Khamis, 16 Mei 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Keeping up with Ke$ha

Posted: 16 May 2013 05:00 PM PDT

The flamboyant singer gives fans a peek into her colourful and vibrant life in a new reality series.

AT first glance, pop star Ke$ha's life looks like a kaleidoscope made up of a frenzy of glitzy concert shows, night after night of wild partying and colourful (ahem) "encounters" with strangers at the bar.

"I like to make out with people, I'm kind of like a make out slut," Ke$ha said candidly in a recent conference call from Los Angeles. "But I don't actually do more than that with anybody. I think people think that I get super frisky all the time, but I don't. I just like to make out with people because kissing is super fun," she quickly added.

The singer-rapper, whose real name is Kesha Rose Sebert, was fielding questions about her six-part documentary series, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, where viewers get front row seat to her wacky, exciting life.

The 26-year-old star explained there was nothing she wouldn't do just because the cameras were rolling. Get this, the man behind the camera is her brother. Journalist and documentary filmmaker Lagan Sebert left his job and filmed his sister's journey as she travelled around Europe, Australia and North America as part of her Get Sleazy Tour in 2011.

Ke$ha said that it was this close relationship with her brother that made her feel comfortable in showing viewers the real her. (If it's any indication, she repeatedly peppered the interview with statements about the show like "no makeup on," "no pants on" or "I wish I put a bra on"). In fact, she felt so comfortable that she allowed cameras to capture her drinking her own urine.

"I did drink my pee, but that was because I'm really bad at saying no. And I also have a philosophy that I'm down to try anything in life one time … So I tried it, and it was really disgusting. I don't recommend it, and I probably won't be drinking my pee ever again," she revealed.

The controversial scene may not make it to the series but Ke$ha is fighting hard to get the footage aired in a bid to "give my fans the truth".

But it is not all fluff all the time with Ke$ha. As the camera rolls on, viewers will see a shift in her life. In one episode, she speaks through tears about celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's move to leak intimate photos of her and her boyfriend Harold, eventually leading to their break up.

"He single-handedly ruined the only relationship that's ever meant anything to me," she said after learning that the blogger was among the audience at the Los Angeles leg of her tour.

"My family doesn't have to deal with this. He stands for everything I hate. Everything I'm against."

Ke$ha also called the blogger "a bully that was incredibly loud and had a platform" but said that the experience enabled her fans to relate to her more.

"I think it just shows my fans that, although on a different level, I also know what it feels like to be bullied just for being yourself," she said, adding that she used to get bullied in school for her fashion choices.

True enough, in an episode, a bullied teenager, Jaiho, walks up to the singer and thanks her for empowering him through her music.

With so many reality shows on TV these days, notably, Keeping Up With The Kardashians (Ke$ha admitted to being "secretly in love" with the show), one wonders how will Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life compete with them.

Ke$ha shared that she doesn't see it as a competition: "I love seeing women dominate the airwaves musically and I love seeing women all over TV just killing it. So it never really felt like a competition, and we're so different that it's not a competitive thing for me."

Asked whether the singer will swap her "crazy" life for marriage, babies and a home in the suburbs (like the Kardashian sisters, perhaps?), she responded with a laugh: "Ew, gross."

> Watch Ke$ha living her cool life every Saturday at 5.30pm on MTV (Astro Ch 713).

Gillian Anderson has the X factor

Posted: 17 May 2013 04:16 AM PDT

After more than a decade away from American television, actress Gillian Anderson is back on the new TV series Hannibal, playing psychiatrist to human flesh-chewing, Chanti-sipping serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Her three-episode arc on the show is sure to delight fans of science-fiction series The X-Files, nothing short of a pop cultural phenomenon when it aired from 1993 to 2002, on which she played FBI Agent Dana Scully.

At a press conference for the show in Toronto, the 44-year-old says she was drawn to this project by the stellar cast, which includes actors such as Hugh Dancy (Martha Marcy May Marlene, 2011), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, 2006) and Laurence Fishburne (the Matrix films, 1999 to 2003).

"The thought of being able to dip into Toronto for a few days and play with this line-up of actors was just too good to refuse," says Anderson, who also reveals there is a connection between Agent Scully and the female FBI agent Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster in The Silence Of The Lambs (1991), a role which won her the Best Actress Oscar.

"It feels a little bit like a full circle, because The X-Files started shortly after The Silence Of The Lambs came out. And I was told shortly after we began that she (Dana Scully) was loosely based on Jodie Foster's character," she says. The X-Files creator Chris Carter has long cited Jonathan Demme's film adaptation as an inspiration, and has said that he deliberately made Scully a redhead like Starling.

"There's something about it that feels like we're in the same conversation," adds Anderson, who was reportedly in the running for the role of Starling in the 2001 Lambs sequel, Hannibal. It eventually went to Julianne Moore.

As Scully, Anderson became something of a geek goddess for the legions of viewers who lapped up the show's alien abductions and conspiracy theories, and even a lightning rod for debates about feminism because of her unusual partnership with Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), which eventually turned romantic.

When the series ended, the actress seemed to vanish off the radar in the United States, although she appeared in the two X-Files films in 1998 and 2008, which disappointed fans and tanked at the American box office.

She did better on the other side of the pond, where she slipped easily into a British accent because of a decade spent there as a child, appearing in TV productions such as an adaptation of Bleak House (2005) and the period drama Any Human Heart (2010), which earned her a Bafta nomination for her role as Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor whom King Edward VIII abdicated to marry. She also had a supporting role in the acclaimed 2006 film The Last King Of Scotland.

The X-Files is still something Anderson holds close to heart; she believes the show was ground-breaking in many ways.

"If you look at the way that it was lit, the way that it was shot, the production values, the money that was thrown into it and the horror aspect of it, the unsolved crimes... I mean, look at the number of other shows that have tried to copy it over the last 20 years," she says.

The show has also had a lasting impact on her - she admits that there will always be a little bit of Dana Scully in all her performances.

"She's there somewhere." – The Straits Times, Singapore/ Asia News Network.

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


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Canadian senator quits Conservative caucus over expenses scandal

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:47 PM PDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian senator stepped down from the Conservative caucus on Thursday after a scandal surrounding his expenses and how he obtained money to repay them.

The government has said that Senator Mike Duffy accepted a personal check for C$90,000 ($88,000) from the chief of staff of Prime Minister Stephen Harper so he could repay housing allowances he should not have received.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) speaks with Conservative Senator Mike Duffy during the G8/G20 National Youth Caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 17, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) speaks with Conservative Senator Mike Duffy during the G8/G20 National Youth Caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 17, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Critics said the check made a mockery of the Conservatives' promise of clean government and increased accountability.

Opinion polls taken before the scandal broke showed the party trailing the opposition Liberals, although an election is due only in 2015.

Duffy, a former journalist who Harper named to the unelected upper house of Parliament in 2008, said in a brief statement that his presence as a Conservative member of the Senate had become a "distraction."

"I have decided to step outside of the caucus and sit as an independent Senator pending resolution of these questions," he said in a statement.

"Throughout this entire situation I have sought only to do the right thing. I look forward to all relevant facts being made clear in due course, at which point I am hopeful I will be able to rejoin the Conservative caucus."

Duffy is one of three senators caught up in the expenses scandal, an issue that has become a big embarrassment for Harper. A second senator has already stepped down from the Liberal caucus, while a third was expelled from the Conservative caucus after he was charged with assault.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Janet Guttsman; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Uzbek citizen arrested in Idaho, accused of supporting militants

Posted: 16 May 2013 05:30 PM PDT

(Reuters) - U.S. officials charged an Uzbek citizen in Idaho with providing bomb-making knowledge and other support to an Islamist militant group, knowing that it would be used in an attack, authorities said on Thursday.

Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, a national of Uzbekistan living legally in Idaho, was arrested in Boise and faces a three-count grand jury indictment in Idaho and a single-count indictment in Utah, prosecutors said.

They said Kurbanov provided information and money to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the United States has designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The group supports establishing strict Islamic rule in Uzbekistan.

Authorities said Kurbanov's activities were closely monitored and any potential threat had been contained.

The indictment alleges that Kurbanov had provided support and resources to the group since August 2012 and that he knew this could be used to prepare for and carry out an attack using a weapon of mass destruction. He could face up to 15 years in prison on each of those two charges.

Kurbanov was also charged with possessing a hand grenade, with a fuse as well as aluminium powder, potassium nitrate and sulphur, which could be used to create an improvised bomb. That charge calls for up to 10 years in prison.

In Utah, prosecutors said Kurbanov had showed Internet videos, gave instructional shopping trips, and detailed in writing where to find components and how to build bombs.

Kurbanov intended the teachings be used for training in bombings of public transportation systems, infrastructure or other buildings, prosecutors said. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the Utah charge.

Kurbanov is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boise on Friday, prosecutors said, adding that he would be transferred to Utah after the Idaho prosecution is concluded.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China president takes charge of sweeping economic reform plans - sources

Posted: 16 May 2013 05:01 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken charge of drawing up ambitious reform plans to revitalise the economy, sources close to the government said, shunning policy stimulus for fear it could worsen local government debt and inflate property prices.

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with French President Francois Hollande (not seen) during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 25, 2013. REUTERS/Yohsuke Mizuno/Pool

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with French President Francois Hollande (not seen) during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 25, 2013. REUTERS/Yohsuke Mizuno/Pool

A consensus had been reached among top leaders that reforms would be the only way to put the world's second-largest economy on a more sustainable footing, said the sources, who are familiar with the plans and Xi's involvement.

China's economic growth is at its weakest in 13 years, although still the envy of any major economy.

Xi will present the reforms at a key meeting of the ruling Communist Party later this year that will set the agenda for the next decade, signalling his seriousness to see breakthroughs, the sources told Reuters.

Some of the sources cautioned that the reforms could face resistance from vested interests, especially state firms.

Broadly, the measures would liberalise interest rates and overhaul the fiscal system for local governments to ensure they had a steady stream of tax revenues rather than relying on volatile land sales to raise funds.

The reforms would also free up China's rigid residence registration, or hukou, system that precludes people from access to basic welfare services outside their official residence area, the sources said.

"A top-level team has been set up to draft reform plans for the party meeting, with Xi taking personal charge," said a senior economist at a top government think-tank in Beijing.

"Xi is keen to see some real changes," said the economist, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Big injections of policy stimulus appear to be off the table after Premier Li Keqiang was quoted by state media as saying on Wednesday there was limited room to use government spending to boost the economy.

"China's economic model has reached a point where it must be overhauled, although reforms are probably easier said than done," said Shi Xiaomin, vice head of the China Society of Economic Reform, a government think-tank in Beijing.

"The sense of crisis of Xi and Li is significantly higher than their predecessors."

Xi and Li assumed their government posts in March during a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

Some critics said the previous administration of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao had delayed economic reforms and failed to deal with the fallout from China's 4 trillion yuan (425 billion pounds) stimulus package in 2008. The package insulated China from the global financial crisis but left a mountain of local government debt and record house prices.

Xi and Li, by contrast, have been leaning toward reforms rather than short-term policy stimulus to bolster the economy.

"They are more eager to tackle long-term issues through reform measures. China's economic slowdown is mainly caused by structural factors," said Wang Jun, senior economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), a well-connected government think-tank in Beijing.


Such structural drags have become more obvious this year as annual economic growth slowed to 7.7 percent in the first quarter from 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Full-year GDP growth of 7.8 percent in 2012 was the slowest since 1999. Weakness has persisted in April despite a credit boom.

Freer interest rates would help curb China's sprawling shadow banking sector - lending by businesses other than banks - because state controlled bank deposit rates are fanning a boom in risky alternative investments. At the same time, state firms with preferential access to credit are profiting at the expense of cash-starved private companies.

The most pressing reform is to overhaul the fiscal system for local governments since Beijing is counting on a new urbanisation programme to drive economic growth by unleashing the spending power of rural workers.

China plans to spend 40 trillion yuan to bring 400 million people into its cities over the next decade. But local governments don't have steady tax revenues to back the issuance of bonds that would finance spending on roads, apartments and other infrastructure. The central bank has turned down the option of using bank loans.

Under China's current tax structure that has been in place since 1994, the central government gets the lion's share of receipts while local governments do most of the spending, forcing them to rely on land sales for survival.

Linked to the urbanisation drive is reforming the hukou system, which economists say would turn millions of migrant workers into consumers if they had access to welfare services outside their home region.

Ratings agency Fitch has estimated local government debt was 12.85 trillion yuan at the end of 2012, or about 25 percent of GDP. The latest official data put the figure at 10.7 trillion yuan by the end of 2010.


The reforms will be presented at the third plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, expected in October.

Many economists see this as a critical period for China if it wants to avoid the so-called middle income trap, where wealth creation stagnates as market share is lost to lower-cost competitors and the attainment of high-income country status stays out of reach.

Third plenums have been the springboard for key changes in China in the past. Former leader Deng Xiaoping launched historic reforms at the third plenum of the 11th party committee in 1978 to rescue the economy from the verge of collapse after Mao Zedong's disastrous Cultural Revolution.

The third plenum of the 14th committee in 1993 endorsed the "socialist" market economy, paving the way for sweeping reforms spearheaded by former Premier Zhu Rongji.

China's new leaders have installed several Zhu lieutenants in top government posts, including Vice Premier Ma Kai and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, while central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan was kept on after the leadership transition.

Still, pushing reforms looks harder than in the 1990s as the economy has become more sophisticated and questions remain over whether economic reforms could run into political roadblocks.

Xi recently launched a frugality campaign to target official extravagance, but there has been little apparent progress to get officials to publicly disclose their assets.

"It won't be smooth sailing," said Lian Ping, chief economist at Bank of Communications, the country's fifth biggest lender, in Shanghai.

(Editing by Dean Yates)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

BWF sign four-year deal with IMG Media

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:47 PM PDT

THE Badminton World Federation (BWF) received a tremendous boost when they signed a four-year contract with IMG Media.

The new media group will have the rights over all BWF major events, world Superseries and Grand Prix Gold events and will play a crucial role in promoting the sport.

The BWF events are currently televised in more than 160 countries, with more than 5,000 hours of annual coverage. On top of that, BWF's online channel boasts of 22 million views.

The new agreement yesterday will further boost the statistics. Outgoing BWF president Dr Kang Young-joong said that he could now leave the world body with great satisfaction.

"I've said before that my goal was to strengthen BWF's financial position ... and this agreement with IMG further ensures that. BWF are guaranteed higher revenues from this deal than ever before for media rights," he said.

A new president – either Poul-Hoyer Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark or Justian Suhandinata of Indonesia – will take over after the annual general meeting (AGM) tomorrow.

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Danish manager believes shuttlers will step up without two old stars

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:49 PM PDT

TWO old stars – Peter-Gade Christensen and reigning All-England champion Tine Baun – will be sorely missed when Denmark begin their Sudirman Cup campaign at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

But team manager Finn Traerup-Hansen believes that the Danes can still challenge for a medal in the world mixed team event.

The talented Gade-Christensen, who has a great following in Malaysia, quit the sport last year while Baun retired after winning her third All-England title in March.

In her absence, Denmark will be banking on new faces Julie Houmann, Line Kjaersfelt and Anna Thea Madsen to step up to the plate. The others in the team are women's doubles shuttlers Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl, Line Kruse-Marie Ropke.

The Danish men are Jan O Jorgensen, Viktor Axelsen, Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen, Rasmus Bonde-Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Anders Kristiansen.

Traerup-Hansen admitted that the women's singles "are in a transition state".

"It's clear to everyone that our women's team isn't as strong as it used to be with the retirement of Tine," said Traerup-Hansen.

"All our women's singles are from the Under-19 development programme. They are young and very motivated but their experience is limited. This will be a good platform for them to have a taste of a huge event.

"We, however, have a strong mixed doubles, women's doubles and men's doubles line-ups. Our men's singles players are without Peter but Jan and Viktor can rise to the occasion.

"This gives us the confidence that we can challenge for a medal in this year's edition."

He, however, said that they would be keeping an eye on several teams.

"Japan have come very far while Singapore have a reasonably good side. Malaysia have home advantage. China and South Korea will be the regular favourites. We will play to our best to stay among the medallist again," said Traerup-Hansen, who is also the Denmark BA director of sport.

Denmark are in Group D with Japan and Singapore.

Denmark reached the final at the previous edition in Qingdao, China, but were beaten 3-0 by China.


Group A: China, Indonesia, India.

Group B: Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong.

Group C: Malaysia, Germany, Taiwan.

Group D: Denmark, Japan, Singapore.

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Rexy calls the shots as Indonesian badminton supremo

Rexy calls the shots as Indonesian badminton supremo

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:51 PM PDT

FORMER Olympic gold medallist Rexy Mainaky is loving every minute of his high-profile job as Indonesia's high performance director.

Rexy left Malaysia last year after serving for seven years. But not before pushing for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to name a chief coach or a high performance director to chart the country's badminton fortunes.

It did not work out for him in Malaysia but at least Rexy is glad that he's got the chance to do it the right way for Indonesia.

As the new supremo, Rexy is ready to revive the flagging fortunes of Indonesian badminton.

The ever jovial and friendly Rexy officially started work last month – almost a year after leaving the BAM in February last year and trying his luck with the Philippines for a while.

And he said it was good to get back to his roots.

"I've coached in England, Malaysia and the Philippines (briefly). After experiencing 13 wonderful years working aboard, it was time for me to return home," said Rexy, who is here with the Indonesian team for the Sudirman Cup, which will begin on Sunday at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

"I was called to help restore Indonesia's status as one of the most successful badminton nations in the world and I felt it was time for me to give something back to my country. As an Olympic medallist, the management felt that the shuttlers will respect me and I'll be able to empower them.

"As a performance director, I can put things in place. Like Malaysia, Indonesia also has talented players but something's gone missing. We want to develop players with potential into world-beaters in the right way.

"As the main man, I can see the big picture and oversee the running of the whole training programme. I'm able to delegate the tasks at different levels of coaching and training of the players and monitor their progress," he said.

"If there's something wrong, I'm able to spot it and also prevent the overlapping of roles.

"As the performance director, I'm also able to conduct selection in a fair manner. I'm able to question the coaches if I think the selection of a player is not justified. My experience will surely help.

"I have laid out both the short and long-term plans and am confident that Indonesia will rise up again."

Indonesia will be taking part in the Sudirman Cup without two key players – Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Simon Santoso – but Rexy is not too perturbed.

"It's time to give the younger players a chance to prove themselves. I believe that Tommy Sugiarto and Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka are just as capable. They just need the opportunity and platform to establish themselves," he said.

"Sony and Simon are still part of the national team but we are opening up. We are working in partnership with our junior programme so that everything will be in tandem with the vision of the national team."

At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Indonesia suffered their worst outing when they failed to win any medals. It was the first time that they returned empty-handed since badminton made its debut as an Olympic sport in Barcelona in 1992.

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Ricky's task is to raise Indonesian players' profile


The Star Online: Business

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RHB Research Neutral on UMW, fair value unch at RM13.15

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:59 PM PDT

Published: Friday May 17, 2013 MYT 9:59:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Research is maintaining its Neutral recommendation on UMW Holdings with an unchanged fair value of RM13.15 after the latest corporate development involving the proposed listing of its oil and gas (O&G) subsidiary.

It said on Friday UMW would transfer the offshore drilling business and certain companies in the oilfield services division under UMW and its subsidiaries to UMW-OG. The listing would be by the fourth quarter of 2013.

UMW-OG is involved in the upstream sector of the O&G industry, providing offshore drilling and oilfield services, including engineering and maintenance services.

RHB Research said the listing company would only include UMW's profitable core oil and gas (O&G) businesses in offshore drilling and oilfield services while the unprofitable, non-core loss making O&G businesses would be retained in UMW.

The initial public offer (IPO) involves 843.18 million UMW-OG shares or 39% of the enlarged capital of UMW-OG. UMW will offer for sale 231.38mil UMW-OG shares and a public issue by UMW-OG of 611.8mil new shares. UMW will end up with a 61% stake in UMW-OG after the IPO.

It said UMW management would hold a briefing for analysts later Friday.


CIMB Research: Catcha Media severely undervalued

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:30 PM PDT

Published: Friday May 17, 2013 MYT 9:31:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research said Catcha Media is severely undervalued as it trades at less than the value of its stake in iCar Asia Ltd.

The research house said on Friday the Australia-listed iCar Asia is Asean's top online auto classified portal.

"This attributes zero value to the advertising and e-commerce businesses and investors are getting them for free. "Our target price of 96 sen a share is based on a bottom-up sum-of-parts (SOP) based methodology, which implies an upside of 45%," it said.

CIMB Research said its valuation was transparent as 58% of its SOP value is derived from iCar Asia Ltd's market cap on the Australian Stock Exchange.

"Catcha Media has been overlooked and appreciation of its business and outlook is a catalyst," it said.

Listed on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia in 2011, the stock has languished, now 30% below the IPO price, due to the different media platforms in its stable that appear unrelated.


KLCI opens higher, IOI Corp, Genting up

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:15 PM PDT

Published: Friday May 17, 2013 MYT 9:16:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips rose at the start of trade on Friday, on mild buying interest in UMW, Hong Leong Bank, IOI Corp and Genting Bhd as investors shrugged off the previous day's dismal performance.

At 9am, the FBM KLCI was up 2.12 points to 1,768.84. Turnover was 28.58 million shares valued at RM10.77mil. There were 78 gainers, 41 losers and 95 counters unchanged.

BIMB Securities Research was cautious on the outlook for the market and pegged the immediate support for the index at 1,760.

"The KLCI was down 16.31 points to 1,766.72 as the profit taking mode has been triggered. Judging from the selling intensity yesterday, we reckon the downtrend to persist today as market sentiments may have been negative," it said.

BIMB Research said investors deemed the US below par economic data as reasons to lock in profits after registering multi-level highs recently.

It added the selling was also fuelled by statement that "the Feds may reduce the monthly QE asset buying as early as this summer".

At Bursa Malaysia, UMW was the top gainer, up 18 sen to RM14.16 with 100 shares done while HL Bank gained 10 sen to RM14.10 and IOI Corp six sen higher at RM5.13.

Genting and Ambank added four sen each to RM10.62 and RM7.19.



The Star Online: Nation

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BN can woo back urban voters, says Khairy

Posted: 16 May 2013 09:08 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly-appointed Sports and Youth Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said some unhappy urban voters who voted for the opposition could be wooed back to support Barisan Nasional.

The Umno Youth chief said this could be done by tackling issues close to their hearts.

"The election result is not a disaster for us (BN). We just need to address some issues like why some urban voters are not supporting us.

"I believe they merajuk (sulking), or jatuh cinta sekejap (puppy love) with the (opposition's) populist promises.

"We can pujuk (cajole) them since (tackling) some issues like transportation, corruption and crime is already work in progress," he told a forum entitled, "Leading The Nation Forward Post-GE13", here, Thursday night.

Khairy, who is also the Rembau MP, said the question of who had the most popular votes was not important as the people still had faith in the BN-led government and refused to fall for the opposition's populist promises. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

The Great Gatsby: All for love

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:59 AM PDT

Baz Luhrmann's ambitious take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic is easy on the eyes and resonates strongly with the lovelorn.

The Great Gatsby, which kicked off the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week, is not just any movie.

Filmmakers have been trying to get it right for the last 90 years – there were movies made in 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000 – and thus I count Baz Luhrmann as the fifth director attempting to find that Midas touch (the Morgan and Maecenas touch would do, too).

What has made Gatsby so endlessly fascinating to so many generations of readers? Was it Fitzgerald's bold, insightful commentary of the 1920s American nouveau riche (his own opulent lifestyle as a New York celebrity afforded him a bird's-eye view, after all)?

Was it the wild and vibrant Jazz Age that gave the novel such a splendid backdrop and made it so wondrously captivating? Or was it the heart-rending story of unrequited love at the heart of the book that made everyone empathise with it?

The novel – slim though it be – is packed with imagery and metaphor (I am racing through an RM8.50 copy I picked up at Borders for a quick recap, and I see lines like "inside, the crimson red room bloomed with light" and can just imagine how Luhrmann's eyes must have lit up at the prospect of bringing such words to life).

There is no doubt that Luhrmann has crafted a beautiful film. One expects no less of him. The colours are rich, the costumery gorgeous (with Brooks Brothers and Prada on the payroll we would expect nothing less), special effects dazzling (and in 3D to boot), the music is heady, and the actors beautiful.

In fact, the whole gin gang – comprising Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway), Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton (Daisy and Tom Buchanan), Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke (Myrtle and George Wilson), Elizabeth Debicki (Jordan Baker), and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan (Meyer Wolfshiem) – is so deliciously good-looking.

See Star2 on Saturday for the full review in print.

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Will the fifth time be the charm?

Will the fifth time be the charm?

Posted: 16 May 2013 06:46 AM PDT

The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been filmed for the big screen three times before Australian director Baz Luhrmann worked his magic on the latest instalment, which began its run in Malaysian cinemas on May 16.

All four movies have retained the novel's title and each one stayed quite faithful to the original plot. There was also one TV film adaptation, and the book's famous characters and storyline have been re-enacted in several popular TV shows.

Director: Herbert Brenon
Cast: Warner Baxter (Jay Gatsby), Lois Wilson (Daisy Buchanan), Neil Hamilton (Nick Carraway), Georgia Hale (Myrtle Wilson), William Powell (George Wilson)

This black-and-white silent movie is said to be the most faithful adaptation of the book (reports say that perhaps the author had provided his input to the studio), but since it was made 87 years ago, a full version of the film is unfortunately not available today.

Director: Elliott Nugent
Cast: Alan Ladd (Jay), Betty Field (Daisy), Macdonald Carey (Nick), Shelley Winters (Myrtle), Howard Da Silva (George)
Notable song: Al Jolson's There's A Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder Based on online reviews, it seems this version did not stick to the storyline, and was even a little off-base with the fashion. Also, there are quite a lot of negative comments on the acting.

Director: Jack Clayton, with a script by Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Robert Redford (Jay), Mia Farrow (Daisy), Sam Waterston (Nick), Karen Black (Myrtle), Scott Wilson (George) Notable song: Irving Berlin's What'll I Do (sung by William Atherton in the film)

Perhaps the most well-known adaptation, this film sees Redford and Farrow playing the young lovers. Howard Da Silva, who played George Wilson in the 1949 film, appears in this one as a character named Meyer Wolfsheim.

2000 Director: Robert Markowitz
Cast: Toby Stephens (Jay), Mira Sorvino (Daisy), Paul Rudd (Nick), Heather Goldenhersh (Myrtle), William Camp (George) This made-for-television film has received much praise for Rudd's portrayal of the film's narrator (which is Jay's best friend Nick), but not so much of British actor Stephens' work. Rudd, who, prior to this movie was best known as Alicia Silverston's lovable stepbrother in Clueless, did a good job bringing not just Nick but the story to life.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay), Carey Mulligan (Daisy), Tobey Maguire (Nick), Isla Fisher (Myrtle), Jason Clarke (George)
This latest version was released last week in the United States and was the opening film at the Cannes Film Festival, which is currently happening. Early reviews praise the movie's amazing visuals and also DiCaprio's stand-out performance as the main character. However, Luhrmann's choice of music for the film bewilders many. Indian actor Amitabh Bachhan is also in the film, playing Meyer Wolfsheim.

'Mad Men' star Hamm shooting new film in India

Posted: 16 May 2013 12:19 AM PDT

MUMBAI (AFP) - Hollywood actor Jon Hamm, best known as the dapper Don Draper in hit US TV series Mad Men, has begun shooting his new film in the home of Bollywood, according to those working on the movie.

Hamm is in Mumbai for the making of Disney's Million Dollar Arm, based on a true story, in which he stars as sports agent J. B. Bernstein who discovers two Indian teenagers and signs them up to play baseball.

"This is so cool and yet so weird -- Jon Hamm (pic) playing me in a movie -- this shoot has begun," Bernstein wrote on Twitter, posting a picture of Hamm being filmed in the Indian city.

A member of the film crew, declining to be named, confirmed to AFP late Tuesday that shooting was under way in Mumbai's northern suburbs.

Hamm, 42, has also been spotted out on the town posing with fans and dining with top Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, according to local media reports.

Slated for release next year, Million Dollar Arm is directed by Craig Gillespie and also stars Indian actor Suraj Sharma, last seen in Ang Lee's Oscar-winning Life Of Pi.

In the real-life tale behind the film, Bernstein used a reality TV show to recruit Indian cricket players to Major League Baseball, with the chance for them to win training in the United States.

Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the 2008 winners, accompanied Bernstein to America to learn the new sport and were eventually signed up to the Pittsburgh Pirates team.


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Simply delicious

Posted: 16 May 2013 01:24 AM PDT

Impressionist 'chef' cooks up record art sale in New York.

AN Impressionist oil painting depicting a chef in his whites has fetched a tasty US$18mil (RM54mil) – the most ever paid at auction for a work by the artist Chaim Soutine.

Soutine's Le Petit Patissier (The Little Pastry Chef), was the highlight of the Christie's auction in New York last week. Christie's said Soutine's rosy-cheeked chef, the sixth of a renowned series painted in about 1927, set an auction record for the Russian-born French artist. The previous highest result for any of his works was US$17.2mil (RM51mil) in London in 2007.

Marc Chagall's unusual Three Acrobats was the second most expensive work at the Manhattan sale, taking US$13mil (RM39mil).However, Andre Derain's 1905 Portrait de Madame Matisse au kimono, failed to find a buyer. Christie's had heralded the painting of Matisse's wife as "the most important portrait" ever auctioned by Derain, the co-founder of Fauvism.

There was better news for Egon Schiele's Selbstbildnis mit Modell (Fragment), from 1913. It sold for US$11.3mil (RM33.7mil).

Christie's said the overall performance showed a strong market, with 94% of 49 lots selling. Four of these sold for more than US$10mil (RM29.8mil) and 10 others for more than US$5mil (RM14.9mil) .

Brooke Lampley, Christie's head of Impressionist and modern art, said that with "all but three works sold and exceptional sell-through rates of 94% by lot and 90% by value, this sale ranks among the strongest we have hosted in this category in New York.

"In all, it was gratifying to witness a sophisticated and intelligent market at work, and see the strong collecting trends from our winter sales in London gain even more momentum here in New York." –AFP


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Heat brings discomfort and illness

Posted: 15 May 2013 04:05 PM PDT

AFTER a long rainy spell, Klang Valley residents are facing a heat wave, with temperature rising up to 37°C, as recorded yesterday.

The hot and dry spell is causing a lot of discomfort among the public, with many falling sick.

This condition can be attributed to changing wind patterns and the effects of the cyclonic storm Mahesan over the Bay of Bengal, which was temporarysaid the Malaysian Meteorological Department.

He explained that changing wind patterns during the current inter-monsoon season in the country's west coast caused less cloud coverage over the Klang Valley. This caused the days to be hotter, he said.

Meanwhile, the drought had also worsened, due to the haze over the past few days.

The haze is also affecting visibility, affecting motorists as well as those with asthma and allergies.

Taxi driver Ahmad Kamaruddin, 45, from Kuala Lumpur said the heat was unbearable and that the air-conditioning system in his car was unable to make the situation better.

As a result, he said customers were finding it uncomfortable travelling in his taxi.

"Both locals and foreigners are complaining about the heat wave," he said.

Edwin Lee, who sells air conditioners, said business had been good recently.

"Due to the hot weather, many are buying new units," he said, adding that many were also making appointments to service their air-conditioners.

Call for more NGO councillors

Posted: 16 May 2013 04:06 AM PDT

THE Centre for Public Policy Studies has urged the Selangor government to increase the quota for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and professional participation from 25% to 40% in local authorities.

Its chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said this would help to bring about more opportunities to engage with these groups of people and ultimately lead to better and improved services.

"It is a win-win situation as people's needs would be addressed. It will also create a better engaged community that will result in improved policies and services to cater to the people's needs.

Ramon said the Selangor government must be committed to improving the decision-making process at the local council level, where an engagement framework was needed through more active participation of ordinary citizens.

"Community engagement must be aligned with the operations of the local authorities. In fact, the government must pursue the idea of conducting local government elections.

"In the meantime, increased NGOs participation is needed and for a fair political composition, the members must be elected," he said, adding that a democratic process to choose the councillors would lead to free and fair participation in the local authorities.

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor Derek Fernandez said the Selangor government had assured that it would maintain the 25% of NGOs and professionals representation in local councils.

"This group gives a non-political view on issues. It is a healthy practice," he said, adding that more representation would be good.

Subang Jaya Municipal Councillor Dr Loi Kheng Min, an executive council member with Transparency International, said the participation of NGOs and professionals was important as they represented the ordinary citizens.

"The Selangor government needs to increase the non-political participation as well as pursue the idea of holding local government elections as this will allow the local authorities to evolve for the better," he said.

Malaysian Animal Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association president Anthony Thanasayan said it was imperative to include councillors from NGOs and professionals because they represented the voice of the people, especially from groups such as the disabled, elderly, children and women.

"Careful consideration must be given when choosing the candidates to represent these groups," he said.


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Lady Antebellum trumps 'Gatsby' soundtrack for Billboard No. 1

Posted: 15 May 2013 08:48 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country group Lady Antebellum scored its third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday, staving off competition from Jay-Z's soundtrack for The Great Gatsby film.

Golden, the fourth studio album from the Nashville trio, sold more than 167,000 copies in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan, securing the top position on the weekly Billboard chart, which measures album sales across both digital and physical formats.

The album has Lady Antebellum embracing a stripped-down sound to showcase the group's vocal talents.

Rapper Jay-Z's contemporary soundtrack accompanying director Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby film sold 136,000 copies, landing at No. 2 this week.

The album has gained attention for its star-studded lineup and features original songs by artists including Beyonce, Lana Del Rey and Florence + The Machine.

The film based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic 1925 novel about the hedonistic Jazz Age of 1920s New York, debuted in U.S. theaters last week and made more than $51 million at the domestic box office.

At No. 3 this week was the latest installment of the long-running Now That's What I Call Music! franchise, with the latest Now 46 featuring hits by Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift, selling 90,000 copies.

Other new entries in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 include country music group Pistol Annies, comprising Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, at No. 5 with their latest, Annie Up.

Veteran British rocker Rod Stewart's latest album, Time, his first release of original songs in more than a decade, came in at No. 7.

Last week's No. 1 album, Kenny Chesney's Life On A Rock, dropped to eighth place this week.

Shakira to leave 'The Voice'

Posted: 15 May 2013 08:34 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singer Shakira will leave NBC's television singing competition program The Voice after only one season as a judge in order to spend more time with her family.

The Colombian singer (pic) told entertainment news outlet Access Hollywood after Tuesday's episode of The Voice that she wanted to spend more time with her infant child and finish up a new album.

"Not for next season," Shakira, 36, said when asked if she was coming back.

"I was really struggling with the fact that I had to leave my nest with my little baby," she added. "So now I need to stay with him for a little bit and also work on my next album. You never know, maybe (I will be back) for the future seasons."

Singer Christina Aguilera is expected to rejoin the show's panel of four judges in the fall after a one-season hiatus.

Shakira and R&B singer Usher were added as judges this season, replacing Aguilera and singer Cee Lo Green, who had been on the panel along with country singer Blake Shelton and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine since The Voice began in 2011.

The Hips Don't Lie singer gave birth to son Milan in January, the first child for her and her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.

The Voice, which averages an audience of 14 million viewers for its two weekly episodes, will finish its current season on June 18.

The big picture

Posted: 16 May 2013 01:24 AM PDT

Reshmonu takes his career forward with a recording partnership deal in the United States.

FROM his humble beginnings as a sound engineer Reshmonu has becoming one of the most recognisable faces in the Malaysian music industry.

It has been 10 years since he create a buzz with his independent album release Monumental.

Reshmonu, now 36, has four albums and a management/record label (R Records) to his name. His career has come a long way.

Not only does he sing, write, produce, arrange and engineer his own music, Reshmonu is a perfectionist, overseeing virtually every stage of creating an album. That includes directing and editing his own music videos, directing the artwork of his albums, working on his own unique image styling (which we have come to know and recognise him for) and plugging his music to local radio stations.

And now, Reshmonu is about to push his career further. In the past week, he has been holed up in a studio in Philadelphia, United States, working with American producer Jim Beanz, who will ready up his first album for international release in Britain and North America.

Beanz has worked with top-notch singers like Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Shakira, Missy Elliot, Chris Brown to name a few.

"I'll be there for 20 days and will be working back-to-back on the eight to 10 tracks, which are currently being structured by Beanz and his team there," explained Reshmonu before he left for the United States.

"About a month ago, my team and I were discussing how we had already done the rounds in Asia and that maybe it was time to look further," he added.

"Somehow my gut was telling me to try Timbaland's production (Sunset Entertainment Group) as they might be able to understand where I came from," said Reshmonu, who has been a fan of Timbaland for a very long time.

As planned, the first email went to Timbaland's production house. The next day his manager came and informed him about a strange phone call from Philadelphia.

"Two weeks later we signed the contract," said the affable singer-songwriter.

The email exchanges happened earlier this year.

"I'm excited but also nervous. I think that my 10 years in the challenging music industry have prepared me for this opportunity.

"This is a learning curve for my team and myself. It is a partnership with Sunset Entertainment Group, which represents Beanz, and not a project as such.

"Basically they are preparing me and the album for next year. That's all I can say for the moment.

"What really amazed me was that they did their research in 24 hours and they told me what really caught their eyes about me (the image and the voice)."

Reshmonu also mentioned that this US deal inked was a long term project.

"They are not looking for one-hit wonders. For them, it is just as exciting as they have not signed any artiste from this region. And they like the story I'm telling through my music.

"My biggest challenge would be the thought process in the studio. You know, I've always been my own boss here at home. But now I have to let someone do the steering, which is going to be challenging.

"What they plan to do is to create a new sound for me. If possible I want to introduce Malaysian elements in it," said Reshmonu, adding that the yet to be titled album is scheduled to be released early 2014 followed by a busy year of touring in Europe and North America.

On Twitter this week, Reshmonu reported that the studio sessions have been going well in Philadelphia, with a handful vocal mixes wrapped up for the new songs.


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