Ahad, 2 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. lawmakers want better Russia cooperation after Boston bombs

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 08:12 PM PDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on a mission to Russia said on Sunday they had found no evidence that an American intelligence error enabled the Boston bombings, but that closer cooperation between Washington and Moscow might have helped to thwart the attack.

Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher speaks at a news conference in Moscow June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher speaks at a news conference in Moscow June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

U.S. investigators suspect two brothers who emigrated from Russia, one since shot dead by police, staged the attack at the Boston Marathon on April 15 that killed three people and wounded 264 others.

Two congressmen on the fact-finding visit said the countries - former Cold War foes now at odds over issues from Syria to President Vladimir Putin's treatment of opponents - had to work together better against a shared threat from Islamist militants.

"Radical Islam is at our throat in the United States, and it is at the throat of the Russian people," said Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who led a group of six U.S. lawmakers on the weeklong visit to Russia.

President Barack Obama's administration and U.S. intelligence have faced scrutiny over claims they failed to see the danger from the suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechens who emigrated with their parents a decade ago.

"We've been asked a number of times, do we believe that the Boston Marathon massacre could have been thwarted - could it have been prevented? And the answer is, there's nothing specific that could have been done that we can point to that, had it been done differently, would have prevented this," Rohrabacher said.

"But we can say that had we had a much higher level of cooperation all along, so that the whole situation would have been different, I believe that would have been one of the type of things we could have thwarted," he told a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The U.S. lawmakers met Federal Security Service (FSB) officials and visited the North Caucasus town of Beslan, scene of a deadly 2004 school siege some Russians call their country's equivalent of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

"The Cold War is over now, so we have to make friends with the Russians and recognise there is a mutual threat to both of us," Rohrabacher told the news conference. It was attended by U.S. action film actor Steven Seagal, a friend of Putin's who helped arrange the representatives' meetings in Russia.

U.S. officials have said Russian security services asked the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in early 2011 out of concern he had embraced radical Islam and would travel to Russia to join insurgents.

FBI agents interviewed him in Massachusetts in 2011 but said they found no serious reason for alarm. U.S. officials say Russia's FSB security services later failed to respond to the FBI's requests for more information about him.


Reading from notes from a briefing with FSB officials, Republican Representative Steve King said they indicated the FSB had told the FBI that Tamerlan was "very close to radical Islam and very religious".

"I suspect that he was raised to do what he did," King said of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in an April 19 shootout with police. Dzhokhar, 19, is in a Massachusetts prison hospital awaiting trial on charges that can carry the death penalty.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev travelled to Russia early in 2012 and spent six months in Dagestan, a North Caucasus province that is now at the centre of the Islamist insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet separatist wars in neighbouring Chechnya.

The FBI did not tell the FSB that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had returned to Russia, the congressmen said. Representative Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, said it appeared the FSB had been unaware that he was in Dagestan.

Rohrabacher, asked whether U.S. authorities reacted appropriately to the information conveyed by Russia, said: "I think that given the circumstances and the level of cooperation, I would say they did - but I would also say that the level of cooperation was unacceptable."

He said some in the U.S. intelligence community are "still playing Cold War games" and that Putin is overly demonised.

The Kremlin has called for closer intelligence cooperation after the Boston bombings and high-level meetings have been held, but Russia's expulsion of an alleged U.S. spy recruiter last month underscored persistent tension.

U.S. officials have said they consider counterterrorism information from the North Caucasus suspect because Russian "watch lists" often include dissidents and rights activists mixed together with militants.

Cohen said the United States must not give Russia a free ride on human rights, an issue that has clouded relations since Putin started his third Kremlin term last year.

He disagreed with Rohrabacher and King over the jailing of members of punk band Pussy Riot for a protest in a church, calling the trial unfair and the two-year sentences excessive.

"We have a role in the world and we need to continue to observe that role as a place of ... due process and justice and fairness," Cohen said of the United States.

(Editing by David Stamp and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

S.Korea says finds no GMO in initial tests of U.S. wheat

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 08:02 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has not detected genetically modified wheat in initial tests of imports of the grain and flour from Oregon, after news last week that a rogue strain of the crop had been discovered in the U.S. state spooked buyers globally.

Korean millers on Friday suspended imports of U.S. wheat until the final results of government tests on shipments from around the United States, now expected on Wednesday.

An examiner demonstrates the process of analyzing a genetically modified wheat sample, during a photo call at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Seoul May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

An examiner demonstrates the process of analyzing a genetically modified wheat sample, during a photo call at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Seoul May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

The wheat found in a northeast Oregon field in late April was developed by biotech giant Monsanto Co more than a decade ago but never put into commercial production.

The discovery of the long-forgotten strain prompted Japan to shun wheat from the Pacific Northwest at its weekly tender on Thursday, while some Asian countries ramped up inspections and the European Union said it would step up testing.

"Although our preliminary test result shows no genetically modified wheat was found, we are aiming to test all samples of wheat and flour imported from the U.S.," said an official at Korea's Ministry of Food and Drugs.

South Korea - which last year sourced roughly half of its total wheat imports of 5 million tonnes from the U.S. - has also raised quarantine measures on U.S. feed wheat.

The U.S. has embraced genetically modified crops such as soybeans and cotton, however, genetically modified wheat has never been approved in the United States, or anywhere else in the world.

(Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Insight - Simmering anger at Erdogan's authoritarianism boils over in Turkey

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 05:01 PM PDT

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's most violent riots in decades may have been started by the destruction of a small Istanbul park, but they have exploded in a show of defiance at what many see as the creeping authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Demonstrators stand in front of a make shift shield during clashes with Turkish riot police in central Ankara June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Demonstrators stand in front of a make shift shield during clashes with Turkish riot police in central Ankara June 2, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

In power for more than a decade, Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party has increased its share of the vote in each of the past three elections, ushered in unprecedented political stability and overseen some of the fastest economic growth in Europe.

Now in his last term as prime minister, Erdogan is trying to leave his stamp on Turkey by recasting foreign policy, overhauling the constitution and even transforming the ancient Istanbul skyline.

But some, including former supporters, accuse him of growing increasingly authoritarian, muzzling the media, tightening his AK party's grip on state institutions and putting religion at the centre of politics in violation of Turkey's secular constitution.

"If it were up to the prime minister, I would be wearing a head scarf," said Tugba Bitiktas, a 25-year-old unemployed university graduate, before she joined anti-government protests in central Istanbul late on Saturday.

"All this government worries about is rewarding its own. Those with a different voice are marginalised. That's what I'm protesting," she said, before donning swimming goggles and a surgical mask to stave off the effects of tear gas.

Bitiktas was one of tens of thousands protesting in Istanbul, where more than 1,000 people were hurt in three days of clashes with riot police. Similar protests were staged in the capital Ankara and in cities across the country.

Erdogan accused the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of stoking the demonstrations, while other government officials warned the unrest was a plot to set the ground for a military intervention, as has occurred in the past.

But the protesters come from a range of political backgrounds, from environmentalists to nationalists and the hard left-wing.

The ferocity of the protests must have jolted Erdogan, whose party has won the biggest share of Turkish votes in decades and is now said to have his sights on the presidency before his self-imposed three-term limit expires in 2015.

The 59-year-old former Istanbul mayor is campaigning for constitutional change that would give executive powers to the largely ceremonial presidency.

Erdogan has tackled some of Turkey's thorniest problems, including a major peace initiative this year to end a 28-year war with Kurdish militants. He is an important U.S. partner in efforts to end the civil war in Syria, though opinion polls show government policy towards Turkey's neighbour is unpopular.


The centre of the protests is Istanbul's Taksim Square and the adjacent Gezi Park, a green patch in Europe's fastest-growing city which dedicates just 1.5 percent of its land to public parks, according to the World Cities Culture Report.

A group of four protesters trying to stop a handful of trees from being cut down for a road-expansion project mushroomed last week into thousands of people, who refashioned Gezi into a festival campsite with concerts, speeches and yoga sessions.

They oppose a plan to pedestrianise Taksim and raze Gezi Park to rebuild a 19th Century Ottoman barracks that once marked the outer limits of the city. In its new form, Erdogan has said the ground floor of the replica barracks could serve as shopping centre or museum, topped with luxury flats.

"When citizens are not consulted about even a park, then that country is not democratic," said Betul Tanbay, professor at Bosphorus University and member of the Taksim Platform that has campaigned for more than year for a project based on consensus.

"This has now gone beyond tunnels and parks into a wider movement. There is a lot of dissatisfaction among a large segment of people," she said.

Taksim is just one of the government's construction projects that include the world's biggest airport, a $3 billion third bridge across the Bosphorus and a $10 billion shipping canal that would turn half of Istanbul into an island.

Aggrandising projects, Erdogan's critics say, distract from more pressing issues in the nation of 76 million.


Taksim has a particular resonance. While other Istanbul squares embody the grandeur of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, Taksim pays homage to the secular ideals of the republic founded in 1923 after the empire collapsed. More recently, the square was the site of a 1977 massacre of up to 40 leftists during a May Day rally.

"Taksim carries enormous significance for different circles ... To bulldoze Taksim without any real social consensus is to harm an important public space not just for Istanbul, but for all of Turkey," said Eyup Muhcu, head of the Chamber of Architects, in an interview before the protests.

Celebrations were banned in Taksim for decades until Erdogan allowed them again in 2010, only to shut the square this May 1 because of the construction, prompting weeks of small protests that snowballed towards this weekend's riots.

As the protests gathered steam, Erdogan appeared to dig in, ignoring an interim Istanbul court ruling on Friday that blocked work on the barracks project as judges sought more testimony.

He went on to announce the demolition of an iconic Taksim auditorium dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, and the erection of a mosque.

Efforts to build a mosque at Taksim have been floated for at least 40 years but never gained enough support. "I don't need the permission of the (opposition), and I don't need it from a few looters. The voters already gave me permission for this," Erdogan said.


Building a mosque in Taksim would have been unimaginable a decade ago. Turkey's military, self-appointed guardians of secularism, kept a short rein on civilian governments, staging three outright coups and forcing a fourth government to resign.

With popular backing, Erdogan's government has tamed the army over the past decade, mainly through legal cases that jailed dozens of top brass for their alleged roles in plots against Erdogan and his predecessors.

That has allowed him to express more comfortably his religious sentiments, which are widely reflected in Turkey.

For much of the first half of his term in office, Erdogan focused on political reforms that aimed to bring Turkey in line with European Union political criteria. Kurdish cultural rights were granted, religious minorities enjoyed greater freedoms and the overall public discourse was expanded.

Despite the unrest of recent days, Erdogan remains Turkey's most popular politician, with no obvious rival either within the ruling party or the opposition.

"Turkish secularism was too rigid to create harmony in society where you have a fairly observant religious population," said Mustafa Akyol, the author of "Islam Without Extremes".

"Secularists now fear Erdogan wants to reverse things, since he faces no challenges," he said.

Since 2008, thousands of government opponents from across the political spectrum have been jailed, including university students, academics, lawyers, Kurdish activists, military officers and the alleged leaders of ultra-nationalist gangs.

"An administration that has no opposition for balance and no free media to monitor it can easily spin out of control," said Kadri Gursel, a columnist for Milliyet newspaper and chairman of the International Press Institute's Turkish committee.

"The Turkish experiment has now answered the question of whether moderate Islam and democracy are compatible without checks and balances."


Legislation passed last month that restricts alcohol sales raises fears over other areas of private life the government may seek to regulate, particularly after Erdogan acknowledged the law was based on the tenets of Islam.

Perhaps conscious of the concerns, he also said it was his constitutional duty to protect the health of young Turks.

Other issues, including two high-profile blasphemy cases, in which a well-known pianist and writer were separately given prison sentences for comments on Twitter, show the government is remodelling Turkey, Gursel said. "Turkey isn't just becoming more religious. It's being made more religious," he said.

A colourful demonstration in the capital Ankara last month, when 200 people kissed to protest a morality campaign, ended in bloodshed when a group of Islamists carrying knives attacked protesters, stabbing one person, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

Over his tenure, Erdogan, who served a brief prison sentence for reading a poem deemed Islamic when he was mayor in the 1990s, has spoken more openly of raising a religious generation.

He has tried to restrict women's access to abortions to encourage larger families and lifted curbs on the public expression of religion, such as once-strict limits on wearing the Islamic-style headscarf.

At the protest on Saturday, Metin, a 30-year-old doctor who described himself as a devout Muslim, said he had lost his faith in Erdogan over the years.

"I say my prayers, and I fast, and I considered voting for Erdogan in the past because I believed he would help the oppressed, since he had been," Metin said, declining to give his last name because he feared reprisals at work.

"But now that he has the power, Erdogan has become the oppressor. He exploits our religious feelings for profit. He has become arrogant, and that is a sin."

(Editing by Nick Tattersall and David Stamp)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'All In The Family' actress dies at 90

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 08:56 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actress Jean Stapleton, best known for her Emmy-winning role as the good-hearted housewife Edith Bunker in the groundbreaking 1970s television comedy All In The Family, has died at age 90, her family said on Saturday.

Stapleton (pic) died on Friday of natural causes at her home in New York City, her son, film and television director John Putch, said in a statement.

"It is with great love and heavy hearts that we say farewell to our collective Mother, with a capital M," Putch and his sister, Pamela Putch, said in a joint statement. "Her devotion to her craft and her family taught us all great life lessons."

The actress won three Emmys, U.S. TV's highest honour, for her role as Edith, the long-suffering, unsophisticated but understanding wife of the reactionary and often racist Archie Bunker, played by the late Carroll O'Connor, in the hit TV sitcom.

All In The Family, inspired by the British program Till Death Us Do Part, was a success with audiences even as it helped usher in a new era for U.S. television by confronting contentious topics such as racism, the Vietnam War and the feminist movement.

Archie, a working-class New Yorker, often clashed over politics and social issues with his adult daughter, Gloria, and his liberal son-in-law, Michael Stivic, whom he called "Meathead."

Edith spoke in a nasal, high-pitched voice, and seemed confused at times by the social changes going on around her. Her gentle nature contrasted with her husband's mean streak. Although Archie often called her a "dingbat," she patiently stood by him.

In a nod to the generational conflict on display in the show, the program, aired on CBS, began with Archie and Edith at a piano singing the nostalgic Those Were The Days.

"No one gave more profound 'How to be a Human Being' lessons than Jean Stapleton," Norman Lear, the producer of All In The Family, said in a written statement released to Reuters.

Film director Rob Reiner, who played Edith's son-in-law, said in a statement to CBS News that Stapleton was "a brilliant comedienne with exquisite timing."

Stapleton appeared in All In The Family from 1971 to 1979, and continued her role for a time in the 1979 spinoff show Archie Bunker's Place.


Stapleton was born Jeanne Murray in New York in 1923 to an opera singer mother and a businessman father. She would later use her mother's maiden name, Stapleton, as her stage name.

She worked during World War Two as a typist for the British War Ministry Office in New York and made her professional stage debut in 1941. In the 1950s and 1960s, she acted in a number of Broadway productions, including a part in Damn Yankees that got Lear's attention and her role in All In The Family.

Sitting alongside O'Connor for a 2000 interview on the talk show Donny & Marie, Stapleton said she developed her nasal voice to play an oddball in Damn Yankees and decided to use it again in All In The Family, after behind-the-scenes work that saw Edith go from abrasive to daffy.

"As we developed and found the characters, which was in the rehearsal process and which was very stimulating, very exciting and a learning process, as these elements came to us, something else developed," Stapleton said. "And one was, I think I'll use that nasal voice because it's funny."

O'Connor, who died in 2001, said in the same interview that if Stapleton had followed the British version of the show and played Edith as sharp-tongued, the program would have been less successful. "She had to be what she created in order to make Archie work," he said.

After All In The Family, Stapleton played former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in a 1982 television movie, and had a supporting role in the 1998 romantic comedy You've Got Mail.

She maintained a lifelong love of the theater, and in 1990, received the Village Voice newspaper's Obie Award for her performances in Harold Pinter's Off-Broadway plays Mountain Language and The Birthday Party.

She spent a number of years living and working in Los Angeles, but returned to her native New York in 2002 to live permanently.

Stapleton is survived by her son and daughter. Her husband, William Putch, died in 1983.

Taken for a ride

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 11:44 PM PDT

Car repair shop owner Danny Koker takes viewers along on his new reality show as he acquires and restores vehicles.

In the 15 years Danny Koker has been in the car and motorbike restoration business, he has gotten some weird requests.

But the craziest one the vehicle addict, who has a stable of 58 cars and 78 motorcycles in his collection, ever received was a request to build a motorcycle that looks like a horse.

The owner of Count Kustoms, a custom auto repair shop in Las Vegas, says: "This customer brought in drawings and wanted me to build a motorcycle like a horse, complete with a head, body and tail. I had to respectfully turn down the project, it's just not what I do."

Koker, who is well known as The Count from his frequent guest appearances on Pawn Stars, the American reality show about a family pawning business, will now take the spotlight in his own show.

The show Counting Cars takes the audience on a ride with The Count and his crew as they acquire and restore vehicles. Koker, 47, says: "There is a lot of competition in the industry but Count Kustoms is different because when a vehicle comes into my shop, it never has to leave for anything. We do everything from the fabrication to the body work to the painting."

He started collecting vehicles with his father when he was a child and his father brought home a 1966 Mustang Shelby GT-350 which, to this day, is still one of his most prized possessions.

The self-taught mechanic grew up in Detroit watching how-to shows for car geeks and reading every magazine on vehicles that he can get his hands on. The only "professional" training he had was when he took auto-shop classes in Valley High School in Las Vegas.

He has pimped up his car: A white 1965 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with a black vinyl top as well as black pinstripes on the sides. It has gangster whitewall tyres and a nice exhaust with a low rumble.

But what he is most proud of is the black fur interior of the car that speaks of his roots.

He says: "I couldn't help it. Black fur is a very Detroit thing."

Perfecting a vehicle's customisation is not the only thing he cannot resist. As shown in Counting Cars, he is also adamant when it comes to acquiring vehicles he has set his eyes on.

He says: "I've gone across the country to buy a car, I've knocked on people's doors and chased down cars. If there's a car that's really talking to me, I don't take 'no' for an answer too well."

Once, he almost got beaten up by a motorcyclist he had chased down for his bike.

Koker says: "All the metal on it was raw steel and it had custom hand-brushed artwork on it. It had a very unique style. I managed to convince him to sell it to me after 30 minutes."

His passion for cars is a family trait: Most of the relatives on his father's side work in the Ford Motor Company.

Of the American automobile industry, he says: "It is on a comeback trail. It took a hit together with the economy in the past several years. But I'm proud of companies like the Ford Motor Company who declined to take stimulus dollars and fixed the problem on its own."

At the side, the car enthusiast is also a singer in a 1970s hard rock band. He performs at his own rock 'n' roll club, Count's Vamp'd, where his wife Korie is the entertainment director.

When asked if his tinkering with cars may be environmentally unfriendly, he says: "If a vehicle is properly tuned to get the most power, it is burning fuel properly and running very clean." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Counting Cars airs every Monday at 9.30pm on History (Astro Ch 555).

Handsome reward for Secret Agent

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 11:45 PM PDT

988 listener wins new car in Secret Tune contest.

After a month of recruitment, 90 "Secret Agents" made it to the finale of 988's Secret Tune contest in which the winner stands to win a brand new Toyota Camry worth RM 150,000.

Held at Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya, the finalists went through a few rounds of challenging missions such as Hide & Find, Takut Test, Bop It!, Do U Have Balls, 988 Puzzle and Triple Play before the final face-off for the ultimate prize.

Mun Chang Oon, 34, beat the other contestants in the aforementioned games and became last Secret Agent standing. Mun, who hails from Ampang, drove home the Toyota Camry.

Besides the thrilling challenges, 988 deejays also entertained the crowd with a dance.

The performance was the result of a lost bet by DJ KK during his show, The Good Show (weekdays, 4pm–8pm). Although DJ KK was supposed to perform solo, his partners DJ May and Anson decided to join in the fun.

The trio performed PSY's Gentleman, much to the delight of the crowd.

All the hard work in learning the dance in such short period of time paid off with thunderous applause from the crowd.

Secret Tune is a follow up to the contest Reverse Song held in April. In total, 988 gave away cash prizes worth up to RM280,000 in the last two months.

Also on 988 this week

The Feature (Mon-Tues, 9am-10am)

Ever heard of Cow's Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)? An experienced doctor joins 988 to explain CMPA and the impact of lactose intolerance on kids.

Music VIP (Mon-Fri, 2pm)

There's so much more to Taiwanese Jeff Chang Shin Che than just being the Prince Of Love Ballads. Don't miss the interview with Chang as he shares more about himself.

Download the 988 app or stream it online at 988.com.my. 988 is the subsidiary of Star Radio Group.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Asian shares cautious on overseas stock slips, Fed concerns

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 06:53 PM PDT

TOKYO: Asian shares began the new month with a cautious tone on Monday as uncertainty over how much longer the current U.S. stimulus would continue prompted investors to book profits from recent highs and pulled global equities lower.

Speculation over whether and when the U.S. Federal Reserve would start scaling back its current massive bond-buying program emerged following a string of positive U.S. data and was the catalyst for corrections across markets which had drawn strong support from the Fed's largesse.

Investors will be cautious ahead of more data this week from the United States as well as from China, both of which would offer clues to growth and demand prospects in the world's largest economies.

"The Federal Reserve's willingness to alter the pace of purchases sooner than markets had previously expected has meant that markets remain attuned to the incoming data flow in the U.S.," Barclays Capital said in a research note.

"This week brings the potential for more market-moving data in the U.S.," it said, referring to the May ISM manufacturing index due later in the session and the more important monthly nonfarm payrolls data due on Friday. The Fed has said it would keep up the stimulus campaign until the employment situation improved.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> remained pressured, after falling to its lowest in nearly seven weeks on Friday and ending May down 4.7 percent for its worst monthly performance in a year.

Australian shares <.axjo> were down 0.2 percent while South Korean shares opened down 0.4 percent.

Even Japan's Nikkei stock average <.n225>, which has outperformed the Asian bourses, eased, opening down 1.6 percent and hit a six-week low early on Monday. <.t>

"Investors are mostly likely to stay on the sidelines because we have a lot of important data this week from the States," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> posted consecutive weekly losses for the first time since November as investors took some money off the table after the index rallied 14.3 percent, the best first five months of the year since 1997, and ended May up for the seventh straight month of gains - its longest streak of monthly gains since 2009.

Reflecting heightening investor nervousness, the CBOE Volatility index <.vix>, which measures expected volatility in the Standard & Poor's 500 index <.spx> over the next 30 days, hit a six-week high on Friday.

Data on Friday showed U.S. Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose far more than expected in May, released ahead of the national manufacturing data due later this session.

The strong business activity data fanned worries about the Fed slowing its bond purchases later this year and sent U.S. Treasury prices lower on Friday, capping the worst month for the market in nearly 2-1/2 years.

Later in the Asia session, China is set to release the official services PMI and the final HSBC survey that focuses on smaller private sector firms. Over the weekend, China said its official PMI rose to 50.8 in May from 50.6 in April, beating market expectations and raising optimism that the world's second-largest economy may be stabilizing.

"While the data may ease some concerns of rapid deteriorating of the Chinese economy, the impact may be short-lived," ANZ said in a commentary, noting that this single indicator did not change its view on China's softening economic condition.

"Structural reforms are needed in order to help sustain the growth prospect ... inconsistent data will continue to complicate China's economic policy making and potentially impair the judgment of policymakers," ANZ added.

The dollar was steady around 100.40 against the yen, having hit a three-week low of 100.22 on Friday. The dollar index <.dxy>, measured against a basket of six key currencies, was down 0.11 percent after touching a three-week low on Thursday.

U.S. crude futures fell 0.6 percent to $91.43 a barrel.

Amid global equity market corrections spurred by concerns over the Fed's stimulus outlook, EPFR Global said on Friday the equity funds it tracks recorded collective outflows of $2.79 billion during the week ending May 29 as retail redemptions hit a year-to-date high while bond funds attracted $1.37 million, their second lowest total of 2013. - Reuters

Genting buoys KLCI amid profit taking on SKPetro

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 06:38 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips eked out marginal gains on Monday, kicking off the new month of June on a rather lacklustre note on rising profit taking activities but gains by BAT and Genting Bhd helped buoy the FBM KLCI.

At 9.15am, the KLCI was up just 0.89 of a point to 1,770.11. Turnover was 189.93 million shares valued at RM108.04mil. There were 108 gainers, 249 losers and 159 counters unchanged.

BIMB Securities Research said it expected the consolidation phase to continue exacerbated by the recent less than inspiring corporate earnings season with the immediate support level at 1,760 level.

BAT jumped RM1.34 to RM64.88 after it hiked the cigarette selling prices while KLCC added 15 sen to RM6.95 and GAB eight sen higher at RM21.60.

Public Bank foreign and HLFG rose 12 sen each to RM16.98 and RM15 but Hong Leong Bank fell 14 sen to RM14.04.

Genting Bhd added 10 sen to RM10.22 and FGV gained seven sen to RM4.48.

However, SapuraKencana Petroleum fell 21 sen to RM4.29 and automotive to oil and gas player UMW lost 18 sen to RM14.24 while property counters Sunway fell 17 sen to RM3.99 and IJM Land lost 14 sen to RM3.16.

Trading ideas: BAT, Naim Holdings, Guan Chong, Johor property stocks

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 06:18 PM PDT

Published: Monday June 3, 2013 MYT 9:18:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Hwang DBS Vickers Research (HDBSVR) expects British American Tobacco Malaysia (BAT), Naim Holdings, Guan Chong and Johor-based propeorty counters to see trading interest.

The research house said BAT had increased cigarette selling prices effective Monday while Naim Holdings reportedly expected to win several new jobs, including the upgrading of the Pan-Borneo Highway costing more than RM10bil.

As for Guan Chong, it reported below par quarterly earnings while Johor-based property counters could see trading interest as the state government proposed to impose a new property tax rate on foreign property owners in Johor.

On the market performance, HDBSVR said the fall on Wall Street may see little adverse impact on the fairly resilient Malaysian market.

"The benchmark FBM KLCI - which saw a last-minute plunge last Friday - would probably range-bound between 1,750 and 1,785 ahead," it said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Kuchar wins Memorial tournament

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 04:10 PM PDT

DUBLIN, Ohio: Matt Kuchar capped a four-under par 68 with a birdie at the final hole on Sunday to win the US PGA Tour's $6.2 million Memorial tournament by two strokes.

Kuchar, stung by Boo Weekley's come-from-behind victory at Colonial last weekend, wasn't about to let things slip away this time. He led by as many as four strokes on the back nine and his 12-under total of 276 gave him a two-shot triumph over American Kevin Chappell.

Chappell closed with a bogey-free round in the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event at Muirfield Village, keeping the pressure on Kuchar with four birdies in his last six holes in a four-under 68 for 278.

Kyle Stanley was third after a 71 for 281.

Kuchar, winner of the WGC Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain, joined world number one Tiger Woods as the only multiple winners on the US PGA Tour this season.

Woods, a four-time winner already in 2013 and a five-time Memorial champion, wrapped up a disappointing final tune-up for the US Open with an even-par 72 that left him on eight over 296.

Woods recovered from a triple bogey and a bogey in his first five holes to card an even-par 72 that left him on eight-over 296.

His six at the par-three 12th hole was his second triple bogey of the week.

World number two Rory McIlroy, also making his last scheduled start before the US Open, was in trouble from Thursday, when he opened with a 78. He fought back to make the cut and also closed out his week with an even-par round that included two birdies and two bogeys for a six-over total of 294.

"I found a couple of little things this weekend," McIlroy said. "I hit the ball much better today. I actually putted a little better, too ... It's not that far away." -AFP

Angelo happy to be back in Malaysia

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 03:53 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Filipino ace Angelo Que (pic) is relishing a return to his happy hunting ground when he competes in the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters from June 20-23.

The colourful three-time Asian Tour winner will be joined at the Seri Selangor Golf Club by a star-studded cast, comprising Scott Hend and Wade Ormsby of Australia, Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand, Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan and India's rising star Anirban Lahiri.

Local ace Danny Chia and Shaaban Hussin will lead the Malaysian challenge alongside Ben Leong, who is returning to competitive golf after a lengthy injury spell, S. Siva Chandhran and Sukree Othman.

Angelo is excited at the prospect of teeing up at the RM1.2mil Asian Tour event, where he will be aiming to end a three-year title drought.

He has enjoyed much success in Malaysia, where he has won a little over US$260,000 since 2004, which includes winning the 2010 Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.

"I'm excited to go back to the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters. I'm happy that it's returning to the Seri Selangor Golf Club. I won there before and I know the course well," said the 34-year-old Angelo.

"Malaysia is like my second home. I think I've made more money in Malaysia compared to the Philippines! I feel comfortable playing in Malaysia. I don't know why."

After switching to new golf clubs earlier this year, Angelo has posted two top-five finishes on the region's premier Tour, which is celebrating its milestone 10th season in 2013.

He is still searching for a fourth Asian Tour title but reckons he will need a bit of luck to secure his goal.

Masterful round of 65 propels Ilonen to the front

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 03:53 PM PDT

STOCKHOLM: A masterful round of 65 propelled Finland's Mikko Ilonen into a two-shot lead at the Nordea Masters on Saturday heading into the final round in the Swedish capital.

He finished the day 18-under on 198.

The 33-year-old continued his rich vein of form after finishing second in China and Morocco earlier this season with five birdies and an eagle to overtake overnight leader Matteo Manassero, who slumped to a one-under round of 71 and slipped to joint third alongside Swede Jonas Blixt and four shots off the pace.

Ilonen started confidently with a birdie on the second hole and followed it up with birdies on six and nine as he staked his claim for the lead in a bid to win his first tournament in six years and third on the European Tour.

"I need to shoot another low score and I can do it, but we've got 18 holes to go and lots of other guys are still hunting me," said Ilonen, who won both his tournaments in 2007 including a win in Stockholm.

Home hopeful Alexander Noren and 2011 champion is alone in second and two shots back after sinking a mammoth 80 foot putt on the fourth hole during a round that included seven birdies and an eagle.

Ilonen struck a superb approach to three feet at the 13th to set up a birdie, sank another from five feet at the 14th, and then saw a sand wedge spin back in at the 15th and drop for eagle.

"It was a bit of a funny yardage for me," he said of the eagle. "It was raining and I just tried to squeeze it in there and got lucky with it a bit," he said about a marvellous back nine.

Manassero, who became the youngest winner at the EPGA Championship last weekend at the age of 20 failed to take advantage of the favourable conditions and will begin Sunday's final round with plenty to do in a bid to make it back-to-back wins.

Austrian Bernd Wiesberger had a scintillating round of eight under par 64 to climb the leaderboard and now lies in a three-way tie for sixth with Dane Thomas Bjorn and Dutchman Joost Luiten while Rikard Karlberg of Sweden is one shot better off on 12 under.

Englishman Paul Casey had a disaster with five bogeys and a double bogey to plummet down the scoreboard and signed a disappointing scorecard of 77 and three over for the tournament. — AFP

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Fiction favourites

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:24 PM PDT

The pickings are rich in the country's only literary awards that are decided by you, the reader.

THIS year's nominees for the Popular-The Star Readers' Choice Awards in the fiction category are a rich blend of genres, ranging from historical drama and political allegory to crime thrillers. Of course, we also have those inspiring stories about overcoming hardships and the odds for which Malaysians have a definite affinity. And there are love stories to savour too, especially those with the unlikeliest pairings that local readers seem to love.

First started in 2008, the Popular-The Star Readers' Choice Awards aim to put the spotlight on the local literary scene, as well as reward readers for participating in the vote to decide the top three authors in the two categories, fiction and non-fiction. The winning authors will each be awarded cash, trophies and certificates of recognition, while readers who vote will stand a chance to win a RM50 Popular book voucher, one year free Popular card membership, and a book hamper worth RM100.

The nominees in each category are the 10 bestselling books in Popular and Harris bookstores nationwide last year. You have until June 23, 2013, to send in your votes for your top three favourite titles in both categories (that's six titles all together).

To vote, you can 1) Fill in the form available at all Popular and Harris bookstores nationwide (you can send in as many forms as you like); 2) you can vote online through popular.com.my, bookfestmalaysia.com or facebook.com/BookFestMalaysia (be the 1,000th person to vote online and you have another chance to win a RM100 book hamper); 3) vote through SMS – read the instructions at the top of the form on the left carefully (don't forget the slogan, or you will be disqualified!).

All nominated books are available at a 20% discount at all Popular and Harris outlets until Sept 1, 2013. To help you make up your mind about which books you might want to buy, here's a brief introduction to the fiction nominees. Next week, we will run through the non-fiction nominees.

The Garden Of Evening Mists: In the cool heights of Cameron Highlands, a connection is made between the survivor of a Japanese concentration camp, Yun Ling, and Aritomo, "a man who had been a gardener of the Emperor of Japan". Aritomo's garden and the art of Japanese gardening are powerful metaphors for the novel's themes such as death and rebirth, and reality and illusion, as Yun Ling looks back at a strange and difficult life.

Penang-born Tan Twan Eng is a former advocate and solicitor. In 2007, his first novel, The Gift Of Rain, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. This second novel was shortlisted for the same prize last year and, earlier this year, Tan became the first Malaysian author to win the Man Asian Literary Prize for The Garden Of Evening Mists.

A Noble Nyonya: In this story that begins in the early 1900s, young Mey Nya escapes from Thailand to seek refuge in Penang after her aristocratic parents are murdered. Eventually, she rises to become the matriach of a wealthy clan. But along the way to a blissful life, Mey Nya experiences the vicissitudes of a hard life, as she deals with persecution from gangsters and, later, keeping her family from being beheaded by the Japanese during World War II.

Esther Low has been teaching English in secondary schools for the last 25 years. The mother of two children was raised in a predominantly English-speaking family and is actively involved in social work.

King Of The Sea: A young boy whose father has died meets a ghost who says he is the king of the sea; a missing child returns to bewildered parents as a chicken; and a brash "modern" woman from the city causes havoc when she takes up residence in a small village. These and other magical, strange and lyrical tales are told in this collection of short stories that mix magical realism with whimsy to explore themes of love, loss and longing.

Dina Zaman has been actively writing for the Malaysian media since 1993. She is also the author of Night & Day (Rhino Press, 1997) and I Am Muslim (Silverfish Books, 2007) and wrote a monthly column, A Writer's Life, for The Star in 2012. Currently, she's working on a non-fiction book, Holy Men, Holy Women, as part of the API (Asian Public Intellectuals) Fellowship she was awarded last year.

Natasha: She's Coming Back To Kill: Sexy 20-year-old beauty and invincible martial artist Natasha has fallen in love with goofy Billy Gates. However, Natasha's on a mission to avenge her parents' murder that happened 10 years ago. Her targets are three drug lords. Can she focus on her vendetta and put her feelings for Billy Gates aside?

Arthur Julian Wu was inspired by Erich Segal's romance novel The Love Story and started writing short stories in his youth. Due to work and family commitment, Wu had to put his dreams of becoming a novelist on hold ... until now.

Love & Struggle: Beyond The Rubber Estates: The story of two star-crossed lovers who are separated by war is set in a tumultuous period encompassing British rule, World War II and the Japanese Occupation, and then the return of the British. Woven into the romance are historical events and true stories of the hardships experienced by the Indian workers brought into Malaya by the British to work on rubber estates and the struggle – still ongoing today – to be treated fairly and humanely.

Former editor of Olivillaku (a popular church magazine in Tamil) Dave Anthony has worked extensively with the rubber tapping community in Malaysia. His passion for storytelling has led him to set up a communications centre and production house for various magazines and docu-dramas.

Shadows Beneath The Fronds: A boy and a girl become friends under the shifting shadows of a plantation of palms. Then fate deals them a cruel blow and they are separated. Gnalam pursues her studies and wins a place in university while her friend Saravanan becomes embroiled in crime and violence. Years later, fate brings them together again – but will Saravanan's past destroy Gnalam's shiny present?

As a young man, Dublin-born Paul Callan abandoned his first attempt at becoming a novelist to pursue a business career in London. Then he met his Malaysian wife and fell in love with the country as well and now divides his time between homes in Kuala Lumpur and London. Callan's first novel, The Dulang Washer (MPH Publishing, 2011), has been nominated for the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Tiger Isle: A Government Of Thieves: In this lively political satire, Rekha and her friends race against time to save Tiger Isle and its 30 million inhabitants from the corrupt President Kapalin and his mentor, former president Bhairav. The terrible two seem bent on pushing a divided nation to the brink of World War III and Armageddon.

Author and blogger E.S. Shankar is a politically-minded retired auditor who was stirred into writing his satirical take on a troubled society by the state of the world around him. His previous published work is a memoir on his Victoria Institute school days, Let Us Now With Thankfulness.

Brickfields & Beyond: Stories From The Past: This collection of short stories combines history and fiction in painting a picture of an almost-forgotten past. Set in and around Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, the stories remembered from the author's childhood reflect the lifestyle of a community that existed 50 years ago, a memory that is in danger of being erased by development and the passing of time.

Balan Moses has been writing for almost all his life, first for his school magazine and then as a reporter for the New Straits Times. He spent 34 years in the media before switching to creative writing because, he says, he realised that the latter would be a more suitable outlet for his social commentary.

Shadow Play: Kelantanese silk trader Mak Cik Maryam discovers a murder in her own backyard. When she steps up to help solve the crime, she discovers the mysterious world of wayang kulit, a world that is plagued by intense rivalries and sinister black magic.

Barbara Ismail is originally from New York, and she holds a Phd in Anthropology from Yale University. For her degree, she spent several years in Kelantan in the 1970s and 1980s, living in Kampong Dusun and Pengkalan Chepa. She also studied wayang Siam and the Kelantanese dialect. Shadow Play is the first novel in her series of Kain Songket Mysteries based in Kelantan.

UTube: Inspector Mislan & The UTube Serial Rapes: Four rapes, not just brutal but also recorded and cruelly posted on the Internet. Then there's the bloody murder and one suicide. For Inspector Mislan, no evidence points to the crimes being based on lust or opportunity. He suspects something more sinister is behind it – but will he discover the truth while grappling with a new boss and the hungry media?

Rozlan Mohd Noor was an officer with the Royal Malaysian Police for 11 years before opting for a career in human resource management. He worked in several major corporations before starting his own human resources and security consultancy. In 2010, his first novel, 21 Immortals, was shortlisted for the Asia-Pacific Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book.

The Popular-The Star Readers' Choice Awards 2013 are a precursor to BookFest@Malaysia 2013, which will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from Aug 3 to 11. Admission is with purchase of the BookFest catalogue (RM2.50 each), which will be available at all Popular and Harris bookstores closer to the event's opening date. Entry is free for students aged 18 and below, and senior citizens aged 60 and above. For more information, visit bookfestmalaysia.com.

For your consideration

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 01:25 AM PDT

HERE'S the complete list of Popular-The Star Readers' Choice Awards nominees of 2013.


1.        The Garden Of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

2.        A Noble Nyonya by Esther Low

3. King Of The Sea by Dina Zaman

4. Natasha: She's Coming Back To Kill by Arthur Julian Wu

5.        Love & Struggle: Beyond The Rubber Estates by Dave Anthony

6.        Shadows Beneath The Fronds by Paul Callan

7.        Tiger Isle: A Government Of Thieves by E.S. Shankar

8.        Brickfields & Beyond: Stories From The Past by Balan Moses

9.        Shadow Play by Barbara Ismail

10.UTube: Inspector Mislan & The UTube Serial Rapes by Rozlan Mohd Noor


1.        Dare To Be A Champion by Lee Chong Wei

2.        When I Was A Kid by Chee Ming Boey

3.        Syed Mokhtar Albukhary: A Biography by Premilla Mohanlall

4.        Telling It Straight by Marina Mahathir

5.        Pedalling Around The Peninsula by Sandra Loh

6.        Kaleidoscope: The Memoirs Of P.G. Lim by P.G. Lim

7.        'Yasmin, How You Know?' by various authors

8.        Ampun Tuanku: A Brief Guide To Constitutional Government by Zaid Ibrahim

9.        Thinking Through Malaysia: Culture And Identity In The 21st Century edited by Julian Hopkins & Julian C.H. Lee

10. Mydin: The Untold Story by Dr Siti Hawa Mohd

Plath’s path

Posted: 01 Jun 2013 04:23 PM PDT

This is a well-researched, fascinating and very readable book about the life of an immensely gifted and controversial writer.

Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath And Life Before Ted
Author: Andrew Wilson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 438 pages

THERE is a short, sad news release from the Associated Press dated June 5, 1988, which reads as follows:

"HEPTONSTALL, England – First her married name was chiseled off her tombstone three times. Later the stone vanished, and so did its replacement.

"Even in death, Sylvia Plath is not at peace.

"The admired American poet lies in an unmarked grave high in the Yorkshire hills, a bleak resting place for a tormented soul who killed herself when she was 30."

Sylvia Plath's married name was, of course, Hughes, and for many years the great English poet Ted Hughes was reviled as the alleged reason for Plath's suicide. Plath's memory became a feminist cause – here was the beautiful, talented butterfly broken on the wheel of male infidelity. Hughes was cast as the chauvinist destroyer of a genius poet and no effort was spared in sanctifying Plath and denigrating Hughes, even to the extent of chiselling his name from Plath's gravestone.

Sooner or later, though, the polarisation had to end; Hughes maintained a dignified silence for many years and then published The Birthday Letters in 1998, shortly before his death. In it he attempted to find a reason, a cause, and the emotion he expressed left little doubt as to the devastation he felt at her loss.

Andrew Wilson's biography of Plath up until the moment she meets Hughes neatly avoids embroilment in the controversy but it sheds considerable light on the character of Plath. It could be argued that his choice of title, Mad Girl's Love Song, leads the reader to expect only one thing but, in fact, it is the title of an early poem that was omitted from the Collected Poems release.

What Wilson offers, and offers very successfully, is an insight into a complex, difficult character at odds with her times and herself. This is a story whose ending we know far better than its beginning but, as is often the case, knowledge of the beginning serves to illuminate the ending.

Plath had a history of self-harming and suicide attempts. According to Philip McCurdy, an early boyfriend, she tried to cut her throat when she was 10 and her face when she was 14. In 1953, when she was 21, she was hospitalised, had ECT (electro-convulsive treatment), slashed her legs and said to her mother, "Mother, the world is so rotten! I want to die! Let's die together." A month later she attempted to drown herself and shortly after that failure took a large number of sleeping pills and crawled into the basement of her home, where she curled up behind a pile of logs and waited to die. She was found in time.

Plath's recovery, almost it seemed to some, her renaissance, came suddenly and early in 1954 and she was allowed to resume her studies at the prestigious Smith College. Her academic record was always impressive – she was a consistently high-achieving student – and she was writing almost maniacally, sending off poems and short stories to magazines relentlessly in the hope both of enhancing her reputation and of being paid money she desperately needed to add to the modest support her widowed and hard-working mother was able to give her.

As her time at Smith College drew to a close, Plath determined on a Fulbright scholarship and, as was so typical of her, threw everything into her cause. Wilson quotes several of the supporting references she received from the staff of Smith College which are fulsome in their praise of this unusually talented and determined young woman.

Her housemother, however, privately saw a different side of her. "She has a gracious personality and is most thoughtful and polite when it is to her advantage," she wrote and in a further note for the staff of Smith's vocational office only, "Sylvia Plath is very self-centred and very selfish. Her talent for writing has made her difficult for the girls to live with." A number of the girls had nicknamed her Silverplate, recognising that there was a thin veneer that she presented to the world.

Plath was not only a complex personality, she was also at odds with her time. This is most notably true of her relationship with men. She had dozens of boyfriends, a considerable number of whom were sexual partners. She railed against the double standards of the 1950s when it was deemed acceptable for men to sleep around but not for women to have multiple partners.

Even by our own more liberal standards, however, Plath seems to have been unusually man-hungry. Her famous encounter with Hughes concludes the book but immediately after it she goes to Paris to meet the greatest love of her early life, Richard Sassoon. But Sassoon, "unable to make up his mind" about her, had left Paris to avoid meeting her. Four months later she married Ted Hughes.

Mad Girl's Love Song is a well-researched, fascinating and very readable book. Wilson's contacts with Plath's old friends and lovers make this an important contribution to understanding the life of an immensely gifted and controversial writer. If I have one reservation it is that Plath's writings do not appear frequently enough; but this is a life, not a work of literary criticism. Amateur psychologists will have a field day with the material Wilson has unearthed; the rest of us will just feel deeply moved and saddened that so much early promise came to such a premature and bitter end.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Hisham and US defence secretary discuss security issues

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 06:09 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein met US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on the sidelines of the third day of the Shangri-La Dialogue 2013 in Singapore.

During the meeting, Hishammuddin exchanged regional defence security issues and further deliberated on ways to enhance bilateral defence relations between both countries.

According to a statement from the ministry, other than discussing bilateral and multilateral issues, Hishammuddin had extensive discussions on the new challenges of regional security, with special emphasis on cyberspace and the role of social media.

It was the first meeting for both Hishammuddin and Hagel since their respective appointments as defence minister and secretary of defence, said the statement.

Hishammuddin also invited Hagel to visit Malaysia to bring the bilateral interaction to a higher level, it said.

The Shangri-La Dialogue 2013 is the first overseas visit since Hishammuddin took up the defence portfolio, and he has met his Asean counterparts from Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, in addition to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Canada and Sri Lanka. - Bernama

BAT Malaysia ups cigarette prices

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 05:58 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: British American Tobacco Malaysia (BAT Malaysia) has announced a 3% increase in the prices of all its cigarette brands effective Monday.

Commenting on the price increases, BAT managing director Datuk William Toh said: "As with all other companies, BAT Malaysia is faced with inflationary pressures, labour and input costs, resulting in rising operating costs over time.

"In addition, the legal tobacco industry volumes are also affected by continuing high levels of illicit trade (in 2012 at 34.5 per cent) which has impacted our sales of legal cigarettes."

To overcome mounting costs and illicit trade pressures we have decided to take a small 3.0 per cent price increase on all our cigarette brands," Toh added.

The new cigarette prices are as follows:

DUNHILL range RM 10.50

KENT range RM 10.50



PALL MALL range RM 9.00

PALL MALL Plain RM10.90



BAT Malaysia is part of the British American Tobacco group, which is the world's most international tobacco group and the second largest stock market listed tobacco group by global market share.

Police probe Facebook posting on Agong

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 08:41 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Police are investigating a posting on Facebook by a woman which allegedly insulted Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah.

Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Amar Singh said six NGOs lodged reports at the Dang Wangi police station on Sunday after the woman's post went viral.

"The NGO representatives read a woman's account on Facebook that made hateful comments against Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, believed to be seditious.

The case is being investigated under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948," he said in a statement.

Amar advised people to respect harmony and the rule of law, adding that the police would not hesitate to act against those "posing a threat to national security".

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