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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

China not disputing Japan sovereignty over Okinawa

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 08:29 PM PDT

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China does not dispute Japanese sovereignty over Okinawa and recent comments in Chinese newspapers merely reflects the views of some academics, a senior Chinese military leader said on Sunday.

"China's position has not changed... Scholars can put forth any idea they want and they do not represent the views of the Chinese government," the deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, told delegates at a security conference in Singapore.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Deputy Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, adjusts his headset before speaking at the fourth plenary session of the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Deputy Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, adjusts his headset before speaking at the fourth plenary session of the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su

China's state-owned People's Daily last month published an article by two academics that said Okinawa was part of an island chain that used to be a vassal of imperial Chinese dynasties before it was annexed by Japan in the 19th century, implicitly asserting Chinese claims over the island.

Okinawa, host to the bulk of up to 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan, is the largest island in the Ryukyu chain, which extends south towards Taiwan.

China is already involved in a tense dispute with Japan over the latter's move last year to nationalise the nearby Senkaku islets, which the Chinese call Diaoyu, which sits astride key shipping lanes and undersea energy resources.

That row has escalated in recent months to the point where both sides have scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other in nearby seas, raising worry that an unintended collision or other incident could lead to a broader clash.

(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Cyber hacking to overshadow summit between Obama and China's Xi

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 07:37 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A shirt-sleeves summit between the world's two top economic powers is shaping up as anything but relaxing, with an assertive new Chinese leadership seeking a bigger place at the global table and the United States pushing back, especially in the battle over cyberspace.

A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

U.S. President Barack Obama and newly installed Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on Friday in Southern California at a relatively informal retreat aimed at allowing the pair to get to know each other away from the spotlight of Washington.

High-level U.S.-Chinese encounters of recent decades have been unable to match President Richard Nixon's groundbreaking visit to Communist China in 1972 that ended decades of estrangement between Washington and Beijing.

But China experts say if Obama and Xi can develop personal rapport - something lacking between U.S. presidents and Xi's notoriously wooden predecessor, Hu Jintao - and make at least a little progress on substantive issues, the summit could gain some historic significance.

Any feel-good vibe at the luxury resort in the desert near Palm Springs could be soured by Obama taking a hard line with Xi over Chinese cyber-hacking of U.S. secrets.

While China worries the United States is trying to encircle it militarily with its strategic "pivot to Asia," the cyber dispute is the most pressing issue for Obama.

"The president wants to be able to have, behind closed doors, a tough and straight conversation with Xi Jinping about our specific concerns," a senior U.S. official said of the cyber-security issue. "Problems and activities emanating from China have a deleterious effect on our companies, on our interests and on our relationship."

The official said Obama would not shy away from pointing out U.S. concerns about hacking, nor would he accept China's "pro-forma protestation" that it too is a victim of cyber intrusions from abroad.

In a sign of an easing of tension over hacking, an Obama administration official said on Saturday a previously agreed high-level working group on cyber security would convene for its first talks in July and meet regularly after that. The official said the panel would focus not only on hacking but on "developing rules of the road for operating in cyberspace."

"Obviously the competitive nature of the relationship will always be there, but there's also a play-by-the-rules aspect to it," another senior Obama administration official said of the cyber-security disagreements with China.

Obama has been under strong pressure to persuade Xi to take U.S. hacking worries seriously, and complaints in Congress about cyber security are growing.

"There has got to be red lines drawn. If the activity continues, there need to be some sanctions," said Shawn Henry, who fought cyber thievery as an FBI assistant director and is now president of the security firm, CrossStrike Services. "They need to understand what the risks are."

The Washington Post reported this week that China had used cyber attacks to access data from nearly 40 Pentagon weapons programs, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. China dismissed the report, saying it needed no outside help for its military development.

In the two-day meeting with Xi, Obama will also likely bring up differences over North Korea, world trade and China's territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas.

The talks are an opportunity for Obama to score a foreign policy success at a time when the lack of U.S. action on Syria weighs heavily on his record. He can also turn away from controversies at home that have gotten his second term off to a rocky start.


Xi is eager to be seen on an even footing with the American leader and to show China's ruling echelon and public that he can promote their interests on the world stage as Beijing seeks what it calls a new "big-power" relationship with Washington that takes into account China's rise.

It is his first U.S. trip since taking over the presidency in March in China's once-in-a-generation leadership transition.

He is likely to express Beijing's unease about a U.S. reorientation of foreign policy and a shift of American military resources toward the Asia-Pacific region as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

The strategy is seen widely as a way of reassuring allies like Japan and South Korea of the U.S. commitment to counter China's power.

Shen Dingli, vice dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Shanghai's Fudan University, said the U.S. "return" to Asia and the security issues it raised was the biggest issue from the Chinese perspective.

"The U.S. goal is stability, but it has really created instability," Shen said.

Beijing has increasingly used its growing economic clout internationally and exercised its military muscle regionally.

Yet China feels hemmed in by the U.S. "pivot to Asia," which Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday would involve prioritizing deployments of the most advanced U.S. weapons systems to the Pacific, including the radar-evading F-22 Raptor jet fighter, the F-35 and Virginia-class fast-attack submarine.

"China is going down the path to peaceful development, and other countries must follow suit, for only if this happens can there be peaceful coexistence between nations," the Communist Party's official People's Daily wrote in a front-page commentary about the Xi-Obama talks.


U.S. officials play down the prospects for any big breakthroughs or even major concrete agreements during the California summit.

Xi, 59, will have the kind of face time with the U.S. president that few foreign leaders have been afforded.

The chances are decent that he and Obama, 51, will be able to find the personal chemistry that eluded their predecessors for decades.

Xi - who as president-in-waiting met Obama in Washington in February of last year - is a Communist Party "princeling," the son of a revolutionary leader. But he is also fond of Hollywood movie war dramas.

He has shown himself less stiff in public than his predecessor, and his willingness to forgo the pomp of a White House visit may signal a fresh approach.

The informality of the talks at Sunnylands, a complex where philanthropist Walter Annenberg once hosted U.S. presidents like Ronald Reagan, is unprecedented for U.S.-China relations.

"You've got the ability to really deepen a strategic dialogue and to build trust into the relationship in ways that really haven't been done in a very, very long time," said former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.

Although touted as an informal meeting, summits like this one are highly choreographed. Both sides were still negotiating whether the two leaders would hold a joint news conference, an event that is standard procedure when the U.S. president meets a foreign leader on home soil.

One U.S. official helping to organize the agenda made clear that the summit at the estate, which has its own golf course and hiking paths, would be mostly work and little play.

"This is not a sleepover," the official said. "We're not inviting President Xi to have a casual weekend in Palm Springs. This is for real."

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and John Ruwitch in Shanghai; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

As Qusair fight continues, U.N. issues warning

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 07:14 PM PDT

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian troops and Hezbollah guerrillas besieging the border town of Qusair fought with rebels on Saturday as the United Nations warned all sides they would be held accountable for the suffering of trapped civilians.

A damaged mosque is seen in Arjoun village near Qusair town, where forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces have been fighting, May 30, 2013. REUTERS/ Rami Bleible

A damaged mosque is seen in Arjoun village near Qusair town, where forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces have been fighting, May 30, 2013. REUTERS/ Rami Bleible

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting was taking place inside Qusair and in villages around it, largely controlled by President Bashar al-Assad's forces who have cut off access to the town.

Rebels have pleaded for military help and medical aid for the hundreds of people wounded in the onslaught by government forces, who are also fighting back fiercely around the capital Damascus and the south and centre of the country.

The battle for Qusair is happening as the United States and Russia seek to overcome deep differences over Syria and bring the two sides to the negotiating table for a political solution to the civil war in which 80,000 people have been killed.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was monitoring the battle for Qusair "with the gravest concern" and called on both sides to allow civilians to escape the town, usually home to 30,000 people.

"The eyes of the world are upon them, and ... they will be held accountable for any acts of atrocity carried out against the civilian population of Qusair," a U.N. statement said.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said they were alarmed that thousands of civilians may be trapped in Qusair.

"We understand there may also be as many as 1,500 wounded people in urgent need of immediate evacuation for emergency medical treatment, and that the general situation in Qusair is desperate," they said in a joint statement.

The Observatory, an anti-Assad network that monitors the violence in Syria through medical and security sources on the ground, said at least one person was killed during fighting inside Qusair and that Assad's troops were being reinforced ahead of a possible assault on the remaining rebel-held areas.

Rebels also tried to attack the nearby Daba military air base, seized by the army on Wednesday, and fought Assad's troops around Daba village, it said.

The two-week battle for Qusair is aimed at securing supply routes near the Syrian-Lebanese frontier, which both sides accuse the other of using to bolster their forces inside Syria.

For Assad, seizing Qusair would also allow him to cement control of a belt of territory between the capital Damascus and his stronghold on the Mediterranean coast.

The prominent role of guerrillas from Lebanon's Shi'ite group Hezbollah has angered rebels, who have threatened to take the battle into Lebanon unless Hezbollah withdraws.

Early on Saturday at least seven rockets were fired into Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley from rebel-controlled Syrian territory, security sources said.

Most of the rockets landed in empty fields. No one was hurt but some buildings were hit by shrapnel.

It was the first time the area, about 60 km (35 miles) east of Beirut, had been struck by rockets.

Several barrages have fallen in the northern Bekaa Valley and on Sunday two rockets were fired at the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Beirut after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed his fighters would battle in Syria to victory whatever the cost.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Crispian Balmer)

Related Stories:
Russia blocks U.N. Security Council declaration on Syria's Qusair

Leading Sunni Muslim cleric calls for "jihad" in Syria

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Matt Smith quits BBC's Doctor Who

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:39 PM PDT

LONDON - The BBC is on the hunt for a new Time Lord after British actor Matt Smith announced on Saturday that he is quitting as the star of cult sci-fi drama Doctor Who.

Smith, who has played the eccentric, time-travelling Doctor since 2010, said he would bow out in a special Christmas episode of the 50-year-old show and a new star would take over at the helm of his spaceship, the Tardis. The 30-year-old, who came to the role as a relatively unknown actor, said it had been "an honour" to play the Doctor. "Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show," he said.

"The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other - they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show," he added.

Doctor Who is the world's longest-running science fiction series, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and has been sold by the BBC to more than 200 territories around the world.

Smith is the 11th and youngest actor to star in the show, which has seen the Doctor battle enemies from the Daleks to the Cybermen since 1963.

Like his predecessors, he was joined by a series of companions as he travelled to faraway worlds in the Tardis.

"The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently," said Steven Moffat, the show's lead writer and executive producer.

"The way he'd turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry - I just never knew what was coming next."

Smith recently made his directorial debut and has spoken of his ambitions for a film-making career.

As with previous Time Lords, news of his departure sparked feverish speculation amongst fans about who will come next - with some predicting that a woman could finally land the role. - AFP

US television icon Jean Stapleton dead at 90

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:37 PM PDT

NEW YORK - Jean Stapleton, whose shrill-voiced housewife in the trailblazing "All in the Family" sitcom was one of US television's defining and most beloved characters, has died at the age of 90, media reports said on Saturday.

Stapleton came into her own as the retiring homebody Edith Bunker, who was often at odds with her curmudgeonly and bigoted husband Archie on the TV popular program.

Unbeknownst to many Americans, however, Stapleton was an accomplished stage actress before becoming a pop culture icon during her starring role in the 1970s Norman Lear television series.

The popular show was an adaptation of the British series "Til Death US Do Part," about a working-class couple and a husband with racist views.

Stapleton played the role as slightly oddball but traditional homemaker, who over time begins to reflect on feminism and other burning social issues, fueling hilarious run-ins with her stuck-in-the-mud husband, played by actor Carroll O'Connor.

The series was such a cultural touchstone in the United States that the armchair in which O'Connor was filmed each week is now on exhibit in the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. - AFP


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Kuchar grabs Memorial lead while Tiger soars to 79

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 05:22 PM PDT

DUBLIN, Ohio - Matt Kuchar fired a two-under par 70 to seize a two-stroke lead over fellow Americans Kevin Chappell and Kyle Stanley after Saturday's third round of the $6.2 million US PGA Memorial tournament.

In a round where world number one Tiger Woods struggled to a 79 to stand 16 strokes off the pace and second-ranked Rory McIlroy settled for a 75 and stood 14 strokes back, Kuchar offset back-nine stumbles with long birdie putts.

Kuchar birdied the par-3 fourth and par-5 seventh but closed the front nine with a bogey. He responded with a 19-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th, then sandwiched two birdies between bogeys at the par-3 12th and par-5 15th.

Kuchar dropped an 11-foot birdie at the par-4 13th and followed by sinking a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-4 14th at the Muirfield Village layout where 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus is the tournament host.

After 54 holes, Kuchar was on eight-under 208 with Stanley and Chappell both on 210. Stanley stumbled to a 73 on Saturday while Chappell fired a 68.

"I played some steady golf. I got the wind figured out as best as possible and I'm driving it well," Kuchar said. "You can play some moderately aggressive golf out there."

Woods began on the back nine and had a horror-show start with double bogeys at the 12th, 15th and 18th holes plus a bogey at the 17th. After birdies at the first and second and another at the fifth, he closed with bogeys at the sixth and ninth.

"It was a rough day. It was tough out there from beginning to end," Woods said through a PGA Tour media official.

The 44 Woods posted on his opening nine was the highest nine-hole score of his PGA Tour career by a stroke, while his 79 matched the second-highest score of his pro career. "We didn't hit that many bad shots starting out the day and the next thing you know we are quite a few over par," Woods said. "It was a tough day. I tried to fight back on the back nine. It just didn't quite materialize."

McIlroy fared little better, starting with a bogey at the 10th that he answered with a birdie at the 12th. He made a bogey at the first, a double bogey at the third and a bogey at the eighth before closing with a birdie.

England's Justin Rose, Australian Mike Jones and Bill Haas, the American who led after the second round but sputtered to a 76 in the third, shared fourth on 211.

Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia, past Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and Americans Scott Piercy and J.J. Henry shared seventh on 212 with another past Masters champion, Bubba Watson, among a trio on 213.

Chappell birdied three holes in a row starting at the par-5 fifth and answered his lone bogey at the par-5 11th with birdies at 13 and 15.

Stanley had five bogeys, two on par-3 holes, but took advantage of the par-5 holes with birdies at the fifth and 15th and an eagle at the 11th after putting his second shot only two feet from the cup. - AFP

Nadal too good for Italy’s Fognini at French Open

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 05:36 PM PDT

RAFAEL Nadal endured another slow start at the French Open yesterday before finding his form to defeat Italy's Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 and qualify for the last 16.

In the end it was a comfortable enough win for the seven-time defending champion, but he was made to look sluggish on occasions against an opponent he would normally be expected to dispatch in double-quick time.

Next up, on his 27th birthday tomorrow, will be Japan's Kei Nishikori as the Spaniard continues his campaign to become the first man in tennis history to win the same Grand Slam title eight times.

Nishikori defeated Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1 to become the first Japanase man to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros in 75 years.

Nadal went into his 56th career match at Roland Garros in a bad mood, complaining about the cold, overcast conditions Paris has produced and "joke" Roland Garros scheduling he felt could disadvantage him against Fognini.

The seven-time champion lost the opening set of his first two ties, the first time that has happened to him in Paris, and he nearly got off to another shocker as Fognini, like Daniel Brands and Martin Klizan before him, went for broke.

Dropped service games by Nadal in the fifth and 11th games produced a tie-break that the defending champion led from the start to win 7-5.

Fognini again had Nadal struggling on serve at the start of the second set, winning over the centre-court crowd with his bold tactics and expressive nature.

But he failed to convert a couple of break points and, after the Italian dropped his serve and received treatment for a blister on his hand, Nadal started to race away with the match.

He pocketed the set 6-4 and when he broke at he start of the third set, the writing was on the wall for in increasingly distracted Fognini who fired his last bullets by clawing back three games to get to 5-4 before Nadal served out. — AFP


Men's singles

Second round: Rafael Nadal (Spa) bt Martin Klizan (Svk) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; Tommy Haas (Ger) bt Jack Sock (US) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 7-5; Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) bt Federico Del Bonis (Arg) 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4; Jerzy Janowicz (Pol) bt Robin Haase (Ned) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) bt Denis Istomin (Uzb) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2; Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Michal Przysiezny (Pol) 6-3, 6-3, 6-0; John Isner (US) bt Ryan Harrison (US) 5-7, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-1, 8-6; Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) bt Horacio Zeballos (Arg) 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4; Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Fernando Verdasco (Spa) 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, 3-6, 5-7, 8-6.

Third round: Tommy Robredo (Spa) bt Gael Monfils (Fra) 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2; Nicolas Almagro (Spa) bt Andreas Seppi (Ita) 7-6 (7-1), 6-0, 6-4; Kevin Anderson (Rsa) bt Milos Raonic (Can) 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3; David Ferrer (Spa) bt Feliciano Lopez (Spa) 6-1, 7-5, 6-4; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) bt Jeremy Chardy (Fra) 6-1, 6-2, 7-5; Viktor Troicki (Srb) bt Marin Cilic (Cro) 7-6 (14-12), 6-4, 7-5;

Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Sam Querrey (US) 2-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2; Roger Federer (Swi) bt Julien Benneteau (Fra) 6-3, 6-4, 7-5; Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1; Rafael Nadal (Spa) bt Fabio Fognini (Ita) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4.

Women's singles

Second round: Stefanie Voegele (Swi) bt Kaia Kanepi (Est) 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 8-6; Maria Kirilenko (Rus) bt Ashleigh Barty (Aus) 6-3, 6-1; Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Mariana Duque (Col) 7-6 (7-5), 7-5; Francesca Schiavone (Ita) bt Kirsten Flipkens (Bel) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3; Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Eugnie Bouchard (Can) 6-2, 6-4.

Third round: Serena Williams (US) bt Sorana Cirstea (Rom) 6-0, 6-2; Roberta Vinci (Ita) bt Petra Cetkovsk (Cze) 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; Angelique Kerber (Ger) bt Varvara Lepchenko (US) 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4; Ana Ivanovic (Srb) bt Virginie Razzano (Fra) 6-3, 6-2; Carla Surez (Spa) bt Mnica Puig (Pur) 6-4, 7-5; Sara Errani (Ita) bt Sabine Lisicki (Ger) 6-0, 6-4;

Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) bt Bojana Jovanovski (Srb) 6-4, 7-6; Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Dinah Pfizenmaier (Ger) 6-3, 6-4; Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Alize Cornet (Fra) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Sloane Stephens (US) bt Marina Erakovic (Nzl) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3; Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Alize Cornet (Fra) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Sloane Stephens (US) bt Marina Erakovic (Nzl) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3;

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (US) bt Paula Ormaechea (Arg) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3; Francesca Schiavone (Ita) bt Marion Bartoli (Fra) 6-2, 6-1; Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Zheng Jie (Chn) 6-1, 7-5.

Nishikori is Japan’s first man to reach last 16 in 75 years

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:47 PM PDT

KEI Nishikori became the first Japanese man to reach the last 16 of the French Open in 75 years yesterday when he defeated Benoit Paire of France 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1 in a third round match.

Emulating the feat of Fumiteru Nakano in 1938, 13th seeded Nishikori will next attempt to match his march into the 2012 Australian Open quarter-finals, but he will likely have to get past seven-time champion Rafael Nadal to do so.

The Florida-based Asian star broke Paire twice in the first set, while dropping his own serve once, but he then quickly found himself a break down in the second against the Frenchman who has enjoyed a strong claycourt season.

With both men struggling to hold serve, Nishikori battled back to 2-2 and there was a further exchange of breaks to get to 4-4.

Paire was left furious when he was hit with a penalty point for coaching at set point up on the Nishikori serve at 5-4, but he drew level in the match by easily taking the ensuing tie-break.

But it was Nishikori who looked the stronger as they got deep into the third set, with Paire struggling to stay the pace.

The Japanese player took that 6-4 and he raced away with the fourth against a visibly tiring Paire to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the third time at the age of 23.

In the women's action, third-seeded Victoria Azarenka overcame 10 double faults and 31 unforced errors to defeat France's Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and book a place in the last 16.

The 23-year-old Australian Open champion reeled off the last six games of the match and goes on to face either French 13th seed Marion Bartoli or Italy's 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone for a quarter-final spot.

"Alize is a terrific girl. It was a difficult match and she played really well, but playing on the centre court really motivates me," said Azarenka.

In a match which featured 15 breaks of serve, it was the 23-year-old Frenchwoman, fresh from a third career title in Strasbourg on the eve of Roland Garros, who took the first set, courtesy of a big forehand off a second serve.

Cornet took a tumble in the opening game of the second set and grimaced in pain again, feeling her upper right thigh in the eighth game as Azarenka went on to level the tie.

By that stage, Azarenka, who has never got beyond the quarter-finals in Paris, had already sent down 23 unforced errors and eight double faults. Cornet was ahead 1-0 with a break in the decider before Azarenka pulled away, winning six games on the bounce to take victory after two hours and 22 minutes. — AFP


The Star Online: Business

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Under pressure Infosys recalls Narayana Murthy as chairman

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:04 AM PDT

MUMBAI: Indian IT services firm Infosys Ltd, grappling with a string of disappointing results and loss of market share, has recalled founder and former chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy to act as executive chairman for five years.

He replaces current chairman K.V.Kamath, who will become lead independent director, effective June 1. The current executive co-chairman S. Gopalakrishnan will be re-designated executive vice chairman, while current chief executive officer S.D. Shibulal will remain in his position, Infosys said in a statement on Saturday.

"The board has taken this step keeping in mind the challenges that the technology industry and the company faces," Kamath said in the statement, also acknowledging calls from shareholders to strengthen executive leadership of the company.

Infosys said it will put the matter before shareholders at its annual general meeting on June 15.

The company, for years an investor favorite for exceeding its earnings targets, has struggled in the past two years as its big customers in the U.S. and Europe cut costs and seen rivals such as Tata Consultancy Services and HCL Technologies Ltd take away market share.

In April, Infosys forecast full-year sales growth that missed analyst expectations by a margin of up to 50 percent, pushing down its shares to their lowest close in a decade.

"This is a drastic, some might say, welcome move," said Ankur Rudra, sector analyst at Ambit Capital, which has a "sell" rating on the stock. "Probably, this could be a step towards a new strategic direction and leadership as well."

The company's troubles have spurred criticism of everything from its method of choosing CEOs to its pricing strategy to what is seen as an insular and risk-averse culture.

Chief executive Shibulal is one of the seven engineers who launched the company in 1981 by pooling together $250. All four CEO's so far have been from this group.

Murthy, who has earlier served on the board of HSBC and Unilever, said the calling was "sudden, unexpected and most unusual," while accepting the position.

He also requested the Infosys board to appoint his son Rohan Murthy as his executive assistant for a period of five years.

Shares in Infosys closed 3 percent higher on Friday, ahead of the announcement. The stock is up 4 percent so far in 2013, compared to a nearly 7 percent increase in the sectoral index. - Reuters

China May official PMI stronger than expected

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:02 AM PDT

BEIJING: China's official PMI rose to 50.8 in May from 50.6 in April, data showed on Saturday, beating market expectations and raising optimism that the world's second-largest economy may be stabilising.

Investors will get a fuller picture of the Chinese economy on Monday when the official services PMI is released along with the final HSBC survey that focuses on smaller private sector firms in the country.

The official purchasing managers' index (PMI), issued by the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, indicated activity in China's vast manufacturing sector picked up slightly in May.

The reading was stronger than market expectations of 50.1 in a Reuters poll.

A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity while a reading below that level points to a contraction.

"The slight pick-up in May PMI reinforces signs of stabilising of the economy," Zhang Liqun, an economist at the Development Research Centre, a top government think tank in Beijing, said in an emailed statement accompanying the index.

China's annual economic growth slowed to 7.7 percent in the first quarter from 7.9 percent in the previous quarter, despite a credit boom fuelled by the thriving shadow financing.

A sub-index measuring new orders inched up to 51.8 in May from 51.7 in April, indicating stronger demand for Chinese goods. A sub-index of new export orders also edged up to 49.4 from 48.6.

Saddled with excess capacity, China's factories are struggling against weak demand, as Beijing's campaign against extravagance among state officials takes a toll on domestic consumption.

A flash private PMI survey released last week by HSBC showed China's manufacturing sector shrank for the first time in seven months in May as new orders fell, an unexpectedly poor outcome that caused a rout in global financial markets.

The official PMI, which focuses on big and state-owned firms, has been generally rosier than the private survey, which targets small and private companies.

The International Monetary Fund this week cut its 2013 economic growth estimate for China to 7.75 percent from 8 percent, while the OECD slashed its 2013 growth forecast to 7.8 percent from a previous forecast of 8.5 percent.

Many private economists have lowered their estimates following soft factory output and investment performance data for April and weak factory activity in May.

The economy's lack of vigour could make it difficult for the government to meet its 7.5 percent growth target for this year, analysts said.

Chinese leaders are reluctant to roll out fresh stimulus steps to support the economy, as they fear increased state spending could lead to a further acceleration of credit expansion and fuel a property bubble.

Premier Li Keqiang said last month that China has limited room to use government spending and policy stimulus to boost its economy, though Beijing has been pushing structural reforms in put the economy on a sounder footing. - Reuters

Wall Street Week Ahead: Good news on jobs may be bad for stocks

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 03:00 AM PDT

NEW YORK: Standing conventional stock market wisdom on its head, investors may wish for weaker-than-expected U.S. employment numbers next Friday.

A strong jobs report could prompt an early end to the Federal Reserve's policy of pumping money into the banking system to rescue the economy and set off the stock market's long-awaited pullback.

The Fed's loose monetary policy since the end of 2008 has kept interest rates low and propelled stocks to record highs.

Last week, stocks fell and bond yields surged after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central bank may decide to taper its stimulus programs in the next few policy meetings if data shows the economy is gaining traction.

Stocks posted their second straight week of losses on Friday, mostly on fears that the Fed would curb its bond-buying program sooner than most people expected.

"We're in a mindset where the market seems to be very fearful of the Fed beginning a tapering," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

"Those who are in the market based on easy money ... will probably exit" if the May jobs number exceeds expectations, she said.

The market has managed to climb this year without any substantial pullback. Concerns about the Fed's next move have increased speculation that a major bout of selling is ahead.

A stronger-than-expected jobs number "would continue to produce the concerns you've seen manifested in the market over the last couple of days," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, which manages about $58 billion in assets.

Economists say job gains of at least 200,000 per month over several months are needed to significantly reduce high unemployment.

The Fed has said it will keep interest rates at historic lows until the U.S. unemployment rate drops to 6.5 percent.

Employers are expected to have added 168,000 jobs to their payrolls in May, according to economists polled by Reuters. That's slightly above April's count of 165,000 new positions.

The U.S. unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 7.5 percent in May.

To be sure, better-than-expected jobs data would be evidence of strength in the economy, a positive for the market in the long run, so any pullback could be short-lived, analysts said.

"If it's a short-term correction, I think that would have to be opportunistic, in the sense that investors should take advantage of moving any sideline money into the equity market," Luschini said.

Even with the recent losses - the Standard & Poor's 500 index <.spx> fell 1.1 percent this week - the index rose 14.34 percent for the first five months of 2013. That gain marked the S&P 500's best first five months of any year since 1997.


A rotation out of high-yielding dividend stocks has already begun because of the rise in U.S. Treasury bond yields.

Dividend stocks had been among the market's leaders for much of this year's rally as investors favored those shares over fixed-income securities in a low interest-rate environment.

"The first crack we've seen is, as bond yields have been going up, people are moving out of that area," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer of North Star Investment Management Corp., in Chicago.

"Managers are starting to look at things other than consumer staples with nice dividends and stable businesses. So within the stock market, you're seeing more volatility within sectors."

The S&P 500 gained 2.1 percent for the month of May, while the S&P utilities sector index <.splrcu> lost 9.6 percent and the S&P consumer staples index <.splrcs> dropped 2.4 percent.

The spread between the S&P 500 dividend yield and the 10-year U.S. Treasury note's yield this week hit its narrowest in about a year. The S&P 500 dividend yield was at 2.39 percent, while the 10-year note's yield hit 2.235 percent during the week.

By comparison, the dividend yield on the utilities sector stands at about 4 percent.

The move out of dividend-paying and other defensive shares should continue as the economy improves, Kuby said, though he pointed out that the market is still a "long way" from seeing high interest rates.

"The fact that rates are likely to creep up over time, that's a given. And it's not going to be sudden or dramatic. It's going to be more gradual."


Next week will bring a snapshot of U.S. manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply Management, which releases its May index on Monday. Economists polled by Reuters expect a reading of 50.5 for May, compared with 50.7 in April.

Monday's economic agenda also calls for April construction spending - forecast up 0.8 percent after a drop of 1.7 percent in March.

Domestic car and truck sales for May, also expected on Monday, are projected to have increased to 15.1 million units from April sales of about 14.9 million units, the Reuters Poll showed.

The U.S. international trade deficit, set for release on Tuesday, is forecast to have widened slightly to $41 billion in April from $38.8 billion in March.

A preview of the jobs picture will come on Wednesday with the release of a report from payrolls processor ADP. Economists polled by Reuters have forecast that the ADP data will show private-sector employers added 165,000 jobs in May, compared with 119,000 in April.

Wednesday's numbers to watch will include the ISM's release of its U.S. services-sector Purchasing Managers' Index for May. A reading of 53.4 is forecast for May, up from April's 53.1.

The Fed's Beige Book is expected on Wednesday afternoon. That report will give a look at the economy in 12 regional Federal Reserve bank districts.

On Thursday, initial claims for unemployment benefits will grab attention - on the day before the big payrolls report from the U.S. government. Initial jobless claims are projected to have slipped to 345,000 in the week ended June 1 from 354,000 in the previous week. - Reuters


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Liow: MCA will move ahead with other BN parties

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 08:12 AM PDT

BENTONG: Despite its pathetic showing at the recent polls, MCA will move ahead together with Umno, MIC, Gerakan and other Barisan Nasional component parties in striving for the people.

Deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said MCA would rise again even though it had failed to retain its parliamentary and state seats in the last general election.

"MCA lost in the general election after falling victim to the DAP's slander through the internet, Facebook and blogs, because the young Chinese had been influenced by their internet lies and fabrications.

"We (MCA) have to take note of these and handle them more effectively in order to rise again and be stronger in future," he said during a thanksgiving function here.

He said the party must learn from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's fighting spirit. "He never gave up wanting to serve the people even though he only won with a majority of 241 votes in the 1999 general election," he said.

He said as a result, Najib won with more than 30,000 majority in the recent general election.

On MCA's resolution not to accept any position in the Cabinet, Liow said it would only be detrimental to the party.

"We initially made the resolution as a motivation to party leaders and members to work hard to win more seats but we did not expect the results to be the reverse.

"So we just await the decision of the party after a meeting to be held soon and on behalf of the party I want to express our gratitude to the prime minister who is still willing to provide a place for MCA in the Cabinet," he said. - Bernama.

Hand grenade shock for teacher

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 08:49 AM PDT

SUNGAI BULOH: A teacher had a shock when he unearthed a British-type hand grenade at his small palm oil estate on Saturday.

The teacher, who wanted to be known as Norman, found the bomb while clearing some bushes at around 7pm in Desa Coalfields Sungai Buloh.

Police arrived shortly and cordoned off an area within 30 metres of the location. A bomb squad from the Selangor contingent managed to extract the explosive at around 9pm.

"The object is a PRB36 hand bomb and was found in an area relatively near a housing estate here.

"Luckily, the explosive was inactive," Sungai Buloh OCPD Supt Junaidi Bujang said.

The bomb would be detonated at a field on Sunday.

According to Wikipedia, the PRB36 bomb or more commonly known as a Mills bomb, is a British-made hand grenade produced in 1915 and discontinued in the 1980s.

Jimmy Choo: Datukship will make me work harder in promoting Malaysia

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 06:53 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Jimmy Choo-designed shoes may have adorned the feet of royalty and celebrities, but the man behind those dazzling creations insists that being humble and showing respect towards others have led him to where he is now.

And it appears that being bestowed with the Datukship honour by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah would not change the famed designer a bit.

"This (the title) would make me work harder in promoting Malaysia to the world. My shoes are travelling to Milan, Paris, the United States, the United Kingdom and other places.

"But the fact is that behind them is Jimmy Choo who hails from Malaysia," Datuk Jimmy Choo told Bernama with a sense of pride of his country after the investiture ceremony at the Istana Negara here.

Elaborating on the attributes which had contributed to his success, Penang-born Choo said: "You must respect people regardless where they come from. As for me, I have a high respect for my mother and my teachers as they are the people who have brought me to where I'm now."

Choo was one of the recipients of the Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) award, which carries the title 'Datuk', bestowed in conjunction with Tuanku Abdul Halim's birthday.

The designer said he was delighted to be given such a recognition from the country. - Bernama.


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The man underneath the suit

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 01:01 AM PDT

Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane ... it's Henry Cavill as Superman.

Being the new Superman is a big deal. A lot of pressure comes with the job of donning the suit and cape. But Henry Cavill appears to be up to the task for the new Man Of Steel, which opens this month.

In fact, he is super excited and remembers the very first time he wore the costume.

"The first prototype that I put on was an incredibly exciting moment," Cavill divulged during an exclusive interview with Galaxie for Man Of Steel.

"When I looked in the mirror, it was one of those things I will never forget because it made it real. It was no longer just one of those fantastic, exciting things, which I was training for. I was actually wearing the Superman suit, and it looked fantastic, and I felt like Superman, an incredible moment."

Cavill talks about his role as the new Superman in greater detail in the June 1-15 issue of Galaxie, which hits the newsstands today.

The new issue also features other exclusive interviews, specifically with Revenge star Nick Wechsler and Paramore's Hayley Williams.

Wechsler told Galaxie that he is not too worried about the future of his onscreen character, Jack, despite the high body count on Revenge: "My guess is he'll be around for a while because of what he represents. He reflects the good and innocence in Emily (the show's protagonist) so if you take him away then the world is just populated with monsters that've done awful things to get where they are."

Meanwhile, Williams revealed why Paramore performed in Kuala Lumpur in February before the release of their eponymous effort in April.

"We thought kicking off there (South-East Asia) would show our fans how much we appreciate their support and dedication throughout the years," she said.

In terms of posters, Galaxie features fabulous photos of Big Time Rush, The Saturdays, Phillip Phillips, AnnaSophia Robb of The Carrie Diaries plus Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic from Castle this time around.

Readers also stand a chance of scoring G-Dragon concert tickets (Galaxie is the official magazine!), Little Mix's DNA albums, Demi Lovato's latest CD, Demi, as well as The Internship t-shirts in the same issue.

Galaxie, which is owned by Star Publications (M) Bhd and voted Entertainment Magazine Of The Year for two years straight, also has a presence online at

Visit Galaxie blog now for a chance to win one of a limited number of The Carrie Diaries notebooks.

> For further updates on the magazine and the entertainment world, follow Galaxie on Twitter (@galaxiemag) and visit its Facebook page (


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Photography students scour back alleys and stairwells to hone their skills

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:37 AM PDT

THE Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle is known for many things, including shopping, food and even nightspots such as those in Changkat Bukit Bintang.

However, a group of photography students from The Print Room in Petaling Jaya recently left the bright lights behind and went off the beaten track for an assignment called "48".

The students, accompanied by The Print Room director and photographer Paul Gadd, scoured the back alleys and dark stairwells of the area to hone their film photography skills in the project where they had two days and two nights to document the lives and colours of Bukit Bintang.

The biggest challenge for some of the eight students was staying awake through the night and dealing with only a few hours of sleep.

Briton Keirsten Clark chose to focus on the nightlife along Jalan Alor and in the back alleys.

"The nicest bit for me was shooting using film in the wee hours of the rainy morning in Jalan Alor. There were nice reflections on the water puddles and I got some good pictures of the traders packing up," said Clark, who works in a media agency by day.

In the back alleys, Clark, who hails from London, focused on capturing the empty spaces and the businesses that go on around it, which she found mysterious.

"I have an obsession with chairs and stools, especially ones that have been left in disarray. It signifies there were some activities and then the people dispersed for some reason," she said.

On the first night, when it rained heavily, Clark said she had to seek shelter in a stairwell where she took a picture of the space that had a bicycle stowed away in the background.

One of the challenges she faced was dealing with unfriendly people.

"But it was interesting to see how Bukit Bintang comes alive at an ungodly hour. Also, copious amounts of coffee helped me to stay awake," she said.

She was on her own the first night but then she later buddied with another photographer just to be safe.

They all bunked in a hotel room in Bukit Bintang so they could get in a few hours sleep along the way.

Why did Gadd choose Bukit Bintang as the venue for this assignment?

"It is one of the only places in Kuala Lumpur that has a diverse mix of people and is alive 24 hours.

"I wanted it to be a challenge for them where they had to follow the brief and stick to a deadline to produce a good photo essay," he said.

He described Bukit Bintang as an area of contrast and diversity.

"On one end, you have the posh facades of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Starhill Gallery and then you come to a crossroads with dark back alleys and areas that people prefer not to think about."

Since the 1980s, Bukit Bintang has undergone a transformation to become one of the hippest destinations in the city.

Jalan Bukit Bintang, in particular, will undergo a major transformation once the construction of the Bukit Bintang MRT station is under way.

It will also see an influx of people and businesses and the urban landscape and its surroundings will experience a make-over that will see many of its ageing buildings forced to take on a more modern look to remain in business.

Corporate finance executive Linda Chin was more cautious and avoided exploring the dark alleys, as she wasn't that familiar with this part of Bukit Bintang.

"I focused on Jalan Alor, the markets along Jalan Imbi and outside Starhill Gallery. Because I was on my own most of the time, I preferred to stick to the busy areas," she said.

The biggest eye opener for her during the project was when she realised there were so many foreign workers in Bukit Bintang, especially along the stretch heading to Jalan Pudu.

"I felt like a foreigner in my own country. This was a new side of Bukit Bintang to me."

She said a friend had advised her to bring along pepper spray during the outing.

"I didn't bother... I just avoided the seedier areas," she said.

As this was her first photo shoot, Chin said it was enjoyable because she was with a group who shared a similar interest.

Jessica Saw, 27, said she had participated because she felt that film photography had more soul than digital.

"For '48', I focused on candid portraits of people," said Saw.

Some of the challenges she faced were coming across camera-shy people.

"You cannot expect everyone on the street to want to be photographed. I used up seven rolls of film but only 25 pictures were good enough to print," said Saw, who works as a payroll officer by day.

Marketing executive Alia Zulasmin, 28, on the other hand, said portraits were not her forte. She prefers to capture cityscapes and textures like grilles and doors as well as abstract subjects.

"It is hard to compose a photograph when one is sleep-deprived," she said, "but it was fun on this assignment because I got to see how people lived and raised their children in the old houses of Bukit Bintang."

Having experienced going on a photoshoot by herself around Bukit Bintang in the past, she said she was less worried this time because there was group participation.

"Most of us set out alone to photograph, but we stayed close by to look out for each other. I don't frequent Bukit Bintang much because I live in Cheras and the traffic jam is terrible," said Saw.

After hearing of crimes in the area, Saw said she took precautions by carrying only the essentials and left her belongings in the hotel room where they were putting up for the weekend.

She opined that Kuala Lumpur is not a cold city because there were friendly people on the street who took a genuine interest in what she was doing.

"There was a construction worker near the MRT project site who sincerely advised me to be careful and be mindful of my surroundings."

The most interesting part of the project for her was seeing the diverse group of people converging in Bukit Bintang.

"You have the glitzy and posh on one side and the seedy areas on the other. A big contrast," she added.

Aside from busy areas like Jalan Alor and Changkat Bukit Bintang, the obscure residential pockets along Jalan Mesui, for example, were unfamiliar territory for Alia.

She still went out on her own despite not knowing what she would encounter.

"I wasn't worried until I came across a few intoxicated party-goers who were arguing among themselves on the first night I was out. To be safer, I went out in a group of three the next night," she said.

Alia did feel apprehensive about carrying her camera equipment, fearing that she might get mugged.

"I was robbed once in Uptown Damansara so I was cautious of my surroundings this time.

"When I was scouring the backlanes for photo opportunities, some people actually thought I was a reporter or a sanitation department worker," she added.

It is not all that seedy in Bukit Bintang, according to Alia, because there were passers-by who were friendly and courteous.

The best photographs from the "48" project will be exhibited at The Print Room in Lorong 16/9E, Petaling Jaya, from July 6 for one-and-a-half months.

RDF factory under overhaul for two weeks

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:32 AM PDT

THE Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) probably held one of its shortest full board meetings, which ended in under an hour.

Full board meetings at MPKj usually last two hours or more.

It also seemed quieter than usual with the absence of six councillors, including Lee Kee Hiong and S.T. Chandra Mohan, who usually highlight issues during the meetings.

Chandra Mohan was appointed a senator early this year and the other five, including S. Arutchelvan had resigned to contest in GE13.

Balakong assemblyman Eddie Ng, who was an MPKj councillor, was the only elected representative who attended the meeting.

At the meeting, it was announced that the Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) centre in Semenyih would undergo an overhaul that would take about two weeks.

"Waste will still be sent there but it will not be processed for the time being. It will be contained to prevent any smells," council president Datuk Hasan Nawawi Abd Rahman said.

At a press conference after the meeting, he said all parties in GE13 had their deposits with the council forfeited. There were 13 candidates for the Hulu Langat parliamentary seat and the three state seats — Dusun Tua, Semenyih and Kajang — in the constituency.

During the general election, candidates had to place a deposit of RM2,000 for a parliamentary seat and RM1,000 for a state seat with the council. The deposit would be forfeited if they failed to clear their campaign flags and banners within two weeks after GE13.

"We will also impose a charge if there are too many flags for the council to clear, especially for those that we have to use a skylift to remove.

"We are still looking into the flags left by the independent candidates," he said.


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Second installment of Kuantan Century

Posted: 31 May 2013 03:07 PM PDT

KUANTAN: Up to 1,839 cyclists, both local and international, will be taking part in the 160km Kuantan Century Ride on June 2.

State Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said the ride, which was in its second consecutive year would comprise both professional and amateur riders.

"They are either cyclists who will make the ride as their endurance test or take it as a family outing," he said after launching the Kuantan CenturyRide 2013 here recently.

He said 534 of them were cyclists from Italy, Holland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia and China. Singaporeans make up the most number with 432 cyclists.

Some 1,305 of them are locals from all over the country with 389 cyclists from Selangor.

"Cycling has become a tourist attraction in Pahang with several events organised and more to be held in the near future. The thousands of them visiting Pahang will definitely contribute to an economic spillover in the state as they will be spending on accommodation, food and other neccessities.

"The benefits that we will gain would not end just like that because they will return to the state in their following visits not only for cycling activities as Pahang has many other attractions for holiday makers," Mohd Sharkar said.

Also present were Tourism Ministry Office general manager Idros Yahya and State Tourism Agency Bukit Fraser Development Corporation deputy manager Ishak Mokhtar.

Mohd Sharkar, who was recently appointed as the Culture and Tourism Committee chairman said despite reaching the middle of the year, he was optimistic of meeting the target of 10.5 million tourist arrivals in Pahang.

He said this was because Pahang is a peaceful and harmonious state and the government had been emphasing on continuous development to benefit the people at all levels.

He also said that after the general election, Pahang was looking forward to becoming a prosperous state and since the tourism industry was the second biggest source of state revenue, the government is committed to provide further facilities for the industry to continue developing.

"There will be further additional attractions in the tourism aspect apart from the present ones. Our education facilities of international standard for example has been contributing much to the continuous visit by foreigners while at the same time we will provide for the betterment of the products available," he said.

During the ceremony, Mohd Sharkar also received sponsorships from more than10 companies to support the cycling event.

Realising a dream through an exhibition

Posted: 31 May 2013 03:07 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Ever since he was a young boy, 58-year-old A. Nadarajan has dreamt of visiting the Seven Wonders of the World.

"One of the places I really wanted to go to was the Great Wall of China, but until now, I have yet to achieve this wish," he said.

His childhood dream led Nadarajan to stage an exhibition of huge replicas of the most popular Seven Wonders of the World here.

"I am sure that many others have also longed to see them but have never had the chance.

"Those who are unable to visit these places, would find the exhibition almost as fulfilling as viewing the real thing," he said.

Nadarajan added that the Taj Mahal replica would be the highlight of the exhibition and visitors will be able to walk around the building and take photographs.

"The size of the Taj Mahal will be about 24m-high and it is made of plywood except for the dome," he said, adding that foam was used to make the other six famous structures.

The other replicas would be 6m to 9m high and they include The Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower in France, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Colosseum in Rome. Also in the exhibition is the only ancient wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Empire State Building in New York.

The exhibition at Plaza Angsana here will begin on May 30 and end on June 28.

Photographer cooks up a ‘storm’

Posted: 31 May 2013 03:07 PM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: A senior photographer's dedication towards his career could never beat his inner passion towards culinary which he puts to practice on many occasions, among which is during Harvest Festival.

Eddie Angat who has been in the journalism industry for 15 years starting as a reporter, before turning full-time photographer for a local newspaper in Sabah has a deep love for cooking and never missed a chance to show off his culinary skills.

For this year's harvest festival, or more commonly known as the Kaamatan festival among locals in Sabah, Eddie as usual swapped his camera for kitchen utensils.

"I actually love cooking. I have had this passion since I was a child and I even have a certificate for this," he said when met at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association centre in Penampang on Wednesday.

He prepares dishes such as fried chicken, fried pork, noodles, and sometimes the local delicacy - hinava (raw fish marinated with lime, ginger and onion) apart from selling beer and other beverages.

Eddie said apart from fostering family ties when he opens up a food stall with his brothers and cousins, the activity gives him a sense of utmost satisfaction.

"I have been doing this for Kaamatan for the past five years, and also cook for other occasions whenever I have the opportunity," he said.

"It's just something I love, I cannot do it full time now because I'm afraid I would loose interest if it becomes a job for me but who knows I might do it once I retire from journalism," he added.

Eddie have gathered his brothers Danny, 42, and Armando, 39, together with his cousin Wulfram Kamijan, 61, and uncle Sabinus Francis, 49 with all their wives.

Eddie's 40-year-old wife Jenny Limus and their two sons Romualdo Saladik, nine, and Ricarldo Babuca, six, also comes to help him whenever they can.


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