Jumaat, 7 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Cyber disputes loom large as Obama meets China's Xi

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 07:59 PM PDT

RANCHO MIRAGE, California (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday that the United States welcomes China's "peaceful rise" and seeks a world order where all countries play by the same rules on thorny issues like cybersecurity.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

At the start of a two-day summit at a luxurious desert estate in southern California, Obama said the world's two biggest economies must strike a balance between competition and cooperation to overcome the challenges that divide them.

But tensions over cybersecurity could test the two leaders' ability to get along in meetings billed as an informal get-to-know-you encounter at the sprawling Sunnylands compound near Palm Springs.

In their talks, Obama plans to complain to Xi about suspected Chinese hacking of U.S. secrets, even as the White House faces growing questions at home over American government surveillance.

"The United States welcomes the continuous peaceful rise of China as a world power," Obama said as the two leaders delivered statements before sitting down for closed-door meetings.

But honing in on the top U.S. concerns, Obama said Washington seeks "an international economic order where nations are playing by the same rules, where trade is free and fair and where the United States and China work together to address issues like cybersecurity and protection of intellectual property."

Xi, meeting Obama for the first time since assuming the presidency in March, expressed the hope that China and the United States could build a new model of "big country" relations - alluding to his desire that Beijing be treated more in line with its growing international clout.

"Relations between our two countries are at a new historical starting point," Xi said, describing the talks as a chance to "chart the future" of U.S.-China relations.

Obama welcomed Xi in withering heat at the Sunnylands retreat, and the smiling leaders posed for a handshake photo against a backdrop of manicured gardens and barren desert mountains in the distance. Both wore suits without neckties.

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

U.S. officials believe Obama and Xi will develop personal rapport - something lacking between American presidents and Xi's notoriously stiff predecessor, Hu Jintao - that could help ease tensions in one of the world's most important bilateral relationships.

A willingness to forgo the traditional pomp and scripted discussions of a White House visit appears to signal a fresh approach by Xi, who as president-in-waiting met Obama in Washington in February 2012. He is a Communist Party "princeling," the son of a revolutionary leader. But he is also fond of Hollywood movie war dramas.


Obama wants Xi's assurance that he takes seriously accusations of growing Chinese cyber spying, including snooping on advanced U.S. weapons designs, and will act to curb the problem.

But Xi, who made no mention of cybersecurity in their brief appearance before reporters, may not be in a conciliatory mood.

He is expected to voice discomfort over Washington's strategic "pivot" toward Asia, a military rebalancing of U.S. forces toward the Pacific that Beijing sees as an effort to hamper its economic and political expansion.

And Obama's protests about Chinese cyberspying might be blunted by news that the U.S. government has been quietly collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans as part of U.S. counter-terrorism efforts.

More questions were raised about the extent of U.S. government domestic spying when the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency and the FBI are also tapping into the central servers of leading American Internet companies to examine emails and photos.

Obama, visiting California's Silicon Valley earlier on Friday, staunchly defended the surveillance, calling it a "modest encroachment" on privacy that was necessary to protect the United States from terrorist attack.

Beijing insists it is more a victim than a perpetrator of cyber espionage. China's top internet security official said this week that he has "mountains of data" pointing to U.S. hacking aimed at China.

But the U.S. Congress is losing patience, particularly after a report that Chinese hackers had gained access to design plans for U.S. weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. China denied that, saying it needed no outside help for its military development.

The two leaders may try to deflect pressure at the summit for immediate progress on cyber disputes by promising more in-depth deliberations by a U.S.-China "working group" already set to convene in July for the first time.

Speaking to reporters inside while the two leaders sat across from each other, Obama spoke in a cordial tone but wasted little time before ticking off some of their chief differences, including North Korea, China's human rights and climate change.

In keeping with the new tone of informality, the Chinese officials were all dressed in the same ensemble: dark suit, white dress shirt with the top button unbuttoned, no ties.

Obama aides played down the chances of any big breakthroughs in more than five hours of talks with Xi over two days in Sunnylands, a 200-acre (81-hectare) desert estate that has hosted presidents such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

However, Obama will be looking to build on growing Chinese impatience with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, a shift that could bring Beijing - the closest thing Pyongyang has to an ally - closer to Washington's position.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Paul Simao)

Related Stories:
Obama wants cooperation with China, despite tensions

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Gunman kills six in California spree and is shot dead by police

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:52 PM PDT

SANTA MONICA, California (Reuters) - A gunman dressed in black killed at least six people in a string of shootings through the seaside California town of Santa Monica on Friday before he was shot dead by police in a community college library, law authorities said.

A vehicle sits on the side of a road with a window shattered by bullets that an eyewitness says is connected to a shooting a few blocks away on the campus of Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

A vehicle sits on the side of a road with a window shattered by bullets that an eyewitness says is connected to a shooting a few blocks away on the campus of Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said a second individual she described as a "person of interest" was taken into custody in connection with the violence, which unfolded a few miles from where President Barack Obama was attending a political fundraiser.

Obama completed his remarks at the event without interruption and left town for a planned summit near Palm Springs with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Secret Service called the shootings a "local police matter."

The rampage began east of Santa Monica College shortly before noon as police received multiple reports of a house fire, a carjacking and shootings in the area.

The bodies of two people were discovered at the fire scene and four more bodies were found at two other locations between the burning home and the college, police said.

Three women suffering gunshot wounds, one of whom was found in her car outside the burning home, were rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where one later died.

The overall death toll was at least seven, including the gunman. Several other people were injured in the rampage, one of them a woman listed in critical condition, police and hospital officials said.

Police exchanged gunfire with the suspect outside the college and pursued him into a library, where he was shot and killed, Seabrooks said.

She said the exact sequence of events remained under investigation and authorities had no known motive for the rampage.


Earlier, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol had told Reuters that officers received a report of a man armed with multiple weapons, including a shotgun, firing at passing cars and a bus at two locations near the college campus just west of Los Angeles.

Students at the campus library described a scene of pandemonium as the sounds of gunfire rang out, sending some scurrying for cover.

One student inside the library, Cyrus Jabari, 19, said he could see through a window a man dressed in black with a buzz-style haircut carrying what appeared to be an assault rifle.

"The only thing between me and him was a glass door," he told Reuters.

One unidentified witness to the shooting told a CNN affiliate that he saw a man drive up in a car near the campus, walk into the middle of an intersection with a gun and open fire at passing vehicles and a building before "he jumped back in the car and took off."

"It seemed like he was alone in his car," the witness said, saying that he took cover under the dashboard of his car, which was struck by gunfire. "I saw him jumping out of the car. He had a big, black gun in his hand and he just started blasting maybe 10 rounds from the left to the right."

Obama had been attending a fundraising event at the Santa Monica home of former News Corp President Peter Chernin at about the time of the shooting and had just finished his remarks. He made no mention of the incident.

A Secret Service spokesman in Washington said: "We are aware of the incident and it is not impacting the visit. It's a local police matter at this point."

(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Ron Grover, Dan Whitcomb and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Tim Gaynor in Phoenix and Steve Holland in Santa Monica; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Brazil's Indian affairs chief resigns amid land tensions

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:46 PM PDT

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The head of Brazil's Indian affairs agency, Funai, has resigned due to health problems, it said on Friday, a decision that also comes amid escalating land conflicts between farmers and Indian tribes that led to the shooting an indigenous man last week.

Marta Maria do Amaral Azevedo's departure, after little more than a year at the government agency created to protect Indian tribes, comes after the government limited Funai's power to return land to tribes that it deems traditionally indigenous.

Munduruku Indians sit in front of security guards protecting Planalto Palace during a protest, where they were prevented by security forces from entering the palace, in Brasilia June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Lunae Parracho

Munduruku Indians sit in front of security guards protecting Planalto Palace during a protest, where they were prevented by security forces from entering the palace, in Brasilia June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Lunae Parracho

Funai's actions have come under heavy criticism in recent months after a series of land restitutions to Indians including a large area in the grain-farming belt from which Xavante Indians were evicted in the 1960s.

The government introduced new rules last month bringing other entities including the agriculture ministry into the process of deciding whether land areas were long-occupied by indigenous tribes and to be returned, sidelining Funai which previously had sole responsibility for the task.

The government sent 110 federal troops on Tuesday to a disputed property that Indians are occupying in Sidrolandia in Mato Grosso do Sul, to prevent more violence after an Indian was shot dead in chaos that erupted when they were ordered to leave.

Instead of a forced eviction, President Dilma Rousseff said the government would seek a resolution through negotiation. Indians have also repeatedly occupied the construction sites of hydroelectric dams they say will uproot them from their homes.

Funai said in a statement that Azevedo needed to undergo medical treatment incompatible with her schedule as head of the entity. It said its sustainable development director, Maria Augusta Assirati, was appointed interim president.

(Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello and Peter Murphy; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

Maxis for sale?

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:38 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Speculation that tycoon T Ananda Krishnan could be looking to sell his controlling stake in Kuala Lumpur-listed Maxis Bhd has surfaced, although not for the first time.

The rumours arose a few months ago, but seem to have gained momentum following what is said to be a "house-cleaning" exercise at the telco, where seven senior executives, including its chief executive, have parted ways with the company just recently. More top management staff could be leaving, sources have said.

Although close associates of Ananda have rebuffed the idea, saying that no such sale was taking place, other insiders are bandying about a figure of RM35bil as the price tag to purchase Ananda's effective stake of 29% in Maxis.

Ananda owns 45% (via Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd) in the telco's holding company, Maxis Communications Bhd, which, in turn, owns 64.4% in the listed Maxis.

The other shareholders of Maxis Communications are Saudi Telecom Co (25%) and certain bumiputra shareholders (30%).

Maxis is the country's largest mobile player by revenue and subscriber base and is in the midst of repositioning itself as an integrated player.

The RM35bil price tag is more than double what the market values the stake at. Maxis' market capitalisation last Friday stood at RM50.6bil, giving Ananda's 29% stake a value of RM14.6bil.

One of the names being linked to a possible acquisition of Ananda's stake in Maxis is Puncak Semangat, a new kid on the telco block which had won a block of 4G long-term evolution or LTE spectrum. It would make sense for any newcomer to the capital expenditure-intensive telco industry to acquire existing operators who have invested well in their networks.

However, industry players said that it was unlikely that any one player in the market currently had that kind of firepower to acquire the controlling stake in Maxis.

"You think anyone has that kind of money? I would dismiss the talk," said someone in the know.

On the other hand, there are insiders who reckon that the time would come for Ananda to start looking at hiving off his major assets, especially when they are trading at a high value.

"Ananda is 74 years old. Although in relatively good health, there isn't a family scion to take over the businesses. It only makes sense for him to start divesting assets and putting the cash into trusts for his family," said one corporate executive who used to work for one of Ananda's companies.

Incidentally, Ananda is said to be taking a personal interest in the reorganisation underway at the top management of Maxis. There is also a plan to streamline operations and "flatten" its organisational structure.

Aside from the seven top management personnel leaving the company, more are believed to be on their way out, considering that the reorganisation plans include reducing the 24 divisions at Maxis into less than half that number.

"The idea is also to enhance accountability within the group," said a source.

Maxis was expected to announce a new reorganisation structure early next week, the source added.

Khazanah confirms receiving summons, claim from Halim’s lawyers

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 04:35 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd has confirmed that Tan Sri Halim Saad was indeed suing it, confirming a StarBiz report earlier.

In a short statement released yesterday, the sovereign wealth fund said it had received a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim from the legal representatives of Halim.

"We believe that we have a strong defence to the claim, and shall be taking all measures necessary to vigorously defend it in order to protect our interest," it said.

In a StarBiz report yesterday, Halim alleged that he had not been paid the agreed RM1.3bil and given the tracts of land that had been agreed upon in a 2001 deal.

He alleged that he was told not to exercise the "put option" but sell his shares to Khazanah instead.

Halim, the former majority owner and executive chairman of Renong Bhd, filed a legal suit in April against those he claimed had forced him to sell his shares in the company.

To recap, Renong, Malaysia's biggest conglomerate at one point of time, held a substantial stake in UEM, and in 1997, UEM announced that it had bought a 32.6% block of shares in Renong. However, this did not go down well with the investing public.

To appease the market, Halim had, in 1998, offered to buy the Renong shares from UEM by way of a "put option".

The option price for the "put" was RM3.2bil, which he was to pay in four instalments: three in RM100mil instalments and the balance with interest on Feb 14, 2001, when the option was due.

Halim was reported to have paid the first RM100mil but could not pay up the second when it was due, which was when Khazanah took over. The sovereign wealth fund took UEM private in 2001 and later cancelled the option.

Halim resigned from the Renong/UEM group in October 2001.

TNB continues to electrify

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 04:39 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Despite having gained some 20% year-to-date, Tenaga Nasional Bhd's (TNB) shares continue to be on a roll, underpinned by its improving outlook and steady growth in electricity demand.

The utility giant added four sen to close at RM8.29 yesterday. TNB shares have gained some 50 sen since the beginning of May 2013.

According to Bloomberg data, 18 analysts have a "buy" rating on the counter, three a "hold" rating and only two a "sell" call.

The consensus 12-month target price is RM8.89, while the consensus net profit for its financial year (FY) ending Aug 31, 2013 is RM3.58bil.

In an initiative report, BIMB Securities Research sees the current transformation efforts within Peninsular Malaysia's electricity supply industry as one of the most significant events in TNB's history, as it could "transform" the utility's financial profile significantly, likely triggering a subsequent stock re-rating by the market.

The research outfit has a "trading buy" call on TNB, with a target price of RM8.96.

"While undoubtedly its improved financial performance over the previous quarters have helped in contributing to its share price uptrend, which has gained 33% over the past 12 months, we believe materialisation of the sector's reform would be the most critical factor for TNB to break away from its record high of RM9.39, recorded almost 20 years back," it said.

"The proposed introduction of incentive based regulatory or IBR and the implementation of the automated fuel cost pass-through mechanism, together with a more competitive power generation sector, are seen as important factors required in establishing a sustainable power sector in Peninsular Malaysia and to rationalise the Government's subsidy for the sector.

"While taking a view at this juncture remains a challenging task, the sector would have to endure strong reforms to break away from current predicaments," BIMB Securities stated.

It also reckoned that TNB stood a "very good chance" of securing at least one of the ongoing plant-up programme tenders by the Energy Commission, with a combined capacity of 3GW.

TNB is currently bidding for two new coal-fired power plants of 1,000MW (Project 3A) and 2x1,000MW (Project 3B).

Additionally, BIMB Securities said TNB was also at various planning stages to bring up to approximately 1GW of hydro generation capacity.

Given the group's ongoing capacity expansion programmes, which represent 73% of all ongoing plant-up exercises in Peninsular Malaysia, BIMB Securities expects the group to retain its dominance in the generation segment.

By end-2016, it expects the group's effective installed capacity to account for 57% of total installed capacity in the Peninsula.

"With the expectation of gross domestic product growing around the 5% range this and next year, we forecast a demand growth of 4.7% and 4.3% in FY13 and FY14."

TENAGA : [Stock Watch] [News]

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Sports

Unheralded shooter lands gold after nerve-wracking air pistol final

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 03:44 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: There was joy for unheralded Siti Nur Masitah Badrin but heartbreak for World Cup medallist Joseline Cheah Lee Yan after the conclusion of a nerve-wracking women's 10m air pistol competition at the Tun Hanif Trophy shooting meet at the Subang Shooting Range yesterday.

Joseline continued with the fine form in the preliminary round by equalling the national mark of 388 points, which she posted en route to bagging a silver medal for Malaysia at the ISSF World Cup in Munich recently.

All looked well for her as the top qualifier, with fellow national team-mate Bibiana Ng in second place on 381 points and Siti squeezing into the eight-woman final in last spot on 367 points.

However, Joseline failed to carry that momentum into the final and was eliminated with four shots remaining in the 20-shot final.

Siti, on the other hand, surged to the front and eventually edged Bibiana for the gold with 191.4 points.

Bibiana, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, settled for silver with 191.2 points while Wahidah Ismail got the bronze on 164.9 points.

Joseline was not too distraught about finishing empty-handed although she was seen as the favourite after her breakthrough success in Munich.

"That's shooting ... the new format puts all eight finalists on equal standing. I'm happy, nevertheless, as I still managed to hit my national mark. Getting this result in two weeks is not easy," said the Penang-born Joseline. Siti, meanwhile, was delighted to have come out tops against her former national team-mates. The 27-year-old last donned national colours in the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games before joining the Royal Malaysian Navy. Now holding a sub-lieutenant post, Siti took a two-year break from shooting.

But she is now keeping her fingers crossed that she can make a comeback to the national team.

"This is the first time I've beaten the top national shooters in the 10m air pistol. I've always lost to Bibiana and Joseline ... it feels great to finally beat them. I tend to do better in the 25m sport pistol. I still want to represent the country now that I've finished my work commitments with the Navy," said Siti.

Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi continued with her hot form by bagging the 50m rifle prone gold medal with 588 points, beating national shooters Haslisa Hamed (586) and Muslifah Zulkifli (584).

It was the second gold medal for the London Olympian, who won the 50m rifle three-position event on Thursday.

Chinese star Lin Dan withdraws from Indonesian Open

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 03:42 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Oops! He has done it again.

Four-time world champion Lin Dan of China has turned his back on a Premier Super Series once more.

This time, the 29-year-old Lin Dan has withdrawn from the Indonesian Open, starting on Wednesday in Jakarta. Thus, spoiling any hopes of a possible match-ups against either Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia or Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei.

Lin Dan, whose world ranking has slipped from No. 2 to No. 68 after playing in only one international tournament since winning the gold medal at the London Olympic Games last August, will not start from the qualifying tournament of the Indonesian Open.

Badminton fans had hoped to see him make the main draw and face Taufik in the first round. And, if he had progressed, Chong Wei would have been waiting for him in the second round.

By skipping the Indonesian Open, Lin Dan's next tournament will be the World Championships in Guangzhou in China.

Even without Lin Dan, China can still spoil Chong Wei's hopes of winning the Indonesian Open for the fifth time.

Chong Wei had nicked the title in 2007 and from 2009 to 2011.

China will be represented by four players – second seed and reigning All-England champion Chen Long, Du Pengyu, Wang Zhengming and Chen Yuekun.

Chong Wei is drawn to meet former world junior champion Zhengming in the opening round. World No. 3 Pengyu is also in his half.

Pengyu had beaten Chong Wei at the Super Series Masters Finals last year.

Barring any upsets, Chong Wei is expected to face Chen Long in the final.

Chen Long had triumphed in their last two clashes – at the Hong Kong Open and All-England.

Hopes are high on Chen Long to become the first player from China in 24 years to win the Indonesian Open title. Xiong Guobao was the last player from China to win in Indonesia in 1989.

Shuttler admits to his game falling apart but vows to get it right

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 03:42 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National men's doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat's lifestyle off the court has come under intense scrutiny of late. He's been booed by fans on the court and his game is falling apart.

And, yesterday, the shuttler decided to come clean – finally admitting that his life is in a slight mess.

The 27-year-old Kien Keat also admitted that he's desperately reaching out for help to salvage his partnership with Tan Boon Heong ahead of the World Championships in Guangzhou in August.

The duo have been issued an ultimatum by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM): reach the final at the world meet or be split up.

The pair have endured a rollercoaster ride in their seven-year partnership.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong came under severe fire after losing to Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin in a group tie against Taiwan during the Sudirman Cup at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil last month. Malaysia lost 3-2.

The poor showing was synonymous of the year-long struggle faced by the duo, who seemed to have hit a plateau since losing in the bronze medal playoff at the Olympic Games in London last year.

Several factors have been attributed to their dip in form, including the lack of discipline and their "colourful" lifestyles.

But to be fair to them, the duo have also come through different coaches – from Yap Kim Hock to Rexy Mainaky, Pang Cheh Chang, Tan Kim Her, Yoo Yong-sung and Paulus Firman. So, it's not easy for the duo to adapt to so many trainers in such a short span of time.

Kien Keat also admitted that he was not as committed to the game as he used to be and was struggling to be as consistent as world No. 1 men's singles shuttler and good friend Lee Chong Wei.

"I just want to admit that I have not given as much commitment as I've wanted to, of late. There is a combination of factors that has led me to this stage ... but I do not want to delve into it now. But I know, things have gone wrong," said Kien Keat.

"Yes, sometimes I have stayed up late. Sometimes I just can't sleep at night ... and I only have three or four hours' rest. I have spoken about my insomnia problem with the management and I'm getting help in this area.

"It becomes hard to get up in the morning.

"I also I find that as I grow older, I tend to be slower in my recovery from a hard's day training.

"I remember that when I was younger, I used to ask my former partner (Chan Chong Ming) why he gets tired easily. Now, I understand ... different people react differently to hard training."

Kien Keat also spoke about his frustrations.

"There is just so much frustration in me right now. I know my humble beginnings and I've always set high goals in all the major tournaments ... but I get fed up when I keep failing," he said.

"It's so difficult to be consistently at the top like Chong Wei. But then, singles is totally different compared to doubles.

"In doubles, both players will have to be at their best – at the same time. It can be quite complicated when one is up and the other is down."

But that, Kien Keat said, would not stop him from standing by his partner Boon Heong.

"Although things have not been going smoothly for us, I've never thought of changing partner. It takes many years to understand your partner and, I guess, both of us know each other's strong and weak points," said Kien Keat.

"For now I'm focused on getting it right with Boon Heong until the World Championships. I'm not worried about whether we'll be split up or anything.

"I know it seems rather late to hope for an outstanding performance at the world meet but that's all we can hope for.

"For now, I will get whatever help I can to strike it right with Boon Heong at the world meet."

Firstly though, Kien Keat-Boon Heong will get a chance to redeem their battered pride when they compete in the Indonesian Open in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The third seeds will take on Indonesia's Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Hendra Gunawan in the first round.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Creating a comic community

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:33 AM PDT

Comics Are Cool! aims to show Malaysians that comics are, well, cool again.

WHY comics? "Why not?" shrugs Angelia Ong.

"Comics are amazing things – there are so many different genres and stories for readers of all ages," she adds. "For adults and kids who are not so comfortable with reading books with a lot of words, comics are a great way to get into reading. (Game Of Thrones creator) George R.R. Martin said before that he got interested in reading through comics, as opposed to usual books."

Ong is the driving force behind Comics are Cool! (CAC!, complete with exclamation mark), a series of events striving to build a stronger local community of comic fans, artists and writers, as well as the Malaysian Games and Comics Convention (MGCC) that was held May last year at Kolej Damansara Utama.

Comics Are Cool! and Borders Malaysia recently held the Let's Nerd Out Weekend event at Borders The Curve on May 11 and 12, in conjunction with Free Comic Book Day & Star Wars Day. The event featured appearances and signings by top Malaysian comic book artists such as Tan Eng Huat, Michael Chuah, Sheldon Goh and Zid, and other comics and Star Wars-related activities.

Ong, who runs creative studio Banshee Creative, always had an interest in comics, but her interest grew greater after she married Goh (who currently draws for Zenescope). The idea for MGCC and CAC! came about after she visited the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention in 2009, and came home wondering why there wasn't something similar in Malaysia.

After all, Malaysia has produced its share of internationally-known comic artists who have drawn for comics superpowers like DC Comics, Marvel and Image, and there is also a growing community of independent comic creators and fans.

"We do have a comics event here, but it tends to focus a lot on manga and anime. We wanted to organise something that was more than just that, and with a greater focus on Western comics," says Ong, while emphasising that she doesn't really draw any lines between Western or Asian comics. "The lines (between the two) are blurred anyway – you can have Western comics in a manga setting and vice versa. As long as there is a good story and people enjoy it, it doesn't matter (which medium it is in)."

Before starting work on the Malaysian Games and Comics Convention, however, Ong wanted to see how well a comic-related event would be received, so she organised the first ever CAC! event at local comic book store Earth 638 in October 2011 to see what sort of response she would get.

"We had over 200 people in one afternoon, which was pretty decent for an event that small!" she recalls. "That's when we started working on organising the convention itself, and eventually got more than 2,000 attendees."

According to her, the CAC! events are sort of like a subset of the bigger MGCC, which she based on US comic conventions like the massive San Diego Comic-Con.

"The response (to MGCC) was really positive, and we plan to have one more next year," she says, adding that the plan is to hold MGCC every two years. "In the meantime, we'll be doing smaller CAC! events like the one in Borders recently, which was really nice.

"Events like that help to create awareness about comics, and let people know that you can get this geeky, nerdy type stuff here as well!"

She also reckons that the popularity of recent comic-based movies has helped to attract new fans and rekindled the comic-loving flame in many older fans.

"The recent event at Borders had participants of all ages, from really young kids to adults. It's a good way for like-minded people to get together and have a good time, for the younger ones to be exposed to a different genre of comics, and if you're an adult, to not feel judged that you are still reading comics or collecting stuff at that age!"

Ultimately, Ong hopes to build a bigger local community of comic book fans, creators and publishers through these events. "Many people don't know that there is a small pool of artists who actually draw for major comic publishers," she says. "We've also got a decent community of local indie artists with some great stuff, so we want to provide a place for them to show their work, sell their work, and reach out to new and existing fans.

"When you have a thriving community, your industry tends to grow along with it as well. I don't have big plans (for CAC!) – we just want to try and grow the community. We just want to show Malaysians that comics are cool again, in our country at least."

For updates about future Comics Are Cool! events, join their Facebook page at facebook.com/comicsarecoolnow.

All will be well

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:30 AM PDT

Geoff Johns ends his epic, near-decade-long run on Green Lantern with a blockbusting final issue.

"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!"

GEOFF Johns was a writer who perfectly captured the essence of the Green Lantern Corps' oath, as proven by his almost-10-year stint on Sector 2814 (the space sector where Earth and 18 other planets reside), which ended last week with Green Lantern #20.

While many writers tend to rely on their artists to breathe life into their tales, Johns is one of those rare exceptions whose stories always occupy centre stage. Take, for example, his six-year stint on The Flash (#164-#225), where he was paired with able but low-profile artists such as Scott Kolins, Angel Unzieta, Josue Rivera and Howard Porter.

During his adrenaline-pumping tenure, Geoff's main achievements included establishing Wally West as THE Flash (winning over a significant number of die-hard Barry Allen fans in the process), making sense of the Speed Force, and pumping up the dastardliness of the Rogues.

Instead of taking the shortcut of pitting heroes against their arch-enemies, Johns did it differently, via a character-building approach. In the majority of his works (The Flash, Teen Titans, Justice Society Of America, Action Comics, Hawkman, Aquaman and even Booster Gold), Johns' secret ingredient has always been his penchant for character development.

From the obvious to the most obscure detail, the man's got all the bases covered thanks to his research skills (the man owns every single issue of The Flash!), and his strong connection to the fans (he also co-owns a comic shop called Earth 2 in California).

With such a proven track record, it's no surprise that DC Comics appointed him chief creative officer in February 2010, enabling him to spread his magic throughout the company's output. With his increased responsibilities, something had to give, and this month's Green Lantern #20 marks his swansong on that book and all its related titles.

Green Lantern #20
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

THIS issue has been nine years in the making, though fortunately you don't need to read every single story since the beginning of Johns' run to appreciate it.

Back in 2004 when Johns and Ethan Van Sciver reinstated Hal Jordan as this sector's Emerald Guardian back in Green Lantern Rebirth, it ignited an exciting journey that would produce major milestones such as The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, War Of The Green Lanterns, Rise Of The Third Army and finally, Wrath Of The First Lantern.

In the course of these epic events, Johns' knack for character development went into overdrive with the reaffirmation of Hal as the greatest ring-bearer ever; the redefinition of Sinestro's villainous role; the injection of (literally) more colour into the mythos; the creation of a Muslim Green Lantern, Simon Baz; and providing a new dimension to Parallax as well as introducing the First Lantern!

Johns and long-time Green Lantern collaborator Mahnke are not the only ones leaving the title on a high note, as this comprehensive "oversized" anniversary issue also delivers in terms of giving the main characters some deserved closure.

Aptly entitled The End, Johns' final story neatly wraps up more than nine years of plotting, while serving as the final issue of the epic Wrath Of The First Lantern story arc.

The First Lantern, Volthoom, is a relatively new face in the mythos, making his debut during the War Of The Green Lanterns event before taking on a more prominent role in Rise Of The Third Army and this final storyline.

A formidable villain with the power to manipulate reality, his roots date back to an early point in the universe's history; he was a time-traveller whose inquisitiveness threatened the Guardians, who then imprisoned him in a lantern-shaped construct located within a black hole.

Johns certainly goes out with a bang here, as he has Hal Jordan, Sinestro, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, Carol Ferris and every ring-wielder from all the different colours of the emotional spectrum (green, red, yellow, violet, indigo, blue, orange, black and white) going up against Volthoom!

Spoiler alert!

This is essentially a tale of three lanterns – Hall, Sinestro and Volthoom. At the start of the issue, Hal is still stuck in the Dead Zone and trying to get out, Sinestro is incensed over the destruction of his home planet Korugar, and Volthoom is considering the best way to kill off the Guardians of Oa.

Meanwhile, the other Lanterns from across the emotional spectrum launch an all-out attack on Volthoom, but their combined might doesn't even faze him. Even the arrival of Sinestro and Hal can't turn the tide. In the end, it takes two major wild cards to stop Volthoom – Parallax and Nekron!

This act of "taming" them to use against Volthoom seemed illogical, mainly because past encounters with these two powerful villains were nothing short of cataclysmic. However, such a high-stakes gamble was definitely required to defeat a villain like Volthoom. With Sinestro absorbing Parallax, and Hal releasing Nekron from the Dead Zone, the risks pay off as the addition of the two major entities' powers overwhelms the First Lantern's defences and he is eradicated.

But wait! The story is not over yet, as Sinestro still has a bone to pick with the Guardians for their role in Korugar's destruction. Using his Sinestro Corps as a distraction, he avenges his people and ends the Guardians' reign!

While such an act would normally result in the compulsory duel to the death between Sinestro and Hal, Johns adds another twist to the mix, with the two eternal rivals finally coming to terms and admitting their friendship.

"That's the tragedy of all of this, Jordan. Hal. We'll always be friends," are Sinestro's parting words to Hal. It wasn't the last sentence that caught my attention, but Sinestro referring to his greatest nemesis simply as "Hal".

Apart from the numerous milestones he has implanted in Green Lantern mythology, Johns' final issue is made even more memorable by this redefinition of the Jordan-Sinestro rivalry. To complement this emotional farewell, we also get to see how the other main characters end up, with almost everyone getting a happy ending!

I had mixed emotions about this issue; while it offers the perfect closure for Hal and the others, Johns' departure certainly takes some of the shine off. His emphasis on character development always had a powerful effect on the reader, making you feel for them – which I certainly did with Hal and Wally West.

While I am still reluctant to embrace Johns' successor Robert Venditti, at least the presence of fellow Malaysian Billy Tan as the series' new regular artist (starting with issue #21) offers some cheer.

Still, Sector 2814 will never be the same again. Thank you, Geoff Johns, for 10 eventful years, and may all be well for you in your future endeavours!

Comic courtesy of Earth 638 (2nd Floor, Kelana Mall, Jalan SS6/12, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-7804 8380, e-mail: Earth638@yahoo.com

Feel the Force

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 05:30 AM PDT

THE Force is strong with the Star Wars Malaysia Fan Club (SWMFC), which will be organising the first ever Star Wars Weekend Celebration this weekend (June 8 and 9) from 11am to 6pm at the Kuala Lumpur Library, next to Dataran Merdeka.

There will be lots of fun activities for the entire family, with booths selling Star Wars merchandise and toys (where you might find the droids you're looking for); a colouring competition for children; a Star Wars diorama and custom toy competition (tip: always let the Wookie win); an exhibition of toys and memorabilia; and also a charity auction. Yup, we've got a good feeling about this one.

So dust off your old Jedi robes, polish up those lightsabers and come feel the Force with your fellow Star Wars fans this weekend! For more information, check out the SWMFC's Facebook page (facebook.com/groups/swmfc).

Remember, come, or do not come. There is no try.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

Two surrender over allegedly insulting King on Facebook

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 08:56 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Two individuals, among those wanted in a case for allegedly insulting Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, surrendered themselves at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters here Friday.

According to a police spokesman, the two individuals, a man and a woman in their 30s, had their statements taken.

It is understood they were accompanied by a lawyer when they surrendered at 3pm.

Last Saturday, a Facebook user was alleged to have issued statements insulting the speech of Tuanku Abdul Halim. Other comments uploaded to the social page also allegedly insulted the King.

A 32-year-old woman was detained on Tuesday in the Ampang area here in connection with the case. Four other individuals were also being hunted by police over the case. - Bernama

Related Stories:
Woman who insulted King released as cops probe case
NGOs lodge police report against netizens who allegedly insulted King

Paul Low: I'm not interested in cosmetic changes

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 08:44 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan has attacked critics for expecting him to stop corruption almost immediately, adding that he was more concerned with long-term solutions.

"Some critics have given me 100 days to show results. Yes, it is possible, but these will only be cosmetic changes in which I am not interested. So I am sorry to disappoint them," he said in a a speech at a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) event in Putrajaya Friday.

Low, who is also Minister for Governance and Integrity, said he preferred to address "root causes" instead, adding that he would push for "whole paradigm shifts" to take place.

He added that changes would be made through "integrity action" programmes affecting all levels of government.

He said these measures were needed for Malaysia to become a high-income economy, and a safe place for domestic and foreign investments.

Low added that he would be working with various government agencies as well as outside experts in the form of non-governmental organisations.

He said that change would only come if everyone in the Government and civil service cooperated with future good governance initiatives.

Low was formerly the president of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (Malaysia), a post he resigned from after being appointed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

His entry as a Minister and his later sidestepping of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) earned him criticism from various quarters.

Previously, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng alleged that Low, who was once supposedly a supporter of the IPCMC, "changed his tune" by propping the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) for overseeing the police instead.

Low, however, did not seem fazed by the criticism directed towards him, adding that he had been called a "lame-duck minister" after spending just three days in office.

"The critics expected me to play the role of a sheriff like in the Wild, Wild West, going around fighting corruption with both guns blasting," he said, adding that he was labelled as one expected to fail.

He then called for MACC officials to dedicate themselves in the fight against corruption, adding: "Let us all work together to prove the critics wrong."

Related Stories:
Low's Cabinet appointment will not change his principles, says Tunku Aziz
Paul Low: Government committed to tackling graft

Penang ramp collapse: Dad was on the way home with dinner, says tearful daughter

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 08:48 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: The victim killed in the collapse of the Second Penang Bridge's flyover ramp was on his way home after buying dinner at a hawker centre in Bayan Lepas.

Nur Aina Syazwani, 11, the daughter of the late Tajudin Zainal Abidin, said her father called home at 6.30pm to ask what they wanted to have for dinner.

"But by 8pm, he did not return home," said Syazwani.

Tajudin's wife, Sharifah Ramli then went out to search for him.

Sharifah refused to talk to the press.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin said that Sharifah told him that she continued calling him but there was no reply.

"When it was revealed that the car crushed under the rubble was a silver Kelisa, she had a very bad feeling," Sim said.

He added that she was almost sure something had happened to Tajudin after seeing pictures of a partial car number plate on the Internet.

The body of Tajudin will be buried at the Kampung Perlis cemetery in Bukit Merah Saturday.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Javier Bardem to take on Sean Penn in 'The Gunman'

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 09:19 PM PDT

French director Pierre Morel (Taken) will film the faceoff between two men in an adaptation of the French novel The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette, reveals Deadline.com

Following his brilliant campy portrayal of the villain in Skyfall, Javier Bardem is now attached to play another bad guy in the crime drama.

In this adaptation of Manchette's 1982 noir novel, Sean Penn plays a young hitman who wants to retire, but whose past catches up with him soon enough.

Javier Bardem has also signed on to portray the good guy for a change in A Most Violent Year, a feature project by up-and-coming US filmmaker JC Chandor, who helmed the successful films Margin Call and All Is Lost.


Archie comics spins into first live-action film

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 08:27 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comic book teenagers Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead are coming to the big screen for the first time in a new live-action feature film based on the long-running Archie comic series, its publisher said on Thursday.

The comedy will be produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and will feature the lead Archie characters in a high school in present-day Riverdale, the fictional backdrop of the series, Archie Comics said in a statement on its website.

Archie began in 1941 and became a comic book empire for Archie Comics, which has produced numerous series featuring the main characters.

The comics have been adapted for television in animated and live-action series in the past, as well as a television movie featuring an adult Archie, but this is the first time in the comic book's 72-year history that a feature film will be made.

Red-haired Archie Andrews is well-known in American pop culture, along with his long-running love triangle with the brunette Veronica Lodge and blonde-haired Betty Cooper and antics with best friend Jughead Jones, the publisher said.

"We are thrilled to be working with Warner Bros. on this project and have complete faith in their ability to bring Archie to the big screen in a way the fans will love," Jon Goldwater, publisher and co-CEO of Archie Comics, said in the statement.

The new film will be directed by Jason Moore, the filmmaker behind 2012's musical comedy "Pitch Perfect," the publisher said. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will write the screenplay.

No additional details were provided.

Superheros from Marvel and DC Comics have been dominating the global box office as new films featuring Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America and superhero collective The Avengers have grossed billions of dollars worldwide.

Warner Bros. is releasing Superman reboot Man Of Steel in theaters on June 14 as a darker spin on Clark Kent and his heroic counterpart.

Coming Soon: Man Of Steel

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 02:57 AM PDT

Man Of Steel — Kal-El has always felt like an outsider because he was transported to Earth away from his dying planet of Krypton and raised as Clark Kent by his human parents. But his destiny seems to be closely connected with his adopted planet, especially when some nasty types from his homeworld come a-calling. Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: Central

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Central

Wrath of environmentalists

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 11:49 PM PDT

A VISIT to the recently reopened Taman Rimba Ampang gives a good idea of the possible environmental impact the proposed East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), the final route of the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR), may have.

The park was closed for about a year for a major clean-up and to repair amenities damaged by serious flooding in March last year, which also inundated two villages nearby.

Broken roads and paved paths, rotting trunks lying across the river in which children play and a gazebo is sloping down dramatically due to soil movement are all too common.

This extensive damage happened when the trees on the hills around Sungai Ampang were still intact. As such, the prospect of a highway being built right though these hills was undeniably worrying.

Environmental groups are not convinced by the Detailed Environ-mental Impact Assessment (DEIA) done by UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd, which was commissioned by EKVE Sdn Bhd, the project proponent.

The company is a subsidiary of Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd which signed the RM1.55bil concession agreement with the Works Ministry for the design, construction, completion, operation, management and maintenance of the stretch.

It was reported that the concession period is 50 years.

Environmental groups were surprised that the Environment Department (DoE) in Putrajaya approved the said DEIA about a month ago.

They felt that the approval was "done irregularly" in a meeting in which NGOs, including the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), which was on the panel, were not invited.

Environmentalist Lim Teck Wyn said a petition with more than 3,000 signatures of residents and park visitors had been submitted during the DEIA's public viewing period but it was still approved.

"The primary concern here is that the highway will cut through the Selangor State Park gazetted in 2005 in conjunction with its Developed State status.

The state park was classified as Rank 1 Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) under the National Physical Plan and accorded the highest status of protection.

"If this is the kind of thing we do to a heritage site, we do not deserve developed state status," said Lim.

To make their voices heard, MNS, WWF-Malaysia, Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES) and Save Our Rivers (SOS) have formed the Coalition for Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor recently. Lim is its adviser.

The Ampang Forest Reserve that falls within the state park would be affected, Lim pointed out.

He added that the DEIA had left out the forest reserve's boundaries, which would show the impact more clearly.

"Part of the highway is right next to Sungai Ampang in the upstream.

"This is also the Ampang water catchment area and the source of Sungai Klang, which the River of Life project is striving to rehabilitate. What's the point of cleaning Sungai Klang when its source is not protected?" said Lim.

He pointed out that the river was crystal clear some 10 years ago.

"Natural landslides upstream have made the water murky now, just imagine how the construction will affect water quality," he said.

The NGOs also felt that the erosion preventive measures suggested in the DEIA would not reduce its harmful impact much.

They insisted on re-aligning the highway and wanted to be on the panel that would oversee this.

"The erosion modelling used by the DEIA had not taken into consideration the increased risk of flooding shown in the past few years.

"The highway planning also did not look at the additional highways we have in Kuala Lumpur and MyRapid Transit, it is still based on a study done in the 1990s.

"Furthermore, instead of building this highway, why not just build an elevated MRR2 since they are connecting the same places?" Lim queried.

He said the groups acknowledged that a stretch of the earlier proposed alignment that would affect the Klang Gate Quartz Ridge was not approved.

"However, there is no guarantee that it will not happen in the future. We fear that once the highway goes through, the whole forest will be opened up for development."

Lim urged the federal and state governments to consult the public whenever a forest reserve would be affected.

"The state government has made a ruling to protect forest reserves but it has not been fully adhered to, look at what happened in the Kanching Forest Reserve.

"Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has said that Kedah is willing to forgo timber revenue.

"If Kedah can do it, Selangor should be the one leading the way," said Lim.

Third-time lucky EKVE receives DoE approval

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 04:50 AM PDT

THE Environment Department (DoE) in Putrajaya had earlier rejected the Detailed Environ-mental Impact Assessment (DEIA) submitted by project proponent EKVE Sdn Bhd on two occasions — Feb 22 and June 26, 2012 — before finally giving the approval on April 25.

Director-general Datuk Halimah Hassan said the department only gave its approval after it was satisfied with the additional assessment and information submitted, which met the requirements of Section 34A(2) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

She said the approval came with 62 conditions.

"The DEIA was approved for the development of this expressway project limited from CH0.000 up CH24000.000, which is 24.16km from the Sungai Long Interchange to the Ukay Perdana Interchange. The earlier proposed stretch from Ukay Perdana Interchange to International Islamic University Malaysia (UIAM) was not approved.

"Feedback from the public and all relevant parties has been addressed in the additional assessment done by the DEIA consultants and the project proponent," said Halimah.

She added that the DEIA was also processed in accordance with procedures set by DOE.

Halimah explained that the company was required to take stringent measures to control pollution, sediment and erosion.

It needed to submit the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) and a Wildlife Management Plan, among others.

A third-party environmental audit was also required during the construction and operation phase.

She said the company also needed to install Pollution Removal System (PRS) at two locations near the Ampang and Sungai Langat water intake points, adding that the proposed Ampang Interchange had been relocated downstream of the Ampang Water Intake point to protect the water quality of Sungai Ampang.

"Should the proposed project be implemented, the DOE will be enforcing the DEIA approval conditions and will be monitoring its construction closely," she said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Saving the corals

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 01:59 AM PDT

PULAU TIOMAN: Divers are giving continuous support to coral-adopting activities in Tioman Island through coral cleaning programme.

About 20 dive masters, newly licenced divers from media, divers from Department of Marine Park and Tourism Pahang have taken their time diving into a 16m deep open sea off Damai Beach Resort in Kampung Genting.

A time frame of an hour was given to them in the cleaning programme. Although, it was insufficient, they continued later in the following diving session.

According to coordinator Zulkifli Abdul Latiff, the programme could also be considered maintenance works while at the same time, monitoring the corals. Divers have earlier conducted adopting-a-coral programme which was held last year in the Starts-In-Tioman diving lessons.

Zulkifli said most corals transplanted in the pots were healthy as its size has grown tremendously, thus proving that the environment was suitable for the corals to survive.

He said popular underwater species like "garoupa" (ikan kerapu) and lionfish were seen visiting the transplanted corals.

"Most of the transplanted corals in the nursery were in good, intact, healthy and are growing.

"The divers have taken a lot of effort to volunteer in diving from time to time, to check on the environment where rubbish were also collected and brought up to be thrown away," Zulkifli said.

He said the volunteers are commited to ensure the coral nursery received less threats.

In the adopting corals programme last year, some 100 pieces of broken corals were transplanted in the pots which were later tranferred to the sea basin with a nursery concept.

Each pot consists of a mixture of clay, sodium, water, and other materials to facilitate the corals' healthly growth.

The programme has been under the supervision of the Department of Marine Park Malaysia where donor coral fragments were selected and harvested from healthy corals that have broken off.

Zulkifli said the corals would get stressed when exposed to changes in sea conditions such as temperature, light or nutrients and expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues causing them to turn white.

"In a move to protect, preserve and conserve the corals, a resort operator Villagers Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, Tourism Ministry's Pahang Office, Tioman Development Authority and Tioman Marine Park have taken the efforts to conserve the corals as conducted in this programme," he said.

Access to potable water

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 02:00 AM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: More villagers, who have to rely on collecting rain water and depending on wells, now have clean water supply, thanks to the "Clean Water for Communities" project by Raleigh Borneo and Coca-Cola.

After seven years of helping local communities, Raleigh Borneo, a youth development charity body continues to do what they do best – initiating community projects which benefits villagers in terms of getting water supply and better education among others.

The latest beneficiary through the "Clean Water for Communities" project were villages from Sabah's west coast Pitas district — Kampung Bulud Batu, Kampung Boribi and Kampung Pinapak — comprising 32 homes and more than 300 people.

A villager from Kg Bulud Batu known as Aunty Rodiah said she was extremely happy when she saw clean water coming from her tap as it was not a thing they got the chance to enjoy before this.

"Words cannot express my feelings today when we turned on the tap and saw clean water gushing out of the gravity feed system built by the Raleigh team," said the mother of two, who has been making weekly trips by car to the village's nearest water source to collect water and fill up large plastic containers for the week's use.

Most of the villagers from these three villages depended heavily on well and rainwater, and when these ran dry, they had to trek or drive to an alternative water source further away to haul water back.

The "Clean Water for Communities" project began in 2006 in Kampung Paus, a little village situated deep inland in the Ranau distric, where its villagers had to trek for miles each day to get water supply from a river until the day a group of youth volunteers came in to construct a water gravity feed system which channeled water directly to the village.

To date, the Coca-Cola funded project has brought a new lease of life to about 15,000 people as they can now enjoy the basic necessity of having clean water piped into their homes or village for daily use.

The water gravity project had received support from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah who applauded the Raleigh volunteers aged between 17 and 25 for their positive and caring spirit for the local community.

The project sees Raleigh volunteers building or repairing gravity water feed systems in the remote villages deep in the interior of Sabah where basic amenities such as power and water supply are not easily available.

The possibility of a lack of water supply in Malaysia's tropical weather with its heavy rainfalls may seem ironic but unfortunately not everyone in the country has access to clean, potable water.

Living with a basic roof over their heads, the volunteers work with the local community to identify a nearby clean water source, where a dam is built and water piped into the village – be it the homes or communitycentres – which saves women and children, who traditionally bear the burden of carrying water, a long arduous trek to the water source.

Burnt to the ground

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 02:00 AM PDT

TEMERLOH: More than a dozen Indonesian workers lost most of their belongings after a morning fire razed their quarters to the ground recently.

The fire which started at about 10.30am was believed to have been caused by an act of negligence.

Initial investigations revealed that one of the workers could have forgotten to switch off the gas stove after cooking.

At the height of the fire, several explosions from a gas cylinder were heard from afar.

Due to the wooden structure of the quarters, the fire spread very fast before the workers could rush back to salvage their personal belongings.

Two fire engines from the Mentakab fire station with eight firemen took about half an hour to put out the fire.

No one was injured as all the workers had left for work at a nearby housing project during the incident.

Firemen also faced some difficulties in putting out the fire promptly due to low water pressure and lack of proper fire hydrants.

Several cables supplying electricity to a nearby housing settlement were also slightly damaged during the fire.

Fire and Rescue Department public relations officer Anuar Hassan said the cause and total losses were still under investigations.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved