Selasa, 28 Mei 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Coming back to television

Posted: 29 May 2013 05:06 AM PDT

Gillian Anderson may still wear the same pantsuits, but her return to TV is more than welcome.

IT has been more than a decade since Gillian Anderson played the character Dana Scully on The X-Files, but many TV fans still remember her as such. Well, that may no longer be the case as Anderson stages a return to TV.

For those who've lost track of her career, Anderson has actually been appearing in a number of British TV series and films like Great Expectations, Moby Dick, The House Of Mirth and The Crimson Petal And The White. This year, she starred in a five-episode BBC 2 show called The Fall (with The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi), which makes its premiere on the American subscription-based media provider Netflix today. Unfortunately, Netflix is not available here, so let's hope one of the local or regional TV channels picks up the series soon enough.

Last week, Anderson appeared on television twice – first on the ridiculous movie Johnny English Reborn (in which she starred alongside Rowan Atkinson and Rosamund Pike, a weird combo indeed) that was shown on HBO, and on Hannibal (AXN).

In the latter, the actress plays Dr Bedelia Du Maurier, Dr Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist. It's an interesting character in theory, but there needs to be a little more interaction between the two to really figure out what she's truly like. That said, though, Du Maurier's demeanour reminds one of Scully, except that the good doctor is a lot more cunning.

Anderson is currently working on a new programme called Crisis, scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2013. The series revolves around a national crisis that occurs when a high school, attended by the children of Washington DC's prominent political and business figures, is ambushed and the children are taken hostage. Anderson plays the CEO of a big company whose daughter is among those kidnapped. Other stars include Lance Gross, Rachael Taylor, Michael Beach and Dermot Mulroney.

While waiting for these new TV shows to come our way, wouldn't it be great if one of the channels runs the whole nine seasons of The X-Files? Wishful thinking? Probably.

There are a lot of other programmes on my TV wishlist, but you can safely bet that a reality-based series is not one of them. However, there are some which I find quite entertaining, like Snooki & JWoww (MTV Asia). Yes, you read it right, I watched Snooki & JWoww and survived the ordeal. In fact, I was thoroughly entertained by the antics of these ... "TV personalities". The seemingly honest depiction of these rather comical characters, their unpretentiousness, bewildered ignorance and no-holds barred conversations – most of which are more stupid and brash than malicious – make for excellent, if silly, entertainment.

In last week's episode, a very pregnant Snooki or Nicole Polizzi (no one, except for the rabid fan or two, calls her Snooki on the show!) is just about ready to go into labour. She and fiance Jioni LaValle do a dry run to the hospital, which turns out to be quite hilarious. Jioni misses a turn because he's too busy talking, while Nicole pisses – literally – on the car seat ("Yeah I peed in the car but that's normal 'cos I'm pregnant!").

In another scene, when Nicole really is in labour, she tells her bestfriend JWoww aka Jennifer Farley that she feels like "pooping". "It feels like it's one of those long swirly ones that just won't stop" is pretty much how she describes it.

Yes, it's a tad disgusting, but you also see a side of Nicole that you probably thought did not exist in a former hardcore party girl like her. Like how she and Jioni, and to an extent, Jennifer, are actually quite responsible as parents, fretting over the baby's bassinet and other little things.

A snippet of the next episode – when Nicole finally gives birth after 27 hours of being in labour (yikes!) – shows her father, a scary-looking big bald man, crying and telling someone on the phone that "the baby's here". Awww ...

Team Scully or Team Du Maurier? Team Snooki or Team JWoww? Tweet us your TV gripes and wishes at @MyStarTwo.

Descent of Don Draper

Posted: 29 May 2013 05:06 AM PDT

Only Mad Men could open a new season with an episode set in sunny Hawaii and yet somehow have its lead character seem even more grim than he did in grey Manhattan.

As the critically-acclaimed show begins its sixth season, we find Don Draper (Jon Hamm) reclining on the beach with his beautiful new wife, Megan (Jessica Pare). This being Mad Men, Don is reading Dante's Inferno.

And of course, we remember that last scene in the season five finale: Don, recently married, sitting at a bar, contemplating a beautiful woman who asks him: "Are you alone?"

The answer, which faithful viewers of the show have known all along, is yes. Don Draper is alone. Always. Even when he's surrounded by admiring co-workers or lusty lovers. But this season seems like the one where he starts to realise it too.

With a two-hour premiere (The Doorway) that often felt like it was setting up a season-long descent into Don's own nine circles of hell, Mad Men proceeds to show us just exactly how alone the devilishly handsome ad man is. Megan has decided to go back to work as an actress, his protégé Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) is now working for their rival advertising agency, and even while sleeping with a neighbour's wife, Don says, "I don't want to be doing this."

It's a statement that is bigger than just that moment. When Don pitches an ad for a Hawaii hotel only to have the client say it appears to suggest suicide, Don may be surprised, but we aren't. Instead, we know that this is what the show has been building up to: Don's eventual self-destruction, whether literal or metaphorical.

Of course, the beauty of Mad Men is how, despite having a protagonist as complex as Don, the show still manages to introduce and explore a whole host of equally rich supporting characters – and while their development quite often complements happenings in Don's life, they never feel contrived or shortchanged.

I've always thought of Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) as different versions of the Don character – the former often seems to be Don without the darkness, while the latter is a weaker, slimier model – and so far, season six seems to be mining these parallels.

So, in the premiere, while Don struggles with issues of belonging, Roger is first shown attending therapy, and then later, losing his mother. But as Don gets progressively more closed off, Roger seems to be opening up, even having heart-to-heart conversations with his daughter and ex-wife after his mother's funeral.

Pete, on the other hand, is almost living the worst-case scenario version of Don's life. In the season's next episode, Collaborators, his marriage and his affair collide after some truly reprehensible behaviour on his part. This results in his wife Trudy (the perfectly cast Alison Brie) putting him in his place in a way that you almost want to cheer for.

Peggy is struggling with her own issues of faithfulness; when a friendly conversation with her former colleague Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) alerts her to the possibility of poaching a client, her current boss Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) encourages her to go ahead. And on that thread, there seems to be a simmering sexual tension between her and Ted that I suspect will boil over at some point this season (though I'd take Ted over Peggy's lacklustre boyfriend Abe any day).

Collaborators also has some of those classic Don Draper moments we love, such as when he deftly deals with boorish Jaguar distributor Herb without him even realising he'd been played. The most powerful scenes in the episode, however, were the ones involving him and his lover (and neighbour's wife) Sylvia (Linda Cardellini). Truly, few lines can give you a glimpse into Don's psyche like when he tells her: "You want to feel guilty, right to the point where I take your dress off."

With the next season being touted as the show's last, season six looks set to tear down as many of the show's long-established structures as it can. Longtime followers will notice that the show has become progressively grimmer as seasons go by, and this season is no exception. Even the wry moments are permeated by an undercurrent of hopelessness that can sometimes make you long for the black humour of Don's ex-wife Betty (January Jones) shooting pigeons in season one, or season three's bloody lawnmower scene.

That said, the tone is fitting for both the characters and the era. The Swinging Sixties are coming to an end, and with that, the era of optimism in the US. The Vietnam War is already upon them, and historically, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr isn't very far away.

But it's also simply that the characters' burdens are becoming too much to bear; they're older, more jaded, and the cracks are beginning to show. The characters' search for their elusive happiness continues, but it is as if they are gazing at their dreams with increasingly hollow eyes.

Mad Men airs every Wednesday at midnight on FX HD (Astro Ch 726).

Check into Bates Motel

Posted: 28 May 2013 03:29 PM PDT

A new series pieces together the story of fictional serial killer Norman Bates during his teen years, growing up with good old mum.

IN the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho, the audience discovered Norman Bates to be a not an altogether guy. Seeing him talk to his dead mother (taking on her persona, even) did not only give the film its dramatic twist and ending – not to mention goosebumps to viewers – but it also got the audience to form conjectures as to what might have made Norman that way.

Well, Bates Motel provides one possible theory.

With a contemporary setting, the loosely-defined TV prequel to Psycho introduces us to a lanky teenager named Norman (Freddie Highmore). He is moving to a seemingly idyllic town named White Pines Bay – to a particular house up on a hill – with his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga). She has just bought a motel on sale, and plans to run it with her son. All very normal and rosy – compounded by the exchanges between Norma and Norman on the drive to their new home – it's no different than that of any mother and her son. But we know better; The fact she gave her son a masculine version of her own name is already an indication of what seems like an unhealthy mother-son relationship.

When Highmore, 21, was offered the role, he knew playing a 17-year-old Norman would be an amazing opportunity. Like anyone who has seen the film, the English actor asked the same question – what turned Norman into a psycho? In an interview transcript with Highmore, he said the series explores nature versus nurture.

"Was Norman Bates destined to become a serial killer or is it his mother or the dodgy town that they moved to and their influence upon him? And so if it's the latter, if it's the fact that his upbringing has conditioned him in a certain way that means he's more likely to end up as we know he must, then what does that say about us? If we'd had his upbringing would we be slightly different? We all go a little mad sometimes. Would we be more like him? It's fascinating to ask these questions."

To make sure he covers all angles, Highmore watched the film and read the book which the film was based on (the book was inspired by the serial killer Ed Gein). Nonetheless, he admitted that he wanted to give the character in the series justice – to add layers to him especially since it's no secret that Norman becomes a serial killer in the future.

He said: "You have to build in things from the start so that it's believable at whatever point it is that he takes his first victim. So it has to be a level of believability to it – he can't be a completely normal guy, but at the same time, there's something very chillingly normal about some people who in real life perhaps have acted in the way that Norman does."

Bates Motel creators Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) have also cleverly set the series in present times, giving the series flexibility not to follow resolutely on Psycho's footsteps. At the same time, however, all the clothes, cars and furniture have a vintage quality to them, linking it to Hitchcock's film. (So while Norma drives a classic Mercedes Benz, her son is listening to music on an iPhone – which lends the 10-episode series an interesting look.)

So what is Highmore's take on Norman's relationship with his mother? "It's very intimate, isn't it? I don't think Norman forgets Mother's Day. Every day is Mother's Day at the Bates household! It's interesting also the way that they both negatively impact the other but also can't live without the other. They are soul partners. And then perhaps partners in crime at a certain point.

"It's odd but it's also certainly two-directional: you can say there's those complexes there with Norman, but for me, that refers more to a son's desire for his mother. Whereas in Bates Motel, it's not just Norman desiring his mother but his mother desiring the son. And it's not necessarily sexual, but it's nice that it's hinted at. I think a lot of the important things in Bates Motel are left unsaid and suggested as opposed to being explicitly there. So a lot of things in people's interpretations are, where to draw the lines in a relationship, because it's not obvious. But that's what makes it exciting is that it's not being forced upon the audience or saying this is exactly what it is and we're going to say lines that are true.

"There's one episode where I remember thinking everyone is lying to each other, absolutely everyone! It's fantastic because you just don't know who to trust and you don't know who's telling the truth and that's kind of exciting to watch."

Bates Motel premieres tonight at 10.50pm on Universal HD (HyppTV Ch 612).

Related Story:
Mothers who smother


The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Papua New Guinea reinstates death penalty after gruesome sorcery killings, rapes

Posted: 28 May 2013 08:19 PM PDT

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea has reinstated the death penalty and repealed controversial sorcery laws after a string of gruesome "witch" killings and gang-rapes, with capital punishment to be used for some corruption cases and possibly even growing marijuana.

PNG is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world, with rampant graft a major hindrance to the South Pacific nation's ability to develop vast reserves of natural resources.

The PNG parliament voted on Tuesday to extend death penalty laws, unused since 1954, to make murder, rape and robbery punishable by measures ranging from hanging to a firing squad, as well as "medical death by deprivation of oxygen".

The vote followed a spate of violent sorcery-related crimes, including murders and beheadings that have drawn condemnation from the United Nations.

In February, a 20-year-old mother was accused of witchcraft, then stripped and burned alive in a crowded market near Mount Hagen in the forbidding, jungle-clad central highlands.

However, rights watchdog Amnesty International condemned the reinstated laws as an "horrific and repressive" way to deal with crimes that had been largely committed against women.

"We are horrified that the government is attempting to end one form of violence by perpetuating state-sanctioned violence," said Amnesty's Asia-Pacific Deputy-Director Isabelle Arradon.

Police Minister Nixon Duban said the government also wanted to apply the death penalty to producers of home-brewed alcohol, which is widespread, as well as marijuana growers because they also contributed to deteriorating law and order.

"People who produce homebrew and cultivate marijuana will be put to death. People who spy around on our mothers and young girls will be hanged or face firing squads. There are too many lawless people in the country. This will teach them a lesson," Duban told a meeting in Madang, The National newspaper said.

A 32-year-old U.S. academic was gang-raped by a group of men as she walked with her husband in a forest on Karkar Island in Madang province last month, an attack condemned as a "cowardly act of animals" by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

O'Neill is trying to lure multi-billion dollar resources investments with a promise of better security. The government said the new laws would extend the death penalty to include corruption and the theft of amounts of more than 10 million PNG Kina, or $4.5 million.

Lesser amounts of more than $438,000 would attract 50-year prison terms without possibility of remission or parole.

Sorcery laws repealed in 1971 had criminalised witchcraft and allowed suspicions of sorcery to be used as a defence in murder trials. The new laws will make revenge killings over black magic punishable by death.

PNG, a nation of around 6.5 million people, is going through a resources boom and is home to a $15.7 billion Exxon Mobil gas export project, which is due to start production in 2014 and boost GDP by around 20 percent.

There is also the vast Lihir gold mine operated by Newcrest Mining and the OK Tedi copper mine run by Glencore Xstrata.

But successive governments have been unable to deliver infrastructure or services to the people, around 80 percent of whom eke out subsistence livings of cash crops on village farms.

(Editing by Paul Tait)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China army to conduct first "digital" exercise

Posted: 28 May 2013 07:20 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will next week conduct its first "digital" technology military exercise, state media said on Wednesday, against growing concern in Washington and elsewhere about Chinese hacking attacks.

A brief report by the official Xinhua news agency said the exercise, in north China's remote Inner Mongolia region, will "test new types of combat forces including units using digital technology amid efforts to adjust to informationalised war".

"It will be the first time a People's Liberation Army exercise has focused on combat forces including digitalised units, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces," the brief English-language report added.

President Barack Obama will discuss cyber security with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in California next week, as Washington becomes increasingly worried about Chinese hacking of U.S. military networks.

The Pentagon underscored its concerns in a report to Congress earlier this month, accusing China of using cyber espionage to modernize its military. It said the U.S. government has been the target of hacking that appeared to be "attributable directly to the Chinese government and military".

In Australia this week, a report by Australia's ABC Television said hackers linked to China stole the floor plans of a new A$630 million headquarters for the Australia Security Intelligence Organization, the country's domestic spy agency.

The Chinese government has repeatedly denied any involvement in hacking attacks, even as it steps up defence spending and develops new technologies such as aircraft carriers and stealth fighters.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Obama, NATO's Rasmussen to discuss Afghanistan at White House on Friday

Posted: 28 May 2013 04:42 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the White House on Friday to discuss Afghanistan and other security concerns, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday.

The meeting comes as NATO and the United States prepare to withdraw most troops from Afghanistan, ending a lengthy war that began after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

U.S. army soldiers of 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry rest among luggage while waiting for a flight to go home to the United States after finishing their one-year deployment in Afghanistan, at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan March 23, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

U.S. army soldiers of 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry rest among luggage while waiting for a flight to go home to the United States after finishing their one-year deployment in Afghanistan, at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan March 23, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

More than 60,000 U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan. Obama is due to announce in the coming weeks how many combat troops the United States will leave in the country next year, and how many forces will stay behind to train and support Afghan forces and carry out some operations.

"The President looks forward to discussing global and regional security concerns with the Secretary General, to include ending the war in Afghanistan while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan government," Carney said in a statement.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Eric Beech)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

Navis buys HG Power Transmission, 5th Msian investment

Posted: 28 May 2013 07:11 PM PDT

Published: Wednesday May 29, 2013 MYT 10:12:00 AM

PETALING JAYA: Navis Capital Partner has completed an investment in HG Power Transmission Sdn Bhd (HGPT) in hopes to be a major player in the electrical transmission sector.

This marks the private equity firm's fifth investment by Navis' Malaysian Growth Opportunity Fund I and the second made by the fund in 2013.

Navis said the transaction involved Navis purchasing an equity stake in the company and subscribing to new shares via a substantial capital injection.

The investment is expected to enable HGPT to grow regionally, as economic growth of the developing countries in the region drives the demand for electricity transmission to previously under-served areas.

HGPT managing director Baskar Sharma said the partnership adds both regional management expertise and financial strength, allowing more growth opportunities across Asia.

The Asian-centric firm manages over US$3bil in equity capital, with almost 60 transactions completed since its establishment in 1998.

It had earlier completed an investment in Strateq Sdn Bhd, a leading Malaysian IT services provider on top cinema operator MCAT Box Office Sdn Bhd and private education services provider SEG International Bhd.

Affin maintains "Reduce" on Kinsteel with higher TP of 38sen

Posted: 28 May 2013 06:32 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Affin Investment Research maintains its "Reduce" on Kinsteel Bhd but raised its target price to 38 sen from 27 sen despite its earnings downgrade.

"We have lowered our financial year 2013-2015 earnings forecasts by 33-25% after lowering our blended average selling price by 10-13%. Although domestic demand is improving on the back of the various mega projects, the positive impact is mitigated by the subdued global economic outlook which will cap any meaningful recovery in selling prices," it said. Affin said Kinsteel reported a net loss of RM8.4mil, which is a reversal from the RM10.3mil net profit in 1Q12. "This is below our and consensus estimates of a full year 2013 net profit forecast of RM46mil and RM37mil respectively. For us, we believe the deviation was largely due to a lower-than-expected average selling price (ASP), which resulted in the compression in margin. As expected, no dividend was declared for the quarter," it said. The research house added the weak ASP prices has led to the of RM8.4mil in 1Q13. On the domestic front, it said domestic steel bar prices have remained soft, trading within RM2,100 to RM2,200/MT level. Affin said its 37% owned unit, Perwaja Holdings also recorded a net loss of RM18.5mil from a 26% sales drop.

"Given the soft global economic outlook, coupled with an oversupply situation in China, we expect the outlook for the global steel market to remain volatile and uncertain. On a more positive note, the existing pipeline under the Economic Transformation Programme is expected to sustain local demand," it said

AmResearch maintains "Buy" on IJM, raised FV to RM6.95

Posted: 28 May 2013 06:12 PM PDT

Published: Wednesday May 29, 2013 MYT 9:12:00 AM

PETALING JAYA: AmResearch maintained a "Buy" on IJM Corporation Bhd with a higher fair value to RM6.95 from RM5.71. "IJM reported financial year 2013 results that were in-line with expectations. The group declared a second interim dividend per share (DPS) of 9 sen (single-tier), taking full-year DPS to 13 sen (net yield of 2%)," it said. The research house said it had estimated IJM's net profit to increase about 3% on-year at RM438mil but its gains for the construction and property divisions were largely offset by lower plantation earnings. "Plantation earnings fell by 27% on-year on faltering fresh fruit bunches volume coupled with lower crude palm oil prices realized which was at RM2,620/mt in 2013 vs RM3,049/mt a year ago," it said. It said for IJM's financial year 2014, the research house expects greater orderbook visibility post elections mainly the West Coast Expressway project where IJM is a strong contender. "IJM Land's strong pipeline of new launches is well positioned to benefit from an expected return of buying interest post-elections. The maiden launch of Bandar Rimbayu last month was already a roaring success," it said. AmResearch noted with a market capital touching RM8bil, IJM is a liquid proxy that should benefit from a return of foreign investor interest in the Malaysian contractor.


The Star Online: Sports

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Sports

Shooter Hasli disqualified for flouting rule in Munich

Posted: 28 May 2013 05:01 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: It was heartbreak for Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan as he was disqualified from the men's 25m rapid fire pistol event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Munich, Germany, on Monday.

The 2005 Manila SEA Games gold medallist, who was once ranked 35th in the world, had been looking forward to the tournament in his bid to earn points to haul himself back into the world rankings after taking a year-long sabbatical.

However in a cruel twist of fate, the 36-year-old fell foul to the ISSF Rule Ammunition Test. The rule states each shooter must begin each stage of competition with one full box of 50 cartridges on the bench or table (five sighting shots, 30 match shots, 10 cartridges for possible ammunition testing and five cartridges for a possible malfunction re-fire series) and failure to do so will result in a disqualification.

It was a dismal outing for Malay­sia as none of the shooters failed to impress.

Khalel Abdullah could only manage to finish 40th with 564 points in the 25m rapid fire pistol.

For Jonathan Wong and Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim, they failed to make it past the qualification rounds in their respective events yesterday.

Jonathan, who was placed 60th in the men's 50m pistol with a score of 534 on Sunday, had to settle for 85th spot in the 10m air pistol with a score of 570.

As for Nur Ayuni, she scored 567 points to finish 45th in the women's 50m rifle three-position.

Four Malaysians will take to the Olympic Shooting Range today. Mohd Hadafi Jaffar and Mohd Nurrahimin Abdul Halim will compete in the men's 50m rifle three-position while Joseline Cheah and Bibiana Ng will take part in the women's 10m pistol.

Tough opener for Lee Chong Wei

Posted: 28 May 2013 05:07 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has been handed the toughest possible opening match in the Indonesian Open Super Series Premier in Jakarta from June 10-16.

Chong Wei, a four-time winner of the tournament, will face world No. 9 Wang Zhengming of China in the men's singles first round.

Although the two-time Olympic silver medallist has a 7-0 record against Zhengming, the Chinese youngster has picked up his game recently and will be a very tricky opponent.

If the 30-year-old Chong Wei manages to clear the hurdle, he will be up against old foe Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, who is competing in his swansong tournament.

Barring any upset, Chong Wei should face a resurgent Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the quarter-finals with the winner probably taking on world No. 3 Du Pengyu of China in the last four.

Pengyu, who is one of the most improved players over the past year, has already beaten Chong Wei once, in the Super Series Finals last December.

World No. 2 Chen Long will play Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in the first round. He should have no problems advancing to the final.

If Chong Wei has it tough, the much-maligned men's pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will have it even tougher as they have multiple Indonesian and South Korean hurdles standing in their path.

The pair, who came under heavy fire for their dismal performances in the recent Sudirman Cup, will face local pair Yonathan Suryatam Dasuki-Hendra Gunawan in the first round.

If Kien Keat-Boon Heong, seeded third, managed to go through, they will probably take on Markis Kido-Alvent Yulianto next while eighth seeds Shin Baek-cheol-Yoo Yeon-seong of South Korea await in the last eight.

Second seeds Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae are also in Kien Keat-Boon Heong's half of the draw. The Koreans are the Malaysians' opponents in the semi-finals – provided Kien Keat-Boon Heong get that far.

But with the pair temporarily split up – Kien Keat is in Alor Setar for the Kedah Open while Boon Heong is in Japan to fulfil his obligations with sponsors Yonex – that task seems highly unlikely.

Second ranked Malaysian pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong are also in the fray and will be desperate for a good showing to justify their world No. 7 rankings.

The pair, who were overlooked in favour of the younger Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah when Malaysia faced Germany in the Sudirman Cup, will take on a qualifier in the first round.

They will, however, come up against reigning Olympic champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng in the second round and will need to be at their best in order to proceed.

The other Malaysian pairs in the fray are Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock.

There will be no Malaysian representatives in the mixed doubles as the misfiring Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying are given a break.

Injury-plagued Zulfadli ousts Joo Ven in Alor Setar

Posted: 28 May 2013 05:08 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli (pic) got off to a smashing start in the Kedah Open badminton championships in Alor Setar yesterday.

The 19-year-old Zulfadli, who is bidding for his first senior title, was too strong for Soong Joo Ven, the reigning Asian Junior finalist, as he won 21-7, 21-19 in the men's singles second round.

World No. 64 Zulfadli, who received a first round bye, is targeting a good run in the local circuit to give his career a kick-start.

"I've been plagued by injuries this year but I'm slowly getting regaining my fitness," said Zulfadli, who suffered a hip injury during the Australian Open last month.

"The Malaysian Open GP Gold at the start of the month was my first tournament back from injury. I'm slowly getting used to the feel of the courts once again. I hope to do well in the Kedah Open to give my career a boost after all the setbacks.

"So far the best result I've had since moving up the senior ranks was making the semi-finals of the National GP Finals last year. I want to do better than that," he added.

Zulfadli, who trains under his father, was full of praise for Joo Ven, who is the top national junior.

"He has good potential like me but he was a little afraid to make his shots so I had a rather easy first game.

"I started playing a variety of strokes in the second game and that allowed him to get back into the game.

"Still, I feel he needs to attack in order to strike some fear into his opponents every now and then," said Zulfadli.

The Kuala Lumpur lad will next face Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayup for a place in the quarter-finals.

Second seed Chong Wei Feng and fourth seed Tan Chun Seang also reached the third round.

Playing at home, Wei Feng sent Sabah's Chong Kien Hiung packing with a 21-18, 21-11 win.


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Luxurious guides

Posted: 28 May 2013 06:07 AM PDT

LUXURY travellers looking to add to their collection of coffee table city guides may want to hit bookstores in London where shelves are now stocked with Louis Vuitton's latest, limited-edition travel books.

Illustrated by Japanese artist Natsko Seki, the London guide renders sites like the Tate Modern art gallery and Regent's Canal – sites chosen because they express the "spirit of London," Seki said – in her signature style, which super-imposes hand-drawn sketches and colours on top of still photographs.

Explaining the modus operandi behind her images, Seki said in a video: "In my mind it was as if I was creating a 3D city with everyday scenes like somebody walking their dog and the passers-by turning around to look."

Other editions of Louis Vuitton Travel Book released this month include Paris, illustrated by Congolese painter Cheri Samba, New York done by French illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme, and Easter Island, interpreted by American artist Daniel Arsham.

According to, these four editions of the Travel Book will retail for US$56 (RM169) each. They will also come in a special collector's volume. Each of the cities will come in a limited edition of 50. They will be leather-bound, signed and numbered by the artist and they will include a print ready for framing. The price for the limited edition volume is yet to be announced.

Starwood-owned hotel chain The Luxury Collection also launched its own series of travel guides covering Italy, Argentina, India, Spain, Greece and the US for the well-heeled traveller.

In partnership with top-end publisher Assouline, the collection of guides features commentary from star chefs such as Mario Batali and Jose Andres, and is illustrated by Vanity Fair and GQ photographer Francis Mallman. The six soft-cover books, 90 pages each, are being offered at in a vintage-inspired travel box at US$140 (RM424). – AFP Relaxnews

Short and sweet

Posted: 27 May 2013 04:14 PM PDT

US writer Lydia Davis (pic), best known for her unconventionally short stories, last Wednesday claimed the prestigious Man Booker International Prize at a London ceremony.

The New York based author beat off competition from the nine other authors who made the shortlist to win the award, which honours "achievement in fiction on the world stage".

While Davis writes conventional short stories, others consist of just one paragraph or sentence.

One of these stories, A Double Negative, reads: "At a certain point in her life, she realises it is not so much that she wants to have a child as that she does not want not to have a child, or not to have had a child."

The £60,000 (RM275,600) prize is presented every two years and is awarded to a living author for work published originally in English or available in translation in English.

Christopher Ricks, chair of the judging panel, paid tribute to Davis's ability to "realise things down to the very word or syllable".

The Man Booker website quoted one of her other stories: "I was recently denied a writing prize because they said I was lazy," it reads.

"Well, not any more," said the website. – AFP Relaxnews


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Fast & Furious 6' races to biggest opening for Universal Pictures

Posted: 27 May 2013 08:07 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The action-packed sixth installment of the Fast & Furious film franchise claimed victory at the North American box office for the three-day U.S. Memorial Day weekend on Monday, and became the biggest opening film in Universal Pictures' history.

Fast & Furious 6, starring Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, grossed an estimated US$120 million from Friday till Monday, making it the second-biggest film opening of the year behind Disney's Iron Man 3's US$175.3 million earlier this month.

The film also rang up an estimated US$300 million at the global box office.

Universal Pictures said Fast & Furious 6 bested its predecessor in the series, Fast Five, which previously held the title of best opening for the studio with US$83.6 million at domestic theaters.

Fast & Furious 6 also raced ahead of raunchy comedy The Hangover Part III, the third and final installment of the comedy about four men trying to piece together the events of a wild night.

Hangover, starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms as friends unwittingly drawn back to Las Vegas, made an estimated US$51.2 million at the U.S. and Canada box office over the long weekend, keeping in line with studio projections.

The film also opened in its first three international markets over the weekend - United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand - grossing US$19 million, bringing the total in the markets where it is showing to an estimated US$70.2 million.

"Some might argue that we should have stopped at one, but we loved doing these movies and the audience has been there" for them, Todd Philips, the director of the Hangover franchise, told Reuters ahead of the film's release.

"The word 'hangover' ... is something that people share around the world. There are some comedies that are uniquely American, but hangovers exist for the world," he added.

Sci-fi action adventure sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, playing in 3D and Imax theaters, came in at No. 3 at the domestic box office with US$47 million from Friday to Monday, bringing its cumulative total to US$155.8 million since opening on May 17.

Animated family film Epic, about a secret world in which nature's inhabitants come together to fight evil forces, opened on Friday and has grossed an estimated US$42.6 million domestically over the Memorial Day weekend.


The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

Relative refuses to return four-year-old girl to father following sexual abuse allegations

Posted: 28 May 2013 07:37 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A relative locked in a custody battle over a four-year-old girl here has refused to return the child, alleging that she had been molested by her father and grandparents.

The 58-year-old grandaunt, who was caring for the child during police investigation in the molest case, claimed to have discovered the alleged sexual abuse.

Although a police report was made, the alleged molesters were brought in for questioning by police and later released.

The custody case is set to be heard in court on June 6.

In a press conference organised by Teratai assemblyman Tiew Way Keng Tuesday, the grandaunt said she had visited her sister and her family in Kulai on the first day of the Chinese New Year on Feb 10.

She claimed that the girl, who was staying with them, had begged her to take her back to Kuala Lumpur, to which the grandparents agreed.

A few days later, the grandaunt claimed that the girl complained of pain in her private parts while urinating, adding that a medical check-up at a hospital confirmed she had been sexually abused.

The grandaunt said statements taken from the girl by both the police and the Welfare Department revealed her father and grandparents had sexually assaulted her.

The grandaunt said a court order was issued granting her temporary custody of the girl pending further investigation.

It is learnt that the girl's father, 22, had recently been released from prison.

The grandaunt, who is the sister of the child's paternal grandmother, claimed that the father was only 17 years old when his wife, 15, gave birth to the four-year-old.

"Two months later, her mother ran away," she said.

The grandaunt also alleged the suspects had also assaulted her.

Pahang-Johor FA Cup semi-finals match called off after fans in stadium turn unruly

Posted: 28 May 2013 08:07 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The second leg of the FA Cup semi-final tie between Pahang and Johor Darul Takzim at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan has been called off after fans turned unruly.

The match, supposed to kick-off at 8.45pm, was delayed as fans in the overcrowded stadium spilled onto the running track, just metres away from the pitch and creating safety concerns for the organisers.

At 10.10pm, the police announced that the match was safe to begin, after moving fans off the track.

However, some unruly fans started throwing objects objects from the stands, prompting authorities to call off the match.

Johor DT won the first leg of the tie 1-0 at the Larkin Stadium.

Chua: Scope-Matang deal not an 'asset stripping' exercise

Posted: 28 May 2013 07:06 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The reverse takeover deal between Scope Industries Bhd and Matang Holdings Bhd is not an "asset stripping" exercise by the MCA, said its president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

The share exchange between the two companies, he stressed, would result in a reverse takeover of Scope Industries by Matang Holdings.

"Such a deal is meant to add value to Matang shares. It (the deal) does not involve the sale of assets belonging to Matang Holdings.

"It is wrong to construe this transaction as asset stripping by MCA. Hence, it was not tabled in the MCA central committee meeting for deliberation nor did it need the two-thirds approval of the central committee," said Dr Chua in a statement here Tuesday.

Matang Holdings was set up on April 3, 1978, as a public limited investment holding company with the principal objective of fostering inter-communal economic cooperation.

MCA's investment arm Huaren Holdings has an approximate 10% stake in the company.

It was previously reported that several DAP leaders had criticised the deal as a possible move by MCA to dispose its assets.

Dr Chua said as MCA president, he did not have the right to call off or stop the Matang Holdings' extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Although MCA via Huaren Holdings had about a 10% stake in Matang Holdings, he said the remaining 90% of shareholders might still support the proposed transaction.

He also took Parit Sulong MCA chief Datuk Tan Teck Poh to task, asking him to stop politicising the reverse takeover deal.

"If Tan has a better proposal on the reverse takeover of Scope Industries by Matang Holdings, he should table his proposal in black and white to all shareholders for consideration during the EGM, which will be held on May 31," said Dr Chua.

Dr Chua said MCA, through Huaren Holdings, would be happy to consider if there was a written proposal tabled by Tan in the EGM.

"I am disappointed with Tan, who is obviously not familiar with the rules and regulations of the company's EGM," he said.

Meanwhile, several MCA central committee senior members, including party deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, are against the proposed takeover of Matang Holdings by Scope Industries.

Liow said MCA's investment arm Huaren Holdings should look for the deal that would serve the best interest of minority shareholders.

"Failing this, MCA will be letting down its members, especially those who have held on to Matang Holdings shares for over 30 years.

"This could even be another blow to the party, which has already undergone a punishing experience in the recent general election," he said in a statement here yesterday.

Liow said he believed the focus now should be on re-consolidating and re-invigorating the party, and not "weakening it further by disposing of valuable assets such as Matang Holdings".

He also strongly insisted that the Matang Holdings' extraordinary general meeting (EGM) set for May 31 be cancelled.

"Based on the MCA's constitution and a statement by the president (Dr Chua) on May 21, the disposal of party assets can only be done with the approval of at least two-thirds of the party's central committee.

"However, until today, the MCA treasurer-general has neither tabled the proposal to the CC nor obtained its approval," he said.

A significant discrepancy, added Liow, was also discovered between the two valuation reports on the property value of Matang Holdings.

"This, in itself, has raised alarms and created concern among shareholders that it will be an inequitable deal that will leave them out in the cold," he said, adding that Matang Holdings was a stable, debt-free company with RM25mil in liquid assets.

"Unfortunately, the shareholders will not reap the benefits of the company's fortunes via dividends as the entire amount will be summarily transferred to Scope Industries as part of the deal," he said.

Shareholders, said Liow, would also not be able to dispose of their shares as there was a four-year share lock-up period after the proposed takeover.

Related Stories:
MCA to stay neutral in Matang share issue, says Gan


The Star Online: Metro: Central

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Central

MRT at 14% completion

Posted: 28 May 2013 04:23 AM PDT

THE construction of the first line of Klang Valley My Rapid Transit (KVMRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line will be entering the next phase next month when the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) is put to work in Jalan Cochrane, Kuala Lumpur.

Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd project director Marcus Karakashian said the assembly of the machine was almost completed in the Cochrane Launch Shaft, which was excavated to a depth of 30m as part of preparatory works.

During a media briefing on the MRT, Karakashian said about 120,000 cubic metres of soil and rock had to be excavated to create the shaft, which was equivalent to the volume of 50 Olympic-size swimming pools.

"The TBM is the first variable density machine in the world designed to handle the karstic limestone conditions found in the eastern part of Kuala Lumpur.

"The excavation work will begin from Jalan Cochrane towards Pasar Rakyat station (over 1km) and is expected to be completed by mid-2014," said Karakashian, adding that tunnelling work would be carried out round the clock.

He said another TBM was being assembled at the Semantan Portal site at Jalan Duta. This is an Earth Pressure Balance TBM, which will be used to excavate the more consistent geological formation found in Kenny Hill, the western part of Kuala Lumpur.

"From the Semantan Portal site, the TBM is expected to make its way under Jalan Damansara to the future KL Sentral MRT station in front of Muzium Negara.

"Excavation will go on under Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, past the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station to the future Pasar Seni MRT station, a distance of 2.7km," said Karakashian.

There will be a total of 10 TBMs, which will be paired to excavate specific stretches of the underground alignment.

On key achievements to-date, Karakashian said all civil works, both elevated and underground as well as systems contract, had been awarded.

"There are still remaining contracts for eight multi-storey carparks (two of which have been awarded) and other works for signage, lighting and furniture," he said.

In addition, the construction of all seven underground stations were on-going.

On the construction of piers, Karakashian said 15 of the total 1.400 piers to be built under the project had been constructed on Contracts Viaduct 5 and Viaduct 6.

He added that the installation of the first launching gantry at Bandar Tun Hussein Onn had been completed. The gantry, he explained, would be used to lift the segmented box girders (SBGs) into place, which would be lifted on piers to form a one-piece viaduct.

The second gantry installation is in progress at Sri Sabah Flats in Cheras. Along with that, he said the construction of both Sungai Buloh depot and Kajang depot were in progress.

The train design has also been finalised and a mock-up will be ready for media preview soon.

Overall progress of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line is 14%.

MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid said as at end of April, MRT Corp had awarded 64 out of a total of 87 work packages, with four packages currently in the tender process. The awarded contracts are worth RM20.77bil.

"We want to ensure the work timeline is the shortest. People are generally unhappy with the closure of the slip road at the end of Jalan Maarof, but this will be resolved when it is opened in two months' time," said Azhar, assuring that MRT was committed to ensuring the impact of construction was minimised.

On the project's impact on Medan Damansara residents, Azhar clarified that safety had been given top priority since the project started in 2011.

"We are strengthening the slope behind the houses in Medan Daman-sara to safeguard the properties before actual work starts on the viaduct," said Azhar.

He added that Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd — MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang operator — was tasked to ensure other security issues.

"Just like the current LRT services offered by Prasarana, features such as lighting, CCTV and patrolling by security guards will be implemented," said Azhar, adding that safety of the public, especially that of women using the 'park-and-ride' facilities would be its priority as well.

Azhar said among the main challenges faced included managing impact of construction work on traffic, residents and business operations near construction sites.

"Traffic management plans, which are approved by the authorities, have been implemented to ensure the impact on traffic flow is minimised.

"This includes ensuring all detours or realignment of roads maintain the same number of lanes as the original road and lane closures on busy roads only take place during off-peak periods," said Azhar, adding that installing signage to warn motorists and pedestrians were part of the plan.

In addition, MRT Corp's contractors had to ensure that noise and dust levels were within the permitted range set by the Environment Department.

Azhar said once the project was completed in December 2016, accessibility to the stations was a major concern.

"This is where the feeder bus system comes in. Prasarana will implement a feeder bus network when the MRT starts operating. This will serve residential areas located near stations," he added.

Azhar said another priority was ensuring the train service was modern.

"Commuters want to stay connected. In view of this, the facilities provided include WiFi services on trains and stations and user-friendly ticketing systems," he said, adding that the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line would integrate fully with the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines as well as the monorail, where users can change lines without having to buy new tickets or walk through different sets of fare-gates.

Azhar said they anticipated that the move to bring in quite a number of foreign workers for the project would give rise to social issues.

"In the past, civil contractors house workers in the cheapest accommodation possible and more often, they end up living with residents in low-cost housing areas, which is not healthy. This affects the environment and major social issues arise, particularly crime.

"MRT is providing centralised labour quarters for its foreign workers," he said, adding that the foreign workers include those from Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and India.

"The living quarters come with cabins, which are equipped with three double-bunk beds, fans and a wardrobe for each worker.

"There is also a cafeteria which provides two meals a day and a centralised kitchen for those who wish to prepare their own food, apart from a futsal court, a clinic and shops," said Azhar.

He added that the labour quarters in Cheras and Sungai Buloh were fully operational, while two more in Jalan Cochrane and Kajang were under construction.

He said various government agencies had praised the company for setting a new standard in housing for construction workers.

"Movement in and out of the quarters is being monitored by ex-army and police personnel. Every worker entering the quarters will have to go through a face recognition system and pass scanner," he said, adding that visitors were given temporary access cards.

Also, the workers were taken to the work sites by bus on a daily basis.

Azhar said the quarters would also be used to house workers for the MRT Lines II and III.

MPSJ to function as usual

Posted: 28 May 2013 04:26 AM PDT

THE Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) will continue functioning as usual, despite being short of three councillors.

Two councillors — R. Rajiv and Ng Sze Han — had resigned to contest in the recent GE13.

Rajiv and Ng are now the assemblymen for Bukit Gasing and Kinrara respectively.

"The vacant councillors' post will be replaced," said MPSJ assistant corporate director Azfarizal Abdul Rashid.

"MPSJ will only be able to carry out the process of swearing in new councillors when we get the names from the Selangor state government. For now, the existing councillors will bear the duties of the two who resigned."

A total of 23 councillors were appointed for the 2013 term, although MPSJ has slots for 24 councillors.

The 2012/ 2013 term for councillors expires in December.

Azfarizal said the committee meetings would proceed as usual, as the quorum for such meetings to take place includes MPSJ officers and other related personnel, such as representatives from government agencies.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh said MPSJ councillor Ken Chia, in charge of Zone 2, would be helping to cover Zone 1 that was previously headed by Rajiv, while fellow councillor Chang Kim Loong helps out informally too.

Meanwhile, Ng said MPSJ councillor Tai Cheng Heng would take over Zone 23 from him.

Zone 1 includes SS12 to SS19, and Taman Wangsa Baiduri in Subang Jaya.

Zone 23 covers Taman Serdang Raya, Taman Serdang Perdana (Sections 1 to 6) and Taman Muhibbah in Seri Kembangan.

"I hope the new state government will make fresh appointments as there are many vacancies," said Yeoh.

"It would be good if the government reappointed all existing and new candidates to streamline their term of service."

This, she said, would enable the new councillors to familiarise themselves with their duties, while the existing councillors could carry on with their tasks.

"I also hope that MPSJ staff and senior management can improve on MPSJ's delivery services," said Yeoh.

"They should not wait for councillors to follow up on basic services like garden waste collection, pothole patching and drain cleaning."

Despite shouldering additional responsibilities, both Chia and Tai said it would not pose a problem for them.

"The existing Zone 1 Residents' Committee (JKP) has been around for about seven years, and the members are experienced to run the committee," said Chia.

"Our job as councillors is to serve as a link between MPSJ and residents, including facilitating approval for community and infrastructure grants, and channelling information to residents."

"In addition to the JKPs functioning well, the councillors for the Seri Kembangan area have been working closely and helping each other all this while," said Tai.

Chia said Rajiv's resignation was a big loss, as one of Rajiv's key responsibilities was on MPSJ policies and guidelines.

Chia has also taken over Rajiv's portfolio in the Urban Services Committee, while the other two portfolios on One-Stop Centre and Finance have been reassigned to other councillors.

Tai said he had taken over Ng's portfolio in the Infrastructure Committee, while Ng's two other portfolios on Finance, and IT and HR have been reassigned to other councillors.

Chia said there had been a mutual understanding among MPSJ councillors that each held a maximum of three portfolios, although the present situation was an exception due to the shortage of councillors.


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved