Khamis, 20 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Exclusive - Spyware claims emerge in row over Chinese dissident at NYU

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 09:08 PM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng arrived in the United States in May last year he was given a fellowship at New York University, use of a Greenwich Village apartment, and a pile of gifts from supporters, including smartphones and an iPad.

Cyclone Barry degenerates to a low pressure area over Mexico - NHC

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 07:57 PM PDT

(Reuters) - Post-tropical cyclone Barry has degenerated into a low pressure area over Mexico, though the threat of heavy rainfall continues, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest bulletin.

Barry, located 60 miles (95 km) east-northeast of Mexico City, is moving west near 6 miles per hour (9 km per hour) with maximum sustained winds at 25 miles per hour, the agency said.

It made landfall in Veracruz earlier Thursday and is now expected to continue a slow motion westward until it dissipates.

(Reporting by Shruti Chaturvedi in Bangalore; Editing by Jijo Jacob)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

One million march across Brazil in biggest protests yet

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 07:46 PM PDT

RIO DE JANEIRO/BRASILIA (Reuters) - An estimated 1 million people took to the streets in cities across Brazil on Thursday as the country's biggest protests in two decades intensified despite government concessions meant to quell the demonstrations.

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads, "Brazil, a country of theft," during an anti-government protest in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Gustavo Vara

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads, "Brazil, a country of theft," during an anti-government protest in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Gustavo Vara

Undeterred by the reversal of transport fare hikes that sparked the protests, and promises of better public services, demonstrators marched around two international football matches and in locales as diverse as the Amazon capital of Manaus and the prosperous southern city of Florianopolis.

While the protests remained mostly peaceful, the growing number of participants led to occasional outbursts of violence and vandalism in some cities. In central Rio de Janeiro, where 300,000 people marched, police afterwards chased looters and dispersed people crowding into surrounding areas.

"Twenty cents was just the start," read signs held by many converging along the Avenida Paulista, the broad avenue in central São Paulo, referring to the bus fare reductions. Police there said 110,000 people lined the avenue.

In the capital, Brasilia, tens of thousands of protesters marched around the landmark modernist buildings that house Congress and the Supreme Court and briefly set fire to the outside of the Foreign Ministry. Police said about 80 of the protesters, some with homemade explosives, made it into the ministry building before they were repelled.

In Ribeirão Preto, near São Paulo, a 20-year-old demonstrator died after a driver plowed a jeep into a crowd. Brazilian media reported hundreds of minor injuries across the country, including a Rio television reporter who recounted being hit by a rubber bullet fired by police.

The swelling tide of protests prompted President Dilma Rousseff to cancel a trip next week to Japan, her office said. The president, whose administration was caught off-guard by the rapid growth of the demonstrations, also planned an emergency meeting for Friday, a government source said.

The targets of the protests, now in their second week, have broadened to include high taxes, inflation, corruption and poor public services ranging from hospitals and schools to roads and police forces.

With an international football tournament as a backdrop, demonstrators are also denouncing the more than $26 billion of public money that will be spent on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, two events meant to showcase a modern, developed Brazil.

"This is fair play," read a banner among the hordes in Brasilia, a twist on the slogan used to promote sportsmanship by FIFA, world soccer's governing body.


After the concession on transport fares on Wednesday, activist groups differed over what their next priority should be. On Facebook, Twitter and other social media, some Brazilians expressed disgust for the scattered violence and vandalism that marred some of the marches.

The competing demands of demonstrators appeared to add to the intensity of Thursday's protests.

"What am I protesting for?" asked Savina Santos, a 29-year-old civil servant in Sao Paulo. "You should ask what I'm not protesting for! We need political reform, tax reform, an end to corruption, better schools, better transportation. We are not in a position to be hosting the World Cup."

Inside Rio's iconic Maracanã stadium, football fans sang protest songs and showed support for the throngs of demonstrators gathering in the city. In Salvador, a northeastern city hosting another game of the football tournament that serves as a World Cup test run, protesters pelted a FIFA bus with rocks.

Police in Salvador, Rio, Brasilia and other cities used tear gas, pepper spray and other tools to disperse crowds. They donned riot gear and used horses, trucks and barricades to help channel the crowds and protect buildings.

The unrest comes six months before an election year and just as Brazil, after nearly a decade-long economic boom in which the country's profile soared on the global stage, enters a period of uncertainty. Economic growth of less than 1 percent last year, annual inflation of 6.5 percent and a loss of appetite for Brazilian assets among international investors have clouded what had been a feel-good era for Brazil, a country of nearly 200 million people.

Brazil's currency, the real, dropped to a four-year low on Thursday, trading as weak as 2.275 per U.S. dollar. The country's benchmark stock market index, the Bovespa, also hit a four-year low.


The protests have shaken the once solid ground under Rousseff and her ruling Workers' Party, a bloc that grew out of convulsive demonstrations by Brazil's labour movement 30 years ago. Until inflation and other economic woes began eroding her poll numbers in recent weeks, Rousseff enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings of any elected leader worldwide.

The demonstrations have been comprised of mostly middle-class, well-educated voters who do not form the bulk of Rousseff's electoral base. The president and her party have sought to get ahead of the complaints and embrace them as their own - a shift that contrasts sharply with a playbook that long relied on telling Brazilians that they had never had it so good.

With little more than a year to go before presidential and gubernatorial elections, the unrest is forcing incumbents and traditional political parties to reconsider their strategies.

(Additional reporting by Eduardo Simões, Caroline Stauffer, Pedro Fonseca and Jeferson Ribeiro; Editing by Todd Benson and Stacey Joyce)

Related Stories:
'Free Fare' group sparked Brazil protests, unsure what's next

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

TV viewers spoilt for choice

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 02:41 AM PDT

There are now even more reasons to stay home and watch television.

TELEVISION is fast becoming a one-stop entertainment centre for many people these days. Apart from the long list of shows available to viewers, you can also listen to music, play games and watch movies on your television set.

In some cases, you can even use your TV to surf the Internet and book a taxi!

Recognising this, Astro has added 11 new channels to its broadcast, and introduced five new package options for customers to choose from. Among the new channels are Maya, Hua Hee Dai, Quan Jia, HBO Family, HBO Signature and HBO Hits (all available in HD), as well as Comedy Central, WE tv, Lifetime, Star Vijay, and Raj TV. There are also two new sports channels added to the line-up.

Some of these channels have been up and running since March, with Lifetime being the most recent one to go live; Hua Hee Dai and Maya are the last to be launched on June 24. However, Astro has attained five more new channels which will kick off in the months to come.

"We are committed to providing the best viewing and customer experience to Astro's growing customer base with greater choice of content. Across our multiple products and services, we offer a breadth of content packages spanning multiple genres, which we believe appeal to all customer segments in the urban and rural areas," said Astro's chief commercial officer Liew Swee Lin, at the launch of the Astro Lifestyle Centre in Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur.

At the centre, new and existing customers would be able to get all the information they need about the new packages, and even have a glimpse of what each channel offers. Of course, you can also browse Astro's website, or call the hotline number. "We would like to ensure that our customers have a great experience with Astro at all touch points," added Liew.

Aside from the new additions, Astro has also pumped up its list of movies available via the Astro Best and Astro First services. In case you don't already know, these two channels allow viewers to "buy" the latest local, regional and even international movies and watch them in the comfort of their own home.

Customers can now watch local and regional blockbusters on Astro First two weeks after the movies open at the cinemas, like the recently-released Kil, Awie's Bikers Kental, Aaron Aziz's Lari and Get Together, a comedy from Taiwan. So, if you're a closet Awie fan and can't bring yourself to watch the really silly Bikers Kental (which also stars Zizan Razak) in public, you can now check it out via Astro First.

Meanwhile, those who are constantly busy and simply cannot find the time to head to the cinemas and watch movies can now enjoy them on TV via the Astro Best service. It's pretty convenient, and you can even hold your very own private movie viewing party at home, for example, and watch (in HD!) with friends or family members – you need to get your own popcorn and drinks, of course.

The movies featured on Astro Best are mostly Hollywood blockbusters that were released on the big screens about six months earlier; normally, it takes at least a year for these movies to go from cinema to TV. This is possible because of a partnership between Astro and studio giants like The Walt Disney Company and Lionsgate.

Among the latest movies that are currently on offer include the psychological thriller Side Effects starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum, fantasy drama Cloud Atlas, Warm Bodies, Beautiful Creatures and Disney's colourful Oz The Great And Powerful.

"The response for Astro First and Astro Best has been overwhelming, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak. To date, we have garnered a staggering 6.2 million buys of movie titles collectively," explained vice president of Astro Content Agnes Rozario, in a press release.

She also said that the company is working with more partners to expand its movie line-up.

For more information on these services, check out their Facebook page ("AstroWorldOfMovies") or visit

New day for CNN

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 02:42 AM PDT

A new morning show on CNN – New Day – kicked off on Monday and there already are some sceptics out there, maybe even you. Here's your need-to-know column on CNN's latest.

What is new about New Day?

The anchors – former ABC correspondent Chris Cuomo, CNN correspondent Kate Bolduan and news anchor Michaela Pereira; a sprawling faux-brick studio space; a higher story count; more live "remotes".

What's New Day up against?

Pretty much everything. Morning TV is balkanised and viewer habits are largely entrenched. For most viewers, CNN first thing in the morning hasn't been an afterthought but no thought – about 250,000 to 275,000 viewers. (No.1 Good Morning America's average viewership for the week of June 3 was 5.33 million.)

What will the hosts bring?

A recent Washington Post profile on Bolduan (pronounced "Baldwin") hints at "a sunny older brother-younger sister act, a newsy Donny and Marie", which sounds off-putting, but the hosts are decidedly younger than competitors (at 29, Bolduan's a relative TV child) and youth could be an advantage here.

What does Cuomo, 42 – kid brother of New York's governor, Andrew – have to say about the challenge?

In a recent interview, this: "The hard truth is that we need CNN's audience. One of the first challenges is to stop the bleeding and to get (traditional CNN viewers to see the network) as a morning-to-night proposition and give the network a bulwark and a flagship in the morning ... . We need to get our own viewers to embrace what we have and then we grow from there. We have very reasonable expectations because of the history here, I'm convinced that there's so much going on in morning TV that everything is up for grabs."

Finally, what do I think?

This could work simply because any growth will be seen as a victory. Plus, Cuomo is right to an extent: Today's recent string of mistakes has indeed stirred the migratory habits of some morning viewers. Finally, if the anchor chemistry is decent – not cloying, or forced, or predicated on babble – and if the real news story count is high, New Day has a fighting chance. – Newsday/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Olympic Day Run and Johor Rugby Carnival postponed

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 05:08 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Two events have been postponed. And a few others are in danger of being called off too due to the worsening haze.

The Olympic Day Run, scheduled to be held at Padang Merbok on Sunday, has been postponed until further notice.

Some 15,000 people had signed up for the run, which is co-organised by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and McDonald's Malaysia.

OCM secretary general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said: "We have decided to postpone the run because of health concerns."

For more information, the public can call the Olympic Council at 03-2715-2802 or e-mail Ng Swee Fong at

In Johor, one of the worst-hit states, the two-day Johor Rugby Carnival beginning tomorrow has been postponed to September.

"Hopefully, there will be no more haze then," said Johor Rugby Union president Mohd Noorazam Osman.

Eighty-eight teams were scheduled to play during the carnival, including 10 international teams for the Asian Rugby Football Union Under-20 Sevens.

Singapore withdrew their team from the event due to the haze and the other international teams, including those from Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and South Korea, have been informed of the change.

The other events that may be postponed due to the haze are the Jelajah Malaysia cycling race (June 26-30) and the M-League football matches this weekend.

The five-stage Jelajah Malaysia race, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was slated to start from Kuala Lumpur and venture south to Malacca, Batu Pahat, Pontian and Johor Baru, which is the worst-hit haze area.

Jelajah chief executive officer Datuk Naim Mohamad said that they would "play it by ear" to determine the haze situation at least 24 hours before each stage.

"We will have a Plan B for all the stages. We can divert the route if it is affected by haze, although that will involve some serious work. We have to ensure that the alternative route is suitable for racing and this will require our officials to work round the clock," he said.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM), meanwhile, will convene an emergency meeting today to decide on the M-League matches that may be postponed due to the haze.

FAM competitions committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said that some of the matches scheduled to kick off today and tomorrow might be postponed if the Air Pollutant Index readings do not improve.

Under the API, readings of between 0 and 50 are classified as Good, 51 to 100 as Moderate, 101 to 200 as Unhealthy, 201 to 300 as Very Unhealthy and 300 and above as Hazardous.

He said that they were in contact with the Department of Environment (DOE) and monitoring the haze condition, with Johor and Singapore the worst hit.

"We are aware of the condition, especially in Johor and Singapore. We will make a decision by tomorrow (today)," said Hamidin yesterday.

If the haze situation worsens, then tomorrow's top-of-the-table Super League clash between Lions XII and Johor Darul Takzim at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore could be postponed.

Today's Premier League match between Johor and Sarawak at the Pasir Gudang Stadium could also fall victim to the haze.

Kannathasan out to bury ghost of Palembang in Myanmar Games

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 05:46 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National runner S. Kannathasan wants to bury the ghost of the past at the Myanmar SEA Games in December.

The Kuala Lumpur-born athlete has qualified for the 400m and 4x400m relay events in the Myanmar Games.

He clocked a personal best of 47.47 in the Taiwan Open last month to surpass the qualifying mark of 47.71, which is the silver-medal winning mark of the previous Games.

The scratch men's 4x400m quartet of Kannathasan, Mohd Arif Zulhilmi, Mohd Firdaus Mazalan and Mohd Jironi Riduan qualified for the Myanmar Games by clocking 3:14.87 at the Asean University Games in Laos last December – beating the qualifying mark of 3:14.90.

At the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games in Palembang, the national 4x400m team won the gold medal but they were stripped of it after Mohd Lasaleh Yunus was tested positive for a banned drug.

The other two relay runners were P. Yuvaraaj and Schzuan Ahmad Rosley.

The 22-year-old Kannathasan, who is majoring in Computer Science at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) will be competing in the National Closed junior and senior championships beginning today at the National Sports Council (NSC) Training Track in Bukit Jalil.

He described the National Closed as a good warm-up meet in preparation for the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, from July 6-17.

"This is first time I'm competing in the World University Games and I'll be more than happy if I can reach the second round in my pet event," he said.

"My mission this year is to dip below 47 seconds and bag the gold in the 400m as well as win the relay event in the SEA Games."

Extreme sports to the fore

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 05:10 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Fans of extreme sports in Malaysia are in for a treat when the top performers showcase their skills at the two-day Asian Extreme Sports Championships, which will be held at the Rakan Muda Sports Complex in Mont Kiara here on June 29-30.

The meet, sanctioned by the Asian Extreme Sports Federation (AXF), will feature top athletes from 17 countries in the region.

Malaysian Extreme Sports Association (Mesa) president Tan Sri Darshan Singh Gill said that the event would expose Malaysia's younger generation to the various levels of different sports apart from the traditional mainstream sports.

The tournament will cover three disciplines – Skateboard, Aggressive Inline and BMX, with nine categories and 27 medals up for grabs.

There will be five athletes from each nation for each discipline.

The meet is sponsored by AirAsia, Telekom Malaysia, Genting Malaysia, Nestle (Milo) and Astro Arena.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Maybank's sale of 5.1m BII shares won't have financial impact

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 06:38 PM PDT

Published: Friday June 21, 2013 MYT 9:39:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Alliance Research says Malayan Banking's (Maybank) sale of 5.1 million shares in PT Bank International Indonesia Tbk (BII) will not have a material financial impact on its earnings forecast.

The research house had on Friday maintained its Neutral recommendation on Maybank with an unchanged target price of RM10.54.

Maybank, had on Thursday announced the sale of the BII shares to an unnamed third party, reducing its shareholding to 88.3%.

In the meantime, Maybank was applying to Indonesia's Financial Services Authority for a further extension to comply with the requirement to pare down its stake in BII to 80%.

"Given that BII constituted less than 8% of the group's profit before tax for FY12 and Maybank has entered into a commercial arrangement with the unnamed third party that the economic exposure resulting from the disposal is being retained, we do not foresee material financial impact to our earnings forecasts post disposal," said Alliance Research.


Malaysia's KLCI falls more than 24pt in early trade

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 06:16 PM PDT

Published: Friday June 21, 2013 MYT 9:16:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Selling pressure pushed Malaysia's blue chips lower in early trade on Friday, sending the FBM KLCI down more than 24 points, with banks among the biggest losers after the overnight fall on Wall Street.

At 9.03am, the KLCI was down 24.28 points to 1,738.06. Turnover was 64.52 million shares valued at RM46.27mil. Losers hammered gainers 327 to 18 while 78 counters were unchanged.

Reuters reported Asian stocks extended losses on Friday as the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to scale back stimulus drove MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down another 0.6% after it hit a nine-month low on Thursday.

At Bursa Malaysia, UMW fell 34 sen to RM14.24, Petronas Gas 32 sen to RM20.32 while Tenaga lost 17 sen to RM8.15 and Sime Darby was down 15 sen to RM9.34.

Among the banks, Maybank lost 26 sen to RM10.10, HLFG 20 sen to RM13.90 and Public Bank 14 sen to RM16.82.


CIMB Research: Stay invested in Public Bank, TP RM18.70

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 05:50 PM PDT

Published: Friday June 21, 2013 MYT 8:51:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research is maintaining its target price of RM18.70 for Public Bank and its advice is to stay invested in the banking group.

It cited on Friday the banking group's strong fundamentals, reflected by its best returns on equity (ROE), asset quality and operating efficiencies among Malaysian banks.

"Earnings catalysts would be the loan growth of 11%-12% and push for the growth in fee income, mainly from bancassurance and wealth management," it said.

CIMB Research said the targets for Public Bank in 2013 were a ROE of more than 20%; gross impaired loan ratio of less than 1% and cost-to-income ratio of less than 32% and loans/deposit growth of 11%-12%.

"We believe that the targets are achievable as it had attained these levels in FY12 and we do not expect any significant deterioration. Achieving these targets will enable Public Bank to maintain the best performance in these areas except for loan/deposit growth," it said. The research house said although Public Bank was one of the first movers in terms of regional expansion, its strategies were more focused compared to its peers.

"Its focus is only on Greater China and Indochina while it does not have plans to enter other Asean countries despite their proximities to Malaysia. In the longer-term, it aims to speed up the expansion in China but we think this will only materialise in three to five years when its Hong Kong unit achieves an asset size of US$6bil," it said.



The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Jurassic Park 4' to release a year later than planned

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 01:15 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The movie was scheduled to open next year but reports coming out of Hollywood now puts the release date at 2014.

Sam Taylor-Johnson to helm 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 01:07 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Sam Taylor-Johnson's hiring immediately prompts speculation that her husband will be considered for the role of Christian Grey.

James Franco disses 'Amazing Spider-Man' again

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 01:01 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The actor writes that he does not have an emotional attachment to the 'Spider-Man' franchise saying the reboot was done "so quickly and the reason for that was money".

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Rafizi Ramli: Air quality still good, Black 505 rally to go ahead

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 08:11 AM PDT

Published: Thursday June 20, 2013 MYT 10:31:00 PM
Updated: Thursday June 20, 2013 MYT 11:11:04 PM

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat is not worried that the haze would affect turnout at this Saturday's Black 505 rally in Padang Merbok.

"According to the Air Pollutant Index, Selangor still hasn't reached the unhealthy reading of 100 or above.

"We will play it by ear and consult our medical team which is already on standby," PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli told The Star Online. He added that five medical teams were monitoring the situation and Pakatan would act on their advice.

"As it is now, I do not see an indication that people will not come because of the worry over the haze. We have survived tear gas, after all," he said.

Related Stories:
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Rafizi: Despite arrests, Black 505 rally will go on
Police arrest 15 flash mob participants (Update)
Deputy IGP: Police will take action if Black 505 proceeds without proper permit
Pakatan not budging from their June 22 rally date
KL City Hall rejects application to hold 'Black 505' rally at Padang Merbok

Haze: Immediate cloud seeding needed, says Met Dept

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 07:40 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The very unhealthy air quality in several parts of the southern peninsula due to the worsening haze should be tackled with immediate cloud seeding, Malaysian Meteorological Department deputy director-general (Application) Dr Mohd Rosaidi Che Abas said Thursday.

"If the haze exceeds the stipulated API (Air Pollution Index), immediate cloud seeding must be carried out to control the problem," he said when contacted.

As at 5pm Thursday, the Department of Environment recorded five stations as good, 40 stations as moderate and two stations, namely Melaka City and Bukit Rambai, Melaka at unhealthy API levels of 150 and 129, respectively.

Meanwhile, in Johor, Kota Tinggi was 291 and Larkin Lama 219 while Pasir Gudang reached a hazardous level of 333.

The air pollution level is categorised as hazardous when the reading is 301 or more; very unhealthy at 201 to 300; unhealthy at 101 to 200; moderate at 51 to 100 and good at zero to 50. - Bernama

Police deny claim Kuala Lumpur among 10 most dangerous cities

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 08:35 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have denied the claim by a website which lists Kuala Lumpur among the 10 most dangerous in the world.

A statement posted on the police's Facebook said "the allegation is totally untrue and the public is advised not to believe the information or disseminate it."

"The public is urged not to easily believe and spread information from the website, which is not validated, as it was not referred to the police.

"Malaysians should also be responsible and ethical (when disseminating) information by ensuring any information obtained and shared is from an official source," it said.

Based on statistics issued by the police from 2010 to 2012, PDRM successfully reduced the crime index in Kuala Lumpur by 31.8 per cent.

According to the website,, Kuala Lumpur is the sixth most dangerous city in the world.

The post, titled "10 Dangerous Cities In The World" ranked San Pedro Sula, Honduras, as the most dangerous, followed by Ciudad Huarez in Mexico, Maceio in Brazil, Acapulco in Mexico and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt. - Bernama

Related story:

Website says Kuala Lumpur is world's sixth most dangerous city, readers disagree


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Big plans under way to beautify the oldest parts of KL

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 06:04 AM PDT

THE many issues plaguing the oldest parts of the city leave one to wonder if the Heritage Trail project undertaken by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is really the antidote.

Two well-known Chinese coffeeshops closed only seven months apart, after some 85 years in business. Other century-old shophouses are in bad shape or have been left vacant for years due to rising rental rates and dwindling business.

Meanwhile, migrant workers create trails of rubbish that have put Jalan Petaling and Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin, both included in the Heritage Trail, into Alam Flora's list of top 10 dirtiest places in Kuala Lumpur.

Public buses from all over the Klang Valley converge on that area, choking up the already narrow streets with traffic while emitting heat and fumes.

*Full story in your copy of The Star today.

A sneak peek of the River of Life project components

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 06:04 AM PDT

THE River of Life project paints a pleasant picture; one in which Klang Valley folk can enjoy a quality urban lifestyle by reconnecting with the rivers they once shunned.

Rehabilitation aside, beautification of the adjacent areas plays a pivotal role in steering the people back to the river.

AECOM vice-president and director of development for Malaysia, Scott Dunn, said the company took the C.A.R.E approach, to highlight that the river 'Connects, Activates, Regenerates and Enlivens' us.

The project comprises five main districts encompassing 11 precincts with a staggered construction period.

*Full story in your copy of The Star today.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Oil palm industry may get a boost

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 04:28 PM PDT

TAWAU: The state government will look at further incentivising the oil palm industry for its economic potentials to be fully unleashed.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said the industry, while already well-established in the upstream (plantation) sector, required to break new grounds in the downstream sector involving value adding on crude palm oil and biomass.

"Rewarding risk takers, recognising pioneers and industry leaders who dare to thread where others won't are some of the things my ministry (of industrial development) will think about," he said after visiting Malaysia's first pilot plant for producing bio ethanol from empty fruit branches (EFB).

The plant belongs to the Teck Guan Group.

The visit was made on the sideline of 4th Palmex Malaysia and Conference on New Opportunities in Biomass Downstream here from June 11 to 13.

Teck Guan's chief executive Datuk Hong Ngit Ming briefed the minister and his entourage on the company's ambition in tapping the future potential of bio ethanol as a material for high value biochemicals which "will not be for a number more years".

Tan, who is also Minister of Industrial Development, also heard how Sabah cocoa planters led the country in new approaches to increasing yield and control pests, but missed out on optimising on its position as Malaysia's top cocoa producer because the industry did not go downstream.

He commended Teck Guan for its enthusiasm and industry leadership in resource optimisation not only in extracting bio ethanol from EFB, but also trapping methane gas from its mill effluent to produce energy to power its mills and fire its sizable brick factory.

He was taken on a tour of the brick factory which used to be fired by burning palm kernel shells.

The resultant acidic smoke resulted in corrosion, a costly maintenance issue which was eliminated by switching to firing with energy from processed methane.

"I am aware that many oil palm mills are producing their own power requirements, but the Teck Guan example shows there is much, much more that can be done with oil palm biomass and waste materials.

"The value adding on biomass makes good business because it makes money, creates jobs and protects the environment," he added.

Elephants in Kinabatangan fitted with tracking collars

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 05:15 PM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife researchers are hoping to learn more about the habits of Bornean elephants in the lower Kinabatangan regions in Sabah's east coast by collaring another five of the pachyderms.

The tracking of the additional five female and one male elephant would help researchers better manage plans for the creatures, said Malaysian PhD student Nurzhafarina Othman, who led the collaring exercise jointly with Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit veterinarian Dr Diana Ramirez.

"The main purpose of collaring is to collect additional movement data from different individuals to facilitate the management of the Bornean elephants in Kinabatangan and also to determine the social associations among females using GPS points, especially highly related females, an important component of my PhD," added Nurzhafarina.

The collaring of the five elephants was carried out between June 4 and 6 near the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) research facility in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS).

The exercise was part of a collaborative project between the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), NGO HUTAN and DGFC with funding from the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund of US Fish and Wildlife Service, Mohamed Zayed Species Conser­vation Fund, Elephant Family, Houston Zoo and Columbus Zoo.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goosens said the collaring of the five elephants in three days was an extraordinary feat as such operations were difficult.

Apart from the Wildlife Rescue Unit, the collaring operation also involved the River Keeper Unit and DGFC staff.

Dr Ramirez said the collaring involved three females which they named Ita, Bell and Tess, and a 30-40-year-old bull elephant called Sejati. Another female elephant called Putut which was initially tagged in 2011 was re-collared in the operation.

Nurzhafarina said locating the elephants in the wildlife sanctuary was a high-tech effort involving the use of satellite global positioning system (GPS) and even cell phone text messaging.

"To find the elephants in the forest, we were communicating via text messaging with Goosens, my supervisor, who from his office in Kota Kinabalu was providing real-time GPS positions of Aqeela, Puteri and Liun, three females from the same herd that were collared back in 2010, 2011 and 2012," she explained.

School hoping to raise RM100,000

Posted: 19 Jun 2013 05:15 PM PDT

BATU PAHAT: SJK (C) Kong Nan in Parit Raja hopes to raise RM100,000 for its new building fund.

The Chinese primary school board of governors chairman Teo Yew Chuan said the school was short of the amount for the project which costs RM1.2mil.

He said the project to build a three-storey building comprising 10 classrooms, a canteen, library and activity rooms started end of last year.

"The building is 80% completed and scheduled to be ready by mid-July.

"We hope members of public will donate generously.

"We have raised RM200,000 so far," he said at the school.

Teo said the Education Ministry had allocated RM800,000 for the project, while former Sri Gading MP Datuk Mohamad Aziz presented RM80,000 for the school.

Headmistress Tan Ah Noi said the school, established in 1937, had 12 classrooms.

"Those classrooms can only be used as normal classrooms and there are no more rooms for other academic and curricular activities such as science room and music room.

"We hope the Parents and Teacher Association will help to raise the remaining fund," she said.

Tan added that with the new classrooms, the school could accommodate more students.

The school now has 318 pupils, whereby 30% of them are Malays, she said.


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