Isnin, 3 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

El Salvador woman has Caesarean to avoid abortion, baby dies

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 08:45 PM PDT

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - The pregnant woman at the centre of an abortion controversy in El Salvador had her malformed foetus delivered on Monday by Caesarean section to save her life and avoid breaking the law, although the baby did not survive.

El Salvador's Health Ministry said doctors attending the woman, who uses the name "Beatriz" to protect her identity, performed a Caesarean to remove the foetus, thereby avoiding an abortion, which is illegal in the country.

The Central American country banned all types of abortion in 1999, but Beatriz's foetus had a serious condition known as anencephaly, which results in only partial brain development. Such a foetus has little or no chance of surviving after birth.

Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez said the operation took place about 2 p.m. (2000 GMT) and that Beatriz, who had been 27 weeks pregnant, was in stable condition.

"She's in good hands, being looked after well," she told Reuters. "I expect things to go well over the next few hours."

Shortly afterward, Rodriguez said that Beatriz's baby daughter died about five hours after the operation.

Beatriz, 22, suffers from lupus and kidney problems, which posed a serious threat to her own health.

The operation followed a non-binding resolution on Thursday by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that called on El Salvador to take action to save Beatriz's life after the country's courts had denied her an abortion.

El Salvador's Supreme Court rejected Beatriz's request for an abortion on the grounds it breached the constitution, which it said protects life from the moment of conception.

The Caesarean delivery provided El Salvador with a way out of the legal wrangle.

Morena Herrera, a spokeswoman for the abortion rights group Colectivo Feminista, said that although Beatriz could have been spared unnecessary suffering, her life had been saved.

Claudia Handal, a spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Red Familia, said the rights of all had been respected.

"We're very happy because as we said from the beginning, it wasn't necessary to perform an abortion, the point was to respect the baby's life and to give Beatriz the care and the right to health that she deserved," Handal told Reuters.

The case has drawn attention to abortion in El Salvador and attitudes toward the procedure in predominantly Roman Catholic Latin America. Some countries such as Colombia are relaxing their rules in order to permit abortions in cases of rape.

(Editing by Dave Graham and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Ecuador says to talk with Britain on Assange on June 17

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 07:24 PM PDT

QUITO/LONDON (Reuters) - Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Monday he would meet Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague this month to discuss a possible solution to the year-long diplomatic standoff over WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.

Assange, 41, took refuge in Ecuador's tiny embassy in London last June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sex assault and rape allegations. He denies the allegations.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a document containing leaked information at a news conference in London in this February 27, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a document containing leaked information at a news conference in London in this February 27, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

"On June 17, one year after Assange entered the Ecuadorean embassy in London, I will meet again with secretary William Hague in that city," Patino said on his Twitter account.

"We expect the meeting with the secretary ... will lead to a solution in the case of Assange's asylum."

A spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office said earlier it was considering a request made by Patino to meet Hague in London.

"We hope the visit will contribute to our joint commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to this issue," she said.

News of the possible meeting comes as Bradley Manning, the American soldier charged with "aiding the enemy" by providing WikiLeaks with more than 700,000 classified documents, went on trial in the United States on Monday.

Assange said last year he expected to wait six months to a year for a deal that would allow him to leave the embassy, after Ecuador's socialist president, Rafael Correa, angered Britain by granting him asylum.

Patino accused the British government last week of trampling on Assange's human rights by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador. Late last year, Correa's government said the Australian citizen was suffering from lung problems.

Ecuador argues that the attempt to deport Assange to Sweden is part of a scheme by the U.S. government to have the former computer hacker extradited to American soil so he too can face charges over WikiLeaks' release of the U.S. documents.

U.S. and European government sources say the United States has issued no criminal charges against Assange, nor launched any attempts to extradite him.

(Reporting by Sarah Young in London and Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Stephen Addison and David Brunnstrom)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kerry says time running out to revive Mideast peace

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 05:20 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israel and the Palestinians on Monday to revive stalled peace talks, warning that the alternative was a "negative spiral of responses."

"We're running out of time. If we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance," Kerry said in a speech to the American Jewish Committee in which he urged American Jews to support peace efforts to revive stalled peace talks. "The status quo is simply not sustainable."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media about Syria at the State Department in Washington May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the media about Syria at the State Department in Washington May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Kerry said the best way to ensure Israel's security was by ending "once and for all conflict with the Palestinians by summoning the courage to achieve peace and by reaching a negotiated resolution."

"The absence of peace is perpetual conflict. ... We will find ourselves in a negative spiral of responses and counter-responses that could literally slam the door on a two-state solution," he said.

Kerry, who has visited Israel four times in his four months in office to try to restart peace talks, acknowledged scepticism that the two sides could resolve their differences.

U.S.-brokered peace efforts broke down in 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians want a settlement construction freeze, while Israel insists talks should be held without preconditions.

"I fully recognize the challenges and predicament in which Israel finds itself, but I also firmly believe this is a hopeful time if we choose to make it so. This can actually be a time for possibility, a time for promise," Kerry said.

"I still believe peace is achievable," he added.

Kerry said a stable Palestinian state and a flourishing economy would strengthen Israel's security. During a visit to Jordan last month, he announced a plan to spur Palestinian growth with up to $4 billion in private investment.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is leading a group working to identify opportunities in tourism, construction, energy, agriculture and high-tech industries in the Palestinian territories.

Earlier on Monday, Kerry said he would decide at some point whether to return to Israel and the Palestinian territories to push for decisions by the two sides on reviving talks.

"I will make a judgment at some point whether I need to go and push a little bit, or help that process, and I am certainly willing to. I am open to that possibility but we are not raising any expectations about an American plan," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with the Polish foreign minister.

Kerry said he looked forward to working with new Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who was appointed on Sunday to replace Western-favoured economist Salam Fayyad, who quit in April.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Free yourself

Posted: 04 Jun 2013 02:17 AM PDT

Story file not found.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

AmResearch "Neutral" on tobacco industry, cautious on outlook

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 06:51 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday June 4, 2013 MYT 9:52:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: AmResearch is maintaining its "Neutral" call on the tobacco industry with "Hold" recommendations on British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd (BAT) and JT International Bhd (JTI) with a fair value of RM62 and RM7.20.

It said on Tuesday the government had recently undertaken steps to reduce nicotine and tar levels in cigarettes, pictorial warnings size increase and to expand non-smoking areas to roofed areas.

AmResearch said it was negative on the proposed regulations by the government as it would exert further downward pressure on the "already apathetic legitimate industry volumes". It said no adjustments had been made to the total industry volume (TIV) growth however it had revised downwards the financial year 2013-2015 TIV growth assumption to 0% to 1% following BAT's 3% hike in cigarette prices. "Surprisingly, its peers, JTI and Philip Morris International, have reportedly declined to follow suit. Other threats to legal volumes could come from a probable hike in excise duties as the government's spending is set to rise after the 13th General Election," it said. AmResearch said tobacco manufacturers would face difficulty controlling their costs as additional price hikes could lead to greater downtrading activities, especially for the more price-sensitive value for money segment brands .

"This will only serve to benefit the already high illicit volumes (financial year 2012: 34.5%) and intensify the proliferation of cigarettes sold below the minimum price of RM7 per pack," it said.


KLCI advances, boost from Petronas stocks, Hong Leong Bank

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 06:31 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday June 4, 2013 MYT 9:31:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips advanced in early trade on Tuesday, with some fund nibbling of Petronas-linked stocks and Hong Leong Bank after closing in the red for three consecutive days.

At 9.10am, the FBM KLCI was up 2.37 points to 1,768.70. Turnover was 106.36 million shares valued at RM59.08mil. There were 160 gainers, 86 losers and 124 counters unchanged.

Reuters reported Asian shares recovered from their lowest in about six months on Tuesday as weak new U.S. manufacturing data eased worries about the Federal Reserve's stimulus programme, although investors were cautious before a more important jobs report later in the week.

Hwang DBS Vickers Research (HDBSVR) said the KLCI, after slipping 17.1 points or 1.0% over that past three consecutive days, the index could stage a mild technical rebound.

"Essentially, our Malaysian bourse will probably show resilience as bargain hunters seem eager to step in on any market weaknesses. "This comes as US investors turned net buyers to lift key equity indices on Wall Street by between 0.3% and 0.9% last night, buoyed by expectations that the US Federal Reserve would only tighten its quantitative easing programme when the economy shows further strength," said HDBSVR.

Petronas Dagangan rose the most, up 48 sen to RM25.48 and PetronasGas 28 sen higher at RM21.48 while BAT gained 40 sen to RM64.40.

Hong Leong Bank gained 16 sen to RM13.98 but Public Bank shed six sen to RM16.88.

Among plantations, KL Kepong and Sarawak Oil Palms rose 10 sen each to RM21.30 and RM5.60.


CIMB Research maintains KLCI end-2013 target of 1,850

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 06:07 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday June 4, 2013 MYT 9:08:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research is maintaining its Overweight position on Malaysia and end-2013 FBM KLCI target of 1,850.

It said on Tuesday the KLCI target was set at a 10% premium to the KLCI's three-year moving average price-to-earnings (or forward P/E target of 15.6 times).

"Market catalysts are expected from funds inflows and improved earnings prospects while our preferred sectors remain potential Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) winners," it said.

CIMB Research said May's results season (for the January-March financial quarter) was encouraging.

Although its earnings revision ratio declined from 0.47 times in February to 0.42 times, a lower 19% of the stocks in its coverage missed expectations versus 35% during the February season.

"Some 8% came in above compared with 16% in February, while a massive 73% met expectations (49% previously). Nine sectors disappointed (14 previously), while four (six previously) beat expectations.

"Importantly, many companies that beat expectations were big-cap heavyweights such as PChem, IOI, MISC, Maxis, Telekom and Tenaga.

"Our core market EPS had been cut by only 1.3 percentage points for 2013 and 1.5 percentage points for 2014. These were much lower than the steep cuts of 3%-10% in the previous three quarters. We forecast core EPS growth of 7% for 2013, before accelerating to 10% in 2014," said CIMB Research.



The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Rider Firdaus finishes in style to bag two golds in junior events

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 06:38 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Muhd Firdaus Mohd Zonis earned his stripes in style by romping to a double to emerge as the most successful cyclist at the conclusion of the first leg of the South-East Asian Grand Prix at the Cheras Velodrome.

Firdaus, of the national Pelapis squad, rode as the starter to lead team-mates Muhd Shah Sahrom and Asyraf Naim Ying to the men's junior team sprint title in 1:07.364 yesterday.

Their time was better than the 1:08.213 set by seniors Mohd Edrus Yunos, Mohd Fattah Amri Zaid and Arfy Qhairant Amran, who beat Brunei to the elite team sprint gold medal.

Firdaus went on to avenge his unexpected loss to team-mate Sahrom in the sprint final on Saturday by romping to victory in the keirin final yesterday and take his tally to three golds and one silver.

The 16-year-old Firdaus, who bagged the 1km time trial gold on Friday, was happy to complete his outing on a high.

"I lost the sprint gold to Sahrom on Saturday but I'm happy to come back well today.

"I blocked his path well and now I've been told that I've confirmed my place for the World Championships (in Glasgow) in August.

"The target was to get at least three gold medals.

"I'll also be competing in the second leg this weekend and I'm aiming for a clean sweep this time," said Firdaus, who put up a breathtaking performance at the Asian Cycling Championships in New Delhi in March.

He won golds in the 1km time trial, 200m sprint and keirin to become the second Malaysian after Azizulhasni Awang to claim the junior sprint treble.

Melbourne-based Fatehah Mustapa also lived up to her reputation as the top woman track cyclist after bagging two more golds to take her tally to three.

Fatehah was too powerful for the others as she breezed her way to the women's elite keirin title ahead of nearest challenger Ummi Hamimah.

Fatehah and Ummi were gifted the team sprint title earlier after Jupha Somnet and Lauretta Eva Adrian were disqualified after twice coming out of the blocks too fast.

Fatehah took the women's sprint on Saturday.

Shane Perkins, the 2011 keirin world champion, had to concede defeat to Australian team-mate Scott Sunderland in his pet event.

Peter Lewis completed a podium clean sweep for the Aussies by finishing ahead of two South Koreans – Kim Woo-yeong and Park Jin-chul – while Malaysia's Muhd Edrus Yunos finished last in the six-man keirin final.

MNCF say there is no need for two world class velodromes

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 04:11 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Is it necessary to have two world class velodromes in the Klang Valley? No, according to the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF).

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have already sold the site of the current Cheras Velodrome to a property developer who, in turn, has agreed to build a replacement indoor velodrome and identified a suitable site near the DBKL Swimming Complex.

The old venue in Cheras is an outdoor velodrome and has a good history, having hosted the SEA Games and Asian Championships. However, it is susceptible to the harsh weather conditions.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, has earlier agreed to build a RM79mil velodrome in Labu, Negri Sembilan.

MNCF deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad said it was inevitable that a new velodrome would be built "as the current one is outdated and no longer suitable for international meets".

"The land where the current velodrome is situated at is valuable ... it is inevitable that DBKL want to develop it," he said.

"We need a good timber velodrome. A good Category One timber velodrome will cost at least RM80mil but it is affordable.

"We have told DBKL that the new velodrome must be ready before they demolish the current one.

"It is not feasible for us to have two new timber velodromes around Kuala Lumpur, which is why we also want to propose that the Youth and Sports Ministry and DBKL sit down and discuss this matter.

"The money approved for building the velodrome in Labu could be channelled to the state associations for development.

"The funding can also be used to build lower grade velodromes elsewhere in the country for training and hosting lower level competitions."

If all goes well, the new velodrome in Cheras will be ready for use as early as in 2015, thus serving as a useful stop for the cyclists to acclimatise to the conditions before they head for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Malaysia can also apply to host the World Cup Classics once the new timber velodrome is ready.

Rizal set for a return after one-month comprehensive training

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 04:11 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Former World Championships bronze medallist Rizal Tisin is set to be back in the fray among the elite after starting comprehensive training in Bukit Jalil last month.

Rizal, who won the 1km time trial World Championship bronze medal in 2009, had to postpone his return to the track until recently after failing to expedite his clearance to attend training with his employers, the Public Services Commission.

"I'm glad that I got the clearance to train properly now because all this while I've been training on my own," said Rizal.

"Ever since I started training seriously, I've shed a few kilogrammes and that's good news to me ... but there is still much work to be done."

Rizal's delay in resuming training has resulted in him missing the ongoing inaugural South-East Asian Grand Prix at the Cheras Velodrome. He will also give the second leg of the Grand Prix this weekend a miss.

"I'll only compete in the national championships next weekend (June 12-15) in Cheras. I'm not hoping to produce anything great in the meet but it'll be a nice start for me after a long break," said Rizal, who last competed on the track in 2011 Asian Championships in Korat, where he won the 1km time trial.

"After that I'll continue training in Melbourne with coach John Beasley ... I hope everything will go full swing from then on."


The Star Online: Nation

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Foreign worker brutally stabbed to death in Kepong

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 08:20 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A foreigner working as a wiring subcontract was brutally stabbed to death in Desa Park City, Kepong on Monday.

In the 7.30pm incident, the victim, a 30-year-old Indonesian worker was believed to be returning home for dinner when the suspects attacked him.

Deputy Sentul OCPD Supt Othman Abu Bakar said the man was found dead by the roadside with parts of his stomach cut open and stab wounds on his chin and back.

He said authorities were looking for two suspects, who were seen attacking the man.

"We believe that one assailant used a knife to attack him, while another stood watch.

"The suspects, who are also believed to be foreigners, escaped shortly after," he said.

Othman said two witnesses have been brought in to assist investigations and that the case was being investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

Meanwhile, Othman said that a similar incident involving a Myanmar national had occurred earlier at around 3.30pm in a wholesale market in Sentul.

The 27-year-old victim, who is a vegetable delivery boy, was stabbed by two assailants in the face, back of the head and both arms.

"He is in very critical condition and has been sent to the Selayang Hospital.

No arrests have been made yet," he said.

Najib: Asia must collectively address challenges if region is to prosper

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 07:34 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Asia must collectively address the challenges of development, sustainability and conflict if the region is to prosper in the coming decades said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"We are writting the story of Asia; it may turn out to be the story of the century.

"We have a chance to make it one where all of our citizens are afforded the same rights and opportunities.

"To do this, we must confront three principal challenges," he said when delivering his keynote address at the 27th Asia-Pacific Roundtable on Monday.

Najib singled out climate change as the greatest challenge faced by Asia, which needs to be addressed globally in a united manner.

"In strategic terms, it is a 'threat multiplier': magnifying existing risks, increasing instability and making conflict more likely.

"Unless climate risks are controlled, competition for new resources, territorial change and disruption to trade patterns will the world manifestly unsafe," he added.

Owing to the region's geography, he added that at present, the effects of climate change has already taken a heavy toll on the region's population and economies.

He said that Asia, with its rapid growing economies, is contributing towards climate change and is currently responsible for 17 percent of global carbon emissions while the region would be responsible for 40 percent of the world's energy related greenhouse gases in the next decade.

In this respect, he said that the United Nations is the region's best hope for a global solution toward reduction of carbon emissions and development of low carbon economies.

He noted that there have been recent positive developments towards this with China considering an emission cap and US Obama's administration tackling climate change a priority.

Najib also said that the rise of aggressive nationalism and unchecked arms race were also factors that could threaten decades of peace and progress.

"While defence spending should be proportionate to the threats we face, we must not allow our region to be sucked into an arms race," he said.

He said defence ministers from Indonesia and United Kingdom, at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore over the weekend warned that Asian defence spending could become a destabilising force resulting in higher risks of conflict.

He added that any disruption due to conflict, would affect the South China Sea which two-thirds of world trade passes, resulting in consequences for the global economy.

"I believe the answer lies in greater co-operation.

"Confronted with complex disagreement between states, Asia must place trust in diplomatic solutions," he said, adding that nations here should heed fundamental principles on which good diplomacy is conducted.

Najib also referred to the Code of Conduct adopted here as a good starting point for ensuring that disagreements does not escalate between nations with regard to the South China Sea.

NajIb also said that the prosperity enoyed by the region must bring opportunity for all with emphasis placed on development of critical social infrastructure.

He added that Asia is home to two thirds of the world's poorest which is also affected by growing gap between the rich and poor and division between rural and urban.

"If we do not give all our citizens a stake in our region's future, we risk encouraging ethnic tensions, religious extremism and political instability," he added.

He said the answer to this lies in Asia working towards building stronger economic connections via platforms such as Asean, Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Several roads to be closed for Trooping of the Colours

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 07:15 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Several main roads around Dataran Merdeka will be closed from 6am to noon until Saturday, except on Friday, for the Trooping of the Colours in conjunction with the birthday celebration of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

According to Kuala Lumpur traffic police's statement on Monday, the affected roads include Jalan Kinabalu up to the sliproad to Bukit Aman, Jalan Hishamuddin to Jalan Raja and Jalan Hang Kasturi to Jalan Leboh Pasar Besar.

The other affected roads are Jalan Leboh Ampang to Jalan Tun Perak, the Dato Onn roundabout to Jalan Raja, Jalan Leboh Pasar Besar to Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to Jalan Tun Perak heading towards Dataran Merdeka.

The roads will be closed until Wednesday for the practice sessions, the full-dress rehearsal on Thursday and the actual event on Saturday. Bernama


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

After Earth goodies

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 01:16 AM PDT

One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai.

When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai's craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.

Catch After Earth in cinemas this month. eCentral and Buena Vista Columbia TriStar are giving away movie premiums. To win, answer the questions below.

1. Name the father-son actors who play Cypher Raige and Kitai.

2. Name the director of After Earth.

Email your answers with your details (name, address, IC number and contact number) to by 7 June 2013. Title the subject AFTER EARTH.

Movie Prizes

15 X After Earth USB wristband, backpack, torchlight tool set

Rules & Regulations

1. The contest is open to all Malaysian residents residing in Malaysia only.

2. To qualify for a prize, contestants must include relevant personal details (full name, address, new IC number , contact number). Email your answers to

3. Contestants may submit only one entry each. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

4. One prize is allowed per contestant only.

5. Prizes are not exchangeable for cash and the organizer reserves the right to exchange the prize with that of a similar value without prior notice.

6. Staff of The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, sponsors and their immediate families are not allowed to participate.

7. Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

8. Judges will be from The Star Online.

9. For enquiries, please e-mail

10. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhad for the purposes of After Earth contest.

11. Winners will be notified by email.

'Fast & Furious' rolls over Will Smith's 'After Earth'

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 08:23 PM PDT

REUTERS - Car chase sequel Fast & Furious 6 kept racing at U.S. and Canadian box offices, outpacing rival movies for a second straight weekend and finishing far in front of Will Smith's new sci-fi film After Earth.

Fast & Furious racked up US$34.5 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates. The sixth installment in the billion-dollar franchise takes the action to London, where stars Vin Diesel and Dwyane Johnson lead their crew on a mission to take down an international ring of mercenary drivers.

Comedy heist caper Now You See Me yielded a stronger-than-expected US$28.1 million in its debut at U.S. and Canadian theaters, finishing second.

The post-apocalyptic After Earth, starring Smith and his teenage son, Jaden Smith, placed third with US$27 million. Analysts had expected a US$35-million to US$40-million opening.

Fast & Furious maintained its speed after a roaring debut over Memorial Day weekend. Worldwide ticket sales reached US$480.6 million through Sunday, according to Universal Pictures, the Comcast Corp unit that released the movie.

Distributor Universal said that Fast 6 has outearned international lifetime totals for each of the first four films in the franchise, and was on track to surpass the fifth.

Critically panned After Earth settled for a third-place debut.

The US$130-million production takes place 1,000 years after an apocalypse forced humans to abandon Earth. A boy and his father become stranded on the planet after a crash landing and look for help.

Critics assailed After Earth, with just 12 percent recommending the film on Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates movie reviews.

Distributor Sony Pictures, a unit of Japan's Sony Corp, said it expects the film to do well internationally.

"This has always been a worldwide play," said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures' president of worldwide distribution. "We would have liked the movie to have done better domestically and I think people will be pretty happy about it when they see the international rollout."

Bruer said the studio expects well over half of the film's gross to come from international sales. After Earth will open in 60 countries next week, and several more throughout June.

Now You See Me beat projections for weekend sales of up to US$20 million. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg in the story of street magicians who stage large-scale shows during which they rob banks and distribute money to the audience.

It cost US$75 million to produce, according to the website Box Office Mojo.

Tied for fourth were the sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, and animated family film Epic, each of which took in US$16.4 million in domestic sales.

The Hangover Part III took in US$15.9 million to capture fifth place.

Angelina Jolie 'moved' by public support following surgery

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 06:50 PM PDT

LONDON - Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie said Sunday she had been "moved" by public support after she revealed she had had a double mastectomy to reduce her high risk of breast cancer.

And she said she felt "wonderful" after the surgery.

Speaking at the London premiere of husband Brad Pitt's film "World War Z", Jolie said she was thankful that her actions had brought the issue into the public arena.

"I get moved to talk about it," she told media on the red carpet, her first such appearance since she announced her surgery in May.

The 37-year-old added she was "very happy just to see the discussion about women's health expanded and that means the world to me.

"After losing my mum to these issues, I'm very grateful for it and I've been very moved by the kind support from people," explained the actress. Jolie's mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56 and her aunt, Debbie Martin, died of breast cancer last week.

Pitt insisted the decision had "certainly brought our family tighter together.

"I mean the beautiful thing is that, for us, life will go on," he added. Three months of gruelling medical procedures including breast reconstruction ended in late April.

Jolie, whose father is Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, said her chances of developing breast cancer are now just five percent.

Her doctors estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.

Jolie said she went ahead with the procedures so her six children would not lose her at a young age. - AFP


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

KL heaped with rubbish

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 04:30 PM PDT

Migrant workers are contributing to the large amounts of rubbish in the city. According to Alam Flora, the capacity can fill up one football field every day.

ALAM Flora Sdn Bhd has compiled a list of top 10 rubbish hot spots in the city that contribute to some 100 tonnes of domestic waste per day.

The waste company has found a correlation between the hot spots and an overwhelmingly large population of foreign migrant workers.

According to the company's statistics, the country's capital city is producing over 2,500 tonnes of domestic waste per day. This figure does not include the industrial waste which make up to about 1,000 tonnes.

"To put that figure into perspective, you can fill up one football field a day with 15 compactor lorries to transport the waste,'' said Alam Flora chief executive officer Mohd Zain Hassan.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) spends a whopping RM140mil a year to dispose of this rubbish.

Mohd Zain said areas such as Chow Kit, Petaling Street, Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin popularly known as Jalan Silang, Jalan Metro Perdana and Bukit Bintang, which have a large concentration of foreign workers, were generating huge amounts of rubbish that end up in landfills and clog our drains and rivers.

A check by StarMetro at some of these spots found that it is not too far-fetched to say that foreigners outnumber the locals.

In Jalan Silang for instance, the entire stretch of pre-war shophouses are run and operated by Bangladeshi and Nepalese businessmen, while in Petaling Street, Nepalese and Myanmar workers are running the shops and stalls on behalf of their employers.

Over in Chow Kit and Jalan Masjid India, the number of Indonesians is increasing and so is the amount of rubbish generated.

The situation is also similar in Brickfields; Indian nationals make up about 50% of the local population. During weekends, the mountains of rubbish are testament to this.

It has been reported that out of six million people in the Klang Valley, 222,843 are registered foreigners residing in Kuala Lumpur, 577,427 are illegal immigrants registered under the Home Ministry's 6P programme, and 438,425 are illegal immigrants yet to be registered.

These foreigners come from Indonesia (50.9%), Bangladesh (17.4%), Nepal (9.7%), Myanmar (7.8%) and India (6.3%), while the rest from Vietnam.

"In all these countries, it is no secret that their municipal government are grappling with never-ending challenges of waste management," said Mohd Zain.

"Some may think I am stereotyping, but the figures speak for themselves. The amount of rubbish collected from these 10 spots are increasing.

"Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang is a typical example of rubbish being dumped illegally. I have personally witnessed rubbish being thrown from the top of flats, left to rot all over the place, bus stops, drains and back alleys,'' he said.

"Over here, our trucks are going in and out round the clock, starting from 6.30am.

"We have to place 80 Alam Flora workers and contractors just to handle this area alone.

"We only need 60 for the entire Putrajaya, but here, it is a huge responsibility,'' added Mohd Zain.

Over at Kota Raya and Lebuh Pudu, the buildings are defaced with graffiti, grime and grease as well as dried-up paan juice (betel leaf juice). In Masjid India, rubbish can be found all over the place.

While reiterating that people in general did not take waste disposal seriously, Mohd Zain stressed that the growing amount of waste from these hot spots was causing the company much concern.

"It is easy to just clean up after them but we are not doing anyone any favour as people are just indifferent when it comes to disposing rubbish.

"Bad habits are hard to break but we are trying to change the mindset with programmes such as the KL Cleanliness Blueprint to make KL a sustainable city,'' he said.

Mohd Zain added that the blueprint had been implemented in Bukit Bintang and would soon include Chow Kit as well as Petaling Street.

"The programme's aim is to get private companies and traders associations to work together and keep the city clean.

"However, my people are still seeing cases of rubbish thrown into drains and rivers," said Mohd Zain.

StarMetro had reported that according to DBKL Civil Engineering and Drainage Department director Tan Keng Chok, under the River of Life Project, RM10.6mil had been spent by the Federal Government to install 124 additional rubbish traps to add to the current 128 already in place at the Klang River.

This does not include the millions of ringgit that DBKL spends to maintain and remove floating rubbish from traps.

"We hope to work with foreign embassies and employers as well as their workers to instil a sense of responsibility and civic consciousness.

"But at the end of the day, we need enforcement to really make a difference,'' added Mohd Zain.

Create awareness, says association president

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 07:22 AM PDT

THE Bangladesh and Malaysia Business Association Kuala Lumpur said there should be signboards in Bahasa Malaysia, Bengali, Nepali and Myanmar (Burmese) languages to warn people not to throw rubbish indiscriminately in the city.

Association president Rashed Badal said the warning must come with a monetary fine such as a RM500 penalty.

He said he was surprised that there were no such signage in the city.

"The foreign workers are labourers and must be educated to change their habits and mindset.

"There must also be awareness campaigns. We cannot expect foreign labourers and immigrants to think and behave like Malaysians.

"Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city and most of the workers prefer to work in the city because of the convenience,'' said Rashed.

He added that the council conducted daily operations at fixed locations such as Mydin in Kota Raya, and that many have been compounded for throwing rubbish in the city.

"This does help to a certain extent, as a deterrent '' Rashed said.

He said the association had written several articles on cleanliness and distributed leaflets to the business operators in the area to create awareness.

"There is some improvent and we will do more to check this problem,'' he said.

Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin and Lebuh Pudu have been identified as part of the top 10 rubbish hot spots in the city. This area has remittance houses, travel agencies, mini markets, sundry shops, restaurants, electronics and telecommunication shops catering to the needs of foreign workers.


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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Ballistic nylon takes centre stage in Tumi's latest campaign

Posted: 03 Jun 2013 07:45 AM PDT

For Tumi, the creative use of its ballistic nylon takes centre stage in its latest campaign.

THE varied aspects of art and style have always had a mutual relationship of sorts. While art is deemed to inspire style, the reverse of it holds equally true in many instances.

Take the recent endeavour from Tumi, for example. In its Makes Life Beautiful Work campaign, the international travel and lifestyle brand brought together different creative types to fashion stylish art installations in Hong Kong.

The varying artworks produced were based on Tumi's five founding principles: design excellence, unparalleled quality, technical innovation, functional superiority and world-class customer service.

It also highlights the creative use of ballistic nylon – the brand's abrasion-proof fabric. Incidentally, the brand is celebrating its 30th anniversary of pioneering the use of ballistic nylon in Tumi bags this year.

Eighteen professional and up-and-coming artists, designers and creative entities from across Asia were selected by Tumi, and they were divided into two groups, each with a slightly different task.

The first was asked to reinterpret ballistic nylon to create something completely new and unexpected. The group comprised of fashion designer Barney Cheng, celebrity photographer Sean Lee Davies, product and graphic designer Millicent Lai, 3D visual artist Ben Qwek, plus creative agency &Larry.

While Cheng used ballistic nylon to design a fantasy couture male and female ensemble, Lee utilised the material as a creative canvas to print his famed travel photography.

Lai, on the other hand, created an oriental-themed lotus pond featuring floating lanterns, Qwek unveiled a standout Tumi sign within a 3D setting and &Larry featured custom-made wooden pallets wrapped in ballistic nylon to demonstrate the material's strength.

The second group had to creatively transform a Tumi Alpha Lightweight case, which was a luggage bag made from ballistic nylon. This group of 13 included Hong Kong-based arts writer Diana d'Arenberg, furniture designer Fred Lives Here from Singapore, French shoe designer Vincent Peu Duvallon, eco apparel brand A Boy Named Sue and creative event agency Tuff by Emanuela Santi, among others.

Results were recreations of the Tumi case into a rocking chair, a miniature replica of a photographic studio and a reinterpretion of a picnic set. The various artistic displays also showcased the different passions that each individual held dear to his/her heart. There was a chic case filled with a colourful "wonderland of shoes", for instance, as well as one covered by a collection of botanicals inspired by travels to various Asian flower markets.

The artistic masterpieces for Tumi's Makes Life Beautiful Work campaign were revealed to the media and other guests at a recent event in Hong Kong. The installations will also tour around the Asia Pacific region for a select number of events, namely in Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Robin Thicke scores first UK single No. 1

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 08:44 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - American R&B singer Robin Thicke has scored his first number one in the British singles charts with Blurred Lines, which became the fastest selling single of 2013, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday.

The song, which features hip hop artists T.I. and Pharrell Williams, sold 190,000 copies during its first week on sale, knocking British rapper Naughty Boy's dance track La La La, featuring London singer Sam Smith, into number two.

"It is an honour and a pleasure to be number one in the UK. It's something I've always dreamed of," Thicke told the Official Charts Company.

In the albums chart, French electronic music duo Daft Punk retained the top spot with Random Access Memories, which had shot straight to number one last week, while veteran Rod Stewart held on at number two with Time.

The duo in the shiny helmets, who were at the forefront of electronic dance music in the 1990s, have scored an international success with Random Access Memories after a tantalising online promotional campaign ahead of release.

The album gave Daft Punk their first number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart last week.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Focusing on boosting agro sector

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 04:43 PM PDT

MUAR: The state's new Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Committee chairman has pledged to further boost the sector to ensure that Johor remains as Malaysia's largest food producer.

Ismail Mohamed, who is also the Bukit Serampang assemblyman, said he would also focus on bringing new technologies to maximise production.

Speaking to villagers in Kampung Temiang near here, Ismail attributed his knowledge in agriculture to his time served under Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"Muhyiddin was an Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister and I learned a lot from him.

"I think I can deliver what is needed to boost the sector in Johor," he said at a thanksgiving dinner held in the village on Wednesday night.

The 42-year-old assemblyman, who was born in Kampung Temiang, said although he served as a respresentative for Bukit Serampang, he would also cater to his fellow villagers who happened to be under the Jorak constituency.

Ismail added that as a state executive council member, he was tasked with serving all Johoreans.

The Johor government, under Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, had decided to focus on building more low-cost and affordable homes in Johor.

In relation to the matter, the assemblyman said he would assist those in need of housing as it was the government's priority to cater to the rakyat in such cases.

"The housing needs for the people is our priority now," he added.

55 illegals caught trying to leave our shores

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 11:11 PM PDT

KOTA TINGGI: The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has managed to arrest 55 foreigners in the past week for attempting to leave the country illegally.

In the latest case on Tuesday, MMEA stopped 14 illegal Indonesians who were on their way out of the country in Tanjung Pengelih here despite letting them slip away the first time.

However, the illegals were not so lucky the second time around when they attempted to escape on another boat some one-and-a-half hourslater.

Tanjung Sedili district operation director Comm Mustapa Kamal Abas said that MMEA personnel first noticed a boat carrying the group of illegals during a routine patrol at around 10pm on Tuesday and decided to approach it.

"Upon realising that the authorities were approaching, the boat quickly sped off to a shore nearby.

"As they were reaching dry land, the suspects jumped into the shallow waters and tried to swim towards the shore to escape," he said, adding that they failed to nab the illegals due to the pitch-black condition.

He added that at around 11.45pm, the same group of people tried to exit the country again on the same boat and the MMEA personnel once again discovered their movements.

"This time we managed to catch up with the boat after a short chase to the Tanjung Pengelih shore and arrested the suspects there," he said.

Comm Mustapa Kamal said that the illegals, aged between 20 and 45, were headed by a 25-year-old local man.

On Tuesday, 41 illegals, including eight women aged between 17 and 50, were arrested at around 1.15am near Tanjung Penyusop here.

Comm Mustapa Kamal said that the groups' attempt to throw the personnel off their trail was unsuccessful after the boat they were travelling in capsized.

"They had no choice but to come onboard the MMEA boat or risk drowning," he said.

He added that all the suspects were handed over to the Pengerang police station to assist in investigations under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Amendment) Act 2010 and Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155).

Frequent floods affecting businesses

Posted: 02 Jun 2013 11:11 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: For more than 18 years, shop owners and traders along Jalan Ronggeng 11, 12, and 13 in Taman Skudai Baru here have their businesses affected by frequent flash floods in the area.

Many of these shop owners have suffered heavy financial losses after dirty water from nearby drains overflowed and entered their premises.

Car wash owner K. Jayasankar, 47, said about a week ago, flash floods hit his shop again despite the efforts from the local authorities to widen and deepen the main drain, which was located near Jalan Ronggeng 12.

"I had to replace three high-pressured water spray machines, which cost me almost RM1,000, after it was damaged during the recent flash flood.

"I have been operating my business here for the past seven years now despite the flash floods, which is quite a nightmare," he told a press conference organised by Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau recently.

Car salesman Lim Kiong Meng, 37, said he had to limit the number of cars being kept at his premises due to the repeat flash floods in the area.

He added that he was afraid that the cars in his premises might suffer serious damages if the authorities did not take proper and immediate action to rectify the matter.

"Recently, the local council upgraded the drains but they only did it at a certain location within the area and made a passage to channel the rain water into the main drainage system but it is quite small and had made the situation even worse," he said.

Motorcycle shop owner, Ling Kea Shung, 41, said it only took less than an hour of downpour for the flash floods to happen.

He added that his business was the worst affected, as his premises was located just metres away from the main drain.

"I had to raise my flooring for about a feet high to stop the water from entering my shop. However, all my efforts went 'down the drain' as flood water still is still able to enter.

"Each time there is a rain, I get worried. There was one occasion when the flood water had damaged all the motorcycles and spare parts in my shop," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Boo who is also the Skudai assemblyman, said that he would let the local authorities know of the situation and urged for immediate action to be taken to solve the matter.

Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) spokesman said they would look into the matter.


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