Isnin, 17 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. right to arm Syrian rebels, says Israeli president

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 08:11 PM PDT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli President Shimon Peres has thrown his weight behind U.S. plans to arm Syrian rebels, shrugging off fears the weapons could be turned on Israel and exacerbate the conflict.

Israel's President Shimon Peres gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Jerusalem June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israel's President Shimon Peres gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Jerusalem June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters before his 90th birthday, Peres dismissed the idea that Israel could launch a unilateral military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities and urged Palestinians and Israelis to forge immediate peace.

Looking at the many problems besetting the Middle East, Israel's elder statesmen, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said terror groups were ripping apart the Arab world.

After two years of uncertainty in the face of the Syrian civil war, the United States announced last week it would start to arm rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after concluding his forces had used chemical weapons.

Many Israeli politicians have cautioned against giving weapons to the increasingly radicalised rebel fighters, fearful that the arms would sooner or later used against Israel, which shares a tense frontier with its old foe Syria.

But asked if the U.S. decision was wise, Peres said "Yes."

"They didn't have a choice," he added, sitting in the sun-soaked garden of his tranquil Jerusalem residence and speaking in quiet, measured tones.

"Unfortunately it is becoming more of a confrontation between two superpowers and (there is) a growing intervention of outside forces ... It is a tragedy," he said.

While Russia, Iran and Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah have thrown their weight behind Assad, radicalised Islamist groups allied to al Qaeda have increasingly taken over the rebel cause, marginalising more moderate forces backed by Washington.

Peres said all the world's "unemployed terrorists" were heading to the region, bringing ruin in their wake.

"They are killing Lebanon, they are killing Syria, they are killing Iraq. Wherever they are around, they are endangering the Arab identities, their nationalities."


Lionised abroad for promoting Middle East peace, Peres is often a lonesome dove in Israel and wields moral authority as president rather than any real political power.

Closely associated with the political left, he has sought to avoid friction with the right-wing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. But he has broken ranks over Iran, scoffing at threats from the government to attack Iranian nuclear facilities in an effort to prevent Tehran from building an atomic bomb.

"Why should Israel talk about wars and arms? We must understand there are things we cannot do," Peres said, adding that only the United States could prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Tehran says its atomic programme is peaceful.

Peres is due to host an international conference this week, drawing an array of business and political leaders.

One man who will not be attending is prominent British scientist Stephen Hawking, who pulled out of the event last month to protest against Israel's occupation of territory where the Palestinians want to create an independent state.

Peres said the boycott was a mistake, but urged his government to find a way to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians which broke down in 2010 over the issue of continued Jewish settlement building on occupied land.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to revive the talks and Peres said the opportunity must be seized. "I say again and again, clear and loud, we have to make peace right now."

Kerry has warned that the so-called two state solution might evaporate within two years, as Israel forges ahead with its expansion programme in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are speckled with some 120 authorised settlements and dozens of outposts built by settlers without permission.

Ever optimistic, Peres thought the settler problem could be overcome, pointing to ideas outlined in previous negotiations.

"They were offered two options. One, the settlers that want to come back (to Israel) should come back and be compensated. There will be three blocs for the ones that want to remain ... What will be in the (next) negotiations, we will see in the future," he said.

Peres played a central role in the Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993 after months of secrecy, laying out the promise of an independent Palestine within five years.

He shared a Nobel Peace prize for the deal, but the agreement failed to live up to expectations and is now routinely denounced by numerous Israeli and Palestinian politicians.

However, Peres refused to review his career, saying he did not want to become a "poet of regret".

"I don't look back. It is not interesting. Because what happened is over, unchangeable ... I am more interested in what will happen tomorrow. History moves forward," he said.

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Obama sees Iran's election of moderate as hopeful sign

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 08:07 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday that Iran's election of a moderate as its next president is a sign that Iranians want to move in a different direction, but he was uncertain whether it would lead to a breakthrough over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Fars News/Majid Hagdost

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Fars News/Majid Hagdost

In an interview with public television anchor Charlie Rose, Obama said the United States and its allies would be willing to hold talks with Iran over its nuclear program, as long as Tehran recognized that international sanctions would not be lifted unless Iran proved it is not building a nuclear weapon.

"As long as there's an understanding about the basis of the conversation, then I think there's no reason why we shouldn't proceed," Obama said.

The surprise victory by Iran's Hassan Rohani in weekend elections to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president was seen by the United States as positive, at least at first glance.

"I think it says that the Iranian people want to move in a different direction," said Obama. "The Iranian people rebuffed the hardliners and the clerics in the election who were counselling no compromise on anything any time anywhere. Clearly you have a hunger within Iran to engage with the international community in a more positive way."

Obama noted, however, that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains Iran's supreme leader "so we're going to have to continue to see how this develops and how this evolves over the next several weeks, months, years."

"I do think that there's a possibility that they decide - the Iranians decide - to take us up on our offer to engage in a more serious substantive way," he said.

The interview was taped on Sunday and broadcast on Monday on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

It touched on many of the international challenges Obama is facing, including the question of how to assist Syrian rebels militarily after Washington determined last week that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the opposition.

Obama sounded sceptical about the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over Syria, which his administration has been considering. He said it is possible that a no-fly zone "may not be actually solving the problem."

Whatever assistance the United States provides should be done carefully because "it is very easy to slip-slide your way into deeper and deeper commitments," he said.

Obama, who had face-to-face talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping this month in California, said he believes the Chinese recognize the U.S. desire for China to play a positive role on the world stage, but Beijing has yet to fully take on that responsibility.

The president engaged in a blunt conversation with Xi about cyber hacking and what American officials believe has been the theft of U.S. trade secrets by China.

"I think what you're seeing inside of (the) Chinese leadership is the desire to maybe continue not to be responsible, not to be a full stakeholder, work the international system on something like trade or intellectual property rights, get as much as they can, and be free-riders and let the United States worry about the big hassles and the big problems," Obama said.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Biggest protests in 20 years sweep Brazil

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 06:56 PM PDT

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - As many as 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil's biggest cities on Monday in a swelling wave of protest tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.

Demonstrators display a banner during a protest against the Confederation's Cup and the government of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Demonstrators display a banner during a protest against the Confederation's Cup and the government of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, where demonstrators climbed onto the roof of Brazil's Congress building and then stormed it.

Monday's demonstrations were the latest in a flurry of protests in the past two weeks that have added to growing unease over Brazil's sluggish economy, high inflation and a spurt in violent crime.

While most of the protests unfolded as a festive display of dissent, some demonstrators in Rio threw rocks at police, set fire to a parked car and vandalized the state assembly building. Vandals also destroyed property in the southern city of Porto Alegre.

Around the country, protesters waved Brazilian flags, dancing and chanting slogans such as "The people have awakened" and "Pardon the inconvenience, Brazil is changing."

The epicenter of Monday's march shifted from Sao Paulo, where some 65,000 people took to the streets late in the afternoon, to Rio. There, as protesters gathered throughout the evening, crowds ballooned to 100,000 people, local police said. At least 20,000 more gathered in Belo Horizonte.

The demonstrations are the first time that Brazilians, since a recent decade of steady economic growth, are collectively questioning the status quo.


The protests have gathered pace as Brazil is hosting the Confederation's Cup, a dry run for next year's World Cup football championship. The government hopes these events, along with the 2016 Summer Olympics, will showcase Brazil as an emerging power on the global stage.

Brazil also is gearing up to welcome more than 2 million visitors in July as Pope Francis makes his first foreign trip for a gathering of Catholic youth in Rio.

Contrasting the billions in taxpayer money spent on new stadiums with the shoddy state of Brazil's public services, protesters are using the Confederation's Cup as a counterpoint to amplify their concerns. The tournament got off to shaky start this weekend when police clashed with demonstrators outside stadiums at the opening matches in Brasilia and Rio.

"For many years the government has been feeding corruption. People are demonstrating against the system," said Graciela Caçador, a 28-year-old saleswoman protesting in Sao Paulo. "They spent billions of dollars building stadiums and nothing on education and health."

More protests are being organized for the coming days. It is unclear what specific response from authorities - such as a reduction in the hike of transport fares - would lead the loose collection of organizers across Brazil to consider stopping them.

For President Dilma Rousseff, the demonstrations come at a delicate time, as price increases and lacklustre growth begin to loom over an expected run for re-election next year.

Polls show Rousseff still is widely popular, especially among poor and working-class voters, but her approval ratings began to slip in recent weeks for the first time since taking office in 2011. Rousseff was booed at Saturday's Confederations Cup opener as protesters gathered outside.

Through a spokeswoman, Rousseff called the protests "legitimate" and said peaceful demonstrations are "part of democracy." The president, a leftist guerrilla as a young woman, also said that it was "befitting of youth to protest."


Some were baffled by the protests in a country where unemployment remains near record lows, even after more than two years of tepid economic growth.

"What are they going to do - march every day?" asked Cristina, a 43-year-old cashier, who declined to give her surname, peeking out at the demonstration from behind the curtain of a closed Sao Paulo butcher shop. She said corruption and other age-old ills in Brazil are unlikely to change soon.

The marches began this month with an isolated protest in Sao Paulo against a small increase in bus and subway fares. The demonstrations initially drew the scorn of many middle-class Brazilians after protesters vandalized storefronts, subway stations and buses on one of the city's main avenues.

The movement quickly gained support and spread to other cities as police used heavy-handed tactics to quell the demonstrations. The biggest crackdown happened on Thursday in Sao Paulo when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in clashes that injured more than 100 people, including 15 journalists, some of whom said they were deliberately targeted.

Other common grievances at Monday's marches included corruption and the inadequate and overcrowded public transportation networks that Brazilians cope with daily.


The harsh police reaction to last week's protests touched a nerve in Brazil, which endured two decades of political repression under a military dictatorship that ended in 1985. It also added to doubts about whether Brazil's police forces would be ready for next year's World Cup.

The uproar following last week's crackdown prompted Sao Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin, who first described the protesters as "troublemakers" and "vandals," to order police to allow Monday's march to proceed and not to use rubber bullets.

The protests are shaping up as a major political challenge for Alckmin, a former presidential candidate, and Sao Paulo's new mayor, Fernando Haddad, a rising star in the left-leaning Workers' Party that has governed Brazil for the past decade. Haddad invited protest leaders to meet Tuesday morning, but has so far balked at talk of a bus fare reduction.

The resonance of the demonstrations underscores what economists say will be a challenge for Rousseff and other Brazilian leaders in the years ahead: providing public services to meet the demands of the growing middle class.

"Voters are likely to be increasingly disgruntled on a range of public services in a lower growth environment," Christopher Garman, a political analyst at the Eurasia Group, wrote in a report.

(Additional reporting by Esteban Israel and Eduardo Simões; Editing by Paulo Prada)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Brutal golf course dooms US Open hopefuls in final round

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 05:18 PM PDT

BOGEYS on the last two holes on Sunday doomed Hunter Mahan's US Open title dream, but for some the brutal truth came much sooner as Merion refused to allow the champion a level-par finish.

England's Justin Rose managed an even-par 70 final round to win his first Major title on one-over 281 for 72 holes, but a course many feared would be weakened by rain instead swatted aside contenders time and time again.

American Mahan, playing in the last pair, settled for a share of fourth on 285, his best Major finish, but he was in the title hunt for much of the back nine after starting with only one bogey and 13 pars in his first 14 holes.

A double bogey at the 15th after finding a bunker and his stumbles at the close were enough to thwart his bid, but he gave credit to the formidable test provided at the 6,996-yard layout whose mix of long and short holes was stern.

"It was hard," Mahan said. "It was a difficult test. The pins were brutal. They're sitting on three to four degree slopes. So it was tough. I tried hard all day and had some opportunities, but just didn't make a few putts.

"Man, it was brutal out there. It was tough finishing. But swung it pretty well, kept my composure. I played hard until the end and I can't be too disappointed with the results or too down on it. That's missing the whole point."

For England's Luke Donald, the downfall came on the third hole when his tee shot struck one of the workers who was walking the course with another group.

"I hit driver on the third hole and pulled it left and didn't realise there was anyone over there," Donald said. "I hit her in the elbow. And she was in some pain and felt a little bit faint. I felt a little bit faint, too, watching it. You never like that to happen and it was a very tough break for her."

After the mishap, Donald took a bogey at the third to start a run of three bogeys in a row, then a double bogey at six and, after a birdie at seven, made two more bogeys to end any chance at victory after starting the day two adrift.

But he refused to blame hitting the worker for his collapse.

"I felt pretty bad at the time. But it was business as usual in the fourth," he said. "Obviously I played that stretch pretty poorly but I don't really use that as an excuse."

For Steve Stricker, who at 46 could have become the oldest US Open champion and second-oldest winner in Major golf history, disaster came early when he began one off the lead and ended with a 76 that left him sharing eighth on 286.

He hit out of bounds off the second tee and sanked another shot on the way to a triple-bogey eight and managed only one birdie all day.

"I had a good week but still it's disappointing," Stricker said. "Not what I was looking for. Nature of the game I guess. It puts you in your place rather quickly at times."

And Jason Dufner charged into a share of fourth with a 67, causing a stir by starting the back nine with three birdies in four holes only to take a triple bogey seven at 15.

Were that a par instead, he would have been one shot behind Rose, but it only takes one bad hole for Merion to strike.

"The majority of the time you were playing defence, to be honest with you, depending on the hole location and where you were, which is tough for us because we're used to having 15 feet and going for it," Dufner said. — AFP

Queen’s title will boost Wimbledon bid, says Andy Murray

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 05:20 PM PDT

LONDON: Andy Murray believes his third Queen's Club title will act as the perfect foundation to launch his latest bid to win Wimbledon.

Murray hardly had time to finish celebrating Sunday's 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic in the final of the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event before thoughts turned to his prospects of ending Britain's 75-year wait for a male winner of the singles' title at the All England Club.

The 26-year-old arrived at Queen's last week dogged by fears over his fitness after a lower back injury forced him to miss the French Open.

But Murray coped well with the gruelling demands of a rain-affected schedule, enjoying two gritty come from behind wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Cilic and even surviving a nasty fall in the final which briefly left him clutching his groin in pain.

All in all it was an extremely satisfying seven days for the world No. 2 with Wimbledon just a week away.

"I feel good. I'm a bit tired just now. It's been a long five days," Murray said.

"The last couple of days were tough matches against two top grass court players. Because of the way that the weather worked out, it's been mentally a quite draining week. I'm happy I managed to finish it with a win.

"So I'll go away and probably take a day off tomorrow and then start hitting on Tuesday (today) and work on a couple of things in the build-up to Wimbledon.

"The most important thing in the next week or so is just to make sure I keep improving the strength of my back and make sure there's no setbacks.

"And then when Wimbledon comes round it's all about how you play.

"Anything can happen. You can lose a bit of confidence; you can gain confidence. You can pick up a niggle; you can feel 110%. You never know.

"But I'm in a good place and I just need to keep working hard the next week."

Since losing to Nicolas Mahut in the second round at Queen's last year, Murray has been in dominant form on grass.

He reached his first Wimbledon final, losing to Roger Federer, and then returned to the All England Club a few weeks later to avenge that loss by thrashing the Swiss great for Olympic gold.

Murray finally won his first Grand Slam on the back of that run, lifting the US Open title on the hard courts of New York in September.

"All of the Slams or the big events that I play in now, I would hope that I'd have a little bit more confidence in myself and a bit more belief," he said.

"Just because I won the US Open it doesn't mean I'm going to do great there or because I played well on the grass last year. There's no guarantees at all in sport.

"You've got to go in there, work hard, and be prepared to go through some tough moments and find a way to deal with them.

"Hopefully I can do that at Wimbledon."

For years it seemed the weight of expectations on British players at Wimbledon was a crushing burden that made it impossible for them to succeed.

But Murray thrives on the pressure and is experienced enough not to let the media whirlwind blow him off course.

"With each year that passes, you kind of know what sort of stuff you can and can't do, and what's going to get you in the best mindset for the tournament and physically get myself in the best shape possible," he said.

"I'm experienced enough to deal with it and go into Wimbledon with no issues." — AFP

Chong Wei misses the days top players bring out the best in him

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 05:40 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei (pic) is feeling more lonely at the top.

Last week, one more of his former formidable challengers – Taufik Hidayat, who had pushed him to where he is now – retired from the sport after losing in the opening round of the Indonesian Open.

The 30-year-old Chong Wei went on to win the title for the fifth time – rather easily as no one, except for 2009 world junior champion Wang Zhengming of China, managed to give him much of a fight.

With Taufik out, there is only two more left in the "Famous Five" group.

Last year, Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark quit while South Korean Lee Hyun-il left the national team to take part in only the fun and invitational tournaments.

This leaves only Chong Wei and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan to lead the charge but then the latter has shown a lack of commitment in the sport.

Since beating Chong Wei in the final of the London Olympic Games in a narrow fashion, he had shied away from all international tournaments. He competed in the Asian Badminton Championships but conceded a walkover in the quarter-finals to team-mate Zhengming.

Lin Dan will renew his rivalry with Chong Wei at the World Championships in Guangzhou, China in August but everyone is in the dark over the form of the four-time world champion.

Chong Wei said he had to find new motivation every day to consistently stay at the top of his game.

"I miss all those days when all these players use to bring out the best in me. They were the motivation for me to go higher and higher," said Chong Wei.

"I will not forget the 2007 Japan Open final. Taufik was the favourite then but I managed to beat him. It was so close. Both of us played all out and it was one of my best matches against Taufik. In fact, after that, I was beating him more consistently," he said.

"On court, Taufik is ruthless. Off it, he is one of my good buddies. I also share the same relationship with Peter. Although they are not around, I still do my best to take every tournament seriously. I cannot go to a tournament and take it easy or simply withdraw if I do not have the mood to play ... that is not in my blood," he said.

Currently, the only motivation that is pushing Chong Wei on, is the hope of becoming the country's first world champion.

"I know the nation's expectations are sky high on me to deliver at the world meet. I want to do well too. I have done well in the Super Series by winning many titles but have been unlucky when it comes to the world championships," he said.

"I have about six weeks to prepare for the world meet. I cannot assure that the world title will be mine but I am sure I will train harder and make sure that my preparation is the best ever," said Chong Wei.

When asked about Lin Dan, the man who had destroyed many of his dreams and seen as a possible spoiler again at the world meet, Chong Wei said: "I do not know what is his game plan. Every player may have a different strategy. For almost a year, he did not have any quality tournaments and I am not sure how he would be able to rise to the occasion in the world meet. But for a four-time world champion, that itself could be a motivation ... I do not know.

"For now, I just do not want to be concerned or worried about him. I have a heavy responsibility to deliver at the world meet, I would rather focus on that mission and look at what other ways that I can further improve myself," he added.

Before the Guangzhou trip, Chong Wei and his team-mates will leave for Hong Kong on July 27 for a week's centralised training. For the record, Chong Wei lost to Lin Dan 21-15, 10-21, 19-21 in the final of the last world meet in Wembley in 2011.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Fitters advances on venture into renewable energy sector

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 07:08 PM PDT

Published: Tuesday June 18, 2013 MYT 10:09:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Fitters Diversified rose to a high of 81 sen in early Tuesday following its venture into the renewable energy sector.

At 9.52am, Fitters rose 1.5 sen to 81 sen. There were 5.42 million shares traded at prices at prices ranging from 78.5 sen to 81 sen.

The FBM KLCI fell 5.37 points to 1,766.80. Turnover was 370.07 million shares valued at RM252.91mil. There were 195 gainers, 199 losers and 213 counters unchanged.

On Monday, Fitters announced it was venturing into the renewable energy sector by acquiring plantation land and assets for a total consideration of RM52mil.


AmResearch maintains "Buy" on Sarawak Cable Bhd

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 07:07 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: AmResearch is maintaining its "Buy" call on Sarawak Cable Bhd with a fair value of RM2.50 in line with the construction of its 10MW mini-hydro plant in North Sumatra in two months.

It said cable group managing director Toh Chee Ching told The Star the project's site survey has been completed and it is in the midst of engineering design, costing RM80mil and will take 18 months to complete.

AmResearch said Toh told The Star that S Cable has secured financing from a local bank to partly-finance the project while RM20mil to RM25mil will come from internal funds.

"As the hydro plant is only expected to be completed in 2015, we expect minor contributions in the second half of FY2015F," it said.

It said shareholders yesterday gave the green light for S Cable to raise RM77.63mil from a proposed 1-for-2 rights issue where RM66.6mil from the proceeds raised will be used for working capital and capex, while RM10mil will be used to help pare down borrowings. Also approved is the proposed 1-for-5 bonus issue of 46.6mil new shares

"We view this positively as the proceeds will be used in anticipation of S Cable securing the 500kV backbone line (transmission package worth about RM1bil) to be awarded soon. As the rights issue is expected to be completed by end-Aug, we expect the award to be announced sometime then," it said.

It added the newspaper reported S Cable is tendering for a RM1bil worth of power transmission jobs in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia with its latest tender includes a RM30mil transmission line job in Melaka for Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

"Just last week, S Cable won a RM32.9mil job to build the proposed 132kV Tudan-Miri airport line. Other potential projects include the Tanjung Manis-Bintulu and Mambong-Kalimantan lines worth RM350mil.

"S Cable will also benefit from the state government's Rural Electrification Scheme. As at end-May, S Cable has an order book of RM687mil, with an outstanding amount of RM202mil," it said.


Affin Research maintains "Buy" call on DiGi, target price RM5.39

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 06:18 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Research is maintaining is "Buy" call on Bhd with a lower target price of RM5.39 from RM5.76 after raising its capital expenditure assumptions to incorporate higher spending for its Long Term Evolution network within the next two years.

Affin said it remains positive on DiGi's stock will continue to gain revenue market share as it penetrates the ethnic Malays segment, suburban market and East Coast markets which are the three key growth areas for the company.

"A key catalyst to its growth will be via the expansion of its 3G footprint, which will reach more than 75% of the population by end financial year 2013 from 67% as at end financial year 2012. Simultaneously, DiGi is keeping a tab on its key stronghold the youth and migrant segments,' it said.

Affin expects DiGi to grow its revenue market share where in 1Q13, DiGi's revenue market share was 28.4%, up from 27.9% in 1Q12.

We believe that DiGi's growth in its share of revenue has been attributed to a combination of its growing migrant segment and strong youth segment. Key areas of weakness for DiGi has however been centred around the sub-urban markets, East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, East Malaysia and the business/SME segment. Nevertheless, these areas have slowly been addressed over the last one to two years, largely explaining DiGi's continued growth in market share," it said.

It added it expects cost benefits from the DiGi-Celcom joint venture to aid margin improvement as key savings will likely materialise via its fibre network as opposed to site consolidation as expected earlier.

"Upon completion of the 5,500km fibre backbone, DiGi would be less dependent on third party suppliers of network capacity. We understand that this will add up to the bandied cost savings to the tune of RM2.2bil over a 10-year period," it said.



The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Man Of Steel' sets June record

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 08:57 PM PDT

(Reuters) - Man Of Steel, the big-budget reboot of the Superman franchise, leaped over the apocalyptic buddy comedy This Is The End, collecting a muscular US$113.1 million to lead the domestic box office with the year's second-largest debut weekend and the biggest June opening ever.

Man Of Steel, starring British-born Henry Cavill in the first Superman movie released in seven years, carried a hefty budget of US$225 million and took in a total of US$125 million through Sunday including early screenings, according to

The special-effects laden film is the story of the infant Kal-El, who escapes his doomed home planet Krypton and grows up in the idyllic town of Smallville with his parents, played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. Amy Adams plays the budding super hero's girlfriend Lois Lane.

The film, directed by Zack Snyder, with Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) serving as co-writer and one of its producers, added US$71.6 million from overseas box offices in 24 markets.

"Today is a big day for us," said Warner Bros' president of theatrical distribution Dan Fellman, noting the film's record opening. He added that Man Of Steel was now well-poised to reap big box office "in the heart of the summer play time."

The studio was also pleased by 56 percent male, 44 percent female audience, which Fellman said bodes well being a higher-female makeup than was usual for superhero-centered pictures.

"The film is playing extremely well for fan boys as well as the family," he said.

This Is The End, written by star Seth Rogen and his childhood friend Evan Goldberg, collected US$20.5 million at theaters in the domestic market comprised of the United States and Canada, according to studio estimates collected by Reuters.

"We're off to a really good start," said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures' president of worldwide distribution.

Citing "great word of mouth," Bruer predicted the movie "is going to be one of those films that's going to be around for a good part of the summer. It's so fresh and original," he added.

The comedy depicting the end of the world stars more than a dozen well-known Hollywood actors including James Franco, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Emma Watson.

In third place, the comedy heist caper Now You See Me continued its stronger-than-expected showing with ticket sales of US$10.3 million, bringing its three-week total to US$80 million.

Man Of Steel came out of the gate roaring, with US$9 million in midnight showings early on Friday morning, according to the box office division of, adding US$12 million in Thursday showings in association with retailer Walmart.

The film broke the record of US$110.3 million held by 2010's Toy Story 3 for a June opening and was this year's second-biggest debut weekend after Iron Man 3.

The Purge, made for US$3 million by the producer of the low-budget Paranormal Activity series, finished fifth with US$8.2 million, behind the speeding car franchise sixth film, Fast & Furious 6, which took in US$9.4 million in its fourth week in release for a total of US$220 million since Memorial Day.

Starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, The Purge is set in 2022 when the U.S. government reduces crime by allowing almost all crime to go unpunished during a 12-hour "purge" period.

The Internship, a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson based on the antics of nerds in search of a job at internet giant Google, continued its lackluster box office showing, selling US$7 million worth of tickets to finish sixth.

After Earth, a US$130 million post-apocalyptic thriller starring Will Smith and his teenage son Jaden, continued its weak showing at U.S. and Canadian box office with US$3.6 million, in ninth place. After Earth did perform well overseas, selling US$24 million worth of tickets outside the domestic market.

Shanghai opens star-packed film festival

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 08:26 PM PDT

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Shanghai on Saturday opened its annual film festival packed with star power in acknowledgement of China's role as the second largest box office in the world.

The government-backed Shanghai International Film Festival is mainland China's premier event of its kind, though capital Beijing has tried to steal the show with its own film festival which marked its third year in April.

American director Oliver Stone made a return appearance, after attending the first Shanghai film festival in 1993. "You're bigger and more exorbitant," Stone said, referring to the changes.

Local favourites like Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat and Taiwan's Jay Chou, who played sidekick Kato in the movie version of The Green Hornet made appearances on the red carpet to promote upcoming films.

"This is the only category one film festival in mainland China," Teng Jimeng, professor of film at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told AFP.

"The rise of the Chinese film market, absolutely, is why the Shanghai Film Festival is becoming increasingly popular and important in the eyes of film makers."

British director Tom Hooper, whose films include Les Miserables and The King's Speech is heading the jury for the festival's main award.

Actor Keanu Reeves is also due to attend during the nine-day festival to promote his directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi.

China's box office surged 36 percent annually to US$2.7 billion in 2012, behind only North America with ticket sales of US$10.8 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

But foreign films in China come under an annual quota and face censorship by cultural authorities who excise content deemed politically sensitive or obscene.

Imports of foreign films into China on a revenue-sharing basis are limited to just 34 annually, though last year the quota was raised from 20.

In a recent case of censorship, Chinese theatres mysteriously yanked director Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained in April then resumed showing the film a month later, apparently with cuts to a scene showing star Jamie Foxx nude.

In the latest James Bond spy thriller Skyfall -- partly shot in Shanghai -- authorities cut a scene showing prostitution in Macau, a special administrative region of China, and a line in which Bond's nemesis mentions being tortured by Chinese security agents.

Such censorship is one of the reasons why Shanghai's film festival lags behind others in the Asian region, which screen movies with more edgy content.

"They (Shanghai organisers) do encounter quite a lot of challenges in terms of picking the controversial, experimental stuff from the West. Hong Kong and Tokyo don't seem to have that sort of obstacle," said Teng of Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Shanghai's offerings include a collection of Oliver Stone films and a tribute to the early works of Alfred Hitchcock. Asian films include a retrospective of the films of Hong Kong actor Leslie Cheung, who killed himself in 2003.


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Three brothers drown while bathing in river

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 08:02 AM PDT

PASIR MAS: A woman lost three young sons when they drowned while bathing in Sungai Golok at Kampung Rahmat Hilir, Rantau Panjang, here.

In the 4pm incident on Monday, the victims Muhammad Zulhilmi Aziz, seven, Muhammad Syahmi, six, and Muhammad Irfan Syahmi, four, were swept away by the current and drowned.

Tragically, the incident happened only about 100 metres away from the house of the victims' aunt.

Rantau Panjang Fire and Rescue Station chief, Nasuha Fahd Ahmad Mijar said eight rescuers were rushed to the scene after receiving a report from a villager.

"The body of Muhammad Syahmi was found by villagers at 5.20pm, Muhammad Irfan Syahmi's at 5.30pm and Muhammad Zulhilmi's at 5.50pm," he said when met at the scene of the incident.

Nasuha said the three bodies were then sent to Lati Hospital, here, and were expected to be buried Tuesday morning at the Kampung Rahmat Muslim cemetery.

The victims' uncle, Abdul Manaf Abdul Rahman, 39, said he was at a nearby shop when he was informed by another nephew that the three were missing while bathing in the river.

"A friend and I rushed to the river bank and found three pairs of slippers belonging to the victims.

"I then dived into the river to search for the three brothers.

"After about one hour, I found the first victim at a spot about three metres deep before finding the other two nearby," he said.

Abdul Manaf said the three boys were left with one of his siblings as their mother, Nur Asyikin Abdul Rahman, 41, was attending a training workshop at the Cempaka Sari Kemas kindergarten in Gual Sintok, here.

Nur Asyikin declined to be interviewed by reporters as she was in a state of shock and too distraught by the tragedy. - Bernama

ROS wants proof of vote counting mistake during DAP polls

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 07:13 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Registrar of Societies (ROS) has asked DAP to present proof of mistake during vote counting at the Central Executive Committee (CEC) elections.

Registrar Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman said this was to determine whether it was due to a computer glitch or cheating.

"We are still investigating and one of the major issue is the votes received by candidates in the party elections," he said in a statement on Monday.

DAP reportedly admitted that a mistake was made during vote counting for CEC elections last December and blamed it on technical error.

Abdul Rahman said ROS had to issue a statement to inform the public on the progress of investigation to avoid manipulation of facts such as contents of the ROS letter dated April 17, 2013.

"This act is unethical. ROS must investigate more carefully to avoid the manipulation of facts," he added.

On April 18, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng claimed he received a letter from the ROS dated April 17 that DAP was not empowered to issue appointment letters to party candidates using the rocket symbol at the general election as the ROS decided not to recognise the election of CEC members.

Abdul Rahman said all members interviewed wanted DAP to hold fresh elections, adding that the ROS had no intention of cancelling DAP's registration. - Bernama

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Police shoot axe-wielding amok man in leg

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 05:47 AM PDT

KUALA TERENGGANU: A 29-year-old man who ran amok armed with an axe - purportedly after failing to obtain money to buy drugs - was shot in the left thigh by police to subdue him in Kampung La Hulu Besut, here on Sunday.

State CID chief ACP K. Manoharan said in the 6pm incident, the suspect, who was a drug addict, had gone to his uncle's house to demand money to buy drugs, but was ignored by his uncle.

"It caused the unemployed man to run berserk with an axe and threatened to hurt the family of his uncle who became scared and lodged a police report at the Pasir Akar police station at 6.45pm.

"When the police arrived, the suspect, who is also believed to be mentally ill, charged at the patrol car. He then repeatedly hammered on the patrol car's bonnet with the axe," he told reporters here Monday.

Manoharan said the suspect tried to attack the officers when they came out the car, and a lance corporal drew his pistol in self-defense.

He said the suspect, who was under the influence of drugs, then became more aggressive and left the police little choice but to fire a shot to defend themselves.

"The policeman wanted to shoot at the suspect's legs in the calf area but the shot hit his left thigh The suspect then fled to his grandmother's house not far from the scene before being arrested by the police.

"He is a hard-core addict and often disturbed his family members to get money, but yesterday when his demands were not be entertained, he turned aggressive," he said.

Manoharan said the police seized the axe and the suspect was sent to the Besut hospital. - Bernama


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Smoking to be banned in Taman Jaya

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 06:43 AM PDT

SMOKING will be banned in Taman Jaya, Petaling Jaya to ensure a healthier environment for visitors to the park.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) would embark on an awareness campaign first before implementing the new ruling.

MBPJ is expected to enforce the ban in October and smokers who light up in Taman Jaya will be fined RM50.

Alinah said smoke-free zones at public parks were an important step in enabling families to enjoy the outdoors in a healthy environment.

"We do not want anyone who visits a public park to be exposed to the smoking culture and second-hand smoke," she said.

Currently, smoking is disallowed at the council's headquarters and Menara MBPJ in Jalan Yong Shook Lin.

Alinah said she had asked health inspectors to identify other areas that could be made smoke-free zones.

"Our Health Department will designate the exact boundaries for smoke-free zones.

"We may encounter difficulties at the start as we are dealing with an addiction.

"However, with continuous enforcement coupled with awareness campaigns, MBPJ hopes people will be aware of and abide by the new ruling.

"Some Petaling Jaya residents have expressed opposition to the ban.

"We are not out to stigmatise smoking. Smokers will not be allowed to light up in certain areas for health and environment reasons," she added.

Alinah said the ban was aimed at discouraging smoking and ensuring that the younger generation would not be influenced in the unhealthy habit.

"Our vision is to have a tobacco-free generation that will reap health and economic benefits," she said and pointed out that smoking also added to the littering problem.

Last week, a visit to Taman Jaya revealed many cigarette butts and empty packets strewn on the ground.

In August 2006, MBPJ had launched the city's Anti-Litterbug campaign at Petaling Jaya New Town where those who were caught throwing cigarettes butts on the ground or even dropping ash on the pavement were fined RM50 on the spot.

It was the first time the council had made use of the Garbage Collection and Disposal By-law 1984 under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976.

Cigarette butts are also harmful as they leach toxic chemicals.

Some laud decision, others call for designated smoking spots

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 06:43 AM PDT

ALTHOUGH families have welcomed the Petaling Jaya City Council's decision to ban smoking in Taman Jaya, smokers feel they are being targetted and their rights infringed.

Businessman P. Kumaran, 34, is for the ban as he brings his family to the park for picnics and wants a clean environment that is free of the dangers of second-hand smoke.

"MBPJ's move to create the no-smoking zone is a good idea to protect the people's health," he said.

Electrical engineer Abdullah Abd Rani, 35, supported the plan to ban smoking in Taman Jaya.

"I believe it will encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle. Turning Taman Jaya into a smoke-free zone is a good idea," he said.

Graphic artist Badrul Hisham, 39, called for a designated area where smokers could light up.

"We need to give people the freedom to smoke," he said.

Another smoker, Lim Seng Chye, 53, said he agreed with the smoking ban on health grounds.

However, he felt that smokers were being treated like outcasts.

"MBPJ can implement the ban but smokers should have an area where they can puff away and de-stress," Lim said.


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Black Sabbath tops UK chart after 43 years

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 09:04 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - The British rock band Black Sabbath's album 13! has given them a first British Number One album in nearly 43 years, a record interval between chart-toppers, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday.

Black Sabbath were last at the top of the UK chart with their second album, Paranoid.

"I'm in shock!" Black Sabbath front man Ozzy Osbourne told the Official Charts Company. "The success of this album has blown me off my feet. We've never had a record climb the charts so fast."

The band saw off competition from Liam Gallagher's band Beady Eye, in second place with BE.

In the singles chart, American R&B singer Robin Thicke made it three weeks on top with Blurred Lines.

The song, featuring rapper TI and Pharrell Williams, has sold over 580,000 copies, making it the fifth-best selling single of 2013.

La La La by the British rapper Naughty Boy, featuring singer Sam Smith, remained in the number two spot.

Lab The Rat makes debut album

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 03:59 PM PDT

Slowly, but surely, Lab The Rat made its debut album a reality.

THEY say, good things come to those who wait. Formed in 2004, indie rock outfit Lab The Rat began when vocalist Syarul Reza met his then-fiance Shahirah Aishah (now his wife and also vocalist in the band) at a recording studio in Shah Alam, Selangor.

At that time, Syarul, who also fronts hardcore band Love Me Butch, needed an outlet to showcase his mellow side. Eventually, his brothers Syaril Zizi (guitar and vocals), Syaiful Nazri (drums) and friends multi-instrumentalist Nik Azwaa (keyboard and guitar) and Kech (bass) joined in to complete the band.

"We started out as a family band then we added some of our friends to it. Then, it became a weekend thing for our band to get together and cover songs. Eventually, we got too excited about singing our own songs," said Syarul.

"We saw the potential in our band and decided to perform for a bigger crowd. It was very cool," he remembered.

In 2008, Lab The Rat was RM50,000 richer when it won the Global Battle of the Bands competition at Planet Hollywood in Kuala Lumpur. Since then, fans have been eagerly antipating the band's next career step, with original material and demos cropping up.

In 2011, the band signed on to independent music label Laguna Records. An album release seemed eminent.

However, the plan had to take a backseat due to the band's other commitments like full-time jobs, marriages and even children. As we found out, the members in the band work in various industries like transport, events, travel and even a coffee chain. While Shahirah sheeplessly raised her hand and said "homemaker".

Syarul added the band also took its time in crafting songs to make up the album.

"When we signed to Laguna two years ago, we knew we had to start working on our songs. We didn't have enough songs to release an album then. In the meantime, we were also playing shows to build our rapport and get some exposure for our band," he said.

Even with the long intervals it took to release the album, the band still found the time to perform. Last year, it opened for American musician William Beckett (vocalist of the now-defunct The Academy Is ...) and pop-rock band Boys Like Girl during their showcases in Kuala Lumpur.

Fans just had to wait – but thankfully, the band never lost sight in delivering an album.

The band recently launched its debut album Love The Mission at the Venue in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur. The eight-track album features some of the band's signature tunes like the catchy I Know, Unstoppable, and Send Us To Ukraine. Alongside tracks like the bluesy Airinna, it's evident that the band also found the time to redefine its sound.

"We used to say that we're a pop folk-ish band. Over time, we became more of a feel good 1990s kind of band. Like Gin Blossoms! We're your friendly alternative band," said Syarul. Then, Kech quipped, "Fun rock!"

Nik Azwaa said each member also had the opportunity to let their individual interest play a big part in forming the band's music shape.

"Everyone is a songwriter with their influences," said Nik Azwaa.

The ballad Airinna, for example, was written by guitarist Syaril for his young daughter. Syahirah said a family member, who is not part of the band, contributed to the song's inclusion. "It was Papa's (Syarul, Syaril and Syaiful's father) strong request to include a Malay song," she said.

Ultimately, Syarul hopes listeners will find their own connection with the songs in Love The Mission.

"The mission is about sharing our music. We want to showcase that you can be a family person, have a nine-to-five job and still make music!" said Syarul.

The band members also said releasing Love The Mission means they can finally plan ahead with more gigs.

"We're relieved! Finally, we can also start working on new songs!" said Shahirah.

> Lab The Rat's debut album Love The Mission is available online at


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Work done on Istana Bukit Serene for coronation to be completed by December

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 04:30 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The renovation works being carried out at Istana Besar and Istana Bukit Serene here is on schedule and should be completed by this December for the coronation ceremony of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim ibni Sultan Iskandar next year.

State public works exco Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that the works at both palaces are progressing and renovations should finish within the next six months.

He also said that Sultan Ibrahim's coronation ceremony would be a historic event not only in Johor but also in the country.

Hasni pointed out that the last coronation ceremony held was during the reign of Almarhum Sultan Ismail Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim.

Sultan Ismail was crowned at Istana Besar on Feb 10, 1960, and was the last Johor Sultan to be officially crowned.

"The renovation works at Istana Besar is already more than 60% completed while Istana Serene is about 40% done.

"Renovations at both palaces started in Nov last year where the state Public Works Department carried out expansion including touch up works," he said.

Hasni said this when met after attending the department's excellence award ceremony held here on June 13.

Sultan Abu Bakar built the Istana Besar in 1866 and the palace overlooks the Straits of Johor.

The palace's most distinctive feature is its Anglo-Malay architecture, which is characterised by its dome, contrasted with its blue roof.

Located in the heart of the city centre, Istana Besar was also the location for Umno first general assembly on May 11, 1946.

NGO collects RM258,000 for underprivileged school children

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 04:30 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Over over the past eight years, a non-governmental organisation has collected about RM1.6mil from the public and channelled the contributions to thousands of students from poor families around the state.

This year, Persatuan Kebajikan Ci Xin Johor Baru aims to aid 430 students from 27 Chinese primary schools statewide.

Among the recipients this year was SJK (C) Thorburn student Chai Shou Bin, 10, who said that she would like to use the money to pay up her school tuition fees and to buy schoolbooks.

"I am glad to receive the aid as my dad has not been able to pay my fees this year," she said adding that her father only works as carpenter while her mother is a housewife.

Another student Fong Jing Ren, 9, said that he was grateful for the aid and hopes that the fund will last him throughout the year.

"Most importantly, I would like purchase some reference books and hopefully if there is any money left, I would like to buy some comics too," he said.

The charity programme organising chairman Shium Chan Teck said that the programme was held yearly to distribute a sum of RM600 to each qualified recipient.

"For this year, we have collected a total of RM258,000 and have identified 430 students from 27 Chinese primary schools to receive the aid," he said during the presentation of aid ceremony at SJK (C) Nam Heng here on June 13.

He added that the students were hand picked by teachers and the committee members of the organisations.

"The schools will provide with a list of students and we will conduct checks and surveys to ensure that the students listed were truly in need of the funding.

"Each student will receive a total of RM600 for their education throughout the year, including for fee payments, books and even daily pocket money," he said.

Pasir Gudang MCA division chief Tan Cher Puk, who officiated the event, encouraged the public to come forward to help those in need.

"It is our social responsibility to help the poor and to ensure children receive good education," he added.

Police nab four syabu junkies at Kluang budget hotel

Posted: 16 Jun 2013 04:31 PM PDT

KLUANG: Drug addits who used to "get high" in abandoned houses or back alleys are changing their modus operandi by having their fixes in rented motels and budget hotels to avoid being detected.

In the latest case several days ago, a police team arrested four people including a girl who were high on syabu in a motel here.

The four, aged 22 to 25, were arrested hours after they checked into the motel.

All four tested positive for drugs.

Kluang OCPD Asst Comm Abd Majid Mohd Ali said that police have identified this new trend among addicts in the district to avoid detection.

"In the past we have also arrested another group of addicts who used budget hotels to take drugs," he said, adding that so far this year the Kluang police have detained 207 addicts statewide.

In another unrelated case, ACP Abd Majid added that police arrested a 38-year-old man who conned a businessmen into transferring RM191,300 into his account on June 3.

In detailing the case he said that the victim, in his 30s, received a call from a man claiming to be a Bank Negara official saying that the victim's account was being investigated for money laundering activities.

"The suspects then advised the victim to move his money to special accounts which were safe temporarily.

"However once the victim transferred his money to these separate accounts, the bogus officers could not be contacted," he said, adding that police subsequently arrested a 28-year-old man in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan on June 6.

ACP Abd Majid added that the man was believed to be a member of a syndicate which has conned at least two other victims in Kluang and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur.

In another unrelated case, police managed to arrest three men and solved a robbery case within three hours after the victim alerted the police on June 6.

ACP Abd Majid added that the three men had robbed the victim of his car and valuables at parang point at about 10pm in Kluang.

"Soon after lodging a report, a police team in Yong Peng spotted the vehicle and managed to arrest the suspects in Ayer Hitam in Batu Pahat at about 3.15am," he said, adding that police managed to recover an array of stolen items including the car, jewellery, laptop computer, mobile phones, cash and a watch.

He added that all the suspects tested positive for drugs and were have been remand for one week.


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