Rabu, 29 Mei 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. drone kills Pakistan Taliban No. 2 - security officials

Posted: 29 May 2013 07:19 PM PDT

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A U.S. drone strike killed the No. 2 of the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan region on Wednesday, three security officials said, in what would be a major blow to the militancy.

Deputy Pakistani Taliban leader Wali-ur-Rehman (C) is flanked by militants as he speaks to a group of reporters in Shawal town, which lies between North and South Waziristan region in the northwest bordering Afghanistan, in this July 28, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Saud Mehsud/File

Deputy Pakistani Taliban leader Wali-ur-Rehman (C) is flanked by militants as he speaks to a group of reporters in Shawal town, which lies between North and South Waziristan region in the northwest bordering Afghanistan, in this July 28, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Saud Mehsud/File

The drone strike killed seven people, Pakistani security officials said, including Taliban deputy commander Wali-ur-Rehman, in the first such attack since a May 11 general election in which the use of the unmanned aircraft was a major issue.

It was also the first reported U.S. drone strike since President Barack Obama announced last week that the United States was scaling back the drone program.

Wali-ur-Rehman had been poised to succeed Hakimullah Mehsud as leader of the Pakistani Taliban, a senior army official based in the South Waziristan region, had said in December.

"This is a huge blow to militants and a win in the fight against insurgents," one security official told Reuters.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate entity allied to the Afghan Taliban. Known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, they have launched devastating attacks against the Pakistani military and civilians.

The White House said Wali-ur-Rehman was wanted in the killing of seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer in a 2009 suicide bombing by an al Qaeda triple agent at Forward Operating Base Chapman, Afghanistan. The attack was featured in the film "Zero Dark Thirty" about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistani Taliban leader "has participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO personnel and horrific attacks against Pakistani civilians and soldiers," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

In line with White House practice not to discuss drone strikes, Carney said he could not confirm the killing. But even his discussion of drone policy at a news briefing was an unusual level of openness for the White House.

Obama said in a major speech last week that the United States would only use those drone strikes when a threat was "continuing and imminent," a nuanced change from the previous policy of launching strikes against a significant threat.

Under the new presidential guidance, the Defense Department rather than the CIA will take the lead in launching lethal drones, but the CIA is expected to continue running drone operations in Pakistan for now.


Obama's announcement of scaling back drone strikes was widely welcomed by the people of North Waziristan, where drones armed with missiles have carried out the most strikes against militants over the past seven years, sometimes with heavy civilian casualties.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters the group did not have "confirmed reports" that Wali-ur-Rehman had been killed. He declined further comment.

Drone casualties are difficult to verify. Foreign journalists must have permission from the military to visit the Pashtun tribal areas along the Afghan border.

Taliban fighters also often seal off the sites of drone strikes immediately so Pakistani journalists cannot see the victims.

"That the Taliban are remaining silent and neither denying or confirming the news is itself peculiar," said Saleem Safi, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban. "But if this news is true, then the Pakistan army has the U.S. to thank."

The security officials and Pashtun tribesmen in the northwestern region said the drone fired two missiles that struck a mud-built house at Chashma village, 3 km (2 miles) east of Miranshah, the region's administrative town.

They said seven people were killed and four wounded.

"Tribesmen started rescue work an hour after the attack and recovered seven bodies," said resident Bashir Dawar. "The bodies were badly damaged and beyond recognition."

The Pakistan government has not confirmed Wali-ur-Rehman's death.

A U.S. drone killed Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud in 2009. There had been several reports that his successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed the same way but they turned out to be untrue.

But Pakistan's Foreign Ministry again denounced drones in general on Wednesday.

"The government has consistently maintained that the drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives, have human rights and humanitarian implications and violate the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law," it said.

North Waziristan is on the Afghan border and has long been a stronghold of militants including Afghan Taliban and their al Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban allies.

Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif said this month that drone strikes were a challenge to Pakistan's sovereignty.

"We will sit with our American friends and talk to them about this issue," he said.

The strike also coincided with the first session of the newly elected provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the former Northwest Frontier Province.

Former cricketer Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party won most seats in the assembly and denounced the strike, saying Obama had gone back on his word.

(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik and Syed Raza Hassan in Islamabad, Saud Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Alistair Bell in Washington; Editing by Robert Birsel and Doina Chiacu)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Barbara hits southern Mexico, killing at least two

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:54 PM PDT

SAN PEDRO TAPANATEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Barbara hit Mexico's southern Pacific coast on Wednesday, flooding roads, toppling trees and killing two men before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved inland.

Hurricane Barbara is visible (lower R) in this satellite image taken May 29, 2013 at 14:15 EST/02:15 GMT courtesy of NASA - NOAA GOES Project. NASA - NOAA GOES Project/Handout via Reuters

Hurricane Barbara is visible (lower R) in this satellite image taken May 29, 2013 at 14:15 EST/02:15 GMT courtesy of NASA - NOAA GOES Project. NASA - NOAA GOES Project/Handout via Reuters

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Barbara, which had earlier moved close to the country's biggest oil refinery, was 50 miles (80 km) west of the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas state. Winds were blowing at up to 60 miles per hour (95 kph).

The hurricane was churning north-northeast at about 9 mph (15 kph) and should weaken rapidly overnight, the NHC said.

According to media reports, 14 fishermen disappeared in the state of Oaxaca during the storm. Local emergency services said they could not confirm that information.

Manuel Maza, director of emergency services in Oaxaca state, said that very strong winds and intense rainfall had hit the region and that power outages were reported.

Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex said earlier on Wednesday that operations were normal at its biggest refinery, located in the port of Salina Cruz. The plant has the capacity to process 330,000 barrels of crude per day.

Local emergency services said a 61-year-old U.S. man surfing off the beach at Salina Cruz drowned during the storm. A 26-year-old Mexican man was killed as he tried to cross a river.

Ports for small vessels in the area have been closed and emergency services in Oaxaca said they evacuated residents from some areas as a precaution, including the immediate vicinity of the refinery.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Salina Cruz in Oaxaca to Pijijiapan in Chiapas state.

Between 6 and 10 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain is expected over eastern Oaxaca through western Chiapas, along with a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) above normal tide levels, the NHC said.

(Additional reporting by David Alire Garcia and Liz Diaz; Editing by Simon Gardner, Marguerita Choy, Bill Trott and Stacey Joyce)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Venezuela furious at Colombia's meeting with opposition leader

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:15 PM PDT

CARACAS/BOGOTA (Reuters) - Venezuela reacted with fury to Wednesday's talks between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, saying it was a "bomb" in ties and recalling an envoy to Colombia's peace process.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (R) shakes hands with Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles during a visit at the Narino presidential house in Bogota May 29, 2013. Javier Casella/Colombian Presidency/Handout via Reuters

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (R) shakes hands with Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles during a visit at the Narino presidential house in Bogota May 29, 2013. Javier Casella/Colombian Presidency/Handout via Reuters

Capriles met Santos in Bogota at the start of a tour around Latin America to press his case that last month's presidential poll in Venezuela was fraudulent and President Nicolas Maduro's government is therefore illegitimate.

Capriles, a 40-year-old business-friendly state governor, lost to Maduro, the successor to late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, by just 1.5 percentage points, according to official results.

The Maduro government has vilified Capriles as a "fascist" trying to stir a coup in Venezuela, and powerful Congress head Diosdado Cabello, who is also the No. 2 in the ruling Socialist Party, was the first to complain about the meeting in Bogota.

"Colombia must clarify if the government is with Capriles' coup intentions, or with the people of Venezuela and with the legitimate, sovereign and constitutional government of comrade Nicolas Maduro," Cabello told state media.

"President Santos is putting a bomb in the good relations that President Chavez urged so much ... He is receiving a murderer, a fascist right there in his palace."

Colombia is a major U.S. ally and the government before Santos had dire relations with Chavez's administration.

But despite ideological differences, Santos patched things up with Chavez in the name of pragmatism and regional solidarity after taking power in 2010. That helped trade to flow and enabled both sides to chase criminal gangs on the border.

Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas on Wednesday offered to provide Venezuela with food and manufactured goods to ease shortages in the OPEC-member country.

Cardenas offered to meet with Venezuelan officials to discuss the issue in the coming days and find a form of payment that might involve an exchange of Colombian goods for crude oil.


Capriles, whose politics are closer to Santos' than Maduro's are, also met with Colombia's parliament leaders during Wednesday's visit. He said he was taking his demand for justice abroad given that it was being stymied at home.

"We are taking the voice of millions of Venezuelans beyond our borders," he told reporters, repeating his argument that the April 14 presidential vote was stolen from him.

"The fight for democracy has to be everyone's fight."

Capriles said he and Santos spoke about the economy, security, Venezuela's internal situation, and peace talks Colombia's government is holding with Marxist guerrillas.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua echoed Cabello's criticisms and said the country's envoy to Colombia's peace talks in Cuba, Roy Chaderton, would be recalled in protest.

"I deeply regret that President Santos has taken a step that is going to lead, in a painful way, to the derailing of the good relations that we had," he told reporters.

Maduro has not specifically referred to Capriles' visit, though on Tuesday he said that "right-wing" Venezuelans were travelling around the region planning economic sabotage and assassinations against his government.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Kids Vs Film is no child’s play

Posted: 30 May 2013 03:21 AM PDT

In Kids Vs Film, children become filmmakers as they research, write, direct and edit their own shows.

KIDS as filmmakers? Now that's an interesting idea which Discovery Kids is exploring in their new show Kids Vs Film.

Discovery Kids gave 48 kids aged eight to 12 from across the globe the opportunity to become first-time filmmakers, with suitable guidance by a team of professional production experts.

In each of the 12 episodes, two teams of two kids, guided by hosts Oli Pettigrew and Mohini Sule, compete against each other to shoot and produce a two-minute documentary – all in one day.

Pettigrew feels the show will appeal to adults as well as children. "I'm a dad myself. I've got two kids. Half the problem of parenting is being exposed to television shows that are insipid, vapid and which just basically suck the life out of you as you're forced to watch them with your children. Whereas this show is a lot of fun, but it's just as entertaining for someone my age, as it is for someone who's 10 or 12 or 13 or 16 because it's not just funny but also full of information," Pettigrew said in a phone interview last week.

Although the kids had access to some top-notch equipment and the help of experienced crew (courtesy of Discovery), Sule opined that if the kids were to do it themselves, then all they really needed was a smartphone to shoot and learn editing techniques using different apps available.

While filming the series, Pettigrew discovered there were a few kids who were outstandingly talented. "On set, all of the crew were just amazed by some of these kids. I know at least four kids for whom I see a bright future in film and television (industry), even acting. They were fantastic."

Shooting a show with kids meant plenty of memorable moments for the hosts. Pettigrew particularly enjoyed filming the episodes involving the coastguard boat and fur seal.

"I think my favourite day was when we got to take out a coastguard cutter, with all the latest technology on it, for about six hours. The footage that we came up with was absolutely brilliant. Also, on the very first day of shooting, we went to Underwater World and I was able to interact with a fur seal," he said

Pettigrew is also happy that TV viewers are able to see what goes into the making of a seemingly simple scene. He recalled the episode where his team went abseiling. "I'd done some rock-climbing before, on TV, and people don't notice that while abseiling and talking to the camera, a crew has to be by my side all the time for this shot. So, we had our cameraman, Big Mike, hanging off (the cliff) with this huge camera on his shoulder, and he's 20 feet up in the air. That's the cool thing about this episode, that finally kids and even adults get to see how much effort goes into shooting something that's only two minutes long."

For Sule, she loves the episode involving fire-fighting with the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) where the crew used a six-storey building to film a fire scene. "It's not every day that we get to go into a real life scenario and see simulated fire," Sule said.

With kids involved, were there any tantrums or fighting on the set? "No, no. I've said this to a lot of people, but this is one of the friendliest shows I've worked on. We wanted to make the best show possible and there were no divas, no temper tantrums. Everyone just got along really well and enjoyed working on the show," Sule concluded.

> Catch first-time child directors at work on Kids Vs Film every Saturday at 6.30pm on Discovery Kids (HyppTV Ch 561).

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Woods seeks to put Garcia spat behind him

Posted: 29 May 2013 07:02 PM PDT

DUBLIN (Ohio): Tiger Woods said Wednesday he has not spoken to Sergio Garcia and has no plans to do so after the golfers got into a spat that was sparked by racially-tinged comments from the Spaniard.

Speaking at the Memorial Tournament on Wednesday, Woods said he does not expect to broach the subject when the two compete at the US Open in two weeks.

"That's already done with," said Woods, the day before he tees it up to try and defend his title at the Muirfield Village Golf Club. Last week in England, Garcia misfired when making a joke about spending time with Woods at the US Open.

"We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken," Garcia said.

The Spaniard apologised the next day but his remarks harked back to a controversy in the late 1990s involving former PGA golfer Fuzzy Zoeller who referred to Woods serving "fried chicken" at the Masters champions dinner.

Garcia's comments followed a clash with Woods in the third round of the Players Championship earlier this month when the two were grouped together and Garcia said he was distracted by crowd noise after the American pulled a club out of his bag.

Garcia tried to explain his position last week in England. "I mean, you can't like everybody," he said. "He doesn't need me in his life and I don't need him in mine. Let's move on and keep doing what we are doing."

Woods tweeted in response to the "fried chicken" comment, "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate ... it's long past time to move on and talk about golf."

Jack Nicklaus, host of the Memorial Tournament, weighed in on the topic on Wednesday, calling the controversy "stupid". "Nobody needs that. And I think both finally said it's enough. Let's move on," Nicklaus said.

Dealing with racial stereotypes is nothing new to Woods. "Well I live with it," he said Wednesday.

"It's happened my entire career. It exists all around the world, not just in the sport of golf. It exists everywhere. I know a lot of people are trying to make a difference and trying to make it more fair for all of us."

Woods, who has already won four times this year, returns to defend his title at Muirfield Village which he will use as a tuneup for the US Open.

The 14-time major winner is off to one of his best starts to a season in his career and is hoping that some of his past success at the Memorial propels him another victory.

Woods is aiming for his third win at the Memorial in the past five years and his sixth victory overall in the event.

Last year, he birdied three of his last four holes, including a memorable 50-foot chip shot at the 16th, to claim a two-shot victory.

Defending the title, however, will not be easy as 17 of the world's top 25 players are in the field this week. - AFP

Bryan calls it quits

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:49 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Sarawakian Bryan Nickson Lomas is leaving the national diving team after a decade of service.

Bryan, who was the country's first world junior champion in diving, tendered his resignation to the National Sports Council (NSC) a few days ago in what will be a big loss to the country's sporting scene.

The 22-year-old platform specialist, who is a three-time Olympian, went on study leave at the beginning of the year. He is now in the second year of his sports science degree course at Universiti Malaya.

"I've no regret in ending my career. At this moment, I need to focus on my studies. I do not want to think of anything else," said Bryan.

"I have discussed this with my parents and I think this is the best decision at this point of my life.

"I don't want to be like the other athletes. Some of them are still pursuing their studies late into their 20s.

"There is no way anyone can get a kick-start to their career without getting a degree.

"If I were still in the national team, I would still be in training and I would have to delay my studies each time there's a major competition. I've been doing that for many years," said Bryan, who first burst into prominence after becoming the youngest athlete to compete in the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Bryan then went on to win a historic gold medal in springboard at the World Junior Championships in Brazil in 2004. He also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

At SEA Games level, Bryan was always a winner – contributing gold all the time since he made his debut in Manila in 2005.

Bryan also won multiple medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games.

His many firsts also include becoming the first Malaysian diver to qualify for a World Championships final when he competed in the 10m platform in Melbourne in 2007.

Bryan also made history by bagging a bronze in his 3m springboard synchro with Huang Qiang at the London World Cup last year.

Kedah Open: Yee Han steals the show to book a spot in quarter-finals

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:53 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The second round of the Kedah Open badminton championships proved to be a breeze for top seeds Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng as they easily booked their quarter-final spots at the Kedah BA Hall in Alor Setar yesterday.

But it was 19-year-old back-up shuttler Chong Yee Han who stole the show with a gritty performance in beating eighth seed Loh Wei Sheng 21-15,18-21, 21-15.

Malaccan Yee Han is one of the newer faces in the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) set-up, having only joined the senior ranks this year. Previously, the soft-spoken Yee Han was part of the Bukit Jalil Sports School set-up and competed in the Asian and World Juniors last year.

The world No. 251 has yet to make any significant impact since joining the BAM. Naturally, he was pleased to score a win over world No. 98 Wei Sheng.

"This is quite an unexpected result for me and I'm happy that I managed to score a win over my senior," said Yee Han.

"I did not have any pressure playing Wei Sheng as he was the favourite. I just went out there and played without fear," he added.

Yee Han's reward is a quarter-final clash against top seed Daren. The world No. 12 was just too strong for Sabah's Beryno Wong, winning 21-12, 21-13.

"Daren is a good player but I train with him and I think I know what to do," said Yee Han. "I just want to go out there and show people what I'm capable of. Even if I lose to Daren, I will give him a fight."

Second seed Wei Feng also had it easy, packing off Selangor's Wong Kin Yik 21-18, 21-19 in front of his home crowd.

The world No. 13 will take on former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and fourth seed Tan Chun Seang, however, were given a massive fright before checking into the last eight.

Arif struggled to beat Sabah's Lim Yu Fu 21-12, 18-21, 21-14 while Chun Seang toiled for a 17-21, 21-11, 21-18 win over Goh Giap Chin.

In the women's singles, budding junior Lim Yin Fun scored an upset by beating veteran Julia Wong of Armed Forces 19-21, 21-15, 21-15 in the first round.


*BAM unless stated

First round

Men's doubles: Ong Jian Guo-Teo Kok Siang bt Mohd Hanafi Rosni-Mohd Shahdan Mat Desa (Ter) 21-14, 21-13; Mohd Razif Latif- Mohd Hafiz Hashim (Nse-Sel) bt Goh Jian Hao-Yew Hong Kheng 21-17, 21-16; Pang Zheng Lin-Tan Chun Seang (Ked) bt Mohd Adib Haiqal-Wong Fai Yin 18-21, 21-18, 21-13; Tai An Khang-Tan Chee Tean (BAM-Mal) bt Mohd Hafifi Hashim-Mohd Hafizi Hashim (Kel) 21-14, 21-16; Chong Kein Hiung-Lim Yu Fu (Sab) bt Ho Khek Mong- Yeoh Choong Yee (Pen-Kul) 21-14, 21-17.

Women's singles: Lim Yin Fun bt Julia Wong (For) 19-21, 21-15, 21-15; Lim Chiew Sien bt Chew Huay Han (Pen) 21-7, 21-16. Mixed doubles: Tan Chee Tean-Chow Mei Kuan (Ked-BAM) bt Wong Fai Yin-Lim Yin Loo 21-16, 11-21, 21-19; Chooi Kah Ming-Lee Meng Yean bt Ooi Swee Khoon-Chew Huay Han (Pen) 21-9, 19-21, 21-17; Vountus Indra Mawan-Sannatasah Saniru (Sab) bt Ong Jian Guo-Shevon Lai Jemie 11-21, 25-23, 21-16.

Second round

Men's singles: Liew Daren bt Beryno Wong (Sab) 21-12, 21-13; Chong Yee Han bt Loh Wei Sheng 21-15, 18-21, 21-15; Goh Soon Huat bt Tan Kian Meng 21-13,21-16; Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin bt Chan Kwong Beng (Prk) 18-21, 21-17,21-19; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif bt Lim Yu Fu (Sab) 21-12, 18-21, 21-14; Zulfadli Zulkiffli (Kul) bt Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayup 21-19, 21-6; Chong Wei Feng bt Wong Kin Yik (Sel) 21-18, 21-19; Tan Chun Seang (Ked) bt Goh Giap Chin 17-21, 21-11, 21-18.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Malaysia Airlines shares down on weaker results

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:43 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) fell to a low of 37.5 sen in early trade on Thursday after its net loss increased to RM278.6mil from RM171.38mil a year ago.

At 9.27am, MAS was down 1.5 sen to 39 sen. There were 12.40 million shares done at prices ranging 37.5 sen to 39 sen.

The FBM KLCI fell 6.4 points to 1,777.07. Turnover was 233.08 million shares valued at RM130.06mil. Declining counters beat advancers 277 to 130 while 194 stocks were unchanged.

On Wednesday, MAS reported higher losses despite a 10.79% increase in revenue to RM3.39bil for the first quarter to March 31, 2013.

However, it registered a significant improvement in its operations by reducing operating loss by 46% to RM165mil for the first three months ended March 31, 2013 compared with RM307mil in the same quarter in 2012.

Affin Investment Research said MAS's wider core net loss at RM304mil was a deterioration from the core net loss of RM33mil registered in 4Q12. However, it came in better on-year improving by 24%.

"Our definition of core net loss excludes a derivative loss of RM17mil due to forex. Results were below our and street expectations, as we expect MAS to post a full year net profit of RM189mil while street estimate a marginal loss of RM15mil for FY13," it said.

Affin Research said on a more positive note, MAS reported a net operating cash surplus of RM147mil, raising its cash balance to RM2.3bil (1Q12: RM1.4bil). The higher cash balance was also bumped up from the sukuk drawdown in 4Q12.

To support its fleet replacement programme, the group's total borrowing has grown by 20% on-year to RM11.4bil. The completion of the RM3bil rights issue is thus timely to help strengthen its balance sheet.

"We have cut our FY13 earnings forecast to a net loss of RM164mil (from a net profit of RM190mil as we cut our yield assumption by 10%. Since our upgrade in April, MAS's share price has appreciated by 14% surpassing our fair value.

"Coupled with the disappointing results and intense competition ahead, we are downgrading the stock to REDUCE, with a lower target price of 29 sen as we roll over our valuation horizon to FY14, and attach a 20 times PER.

"At the fair value of 29 sen, it also equals to 1.6 times P/BV (assumed full dilution post successful take up of rights issue)," said the research house.

Affin Research maintains “Reduce” on Genting Plantations, TP at RM8.88.

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:35 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Affin Research maintains its "Reduce" call on Genting Plantations Bhd with a target price of RM8.88.

It said its 1Q13 revenue increased by 25.8% on-year from higher property revenue, offsetting lower revenue from its plantation division due to lower selling prices for crude palm oil (CPO) which was down 28% to RM2,293mt from RM3,179mt in 1Q12, as well as lower palm kernel, down 40% to RM1,165mt from RM1,941mt.

"In spite of higher revenue from property sales, 1Q13 revenue increased by a marginal 0.9% on-quarter due to sharply lower own fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production, down 21% which more than offset slightly higher selling prices of crude palm oil," it said.

Affin said its 1Q13 quarter earnings also declined on lower average selling price (ASP) and a one-off RM35mil charitable contributions, as well as higher loss on-year for its Biotechnology division.

"The group's Indonesian plantations broke even in 1Q13 underpinned by crop yield and processing efficiency improvements in itsWest Kalimantan estates while good demand for properties in Genting Indahpura (industrial and commercial offerings) boosted profits for the property division," it said.

Affin noted higher FFB production, CPO ASP and stable CPO cost of production are expected to boost its profits in the next three quarters.

"The outlook for the property division is excellent given the strong demand for properties in Johor, particularly Iskandar Malaysia, and the groups large land bank of about 5,000 acres in the region. Excluding industrial land sales of RM85m in 1Q13, the group targets new property sales of RM250mil in 2013," it said.

Malaysia-Market factors to watch on May 30(Thursday)

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:39 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Following is a list of events in Malaysia as well as news company-related and market news which could have an influence on the Malaysian market. GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks fall, bonds rise on uncertainty about Fed's plans

SE Asia Stocks-Mixed amid Fed stimulus concerns; Thai stocks fall after rate cut WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MALAYSIA, IN TIMES LOCAL FOLLOWED BY GMT:

* Malindo Air opens its airport ticketing office in Subang Airport at 10.30 am (0230).

* IGB Corp Bhd holds AGM at Cititel Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur at 3.00pm (0700).


> Tokyo's Nikkei share average falls 3.11 pct > US STOCKS-Wall St falls as bond yields hit high dividend stocks

> TREASURIES-Prices gain, take yields off 13-month highs

> FOREX-U.S. dollar weakens but upward trend appears intact

> PRECIOUS-Gold rises 1 pct on physical demand, drop in equities

> Oil slides with Wall Street and on energy demand worry

> VEGOILS-Palm oil ends off 2-month high, tighter stocks support MALAYSIA IN THE NEWS: > U.S. sets preliminary duties on shrimp from Asia, Ecuador

> Malaysian Airline's Q1 net loss widens on forex, finance costs

> Cuban oil hopes sputter as Russians give up for now on well

> Islamic Development Bank sells $1 bln 5-yr sukuk

> Asian bonds sell off, Bank Indonesia intervenes > China Sea tension mounts near Filipino shipwreck. - Reuters

DIARY - Malaysia - May30(Thursday)



* KUALA LUMPUR - Third Women Deliver Global Conference at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

* PUTRAJAYA - Medical Device Authority of Ministry of Health Malaysia organises seminar on Conformity Assessment Body Registration at Menara Prisma, Jalan Persiaran Perdana, Precinct 3, Putrajaya at 0845am (0045).

* KUALA LUMPUR - ASLI's CSR & Sustainability Summit with theme 'The Next Phase of Corporate Social Responsibility - Are We There Yet?' at Istana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur at 0900am (0100).

* CYBERJAYA - Bank Simpanan Nasional to organise the opening ceremony of 19th Meeting of the World Saving Bank Institute Asia/Pacific Regional Group at Cyberview Resort & Spa, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyberjaya at 0900am (0100).

* KUALA LUMPUR - European Union-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry organises Tastes of Europe at Royal Chulan Hotel, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur at 0900am (0100).

* SELAYANG, SELANGOR - Magna Prima Bhd holds AGM at Ideal Convention Centre, Jalan PS 8/3, Taman Prima Selayang at 0900am (0100).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Berjaya University College of Hospitality organises "Competing Through Customer Experience, A New Paradigm for Service Industries" by Jay Kandampully at Berjaya Times Square, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur at 0900am (0100).

* PETALING JAYA - Building Materials Distributors' Association of Malaysia signs agreement with Credit Bureau Malaysia at Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, Club House, Petaling Jaya at 0920am (0120).

* KUALA LUMPUR - NJOI gives media briefing on its television satellite services at The Boulevard, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur at 1000am (0200).

* SUBANG - Malindo Air organises official opening ceremony of its ticketing office at Skypark Terminal Sdn Bhd, SkyPark Subang at 1030am (0230).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Low Yat Group gives media briefing on Latar Expressway, LYG Property Showcase, 468-16, Rivercity, Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur at 1030am (0230).

* PETALING JAYA - KUB Malaysia Bhd and Dataran Systems (Asia) Sdn Bhd memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony at The Royale Bintang Damansara Hotel, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya at 1430pm (0630).

* KUALA LUMPUR - IGB Corp Bhd holds AGM at Cititel Mid Valley, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur at 1500pm (0700).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Najib Razak launches 'Variable Density Tunnel Boring Machine' at MRT Depot, Jalan Cochrane, Kuala Lumpur at 1630pm (0830), and attends Yasin and doa selamat recitation in conjunction with yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah's birthday celebration at National Mosque, Kuala Lumpur at 1910pm (1110).


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of April 2013 Money Supply data at 1700pm (0900).

KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end April 2013, at 1200pm (0400).


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - The Yang di-Pertuan Agong's Birthday.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of April 2013 External Trade data.

KUALA LUMPUR - The 14th Asian Oil, Gas & Petrochemical Engineering Exhibition at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre at 1000am (0200) (to June 7).


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 31 May 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of April 2013 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and April 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of May 2013 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 14 June 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of May 2013 Money Supply data, and Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end May 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of May 2013 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 28 June 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of BNM Monetary Policy Statement, May 2013 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and May 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of June 2013 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 15 July 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of June 2013 Money Supply data, and release of Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end June 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of June 2013 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 31 July 2013, June 2013 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and June 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Hari Raya Puasa



KUALA LUMPUR - Release of 2nd Quarter 2013 GDP and July 2013 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 15 August 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release July 2013 Money Supply data and release of Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end July 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - National Day.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of BNM Monetary Policy Statement.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 30 August 2013, and July 2013 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of July 2013 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and July 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Malaysia Day.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of August 2013 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 13 September 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of August 2013 Money Supply data and Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end August 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of August 2013 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 30 September 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of August 2013 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and August 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Hari Raya Haji



KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 14 October 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of September 2013 Consumer Price Index


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of September 2013 Money Supply data, and Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end September 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Deepavali.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Moslem New Year.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of BNM Monetary Policy Statement.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of September 2013 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 31 October 2013, September 2013 Index Industrial Production (IPI) and September 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of 3rd Quarter 2013 GDP.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of October 2013 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 15 November 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of October 2013 Money Supply data and Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end October 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 29 November 2013, and October 2013 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of October 2013 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and October 2013 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of November 2013 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 13 December 2013.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Christmas Day.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of November 2013 Money Supply data and Detailed Disclosure of International Reserves as at end November 2013

NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event - Reuters

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The Star Online: Nation

Squash a step closer to Olympic inclusion

Posted: 29 May 2013 09:06 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Squash, baseball/softball and wrestling have made the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shortlist for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games.

The IOC made the annoucement of the three shortlisted sports chosen from a list of eight at its summit in St. Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday.

A final decision will be made in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina just before a full IOC session at which the host nation of the Olympics will also be chosen.

With Malaysian squash queen Nicol David leading the charge, there is still reason to be optimistic that squash may make the cut.

Crane boom falls off lorry and crushes car, killing one

Posted: 29 May 2013 07:38 AM PDT

SUBANG: A motorist was injured while her passenger died when a section of a crane boom fell off a lorry and crushed the car they were in.

The accident, which occurred before the underpass from the Subang Airport road to Subang Jaya, caused a massive congestion during rush hour at 4.30pm.

Firefighters from three fire stations rushed to the scene and extricated the driver, a 43-year-old woman, and her 26-year-old male passenger.

When contacted, personnel from the Subang Jaya fire station said the victims were rescued within ten minutes.

In a statement posted on the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department Facebook page, operation commander Hamzah Din said the fire stations involved were the Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya and Kota Anggerik fire stations.

Minister's daughter loses RM8,000 to snatch thieves

Posted: 29 May 2013 06:51 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The daughter of a cabinet minister lost cash and personal belongings amounting to RM8,000 to two snatch thieves near a hypermarket in Ampang on Wednesday.

The victim, a 26-year-old teacher, was also slightly injured on her right knee in the 11.50am incident.

Selangor police deputy chief, Datuk A. Thaiveegan when met at the scene today, said the victim was putting her things in the boot of her Suzuki Swift when the suspects pounced.

The suspects, who were in a Proton Satria, snatched her handbag which contained an Ipad, Iphone and RM5,000 in cash.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Trio perform civic duty by putting up stools at selected public areas

Posted: 29 May 2013 04:55 AM PDT

A collection of crate-like stools on pavements at designated bus-stops in several parts of Petaling Jaya have been attracting curious looks from passers-by.

While some of the bus commuters wonder about the installations, others welcome the seats, which is exactly the purpose intended by their builders.

The builders are three youths driven by a desire to improve facilities in the urban environment. They call themselves the Urbanify team.

This initiative of Bryan Chee, Ying Wei Ee and Lim Ee Chian has borne its first fruit when the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) built permanent metal benches at their original project site — a bus-stop opposite the Kelana Jaya LRT station.

Full story in you copy of The Star today

Get to know your community

Posted: 29 May 2013 04:50 AM PDT

CHECK out these highlights on mob.com.my. Download the Metro Online Broadcast (MOB) app via http://bit.ly MOBiPhoneApp (iOS) and mob.com.my/androidapp: Also, visit www.mob.com.my

Connecting people through bicycle lanes

Shah Alam residents will soon be able to move from one park to the another with ease after the Shah Alam City Council installs bicycle lanes to connect those living in Section 2, 3 and 4.

Fashion designer inspired by blue China

Malaysian designer Ridzuan Bohari's latest collections are inspired by his interest in porcelain items. The fabric for his collection now sports this hand-painted designs.

Putrajaya thrill run

About 1,000 participants took part in the inaugural 7km Deuter Trail Fun Run at the Putrajaya Challenge Park. The event was supported by Universal Fitness and Leisure (distributors of Deuter brand in Malaysia), Putrajaya Corporation and the Youth and Sports Ministry.

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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New fire station still has room for improvement, says Ab Ghani

Posted: 28 May 2013 03:15 PM PDT

BATU PAHAT: The new fire station in Ayer Hitam has attended to more than 20 road accidents since it began operating early this year.

Johor Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Ab Ghani Daud said the new station responded to higher number of road accidents due to its location closer to the North-South Expressway.

"With one fire engine and 22 firefighters on 12-hour shift currently, we hope that we are able to improve our response time.

"Before the establishment of the Ayer Hitam fire station, we have to send fire engines from stations in Yong Peng, Kluang or Batu Pahat," he said after the state-level World Firefighters Day celebration here recently.

Costing RM9.2mil, the construction work of the station began in 2010 and completed end of last year.

In another development, only one fire death case was recorded in the state last year compared with 45 cases in 2012.

Ab Ghani said the department would continue to increase awareness on fire prevention and safety to minimise casualties due to fire.

He said of the 2,939 calls received last year, 76 were false alarms and 1,364 calls were for fire rescue.

The rest of the calls were for other rescue works, special services, and special tasks, he said.

In 2012, the department received a total of 2,602 calls, out of which 40 were pranks and 1,242 calls for fire rescue.

During his speech, Ab Ghani urged all firefighters to give full commitment in the duties that they were entrusted with and always improve their quality of service.

"Although we have reached our targets in all our programmes conducted last year, it is our duty to review and study all the programmes if they bring advantages or for us to restructure our strategies for better performance," he said.

Dr Wee tells Indians that they are not a forgotten lot

Posted: 28 May 2013 03:15 PM PDT

YONG PENG: The Indian community will not be forgotten despite making up the smallest percentage of population in Ayer Hitam.

Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said Indians constituted only 4% of the total parliamentary constituency population and majority of them were staying in Yong Peng area.

He said most of the constituents that his service centre had attended to since he was elected MP since 2004 were from Indian community.

"I know many of them need help and they will not be sidelined," he said before presenting medical cash aid to 41 chronic diseases patients from Indian community at his service centre in Wisma Koperasi Yong Peng Bhd in Jalan Besar here recently.

Dr Wee, who is MCA Youth chief, said he would try his best to help his constituents as long as they were genuine cases.

He also said the Barisan Nasional was not a party that appeared only once every five years.

"We will prove that we are always working and serving the people," he said, adding that he has always been visiting his constituency at least once a week to meet with the people.

Dr Wee said he was in the midst of extending his existing service centre by occupying service centre of former Yong Peng assemblyman Lim Kee Moi that was located next door.

"We are also opening another service centre next to Umno office in Ayer Hitam to serve the Semerang constituents," he said.

Earlier this month, Dr Wee squashed rumours reportedly saying that he would relocate his service centre from Yong Peng to Semarang.

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

Dr Wee said it was never came across his mind that he would stop or reduce or divert his service from Yong Peng.

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

At the event, Dr Wee also presented 50 1Malaysia netbooks to residents and financial aid to 10 students.

Later, he also presented medical cash aids to 24 patients at Ayer Hitam.

Bedridden mother of six in need of help

Posted: 28 May 2013 03:15 PM PDT

AYER HITAM: Housewife Isuawarti Daud, 41, who is bedridden after a fall at her house last month, is hoping that she will recover soon as her children need her.

The mother of six children, aged one, three, five, eight, 13 and 15, said her life had turned passive since the accident in her living room that caused bad injuries to her tailbone.

"I cannot do anything now, not even sit up.

"I pray everyday for fast recovery to hold my children and carry them. They are still young and they need me," she said when met at her house at Batu 1 Jalan Yong Peng – Ayer Hitam recently.

Her husband, a farmer, had to stop going to his farm since the incident to take care of their children.

He would also prepare food and put it next to her pillow and helped her to change diapers.

Isuawarti said her pain lessened whenever her children sat on her bed, talk to her, pray or read storybooks.

"They will tell me all kind of stories in school everyday," she smiled.

Isuawarti said her doctor had not made any recommendation for surgery or any other treatment so far pending osteoporosis test.

"I don't know what our lives will be next but I am confident that I will recover and I pray that I can sit up at least if not fully recovered," she said.

At the moment, Isuawarti said she needed a hospital bed urgently to help her adjust her body or repositioning without someone's help constantly.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Beyonce, Madonna team up for women at London gig

Posted: 29 May 2013 02:53 AM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Singers Beyonce and Madonna, activist Gloria Steinem and Bishop Desmond Tutu will be among big names reaching out to a billion people from a pop concert in London on Saturday with a message of empowerment for women across the planet.

The Sound Of Change Live gig headlined by Beyonce, Florence + the Machine and Jennifer Lopez will be broadcast live from Twickenham sports stadium to 150 countries, and on primetime TV in the United States the following day, organisers said on Tuesday.

The four-hour concert could fund at least 120 projects supporting women and girls in more than 70 nations, if all the tickets are sold, they said.

Organised by the Chime for Change campaign, started by Italian fashion house Gucci, every ticket buyer will be able to choose which project their ticket will fund in what the campaign said was a world first for such a venture.

Madonna will be a presenter at the gig alongside other musicians, public figures, activists, film directors and actors including Indian stars Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan.

"Sixty percent of the children in the world not in school are girls," Madonna said. "Two-thirds of the world's illiterate are women. I do not accept this. We need to change this and we will change this."

In addition to performances and collaborations from artists, the concert will serve as a platform to broadcast inspirational and provocative films and stories highlighting women's issues around the world.

Pussy Riot member taken to hospital after hunger strike

Posted: 29 May 2013 02:35 AM PDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A member of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot who went on hunger strike in jail last week after being barred from a parole hearing was hospitalised on Tuesday, the husband of another band member said.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, and two other band members were sentenced to two years in prison after they broke into Moscow's main cathedral last year to perform a profanity-laced punk song against President Vladimir Putin.

"Today the prison administration decided to put her in the hospital after being on hunger strike for a week," Pyotr Verzilov, husband of imprisoned Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, said from the prison town of Berezniki, more than 1,000km northeast of Moscow.

He said she was doing well and that she was receiving treatment alone after prison authorities had cleared out an entire wing of the prison hospital.

The prison confirmed she had been taken to hospital, with its press office being quoted by Itar Tass as saying: "Her blood pressure fell and she was given the necessary injections."

Verzilov said she had given up food and only had drunk water since the day of her parole hearing when she was denied permission to go to the courtroom and was given access only over video link. She was denied parole.

Alyokhina and her two bandmates were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred last August after a trial seen by Putin's opponents as part of a clampdown on dissent during a third term in power he began in May 2012.

The third woman jailed, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed last October when a judge suspended her sentence on appeal.

Western governments and entertainers including Madonna said the sentence was disproportionate but Putin, a former KGB spy who has cultivated close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, said the state needed to protect the faithful.

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All smoked-out

Posted: 29 May 2013 05:06 AM PDT

Emphysema is included in the spectrum of diseases known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and its mainly due to long term cigarette smoking.

MY father is a heavy smoker. He smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. We keep telling him to quit smoking, but he says he is addicted. Lately, he has been having difficulty breathing. I can hear him wheeze. I was worried he had asthma, so I brought him to the doctor and he was diagnosed as having 'emphysema'. What is this condition?

Emphysema refers to a condition in your lungs where the alveoli or air sacs are gradually destroyed. This causes you to have shortness of breath, which becomes gradually worse.

Emphysema is included in the spectrum of diseases known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

It is caused by long-term smoking.

The cigarette smoke slowly destroys the lung tissue in the alveoli – distorting their usually bunched grape-like shapes and causing holes to form in their inner walls.

This reduces the surface area afforded to your lungs to breathe, and therefore, the amount of oxygen that can diffuse through and reach your bloodstream.

Cigarette smoke also damages the elastic fibres that hold the small airways open, leading to collapse of these little tubes.

The result is that you can draw breath in, but the little airways will collapse when you try to expel air. This causes the air to be trapped in your lungs.

Emphysema is, sadly, irreversible.

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

Emphysema is irreversible? That is scary! What are the symptoms of emphysema?

It is important to note that COPD is not often purely emphysema or the other common condition, chronic bronchitis, but varying combinations of both diseases.

Look out for the following:

·Shortness of breath



·Decreased tolerance for exercise over time and slow deterioration of breathing ability.

·Pursed lip breathing, meaning the patient having emphysema struggles to completely exhale a breath.

This is due to the aforementioned "trapped air" as the smaller airways collapse upon each other as you attempt to let out your breath, effectively "trapping" air in your lungs.

·The development of a "barrel chest", meaning your chest becomes more pronounced in the ribcage. This is caused by the trapping of air.

How do I tell the difference between emphysema and asthma? Both present with shortness of breath and wheezing, yes?

It can be difficult for you to differentiate between the two if you have no experience. But generally, asthma affects younger people and emphysema affects those who are older. Emphysema always comes with a history of heavy smoking.

Some experts recommend that anyone who is a heavy smoker with a cough be screened for emphysema.

In the clinic, the doctor will give you a peak flow meter challenge. He will give you a tube to blow into and measure how much you can blow. Then he will give you a bronchodilator to puff.

With asthma, your ability to blow into this tube improves after the bronchodilator.

It is possible to have both asthma and emphysema.

How does the doctor diagnose emphysema?

This involves measuring pulmonary function with a test called spirometry. Spirometry measures the volume and force of air as you exhale it from your lungs.

You have to inhale and exhale forcefully into this instrument for several times. Then the force of your exhalation is measured and calibrated against the norm.

Your doctor will measure a few indices:

·Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), which is the maximum volume of air that can be exhaled out through your lungs. This indicates your lung size, capacity and elasticity.

·Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1). This is the maximum volume of air that you can exhale in ONE second. This can measure the severity of your COPD.

If you have severe COPD, your FEV1 is only 30 to 50% of the normal value.

Is there any treatment for emphysema?

Emphysema cannot be cured, unless you get a lung transplant. But you can certainly stop it from getting worse.

Stop smoking immediately. This will "stop the rot" in your lungs. It can even improve your lung function over time.

Bronchodilators may open up your airways for episodes of shortness of breath, but will not cure emphysema.

Steroids and other drugs which are prescribed for asthma can help with symptoms.

And if your shortness of breath is so bad, home oxygen can help.

If all else fails, you can opt for surgery. Other than lung transplant, there is lung volume reduction surgery, which removes the upper lobes of both your lungs to allow the lower parts of your lungs to have better expansion.

Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health advice, computers and entertainment.

For further information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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