posted: 15 May 2013 04:18 AM PDT

SELANGOR Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was sworn in to office for the second term yesterday.

His immediate goal is to help realise the Prime Minister's call for national reconcialition by restructuring the state's water services industry.

"I have prepared a letter on the water issue and it will be sent to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. I hope he will see it in a positive light in line with the Water Services Industry Act 2006. Efforts to resolve the water restructuring exercise will continue as the people have given the mandate.

"Selangor's commitment to the Langat 2 project will cover the restructuring of the state's water services industry and ensure it is not handled as separate entities," said Khalid.

Langat 2 is a mega project that includes the construction of a pipeline, a dam and a water treatment plant to transfer water from Pahang to Selangor.

In February, Khalid said the restructuring of the Selangor water services industry was crucial in ensuring the people of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya get efficient, effective and sustainable water services at reasonable tarrifs.

The Selangor government believes it can ensure adequate water supply in the state by upgrading the capacity of existing treatment plants and reducing non-revenue water loss through theft and leaking pipes, which at 32%, is higher than the World Bank's recommendation of less than 25%.

Two months ago, it was reported that under the Water Services Industry Act 2006, the water assets of states would be transferred to Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad (PAAB) at book value.

As such, the acquisition of the water assets would be funded by PAAB while the state government would fund the acquisition of the equity of the water concessions.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

DCP Mokhtar: Public response to CommAlerts application encouraging

Posted: 14 May 2013 04:59 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Members of the public are encouraged to download the free applications created by the police into their smartphones to help combat crimes in the state.

Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said its Community Alerts (CommAlerts) launched on March 2, this year had received good response from the public.

He said currently some 8,801 users had utilised the CommAlerts of which 7,161 had registered via android handphone and 1,640 through Apple IOS.

"We have received 2,052 calls from users and solved 30 emergency cases,'' DCP Mohd Mokhtar told reporters at the launch of E-Alerts portal recently.

He said the numbers of newly registered users for the CommAlerts had increased daily in Johor as well as those from Singapore.

CommAlerts is a free smartphone application for public to lodge emergency crime cases to police via their mobile phone just pressing the dedicated button set on their device.

Their alerts will be automatically channeled to the Johor police contingent operations centre and officers from the nearest police station would be sent to the crime scene.

"By subscribing to CommAlerts, there are no more excuses for not knowing how to contact the police when you are facing with the life threatening momemt,'' added DCP Mohd Mokhtar.

Similarly, he said the E-Alerts was the continuation of the Johor police web portal launched on July 2008, where more than 500,000 users had surfed the website.

DCP Mokhtar said Johor police were the first police contingent the country to launch such portal to receive and disseminate information on non-emergency cases through the media centre.

He said the E-Alerts was an interactive tool between the police and civilians on where information related to the non-emergency cases could be channeled via audio visual.

DCP Mokhtar said previously, the E-Alerts was only accessible via computers or notebooks but users could easily access it through their smartphones.

Frustrated car thieves cruelly torch cars they could not steal in Skudai

Posted: 14 May 2013 04:59 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: A group of car thieves, torched four cars when they were unable to steal them.

Brothers Ching Gek Boon, 37, and Ching Wee Boon, 33, the owners of a cars could only watch in despair as their heavily modified cars went up in flames at their home in Taman Skudai Baru here on April 30.

Gek Boon who was the first to realise something was amiss, said he heard the alarm of his Nissan AD Resort going off at around 3.30am while he was sleeping.

"I rushed downstairs and was shocked to find that my whole porch area was in flames," he said adding that upon closer inspection, he realised that the flames were coming from inside his cars.

Gek Boon said he immediately woke his family up and ushered them out of the back entrance before rushing to the porch with his brother Wee Boon to try and extinguish the fire.

"I felt like crying when I saw the cars in flames as my brother and I are motor sport enthusiasts and had spent more than RM30,000 modifying our cars," he said adding that the other cars were a Kelisa, Kenari and a Toyota Caldena.

He added that he and his brother tried to control the flames by hosing down the cars with water but most of the intrior was burnt beyond repair by the time the flames were put out.

"The thieves had set fire to old newspapers, placed them inside the four vehicles and closed the doors.

"The fire slowly grew inside the car and eventually erupted into mini fireballs which caused the windshield to crack and burst," he said adding that luckily the petrol tanks of the cars did not explode.

Gek Boon said on top of the cars that were damaged, his whole porch was also filled with black soot and some portions were burnt as well.

Meanwhile, Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan said the police have classified the case as arson.

"We are still investigating the matter and urge all those with information to contact the Johor police hotline at 07-221 2999 or visit the nearest police station," he said.

Dr Wee: No truth to service centre moving to Semerang

Posted: 14 May 2013 04:59 PM PDT

YONG PENG: Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong has squashed rumours reportedly saying that he would relocate his service centre from Yong Peng to Semerang.

There were rumours in the air that Dr Wee did not want to serve in the Chinese majority Yong Peng after receiving less support from them in the general election.

"There are all kinds of rumours, many people asked where will I move to and it confuses me because I never thought of that question.

"Yong Peng is an administration centre where the district council is located and the town has the highest population," he said when met at his existing service centre in Wisma Koperasi Yong Peng Berhad in Jalan Besar here recently.

Dr Wee won a majority of 7,310 votes against PAS' Hu Pang Chow. In 2008, he defeated PAS candidate Hussin Sujak by a majority of 13,909.

Dr Wee said he respected the people's verdict and never felt disappointed because of a the lower majority.

He explained that the Barisan Nasional's state assemblyman service centre has to seize operation because it was no longer effective, while his staff at his service centre located next door took two days to sort out the remaining cases under the former Yong Peng assemblyman Lim Kee Moi.

Lim, who received 8,350, lost to DAP's Chew Peck Chow who garnered 10,825 votes in the May 5 general election.

Dr Wee said his service centre resumed operations last Wednesday and had handled 40 applications for financial aids for chronic patients, 10 BR1M RM500 cash aid appeal cases and a number of applications for affordable housing scheme.

"I hope the public understand that she (Lim) is no longer an elected-representative and she cannot operate under the name of assemblyman, otherwise it will be embarrassing to have two assemblymen at the same time.

"We have to respect the new elected-representative, I believe she has her own service centre to serve the public.

"All parties must respect the people's decision and since a new assemblyman has been elected, she (Chew) is duty bound to serve especially in the area of state and local matters as she is given a chance, platform and position to do so," he said.

As an elected MP, Dr Wee said he was in the midst to restructure his service centre to include more staff and would continue to work harder and serve.

He added that he would have no problems to cooperate with the new assemblyman particularly on matters that would benefit the people.

"If there are good ideas that benefit the people it should be accepted as we don't have to go against it just because it's an Opposition party," he said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Rare Beatles' guitar goes to New York auction

Posted: 14 May 2013 11:21 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AFP) - This guitar may not quite gently weep, but it could at least make a well-heeled Beatles fan cry with happiness.

The VOX guitar played both by John Lennon and George Harrison is expected to sell for between US$200,000 and US$300,000 at auction in New York's Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday.

The custom-made instrument is the main lot in the Julien's Auctions sale.

Harrison used it while practicing I Am The Walrus and Lennon while recording a video session for Hello, Goodbye. It was given by Lennon to Apple Records electronics engineer Yanni "Magic Alex" Mardas in 1967, Julien's said.

It's a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one of the rarest pieces of Beatles memorabilia ever to be offered," the auction house said.

Beyonce cancels Belgium show due to dehydration

Posted: 14 May 2013 09:00 PM PDT

REUTERS - Singer Beyonce was forced to cancel her show in Antwerp, Belgium, on Tuesday because of dehydration and exhaustion, her representatives and concert venue Sportpaleis said.

"Beyonce (pic) has been advised by her doctors to rest as a result of dehydration and exhaustion and will not be able to perform in Antwerp, Belgium tonight," the venue said in a statement posted on its website.

It added that the singer was "awaiting word from her doctors before making a decision" on her second Antwerp performance scheduled for Wednesday.

Representatives for Beyonce said in a statement that the canceled concert would be rescheduled as soon as possible and "other tour dates are not expected to be affected."

The cancellation comes after multiple media outlets speculated over the weekend that Beyonce, 31, may be pregnant with her second child.

The Single Ladies singer is currently on the Europe leg of her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, part of her return to music after taking a year off following the birth of daughter Blue Ivy, the first child for Beyonce and her rapper-husband, Jay-Z.

Jimmy Eat World’s undamaged resolve

Posted: 15 May 2013 03:13 AM PDT

Alternative rock band Jimmy Eat World is back with an 'adult break-up album', recorded in its producer's living room.

EXACTLY 20 years ago, four young lads from Mesa, Arizona in the United States, got together and decided to form a band, naming themselves Jimmy Eat World after a picture that guitarist Tom Linton's little brother Ed had drawn of his other brother Jimmy stuffing the Earth into his mouth.

The quartet, which comprises of Linton, Jim Adkins (guitars, lead vocals), Rick Burch (bass) and Zach Lind (drums), started out playing punk rock music, with Linton on lead vocals. Adkins later took over the singing duties on their groundbreaking albums Clarity and Bleed American, which contained the hit The Middle. Thanks to the success of these albums, the band is now considered one of the pioneers of the emo rock movement in the early and mid1990s.

Two decades and seven albums later, the band members are now in their mid-30s, and are now preparing to release a new album titled Damage next month. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Adkins described the album as an "adult break-up album", explaining: "I'm 37 and the world around me is a lot different than when I was writing break-up songs in my 20s. I tried to reflect that in what the lyrics are."

Now, it's one thing to be 23 and singing soaring, emotional laments like 23 (from 2004's Futures), but with a wife and three kids now, isn't Adkins a little old and settled to be writing break-up songs?

When we posed the question to Tom Linton during a phone interview from Los Angeles, the guitarist said, "Well, I think everyone in a relationship has problems ... good and bad things happen in every relationship. Jim is just really good at writing lyrics about that sort of thing."

All the same, Linton emphasised that not all the songs in the album are depressing break-up songs for grown-ups to cry to. "Some of those songs are like that, but not the whole record. And they're not all for adults, you can still relate to the songs if you're still young!" he said.

Having recorded the last few albums in its home state Arizona, the band decided to change things around this time. The quartet recorded Damage in producer Alain Johannes' Los Angeles home.

Johannes, who also worked on Dave Grohl's Sound City Players project recently, practically gave the Jimmy Eat World crew the keys to his home.

"We recorded all over his house! He's got a great place, and his whole living room is filled with instruments from all over the world," recalled Linton.

"We had all the guitars in his bedroom, and all the different rooms had their own sounds. One area where Zach recorded his drums had a big sound, and another room had more of a live sound."

Jimmy Eat World chose to work with Johannes because he was the one that had the most ideas for the songs after hearing the band's demos.

"Al made us play the songs as best as we could, and helped give them a life of their own. He had a lot of different ideas – one was to record the guitar and drums on analogue tape machines, which we used before but have not for a long, long time."

Linton attributes the longevity of the band to the fact that they are just as excited with what they are doing now, as they were when they first started out.

"We're more excited every year that goes by, because every year, something new seems to happen to us," he said. "We get to play in different places, record with different people, and learn more about recording every year ... so we're always excited by what we do."

One thing Linton will not be doing in the near future is taking back the lead vocalist role that used to belong to him at the very beginning. "I'm pretty happy right now! Back then, it was not like we all sat down and they told me to stop singing! It happened naturally and for the better.

"I did sing a couple of songs on the last record (2010's Invented). Do I sing on the new one? I tried, but I got shot down!" he concluded with a laugh.

Jimmy Eat World's new album Damage will be released by Sony Music on June 11.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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Good childhood nutrition important for your child's health

Posted: 14 May 2013 04:51 PM PDT

Good early childhood nutrition can benefit your child's health in the present, as well as the future.

WE are all aware that good nutrition is important for all ages and at all stages of life. Good nutrition, however, is especially important for infants, toddlers and young children as they need various vitamins and minerals in balanced proportions to help their bodies and minds develop and mature.

Giving your child a healthy and balanced diet from young will also keep malnutrition problems at bay, as well as help create good nutrition habits for the future.

Why is nutrition important?

If a healthy body and mind is what you want for your child, then understanding the role of nutrition in the development of a young mind and body is important. Your child's diet must contain adequate amounts of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

There are a few reasons why this is important, namely:

*Growing strong bones

Nutrition plays a vital role in your child's bone development throughout life. Bone is a living and growing tissue, and the best time to build up bones is during childhood and the early teen years.

Give your child a diet which includes a sufficient amount of calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients can be found in milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. You should also encourage your child to get some sun outside the home as the sun provides natural vitamin D.

*Building muscles

Muscle development is crucial to support all physical activity. To build and repair muscle tissues, give your child a diet that contains adequate protein. Protein can be found in lean meats (such as chicken), eggs, cheese, milk, nuts and legumes.

*Fuel for the body

The food your child eats will provide the energy his body needs to function. The main source of energy is carbohydrates. Give him enough complex carbohydrates that not only provide him with energy, but also fibre, vitamins and minerals. Good examples include cereals (preferably the whole grain variety), rice, bread, oats, noodles, and pasta.

Other than the benefits mentioned above, there is another important facet of good nutrition – the prevention of chronic lifestyle diseases. Giving your child a healthy, balanced diet will help prevent obesity and chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and even certain cancers in adult life.

Learning correct portion sizes at a young age and eating a healthy, balanced diet will help prevent your kids from being overweight as they get older.

Being overweight puts them at risk for various diseases and can even lead to low self-esteem.

The main principles to achieve good nutrition and healthy eating are encapsulated in the Malaysian Food Pyramid's mantra of BMV, which stands for Balance, Moderation and Variety.

The Malaysian Food Pyramid is made up of four levels, and the whole idea is to consume foods in direct proportion with the size of the levels, eg foods at the base of the pyramid should be consumed in greater quantity compared to foods at the top of the pyramid.

Find out which foods belong to which levels, and then learn how to relate the four levels into your daily meals. From there, it's time to put the basics of good nutrition and healthy eating into practise:

*Balance – the four levels demonstrate the necessity to take meals that are made up of foods from all five food groups.

*Moderation – It is not just the types of foods you eat, but also the quantity. Emphasis should be placed on taking moderate servings of food in order to prevent overeating.

*Variety – to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need, foods should be consumed from each food group. Hence, there should always be a variety of food from meal to meal.

Getting started

Children would naturally develop a preference for foods that they enjoy most. As a parent, the challenge for you is to make the healthier choices appeal to your child.

It may be difficult to convince your child that an apple is preferable to a cookie when it comes to treats. However, if you ensure that your child's diet is as nutritious and wholesome as possible, having "treats" every so often should not be an issue.

So how can you get your child started? Here are some tips you can refer to:

*Eat regular family meals together. Having dinner together as a family can be comforting to your child and may enhance his appetite.

Breakfast is also a good chance to have a family meal, and it helps reinforce the habit of having breakfast among kids.

*Have more home-cooked meals. This is the healthiest alternative for the entire family and enhances your child's perception of the importance of food. Eating out often results in a higher intake of fat, sugar and salt. Try to leave dining out for special occasions as much as possible.

*Get your child involved. Children usually enjoy helping adults, so get your child to pitch in when you go shopping for groceries, or when you are preparing family meals. It's a great chance to teach your child about the nutritional values of foods, and how to select healthy foods when shopping.

*Make healthy snacks. Instead of letting your child eat empty-nutrient snacks like candies, let him have fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice). Make these healthy alternatives easily accessible and keep offering them to your child until he becomes used to reaching for healthy snacks instead of empty-nutrient snacks like soda, chips, or cookies.

*Limit portion sizes. Make it a point not to force your child to finish his meals; it's better to tailor his meals to his appetite instead to ensure that he doesn't overeat. Also, be sure not to use food as a reward or bribe.

Food for thought

Good nutrition during the early years of a child's life is linked to better performance in school as well as in latter years. Undernourished children have lower resistance to infections, and thus become sick more often, miss school and fail to keep up with school work.

As a parent, you can help prevent nutritional deficiencies in your child by providing him with a well-balanced diet. Remember that you don't need a degree in chemistry or medicine to do this. You can start by simply selecting and cooking the right foods that contain the essential nutrients his body needs to grow and develop.

Use the Malaysian Food Pyramid or the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines as a guide to help you.

It is also important to remember that physical activity is just as essential to your child's overall physical and psychological health. Encourage him to be active every day by helping you around the house, kicking a ball around, playing a game of chase, or having fun on the monkey bars at the park.

Children should also do moderately intensive physical activities like cycling, swimming, or participate in sports like football, badminton or basketball, at least five to six times a week.

Limit your child's physical inactivity and sedentary habits like watching television or playing video games. Children who regularly exercise or maintain an activity that is of a longer duration or more vigorous in intensity will gain more health benefits.

So, get your child into the habit of healthy eating and healthy living.


1. http://www.bma.org.uk/images/Early%20life%20nutrition%20FINAL_tcm41-182859.pdf

2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/382603-why-nutrition-is-important-for-children/

3. http://www.essortment.com/nutrition-young-children-57010.html

4. http://nutrition.about.com/od/nutrition101/a/why_nutrition.htm

5. http://nfsmi-web01.nfsmi.olemiss.edu/%28X%281%29%29/documentlibraryfiles/PDF/20080612091850.pdf

6. http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/nutrition-promotes-healthy-living.html

7. http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/conditions/osteoporosis/promote.htm

Note: If you have questions about nutrition for children or specific concerns about your child's diet, talk to your child's doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian. Information on the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines 2010 can be obtained from the Ministry of Health website: www.moh.gov.my. The Nutrition Society of Malaysia has also made available leaflets of these guidelines for the public (nutriweb.org.my).

Sight-threatening conditions a growing concern in Malaysia

Posted: 15 May 2013 06:40 AM PDT

Sight-threatening conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are becoming a growing concern. Find out more about such problems during the upcoming Retinal Diseases Awareness Week which kicks off this Saturday.

THEY say that the eyes are the mirror of the soul.

Unfortunately, sight-threatening conditions such as retinal diseases are becoming a growing concern among Malaysians, says consultant ophthalmologist Dr Tara Mary George

The retina is a layer of tissue in the back of your eye that senses light and sends images to your brain.

Retinal disorders affect this vital nervous tissue, resulting in vision impairment. In some cases, it can even lead to partial or total vision loss.

In young people, the major cause of vision loss due to retinal disease is diabetic retinopathy, says Dr George.

Diabetes can lead to progressive damage to the eye's retina. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no symptoms. However, if left untreated, over time, the condition can lead to blindness.

Current statistics reveal that Malaysia is now the fattest country in South-East Asia. According to the Health Ministry, about two in every five Malaysian adults are now either overweight or obese. And this brings with it an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.

"If you have had diabetes for more than 10 years, then you will likely experience some changes in your retina," the doctor points out.

"Unfortunately, more and more young people are now affected with diabetes, and with that, they have an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Losing your vision when you are still within the working age-group can be debilitating," she says.

Other medical problems that can aggravate the condition include hypertension, high cholesterol and kidney disease.

The good news is, about 90% of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy is preventable if it is diagnosed early.

Meanwhile, in older adults, the retinal disease that most often affects them is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

"Anyone above the age of 50 is at risk of developing AMD, and it is a retinal disease that most often results in vision loss in the older population," says Dr George.

AMD affects the central vision used for reading and fine visual tasks. Symptoms include distorted vision, where straight objects such as "a lamp post or your bathroom tiles appear wavy". Other symptoms include blind spots or dark patches in the central vision.

"Most people are not aware they have this condition, because when one eye is affected, the other eye compensates for it," Dr George notes.

She shares that a pilot study conducted at a government hospital has shown that almost 50% of AMD patients go on to seek treatment only at the advance stage of the disease, or if they have already lost vision in one eye.

"Most people just accept that worsening eyesight is part-and-parcel of growing older," she adds.

To address these rising concerns, The Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology (MSO) aims to raise public awareness on the signs and symptoms of retinal diseases with the upcoming Retinal Diseases Awareness Week.

The programme will kick off with a road-show at the Ground Floor at One Utama Shopping Centre from May 18 till May 19.

Members of the public will get to enjoy free retinal screenings as well as expert advice from eye care professionals from MSO at the event.

Other fun and interactive activities at the event include colouring contests and a Zumba session. Admission is free.

In addition, MSO will also be extending its reach beyond the Klang Valley by bringing educational talks and retinal screenings to various locations nationwide.

For details, visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/MalaysianSocietyOfOphthalmology.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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