Sabtu, 29 Jun 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. bugged EU offices, computer networks - German magazine

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 08:27 PM PDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States has bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks, according to secret documents cited in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest in a series of exposures of alleged U.S. spy programmes.

Der Spiegel quoted from a September 2010 "top secret" U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) document that it said fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden had taken with him, and the weekly's journalists had seen in part.

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich, June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich, June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

The document outlines how the NSA bugged offices and spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the United Nations, not only listening to conversations and phone calls but also gaining access to documents and emails.

The document explicitly called the EU a "target".

A spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said that if the report was correct, it would have a "severe impact" on relations between the EU and the United States.

"On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations," he said in an emailed statement.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting.

"The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies. We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately."

Snowden's disclosures in foreign media about U.S. surveillance programmes have ignited a political furore in the United States and abroad over the balance between privacy rights and national security.

According to Der Spiegel, the NSA also targeted telecommunications at the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home to the European Council, the collective of EU national governments.

Without citing sources, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls and traced them to NSA offices within the NATO compound in Brussels.

Each EU member state has rooms in Justus Lipsius with phone and internet connections, which ministers can use.

Snowden, a U.S. citizen, fled the United States to Hong Kong in May, a few weeks before the publication in the Guardian and the Washington Post of details he provided about secret U.S. government surveillance of internet and phone traffic.

Snowden, 30, has been holed up in a Moscow airport transit area since last weekend. The leftist government of Ecuador is reviewing his request for asylum.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt and Ben Deighton in Brussels; Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Eric Beech)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Obama sees no threat in China rivalry for Africa business

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 08:20 PM PDT

PRETORIA (Reuters) - The United States does not feel threatened by the growth of trade and investment in Africa by China and other emerging powers, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

U.S. President Barack Obama listens to South Africa's President Jacob Zuma's remarks at a joint news conference at the Union Building in Pretoria June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

U.S. President Barack Obama listens to South Africa's President Jacob Zuma's remarks at a joint news conference at the Union Building in Pretoria June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Suggestions that he has allowed China to steal a march over the United States in doing business with Africa have dogged Obama's three-nation swing through the continent, but he said the increased Chinese engagement was beneficial for all.

"I don't feel threatened by it. I feel it's a good thing," Obama told a news conference during a visit to South Africa.

The more countries invest in Africa, the more the world's least developed continent can be integrated into the global economy, the first African-American U.S. president said.

"I want everybody playing in Africa. The more the merrier."

China has greatly expanded its reach in Africa since the start of the new century. It overtook the United States as Africa's largest trading partner in 2009, a February report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed.

China's advantage in trade stems mostly from how much it sells to Africa. Chinese exports to the continent in 2011 were almost triple the level of U.S. exports.

When it comes to investment flows, however, the picture is different. Data for 2007-2011 suggest U.S. foreign investment flows to the region were larger than China's, the GAO said.

"China's role as an investor, aid donor and financier is not outsized," Johns Hopkins University China scholar Deborah Brautigam wrote recently.

"Although Western countries fret about China's growing role in Africa, the United States alone disbursed more official finance to African countries than China did in 2010."

Still, China's influence looms large over the continent, partly because it has been so aggressive in its courtship.

Beijing and Washington should be partners in Africa to foster development and peace, said an official Chinese commentary after Obama's made his remarks.

Obama's stops in South Africa and Tanzania mirror a visit in March by then newly named Chinese President Xi Jinping, which could be seen as rivalry between the two superpowers on the African continent, state-run news agency Xinhua said.

"This mentality belongs to the past. It results from the West's biased perception of China's role in Africa," Xinhua said. "It also misses the bigger picture in which Beijing and Washington, instead of being competitors undermining each other's efforts, can actually work as partners in promoting Africa's development."


Obama's visit to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania will bring to four the number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa that the U.S. president has visited in the last four years. He stopped briefly in Ghana in his first term.

In contrast, Chinese presidents and vice presidents have visited 30 African countries over the same period, said Mwangi Kimenyi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

There is also a sense that the United States may be resting on its laurels.

"There hasn't really been a presence of U.S. companies since 1994, taking advantage of the new opportunities," Haroon Bhorat, a professor at the University of Cape Town said recently, speaking of South Africa.

"So, you've seen new emerging markets entering into other emerging markets like South Africa and taking advantage of economic opportunities in a way where the U.S., already with a foothold, arguably hasn't done enough."

Obama's aides have argued that he has had two wars and a deep economic crisis to deal with since he took office in 2009.

Obama has also said that U.S. interactions with Africa have included goals of social and political development, unlike those of China, which he said were more narrowly focused on commercial benefits.

"A lot of people are pleased that China is involved in Africa," he told reporters travelling with him on Friday.

"On the other hand, they recognise that China's primary interest is being able to obtain access for natural resources in Africa to feed the manufacturers in export-driven policies of the Chinese economy."

That relationship makes Africa an exporter of raw materials but does not create jobs in Africa and is not a sustainable model over the long-term, he added.

In Pretoria on Saturday, Obama urged African nations to be tougher negotiators in accepting investments from abroad.

"You produce the raw materials, sold cheap and then all the way up the chain somebody else is making the money and creating the jobs and the value," he said.

"Make sure that whoever you're dealing with ... you're getting a good deal that's benefiting the people here and that can help to spur on broad-based development."

(Additional reporting by Terrill Yue Jones in Beijing, Writing by Pascal Fletcher and Mark Felsenthal, Editing by Gareth Jones and Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

China's troubled Xinjiang hit by more violence - state media

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 07:46 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - More than a hundred people, riding motorbikes and wielding knives, attacked a police station in China's ethnically divided western region of Xinjiang, state media said on Saturday, in the latest unrest to hit the region in the past week.

The attack in the remote desert city of Hotan, a heavily ethnic Uighur area, comes two days after the region's deadliest unrest in four years that resulted in the deaths of 35 people. China called the incident a "terrorist attack".

Armed police officers stand guard near the international grand bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

Armed police officers stand guard near the international grand bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

Xinjiang is home to the mainly Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language. Many of them chafe at what they call Chinese government restrictions on their culture, language and religion. China says it grants Uighurs wide-ranging freedoms and accuses extremists of separatism.

The animosity between the majority Han Chinese and the Uighurs poses a major challenge for China's Communist Party leaders. President Xi Jinping, who took office in March, has called for the unity of all ethnic groups in China.

In the latest incident, the Global Times - owned by Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily - said "troublemakers" gathered at religious venues before riding on motorcycles to attack a police station in the city's Moyu county.

Authorities are counting the number of casualties and searching for suspects, the Global Times said.

In a separate incident, some 200 people attempted to "incite trouble" at a major shopping area in Hotan, the newspaper said. It said police defused the situation.

Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's inner circle, pledged to step up "action to crack down upon terrorist groups and extremist organisations" at a meeting with government officials in the regional capital Urumqi, state news agency Xinhua said.

Chinese authorities have increased security in Urumqi, the Global Times said.

Photographs on Chinese microblogs showed dozens of military trucks with riot police patrolling the streets.

The increased security comes almost a week before the fourth anniversary of the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang that pitted Uighurs against ethnic Chinese, resulting in nearly 200 people being killed.

In a sign of the gravity of the situation, Xinjiang's top party chief Zhang Chunxian said: "We should be clearly aware of the complex and acute nature of the long-term struggle against separatism," according to the Xinjiang Daily, the official newspaper of the region.

"For those who dare to defy the law, the criminals who engage in violent terrorist activities have to be punished. We can't tolerate them, we have to hold no punches," the People's Daily said in a front-page editorial.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Alison Williams)

(This story was corrected to fix spelling of knives in the first paragraph)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


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Malaysian golfer Nicholas Fung claims first ADT title by one stroke

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 06:14 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian golfer Nicholas Fung kept his nerves in check over the closing three holes to claim his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) title at the PGM-UMW Templer Park Masters yesterday.

The Sabah-born Nicholas beat American Berry Henson by one stroke despite making bogeys on 16 and 18 for a one-over 73 for a 10-under 278 at the Templer Park Country Club.

Henson carded a 72 after making four straight bogeys from the 14th hole to settle for second place while Malaysian Shaaban Hussin recorded a 73 for third place on 281 in the RM200,000 tournament.

Rising star Michael Tran of Vietnam also shot a 73 to finish a further shot back in fourth.

Talented Filipino Miguel Tabuena posted a 69, the day's lowest score, to share fifth place with Malaysians Sukree Othman and Zurie Harun on 286.

The bespectacled Nicholas was elated when he finally managed to join the winner's circle after coming close on several occasions.

The victory also elevated him to the top of the ADT Order of Merit with his US$23,471 earnings.

"This feels great because I've been trying to win on the ADT for so long.

"I was feeling nervous on the last hole and I'm fortunate that I made bogey and not worse.

"Berry and I had a good fight but when he had the stretch of bogeys, it gave me more confidence," said the 23-year-old.

Nicholas, the second Malaysian after Danny Chia to triumph on the ADT this season, is now setting his sights on winning on the Asian Tour.

"I'm getting better because I can win on the ADT. Now, I'm looking forward to win on the Asian Tour.

"There are many international players here so it isn't easy to win. I tried really hard today," said Nicholas, who earned his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year.

"I want to be an example to other Malaysians. I hope more Malaysians will play on the Asian Tour.

"If I can do it, so can the other players," said the smiling Nicholas, who won US$11,010 and earned six Official World Golf Ranking points.

Henson, a winner on the Asian Tour and ADT, rued his lapse in concentration on the closing stretch but was gracious in defeat.

"I'm going to forget about everything today. I don't want to remember about anything on the last few holes. I was mentally exhausted and couldn't keep it together.

"Fung played brilliantly. He is tough to play against. He doesn't hit it far but he hits it straight and puts himself in position to score. This win might springboard him to do better on the Asian Tour. I wish him the best of luck," said the American.

Irish Open: McIlroy fails again

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 06:29 PM PDT

MAYNOOTH (Ireland): World number two Rory McIlroy's troubles with his driver continued as he failed to make the cut in the Irish Open at Carton House on Friday.

McIlroy continues to struggle with the driver, revealing he will meet Nike technical staff again next week before the British Open at Muirfield.

The 24-year posted a second round 72 for a two-over tally to miss the cut by two shots in windy and overcast conditions.

In 43 stroke-play rounds this year on either the European or US PGA Tours, McIlroy has only managed to break 70 on 11 occasions.

"I am spending more time with Nike's technical staff as this was a new driver I had in the bag this week but it still wasn't 100% what I want," he said.

"So I am testing with them again next week.

"I am still confident in my ability to hit the golf ball and hit good shots but then confidence comes from hitting good shots and seeing the ball go in the hole, and shooting good rounds and posting good results.

"I guess in that way the results are not great but from being on the golf course and seeing some good shots today I am definitely more positive now than this time yesterday."

And unlike earlier this year when McIlroy added the Valero Texas Open in the week prior to the Masters, McIlroy will not be tempted to add either next week's French Open or the following week's Scottish Open to his schedule.

"No, I am not going to add a tournament as I am going to take the next two weeks off," he said.

"I have a couple of commitments, including my cousin's wedding next weekend, and then I'm planning to play a first practice round at Muirfield next Monday week, and the start of the week before The Open week," he said.

"If I didn't have these couple of things to then I would probably add a tournament but I just need to find a little consistency in my ball-striking.

"I hit quite a few good shots out there but there are a few bad ones in there and it's those bad ones that are costing me, and I wasn't sharp enough around the greens.

"I was confident when I played in San Antonio because I found something on the range on the Friday night and had a really good weekend that gave me a lot of confidence."

Florida's Peter Uihlein (68) and England's Robert Rock (66) head the ‚2mil event on nine-under.

Six players – Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, Sweden's Oscar Floren, Holland's Joost Luiten, Portugal's Ricardo Santos and Ireland's Shane Lowry – share third place at seven- under.

Scotland's Scott Henry recorded a new Carton House course record of an eight-under 64 and two shots fewer than the previous mark set by four players including Denmark's Thomas Bjorn on route to victory in 2006. — AFP

In-bee ahead by two strokes as fog sets in

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 04:39 PM PDT

SOUTHAMPTON (New York): World number one Park In-bee, chasing her third Major title of the year, fired a four-under 68 on Friday to take the US Women's Open lead just as fog halted the second round.

The South Korean superstar had a nine-under total of 135 and a two-stroke lead over compatriot I.K. Kim.

Kim was in the clubhouse on seven-under 137 after a three-under 69 that included five birdies and two bogeys.

American Lizette Salas carded a 72 at Sebonack Golf Club for a four-under total of 140. England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff was four-under for the tournament through 15 holes when play was halted for the day, with the second round to resume yesterday morning.

"I think we got very lucky that we finished today," said In-bee, who capped her round with the last of her six birdies at the par-five 18th.

"I played very good golf today. I gave myself a lot of good opportunities, a very good ball-striking day. The long putts seemed to be going well today. I left a couple out there, but very satisfied with today's score."

In-bee, whose five titles in 2013 include Major triumphs at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship, opened her round with a birdie at the first. She had two bogeys and two more birdies in her outward run, then gathered steam on the back nine.

At the 13th, she hit a wedge over the green but made a 20-footer for birdie. At 15th, she landed a sand wedge within a foot before draining a 12-footer at the last.

"I'd say it was a little tougher to play in the fog, but I made a birdie so I don't think it really came into effect for me," she said. "I was able to see the pin on the third shot, so I think that was good enough."

Overnight rain softened the course, but players found it windier on Friday, with the conditions changing frequently from sunny to overcast to foggy and back.

That made a good round all the more satisfying, In-bee said.

"It really made me think today that with the wind and fog, it just really made me think. I think that is what the US Open is all about."

Kim had five birdies and two bogeys in her three-under 69. She missed a 12-foot birdie putt at her final hole of the day, the ninth, but was pleased to emerge with the clubhouse lead on seven-under 137.

"Anything under par I thought was going to be a great score," Kim said. "Definitely more wind out there. The wind was a little different direction and it was changing a little bit. Definitely tricky to adjust to the wind on some holes.

"But the greens were a little softer with the rain, so I was able to give myself some chances." — AFP


The Star Online: Business

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Murdoch splits empire into two firms

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 06:18 AM PDT

NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch split his corporate empire into two parts under a long-promised plan to "unlock value" by separating high-flying entertainment operations from struggling publishing activities.

The split became effective at the close of trade in New York Friday, creating a new group called 21st Century Fox while retaining the name News Corp for the publishing group. Murdoch remains in charge of both.

The 21st Century Fox group, which includes the Fox Hollywood studios and television entities, "launches as a unique force bringing news and entertainment to more than a billion customers every day in over 100 languages," said Murdoch.

"Our success will continue to be rooted in a deep belief in originality and a commitment to empowering creative minds and entrepreneurs around the world.

"Our management teams are the best in the business and we will drive growth and shareholder value by expanding our existing assets and brands, while embracing new opportunities and technology."

The new News Corp, with Murdoch in the role of chairman, includes well-known newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the United States; The Sunday Times of London, Sunday Telegraph and The Sun in Britain; and The Australian.

It also includes Dow Jones news agency, Fox Sports Australia and the HarperCollins publishing house.

"We are continuing a proud tradition and fashioning a prosperous future in the new News Corp," chief executive Robert Thomson said.

"We have a valuable collection of complementary companies and our task is to make the new News more than the sum of these distinguished parts."

Rupert Murdoch, shown in a file picture reading a copy of The Sun on Sunday newspaper, split his corporate empire into two parts Friday under a long-promised plan to "unlock value" by separating high-flying entertainment operations from struggling publishing activities.

New News Corp shares will trade under the ticker symbols "NWSA" and "NWS," starting on Monday. Shares in 21st Century Fox will trade under the symbols "FOXA" and "FOX."

The split of the company, with some $34 billion in revenues worldwide, is seen partly as a nod to shareholders angered by the damage and costs inflicted by a phone hacking scandal in Britain, and partly because of troubles within the group's publishing arm.

While some analysts see the outlook for publishing as bleak, Murdoch says he remains committed to his newspaper roots.

Murdoch has spent a lifetime building News Corp from a single Australian newspaper he inherited.

As his empire was being built through a series of mergers and acquisitions, Murdoch also went through a series of unions and breakups in his personal life.

Earlier this month, Murdoch filed papers to divorce his third wife Wendi Deng, citing an "irretrievably" broken marriage to a woman 38 years his junior.

Deng was perhaps best known for a 2011 incident in which she leapt to defend her husband by striking a pie-wielding protester, prompting headlines calling her a "tiger wife."

The divorce will not affect the way in which the media empire is run, as Deng does not have stock or voting rights in News Corp, sources familiar with the company said. - AFP

China banking system 'stable' despite fund squeeze

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 06:14 AM PDT

SHANGHAI: China's bank regulator said that a recent liquidity squeeze would not hurt the stability of the banking system, in the latest government effort to soothe concerns over the funding shortage.

For three weeks, funds have been in short supply on China's interbank market, and the interest rates banks charge to lend to each other have surged to record highs.

Head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, Shang Fulin, said the overall banking system had adequate liquidity, echoing comments by the central bank earlier in the week.

"These days the issue with tight liquidity in the interbank market has started to ease," Shang told a financial forum in Shanghai.

"This situation will not affect the overall pattern of stable operations in the domestic banking sector," he said, adding domestic financial institutions had excess reserves of 1.5 trillion yuan ($244 billion) on Friday.

China's central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan, speaking a day earlier, offered assurances that the People's Bank of China would use multiple tools to "ensure the overall stability of the market".

There are worries tight liquidity among banks could prompt them to tighten lending, which threatens to carry over into the real economy.

State media has reported that banks are struggling to meet their payment obligations as around 1.5 trillion yuan worth of wealth management products mature at the end of June.

A top official of one of China's big four banks, the Agricultural Bank of China, said Friday that lenders should step up risk control and allocate financial resources to the right places.

"The recent liquidity shortage in the market to some extent has something to do with overly high financial leverage and rapid expansion of shadow banking," Agricultural Bank deputy chairman Zhang Yun told the forum.

Shang, the banking regulator, also called for more attention by domestic banks for risk control and liquidity management.

But he played down risks from local government debts, another issue which has sparked worries over China's economy.

"Recently some foreign institutions and industry players showed concern about risk in areas including local government debts," Shang said.

"As long as we apply the right risk-management measures, these risks are controllable," he said.

China's top auditor recently put outstanding debts held by 18 of the country's 31 provinces and major municipalities at 3.85 trillion yuan in 2012, the official Xinhua news agency reported Thursday. - AFP

Wall Street Week Ahead: Fed fears may be gone but brace for volatility

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 06:08 AM PDT

NEW YORK: Panic selling on fears of an early exit of the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts may be over, but the stock market may still face wild intraday swings as investors scramble to position themselves for Friday's payrolls report.

Trading volume is likely to be thin, with a half-day session on Wednesday and markets closed for the Independence Day holiday on Thursday. Both the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims and employment report for June will be released at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT).

"Non-farm payrolls generally cause more volatility in the market, but how many times do you see weekly claims and payrolls coming out the same day on a shortened trading week? That will certainly cause a lot of volatility," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab & Co Austin, Texas.

In the options market, traders were active in the put weekly options on the S&P 500 .SPX. These short-term options have a week-long life span and expire on July 5. Put options are generally viewed as bearish bets against the market.

"We've seen some buying pop up in the weeklies for next week. The most active ones are the 1,600 puts on the SPX," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

"We will probably see more hedging activity early next week and perhaps higher intraday swings as people try to figure out their option positions going into the holiday with the employment report due the next day."

June's employment report could offer clues on the timing of the Fed's eventual tapering of its bond purchases. Non-farm payrolls are expected at 170,000, below the 194,000 six-month moving average. The unemployment rate is seen dipping to 7.5 percent from 7.6 percent.

Manufacturing will also be in the spotlight next week. The Institute for Supply Management is expected to report on Monday that factory activity expanded in June after a surprise contraction in May.

While U.S. markets are closed on Thursday, the Bank of England monetary policy meets for the first time under the chairmanship Governor Mark Carney.

The European Central Bank, which also holds its monetary meeting on Thursday, is not expected to change rates, but President Mario Draghi may discuss just how much longer the ECB will stick with extraordinary policy settings.


The S&P 500 on Friday posted the best first half of the year since 1998, rising more than 13 percent in the first six months of 2013, fueled by U.S. monetary stimulus.

"I think that the market's pretty fairly valued, so we would be surprised if you saw the same kind of rally like you saw in the first half of the year, but it doesn't seem to be a catastrophic environment, like you're going off the cliff either," said Steven Baffico, chief executive officer at Four Wood Capital Partners in New York.

For the quarter, the S&P 500 was up 2.3 percent but for the month, the S&P 500 fell 1.5 percent on concerns of an early exit by the Fed's supportive measures.

A Reuters survey of 53 investors across the United States, Europe and Japan released on Friday found that funds had already cut their average equity holdings in June to a nine-month low due to the recent volatility and had held more cash.

The equities market took a hit last week after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled the central bank would begin to slow the pace of its bond buying later this year if the economy improves as forecast. Since then, a number of Fed speakers have sought to calm markets, giving assurances the stimulus efforts are going to be in place for awhile.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley, who said markets are "quite out of sync" with the Fed, will speak on economic conditions on Tuesday.

"I think the panic selling from the Fed is pretty much over. Now they (Fed officials) are coming out and saying unanimously that 'we haven't changed at all, and we are possibly tapering in the fall depending on the data,'" Frederick said.

"I think the market is believing that now, and I don't expect anything surprisingly different from the Fed speaker next week." - Reuters


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FA Cup final: Kelantan wins 1-0 against Johor Darul Takzim

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 08:14 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Kelantan defeated Johor Darul Takzim (Johor DT) 1-0 in the 2013 FA Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here Saturday night.

The sole goal was scored by Mohd Nor Farhan Muhammad 15 minutes into the game.

Jubilant supporters set off flares and smoke bombs.

PM urges M’sians to set up partnerships with African nations

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 08:50 AM PDT

DAR ES SALAAM (Tanzania): Malaysia has opened the doors for its businessmen to venture into Africa by having smart partnerships with countries in the continent, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Entrepreneurs, he said, should study the niche opportunities available in the region and develop win-win ties with African companies.

There were opportunities in education, palm oil, tourism and several other areas, he added.

"The networking we have set up here has made Malaysia a popular nation in the African continent, compared to other countries," Najib said, adding that this gave Malaysian business entities a headstart.

Najib was speaking to Malaysian reporters after taking part in a dialogue themed "Leveraging Technology for Smart Growth in Socio-Economic Transformation" during the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre here Saturday.

As the prime mover of this smart partnership dialogue, first launched in Langkawi in 1995, Najib said Malaysia was committed to sharing its experiences and weaknesses.

"African nations want to follow our concept and learn from our experiences and expertise," he pointed out.

"Each country would have to adopt the concept based on their local environment because there is no one formula that can be used for all countries."

On his bilateral meeting with Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the dialogue, Najib said he was formally invited to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in that country later this year.

Black 505: Flash mob walk in silence through KLCC

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 06:44 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of Black 505 supporters staged a flash mob gathering inside Suria KLCC mall in protest of alleged electoral irregularities.

The participants had reportedly gathered after an invitation was made via a Facebook posting.

The group came dressed in black at the mall's central ground level at around 2.30pm Saturday before they walked in silence throughout the complex.

Their antics were watched by shoppers and mall security personnel.

The crowd later gathered outside the mall and shouted slogans. They later dispersed peacefully at 3pm.

Among those seen at the gathering were Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia coordinators Shariful Azmir Mustafa and Norazizi Abdul Aziz.

Student Tan Zu Hao, 20 who is one of the netizens who mooted the gathering, said KLCC was chosen as it was a very public area to spread the message.

He said unlike the large scale Black 505 rallies, this one was not organised by the Opposition but by the people.

"We need another way of pressuring the authorities to respond.

"The public needs to engage in another form of public disobedience to address this thr issue of electoral irregularities," he added.

Dang Wangi OCPD Zainuddin Ahmad the police would investigate if the group had broken any law.

"Its up to the KLCC management if they want to take any action as it was in their area. On our side, we will also investigate if they had broken any laws," he added.

A KLCC central management official said the flash mob partiicpants were peaceful and did not disturb the shoppers.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Prince, J-Lo among Oscars Academy invitees

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 06:12 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: US pop veteran Prince and singer-actress Jennifer Lopez are among the artists invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the body which runs the Oscars announced Friday.

Lucy Liu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and British actress Emily Mortimer were also among 276 new members invited to join the film industry's most prestigious club, as was veteran French actress Emmanuelle Riva.

Directors invited include Benh Zeitlin, who made last year's Oscar-nominated "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and Todd Phillips, of the blockbuster "Hangover" movies, the last of which came out in May.

"These individuals are among the best filmmakers working in the industry today," said Hawk Koch, head of the Academy, which has some 6,000 members who vote annually for the Oscars, the climax of Hollywood's awards season.

"Their talent and creativity have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. I am proud to welcome each of them to the Academy," he added.

Other actors invited include Chris Tucker ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Rebecca Hall ("Iron Man 3"), Sandra Oh ("Sideways"), Milla Jovovich ("Chaplin") and Jason Schwartzman ("Moonrise Kingdom").

"Purple Rain" star Prince was invited with other fellow musicians, including Ramiro Belgardt ("Star Trek Into Darkness"), Jennifer Dunnington ("The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"), and Aaron Lael Zigman ("Sex and the City").

The new members, in categories including everything from cinematographers and producers to make-up artists and publicists, "have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures," said the Academy.

The new members will be welcomed into the Beverly Hills-based Academy at an invitation-only reception in September. -AFP


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

The demands of money

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 06:30 PM PDT

Money: The Unauthorised Biography
Author: Felix Martin
Publisher: Bodley Head

IN The Importance of Being Earnest, the prim governess Miss Prism tells her young charge Cecily to omit the chapter on the fall of the rupee in the political economy textbook she has been instructed to study: "It is somewhat too sensational. Even these metallic problems have their melodramatic side."

And in Felix Martin's stimulating and timely book we see how right Miss Prism was: money – metallic or paper – may seem deadly dull, but it actually stands centre-stage in today's most important political and economic conflicts.

Moreover, it is economists' blinkered insistence that money is just a "technical" and relatively minor issue that explains why they, and their politician followers, brought the world to the brink of catastrophe in 2008 – and why they are conspicuously failing to rescue us from that crisis.

Martin is a member of a small but growing band of heterodox economists who argue that mainstream "neoclassical" economics is seriously flawed. For the neoclassicists, who still dominate university departments, government ministries, the press, banks and international organisations, money is of little interest, dismissed as just a mechanism to make exchange easier – an alternative to barter.

If money is just a lubricant in the engine of the market, then managing money is simple: the market will work best if the value of money remains fixed and stable. And that was precisely the essence of most western macroeconomic policies between the 1980s and 2008: measures designed primarily to stop governments spending, printing and debasing money, and to make central banks the guardians of that totemic fetish – controlling inflation.

But for Martin, Sydney economist Steve Keen and other dissidents, money is more than the oil in the engine – a mechanical lubricant – but a socially-created system of transferable credit, a way of keeping account of what people owe each other, while allowing them to transfer their various "IOUs" to others. Crucially, it is not just governments that create money – others can, too. The recent Internet-based Bitcoin is one example; community currencies such as the Brixton and Bristol pounds are others.

But more significant by far is the money created by private banks. Indeed, the recent financial crisis was largely caused by banks issuing IOUs and effectively "creating private money outside the control of government" in a "vast, unregulated 'shadow' banking system". On the eve of the crash, the shadow banks' balance sheet stood at around US$25 trillion in the US alone – more than twice the size of that of the traditional banks.

All of this was largely ignored by mainstream neoclassical economists. For them, these enormous quantities of shadow money simply did not compute. For them, the credit and asset bubbles driven by bank-created money had no major effect on the economy. Here, according to Martin, lies the answer to the Queen's (Elizabeth) famous charge against the economics profession in 2008: why did none of them see the crisis coming?

Martin dismisses the notion that influential economists were corrupted by close relations with banks and highly paid consultancies – the argument of Charles Ferguson's powerful documentary, Inside Job. For Martin, the problem lies in the realm of ideas, and in part, at least, he is right. Academics – like the priesthoods of old – can generate powerful "groupthink", and fiercely resist whatever challenges their established theologies. But another, more political story can also be derived from this book: the malign influence of neoclassical economics was simply one element of the extreme power – intellectual, political and economic – of international finance, and the weakness of states since the 1980s.

One of Martin's themes is the struggle between states and financiers for control over money, and if anything this crucial issue could have been emphasised more. In 13th- and 14th-century Europe, kings and princes had most of the power, which they abused by debasing the coinage to pay for their wars. But by the late middle ages, the merchants were fighting back. An increasingly international network of financiers had created their own private money – of IOUs or bills of exchange – which allowed them to abandon sovereigns' money altogether. Then, as now, international bankers could trigger a "run on the currency" if they thought governments were spending too much.

This "guerilla war" between rival moneys continued for some time, but it was resolved, Martin argues, with the creation of the Bank of England in 1694 – a public-private partnership, in which powerful merchants would have a say over the management of the money issued by the state, in exchange for supporting the currency with their loans. This "Great Monetary Settlement" was the foundation of the modern monetary system.

But how was the jointly run money to be managed? Martin has less to say about this part of the story, but the conflict between states and finance continued, though in a different form. In the late 19th century, many governments and merchants agreed on the need to keep money stable by linking it to a rigid gold standard. But as politics became more democratic, the question of how money was to be managed yet again became a divisive political question: should it remain stable in the interests of low-risk trading and lending, as the modern merchants demanded; or could governments print money to invest in economies, help them over downturns, manage productive growth and provide jobs for the mass of the population, albeit at the cost of some inflation?

At the end of the Second World War, John Maynard Keynes and the American economist, Harry Dexter White, tried to reconcile the two objectives with the Bretton Woods system, and they were remarkably successful: its combination of a gold-based currency with a flexible state-run system worked for more than 20 years. But a host of crises in the 1970s – American spending on the Vietnam war, oil-price hikes and industrial conflicts – destroyed the consensus that underpinned it.

Yet rather than rebuilding the state-market compromise, an increasingly globalised finance seized the upper hand. States were blamed for the inflation of the 1970s, and international financiers claimed to be the only people who could be trusted to run the global economy. Bankers, like their predecessors in the early modern era, could now punish governments if they thought they were spending too much and printing too much money; as Bill Clinton's strategist James Carville famously complained in 1993, if he was reincarnated, he would like to come back not as the president or the pope, but as the bond market, because "you can intimidate everybody".

However, since 2008, it has become clear that these banks were not the virtuous guardians of monetary purity they claimed to be. They might have been stopping governments from devaluing the currency, but they took advantage of deregulation to print sack-loads of money in the form of IOUs, which funded property and other asset bubbles. The financial crisis showed that these assets had been massively overvalued and the debts could not be paid back. But even so, financiers are insisting that the IOUs be treated at face value. Armed with neoclassical economic arguments, they are fighting against measures that might reduce the debt burden, through either debt forgiveness or inflation. Instead, they insist that government budgets, and the less well-off, should bear the strain through policies of austerity.

Martin convincingly argues that "the current strategy of trying to sweat these debt mountains off over time" is "not politically feasible or economically desirable". But there are no easy solutions. He favours "engineering a few years of significantly higher inflation", or "restructuring the debt burden directly" – that is, writing it off. But many ordinary people will lose from the former, while the latter requires a major rebalancing of the relationship between states and international finance in some new Bretton Woods-style settlement.

There is little evidence that our leaders and their economic advisers have thrown off their intellectual shackles and learnt the lessons of 2008. Until that happens, we can only expect years of sluggish growth and political turmoil. If anything, Miss Prism underestimated the sensational and melodramatic effects of money. – Guardian


Posted: 28 Jun 2013 06:30 PM PDT

Boundaries for Leaders: Why some people get results and others don't

Author: Henry Cloud

Publisher: Harper Business

Seven key areas that every leader should consider if they want to get results – focus on the things that matter most, connect, remove negativity and helplessness, identify clear paths, organise teams around behaviours that drive results, build a climate that drives worthy brain functions and lead in a way that protects your vision.

Trust Works! Four keys to building lasting relationships

Author: Ken Blanchard

Publisher: William Morrow Publications

A story about the importance of trust with the main protagonists being a dog and a cat living together with other animals and the humans who cared for them. The book is divided into two parts with the first introducing real-life situations between the animals and humans and the second part focuses on behaviours that engender trust.

(Etsy)preneurship: Turn your handmade hobby into a thriving business

Author: Jason Malinak

Publisher: Wiley & Sons

A guide for entrepreneurs interested to turn their hobby into a business with a focus on key areas like building a business plan, book-keeping, tax matters, legal issues, marketing strategy, operations, staffing and your audience. And, of course, promoting your business on the social media. The author is a certified public accountant.


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Water sports enthusiasts can drop by Puchong for a fun day out

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 05:30 AM PDT

MOST people think beach getaways mean long drives to Port Dickson, with very few who are aware that they can get the same experience right in the heart of the city.

For example, the Asian Water Sports Village (AWSV) in Puchong offers a fun-filled lakeside experience, from exciting water sports to beautiful sunsets.

Nestled in a corner of the lake in Taman Puchong Tekali, it is a five-minute boat ride from a pick-up point by the main road.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by floats and boats on a man-made beach, complete with wooden shacks and gazebos.

Colourful kayaks and oars are propped against a corner of the huts.

A staff member skilfully manoeuvred a speedboat so that a tube trailing behind bumps up and down in the water as visitors riding it screamed in excitement.

Just next to the shore is a large red and yellow structure. This is AWSV's lakeside water theme park, with a range of floats, trampolines and tube-boats imported from South Korea. It is a favourite among the children.

A kiosk with atap roofing is where visitors can buy snacks and drinks, rent fishing equipment or take a break in between the rides.

Lounging on a wooden bench in the shade, it feels like one is away from the bustling city, although the nearest convenience store is only 10 minutes away.

AWSV is run and managed by a group of water sports enthusiasts.

It officially opened its doors to the public in April last year.

"We enjoy water sports but we had to travel far from the Klang Valley in search of adventure. So, we decided to set up a water sports centre in town," said sales manager Acid Yong.

The main aim is to bring exciting water sport activities that can be enjoyed with friends and family.

Adopting a concept of "play all you can" and a village style, facilities are fashioned after a beach resort.

"Unlike other places which usually charge per ride, our concept is based on unlimited play. You can go on as many rides as you want within the time slot," said Yong.

The lake, one of the largest in the Klang Valley, was chosen as the spot to start their business venture. Stretching across 80.9ha, it is equivalent to 163 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Yong explained that visitors would get to experience the latest rides sourced from the US and Canada, which they would not be able to get elsewhere.

"Since we are the sole distributor for BRP Seadoo Towable Tubes in Malaysia and Singapore, visitors can expect rides such as the GX4, Evo Pro 3, Kahuna 4 and Thermo 2," he said.

A crowd favourite is the Flying Fish, the most extreme ride at the centre. It involves three people propelled up into the air in a giant stingray-shaped tube pulled by a speedboat.

Yong, a water sports enthusiast, prefers the jet ski as she can control the ride and do all kinds of stunts.

For those who prefer something less extreme, there are activities such as kayaking, fishing, fish feeding and swimming, to choose from.

"The visitors consist of locals and foreigners, families, friends and corporate staff," said Yong.

Visitors can choose to stay overnight for an outdoor camping experience, complete with barbecue pits and campfire. Sleeping bags and camping gear are provided.

AWSV sales co-ordinator and staff Joseph Lim said visitors were given a safety briefing before they were allowed into the water.

"We ensure they always have their lifejackets on. No jackets, no rides," he emphasised to a group of visitors eagerly waiting to get down to the action.

Lim stressed that while they were there to have fun and games, safety was a topmost priority.

"Our trained staff have certificates in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and aquatic rescue, so they know what to do in case of an emergency," said Lim.

The centre can accommodate up to 200 visitors at any time, with five boats and three jet skis to pull the rides. Even on weekdays, a number of visitors can be seen enjoying themselves at the place.

"We were here last year and the children loved it, so we decided to come again," said Mont Kiara International School teacher Taso Notaraz.

He was there with 15 students as part of their summer school programme.

Daniel Ortiz and his brother Nicholas were both excited to try out the different rides after experiencing the banana boat.

"The water gets into our hands so we have to hold on tight," said Daniel, 12.

Meanwhile, Nurul Hidayah Osman and her friends were seen thoroughly enjoying their Evo-Pro 3 ride.

"It is tiring to hold on," said the 19-year old student from Subang.

Her friend Khairul Affendy, 23, said it was his first time on a banana boat and the experience was a little scary yet fun.

The centre operates from 10am to 7pm. Bookings are required.

AWSV is located at Jalan TPT 1, Taman Puchong Tekali, Puchong. For details, call 016–229 1030 /262 1030 (9.30am to 7pm).

Community leaders offer to help minister get rid of illegal hawkers in city

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 05:27 AM PDT

SEVERAL community leaders have come forward to offer their services to the newly appointed Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and his deputy Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan Jaganathan to help resolve Kuala Lumpur's perennial problems involving illegal hawkers.

They said they could help provide a list of hawkers trading illegally to help rid their township of this menace which had also led to rubbish and rat problems in the city.

Tengku Adnan had said recently that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) must be free of political interference in order for it to carry out its duties without fear or favour, and that DBKL officers had been told to disregard all forms of recommendation letters from political parties.

Tengku Adnan had said he was concerned about the growing number of illegal hawker stalls, cybercafes and massage parlours, many of which manned by foreigners.

Tengku Adnan, who is the Putrajaya MP, had reiterated that DBKL would no longer tolerate such blatant abuse of the law and that action would be taken.

"We welcome the minister's stand in asking DBKL to ignore support and recommendation letters given to illegal hawkers from political parties.

"We are willing to help identify these illegal hawkers and help facilitate their relocation to government-run food courts," said Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association president Mumtaz Ali.

"Illegal hawkers have encroached into pedestrian walkways and road kerbs in many parts of Bangsar, and we must stop this.

"Their presence is causing congestion, hygiene and sanitation issues," Mumtaz said.

"Motorists are also becoming a nuisance and causing traffic congestion when they park haphazardly along the roads just to buy food from these hawkers, " he added.

Mumtaz said many of the hawkers were found in the township, including at the Bangsar Shopping Centre area.

Brickfields Stakeholders Association, a group representing the business, residents and disabled community in the township, want all illegal hawkers in the area to be relocated.

"Stalls located on pedestrian walkways and alleys are a traffic hazard and a nuisance to the community," said its president G. Gunabalan.

Gunabalan, who is also a blind activist, said DBKL should not allow stalls to set up tables and chairs on road-side kerbs and walkways, and also ban cooking out in the open as it was unhygienic and adding to pollution.

He said this problem had been addressed at a meeting with DBKL in 2010 and that it had assured it will no longer issue any more hawker licences in Brickfields.

However, Gunabalan said the problem still persisted.

"Many illegal hawkers have sprung up since then, and some claim to have letters endorsed by political parties and have continue to do business despite us writing numerous letters to the authorities," he said.

Meanwhile, a restaurant operator in Brickfields, who wished to remain anonymous, wants DBKL to remove illegal stalls that are operating between Public Bank and the CIMB Bank.

"I am paying rent and assessment fees to the Government but these illegal stall owners are not only stealing my business but clogging the drains with rubbish and adding to congestion," he said.

A resident of Brickfields, Anne Raj said the empty space between the two banks could be utilised as a parking area for motorcycles and bicycles.

"The area is busy as retail shops, banks, restaurants and clinics are located here.

"As such, the space should be used for parking," she said.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Solid footing

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 01:44 AM PDT

Touring has made Emmy The Great feel sure of herself.

She has released two acclaimed albums which have appeared on music critics' "best of" year-end lists, but up until recently, Hong Kong-born, London-based indie/folk singer-songwriter Emmy The Great has never felt like a true musician.

"I feel like I have been introverted in my music career," the 29-year-old said in an interview at The P' Club Group, a lifestyle and furnishings store at High Street Centre in Singapore earlier this month.

She was in Singapore to perform at a party at the same venue.

"I'm no introvert, but it's been very hard work trying to break into a world that you don't understand completely. I'm not a natural musician."

But the past two years of touring have changed her, and the new batch of songs that she is currently working on reflects her new approach to making music.

"I finally feel confident enough to call myself a musician and look outward. The way the world has changed, we converse in new ways, the Internet has changed the way that we think and I just want my music to reflect that.

"I don't want to be sitting next to some analogue machine saying "let's recreate the 1960s". I want to live now and this is going to go out of date soon, so let's make it quickly."

Born Emma-Lee Moss to an English father and a Chinese mother, her 2009 debut album, First Love, was one of the New York Times' Top 10 albums of the year.

Her 2011 sophomore effort, Virtue, garnered more praises, with the BBC describing it as an "extraordinarily confident work".

Born and raised in Hong Kong, she moved to London, where she is now based, when she was 12. Her onstage monicker was from a nickname that her university schoolmates had for her.

Moss, who is single, has also made music with some of the more notable names in the British indie scene, such as Noah & The Whale, Lightspeed Champion and Kate Nash. One of her most frequent collaborators is Tim Wheeler, frontman of popular Britpop band Ash and the two of them released a Yuletide album, This Is Christmas, in 2011.

She is most excited when talking about her recent collaboration with one of her musical heroes, Graham Coxon, guitarist of seminal British band Blur. Together with Wheeler, the three are working on a soundtrack for an upcoming British film about a fictional Britpop band called The Wanderers.

"I am obsessed with him. My life got so much better by watching my guitar hero play. I went home that night after the recording and bought every single guitar pedal that he had," she says with a laugh. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network


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