Isnin, 27 Mei 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Abandoned Chinese baby rescued from toilet pipe

Posted: 27 May 2013 08:09 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - Firefighters in eastern China have rescued an abandoned newborn baby boy lodged in a sewage pipe directly beneath a toilet commode, state television reported, in a case which has sparked anger on social media sites.

There are frequent reports in Chinese media of babies being abandoned, often shortly after birth, a problem attributed variously to young mothers unaware they were pregnant, the birth of an unwanted girl in a society which puts greater value on boys or China's strict family planning rules.

In the latest case the infant was found in the sewage pipe in a residential building in Jinhua in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang on Saturday afternoon after residents reported the sound of a baby crying, state television said late on Monday.

Firefighters had to remove the pipe and take it to a nearby hospital, where doctors carefully cut around it to rescue the baby boy inside, the report said.

The child is in a stable condition and the police are looking for his parents, state television added.

The case has been widely discussed on China's Twitter-like service Sina Weibo due to the graphic nature of the footage, with calls for the parents to be severely punished.

"The parents who did this have hearts even filthier than that sewage pipe," wrote one user.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Sally Huang; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Fire on Royal Caribbean cruise ship cuts short Bahamas trip

Posted: 27 May 2013 06:25 PM PDT

(Reuters) - Fire aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship forced it to dock at Freeport, Bahamas, on Monday, with all passengers and crew safe but the rest of the trip cancelled, the cruise company reported.

Grandeur of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, was on a seven-night trip that left Baltimore on Friday. The 916-foot-long (280-metre) ship was en route to CocoCay, Bahamas, when a fire occurred in its mooring area early on Monday, the company said in a statement.

Damage on the Royal Caribbean ship Grandeur of the Seas is pictured as the ship is docked in Freeport May 27, 2013. REUTERS/Vandyke Hepburn

Damage on the Royal Caribbean ship Grandeur of the Seas is pictured as the ship is docked in Freeport May 27, 2013. REUTERS/Vandyke Hepburn

The fire was extinguished in about two hours and the 17-year-old vessel was redirected to Freeport, the company said. As a result of the damage, the rest of the trip was cancelled and passengers were refunded their fares and offered a free cruise in the future.

"Royal Caribbean International is deeply sorry for this unexpected development in our guests' vacation," the company said.

The incident was the latest in a string of bad news for the cruise industry. In March, 108 people fell sick with a gastrointestinal illness on a Royal Caribbean Cruises ship.

In February, thousands of passengers spent nearly five days on a disabled cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp in the Gulf of Mexico, after an engine-room fire knocked out power and plumbing throughout most of the ship.

In the most recent mishap, all 2,224 guests and 796 crew on the Royal Caribbean trip were accounted for on Monday, and only minor medical incidents were reported, including fainting and an ankle sprain, the company said.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Second former Peru president faces inquiry before campaign

Posted: 27 May 2013 03:32 PM PDT

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's Alejandro Toledo was grilled in Congress on Monday over his family's purchase of a luxury home in Lima, making him the second former president to face inquiries that could narrow the 2016 presidential field.

A preliminary investigation by the attorney general's office into Toledo's real estate dealings comes as two-time former President Alan Garcia faces official inquiries over thousands of presidential pardons he granted to convicted drug traffickers during his 2006-2011 term.

Peru's presidential candidate Alejandro Toledo gestures after casting his ballot in the general elections in Lima, April 10, 2011. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

Peru's presidential candidate Alejandro Toledo gestures after casting his ballot in the general elections in Lima, April 10, 2011. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

Both politicians have denied any wrongdoing. And though the inquiries are only getting started, they could lead to authorities blocking their expected 2016 presidential bids.

Toledo, like Garcia, has said unproven allegations against him amount to a political witch-hunt designed to derail his political future.

There are only two other probable contenders for the upcoming race with a chance of winning, according to polls.

They are first lady Nadine Heredia and Keiko Fujimori, a one-time lawmaker and the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori. Peru has never had a woman serve as president.

Heredia, the charismatic wife of President Ollanta Humala, is widely expected to run for the presidency in 2016 when her husband cannot because of a constitutional ban on consecutive terms. She has denied she plans to seek office.

Lawmakers spent hours questioning Toledo on Monday for his 86-year-old mother-in-law's purchase of a $3.8 million house in Lima through what appeared to be an offshore holding company in Costa Rica.

Toledo has said his mother-in-law, Eva Fernenburg, used a loan, inheritance wealth and reparation payments for being a Holocaust survivor to pay for the house.

He said his family's purchase of the house may have been a political miscalculation.

"I might have made some mistakes but I am not corrupt," Toledo told lawmakers on Monday. "My hands and pockets are not stained."

Toledo, who works as an academic and is active on the speaking circuit in the United States, said all funds for the house were legally earned.

He vowed to retire from politics if proof emerges that he used an offshore company to transfer illicit funds to buy the house.

Toledo's party is an important ally of Humala's government in Congress. Toledo, who governed from 2001 to 2006 but lost the 2011 race, told the local newspaper El Comercio he would break with Humala if his government were behind the allegations.

On Friday, three of Humala's ministers dismissed all suggestions they were manoeuvring against Toledo and Garcia.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Mitra Taj; Editing by Terry Wade and Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Alliance maintains "Neutral" on MPHB; TP: RM3.12

Posted: 27 May 2013 07:06 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Alliance Research maintains its "Neutral" rating on Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd (MPHB), given its limited upside post-demerger exercise as well as maintaining its target price at RM3.60, comprising of RM3.12 for its gaming operations and capital repayment of 48.5sen.

The research house said MPHB's earnings were above expectation, supported by improvement in all its divisions mainly from its gaming operations.

"Stripping out exceptional items amounting to RM16.4 million, which consist of gain on disposal of its stockbroking business of RM15.0 million, gain on disposal of investment properties of RM1.4 million -- core earnings for 1Q13 amounted to RM133 million, which achieved 31.9% and 33.9% of our and consensus full-year estimates respectively," it said.

Alliance said profit from its gaming division surged by 49.8% to RM148.4 million driven by additional one extra draw during the quarter compared to 1Q12, prize payout ratio at 59% vs a normalised ratio of 63% as well as savings in interest expenses from its debt restructuring exercise.

"Operating profit from its financial services division for 1Q13 was 4.8 times higher on-year at RM13.2 million from RM2.3 million reported in the corresponding period last year due to stronger income generated from its general insurance business and disposal gains of investment securities," it said.

Alliance added MPHB's operating profit from its corporate and other divisions for 1Q13 rose 50.1% on-year to RM25.2 million boosted by gain on disposal of its stockbroking business of RM15.0 million and savings in interest expenses arising from its debt restructuring exercise.

"Nonetheless, we observe that operational environment remains challenging for its gaming operations where gaming revenue per outlet eased by about 1.1% in 1Q13 compared to 1Q12. This reflects the ongoing competition in the numbers forecast operations industry," it said.


SKP and Dayang surged on HUC jobs award

Posted: 27 May 2013 06:55 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday May 28, 2013 MYT 9:55:00 AM

PETALING JAYA: Shares of both SapuraKencana Petroleum and Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd surged amid active trade on Tuesday, after both companies announced the award of hook-up and commissioning jobs.

At 9.45am, SapuraKencana gained 14 sen or 3.5% to RM4.04, while Dayang climbed 17 sen or 3.4% to RM5.07.

On Monday, SapuraKencana announced that ExxonMobil awarded a RM300 million to RM500 million contract to the former for the provision of hook-up and commissioning and topside major maintenance services.

Dayang was awarded a contract of similar services provision by Petronas Carigali, however, the value of the job was not disclosed.

Analysts believe that the contract awarded to Dayang should be valued between RM1 billion to RM1.2 billion based on previous awards.


RHB raised Dayang to a "Buy" call, ups its FV to RM6.50

Posted: 27 May 2013 06:38 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday May 28, 2013 MYT 9:38:00 AM

PETALING JAYA: RHB Research upgraded Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd to a "Buy" with a revised fair value of RM6.50.

The research house said it had also raised Dayang's 2013 to 2014 earnings forecasts and assumed a total of RM3.8bil worth of order wins from its Pan-Malaysia Hook-up and commissioning tender.

"Dayang Enterprise has received a letter of award to provide hook-up, commissioning and topside maintenance services from Petronas Carigali."

"While we were right to predict the short-term weakness on its share price, we believe that its share price should re-rate further to incorporate its total contract win of an estimated MYR3.3bil to RM3.5bil," it said.



The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Jazeman attributes Monaco success to experience

Posted: 27 May 2013 04:13 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Jazeman Jaafar has attributed his podium finish in the Formula Renault 3.5 World Series in Monaco on Sunday to his previous experience racing in Pau and Macau.

Jazeman learnt his race craft tackling the street circuits in Pau, Belgium in three seasons of the British Formula 3 Championship and also at the iconic Macau Grand Prix last year.

Jazeman raced to a superb third place finish on his debut at the Monaco race track, taking his first career podium finish in the third round of the series.

What made it more memorable was it being a support race for the most famous event on the motorsport calendar – the Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco.

It will be a day Jazeman will remember in his racing career as it started with the Malaysian being the pace setter at the start of practice and qualifying, where he earned his first front row start after clocking the second fastest time.

"Wow, what a weekend. It has been one of the most mentally and physically challenging races. It is such a tough track, with so little room for mistakes, yet it's also very fast in sections and you have to have total concentration all the time.

"It feels good to have had such a strong weekend and really get to grips with getting the best from the car and myself. I'm sure my experience on the street circuits of Pau and Macau has helped but Monaco is unique too.

"Taking my first World Series podium in front of the celebrity-laden crowd in Monaco is very special and it is a day I'll remember for a long time.

"It was great Nico (Rosberg) won the race as well and to share the joy with the Mercedes AMG Petronas team," he said from Monaco.

Jazeman will have little time to enjoy his success as he will be heading to Spa in Belgium for the fourth round next weekend.

Squash optimistic of making the Olympic cut

Posted: 27 May 2013 04:15 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Squash will know it's Olympic fate in a few days time but the World Squash Federation (WSF) presentation team are not losing too much sleep over it.

The International Olympic Commit-tee (IOC) executive board will meet in St Petersburg, Russia tomorrow to decide which two or three sports – wrestling, karate, wushu, baseball-softball, wakeboarding, roller sport, sport climbing and squash – will make the final shortlist.

One sport will be chosen in Septem-ber during the full IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

WSF president N. Ramachandran, who will head the presentation team alongside WSF chief executive officer Andrew Shelley and two of the world's best players – recently crowned British Open champion Ramy Ashour of Egypt and seven-time women's world champion Nicol David of Malaysia, believes that squash has done everything right to merit a spot in the 2020 Olympics.

"Squash is played in 185 countries by millions across the world and is constantly gaining popularity in Paraguay, India, Egypt and the United States," said Ramachandran.

"Besides, squash also offers genuine medal opportunities to a growing number of countries and has the prospect of new nations on the podium.

"Just look at the women's top 20 ... which features 11 countries and the fact that all five continental confederations have produced male and female world champions," he added.

Meanwhile, Shelley said squash has made several improvements in terms of broadcast and innovation to show how far the sport has progressed.

"The case that we present are the values that we could bring to the Games in terms of our universality, fine athletes, promotion of women's competition, flexibility of staging and ability to showcase the host city and we remain hopeful of getting selected," said Shelley.

"The main changes that we have made this time, compare to the previous bids for 2012 and 2016 is that we have heeded advice from the IOC and have moved forward in terms of broadcasts and innovations.

"Through SquashTV, we now have a quality and consistent international broadcast with our own production team and equipment in major events around the world.

"Staging and presentation has also evolved too with new generation glass courts with side door entry, along with video review for referees which has all taken the sport forward," added Shelley.

Keep calm, it’s just a temporary blip from Nicol

Posted: 27 May 2013 03:55 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: So how do we describe Nicol David's shocking loss in the British Open final to Laura Massaro on Sunday?

Is she on the decline? It's just too early to tell, to be honest.

The Penangite, who turns 30 in August, has been on top of the women's game for so long ... since 2006, so it's natural to press the panic button when she loses.

The defeat was her most disappointing result in a major event in recent years. The last time she fell at such a big tournament was in 2009, coincidentally the British Open as well, in which she lost in the quarter-finals to Ireland's Madeline Perry.

The easy explanation is to say that Nicol is getting old and is on a downward spiral, unable to keep up with the high expectations and the fast pace of the game.

But in all honesty, that is just being unfair, not only to Nicol, but to Massaro as well.

Massaro, who also turns 30 in November, is ranked No. 2 in the world and her win over Nicol was certainly no fluke.

On Sunday, Massaro could have easily been buried when Nicol held a 10-7 lead in the third set.

But the Englishwoman showed more desire, hunger and determination to claw back that deficit before taking just one opportunity to steal that set. It proved, to be a massive psychological blow for Nicol.

Furthermore, Massaro was tactically astute that day as she played her cards right, waited for the right moment to make the right shots and chose the best opportunities to call for a video review.

All which worked in her favour.

Sure, Massaro who stood almost a head taller than Nicol was also more physical as well, often using her size to good advantage. But that's all part of the game and it showed just how badly she wanted to win that title in front of her home crowd.

Most importantly, what makes Massaro different from the rest of Nicol's rivals, is that she has the self belief that she can beat the world No. 1. She showed that in March during the KL Open, and she showed it again last Sunday.

But although squash is a physically demanding sport, being super fit and young sometimes do not win you tournaments ... or matches.

A good example of some players who defy age is our men's national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee, who at 33-years-old showed just how to overcome a younger and fitter player by brilliantly outplaying Egypt's Omar Mosaad – 10 years his junior, at the KL Open in March.

Another good example would be France's Theirry Lincou who remained in the world's top 10 well until he was 36-years-old before calling it a day last year.

Thus, Nicol, at 29 going 30, should still be years before entering a decline phase. In fact, she played excellent squash all week at the British Open and only a more determined Massaro and a slight lack of focus, which she admitted, caused her defeat in the final.

We should also not rule out the fact that Nicol, being at the top for so long, has only served to motivate other players to keep improving themselves, which is good for the sport as it becomes more competitive.

At least Nicol herself is aware of it, as she said after her defeat to Massaro: "I know my game is good but there are things that can go wrong and these girls are coming up very strongly. They find a weakness and they keep working on it and it worked for Laura."

Having watched Nicol in action so many times, and spoken to her on numerous occasions, I know she is a model professional who takes very good care of her physical condition.

Defeats like this are rare and her current form might be a cause for concern for some but I know that Nicol always comes back stronger and hungrier after a tough loss. It's just in her character.

Please keep faith and continue supporting squash, especially with the Olympic decision looming, as Nicol's form is but a temporary blip.

She will definitely make a strong comeback in the second half of the year.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

TV, Boomers and Asia: Film trends to watch post-Cannes

Posted: 27 May 2013 05:08 AM PDT

CANNES, France: What films will we be watching in the near future, and how will we be watching them?

Here's a snapshot of trends that emerged in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, a weathervane of the movie industry:

- TV, NOT CINEMA: Hollywood's grip on big movies is being broken by TV, to which big-time directors, actors and money are migrating.

Dark, offbeat critical and commercial successes like "The Wire," "Mad Men," "The Sopranos" and "Game of Thrones" show what happens when bold programming and video-on-demand (VOD) come together.

At Cannes, there was no greater symbol of the change than "Behind the Candelabra," a biopic that has Michael Douglas as the flouncing entertainer Liberace.

"Too gay" for Hollywood, the movie was financed by HBO - which means it cannot even be considered for an Oscar if it premieres to the public on television.

"TV is really taking control of a conversation that used to be the exclusive domain of movies," said director Steven Soderbergh. "(...) I think it's a second golden age of TV that's happening in the States now."

Richard LaGravenese said creative types found TV refreshingly experimental compared to Hollywood studio films.

"TV is where a writer can write his novel. You can have episodes that are purely character-driven (...) that are just about nuance and about shades of the human condition that you can't do in film any more."

- GREY IS GOLD: Expect more and more films that cater to ageing Baby Boomers, the biggest and wealthiest population bulge in history. Robert Redford made a screen comeback with "All is Lost," about a retired-but-virile yachtsman caught in a storm.

Senior-friendly projects that were announced or touted at Cannes include "Life Itself," a marriage comedy starring Morgan Freeman, 75, and Diane Keaton, 67; "And So It Goes," with Douglas, 68, who is introduced to the granddaughter he never knew he had; and "Look of Love," where Annette Bening, 55, falls for a man (Ed Harris, 62), who happens to look like her dead husband.

"You really need elements that appeal to the older audiences," The Hollywood Reporter quoted Mimi Steinbauer, an executive with Radiant Films International, as saying.

"These actors have fans in those demographics. That is very important."

- LOOKING TO ASIA: Asian markets and money, as well as Asian content, are exerting a widening influence. China is at the forefront.

"China is coming on strong not just as a market place for international motion pictures, but coming on strong as a creative force," Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg told a press conference.

Big-budget US-Chinese co-productions such as "Kung Fu Panda 3" are sometimes shot with a Chinese location and storyline.

In the case of "Iron Man 3," producers included two Chinese characters for a version released only in China: a character named Dr. Wu, played by Wang Xueqi, and a woman close to him, performed by actress Fan Bingbing.

Some co-productions are being voluntarily submitted to Beijing's censors in the early stage of the creative process to avoid rejection further down the line, according to the industry press.

Asian-made movies can make it big in Europe and the United States provided they move out of a narrow cultural range and address universal themes, say some.

"I find film from India can be sold in Latin America, in Europe, in parts of the world we never thought of before because human emotion and drama are the same everywhere," said US-based film producer and distributor Raaj Rahhi.

- DOCUMENTARIES: They are the biggest growth area of films, driven by interests in content ranging from social and environment issues to history, sports and music.

"People today want more than escapism," said Martijn te Pas, in charge of programming at Amsterdam's International Documentary Film Festival.

Driving the trend are cheap digital technology for content makers, niche markets for non-fiction programming ranging and the Internet as a form of distribution.

"If you own a Mac and a camcorder, you can make a documentary, basically," said Tyler Konney of Taylor & Dodge, which is marketing "After Porn Ends," about actors who struggle to resume normal life after a career in pornographic films.

Another push for documentaries and low-budget fiction is crowd-sourcing, where Internet sites such as Kickstarter bring small investors and creators together.

"Kickstarter is something that harnesses people for a project which has great ideas but no money," said Toby Rose, a British writer seeking 10,000 pounds ($15,100) for a movie idea, "Fashion Victim: The Musical."

- PIRACY: Do you illegally download movies? In the near future, you could run a bigger risk of being pursued by the dogs of law.

Lacking a technical fix against piracy, studios are turning more and more to cyber-detectives to sniff out the Internet addresses of illegal downloaders.

Lawyers then subpoena the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to identify the abuser. The attorneys send a threatening letter, usually with a settlement offer.

"In Germany, there has been a reduction in (copyright) infringements by 80 to 90 percent over the last three years," said Patrick Achache of Guardaley, a German-based tech company which has been hired to trace illegal downloading.

In the biggest case, Voltage Pictures, which produced "The Hurt Locker," attacked 25,000 people deemed to have illegally downloaded the hit movie from BitTorrent and peer-to-peer networks. The settlement offer was usually between $1,000 and $2,000; many cases, though, have been thrown out or contested. - AFP

Daring lesbian love story wins Cannes top prize

Posted: 27 May 2013 05:04 AM PDT

CANNES, France: A sexually graphic lesbian love story, "Blue is the Warmest Colour" by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, clinched the top prize Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival in a pivotal year for gay rights.

Jury president Hollywood director Steven Spielberg said the tender coming-of-age tale about a 15-year-old French girl's first love, an older woman, had been a unanimous choice.

In an unusual step, Spielberg awarded the prize to Kechiche as well as the film's two stars, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, who joined him on stage to calls of "bravo" from the ceremony's audience.

Tunis-born Kechiche, 52, dedicated the prize from the world's top cinema showcase to the youth of France, and the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring.

"They also have this aspiration to live free, to express themselves freely and to love in full freedom," he said, adding later that he hoped the film would also be distributed in socially conservative Tunisia.

Spielberg said the international jury including fellow Oscar winners Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz had had no qualms about the explicit sex on screen, praising the film team's "courage", and predicted a wide art-house run.

"For me, the film is a great love story and the fact that it is a great love story made all of us feel like we were privileged, not embarrassed, to be flies on the wall - privileged to have been invited to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning, in a wonderful way where time stood still," he told reporters.

"We were absolutely spellbound by the brilliance of the performances of those amazing young actresses and all the cast, and especially by the way the director observed his players, the way he just let the characters breathe. We just all found it was a profound love story."

The prize came on the day of a major demonstration in Paris against a new law making France the 14th country worldwide to legalise same-sex marriage.

Asked whether the film had a political message, the 19-year-old Exarchopoulos said it was first and foremost about love.

"If it becomes an ode to tolerance, that would be even more gratifying," she added.

The runner-up award, the Grand Prix, went to Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" starring Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and newcomer Oscar Isaac in the title role of a luckless folk singer in 1960s New York.

The Coens' film "Barton Fink" won Cannes in 1991 and the brothers last entered the running in 2007 with "No Country for Old Men".

Mexico's Amat Escalante claimed best director for the ultra-violent "Heli" about his country's blood-drenched drug wars.

French actress Berenice Bejo took home best actress honours as a harried Parisian mother in Iranian Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi's patchwork family drama "The Past".

Bejo, 36, made her name in the hit French silent movie "The Artist".

One of the stars of Hollywood's 1970s golden age, 76-year-old Bruce Dern, took the best actor prize for his performance as an alcoholic father in Alexander Payne's recession-era road movie "Nebraska".

China's Jia Zhangke won the best screenplay award for "A Touch of Sin", which offered a shocking look at rampant corruption and exploitation in his country.

And an emotional Japanese drama about young boys switched at birth, Hirokazu Koreeda's "Like Father, Like Son", bagged the third-place jury prize.

Adapted from a graphic novel of the same name, "Blue" emerged as an instant favourite during the 12-day festival on France's Cote d'Azur.

"You realise the film has won your heart without ever really asking for it, and you leave the cinema utterly lovesick," said London's Daily Telegraph critic Robbie Collin.

But in a dissenting critique, New York Times critic Manohla Dargis questioned the director's motives in including lengthy scenes of hardcore sex.

"The movie feels far more about Mr Kechiche's desires than anything else," she said.

Kechiche won the Cesar, the French Oscar, for the 2003 drama "Games of Love and Chance" set among teenagers in the housing projects on Paris' outskirts, and again for 2007's "The Secret of the Grain", also released under the English title "Couscous".

In a year in which gay themes resonated on and off screen, Steven Soderbergh's made-for-TV biopic of celebrity pianist Liberace and his long-time lover, "Behind the Candelabra", also drew praise at Cannes for its stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.


The Star Online: Nation

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Death of detainee in Penang police lockup due to liver failure, post-mortem finds

Posted: 27 May 2013 08:17 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: Police have confirmed that the death of a 40-year-old detainee in the Penang police contingent headquarters lock-up Sunday was due to liver failure.

State CID deputy chief, ACP Nasir Mohd Salleh said the nature of R.Jamesh Ramesh's death was confirmed by the hospital after a post-mortem.

He said there were no injuries on the body and no criminal element involved.

"Police have also recorded statements from the deceased's cellmates and they claimed that the deceased was in a state of 'high' throughout the night," he told reporters, here on Monday.

Jamesh Ramesh who was unemployed and had a criminal record for robbery was arrested in front of a community hall in Jalan Patani, here, on Saturday when he was found positive for morphine in a urine test.

Police only realised that he was dead when they came to the lock-up at 10.30am Sunday to bring him to court for a remand order. - Bernama

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English tourist dies after being struck by boat propeller in Pulau Perhentian

Posted: 27 May 2013 08:06 AM PDT

BESUT: An English tourist was killed after she was hit by a boat propeller while in Pulau Perhentian Monday morning.

In the 10.20am incident, Madaline Jayne, 25, of Hereford, was killed while her friend, Simon James Rogers, 22, from Australia, was seriously hurt.

Besut police chief, Supt Kamaruddin Mohd Zakaria said she died as she was being taken for treatment by the boat operator involved in the mishap.

Jayne suffered serious injuries on both legs, buttocks and body while Rogers was injured in both his legs and stomach.

Rogers was rushed to Besut District Hospital for treatment before being transferred to University Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

Kamaruddin said the incident occurred as boat operator Mohd Azwan Mohamad, 23, was passing the area to bring tourists to the island resort.

"The two victims and two other friends were diving outside the safe zone and were not wearing safety jackets. They were accidentally hit by Mohd Azwan," said Kamaruddin.

He said the body was sent to Besut District Hospital for an autopsy.

Jayne arrived in Malaysia on April 4 and stayed at the Senja Bay Resort, Pulau Perhentian Besar, while Rogers was staying at the Shari-La Resort.

Both had signed up for a snorkelling course on Pulau Perhentian Besar. - Bernama

#AskLisa with actress Lisa Surihani

Posted: 27 May 2013 06:41 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: With well over 1.3 million Twitter followers, Lisa Surihani is current Malaysian queen of tweets.

It was little wonder when The Star Online hosted an #AskLisa On The Spot live tweet session, tweeters submitted hundreds of questions for the bubbly 27-year-old.

"It was a lot of fun! It was great to tell everyone 'Ask me questions now!'.

"A lot of different questions came in: mind-boggling ones, cute ones, silly ones," said the articulate actress of her interactive live interview experience.

Her immense cyber popularity also caused the #AskLisa hashtag to enter the Malaysia Trends list, with queries streaming in long after the session had ended.

When asked who she wants to see in a live tweet session, Lisa's first choice was her all-time favourite actress, Anne Hathaway.

As for local personalities, Lisa hopes to see her husband Yusry Abdul Halim going On The Spot out of sheer curiousity.

"He's shy and not that inclined to social media, but I'm curious about the kind of (good-natured) questions he will get. Especially when it comes to his line of work and the things he does with visual effects," said Lisa.

Her other top picks included TV personality Daphne Iking and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Social media darling

Though Lisa remains the most popular artiste in Malaysia's social media scene, she maintains that her use of it was "never with the intention of gaining the most amount of followers".

"I was just trying to get with the program, as they say. Everybody was on social media, so I started off with Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram," shared Lisa.

Lisa saw international celebrities using Pages to share their work, and followed suit.

As she is a rather private person, her personal profile remains a safe space where she can comfortably share updates with only her family and close friends.

And when the numbers of followers started climbing on her social media accounts, Lisa did not pay much thought to it.

"For me, it was just like everybody else. Every other celebrity would have a high amount of followers as well," reasoned the Law graduate.

"It's not what I'm chasing for. If I happen to have the most followers now, someone could take over anytime, just like that," she added, alluding to the online audience's constant hunger for new content due to frequent use of social media.

Lisa admits that numbers matter to advertising clients, but there is ultimately a fine balance to maintain between content and advertisements.

"It used to be just billboards, television commercials and the like, but now you can promote on social media as well!

"With social media, you have to work on the ratio of how much you want to sell. You have to share more (personal thoughts) rather than sell more. That sort of formula works best," said Lisa.

Attracting followers is one thing, but retaining a large following is a whole different ball game.

As she does not believe in cajoling followers to stay, Lisa likens celebrity Twitter followings to teenage crushes on boy bands eventually, you move on.

"Being in the industry, I understand that youngsters may like you or idolise you, but eventually they grow out of it. Of course, if they keep following me on social media because they like my personality, I appreciate it very much," she said.

While Lisa used to constantly engage her followers by trying to answer every mention, it soon became more of a burden due to the overwhelming volume of posts.

"I realised that you only have 24 hours in a day. No one gets 25 hours. There's other work to do you have to figure out your time management and you can't please everyone when it comes to replies," said Lisa.

She soon accepted that it was impossible to reply each and every query, and now engages her audience when she is able to.

"You want to be relevant and interesting, but not to the point where your presence becomes annoying. I don't want to gamble my value so much to the point where what I say has less impact," said the savvy celebrity.

"It feels better when you tweet only when you want to, and not because you are obligated to. That way, it's more genuine and honest," she added.

Lisa also takes care with the kind of stories she shares.

"I'm very much for spreading positivity. I hardly complain, except perhaps for one tweet or two about traffic jams!" she laughed.

While sharing news of upcoming movies remains useful in increasing awareness, Lisa also likes using social media to instill the idea of social welfare and charity in younger ones.

Another oft-overlooked aspect she enjoys sharing is financial management in the household. Lisa realised its importance through her friend Nazril Idrus, a financial coach and contestant in The Apprentice Asia.

'Sometimes people feel they can't afford to be charitable because they have many commitments. But he teaches you that no matter what your income level is, you can still be charitable," said Lisa.

"It's good food for the soul to know that when you manage your finances well, you can still afford to be charitable. Of course, charity is not just monetary, there are many other means like spending time with the needy," she explained.

For her, charity works best when one can really connect with the cause.

"My father passed on because of cancer, so it's a cause I feel for. If someone asks me to visit kids with cancer, I'd say yes in a heartbeat," shared Lisa.

Looking forward

With her career on the rise, Lisa has plenty in the pipeline to be excited about.

Apart from upcoming movie releases such as Dendam Orang Mati (Revenge of the Dead), she is anticipating a film project due to start shooting this August.

"I will be directed by my husband. We acted together in the soon to be released Ular, but Yusry has never directed me in a movie before," she shared.

Even before they started dating, Lisa had always wanted to work with him because she admired his efforts such as Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa for its "crazy production value".

And during their courtship, Yusry was working on Vikingdom, which was shot entirely in Malaysia. Lisa witnessed his team's work on the otherworldly visual effects, and found their efforts "cool and time-consuming".

"I've always wanted to work with him. Since I'm his wife now, I wonder what the experience will be like on set? What will we call each other?" said Lisa with a twinkle in her eye.

"Getting to know your husband more is a lifelong thing, so it'll be good to find out if we can work together well," she concluded.

Visit or search #AskLisa on Twitter to read the full live tweet session exchange.


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MBPJ and MPSJ want highway operators to obtain licence for each toll booth and plaza

Posted: 27 May 2013 07:08 AM PDT

HIGHWAY concessionaires in Selangor have till the end of June to apply for licences from the local councils to operate toll booths or risk facing legal action.

Presently, toll booths built on federal land are allowed to operate for free.

However, in a move to regulate highway concessionaires, Selangor is introducing the new regulation.

Companies operating the toll booths are against the move that will see local councils charging up to RM1,000 a year per toll booth.

The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) have notified highway concessionaires operating in areas under their jurisdictions but the notices have been snubbed.

A source said the companies had decided to ignore the directive as the High Court decision on Feb 21 stated that local authorities had no power over structures built on federal roads.

The High Court ruled that the Sepang Municipal Council was not allowed to remove the controversial Automated Enforcement System cameras put up along the North-South Expressway (PLUS) and the South Klang Valley Expressway.

Based on the facts of the case, Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof explained that the state was not the landowner and as such the Sepang Municipal Council and the Selangor government had no powers to decide on structures built on it.

However, MBPJ and MPSJ are firm about implementing their regulation under the Trade, Licence, Business and Industry Bylaw 2007 that stipulates that any activity (including business) or structures built on roads under the council's jurisdiction have to be licensed and regulated by the council.

Both councils have notified highway concessionaires to apply for business licences or risk being fined up to RM1,000 per booth.

Meanwhile, charges for the toll plaza offices will vary according to the floor space of the building.

MBPJ public relations director Haniza Abdul Hamid said the council was in the midst of drawing up the new guidelines that also require the toll plaza management and operations offices to have a business licence, which fees would be calculated based on floor space.

"Toll collection is a business and MBPJ has the right to impose a business licence fee as the toll booths are not charitable organisations. It is no different from other businesses.

"If other businesses nearby can comply, there is no reason for the highway concessionaires to be exempted," said Haniza.

She added that the latter were collecting toll from the public and as such a business entity was subjected to the Licensing, Trade and Industry bylaws.

MBPJ will also charge a monthly fee of RM30 for each logo fixed on the toll booths and an annual fee for signboards based on the size.

"Revenue from the business licences will be used to upgrade basic amenities for the public," said Haniza.

On an average, MBPJ and MPSJ will be able to earn RM300,000 annually from this move.

MBPJ has eight toll plazas in its area — in Subang, Damansara, Kota Damansara and Sungai Buloh operated by PLUS, Penchala under Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Section 16 operated by Sprint Expressway and PJS2 and PJS5 under New Pantai Expressway.

At the eight toll plazas, there are 128 toll booths.

MPSJ has seven toll plazas. Three are along the LDP, two along Elite Highway, one along Kesas Highway and another one along Besraya Highway.

Kinrara assemblyman Ng Sze Han said it was only fair that highway operators apply for licences, just like other businesses.

The Malaysian Highway Authorities has declined to comment on the matter.

Six-hour road closure on Bukit Jalil Expressway

Posted: 27 May 2013 06:59 AM PDT

A 1km stretch along Bukit Jalil Expressway, facing SMK Seksyen 1 Bandar Kinrara, will be temporary closed for six hours from 11pm tonight, to facilitate the relocation of an overhead pedestrian bridge.

Due to the temporary road closure, motorists from Bukit Jalil to Puchong will be diverted to Jalan Kinrara 6 and to Jalan Kinrara 5a before getting on to the other side of the expressway via Jalan Kinrara 5.

In a statement, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd also said motorists from Puchong to Bukit Jalil would be diverted to Jalan Kinrara 4 before entering Jalan Kinrara 2 and get back on the Bukit Jalil Expressway.

"The relocation of the pedestrian bridge is to facilitate construction of the guideway for the LRT Line Extension Project, which connects the Ampang LRT Line from Seri Petaling to Putra Heights via Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, Shah Alam and Putra Heights.

"The pedestrian bridge will be relocated to a new site, about 60m away from its current location," said Prasarana group communications and strategic marketing department executive vice-president Lim Jin Aun.

"All works will be completed within six hours and traffic will return to normal by 5am tomorrow," he said.

In addition to the extension of the Ampang LRT Line, Prasarana is also extending the Kelana Jaya LRT Line, stretching from the Kelana Jaya LRT station to Putra Heights, passing through Lembah Subang, Subang Jaya and USJ.


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‘MCA has many issues to consider’

Posted: 26 May 2013 05:40 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: MCA will have to consider a lot of issues pertaining to the Chinese community if it were to leave the Barisan Nasional coalition, said Tebrau MP Khoo Soo Seang.

He said although a lot of the Chinese had abandoned MCA but the party had never abandoned the Chinese community.

"If we were to really leave the Barisan coalition one day, we still have to worry about Chinese education and Chinese schools on top of the community's welfare," he said.

He added that like it or not, Chinese primary schools still needed MCA's help, referring to the government allocations and plots of land received by the schools.

Khoo, who is also a MCA central committee member, was speaking to reporters after attending a Wesak Day celebration at the Johor Buddhist Mission in Taman Desa Cemerlang here.

Khoo was asked to comment on whether or not should MCA leave Barisan to form a new coalition with Gerakan and the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) by opening its party membership to other races.

Khoo said that it was possible for MCA to join forces with Gerakan and SUPP but it all came down to the party (MCA) members to decide.

"This is because they joined MCA on the agreement that the party was a Chinese-based party and it depends on the members themselves if they agree on the decision to form a new coalition and accept other races into the party," he added.

When asked if he agrees on party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek's reiteration that MCA would not accept any government posts due to its big loss in the GE13, Khoo said that he had no power to disagree even if he wanted to.

"The decision was already agreed upon by the party's presidential council, central committee and liaison committee so at this time, no one person has the power to say otherwise.

"The mistake was that we did not expect to suffer such a huge loss during the time of decision on the matter, therefore no proper details were discussed such as exactly which leader should quit," he said.

Meanwhile, former Stulang assemblyman Mok Chek Hau said that the newly appointed Johor executive councillor Datuk Tee Siew Kiong should face disciplinary actions for violating MCA's decision.

"For whatever reason he accepted the appointment, he should have put his party first and adhere to the decision," he said at a Wesak Day celebration here in SJKC Foon Yew 1 here.

Mok also said that in order to revive the party, there should be a change in the party's leadership.

Over 75,000 visitors expected at Big Bad Wolf sale

Posted: 26 May 2013 05:40 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Over 500,000 books were up for grabs for lucky bookworms who visited the Big Bad Wolf book sale here.

For the first time held in the state, the book sale was expected to see over 75,000 visitors throughout the nine-day event held at Danga City Mall expo hall here.

Among the visitors was metaphysical consultant Danley Loh, 36, who was seen pushing a trolley full of books at the sale.

"My friends and I decided to make a trip from Penang, just to visit the book sale here, as we read about the good bargains via the Internet.

"We have picked out at least 100 books from a variety of categories that has good and green values," she said.

She added that the price of the books were reasonably cheap and made their trip all the more worthwhile.

"We love reading books and sharing the books with each other, and in fact, we are hoping to open up our own library in Penang soon," she said.

For human resource executive K. Thila, 35, the book sale was the biggest she has ever seen.

"It is a great way to encourage and cultivate reading habits especially among the younger generation here," she said, adding that she could not find multilingual books for her five-year-old daughter, who studies in a Chinese school.

University student Muhammad Nasir Mukhriz came all the way from Seremban with his family to visit the book sale.

"The price of the books are much lower than usual, and I found many architecture reference books related to the course that I am currently pursuing," he said.

He added that the books are about 50% to 70% cheaper than the usual prices.

Book Xcess Sdn Bhd marketing communication executive K. Ruebni said that over 75,000 visitors were expected to throng the book sale which is being held from now until June 2.

"We are hoping to sell at least 90% of the books that we are offering," she said, adding that the book prices started from as low as RM3 per book.

Faulty sewage treatment plant and damaged drains causing a stink

Posted: 26 May 2013 05:40 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: About 300 residents in Taman Kota Puteri in Pasir Gudang are fuming over an array of issues affecting the local residents including foul smell from a faulty sewerage treatment plant, dengue outbreak, damaged drains and even speeding vehicles.

The residents are fuming that despite many complaints to the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB), nothing has been done to solve the problems, which has been affecting the residents for the past decade.

Housewife K. Nila, 53, said she was disappointed with MBJB and the local politicians as the sewerage plant had been faulty for the past 10 years but nothing had been done to repair and rectify it.

"Each time its rains, the plant overflows and the smell is unbearable. Sewage also overflows onto the road along Jalan Banyan 45.

"My family is poor or else I would have moved out from this area a long time ago," she said, adding that the residents also could not hold functions at home or even invite people to their house due to the foul smell from the plant.

Nila added that the overgrown weeds and plants at the sewerage plant was also a breeding place for mosquitoes and even snakes.

Another resident Wai Siew Lai, 36, said that she was worried for the safety of her three children aged five, 13 and 15, following news of some of her neighbours who had been warded for dengue in the past few weeks.

"In one family, up to three people have been warded in the hospital for dengue," she said, urging the authorities to carry out regular spraying in the area and also to help clean up the drains.

Wai added that the MBJB should supervise the clean-up better as presently, the cleaners removed the earth from the drains and heaped it along the side the road.

"Once it rains, the earth is then washed back into the drains and they become clogged again," she said, adding that she never allowed her children to leave the house in the evenings as she feared they would get bitten by mosquitoes.

For another resident M. Ramamoorthy, 57, the drains behind his home have collapsed several years ago but no one was interested in repairing them along Jalan Banyan 22.

"Most of the people living here are poor people living in double storey low-cost homes. Our drains have been damaged for years and MBJB has done nothing to solve the problem," he said, appealing to the local authorities to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Ramamoorthy added that the drains also flooded each time it rained heavily due to the poor drainage system in the area.

According to resident B. Naidu, 63, Jalan Banyan 45 needs a speed breaker to stop the many accidents happening along the road.

"We even collected RM20 each from the residents and passed it to our local political leader some time ago to build at least three speed breakers in the area but nothing has been done," he said, adding that students would usually race along the 200m road when returning from school.

All the residents sought the assistance from Permas Pusat Aduan Rakyat (PAR) supervisor Syed Othman Syed Abdullah.

Syed said he had already written a complaint to MBJB, National Water Services Commission (Span), Public Complaints Bureau and the Health Department about the problems faced by the people.

"I hope that the new assemblyman in the area who is also our Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin will help resolve the people's problem which has been going on for many years," he added.

A MBJB official said that they would look into the matter.

He urged those with complaints to contact the MBJB hotline at 1300-88-0146.


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