Rabu, 26 Jun 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Oprah tops Forbes' most powerful celeb list

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 12:06 AM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After two years as a runner-up, Oprah Winfrey was named the most powerful celebrity on Wednesday by Forbes, heading the six women and four men who make up the top 10.

It was the fifth time the former talk show host who runs her own TV network has headed the annual ranking of 100 celebrities.

Singer Lady Gaga came in second, followed by director/producer Steven Spielberg and singers Beyonce and Madonna.

"There is nobody else with that kind of consistency and power," said Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes.com. "There are only three people who have been on every single one of our lists since 1999. It is Oprah, Howard Stern and Steven Spielberg."

Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, who was No. 1 last year, dropped to 12th place.

With earnings of US$77 million from June 2012 to 2013, Winfrey was not the highest earning celebrity, an honor that went to Madonna who made US$125 million, but Forbes said Winfrey's position in Hollywood and her presence in the press, on television and in social media propelled her to the No. 1 spot.

"She still wields an enormous amount of power, which is really what we look for in our fame matrix. She is taking this cable network and turning it around just through the sheer force of her will, her connections and her ability."

Despite hip surgery, which forced her to cut short a tour, Lady Gaga earned US$80 million in the past 12 months which, along with her army of fans and powerful social media presence, assured her second place.

"She is still a huge force in pop music. Even when she is not playing, people are talking abut her and speculating about her," Pomerantz said.

Spielberg, with earnings of US$100 million in the last year, was the top man on the list, ahead of rock star Bon Jovi at No. 7, tennis champion Roger Federer and Justin Bieber, the youngest member of the list, squeezed into the top ten at No.9.

Although only 23, sixth place singer Taylor Swift, made the list for the first time and rounded out the top 10 along with Emmy-award winning TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.


Forbes based a celebrity's earnings on income from tours, books, contracts, endorsements, movies and residuals. Each celebrity was given a marketability score, developed by California market research firm E-Poll.

It gauged fame and influence by how often celebrities appear in the media. It used Starcount, a Singapore-based company that looks at 11 social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to determine their presence in social media.

"In today's world celebrities have this enormous ability to reach out to their fans, who really are their customers, and to sell their product, which is really themselves. If they don't take advantage of that it hurts them," said Pomerantz.

Pop stars, most notably Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Barbados-born singer Rihanna, are particularly good with handling social media, according to Forbes.

Top celebrity couples include Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z (32), American football quarterback Tom Brady (65) and his model wife Gisele Bundchen (81), and actor Ashton Kutcher (53) and his girlfriend Mila Kunis (89).

Best actress Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, who was No. 49, is a newcomer to the list this year, as is Hugh Jackman, who was No. 11, and new father Channing Tatum (23).

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Mongolian president wins second term amid focus on mining curbs

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 08:33 PM PDT

ULAN BATOR (Reuters) - Mongolia's incumbent president, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who wants more controls on foreign mining investments, has emerged as the winner of Wednesday's polls with a narrow majority of votes cast, the country's election commission said on Thursday.

Elbegdorj, 50, who has served as president since 2009, was the overwhelming favourite in the contest, played out amid worries about Mongolia's faltering economy as well as the growing role of foreign mining firms.

A man walks into a polling station inside a 'Ger', a traditional Mongolian tent, during Mongolia's presidential elections in Tuv Aimag Sergelen Sum, about 50 km (31 miles) south of Ulan Bator June 26, 2013. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj

A man walks into a polling station inside a 'Ger', a traditional Mongolian tent, during Mongolia's presidential elections in Tuv Aimag Sergelen Sum, about 50 km (31 miles) south of Ulan Bator June 26, 2013. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj

The commission said Elbegdorj got 50.23 percent of the votes, beating a former wrestling champion, Bat-Erdene Badmaanyambuu of the Mongolian People's Party, and health minister Udval Natsag, of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.

The lower-than-expected margin of victory could be traced to low turnout, said Julian Dierkes, an expert in Mongolian politics at the University of British Columbia, adding that participation was 10 percent lower than the last election.

"The consensus was that Elbegdorj was winning and I suspect that a lot of potential voters thought he was winning anyway, and didn't vote," said Dierkes, who is in Ulan Bator to monitor the election.

Elbegdorj's narrow victory, even if it is not contested by the opposition, is not expected to allay the concerns of foreign investors worried about growing government interference in the country's booming mining sector.

The win preserves the dominance of the Mongolian Democratic Party, which won the most seats, though not an absolute majority, in last year's parliamentary vote, and heads a coalition government keen to regulate foreign investments.

Elbegdorj is a free-market advocate, but his government has increasingly adopted a more "resource nationalist" approach, with laws to give the country a bigger stake in "strategic assets", such as mines.

It also aims to rework a landmark 2009 investment pact to develop the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine.

The vote took place amid rising concern over Mongolia's resource-dependent economy, with falling commodity prices and weakening demand from China expected to erode growth and undermine spending plans.

The economy grew 12 percent last year and 17 percent in 2011, as mining investment poured in and mineral exports to China surged.

But growth could slow to 5.5 percent in 2013, the Mongolian Investment Banking Group said this week, if the Oyu Tolgoi project is not launched on schedule.

Mongolia is in dispute with Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto over how it will repatriate profits from Oyu Tolgoi, whose launch has been delayed twice this month.

A controversial new mining bill championed by Elbegdorj will also be high on the agenda.

"The biggest implication is continuity -- his campaign was that he had done well for four years and wanted a chance to do more," said Dierkes. "But mining and resources is on the top of everyone's agenda and here he will keep going."

(Reporting by Max Duncan, Terrence Edwards and David Stanway; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Gay marriage gets big boost in two U.S. Supreme Court rulings

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 07:50 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for gay rights on Wednesday by forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and paving the way for it in California, the most populous state.

People celebrate as they gather in support of the United States Supreme Court decision on marriage rights in San Diego, California June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

People celebrate as they gather in support of the United States Supreme Court decision on marriage rights in San Diego, California June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

As expected, however, the court fell short of a broader ruling endorsing a fundamental right for gay people to marry, meaning that there will be no impact in the more than 30 states that do not recognize gay marriage.

The two cases, both decided on 5-4 votes, concerned the constitutionality of a key part of a federal law, the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), that denied benefits to same-sex married couples, and a voter-approved California state law enacted in 2008, called Proposition 8, that banned gay marriage.

The court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which limited the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal benefits, as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

The ruling was a victory for President Barack Obama's administration, which had decided two years ago it would no longer defend the law in court. Obama applauded the DOMA ruling and directed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review all relevant federal laws to ensure that it is implemented.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, 76, appointed to the court by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1988, was the key vote and wrote the DOMA opinion, the third major gay rights ruling he has authored since 1996.

In a separate opinion, the court ducked a decision on Proposition 8 by finding that supporters of the California law did not have standing to appeal a federal district court ruling that struck it down. By doing so, the justices let stand the lower-court ruling that had found the ban unconstitutional.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Proposition 8 opinion, ruling along procedural lines in a way that said nothing about how the court would rule on the merits. The court was unusually split, with liberals and conservatives in both the majority and the dissent.

By ruling this way on Proposition 8, the court effectively let states set their own policy on gay marriage. This means a debate is set to continue in various states via ballot initiatives, legislative action and litigation potentially costing millions of dollars on both sides of an issue that stirs cultural, religious and political passions in the United States as elsewhere.

The rulings come amid rapid progress for advocates of gay marriage in recent months and years. Opinion polls show a steady increase in U.S. public support for gay marriage.


Gay marriage advocates celebrated outside the courthouse. A big cheer went up as word arrived DOMA had been struck down. "DOMA is dead!" the crowd chanted, as couples hugged and cried.

Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, a gay couple from Burbank, California, who were two of the four plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case, were both outside the courthouse.

"We are gay. We are American. And we will not be treated like second-class citizens," Katami said.

He turned to Zarrillo, voice cracking and said: "I finally get to look at the man I love and say, 'Will you marry me?'"

Before Wednesday, 12 of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia recognized gay marriage. Three of those dozen - Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island - legalized gay marriage this year. California would become the 13th state to allow it.

About a third of the U.S. population now lives in areas where gay marriage is legal, if California is included.

"We are a people who declared that we are all created equal, and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," Obama, the first sitting president to endorse gay marriage, said in a written statement.

While the ruling on DOMA was clearcut, questions remained about the meaning of the Proposition 8 ruling for California. Proposition 8 supporters vowed to seek continued enforcement of the ban until litigation is resolved. But California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said the justices' ruling "applies statewide" and all county officials must comply with it.

"We are now faced with this unusual situation where we have some uncertainty," said Andrew Pugno, one of the Proposition 8 proponents' lawyers. He expressed satisfaction that the Supreme Court had "nullified" a San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that, if left intact, could have had set a precedent for other Western states in its jurisdiction.


By striking down Section 3 of DOMA, the court cleared the way for legally married couples to claim more than 1,100 federal benefits, rights and burdens linked to marriage status.

Kennedy wrote for the majority that the federal law, as passed by Congress, violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," Kennedy wrote.

The law imposed "a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states," he said.

Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia both wrote dissenting opinions in the DOMA case.

Roberts went out of his way to state that the court was not making any big pronouncements about gay marriage. The court, he said, did not have before it the question of whether states "may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage."

Scalia accused the majority of ignoring procedural obstacles about whether the court should have heard the case in order to reach its desired result.

"This is jaw-dropping," he said of Kennedy's analysis.

As a result of the DOMA ruling, Edith Windsor of New York, who was married to a woman and sued the government to get the federal estate tax deduction available to heterosexuals when their spouses die, will be able to claim a $363,000 tax refund.

The ruling was a win also for more than 200 businesses, including Goldman Sachs Group, Microsoft Corp and Google Inc, that signed on to a brief urging the court to strike down DOMA. Thomson Reuters Corp, owner of the Reuters news agency, was another signatory.

"Today's decisions help define who we are as a people, whether or not we are part of the group directly affected," said Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's chief executive.


Numerous public figures including former President Bill Clinton, who in 1996 signed the DOMA law, and prominent groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics have come out this year in support of same-sex marriage and gay civil rights.

Individual members of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - also voiced new support for gay marriage this year.

Even with recent developments, there is still significant opposition among Republicans, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who had ordered the House to intervene in the DOMA case in Defence of the law. Boehner said in a statement he was "obviously disappointed in the ruling" and predicted that a "robust national debate over marriage" would continue.

While more developments lie ahead, the legal fight over gay marriage already constitutes one of the most concentrated civil rights sagas in U.S. history.

Just 20 years ago, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that its state constitution could allow gay marriage, prompting a nationwide backlash and spurring Congress and a majority of states, including Hawaii, to pass laws defining marriage as between only a man and woman.

In 2003, when the top court of Massachusetts established a right to same-sex marriage under its constitution, the action triggered another backlash as states then adopted constitutional amendments against such unions. Five years later, the tide began to reverse, and states slowly began joining Massachusetts in permitting gays to marry.

The cases are United States v. Windsor, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-307 and Hollingsworth v. Perry, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-144.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax, Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton in Washington, Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York and Daniel Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Howard Goller and Will Dunham)

Related Stories:
Across U.S., Supreme Court gay rights ruling celebrated

Supreme Court ruling sets stage for more legal wrangling in California

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Texas governor mounts new bid for abortion restrictions

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 07:44 PM PDT

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday launched another battle to pass sweeping abortion restrictions after a marathon speech by a Democrat lawmaker briefly halted a bill critics say could shut most abortion clinics in one of the nation's biggest states.

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during the Personhood USA presidential forum in Greenville, South Carolina January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during the Personhood USA presidential forum in Greenville, South Carolina January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane

Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, once a teenage mother who went on to earn a Harvard Law degree, was propelled on to the national political stage when she spoke for more than 10 hours to block a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

It proved a short-lived victory for women's groups and abortion rights advocates fighting to stop abortion restrictions across several states. Perry called for another special legislative session to reconsider the proposal on July 1.

"Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn," Perry said in a statement. "We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do."

Davis' filibuster of the Republican supermajority in the Texas legislature was streamed live on some national media websites.

Republicans managed to stop her about two hours before the midnight end to the special legislative session, citing parliamentary procedures, but they were unable to complete voting on the abortion bill before the deadline.

Davis said on Wednesday that a second attempt at a filibuster is unlikely because Republicans are sure to call the bill to a vote with more time to spare.

"If they are smarter about their time management going into this next called session, it's likely we won't have an opportunity to do this again," Davis told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

But even if the bill passes, Davis said her resistance to government interfering in private health decisions will have a lasting impact.

"This will linger," she said.

Analysts say Perry was bound to call lawmakers back for another special session to pass the abortion bill as he is confident it will eventually pass.

"An abortion bill passed both houses. The votes are there. There's no question the votes are there," Texas Republican political strategist Matt Mackowiak he said.

The abortion restrictions passed the House earlier in the week and a version of the proposal that did not include the ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy passed the Senate.


If the measure ultimately passes, Texas would become the 13th state to impose a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and by far the most populous. In addition, the legislation would set strict health standards for abortion clinics and restrict the use of drugs to end pregnancy.

Republican backers said the regulation of abortion clinics would protect women's health and that the ban on late-term abortions would protect foetuses, based on disputed research that suggests foetuses feel pain by 20 weeks of development.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but conservative states have enacted laws in recent years that seek to place restrictions on the procedure, especially on abortions performed late in pregnancy.

Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortions 20 weeks after fertilization. The measure is extremely unlikely to become law because Democrats control the U.S. Senate and the White House.

The debate rages across the nation. Twelve states have passed 20-week bans, including two states where the bans take effect later this year, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Courts have blocked the bans in three of the 12 states - Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.

North Dakota's only abortion clinic filed a federal challenge on Tuesday to a new state law, the most restrictive in the country, that would ban procedures to end pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks.

A Philadelphia jury last month convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell of murdering three babies during abortions at a clinic in a high-profile case that focused national attention on late-term abortions.

In Texas, Davis whittled away chunks of time by reading testimony and messages from women and others decrying the legislation, reciting previously suggested changes to the bill and tapping into her own past as a single mother at 19.

She said the bill would have choked off her own access to a local Planned Parenthood clinic.

"I was a poor, uninsured woman, whose only care was provided through that facility. It was my medical home," said Davis, 50, several hours into her marathon speech.

(Additional reporting by Eric Johnson; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Stacey Joyce)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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Rashid urges players to stay motivated and set higher targets

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 03:26 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National singles head coach Rashid Sidek believes that the shuttlers need to motivate themselves and set their own targets ... otherwise "no amount of training can help them".

Rashid held up world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei as an excellent role model.

He, however, said the other shuttlers in the squad had a mental barrier which prevented them from pushing just as hard.

"Look, we can give these shuttlers the same training programme that Chong Wei has but, honestly, it's up to them to make full use of it," said Rashid.

"Most times they aren't able to last that long because they think that Chong Wei is on a different level and they simply can't achieve that.

"While Chong Wei is on a higher level, he only got so far because he is focused and motivates himself without needing us coaches to do too much. That sets him apart from the others."

Rashid also praised Chong Wei Feng for showing improvement of late, unlike Liew Daren, who hasn't improved much since winning the French Open last year.

Wei Feng made the semi-finals of the Asia Badminton Championships in April and was a quarter-finalist in the Singapore Open last week. He is currently ranked a career high 12th in the world.

Daren has failed to reproduce his form from last year and has dropped to No. 16 in the world.

"Overall, Wei Feng is the more impressive one, in terms of attitude and results," said Rashid.

"Daren has not improved much and has been far too defensive on court.

"He still has much to learn, in terms of the game and his attitude and he needs to motivate himself more in order to reproduce his form.

"Right now we just want Daren to relax a little and not to be be too hard on himself so that he can regain some self-confidence."

Daren and Wei Feng will join Chong Wei at the World Championships in Guangzhou from Aug 5-11.

Kim Her plays down fears of injury at different training venue

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 03:26 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her has played down fears of his charges getting injured training now that they are training at a different venue.

Two years ago, former world junior champion Chooi Kah Ming seriously injured his knee and was out for six months while training at an outside venue.

After finding themselves shut out from their regular training ground – the Juara Stadium, which will be used as a venue for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) for netball – the doubles squad are training at the Ara Badminton Court in Kayu Ara while the singles shuttlers are going through their paces at the Lee Chong Wei Sports Arena at Taman Sri Sentosa.

This time, Kim Her said that they are better prepared and have taken precautions to avoid injuries as the shuttlers prepare for the World Championships, which will be held in Guangzhou from Aug 5-11.

"So far everything is looking good and there are no new injury concerns. We are doing our best not to over-exert the players on a different surface from the one we usually train on," said Kim Her.

"There are no problems with the temporary shift of venue because we are used to it and can adapt. Anywhere we go, we'll be fine.

"For now, the main focus is on the World Championships ... everything else should not be an issue or distraction.

"As for (Koo) Kien Keat and (Tan) Boon Heong, their focus is also on the world meet and everything that has happened this year is in the past.

"What's important is that they stay focused and be positive for the next few weeks ... we're giving them all the support they need."

Boon Heong agreed with his coach and stressed that the world meet "is all we're thinking of right now".

"It's all about the World Championships. We're only focused on that. The rest we'll discuss later," said Boon Heong.

The other pairs heading for Guangzhou are Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah and professional duo Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari.

The Malaysian squad will head for Hong Kong on July 25 for a 10-day training before the world meet.

Sonia vows to make memorable debut at World C’ships

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 04:32 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Top woman singles shuttler Sonia Cheah can't wait for the World Championships to begin.

The tournament, to be held in Guangzhou from Aug 5-11, will be her first world meet and also her first outing in China.

The 19-year-old Sonia has come of age this year with several impressive performances to rise to a career-high 37th in the world ranking and earn a spot in the world meet.

Sonia, however, admitted that her recent performances have not been the best and is working doubly hard to ensure that her first trip to China will not end in disappointment.

"I have never played in China before ... not even as a junior. So, I'm really excited ... and nervous, at the same time," said Sonia after a training session at the Lee Chong Wei Sports Arena in Taman Sri Sentosa here yesterday.

"I've not been at my best of late. In the Singapore Open last week, I lost in the first round to South Korea's Sung Ji-hyun ... I was unable to play to my highest standards.

"It's disappointing because I know I can do better. Inexperience was a factor but I'm learning to adapt.

"I have no specific targets for the world meet because I really don't know what to expect. I just want to play well so that even if I lose, I'll have no regrets about my performance.

"We're training harder now ... at a higher level of intensity."

Malaysia will also be represented by world No. 43 Tee Jing Yi at the world meet in women's singles.

This will be first time since 2010 that Malaysia will be represented in the women's singles at the world meet. Wong Mew Choo, now retired, and Sonia's older sister Lydia competed in the 2010 World Championships in Paris, losing in the second round.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Public Bank, Maybank lead KLCI higher

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 06:13 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Fund nibbling of bank stocks including Public Bank and Maybank pushed the FBM KLCI slightly higher on Thursday.

At 9am, the FBM KLCI was up 2.14 points to 1,742.90. Turnover was 10.60 million shares valued at RM7.58mil. There were 82 gainers, 15 losers and 57 counters unchanged.

M&A Securities Research said its year-end target for the KLCI in 2013 was 1,838.

"We recommend investors to continue investing as we expect bright spots from the US and Japan economies. The expected steady recovery in US and Japan economies will shore up sentiment in the global equity market and will be a catalyst for the market to reaccelerate in the near term," it said.

M&A Research recommended investors to continue investing in fundamentally strong blue chips counters with attractive valuations especially the Economic Transformation Proramme related sectors.

It has an Overweight call on finance, construction and oil and gas sectors.

Public Bank added 10 sen to RM16.78 and Maybank six sen to RM10.14.

GAB was the top gainer, adding 12 sen to RM19.20 while glove maker Top Glove recouped part of Wednesday's losses to add six sen to RM6.11.

UEM Sunrise extended its gains, adding six sen to RM3.02 while Kimlun rose six sen to RM2.03 after its unit secured a contract in Singapore to supply its concrete products for the island republic's tunnel project.

Among the decliners were Tasek, down 36 sen to RM15.62, UMW 12 sen to RM14.18 while among plantations, KL Kepong fell eight sen to RM21.02 and Sime Darby three sen to RM9.44.

Alliance Research upgrades Tenaga to Trading Buy, TP RM9.52

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 06:01 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Alliance Research has raised its earnings outlook for Tenaga Nasional by 2% and upgraded it to a Trading Buy with higher target price of RM9.52.

It said on Thursday gas shortages to the power sector are in its final days with the Melaka regasification terminal set to commence soon and Tenaga will no longer be burdened by the excessive use of alternative fuel.

"We expect higher coal cost in 2H, but still lower on a full year basis. With the 13GE over, risk of sector reform delays has dissipated.

"On Tenaga's bid for Bord Gais, we think competition is stiff from other global heavyweights," it said.

Alliance Research said Energy Commission data showed that gas shortages have returned in 3QFY13 averaging -191 mmscfd. This was worse off than the -19 seen in the preceding quarter and -122 in 3QFY12.

"Judging from the gas shortfall numbers, we estimate the generation mix from alternative fuel (oil and distillates) to come in at 10.9% in 3Q (2QFY13: 1.1%, 3QFY12: 7.1%)," it said.

Nevertheless, the research house believed that gas shortages faced by the power sector were in its final days as the Melaka regasification terminal was ready to start.

Petronas received its first spot LNG shipment at the Melaka RGT last month from Nigeria LNG Ltd's Bonny Island terminal.

The regasification terminal was expected to provide an additional 250 mmscfd of gas to the power sector. This incremental sum would be sufficient to make up for the average quarterly shortfall witnessed since 1QFY12 ranging from -19 to -191 mmscfd.

Alliance Research said Tenaga should see its generation mix from alternative fuel fall back to its usual less than 1% from FY14 (FYE: August) onwards.

Maybank KE Research maintains Buy on BIMB, TP RM4.60

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 05:42 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank KE Research is maintaining its Buy recommendation on BIMB Holdings with a sum-of-parts target price of RM4.60.

It had on Thursday projected an above-industry three-year net profit CAGR of 14% for Bank Islam, 12% at the BIMB group level, and a further catalyst is BIMB's proposed purchase of the 49% stake in Bank Islam.

"While Bank Islam's personal financing (PF) portfolio has been expanding rapidly, it has to be emphasised that PF is not just what Bank Islam is about. PF accounts for just 31% of its total portfolio and financing growth has been augmented by expansion in its housing, auto and commercial sector portfolios. Our SOP-derived TP of MYR4.60 is maintained," it said.

Maybank Research said its channel checks with Bank Islam, MBSB and Bank Rakyat branches confirm that Bank Islam's package personal financing (financing under the salary deduction scheme to government employees) eligibility criteria are more stringent than that of its peers in terms of the minimum salary, maximum tenure and debt service ratio requirements.

Bank Islam's median personal financing debt service ratio (DSR) is just 49% with an average tenure of seven to eight years.

"Put into perspective, personal financing accounts for just 31% of Bank Islam's total financing vs. 69% for MBSB and 79% for Bank Rakyat.

"While this segment grew at a rapid annualised pace of 30% in 1Q13, Bank Islam added only RM152mil worth of personal financing per month in 1Q13 vs. RM750mil for MBSB and RM327mil for Bank Rakyat," said the research house.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Haze: All schools to reopen Thursday

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 08:17 AM PDT

Published: Wednesday June 26, 2013 MYT 11:16:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday June 26, 2013 MYT 11:17:25 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: All schools in the country will reopen Thursday as the haze condition and Air Pollutant Index (API) showed a marked improvement with readings not exceeding 250, said Education director-general Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud.

He said the Education Ministry found the situation in Klang and Petaling Jaya in Selangor and Manjung in Perak, which recorded readings exceeding 250 on Tuesday, had improved Wednesday.

Abd Ghafar said the API in other parts of the country had also improved.

"Following the prevailing conditions, all state Education directors have been informed that schools should start operations as normal tomorrow," he said in a statement.

Abd Ghafar said the Education Ministry was continuously monitoring the haze and API to ensure the health of students was not at risk. - Bernama

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Visa-free travel from July 1 for Malaysians visiting Japan

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 07:42 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Effective July 1, Malaysian nationals who hold ordinary biometric passports with an embedded microchip will no longer need to obtain a visa for a short-term stay in Japan.

The Embassy of Japan, in a statement Wednesday, said the Japan government introduced the measure as part of its celebration of the 40th anniversary of Asean-Japan's friendship and cooperation.

"This development is expected to further enhance the exchange between Japan and Malaysia with increased visits of tourists from Malaysia to Japan and increased convenience in business between the two countries," the statement said.

"Malaysian nationals who do not hold an ordinary biometric passport with an embedded microchip that is compliant with ICAO International Civil Aviation Organisation standards will remain advised to obtain a visa," the statement said. - Bernama

Guard claims trial to outraging teen student's modesty, performing unnatural sex on her

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 07:09 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A security guard pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here Wednesday to two counts of outraging the modesty and performing unnatural sex on a college student last week.

Mohammad Nazri Mohd Damin, 28, claimed trial when he was charged with using criminal force on the 17-year-old girl with the intention of outraging her modesty and performing unnatural sex with her in a toilet for persons with disabilities (OKU) at Berjaya Times Square, Jalan Imbi here at about 6pm on June 17.

He was charged under Section 354 and Section 377C of the Penal Code and faces up to 20 years' imprisonment, a fine and whipping if convicted.

Judge Emelia Kaswati Mohamad Khalid allowed Mohammad Nazri bail of RM10,000 in one surety for both charges and ordered him to report to the nearest police station every Friday.

She set July 25 for re-mention.

Deputy public prosecutor Henry Tan appeared for the prosecution, while Mohammad Nazri was represented by lawyer Mohd Shamril Afzan Mohamed Hasim. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Cash course in parenting

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 03:23 AM PDT

John Carter Cash learned all about nature from his father and it has informed his debut novel, Lupus Rex, a children's book.

AS a boy, John Carter Cash used to be taken hunting by his father, the American music legend Johnny Cash. They would go into the woods around their home in Tennessee to shoot squirrels, rabbits and deer. Or they might go up to the wilderness of Alaska with his mother too, the country singer June Carter Cash, who was a skilful fisherwoman, and catch pike and trout.

Along the way, Johnny told his son all about nature – not just the beauty but the horror and bloodshed as well. Then they would drag their carcasses home, and skin or pluck them and eat them for dinner. "My father was a great outdoorsman," says Cash. "From when I was about six we would spend countless hours together in the woods or on a lake. He taught me how to skin a rabbit and pluck a wild turkey. He showed me there is much more to nature than we can ever understand."

As the 10th anniversary of Johnny Cash's death approaches, his son John, 43, has written a children's book – his first novel. Lupus Rex is dedicated to the memory of his father's brutally honest introduction to mother nature.

The book – part fantasy, part fable – is about a group of animals that inhabit a woodland kingdom. When their crow king dies, all the other crows gather to choose a new king. This murder – the collective noun for crows – turns against each other horribly, and what follows is a series of battles and betrayals as they fight to restore order in their land.

Just like Watership Down, all Cash's animals are given brilliantly human characteristics. And as in Peter And The Wolf, each animal is represented by its own song in a gorgeous folky soundtrack that accompanies the book. The music was recorded by Cash, who is also a Grammy Award-winning musician and producer, along with some of the Nashville (Tennessee) greats, including Bill Miller, who worked with his father.

"The book is as much about understanding us as human beings as it is about animals," explains Cash. "I have one distinct memory from when I was a child of coming upon a group of crows and my dad saying to me, 'See those crows over there? See that one that's squawking? He's on trial and if he is found guilty he will be sentenced to death by the others. That's why they call it a murder of crows.' Well, that stuck with me. I became fascinated with the idea of order and hierarchy in nature."

Cash's writing career didn't start until his early 30s, shortly after the death of his parents. They died within months of each other in 2003 after a legendary 35-year love affair and marriage celebrated in the Oscar-winning film Walk The Line.

"My mother's death was very painful as it occurred over a period of a week," says Cash. "Watching her die was the hardest thing my dad ever went through. Even though they had their struggles, they were built for each other, and by the end of their lives they were more in love than they had ever been. But at the same time he has a great sense of strength and endurance. On the way home from her funeral he turned to me and said, 'I gotta get back into the studio. I've got to go face to face with this pain.'"

While his father spent his final few months in the studio, Cash began to write. "Shortly after Mum died, a publisher asked if I could write a foreword for a biography. When they read it they said, why don't you just go ahead and write the whole book? I wanted to honour her legacy. So I took it on. In the end, it was cathartic."

In 2010, he found himself doing the same for his father with the publication of his biography The House Of Cash. Again, he found the process of rifling through thousands of pictures and letters deeply healing. "It was more than just a reminder of exactly who he was," says Cash. "It made me feel like I was back in close contact with him again."

Overcoming his demons

As the only offspring of the Carter-Cash union, the responsibility for honouring their legacy seems to have fallen on Cash's shoulders. "I think of it as just one aspect of my life," he says. "If I didn't have all the other aspects of my life, my own writing and music, then maybe it would be overwhelming. But I could go on and on about my father and who he was. And my mother too – she is an important historical figure in her own right. She won two Grammys and she came from the Carter family, who basically made country music what it is today."

He may be country music royalty but life for Cash wasn't always easy. Born in Tennessee, where he still lives, he pretty much grew up on the road. His parents took him on stage at four weeks old and his father taught him some guitar chords just as soon as his hands could hold one. "I was getting up on stage and taking a bow as soon as I could stand," says Cash. "But they didn't force it on me. They weren't pushy. They let me choose my path."

But by his late teens, things started to go wrong. He began drinking heavily and was soon facing addiction problems just as his father had. "You would think growing up around addiction as I did, maybe I wouldn't go there but nobody is immune," says Cash.

He hit rock bottom at 21. "I went through hell," he says. "I did a lot of struggling with my identity trying to figure out who the heck I was. I had to face my demons."

He struggled until he was 30, when he finally managed to sort himself out. "I did a lot of growing up," he says. "I stopped banging my head against the same wall. I was frazzled but a lot stronger. Now I'm pretty comfortable in my own shoes. Now I'm OK with carrying the torch for the family heritage."

Which is lucky because it's a major role. There's the Cash Cabin Studio to manage, where both his parents made much of their music. And this being an anniversary year, there is an album of unreleased music coming out, which Cash has helped produce, as well as a limited edition postage stamp featuring Johnny Cash's distinctive face.

Cash now has three children of his own and the legacy continues. Joseph, his eldest, works full-time at the Johnny Cash museum, in Nashville. "He definitely gets a full dose of Johnny Cash on a regular basis," says Cash, "but I think he appreciates it."

Just as his father did with him years ago, Cash is immersing his offspring in the wonders of the outdoors. His daughter Anna Maybelle, 11, like her grandmother June, is a fisherwoman. "My little girl just loves to fish," he says.

But for now Cash is off. He is currently producing Loretta Lynn and is keen to get back to the studio, the cabin Johnny Cash built in the woods in 1978.

"We've had a lot of folks visit here," says Cash. "But it is the spirit of my dad which lingers on foremost. There's a photograph of him, the last portrait ever taken of him, hanging up in the main tracking room. He is watching over all the music being recorded here still. I can definitely feel that." – Guardian News & Media

> Lupus Rex by John Carter Cash is published by Ravenstone. The soundtrack of Lupus Rex is available from lupusrex.com.

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Chris Tucker’s stand-up is both pleasing and personal

Posted: 25 Jun 2013 09:11 PM PDT

Most famous people write books about their lives but not comedian Chris Tucker. He could choose to put some soft music on, sit in front of a fireplace, behind a computer and sip claret, and wait for inspiration to strike but nooooo ...

He'd rather go around the world jumping up and down like a maniac, putting on multiple facial expressions, do Michael Jackson dance moves and deliver rapid-fire comedy, just like the motor-mouthed detective he played in the Rush Hour films.

The 41-year-old goldfish-eyed comedian sped eagerly through his life like it was rush hour, in front of a sold-out, 2,000-odd crowd at the KL Convention Centre, on Monday.

It was a laugh-a-minute marathon. Tucker was a high-energy, walking-talking-singing-dancing autobiography at The Return Show (Tucker first made his name in the 90s doing stand-up before getting into movies like The Fifth Element and Money Talks).

He spoke about growing up under a no-nonsense, non-doting mother who "wouldn't even bother to look for me when I got lost in the mall" to becoming so rich, his entire family quit their jobs (to whom he quipped, "Hey! You're not rich, I am!"), to owing US$12mil (RM36mil) in taxes.

But it was Tucker's reversal of fortune that was the main topic at his stand-up gig. Despite earning US$45mil (RM135mil) for Rush Hour 2 and 3 alone, Tucker still managed to get into debt with the IRS in 2011. He reportedly sold his LA mansion to start getting back to black.

He poked fun at himself. He said he was extravagant enough to buy two houses next to each other.

"I was my own neighbour," he said, before vowing never to take tax advice from actor Wesley Snipes again. (Snipes spent three years in the slammer for failing to file tax returns.)

Tucker's self-deprecating humour was one of the many highlights of the show.

"If you go and see Silver Linings Playbook, don't blink because you could miss me," he said on his cameo role in last year's Oscar nominated movie, which is his sole movie appearance in the past five years.

He added in typical African-American fashion: "That was one all-white movie," he said.

He also imitated his A-list friends during the show. He was spot on with his Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson impersonations. He spoke of his visits to the late singer's home in the sprawling Neverland, where he remembers sitting down in the living room and saying, "Michael! Was that a giraffe that just walked by?"

He spoke of Jackson's generous streak. The singer sent Tucker a wide screen TV just because Tucker casually remarked he liked it, upon seeing it in Jackson's house.

Tucker then cast his eyes on a Rolls Royce in Jackson's estate, hoping history would repeat itself.

"You like it, Chris? You like the Rolls Royce?" asked Jackson.

"Yes," said Tucker, eagerly.

"Then, why don't you go and buy one?" said Jackson.

Famous buddies aside, the audience also appreciated Tucker touching on the haze.

"You all look ready to kick Indonesia's a**. They do the same s**t every year!"

Tucker's show stands up (pun intended) to such classics like Eddie Murphy's Delirious and Richard Pryor's Live At Sunset Strip.

The difference is that Tucker was all-clean humour. Dressed in a white jacket and a bow-tie, he hardly used any expletives or offended anyone.

It's rare (and refreshing) when an African-American comedian doesn't get raw on stage and rip into politicians or public figures. It's so rare, it's up there with solar eclipses, pots of gold at the end of the rainbow and finding a rapper that hasn't done serious jail time.

With Tucker's good, old-fashioned humour, it looks like Tucker's is set for Act 2 of his career. And whatever curveballs that life throws him, like all great comedians, you can bet he's going to see the funny side of it.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Council seeks approval for an auxiliary police unit for third time

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 04:08 AM PDT

FOR the third time the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has submitted an application to the Federal Government to establish an auxiliary police force.

Peatling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said there was an urgent need for the auxiliary police to increase frequency of patrols in neighbourhoods and commercial areas to curb crime.

She said the residents felt that crime was on the rise including armed attacks.

"The council is encouraging families to spend quality time together outdoors but people live in fear.

"Cases of families being robbed at restaurants, handbags being snat-ched and mugging outside LRT stations are being reported via social media," said Alinah.

"Police do conduct patrols but rarely on foot. Residential and commercial areas need greater police presence especially around eateries and bus stops.

"An auxiliary police force can act as a critical link with the communities to curb crime," she added.

On June 15 last year, MBPJ submitted its second application after the first in February 2009.

Recently, Damansara Utama assemblyman Yeo Bee Yin in a press conference with Bukit Gasing's Rajiv Rishyakaran and Kampung Tunku's Lau Weng San said the police had rejected earlier applications citing "redundancy of duties".

Yeo said there were 1,323 police officers in Petaling Jaya, which has a population of 620,000.

"The ratio is one police officer to 470 residents. It is well below guidelines set by Interpol, which is one police officer to 250 residents.

"We need at least 2,480 more police officers patrolling the streets," she added.

Rajiv said the main aim of the force was to provide a coordinated approach to crime fighting where the auxiliary police would engage with the people.

Rajiv cited Johor which has a ratio of one policeman to 218 residents.

"The police had approved the formation of an auxiliary police force in the Iskandar region in Johor.

"It happened at almost the same time when MBPJ made its second application in 2012," he said.

Alinah, who has been in office for almost six months, said the earlier applications had not cited sufficient reasons on the need for an auxiliary police force.

"Now we have ample reasons together with support from the residents. Once approved, we will have a pilot project where these police officers will be an integral part of the council's efforts to curb crime and improve the quality of life in our city," said Alinah.

She added that the auxiliary policemen would be trained to observe and report situations that require the services of regular police, complementing the latter in field work.

A retired senior police officer said the police force were short-handed and confidence in the force had declined.

"Investigation officers are unable to follow up on crime cases with all victims. But it is important to do so. Now there is a gap between the initial report and follow-up.

"Auxiliary police can work on this as it is important for intelligence gathering and to establish trust with residents," he said.

MBPJ advised to keep recruits to 50

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 04:08 AM PDT

SMALLER is better — that was the Selangor Police Contingent's (IPK) feedback on the formation of an auxiliary police force.

Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) public relations director Haniza Abdul Hamid said the council had proposed 100 recruits for its auxiliary police application but IPK had advised the council to keep it to 50.

"Our third application sent on Wednesday mentioned 50 recruits for the pilot project," said Haniza.

She added that the number of people involved in the pilot project would have a significant impact on its performance.

"We hope our application will be considered. Once we show results to curb crime, the council will apply to take in more recruits," she said.

Haniza explained that becoming an auxiliary police officer would be demanding but there were rewards.

"They can contribute to the wellbeing of the community.

"It will be great for someone looking to pursue law enforcement or a graduate seeking experience. It will look good on their résumé," she said.

Haniza said active residents' associations and Rukun Tetangga were given RM5,000 annually each to initiate Neighbourhood Safety Patrols.

"In 2011, we approved allocations for 65 resident groups while 72 groups were given the allocation last year.

"This year, 61 have applied and we have given it to 41 groups, amounting to RM205,000," she said, adding that this was a good method to curb crime.

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MJ's son, Prince to testify in pop star's wrongful death suit

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 12:19 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Prince Jackson, the eldest son of late pop star Michael Jackson, is expected to testify on Wednesday in the wrongful death suit filed by his family against concert promoter AEG Live, a Jackson family attorney said.

Lawyers for the Jackson family will call Prince Jackson, 16, to the stand four years and one day after the King of Pop died from a drug overdose, attorney Perry Sanders said on Tuesday.

Prince was 12 when Jackson died from an overdose of surgical anesthetic propofol while the singer rehearsed in Los Angeles for a series of comeback concerts in London in 2009.

AEG Live executives, Jackson's personal chef and the choreographer for his aborted This Is It concert series, are among those who have testified at the trial, which began in April.

Witnesses have painted a picture of the singer's final months. They testified Jackson, 50, had grown so weak he had difficulty executing dance moves and remembering song lyrics.

The Thriller singer's mother, Katherine, is suing privately held AEG Live, which was promoting Jackson's This Is It concerts, for negligence in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray as his personal physician.

Murray was caring for the singer as he prepared for the shows. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

Prince will follow expert witness Gordon Matheson, a physician, who testified that Murray had a conflict of interest while caring for Jackson because Murray's heavy debts and monthly salary from AEG Live would bias his care of the singer.

AEG Live has said it did not hire or supervise Murray and argues that Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems for years before entering into any agreement with the company.

AEG Live also has said they could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson.

Katherine Jackson, 83, along with the singer's three children - Prince, Paris and Blanket - are listed as plaintiffs in the case.

Earlier this month, Jackson's 15-year-old daughter Paris was rushed to the hospital after a suicide attempt, forcing Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff to order a court investigation into the teenager's "health, education and welfare."

Perry Sanders, Katherine Jackson's attorney, said on Tuesday that Beckloff had reviewed the report on the investigation into Paris' welfare, and would not be making any changes in Jackson's children's living situation.

"In light of all current circumstances and the special investigator's report, we agreed with the judge that appropriate decisions are being made regarding care of all three children, and no further action is required," Sanders said in a statement.

Forever Youn

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 01:44 AM PDT

Nevermind that he goes by a different name now, this K-Pop artiste is still hot property.

Being well-groomed is important as it gives a man the confidence to achieve whatever he sets out to do, says South Korean celebrity Youn Seok.

As a trendy K-Pop artiste, Youn says his style is GQ-inspired, but admits that he prefers to lounge around in the comfort of T-shirts, jeans, sneakers and beanies when he is not working.

Newly-appointed as the brand ambassador for Ubermen, the dashing singer was in town to launch the brand's new hairstyling range.

"Sometimes, I have to attend several shows a day. And, depending on the event, I may be required to change my hair style or my outfit. So, I Iike that the product is light and looks natural. And, also that it does not feel sticky and cleans off easily, leaving no residue," said the singer.

Previously known in South-East Asia by his stage name Lee An, Youn recently reverted to using his birth name. Reason? "I've always been using my birth name in Korea, but my previous management said Youn Seok was too difficult for non-Koreans to pronounce. So, I had no choice but to take their advice and adopt the stage name of Lee An," the 33-year-old star explained.

"But now, I've got a new management and they questioned the need for a stage name and instead encouraged me to use my birth name. Of course, I'm more than happy to be known by my real name," explained the soft-spoken singer, composer and producer who released his first album in 1994.

Starting off as a composer, Youn's forte lies in rock ballads, but he is keen to try new things. He says he is most inspired to write music when he is travelling as he enjoys observing people from different countries and cultures. "I usually compose on the guitar and record the songs on my phone," shared the singer.

Apart from his native South Korea and neighbouring Japan, Youn has been plying his trade in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The affable crooner says the warm and balmy weather, as well as the hot and spicy cuisine, keep him coming back to our shores.

"I love Malaysia. For me, it is so beautiful. The weather is nice and there is so much good food. If I have the time, I would love to visit Malaysia, not for work, but just to tour. For me, top on the food list is nasi lemak because we Koreans just love spicy food. I also like roti canai, but my company doesn't allow it when I'm scheduled to do a show," said Youn who lists water sports as a hobby and looks forward to go scuba-diving in Malaysia.

Next up for Youn is a project that combines two of his interests – music and acting. "I will be joining the cast of a musical in Korea. I love music and I like acting. And, in a musical, I get to do both," he said.

He has just released his seventh solo album titled Here I Am and will be toruing Asia later this year to support the album. Looks like it will be a busy second half of the year for Youn Seok.

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