Khamis, 6 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Bomb explodes outside home of Greek prison director

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 09:09 PM PDT

ATHENS (Reuters) - A time bomb exploded outside the Athens home of a Greek prison director overnight on Friday, smashing windows and slightly injuring one woman in the face, police officials said.

The device, which police estimate contained at least 1 kg of dynamite, was left under a car used by Maria Stefi, director of the high-security Korydallos prison, in the Dafni neighborhood.

Police cordoned off the area after an unidentified caller warned Greek news website that a bomb would blow up in 20 minutes. The device went off at about 2.40 a.m. British time and one woman was slightly injured in her home by broken glass.

"We believe this is an act of domestic terrorism," said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Small homemade bomb attacks by militant groups are frequent in Greece and usually target police, public buildings or businesses.

Attacks on political figures and journalists have picked up in recent months, some claimed by anti-establishment leftists angry about Greece's financial woes.

In January, two Greek anarchist groups claimed responsibility for an explosion at an Athens shopping centre that fuelled fears of rising political violence.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Philip Barbara)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

North Korea says to reopen hotline with South, seeks weekend talks

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 08:37 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it would reopen a Red Cross hotline with South Korea on Friday and invited officials from Seoul to talks over the weekend, a further sign Pyongyang wants to improve ties after a barrage of threats to wage war earlier this year.

On Thursday, North Korea proposed talks to normalise commercial projects, including a joint industrial zone it shut down at the height of tensions in early April.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (front C) attends a photo session with delegates to the 7th Congress of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) in Pyongyang June 6, 2013 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) June 7, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (front C) attends a photo session with delegates to the 7th Congress of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) in Pyongyang June 6, 2013 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) June 7, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA

Pyongyang's moves come ahead of a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday in California. North Korea's actions, including its latest nuclear test in February and threats to attack South Korea and the United States, are likely to be high on the agenda.

North Korea stopped responding to calls on the Red Cross hotline in March. Another hotline, used by military officials, remains shut.

"We appreciate the fact that the South side promptly and positively responded to the proposal made by us for holding talks between the authorities of both sides," the North's official KCNA news agency quoted a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea as saying.

The two Koreas have not held talks since February 2011.

South Korea has proposed cabinet level talks on June 12 in Seoul to discuss a range of issues including commercial projects and families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

In response, Pyongyang invited South Korea to a working-level meeting on Sunday in the border city of Kaesong, where South Korean companies employed 53,000 North Korean workers to make cheap household goods until Pyongyang ordered it closed.

Tensions escalated on the peninsula after the United Nations imposed new sanctions on North Korea for its February 12 nuclear test, the country's third. North Korea also claimed that two months of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that ended in late April were a prelude to an invasion.

The international community condemned North Korea for its recent threats. China, the North's major diplomatic ally, was also critical.

China told a North Korean delegation that visited Beijing late last month that the country should stop conducting nuclear tests and focus on economic development, a source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jack Kim and Dean Yates)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Japan approves national security council bills amid China tensions

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 08:04 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government on Friday approved legislation to set up a national security council, moving to strengthen the premier's grip on foreign policy in the face of North Korean missile threats and a territorial dispute with China.

The hawkish Abe has pursued the formation of Japan's version of the White House's National Security Council to centralise information gathering and speed up decision-making, a move welcomed by U.S. security experts.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures as he delivers a speech at a seminar in Tokyo June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gestures as he delivers a speech at a seminar in Tokyo June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

"We have put in place a structure that allows Japan to comprehensively monitor the country's security," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a news conference.

The bills are now to be submitted to the current session of parliament, which ends on June 26, for possible enactment in an extraordinary diet session in the fall.

The need for a centralised national security body has been highlighted by North Korea's recent sabre-rattling and a deadly January raid by jihadists on a natural gas plant in Algeria.

Japan struggled to obtain information on the Algeria hostage crisis, where 10 Japanese nationals were among three dozen foreign workers killed during the four-day siege of the desert gas plant.

In the East China Sea, a maritime territory dispute has escalated to the point where Beijing and Tokyo scramble fighter jets and patrol ships shadow each other, raising fear that miscalculation could lead to a broader clash.

Similar legislation was presented to parliament six years ago when Abe served his first term as prime minister, but it was dropped after his resignation in the wake of a one-year stint troubled by cabinet-level scandals and his Liberal Democratic Party's rout in an upper-house poll.

Referring to the Sino-Japanese island spat, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a seminar last month that several Japanese ministries were involved but there was "no process which can get all the information ... to the prime minister in a timely fashion so he can make a decision."

"This formation of an NSC will be very key to Japan's decision-making as we move forward," he said.

Under the security council framework, the prime minister, chief cabinet secretary, foreign and defence ministers would meet regularly to hammer out strategy, while relevant ministers would be called together to respond to emergency situations.

Ministries would be required to quickly provide key information to help the council play a commanding role in setting security policies and handling national emergencies.

The current security council of nine ministers has been criticised as being too cumbersome, while relevant offices such as the defence and foreign ministries are said to take too long to share critical information.

In a move to boost Japan's defensive capabilities, Abe has also proposed amending the pacifist, U.S.-drafted constitution to loosen restraints on the military.

Koichi Oizumi, professor at Aomori Chuo Gakuin University, said the creation of the national security council would be a step in the right direction but Japan would still face a tough task of training intelligence specialists.

"What's important is training people, which is time-consuming and money-consuming. They can set up a system, but without the right people, how can the system function?" Oizumi said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said late in May that the government recognised the importance of nurturing experts in the field, but that no specific measures had been decided.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Amitabh Bachchan switches gears for first TV acting debut

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 08:55 PM PDT

MUMBAI (Reuters) - After dominating Indian cinema for more than four decades, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is gearing up for his television acting debut this year.

Bachchan is no stranger to television, having hosted several seasons of the Indian version of the quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire but this will be his first role in a TV fiction series.

It comes after Bachchan make his Hollywood debut last month in Australian director Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival with Leonardo DiCaprio.

"Never done serials before, so apprehension plays hard .. but .. better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all," the 70-year-old actor said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Bachchan is arguably the biggest name in Indian cinema and also patriarch of an acting dynasty that includes son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World.

His role and the content of the TV series, which will have a finite number of episodes, is still a closely guarded secret. It will be directed by Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and is slated to go on air later this year.

"This series will change the way India sees television and will open the doors for a new genre in television entertainment," Kashyap said in a statement.

Bollywood stars are increasingly turning to television for more visibility and as an alternative to a movie career, hoping to cash in on an audience hungry to see more of their favourite actors. Several reality TV shows in India are hosted by movie stars.

Another leading actor, Anil Kapoor, who played the quiz show host in Slumdog Millionaire, is to star in the lead role of the Indian version of the American action series 24 that goes to air later this year.

The new alpha

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 03:01 AM PDT

Tyler Hoechlin's charm resonates well on and off screen.

FORGET the hard as rock bodies or sharp as nail claws. If the werewolves from Teen Wolf were to go up against the Twilight saga wolf pack, they would win simply because they have something that the other doesn't.

No, not the sour-faced Bella Swan who brings bad luck every where she goes.

"We have opposable thumbs and they don't, so we would win," said Tyler Hoechlin who plays the moody werewolf Derek Hale in the hit television series Teen Wolf.

Speaking to a group of reporters via tele-conference recently, 25-year-old Hoechlin revealed that it was his co-star Tyler Posey (who plays Scott McCall on the show) who came up with the answer for the often-asked question.

Hoechlin believes that it is only natural that people compare the werewolves from both shows – despite Teen Wolf being a television series (although it is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name).

"When we started the show, Twilight was at its peak and people were quick to cash in on the vampire/werewolf craze. That's why it (the show) got a 'bad' name," said Hoechlin, admitting that some people do not take their show seriously, simply because it seems that they were riding on the genre's coat-tails while it was the fad.

Well, the general buzz over werewolves could have helped promote the show initially, but Hoechlin believes that it's the series' story arc that has sustained its popularity.

"Teen Wolf is very well-written and it is not the fact that we have werewolves (in the show) that makes it famous. It could be any creature. People enjoy watching good shows and good films. If you could create a TV show that captures the audience's attention, then you already have a winner right there," he said.

Hoechlin plays an alpha wolf on the show, taking care of the younger werewolves facing extermination from a certain family of hunters who lost two loved ones to the creatures of the night.

The producers of Teen Wolf, which until recently followed a 12-episodes per season format, announced that the third and latest season has 24 episodes, bringing new and exciting challenges for Hoechlin and the rest of the cast members.

Extremely tight-lipped about the storyline, Hoechlin joked (or did he?) that he would lose his job if he ever gave away the top-secret storyline.

In this season, viewers will be introduced to more new characters. Hoechlin, however, was quick to shoot down any rumours about possible animosity or clique-mentality, now that there are new actors on the set.

"In season one, we were all new characters and everyone got along very well. Every time they add a new character to the show, there's an anxiousness, but we have been lucky enough to have nothing but the nicest people working with us."

Despite playing one of the main characters on a hit televison series, Hoechlin is not one to rest on his laurels. In fact, he is already thinking about his next move – to be a director.

"There are plenty of challenges to take on as an actor, and we should always want to branch out. I definitely have aspirations to do that (directing)," he said.

But he is not in a rush to pursue this avenue. Hoechlin is willing to wait until the right project comes along. Well, until Hoechlin decides to get behind the camera, guess the fans simply have to be satisfied with seeing him in front of it ... with less clothes on, hopefully. What? Well, he does play a werewolf.

Season Three of Teen Wolf premieres tonight at 9.20pm on beTV (Astro B.yond Ch 720).

Wolf whistle

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:35 AM PDT

GOOD looking, super hot, sexy and ripped bodies to die for ... now what's the problem with werewolves again? Oh, they have claws and jaw strength that could rip anything into pieces, but seriously, if werewolves really are as insanely hot as they're portrayed on screen, there should be no harm in letting them, you know, bite a little.

So, which werewolves get us howling with pleasure?

Alcide Herveaux

Where does one even begin to describe the hotness that is Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) from True Blood?

In the series, Alcide owns a surveying company, although he spends most of his time running after evil vampires, protecting his wolf-pack and saving the often ungracious Sookie Stackhouse (the female protagonist in True Blood) from trouble.

Scott McCall

Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) is a 16-year-old werewolf in Teen Wolf so it wouldn't be right to ogle at him ... too much. Scott is sensitive, caring, romantic and has the most precious set of eyes ever. They are beautiful, except when they go bright red when he turns into a werewolf, of course. That's when they're just plain scary.

Jacob Black

How could this list be complete without mentioning the werewolf from the Twilight saga? Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) is one hairy beast that nobody should pick a bone with. Though he doesn't have too many facial expressions, he makes up for this by appearing shirtless on screen most of the time.

Jacob is protective of the ones he loves and would do anything to keep them safe which explains why Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) didn't die throughout the series although many haters had hoped she would at least catch pneumonia from her cold demeanour. The best thing about Jacob is that he could kick Edward Cullen's (Robert Pattinson) sparkly butt to the moon and back – that's good right?

Tyler Lockwood

Now, those who watch The Vampire Diaries would know that Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) used to be a bad-tempered boy with few friends. Later in the series, he became a bad-tempered boy who transforms into a werewolf once a month. He's agile, fast and plays football like all the other handsome jerks, I mean jocks, portrayed in TV series. Tyler has had his fair share of stupid mistakes (making out with his best friend's mother? Eww ...) but he eventually becomes a caring person/beast. — Sharmila Nair


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

BIMB Research maintains "Buy" call on TNB, target price RM8.96

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 07:09 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: BIMB Securities Research is maintaining its "Buy" call on Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) at a target price of RM8.96, backed by its positive expectations on the sector reform and foreign buying interests.

BIMB said during the last five years TNB had spent a RM25.5bil in capital expenditure across its major business segments and expects the annual capex to grow.

"Management has previously guided for assets maintenance alone, it will require between RM4bil to RM5bil a year," it said.

It added TNB's foreign shareholdings have been historically volatile and rose in tandem with the increase in share price.

"Between Aug 2003 and March 2013, foreign shareholdings in TNB peaked at 28.3% (April 2007), latest figure indicated foreign content is around 18.7%, second highest level since May 2008, a sign that foreign interest has returned and could be one of the good explanatory factors for its strong share price performance over the last 12 months," it said.

BIMB also noted its current transformation efforts within Peninsular Malaysia's electricity supply industry could transform the TNB's financial profile significantly and likely to trigger subsequent stock re-rating by the market.

"Given the group's on-going capacity expansion programmes which represent 73% of all on-going plant up exercise in Peninsular Malaysia, we expect the group to retain its dominance in the generation segment. TNB's power generation output makes up of 43%-46% of Peninsular Malaysia's output," it said.

However, BIMB noted that natural gas, used to meet its power demand, is expected to come short in the second half this year.

"While the average gas supply has improved, we recognize the power sector's natural gas demand and supply balance remains weak," it said It said while previous attempts to import energy from Sarawak have been shelved, the Energy Commission said Sarawak is expected to contribute 2GW of supply to the Peninsular Malaysia in 2021.

While economic to import electricity from Sarawak is yet to be established, we understand that technically it is viable to implement. "Given the expected increase in overall generation cost in Peninsular Malaysia due to hikes in fuel costs, importation of electricity from Sarawak could gradually become a viable solution. Additionally, interconnection between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia is also crucial for the greater Asean power network," it said.

Affin maintains "Underweight" on tobacco sector after price hike

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:30 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Research is maintaining its "Underweight" call on the tabacco sector, following the price increase and sluggish growth.

It is also maintaining its "Reduce" recommendation on both British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd (BAT) at a target price of RM61.66 and Japan Tobacco International Bhd (JTI) with a target price of RM6.60.

"Recently, industry leader BAT raised its average selling price by 30 sen per pack, brought by inflationary pressure. We forecast BAT's financial year 2013 volume sales to decline by 6.9% on-year to 8.1 billion sticks, with its flagship Dunhill's market share shrinking by 1.3% points to 46%. On the same token, we project BAT's net profit to fall by 7% on-year," it said.

Affin said BAT claimed the high level of illicit trade, currently at 34.5% has negatively impacted its total industry volume hence the increase in its cigarette price to protect its margins.

It said illicit cigarettes had grown since 2008 due to prices as low as RM3.50 per pack.

"We reckon that this is the main concern to the industry. Even with the absence of excise duties hike in 2011-202, illicit white cigarettes has continue to grow by 3.6%-4% on-year," it said.

It added if JTI and Philip Morris International (PMI) were to follow suit in the price hike, Affin believes that both JTI and PMI will gain market share at the expense of BAT and would likely record better volume sales and net profit growth in 2Q13 compared to BAT.

"While we are uncertain whether both JTI and PMI will follow suit and raise their average selling price, based on historical price trends, a prolonged disparity in selling prices among cigarette brands had never existed," it said.

It noted the sector will continue to be "haunted" by negative newsflow, high prices and the government's implementation to discourage smoking,

KLCI opens lower, Sime, Tenaga weigh

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:21 PM PDT

Published: Friday June 7, 2013 MYT 9:21:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's key FBM KLCI opened lower on Friday, weighed down by some mild selling of heavyweights Sime Darby and Tenaga Nasional as investor sentiment remain cautious following the fall in Japanese equities.

At 9.01am, the FBM KLCI was down 0.76 of a point to 1,786.84, extending Thursday's decline when the index closed 4.82 points down. Turnover was 27.25 million shares valued at RM15.91mil. There were 117 gainers, 31 losers and 84 counters unchanged.

BIMB Securities Research believed the selling might continue on Friday ahead of the release on the US unemployment data today with the immediate support at the 1,760 level.

Sime Darby fell 14 sen to RM9.35 and Tenaga three sen lower to RM8.22.

Lafarge Cement and Public Bank foreign lost eight sen each to RM10.90 and RM16.90.

Petronas Chemicals and Dialog fell four sen each to RM6.60 and RM2.90.


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Arjan wants to leave a mark as coach too

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:08 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Former national shot putter Arjan Singh Khalsa retired from national duty 18 years ago but, like many of his peers, he just can't seem to stay away from the sport he loves so much.

So when the 47-year-old Maybank employee, who won three gold medals in three SEA Games from 1989 to 1993 (KL, Singapore and Manila), had the chance to help train young athletes in Ipoh two years ago, he grabbed it with both hands!

Trained by former national coach Nashatar Singh, Arjan is the last Malaysian shot putter to have won a gold medal in the SEA Games – in Manila in 1993.

That's 20 long years ago!

*Full story in your copy of The Star today

Suryani bang on target

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:18 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi is back with a bang!

The 30-year-old nailed the gold medal in her first attempt in the 50m rifle three-position at the Tun Hanif Trophy shooting championships at the Subang Shooting Range yesterday.

Suryani, who has a nine-month-old baby girl, made an impressive comeback in the final round to win with a total of 445.0 points.

Suryani was placed fifth after the preliminary round with 580 points but she eliminated national elite shooters Nur Ayuni Farhana Halim and Muslifah Zulkifli en route to reaching the shootout for the gold medal.

The Armed Forces shooter edged team-mate Haslisa Hamed 147.4-142.7. Haslisa amassed 443.4 points for the silver.

Suryani gave birth after returning home from the London Olympics and was subsequently dropped from the national squad.

But that did not keep her away from the shooting range – and yesterday's achievement clearly showed that she's back where she belongs.

"This is the first time I've competed in the 50m rifle three-position this year ... although I've shot in three local meets before," said Suryani, who holds the national record for the event.

"It took me a long time to reduce my weight after my pregnancy in order to compete in the 50m rifle three-position as it involves standing, prone and kneeling.

"How could I compete in this event when I was pregnant?

"Anyway, I'm happy that I can still shoot well despite not practising for so long."

Suryani is also the reigning SEA Games champion for this event and the 10m air rifle. Unfortunately, both events will not be featured in the Myanmar SEA Games in December.

The organisers have only listed the 50m rifle prone this time.

But Suryani is not perturbed.

"The SEA Games is no big deal ... my focus is on the bigger meets, like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games next year," she said.



10m air rifle individual: 1. Mohd Ashraf Mohd Izham (Pen) 200.0, 2. Mohd Nurrahimin Abdul Halim (Pah) 198.0, 3. Nik Muhd Aimullah Supardi (Joh) 177.4.

10m air rifle team: 1. Perak 1734, 2. Pahang 1729, 3. Penang 1725.

25m rapid fire pistol individual: 1. Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan (Prk) 572, 2. Mohd Ridhuan Mohd (Forces) 570, 3. Hafiz Adzha (Prk) 563.

25m rapid fire pistol team: 1. Armed Forces 1595.


50m rifle three-position individual: 1. Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi (Forces) 455.0, 2. Haslisa Hamed (Forces) 443.4, 3. Nur Syahirah Zulkifli (Sel) 428.4.

50m rifle three-position team: 1. Armed Forces 1711, 2. Pahang 1658, 3. Malacca 1644.

Podium finish in Muar will be early birthday gift for Affendi

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:09 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Affendi Rosli (pic) is hoping for an early birthday gift of a podium finish in Round Four of the Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championships in Muar this weekend.

The Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing rider, who will turn 28 on Monday, is motivated to achieve his target in Muar following a stunning ride in Terengganu (Round Three), where he earned his maiden victory in the CP130 class for the season.

Affendi is also in high spirits after having recuperated from a nerve injury that forced him to skip the second round of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championships (ARRC) in Indonesia last month.

"It'll be a great early birthday present to finish on the podium again ... it would be even better if I can win in Muar," said Affendi.

"The whole team are optimistic of realising these goals as we have a strong bike this season. I have also fully recovered from my injury, which used to cause my left hand to be numb during races."

Despite his strong start, Affendi has played down talks about going for the title "as it's still early days".

"It's too early to talk about that although I want to win the overall title. I've already clinched the ARRC Underbone 115cc title back in 2009 ... so, the CP130 crown will be a great accomplishment," he said.

"After Muar, we'll have six more rounds to go and we've already seen three different winners in as many races. I'll take it one race at a time and focus on picking up championship points first."

Affendi is in third place overall in the CP130 standings with 44 points – 10 behind team-mate Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman. Ahmad Fuad Baharuddin of Faito Yamaha Motobert is second with 51 points.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

‘Man of Steel’ star Henry Cavill needs nerves of steel

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 01:05 AM PDT

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (USA Today/MCT) — Henry Cavill wears blue jeans, flip-flops and a T-shirt while walking through a flock of diners at Fishbar restaurant, but it might as well be a form-fitting bodysuit and a red cape.

Maybe it's his stride, physique, deep blue eyes and coiffed dark hair. The guy really does look like Superman, even while relaxing at a beach eatery.

"When my hair was longer months ago, you wouldn't have said as much," says Cavill, 30. "But at the moment, yeah, I guess there's a certain resemblance."

This "certain resemblance" was strong enough that director Zack Snyder nabbed the British actor to play the iconic comic-book character in Man Of Steel, the much-awaited Superman reboot that hits screens June 14. It was also enough that Cavill was pursued for 2006's Superman Returns, though he lost out to Brandon Routh when the project switched directors.

The experience of having come so close just makes snaring the Man Of Steel role that much more poignant. It also gave Cavill some valuable training for the path-seeking character he portrays.

"I guess you can say Henry was born to play Superman," says Snyder, noting the actor's physical similarities. "But all these life experiences have come together. He's gone through a journey. In our movie, Clark Kent gets jostled around by life and then becomes Superman. Henry has done the same thing."

Cavill already has had an impressive career, including roles in 2002's The Count Of Monte Cristo, Showtime's The Tudors and 2011's Immortals (which had a No. 1 opening weekend with US$32 million).

But he also has shrugged off high-profile setbacks such as losing out to Daniel Craig for the role of James Bond.

"Having had all the ups and downs maybe made me want to work all the harder," Cavill says. "Yeah, bad things will happen to you. And you'll get kicked (down) a few times. Stand up."

But with Man Of Steel, "I got lucky enough to have a second shot with different people whose vision I fit into," he says.

Snyder was hooked on Cavill after his December 2010 audition and became fully convinced after a screen test with the actor wearing Christopher Reeve's Lycra Superman outfit. Even though Cavill was out of shape after being directed to eat pizza to appear like a regular guy for 2012's The Cold Light Of Day, Snyder knew he had his man. "When he came out in the suit, it was like, 'OK, that's our Superman,'" Snyder says.

Cavill recalls the phone conversation when he found out he had the part. He was ignoring calls while playing video games before he noticed his potential employer was trying to reach him. When they finally connected, Snyder was too polite.

"I'm thinking, 'He's letting me down easy,' Cavill says. "And then he said, 'I was also wondering if you wanted to do a little movie with me.' Inside there were fireworks going off. But I played it extremely cool."

The "little movie" called for the supersuit to be updated with an "alien" look. A cast was assembled that includes Russell Crowe as his father, Jor-El, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Meanwhile, Cavill immediately underwent a physical regimen capped by four months supervised by 300 trainer Mark Twight.

Cavill says he shunned using performance-enhancing drugs ("I like to see the results for myself and think I did the honest course") and computer-graphic tricks to make his body look bigger on-screen.

"I wanted it to be me," he says. "It helped me get into character. And also because it's my name. I wanted to provide that image (of Superman) and make it reality."

Cavill dove into the workouts and a 5,000-calorie daily diet to bulk up. The subsequent body-sculpting phases, when he drastically cut the calories, were far harder to handle. But Snyder says the actor never lost his cool — even when he was shirtless and wet for scenes shot outside in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"We were shooting under this Blackhawk helicopter, and the downdraft was blowing a million miles an hour," Snyder says. "Henry was wet and freezing cold. And he never said a thing. Never complained. He's just amazingly gracious all the time."

Cavill bottled up his outbursts and later vented in private. "If I was being irritable, I'd save it for being in the car," he says. "Just some choice words. And I could be professional and go back on set again."

Antje Traue, who plays Superman's mortal enemy Faora, couldn't help but compliment her costumed screen foe on the Plano, Illnois, set.

"He became that person. Seeing him in the suit, you say that he is Superman," she says. "And he's superhumanly attractive." Cavill is aware of the risk of placing an estimated US$200 million movie and a potential franchise on the shoulders of a relative newcomer, and he accepts that responsibility: "I'm the one who is going to take a hit if this doesn't work."

But Snyder believes that Cavill's newness is beneficial. "You don't have the baggage that other actors might have going into a part like this," he says. "People can just look at him and go, 'Wow, it's Superman.' That's fun."

Maintaining his superhero's famous decorum in public is clearly important to Cavill. He pauses repeatedly to make eye contact and says "Thank you" every time the waitress fills up his water glass. And when interview topics stray into areas he deems too personal, such as girlfriend Gina Carano, a mixed martial artist, Cavill gives a calm but firm rebuff. "I would love to talk about that," he says before not talking about it.

He does show hints of a wild side when discussing the odd night with the movie crew to unwind or his favorite cheat meal (Chicago-style thick-crust pizza). But the details and temptations are kept firmly in check — he has a character to protect.

"If I'm walking around an unhealthy mess, it might damage (people's) idea of what Superman is," Cavill says. "So there is a responsibility."

He takes the image so seriously that he won't even take his shirt off when he heads to the beach. "You set yourself up for too much criticism and speculation on the Internet," he says. "So I'm keeping all my semi-nudity private for now."

Cavill has signed a contract for two more Man Of Steel installments, though any sequels no doubt will depend on how Steel does at the box office. "It's up to Warner Bros. and everyone out there," Cavill says. "If they want to see more of this Superman, then I'm sure we will. But until then, there's no knowing."

The actor does not buy into a Superman curse ("If anything bad happens to me, it's not because Superman made it happen"). Nor does he fear being stereotyped in the role — a fate that has befallen other actors.

"There is always that risk. But it's a risk I'm glad to take," he says. "The way to break out of that is to do a different role."

To that end, Cavill just signed on to star as a spy in Guy Ritchie's adaptation of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., replacing Tom Cruise, who is no longer associated with the project. He is tight-lipped about his Napoleon Solo role except to say he'll be alongside The Lone Ranger star Armie Hammer, who will play Illya Kuryakin.

"Things are full-steam ahead. It's all very early days. But it's gonna happen," Cavill says before pausing. "Well, this is Hollywood. It's supposed to happen."

He might be understandably cautious, given his history. But Cavill knows he's one Hollywood success story that has taken off after a few scrubbed launches.

"It's like, wow, I've been in this biz for 13 years and worked really hard. I've suffered a lot. And I've put my all into everything I do. And it's so nice to have it come back in such a beautiful way."

As he exits the restaurant, Cavill makes it clear that he plans to repay the kindness. "I'm going to go fly around a bit," he says as he walks away. "Maybe save some lives."

Catch MAN OF STEEL in cinemas. eCentral is giving out tickets to a special screening of the movie. Check here for details.

Actor Stephen Fry tried killing himself last year

Posted: 05 Jun 2013 09:19 PM PDT

REUTERS - British actor Stephen Fry attempted suicide last year, he said during a podcast interview on Wednesday in which he talked openly about his ongoing battle with mental illness.

Fry, 55, told comedian Richard Herring in the interview in front of a live audience that he was "a victim of my own moods" and that he was required to take medication "so that I don't get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide."

"I'd go as far as to tell you I attempted it last year. I took a huge number of pills with a huge amount of vodka and the mixture of them made my body convulse so much that I broke four ribs. But I was still unconscious," Fry (pic) said.

"Fortunately, the producer I was filming with at the time came into the hotel room and I was found in an unconscious state and taken back to England and looked after."

Fry told listeners at London's Leicester Square Theater that it was the first time he had spoken about the suicide attempt publicly and that he was encouraged to because he was the president of mental health charity called Mind.

"The whole point as I see it is not to be shy and forthcoming about the morbidity and the genuine nature of death amongst people with certain mood disorders if they don't look after it," he told the audience.

Fry made the admission in response to a question submitted by a 12-year-old boy, who had asked what it was like to be Stephen Fry.

"What it's like to be Stephen Fry is a very mixed and peculiar thing," the actor said.

It was not the first time Fry has spoken out about his battle with mental illness. He explored the issue of living with bipolar disorder in a 2006 documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive.

Fry has worked on multiple projects spanning acting, writing, directing, journalism and presenting on radio and television during his four-decade career, becoming a well-known figure in British arts and culture.

The Cambridge-educated actor is best known for his roles in the British comedy Blackadder, sketch comedy A Bit Of Fry & Laurie with collaborator Hugh Laurie, and is the long-time host of BBC television quiz show QI.

He is also the narrator of all seven Harry Potter books on audiotape.

Mending broken ties

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 03:27 AM PDT

A stern father. A guilt-stricken son. A perilous adventure. The stage is set for a heartwarming father-son tale in After Earth.

IN the 2006 inspirational flick The Pursuit Of Happyness, Will Smith plays a resilient homeless man who goes to great lengths – who can forget all that running around New York City to get from one job to another? – to provide for his son, played by the actor's real-life son, Jaden.

Interestingly, in their second collaboration After Earth the tables are turned as Jaden's character, an aspiring teenage warrior, must fight on behalf of his critically-injured father for any chance of survival.

The premise of After Earth – which is an original story by Will – is about a father's struggle in learning to trust and let go of his son.

Set in the fictional planet Nova Prime which houses the human race after Earth becomes inhospitable, the sci-fi action film focuses on the strained relationship between legendary fighter Cypher Raige and his son Kitai who is eager to gain his father's approval.

"At its core is an emotional drama between a father and his son," Will said during a Skype interview with Star2 from Cancun, Mexico. Jaden and director M. Night Shyamalan were also at the interview.

Will's character, Cypher, is known as one of the greatest leaders in the history of Nova Prime. As the Prime Commander of the peacekeeping organisation – the United Ranger Corps – he is revered by many for saving humanity from numerous alien attacks. But so much time spent fighting off aliens in the battlefield meant that he was rarely ever home.

Meanwhile, Kitai is a teenager who is ridden with guilt following his sister Senshi's death. "Kitai blames himself for his sister's death – she died years ago in an attack that Kitai thinks he should have done something to stop – and he thinks his dad blames him, too," Jaden said of his character in the production notes given by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

It also doesn't help that Kitai recently failed the test to become a Ranger like his dad.

To patch their broken relationship, Kitai's mother suggests that the two go on a trip together to bond and iron out the kinks. Unfortunately, along the way, their ship crash-lands on "the most inhospitable place in the universe for human beings" – Earth. Apparently, extreme weather conditions, merciless predators, toxicity in its air, lack of water and food sources have rendered Earth a Class 1 quarantined planet.

Will shared that After Earth is special to him because it was made at a point in his life that mirrored their real life relationship. "He (Jaden) was 13 years old and going into the wilderness, that's where historically, various cultures have had those father-and-son transmission of powers and lessons. We shot in the redwood forests and at the desert of Moab, Utah. It was a powerful mythological exchange between father and son," he said.

The idea for the film came about one evening when Will and Jaden were at home casually talking about working together again. With the news on in the background, Jaden suggested, "Maybe I'm your son, I'm in trouble, and you have to come home from war."

That sparked the father-son concept and the two began expanding the narrative, including a storyline about a father-son bonding trip to Alaska.

When Shyamalan heard about the idea, he immediately jumped on it. However, to make the movie a success, The Sixth Sense director had to step out of his comfort zone – literally.

"As you probably know, I shoot all my movies in Philadelphia. But I knew when I was writing this movie, we wouldn't be able to shoot it all there. We needed to make it feel universal and huge," he said.

As such, After Earth was mostly shot in the breathtaking jungles of Costa Rica, while scenes featuring the interiors of the spaceship were shot in a studio in Philadelphia. "It was an incredible experience, seeing Jaden walk on trees that were 20-feet wide," he recalled.

Another challenge for Shyamalan was the elaborate visual effects and set designs involved in After Earth. Shyamalan considers himself as "not a techie guy" (having only employed extensive special effects in The Last Airbender) yet he insisted on remaining hands-on when it came to designing the look and feel of the film's landscape.

"I roped in individual houses and worked with the artists themselves. I designed everything myself with them. It's very time consuming, but it makes for a richer experience for me and I can make the film more grounded," he said.

Meanwhile, Jaden shared that one his most difficult experiences came when shooting a particularly emotionally-charged scene where Kitai makes a life or death decision.

"I think it was really hard on all of us. We've got to get over the hump and it's uphill from here ... But we got through it and I'm really happy with the scene," he shared.

Shyamalan chimed in, "By nature, these are two different actors. Will is very comfortable being in a hot kind of emotional place and making it authentic. Jaden is very quiet, and he erupts only when he chooses to. It's like a lock in him, and he had to unlock it."

The director said he was proud when he finally did and cheekily added, "Now he's in therapy."

Jaden, who is starring in a leading role for the second time after Karate Kid, also shared he identified with Kitai, being in a similar position in reality.

"Kitai is showing his dad, 'Hey dad, I can do this', and I am showing my dad by making this movie – I can do this. It's the exact same thing."

Will admitted that it was a struggle not to interfere with his son's creative process while shooting the film. "For me, the most difficult thing is just making sure that I maintain a respectful distance. I respect his space and allow him to have his process and talk to the director without me."

And true enough, the father did give him the space his son needed. Jaden got the freedom to perform as many stunts in the movie as the studio allowed him, as Will reasoned, "As a father, I want him to do everything short of permanent physical damage. There's a certain power in overcoming the fear of doing those things."

Jaden recalled a scene where the stunt choreographer asked him to swim in a river full of crocodiles and piranhas and his father joked and told him not to worry as "they're vegetarian".

After Earth opens in cinemas nationwide today.


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Integrity pact should extend to all Malaysian mega-projects, says Low

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 08:31 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to extend its integrity pact programme to all mega-projects launched in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low said the programme had been a rousing success since it was taken up for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

"In a mega-project like the MRT, which is worth RM56bil, there are so many contracts that without proper supervision, will make it easy for corruption.

"Because of the initiative (integrity pact), we can safely say that we have not heard any rumours of corruption in the MRT project," he said after launching the MACC Convention 2013 here Thursday night.

Under the pact - signed in 2011 - MRT project owner Syarikat Prasarana Nasional Berhad (SPNB), main contractor Gamuda-MMC and all contractors pledged not to engage in any form of corruption.

The project is also being monitored by a joint task force that includes the Auditor-General's office and the MACC.

Low said it is important for each and every mega-project - in the public or private sector - be monitored by similar task forces, preferably with experts on board to prevent corrupt practices.

He highlighted upcoming mega-projects such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project and the West Coast highway project as prime examples that should have monitoring task forces.

Second Penang Bridge ramp collapses, four in car feared dead (updated)

Posted: 05 Jun 2013 09:58 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: An uncompleted flyover connecting to the still-under-construction second Penang bridge at Batu Maung collapsed at around 7pm Thursday, burying at least one car and a motorcycle under the debris.

Police fear that four people are dead after one car, a white-coloured Perodua Kelisa was found buried under the rubble.

State Fire and Rescue Department confirmed that one motorcyclist, who was earlier trapped under the debris, has been pulled out. He suffered injuries to his head.

Hundreds of firemen, volunteers and medical personnel from throughout the state have been mobilised to the scene.

Firemen are removing debris to reach the cars and motorcycles under the rubble, comprising mostly metal scaffolding and steel beams.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who was on the scene, said about a 30m-long span of the ramp was believed to have collapsed around 7pm, as work to install concrete boulders to strengthen the structure was ongoing.

He said he was informed a few people may be trapped under the rubble.

State executive councillor Lim Hock Seng said the cause of the collapse had yet to be determined.

"We cannot confirm the cause of the accident," he said, adding that a full investigation would be carried out.

Police have began deploying traffic policemen as the incident has caused a severe jam to ensue near the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

Many motorists have also stopped to look at the debris.

As of 9:30pm Thusrday night, fire department authorities have briefed Sim and Lim.

R. Thilasheni, 24, whose car windscreen was shattered by a falling beam during the incident, was still in a state of shock.

"We were lucky to come out alive. We were only about three seconds away from when the ramp collapsed," she said.

She was travelling with her friend G. Gajashaantini, also 24.

She believed a motorcyclist was trapped under the rubble and said a beam fell onto a car in the incident.

The 24km-long bridge was set for completion next month.

The longest bridge in South-East Asia and 20th in the world was supposed to go through road commissioning and testing in August before being officially opened in September.

Related Stories:
Three injuries reported so far in Second Penang Bridge ramp collapse
Second Penang bridge not affected by ramp collapse, says JKSB spokeman

Review of Internet laws will not be politically-driven, says Shabery

Posted: 05 Jun 2013 09:44 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The review of Malaysian Internet laws will be holistic and not politically-driven, said Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said that restricting negative and anti-social elements such as pornography were the priority, and not to curb political dissent, he said.

"A majority of Internet users like to share their ideas in so many fields like arts, food and business opportunities.

"I can't be too sensitive if only a handful of people were to use the Internet for certain purposes like insulting other religions or races. If it is only this handful, then maybe the current laws suffice," he said.

However, he said he would not think twice about introducing Singapore-style restrictions if there were irresponsible parties who attempted to incite racial hatred and spread lies.

"But if a big majority of Internet users are responsible, then why should we waste time trying to amend the laws. We can just let it be and stick to the present legislation," he stressed to reporters Thursday.

The Singaporean government recently moved to make it mandatory for news websites with more than 50,000 audiences to be licensed.

He has put the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in charge of studying the current laws to see if there was a need for a review.

MCMC chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi said the plan to provide free Internet services for the first 30 minutes for those earning less than RM3,000 monthly was still at its pilot stage.

He said the pilot programme was being implemented in Pantai Dalam here and that further details would have to be worked out with the minister.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak previously announced those who qualify for the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) automatically qualified for the programme.

Back then, the former Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the programme would go ahead by April.


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Industry experts weigh in on the Certificate of Completion and Compliance

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 05:17 AM PDT

DESPITE being in effect for the last six years, the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC), which has replaced the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CF), is still a murky issue to many.

The biggest difference between the two is in the move towards self-regulation in the new system. Now the power to issue a CCC is with the professionals in charge of the project as opposed to the CF, which was issued by the local authority.

These professionals are the ones directly responsible for the project and are required to countersign on all 21 G Forms before the CCC can be issued.

Each form addresses a specific parts of the project including earthworks, foundation, internal water plumbing, fire safety, sewage, road and drains, street lighting and landscaping.

These forms are also signed by the contractors including the electrician or plumber and where necessary, attached with supporting documents issued by bodies such as Tenaga Nasional Bhd and the Fire and Rescue Department.

In a CCC, these professionals are called the Principal Submitting Person (PSP) and they can either be an architect, building draughtsman or engineer registered with their relevant professional regulatory bodies as governed by the Architects Act 1967 or Registration of Engineers Act 1967.

Is there real change?

One of the main reasons for the certification change is to cut red tape and delays, which is the bane of most property buyers.

But until today, such complaints remain common.

National House Buyers Association (HBA) honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said many were unfamiliar with the new system.

"The most common complaint is that the implementation of the CCC varies from one local authority to another.

"In some cases, the local authority still need to 'approve' submitted forms before the PSP can issue the CCC. This contravenes the spirit of the new system," he said.

Chang added that there had been complaints of some local authorities wanting to conduct a physical inspection of the building before accepting the CCC.

This could cause a delay in the issuance of the CCC, resulting in public confusion, especially when buyers were told by the PSP that the local authorities had the last say.

Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) immediate past president Saifuddin Ahmad said there was no change on who was responsible in the new system.

"Even before the CCC came into place, the liability and responsibility lies with the PSP. This new system is merely a different way of doing things and involves more forms," he said.

He added that the CCC pushed PSPs to look into the inspection parts of projects and ultimately, it was better for the public to have a professional ensuring everything was done according to the law.

PAM has received complaints of PSPs signing the forms withoutinspection.

"If you have signed the forms, you are taking responsibility for it," he said, adding that the CCC forms were very specific and pinpoints the person responsible for each segment of the project.

According to the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Michael K.C Yam, the system allowed building owners to move in as quickly as possible without compromising their safety.

"There are many ways delay can occur including the local authorities imposing additional conditions at the time of CF application.

"In the CCC, once technical aspects are complied with and without apparent threat to health and safety issues, the certificate can be issued," he said.

Through CCC, Vacant Possession is issued together and this overcomes the common problem in the past whereby homebuyers would receive their house keys but cannot move in as the CF had not been issued.

"The introduction of the matrix of responsibility in the Form Gs also leads to the improvement of work quality," he added.

Taking responsibility

Saifuddin said the CCC had opened up a can of worms on what actually takes place in the construction industry.

"Whenever the Board of Architects, which regulate architects and building draughtsman, receives a complaint, the secretariat will get both sides of the story.

"Then a board member looks into the case and comes up with the recommended action that is brought to the inquiry committee," he said, adding that the process was according to the Architects Act.

In some cases, the problem was caused by agreements gone sour or PSPs who have not been paid properly, as such there was no straightforward solution.

The majority of complaints, however, were on shoddy workmanship, especially in housing projects.

"The PSP does not come into the picture unless he or she did not provide proper supervision. Matters involving the Sales and Purchase Agreement (S&P) is between the developer and purchaser," said Saifuddin.

He added that they had even blacklisted PSPs.

"We have to look into the impact their actions have on public health and safety. We also will consider whether it is a first-time offence," Saifuddin said, adding that once registered as a professional, the onus was on them to act professionally.

Chang concurred there would always be errant practitioners who would spoil an otherwise well-devised system.

Yam said with responsible owners, work quality and safety were priority and in the event of failure or flaws, action can be taken against responsible parties.

"In the capital for instance, Kuala Lumpur has taken steps to circumvent problems with the launch of the integrity pact where developers sign an MoU with City Hall to ensure all obligations in the Development Order is dutifully complied with," he said.

Role of the local authority

Despite the final say being in the hands of the PSP, the local authorities still play a vital role.

"The project is based on the plans and building approval given by the local authority. Any amendments are also needed to be approved by them," explained Saifuddin.

He added that there was nothing to stop the authorities from visiting the site and there were provisions for them to take action.

"In any profession there are black sheep and PSPs who do not do their work properly.

"This needs to be reported. But a small group should not tarnish the entire profession," he said.

Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Building and Architecture Department director Yazid Sarkom said when there was a deviation from the approved plans, a report to the Board would be made.

"Usually it is possible to tell after a visual inspection if any building has not been done according to the plan.

"It is the gross alterations such as adding an additional floor that becomes a safety issue," said Yazid.

He added that that cases reported in Ampang were usually small and did not involve large projects.

The way forward

When a PSP signs the Form G, they take responsibility for that portion of the project until their passing.

Saifuddin said there was a need to look into the liability of a PSP such as limiting the number of years they were being held responsible.

"In the course of time, many things could happen to affect the building including the weather.

"Sometimes when something happens, it may not necessarily be the PSP's fault," he said, adding that many were quick to blame the architect.

Saifuddin said the construction of a building was a team effort and it was important to look into each problem to determine the right cause and who was responsible.

"In big projects, buildings are done in phases. Some contracts have components of a building designed and built by the contractor. These are the details that the public are usually not aware of," he said.

He said Malaysia lacked enforcement in many aspects.

"Sometimes when incidents happen, the ugly truth comes out that the construction works have not been approved by the local authority and no PSP was appointed.

"This makes us wonder sometimes how sure are we that the signage we commonly see outside construction sites are genuine?" he queried.

By law, all construction work needed the approval of the local authority.

Saifuddin said when it came to renovations, many were done illegally and could pose a safety hazard.

Chang said the system could be improved with the inclusion of an independent third party such as project insurer or even an independent building commissioner.

"They have to be knowledgeable, experienced and backed by the law.

"The present system takes up too much time and there is still a lot of red tape and a possible long legal process while housebuyers suffer."

Any system can fail when there is bias, noted Saifuddin.

"It must be remembered that in the final analysis, the PSP is under the payroll of his employer," he explained.

Yam believed the CCC could be further refined and fine-tuned as the industry progressed.

"We can learn by observing best practices from developed countries. There may be a future need for the introduction of some form of audit of independent checkers to provide oversight or even take over the role of issuance of CCC in order to avoid conflict of interest," he said.

LED lights to brighten up KL

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 05:17 AM PDT

EFFORTS to beautify and change the ambience of Kuala Lumpur through the use of LED (light-emitting diodes) lights are under way.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said the city needed to strengthen its role as a dynamic commercial and business centre.

"Efforts to beautify the city centre with attractive and iconic lighting and designs will attract local and foreign tourists as well as improve our ranking," he said at a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) seminar on the Kuala Lumpur Lighting Master Plan.

Ahmad Phesal said the plan was in line with the vision to realise Kuala Lumpur as a city of international standard.

"Based on reports by the World Tourism Organisation, Kuala Lumpur is ranked the seventh most visited city in the world."

In the CNN World Survey of the 10 best shopping destinations, we are in fourth place.

Among others, the plan is aimed at reducing energy consumption and enhancing the city's image and character through LED. It will be implemented in four phases.

Light Cibles chairman and chief executive officer Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said among the main initiatives was to change the ambience of Masjid Jamek using exterior lighting.

"The light fixtures will be placed to accentuate the architectural features of outstanding buildings and structures, including Masjid Jamek.

"They will enhance the beauty of the buildings and promote the architectural wealth of the city," she said.

Ahmad Phesal said RM1mil had been allocated for the Masjid Jamek project as a showcase of the lighting master plan.

"DBKL is also committed to light up the 2km-stretch from the National Mosque to the Sogo building that includes Dataran Merdeka and Jalan Mahkamah.

"We hope to complete it by the end of this year.

"The plan is important not only in beautifying the city centre but also for security reasons.

All new developments in the city centre will need to adhere to the lighting master plans," he said. He added that RM5mil would also be allocated for repainting and lighting installations at heritage buildings.


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