Sabtu, 18 Mei 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Two men charged with killing Malcolm X grandson

Posted: 18 May 2013 06:01 PM PDT

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Two men arrested in the fatal beating of the grandson of U.S. civil rights activist Malcolm X were sent to prison on Saturday to await trial, a Mexico City court spokesman said.

David Hernandez and Manuel Perez, waiters at the Palace nightclub near Mexico City's popular Garibaldi Square, face charges of murder and robbery, the official said.

Malcolm Shabazz, who police have said was 29, died May 9 at the Palace after a dispute over a $1,200 bill. Hernandez and Perez were arrested on Monday.

Shabazz, who was convicted of manslaughter as a 12-year-old for setting a fire that killed his grandmother and went to prison as an adult for attempted robbery, was in Mexico City to visit Miguel Suarez, an immigration activist who was recently deported from the United States. Shabazz

On the night of May 8 Shabazz and Suarez visited the run-down area around Plaza Garibaldi, a popular tourist area where Mariachi music groups play on the streets amid seedy strip clubs, dive bars and bordellos.

Despite its proximity to the city's grand colonial centre, the area is infamous for petty crime.

Malcolm X was a civil rights activist and leader of the black Muslim movement in the United States. He was shot to death before a speaking appearance in New York City in 1965.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Bill Trott)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Gunmen kill senior woman member of Pakistani party led by Imran Khan

Posted: 18 May 2013 04:38 PM PDT

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Gunmen killed a senior female politician from a reformist party in Pakistan on Saturday night, the latest violent incident in a bloody election campaign and one that set off a war of words between two major opposition parties.

Around 150 people were killed in the run-up to national elections held last week, which handed a landslide victory to opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N party.

It marked the first time an elected government replaced another one in a nation that has been run by military leaders for more than half its history.

Results from a handful of constituencies are still awaited amid accusations of vote-rigging. The shooting came hours ahead of repolling in a key area beset by allegations of voting fraud.

It was not immediately clear who killed Zara Shahid Hussain, a senior member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. The PTI has promised to reduce endemic corruption in the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people.

The PTI's leader, former international cricket star Imran Khan, immediately blamed the killing on the Muttahida Quami Movement. The MQM has a stranglehold on politics in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi.

"Her death has sent shockwaves across the rank and file of the party," Khan said in a statement.

Police said that two gunmen shot Hussain dead outside her home in an upscale neighbourhood of Karachi, he said.

"I hold (MQM leader) Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts," he added in a tweet.

"I also hold the British government responsible as I had warned them about British citizen Altaf Hussain after his open threats."

MQM leader Hussain is wanted on murder charges in Pakistan and leads his party remotely from exile in England. His party is designated a terrorist organisation by Canada, a charge it strongly denies.

In recent days he gave a speech which many Pakistanis felt was an incitement to attack political rivals. The British police have been flooded with complaints demanding an investigation.

The MQM leader insisted his words were taken out of context. MQM leaders held a press conference within hours of Hussain's death to disclaim responsibility and demand a retraction from Khan.

Khan's election campaign electrified many Pakistanis, pushing the PTI from a marginal party with no seats in the legislature to become Pakistan's third largest party.

National polls held a week ago gave the MQM 18 out of 19 national assembly seats in its power base in Karachi. Repolling is due to be held Sunday in the final constituency, thought to be a stronghold of PTI, after many polling stations failed to open on election day.

The steamy port city of Karachi is Pakistan's financial heart and home to 18 million people. It typically sees about a dozen murders a day, a deadly combination of political killings, attacks by Taliban and sectarian militant groups, and street crime.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Regional force boosts troop numbers in Central African Republic

Posted: 18 May 2013 03:09 PM PDT

LIBREVILLE (Reuters) - African military chiefs agreed on Saturday to more than double the size of a regional peacekeeping force deployed in Central African Republic, where authorities have struggled to contain violence after a rebel takeover.

Thousands of fighters from the Seleka rebel coalition led by Michel Djotodia marched into the capital Bangui on March 24, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee to neighbouring Cameroon.

A soldier from the Seleka rebel alliance prays at the central mosque in Bangui March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Alain Amontchi

A soldier from the Seleka rebel alliance prays at the central mosque in Bangui March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Alain Amontchi

Djotodia, a former civil servant, was later named interim president by parliament and asked to lead the country to elections within 18 months. But his fighters have been accused of grave human rights abuses.

"It is essential today to modify the mandate of the regional force deployed to Central African Republic ... It must be reoriented towards maintaining order and securing the election process," General Guy-Pierre Garcia, from Republic of Congo, told journalists.

The peacekeeping force, known as FOMAC, currently numbers 730 soldiers.

"The size of this force will be increased to 2,000 men," Garcia said following a meeting of regional army chiefs in Gabon.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch accused Seleka fighters of rape, looting and executing opponents - acts it said could constitute war crimes.

Seleka, a grouping of five rebel movements, launched its insurgency in early December, accusing former President Bozize of reneging on a 2007 peace deal.

(Reporting by Jean Rovys Dabany; Editing by Joe Bavier and Robin Pomeroy)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

The missing link

Posted: 18 May 2013 05:51 PM PDT

From having so many world class athletes to just a handful, Malaysian sport continues to over-rely on the same old faces. Perhaps, the new Sports Minister can solve this problem.

"WHEN are you going to write my autobiography?" national bowler Shalin Zulkifli had asked me once.

I never really gave her an answer ... but I am tempted, though.

There's just so much that young aspiring athletes can learn from Shalin's colourful life – both as a sportswoman and a person.

About 20 years ago, she was the country's youngest national champion. And last week, she was proudly celebrating Mother's Day – still as one of the country's top bowlers.

After all these years, her fire and passion for the sport hasn't faded an iota.

Next month, top shuttler Lee Chong Wei, cyclist Azizulhasni Awang and few others will be celebrating their first Father's Day.

These athletes too have come a long way – blazing of trail of success that others are dying to emulate.

These athletes and a handful of others – like Nicol David (squash) and Alex Liew (bowling) – share a common trait: they are fighters, highly-motivated and truly the ambassadors of their sports.

Are they a dying breed?

Are these the last few Mohicans of the country's proud tradition and production of stars with substance?

There have been so many great athletes in the past that one's face just lights up thinking about their dedication, sacrifices and achievements.

The present batch of youngsters, however, seems to be missing that touch of class in them. Some can hardly speak to save themselves while others only last as long as the indelible ink (if you know what I mean).

Sport is all about athletes, said China's badminton coach Li Yongbo. And I agree with him.

And athletes should be given the right and freedom to speak up, said National Sports Council (NSC) director of organisational development and athletes' affair Zaiton Othman. I couldn't agree more with the former track queen either.

But, here in Malaysia, it is easier said than done. Remember Article 88 of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)?

There is no denying that all national sports associations (NSA) are held accountable for training, raising and producing top quality athletes.

So, with this being the season of election in many of the sports associations, let's hope that the new leaders will get their priorities – and focus – right.

If you ask me, "athletes before self" should be their motto.

Perhaps newly-appointed Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin can show them the way.

At 37, he is certainly younger and more vibrant than all his predecessors and probably will be able to better connect with the current generation of athletes.

Malaysia has been producing half-baked athletes for far too long due to the combustible combination of selfish officials and lack of good sports culture at the grassroots level.

If Khairy chooses to close an eye to this, then I dread to think of how low Malaysian sport will go.

The writer likes the idiom "a new broom sweeps clean". But she hopes the freshness from the changes will linger on.

Khairy to look into matters after review

Posted: 18 May 2013 05:53 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: New Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin will look into the ongoing and proposed projects by the ministry before making any decisions.

He said he would let the ministry officials submit a review of all the projects to him "before decisions can be made".

"I want to look at the impact of the project ... if the impact is little, then we may have to channel the effort into something else. If the project is ongoing, then we have to look into making it more beneficial," he said on the sidelines of the Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) event in Kelana Jaya yesterday.

Khairy, prior to taking the seat as minister in the Cabinet recently, was the brainchild of MIMMA together with Tune Talk chief executive officer Jason Lo.

The ministry, which was previously under the helm of Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, have several high-impact projects in the pipeline, including the RM80mil indoor velodrome slated to be built in Labu, Negri Sembilan.

The ministry is also the main financial backbone of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL), where operating costs have escalated from RM7.5mil in 2009 to about RM16mil this year.

Meanwhile, Khairy has called upon the FA of Malaysia (FAM) to seriously look into the issue of match-fixing after what transpired during the Premier League match between Kuala Lumpur and Sime Darby FC on Saturday. Banners declaring "Bookie detected" and another one stating the scoreline "Bookie 5 – Fans 0" were seen at the Cheras Stadium on Saturday. Ironically, Sime Darby won 5-0.

"I take the issue very seriously and it has been haunting the local scene for a while. I will have a meeting with the FAM regarding this matter.

"I won't compromise on this issue. As if it is not enough that the state of our football is in the doldrums, we are being bogged down by match-fixing now," said Khairy, who held the FAM deputy president's post in 2007.

Kevin smashes 400m freestyle national record to take gold

Posted: 18 May 2013 05:55 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Another day, another record tumbles.

This time it's Kevin Yeap who reigned supreme to claim his first individual national record at the Malaysian Open Swimming Championships at the National Aqua­tic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The Perak swimmer powered home to clock 3:53.26 in the 400m freestyle to smash Daniel Bego's national record of 3:53.99 set at the 2009 Laos SEA Games en route to clinching the gold.

Sarawak's Daniel was again the bridesmaid, taking home his third silver of the meet in 3:54.01. Fellow Sarawakian Vernon Lee finished third in 3:58.87.

"I'm very happy ... it's the first time I've dipped under 3:54. It was a really good race, and Daniel, he really pushed me hard," said a delighted Kevin, who qualified fastest in the heats after equalling his previous best of 3:54.19.

In fact, Kevin had been hoping to break the 400m freestyle record for some time now, having come close three times previously.

"I came close at last year's Malaysian Open, Dubai Swimming Championships and the Southeast Asian Championships but I was about 0.05 seconds off the pace," said the 24-year-old.

"So, I'm really glad it happened today. And I managed to peak at the right time. I've been pushing myself hard in training to swim faster ... so, I guess all the hardwork in the pool has paid off."

He's not stopping there though as he's now got his sights on breaking Jeffery Ong's 22-year-old 1,500m freestyle national record of 15:23.01.

When Jeffery set the mark in at the Universiade Games in Sheffield, United Kingdom, in 1991, Kevin was just two years old.

Kevin's personal best in the 1,500m freestyle is 15:32.51, which he achieved at last year's Malaysian Open, and the youngster is looking forward to breaking the mark at the World Championships in Barcelona in July.

"That's next on my list. Hopefully, I can peak again at the World Championships and give it a real go," said Kevin, who has qualified for both the 400m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle.

Meanwhile, Siow Yi Ting and Khoo Cai Lin also notched new meet records en route to striking gold in the 200m breaststroke and 400m freestyle respectively.

Yi Ting's 2:32.97 was enough to see her clinch her third meet record of the meet while Cai Lin took the 400m title in style in 4:17.73.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Adrian Cheng: updating a Hong Kong family empire for a changing China

Posted: 18 May 2013 07:05 AM PDT

HONG KONG: He has trained on Broadway and been a Wall Street banker.

Now, Adrian Cheng, 33-year-old scion of the world's largest jewellery retailer and one of Asia's leading property developers is gearing up for his latest challenge - modernizing his family's $25 billion empire for what he calls a "new era".

The grandson of Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, who built up jeweler Chow Tai Fook (1929.HK) and real estate titan New World Development (0017.HK), Cheng is one of a new generation of business leaders in Asia who are taking over the corporate reins from their ageing rags-to-riches forebears.

He and contemporaries including Martin Lee, vice-chairman of Henderson Land (0012.HK), Victor Li, deputy chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001.HK), and Melco Crown Entertainment (6883.HK) boss Lawrence Ho bring an international education and a digital savvy to family-owned empires that have been run along traditional lines for decades.

A former Goldman Sachs and UBS banker, Cheng says he is trying to change the corporate culture by removing boundaries and hierarchy within the group. "Change is a big word that everyone is using. (United States President Barack) Obama uses it, but you have to actually feel it," he says, laughing.

Ranked by Fortune as one of the world's youngest billionaires, Cheng's business challenges are a far cry from those of his grandfather, who began as a trainee at Chow Tai Fook after the Second World War, when the retailer sold others' products on consignment.

The young tycoon, who studied at boarding school in the United States, Harvard University and then took an arts and culture programme in Japan, says his mission is to equip the family business to cater to diverging retail trends in a rapidly changing Chinese market.

"Back then the demographics were very different. It was more simple minded. These days China is so big, it has become a really melting pot market," says Cheng, dressed fashionably in a charcoal grey jumper and black jacket.


With his father, Henry, as chairman of Chow Tai Fook and New World, Adrian is becoming more involved in the group's overall strategy. He was appointed joint general manager of the property arm last year in line with his grandfather's succession plans, and is an executive director of the group's jewellery arm.

Chow Tai Fook, which listed in Hong Kong in 2011 and is now valued at $14 billion, has more than 1,800 outlets throughout China. The jeweler focuses on three areas: the VIP segment, entry-price buyers and e-commerce, which is growing at a rapid pace. Sales were HK$25 billion ($3.2 billion) in May-September last year.

New World Development, valued at $11 billion, has a property network that extends from first-tier cities such as Beijing and Hong Kong, where it operates the Renaissance Harbour View and Grand Hyatt hotels, to fast-developing industrial cities such as Anshan in Liaoning province.

Cheng says his business approach is more entrepreneurial than that of large corporates. An advocate of developing arts and culture, he is expanding his own K11 brand, developing 'art malls' across China. Hong Kong's K11, located in a busy shopping district in Kowloon, has playful ceiling installations and prominent statues, including a winged neon-pink pig, to interact with visitors.

A key priority is to position brands internationally, says Cheng, who sits on the Tate Modern's Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee in London. Parties and exhibitions in European cities like Paris are regular events, while annual auction dinners in Hong Kong aim to grow the base of high net worth VIP customers.

"They (VIP customers) have been abroad and seen the most expensive stuff. Now it's not about how big the jewellery is. They care more about the design, the subtle sophistication and they want more craftsmanship," Cheng told Reuters in his understated office 32 storeys above Hong Kong's central district. His family owns the entire building, known as New World Tower, one of Hong Kong's larger skyscrapers.

Chow Tai Fook's products range from gold bars and diamond rings for China's burgeoning mass market to million dollar custom-made pieces such as the Carmine Flight, a pink flamingo neckpiece with fuchsia sapphires.

The group has more than 1 million VIP customers in mainland China and 100,000 in Hong Kong - so many that it has had to sub-categorize them into the "really high-end honorable VIPs, mid-range VIPs and lower-tier VIPs."

"Younger generation management revamping family businesses has been quite prevalent in Hong Kong and China recently," said Aaron Fischer, head of Asia consumer and gaming research at CLSA. "Adrian Cheng is one of the prime examples, revolutionizing the corporate culture at the family business with fresh ideas and introducing international best practices."


The move to target specific types of customers across China is reshaping the company internally to help it deal with what Cheng calls a tipping point.

"Changing corporate culture, changing people's mindsets and motivating them to follow your vision is the hardest because that needs a lot of granular commitment," said Cheng, who was trained in classical singing, opera and Broadway music from the age of 12.

Sophisticated e-commerce platforms are being rolled out, with a 24-hour support team to react swiftly to any complaints seen on mini-blog sites. Some new collections are only sold online. "It's getting more competitive because everyone's going in (e-commerce)," said Cheng, adding the group expects to triple online sales each year for the next five years.

Amid all the change in a fast-growth China and online, Cheng holds on to some of his grandfather's basic business tenets - such as understanding what the customer wants, having confidence and liking what you do, and, most importantly, creating a stable ship, he says.

"You need to make sure everything is very stable and is going towards the right direction. Sometimes you need to go back," he adds, noting some firms dive into China too quickly.

Straddling the family's two main business pillars, Cheng sees potential cross-benefits between the jewellery and property arms for Chinese VIP customers. A regular jewellery buyer, for instance, could be offered a small discount on real estate.

"Things are changing so intricately and suddenly it (demand) will just explode and grow exponentially," says Cheng.

"If you don't see the wave underneath that is growing and catch the trend, you will miss the boat." - Reuters

Wall Street Week Ahead: Correction talk gets old as rally sails along

Posted: 18 May 2013 06:57 AM PDT

NEW YORK: With the broad S&P 500 Index <.spx> gliding once again into uncharted territory and posting four straight weeks of gains, the talk of Wall Street's rally inevitably hitting a ceiling is starting to get old.

Concerns about a technical correction have been a hot topic for weeks, especially as the rally accelerated in May - the S&P 500 is up 4.4 percent so far this month and up nearly 17 percent for the year. But as the three major U.S. stock indexes inch higher and higher to set record after record, many analysts are shrugging off the pullback worries.

"There isn't a technical level that we have in mind at this point when making decisions. The momentum is really strong, and riding along that momentum is what we should have in mind at this point," said Cam Albright, director of asset allocation at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors in Wilmington, Delaware.

The S&P 500, which rose above the 1,600 level only about two weeks ago, is now less than 40 points away from 1,700.

As the market continues its upward move, some market participants are beginning to believe that the rally is not a bubble but rather the start of a new bull market. Others argue, meanwhile, that the strong momentum is not based on fundamentals like economic data or corporate earnings but is relying heavily on easy monetary policy from global central banks.

Regardless, the consensus in the short term is that the market will avoid two of Wall Street's most popular maxims - "sell in May and go away" and "summer doldrums" - and maintain the upward momentum.

With earnings season coming to a close, next week's focus will be on the U.S. Federal Reserve. Chairman Ben Bernanke will head up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning to testify on the economy before the Joint Economic Committee. The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's most recent policymaking meeting on April 30-May 1 will be released on Wednesday afternoon.

Preparations for the Memorial Day holiday on May 27 will probably cut trading short, and most market action is likely to be completed by mid-week. Lighter trading volume may also trigger slightly higher market volatility.


Along with the S&P 500, the Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> has been setting a string of record highs. The Dow has gained 17.2 percent for the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> is up 15.9 percent for 2013 so far. On Friday, the Nasdaq closed at its highest level since October 2000.

Even at these levels, a popular options gauge shows investors are placing optimistic wagers on the stock market, positioning for the current run-up to extend for the next three months.

Earlier this week, the Credit Suisse Fear Barometer, known as the CSFB Index, fell 11.4 points over the past two weeks - the largest decline on record - and is now at a one-year low of 21.73.

The indicator essentially tracks investors' willingness to pay for downside protection with zero-premium collar trades that expire in three months, using S&P 500 index <.spx> options.

"It's unusual to see at these levels that there are very few indications (based on options activity) that investors are expecting a pullback," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX <.vix>, Wall Street's fear gauge, is down more than 1 percent for the week.

The options market is a popular place for investors to hedge against a sudden fall in the stock market. Among the most popular strategies are put options on the S&P 500 index, and call options on the VIX, which generally moves inversely to the S&P 500.

"Even if we see 1 (percent) to 2 percent decline, that will be just another opportunity for people to get into the market," Frederick said.

Next week's economic indicators include existing home sales for April on Wednesday, followed by weekly jobless claims and new home sales for April on Thursday, and durable goods orders for April on Friday.

In earnings, a number of retailers' results are expected next week, including Home Depot , Best Buy Co and Lowe's Companies . - Reuters

China April housing inflation quickens to two year high

Posted: 18 May 2013 06:53 AM PDT

BEIJING: China's housing inflation accelerated to its fastest pace in April in two years, driven by a jump in prices in Beijing and Shanghai, complicating the task of policymakers trying to cool the property sector while supporting economic expansion.

Average new home prices rose 4.9 percent last month from a year ago, after a year-on-year increase of 3.6 percent in March, according to Reuters calculations from data released by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) on Saturday.

The rise was the sharpest since April 2011.

Rising home prices have reignited concerns about property inflation, adding to pressure on policymakers who are struggling to curb house prices and still spur a strong economic recovery.

"The market expectations on rising home prices have not changed thoroughly and the property tightening campaign is still at a critical stage to strictly enforce (curbing measures)," Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the NBS, said in a statement.

Worried about a rebound in home prices, China's government unveiled a fresh round of measures in March to try to cool the sector, though those measures were less stringent than market expectations.

New home prices in Beijing rose 10.3 percent in April from a year earlier and Shanghai's prices were up 8.5 percent in April from a year ago. Both marked the fastest year-on-year gains since January 2011 when NBS changed the way it calculated data.

China's fight against property speculation has headed into its third year but many middle-class Chinese are still priced out of the urban housing market.


However, on a monthly basis, new home prices rose 1 percent in April, easing from March's gain of 1.2 percent, the NBS data showed, providing tentative signs that recent government moves to ward off property bubbles are biting.

Home prices rose month-on-month in 67 of 70 major cities monitored by the NBS in April, down from 68 in March.

The accelerating year-on-year home price gains were mainly caused by low bases last year as over 60 percent of 70 cities saw month-on-month price drops last April, said Liu.

China's home prices began their latest climb in mid-2012 when the central bank started expanding monetary easing as part of Beijing's growth-supporting policies.

"Going forward, we expect property sector policy to stabilize in the coming months and see a modest property recovery to continue," Tao Wang, an economist at UBS, said in a note to clients before the data was released.

"Meanwhile, the recent property tightening, including administrative price controls, may keep property prices from rising too rapidly in a few large cities," Wang added.

Reuters started its weighted China home price index in January 2011 when the NBS stopped providing nationwide data, only giving home price changes in each of 70 major cities. - Reuters


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 17 May 2013 06:49 PM PDT

The Magic Question: A simple question every leader dreams of answering

Author: David Cottrell

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Leaders of different times and industries put varying degrees of importance on different aspects of leadership. But irrespective of time and industry, as well as schools, hospitals and even homes, the author is of the view that there are some questions a leader should ask. Among them are: What is really important? How am I doing? How is our team doing? And do I care?

The Big Trade

Author: Peter Pham

Publisher: Wiley & Sons

A resource book on the trading system based on how the market is structured and how it behaves. It provides an insight on assessing risk and reward. Basic math and charts help readers to define past trading behaviours for specific stocks. A book for traders and investors.

Investing in the age of Sovereign Defaults: How to preserve your wealth in the coming crisis

Author: Peter T. Treadway

Publisher: Wiley & Sons

A review of the fiscal state of the western world and Japan and the different voices emitting from China and India. The author is of the view that a major sovereign default crisis is in the making for the developed countries and this will impact on the developing countries. He writes about protecting your investments, and profits.


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Penangites throng Esplanade for thanksgiving rally

Posted: 18 May 2013 08:55 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: The state government's rally to thank voters drew a large crowd of Pakatan Rakyat supporters at the Esplanade in Padang Kota lama here on Saturday.

The supporters, mostly clad in black attire, had arrived as early as 6.30pm to hear the speakers, among them, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

The rally, with the theme One Person, One Vote, Same Democracy,' was held to thank the voters in Penang for their support in the May 5 general election.

In his speech, Kit Siang announced the "Malaysian 3 Movement" to be launched in Gelang Patah on Sunday. "The movement is to achieve the dream to unite all Malaysians," he said.

Earlier, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh said the rally did not need a permit as it is a state function.

"It is a gathering to introduce the new exco lineup. That is the purpose of the assembly.

"I have had a word with chief minister Lim Guan Eng who wrote a letter this morning informing the police of the purpose of the gathering," he said.

"The state government has the right to organise a rally like this at the Penang Esplanade which is under the jurisdiction of the Penang Municipal Council," he said.

Clean water supply decreasing, says Syabas

Posted: 18 May 2013 08:01 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Supply of clean water in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur is steadily decreasing due to water treatment plants reaching maximum production levels, according to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

It said the treatment plants could no longer cater to increasing demand from consumers.

"The problem is not linked to rainfall or supply of raw water which are sufficient," the company said in a statement here.

Syabas said the decrease in water levels at several ponds in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were obvious following the unexpected demand, which exceeded the production of treated water.

As a result of this situation, Syabas has requested for the operators of all treatment plants namely Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor (Splash) and Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd (ABBAS) to maximise their output from existing water treatment plants.

"Even so, water treatment plants are already operating at maximum and some are overloaded, to help the situation we are facing," the statement said.

On allegations made by Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh that Syabas' services were poor and led to water issues which affected SS14 to SS19 in Subang Jaya recently, Syabas said they did not notify consumers in the areas as the water disruption was not scheduled.

The water disruption occurred as a result of sudden drop in water levels at the Subang Airport reservoir since Tuesday, leaving it at a critical level following increasing demand for water due to the hot weather, said Syabas.

Syabas said they activated their Green Code Emergency Action Plan in Petaling on Tuesday to allow them to take action to help consumers facing water disruption.

Besides re-organising water distribution, water supply was also sent through 10 tanker lorries which made deliveries 22 times and the problem was resolved on Thursday, it added. - Bernama

EC reminds GE13 candidates of Sunday deadline to remove campaign materials

Posted: 18 May 2013 07:17 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Candidates of the 13th general election have until tomorrow to remove their flags, banners and posters or risk losing their deposits.

Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said political parties and all candidates were given 14 days after the May 5 polling day to clean up their election paraphernalia.

"All the candidates are fully aware that they will lost their poster deposits if the materials are not cleaned up by tomorrow.

"We do not want these election materials to clog the drains more so when there is heavy rain.

"The materials must be removed to the satisfaction of local authorities. They and their party agents have been given enough reminders," he said. On Monday, the local authorities would start informing state election directors of which candidates have yet to remove the materials.

The candidates deposited RM5,000 and RM3,000 for parliamentary and state seats respectively for the cleaning up of the materials.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Ugly' film about Mumbai dark side

Posted: 18 May 2013 04:20 AM PDT

CANNES, France: A decades-old rivalry between a Bollywood wannabe and a brutal police chief shines a light on Mumbai's dark side, in Indian director Anurag Kashyap's fast-moving psychological thriller "Ugly" about the kidnapping of a young girl.

Enthusiastically received at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, the aptly titled film was inspired by real events in a city blighted by child trafficking and prostitution.

A suicidal woman sets the scene in an upmarket apartment as she contemplates a concoction of pills and alcohol; she eyes a scarf hanging from a ceiling fan before putting a gun in her month.

About to pull the trigger, she is interrupted by her young daughter, full of life.

Fast forward and a police inspector mocks and toys with the girl's father and his producer friend as they try to report her abduction from his car.

"They are divorced, that's the problem - divorce," he tells the actor. Turning to the producer, he reels off the names of some of Bollywood's biggest stars.

"I suppose it's you who decides (to cast them)," he sneers, surrounded by sniggering subordinates.

But his menacing tone turns to panic when he realises that the girl is the step-daughter of his police commissioner.

Kashyap says he drew on the "insecurity" he experienced after he separated from his first wife and daughter to write the film.

For years he discussed the script with anyone who would listen but was constantly told it could never be made.

When he finally got the go-ahead, Kashyap was wary of showing the screenplay to anyone.

As a result all the actors had to sign up blind for the film.

"I refused to share the script with anyone. I said I'm making the film and if you want to come with me and do it....

"I had this feeling that if they read the script they would not allow me to make it so for the first time I reached out to my actors, friends and said 'you trust me' and everyone came on board."

It is the second consecutive visit to Cannes for the 40-year-old director.

His five-hour gangster epic "Gangs Of Wasseypur" was warmly received at Cannes last year.

"Ugly" is being screened this year as part of the Directors Fortnight, a sidebar to the main competition.

He is also known for his 2004 Hindi-language film "Black Friday" about the 1993 Bombay bombings.

In addition to "Ugly", Kashyap is one of four up-and-coming Indian directors whose work will be showcased in Cannes on Sunday.

"Bombay Talkies", one film comprising four short stories by the four directors, will be shown at a gala screening on Sunday to celebrate a century of Indian cinema.

India is Cannes' third guest country following Egypt and Brazil.

The other directors whose short films are to be shown on Sunday are Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar.

Amit Kumar's "Monsoon Shootout" will also be shown out of competition and Ritesh Batra's "The Lunchbox" as part of the Critics Week. - AFP

Report: Bollywood bad boy Dutt held in 'terrorist' jail cell

Posted: 18 May 2013 04:06 AM PDT

NEW DELHI: Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt, who is in jail for arms possession, is being held in a cell built for militants where he cannot see daylight and wants to be transferred, a report said Saturday.

Dutt, 53, surrendered on Thursday to serve out the remaining three-and-a-half years of a five-year term in a case linked to deadly 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Dutt's lawyer, Rizwan Merchant, has demanded the transfer of the actor whom he said was being kept in the cell once occupied by Mumbai attacks gunman Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, according to the Indian Express daily newspaper.

Pakistani-born Kasab was executed last November, nearly four years after 166 people died in a three-day rampage that traumatised India.

The steel bunker specially built for Kasab at Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail had no ventilation and the actor could not even tell if it was day or night, the lawyer said.

"He (Dutt) is not a terrorist" and should not be kept in such a cell, the lawyer was quoted as saying.

There was no immediate comment available from the jail.

The actor, whose parents were two of India's biggest stars, shot to fame in the 1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him the nickname "Deadly Dutt".

He was convicted in 2006 of possessing guns supplied by gangsters who staged the 1993 bomb attacks that killed 257 people but was freed on bail after serving 18 months in prison. In March, the Supreme Court upheld Dutt's conviction.

He was cleared in 2007 of more serious conspiracy charges in the blasts, believed staged by Muslim underworld leaders in revenge for religious riots in which mainly Muslims died after the razing of an ancient mosque by Hindu zealots.

Dutt, whose mother was Muslim and father Hindu, was found guilty of possession of an automatic rifle and a pistol which he insisted were only meant to protect his family in Mumbai's charged atmosphere following the mosque's destruction.

After the Supreme Court upheld his conviction, the father-of-three wept and declared himself "a shattered man". - AFP

A century of film

Posted: 18 May 2013 12:15 AM PDT

Bollywood has always been one of the most thriving – and colourful – film industries in the world.

India's movie industry toasted its 100th birthday last week with the release of two films celebrating its humble origins in the silent era and the influence of glamorous modern-day Bollywood.

Bombay Talkies comprises four short stories inspired by India's love of cinema, created by some of the country's leading filmmakers.

"You usually celebrate birthdays and that's what we are doing today. Indian cinema turns 100 and we are acknowledging that," said Zoya Akhtar, who directed the film along with Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee.

The acclaimed cast includes Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Rani Mukherjee, with a cameo from acting legend Amitabh Bachchan.

The film's theme song features Bollywood A-listers such as Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Balan, Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor.

The movie will have a special gala screening at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicked off on Wednesday, where India is to be honoured as the "guest country" in its landmark year.

"The four short stories are about passion for cinema and ingredients like drama, music, dance and entertainment. All of these ingredients are a huge part of our films and culture," said co-producer Ashi Dua.

Its release comes 100 years to the day since the opening in Bombay (now Mumbai) of Raja Harishchandra, the first all-Indian silent feature film, based on the tale of a virtuous king from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

It marked the birth of one of the world's most vibrant film industries, which produced almost 1,500 movies last year in various languages and corners of the country, with Hindi-language Bollywood leading the way.

While Bombay Talkies explores life in the present, the second film that was shown was the award-winning Celluloid Man, which pays tribute to the founder of the National Film Archive of India, P.K. Nair.

The documentary, so far only shown at festivals, showcases Nair's lifetime dedication to preserving films that date back to the silent era, and it is peppered with clips from historic black-and-white productions.

Thanks to the efforts of 80-year-old Nair, nine silent films out of 1,700 made in India have been preserved, although no records remain of many others.

"Almost 70% of the films made before 1950 are lost, including some real gems like the first 'talkie'," Nair told AFP, referring to the first Indian film with sound, 1931's Alam Ara (The Light Of The World).

He said digital technology would help to preserve the cinematic gems that still exist for future generations.

"There are currently about 12,000 films awaiting digitisation."

The annual National Film Awards was also held last week in New Delhi, following a six-day festival showcasing the colourful history of Indian cinema.

In the awards, the best Hindi feature went to Paan Singh Tomar which stars Irrfan Khan (who tied for the best actor award with Vikram Gokhale in Anumati). The film revolves around the life of Indian soldier and athlete Paan Singh Tomar who became a notorious bandit. Meanwhile, Usha Jadhav won best actress for her role in the Marathi film Dhag, whose director Shivaji Lotan Patil won the best director award. The ceremony also celebrated works from various regional film hubs, in languages including Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu and Bengali. – AFP


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Unstable slopes to be made forest reserve

Posted: 17 May 2013 10:17 PM PDT

FIFTY plots of vacant bungalow land in Bukit Gasing will be seized under the National Land Code 1965 (NLC 1965) and gazetted as a forest reserve following multiple landslips.

Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), following expert advice from geotechnical, civil and structural consultants, will prepare a detailed report on the vacant land that has been classified as Class 4, (slopes with a 25 and 35 degree gradient) and a possible hazard, built or left idle.

Mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the council would propose to the Selangor Economic Action Council that the vacant plots with steep slopes be acquired under the NLC to address safety concerns due to extreme soil erosion.

"MBPJ will inform owners that their plots will be seized due to public interest. Since it has been classified as Class 4, the land cannot be occupied and no development will be allowed.

"The NLC has provisions allowing the state government to seize neglected land," said Alinah.

The NLC, together with the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 1960, empower the respective state governments to acquire private landed properties without having to get consent or agreement from its owners.

This is stated in Section 3 of the LAA 1960.

The move by MBPJ is a blow to market speculators and landowners who had hoped land value would increase manifold due to shortage of land in Petaling Jaya.

In April 2008, the Selangor government banned new developments involving Class 3 and Class 4.

Alinah said the landslips had occurred at 20 different sites near Bukit Gasing and said this could be due to development works in Bukit Gasing as well as downpours that triggered the landslips.

"MBPJ is left with not much option but to take drastic action. Based on the soil erosion, the plots affected are off Jalan 5/60, Jalan 5/64 and Jalan 5/66," said Alinah.

She added that the council had engaged soil experts to ascertain erosion-prone areas which are dangerous.

"We have informed the residents of Fraser Towers not to park their cars at the foot of the slopes. Recently, a boulder rolled down and hit a parked car while in another incident, mud and vegetation rolled down the slope and hit a car being driven along Jalan 5/60.

"Inspection by geotechnical engineers, who can recognise impending slope failure, is being carried out. As an immediate short-term measure, a gabion wall is being built. This is a better option than nail piling.

"Contractors have also started to prune some of the trees on the slope, remove mud that was washed down close to the pavement as well as widen the drain along Jalan 5/60 from a V-shape to a U-shape," she said.

Alinah added that the landslip close to Fraser Towers was due to a defective scupper drain that runs along the Sivan Temple located on the hill.

She said water in the drain backflowed and as such flooded the slope, causing it to be water logged.

"Our contractors are repairing the drain and consultants have suggested that the slopes be re-profiled to create a gentler gradient.

"However, this can only be done once the slope stabilises on its own, with no soil movement," she said.

Alinah said development in and around Bukit Gasing or above SMK Taman Petaling would not be allowed.

Related Story:
Mayor: Landowners will pay for stabilisation works

Mayor: Landowners will pay for stabilisation works

Posted: 17 May 2013 10:17 PM PDT

OWNERS of private land in Bukit Gasing, where slope stabilisation works are being carried out, will have to absorb the cost estimated at RM7.5mil.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the amount would be divided among the landowners.

She said the stabilisation works include building a gabion wall, new drainage system, cutting the slope as well as clearing debris.

"Our consultants have noticed erosion below Slope 9, along Jalan 5/64, where a mansion partly sits on concrete stilts. We have told the owner to engage an expert and obtain the required soil and rock parameters needed for soil stabilisation," said Alinah, adding that the owner was also required to submit the report to MBPJ's engineering department.

She added, "Our contractors are in the midst of building a three-metre concrete wall at Jalan 5/60, just after the slope. We have pruned the trees on the slopes to reduce the load on the slope.

"Tarpaulin sheets have also been placed to cover the bare soil at the sites where landslips occurred to reduce rainwater seeping into the ground.

Contractors working at the site along Jalan 5/64 and Jalan 5/60 confirmed that about 45 trees were pruned while some felled due to the erosion making them tilt.

Meanwhile, Fraser Towers Joint Management Body chairman M. Kamar urged the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to organise an immediate meeting for Fraser, Camerons and Maxwell Towers residents to brief them on the current measures being taken to prevent landslips in Bukit Gasing.

To-date, 20 landslips have occurred, causing fear among residents.

"Majority of them are in the dark on the short and long-term measures being taken," he said, adding that the meeting should include soil experts, engineers and MBPJ's engineering director Cheremi Tarman.

"Residents can ask questions at such a meeting," he said.

"We are worried that the soil erosion on Slope 9 (close to Fraser Towers) would cause a telecommunications tower located on the hill close to the entrance to the Sivan Temple to come crashing down onto Jalan 5/60 if the erosion worsens," he said,

He said the steep slope, sparse vegetation and water-logged conditions were some of the factors worrying residents.

"We are offering the hall at Fraser Towers for the meeting with MBPJ," he said.

Related Story:
Unstable slopes to be made forest reserve


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Crown fit for a Harvest Queen

Posted: 17 May 2013 07:06 PM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Winners of Sabah's annual harvest festival pageant this year are in for far more attractive prizes, including more expensive custom made tiaras.

The "Unduk Ngadau" or harvest queen would get a tiara worth RM30,000 and other gifts, while runner-up and winners of subsidiary titles would also get jewelry and items such as cash vouchers and jewelry set.

The main prizes, sponsored by Diamoney Global Sdn Bhd, have also been designed to fit the harvest festival history, which also symbolises the importance of padi to the Kadazandusun ethnic groups.

Diamoney chief executive officer Hurbert Ng said the main tiara had been designed with silver and Swarovski Crystal similar to the shape of the padi.

"This is because we want our tiaras to have a meaning to its wearer – and for harvest festival, people celebrate the harvesting of padi," he said.

The history of the harvest queen goes back to as far as centuries ago, whereby according to the native legend, a young woman named Humi­nodun had sacrificed herself to bring rain and growth of padi to her villagers.

Huminodun also means "the sacrificed one", and is a legendary icon for Sabah natives who depended mostly on padi plantation during the old times.

In this respect, Sabah Unduk Ngadau competition committee secretary Angeline Boilis said preparations for the event was in its final stage and would be in time for the May 31 Harvest Festival.

Campaigning period is over and it’s time to get to work, says Sultan Ibrahim

Posted: 17 May 2013 07:05 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor has called for all state elected representatives to remember promises made during the campaigning period and fulfil them.

Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said the campaigning period was over and now it was time for the representatives to work.

"I do not want to hear news of certain parties spreading seditious messages with political overtones to create hatred amongst the people to threaten unity and peace in the country," he said.

The Johor Ruler said this before witnessing the swearing in of the 14th Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin during a ceremony held at Bukit Timbalan here on Tuesday.

The Johor Ruler also reminded that the responsibilities of the representatives would be challenging and difficult for the next five years but encouraged them to strive to unite the people and ensure continued progress of the state.

"As the State Ruler, I do not take sides with any political party but will continue to observe and provide advice in the interest of the people and my country," he said.

During the ceremony, a total of nine assemblymen, including MCA national organising secretary and Pulai Sebatang assemblyman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong, was sworn in as Johor executive councillors.

Tee has been put in charge of the Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism portfolio.

Only two former councillors were retained in the list and they are Asiah Md Ariff, who has been put in charge of the Women and Family portfolio, and Md Jais Sarday who has been tasked to look into the Entrepreneur, Cooperative Development, Education and Information portfolio.

The other councillors are Datuk Hasni Mohammad (Public Works, Rural and Regional Development exco), R. Vidyanathan (Unity and Human Resources exco), Abd Mutalip Abd Rahim (Religious exco), Datuk Abdul Latiff Bandi (Housing and Local Government exco), Ismail Mohamed (Agriculture and Agro Based Industries exco) and Datuk Zulkarnain Kamisan (Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage exco).

Mohamed Khaled later said that the state was still contemplating on the appointment of a 10th exco who will be put in charge of the Health, Science, Technology and Innovation portfolio.

Pahang PAS to challenge polls results

Posted: 17 May 2013 07:06 PM PDT

TEMERLOH: Pahang Pakatan Rakyat will be filing petitions challenging the official results of several constituencies in which the coalition lost narrowly in the just-concluded general election.

Pahang PAS commissioner Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said among the constituencies were Bentong parliament and the state seats of Damak and Dong.

Tuan Ibrahim said generally, the coalition was satisfied with its overall performance, winning four parliamentary seats and 12 state seats.

"We are not too happy with the Elections Commission especially the conduct of the head of the voting centres who failed to adhere to certain guidelines.

"For example in Guai state seat, the head of centre did not return the final tallying forms to the party's representatives despite rep­eated requests," he claimed.

In Dong, Tuan Ibrahim said the forms were inadvertently inserted into the ballot boxes while in Pulau Tawar, a technical error saw a mix-up between the state and parliament forms.

He also claimed that there was a case detected in Kuala Semantan in which the name of a voter was used by another party and a police report had been lodged.

"We also received feedback that five senior citizens, aged 80, have been registered as postal voters.

"All these cases are a serious breach of stipulated guidelines and warrant a thorough investigation," he said.

Meanwhile, Tuan Ibrahim took the opportunity to congratulate Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob for being appointed to lead the state for a fourth term.

Also present were state secretary Roslan Zainal and state treasurer Musaniff Abdul Rahman.


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