Khamis, 18 Julai 2013

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

South Korea tycoon charged


SEOUL: The head of South Korean food and entertainment giant CJ Group was charged with embezzlement and tax evasion, prosecutors said, as Seoul seeks to rein in family-controlled business groups.

Lee Jae-hyun, 53, allegedly stashed away undeclared assets worth about 96 billion won (RM273mil) and evading taxes worth 54.6 billion won (RM155mil) since 2004.

"This is a case where a business tycoon illicitly pocketed funds diverted from listed companies and evaded tax," prosecutor Park Jeong-shik told journalists yesterday.

Lee created some 10 shell companies in foreign countries including Singapore and Hong Kong to avoid tax, he said.

Three other former and current executives of the group were also charged as accomplices.

CJ group said the accused accepted the result of the investigation and had apologised.

Lee is a nephew of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of the Samsung Group.

CJ, which started out as a food company, has been expanding aggressively to other businesses such as entertainment and retail.

The indictment comes as President Park Geun-hye's government is seeking to prevent all-embracing conglomerates from extending into small businesses.

Combined revenue of the group, including the country's largest food company and cinema chains, amounted to 26.8 trillion won (RM76bil) last year.

Business tycoons in South Korea have often got off lightly for their wrongdoing, with courts recognising their contribution to the economy as a reason for leniency.

Lee's uncle – convicted of tax evasion – was pardoned in 2009.

Chung Mong-koo, the head of the country's top car maker Hyundai, was also pardoned in 2008 after being convicted of embezzlement and other charges. — AFP

Licence tenure of childcare centre reduced


THE licence tenure for NTUC My First Skool in Toa Payoh Lorong 4 has been reduced from 24 months to six months.

Acting Minister of Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced this after a visit to KLC School of Education yesterday.

The childcare centre is where a part-time teacher allegedly abused a three-year-old boy on July 5.

The teacher has since been arrested and sacked.

The childcare centre was issued a warning letter on Wednesday.

Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) chief executive Lee Tung Jean said the centre will have to provide more support and training for teachers, and have clearer procedures in place for incident reporting.

She said ECDA officers will conduct more frequent visits to the centre, and its licence could be renewed if the centre demonstrates that it complies with the remedial measures. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Licence of hawker who passed off beef as mutton revoked


A hawker was fined S$3,000 (RM7,570) and had the operating licence of his stall revoked with effect from July 18 for passing off beef as mutton.

In a statement yesterday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said that it had investigated Haja Maideen Mee Stall, which is located at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre in Jalan Bukit Merah, following public feedback on Feb 18.

It conducted DNA tests on samples of mutton mee goreng from the stall and found beef, although subsequent sampling of mutton dishes sold there did not find any adulterated meat.

Shaul Hameed, the licensee of the stall, was brought to court, and he pleaded guilty to a charge under the Sale of Food Act on July 16.

He will be barred from holding any food retail licence issued by NEA, and will not be allowed to register as a food handler.

The NEA said that it will continue their sampling programme and follow up on feedback it receives. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. overhauling intelligence access to try to prevent another Snowden


ASPEN, Colo. (Reuters) - The United States is overhauling procedures to tighten access to top-secret intelligence in a bid to prevent another mega-leak like the one carried out by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.

The National Security Agency, which Snowden worked for as a Hawaii-based contractor, said it would lead the effort to isolate intelligence and implement a "two-man rule" for downloading - similar to procedures used to safeguard nuclear weapons.

"When are we taking countermeasures? ... The answer is now," Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

NSA Director General Keith Alexander told the forum the two-man rule would apply to system administrators like Snowden and anyone with access to sensitive computer server rooms.

"You limit the numbers of people who can write to removable media," Alexander said. "Instead of allowing all systems administrators (to do it), you drop it down to a few and use a two-person rule."

"We'll close and lock server rooms so that it takes two people to get in there."

Carter partly blamed the security breach on the emphasis placed on intelligence-sharing after the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, which eventually allowed someone like Snowden to access so many documents at once.

"We normally compartmentalize information for a very good reason, so one person can't compromise a lot," Carter said. "Loading everything onto one server ... it's something we can't do. Because it creates too much information in one place."

Alexander said Snowden had been trusted with moving inside networks to make sure the right information was on the computer servers of the NSA in Hawaii.


Snowden fled to Hong Kong in May, a few weeks before publication in Britain's Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post of details he provided about secret U.S. government surveillance of Internet and phone traffic.

The disclosures by Snowden, who is wanted on espionage charges, have raised Americans' concerns about domestic spying and strained relations with some U.S. allies.

The 30-year-old American who has had his U.S. passport revoked, is stuck in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and has applied for temporary asylum in Russia.

"A huge break in trust and confidence," Alexander said, adding that extremists, aware of the surveillance, were altering their behaviour "and that's going to make our job tougher."

Alexander declined to say how many documents Snowden took, but when asked whether it was a lot, he said, "Yes."

Carter said the assessment was still being conducted, but "I can just tell you right now the damage was very substantial."

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said last month that U.S. officials advised her that Snowden had roughly 200 classified documents.

But American officials and others familiar with Snowden's activities say they believe that at a minimum, he acquired tens of thousands of documents.

Asked whether U.S. officials had a good idea of what Snowden actually downloaded, as opposed to simply read, Alexander said, "We have good insights to that, yes."

Current and former U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity that while authorities now thought they knew which documents Snowden accessed, they were not yet entirely sure of all that he downloaded.

Snowden was adept at going into areas and then covering his tracks, which posed a challenge in trying to determine exactly what materials he had accessed, officials said.

Former and current U.S. officials told Reuters that a massive overhaul of the security measures governing such intelligence would be extremely expensive.

Alexander also said it would take time to implement across the Pentagon and the broader U.S. intelligence community. He also noted there were "15,000 enclaves," some of which are small.

"One of the things we can do is limit what people have access to at remote sites and we're doing both. So we're taking that on," he said.

Among U.S. allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure to toughen her stance on the U.S. program.

Alexander said the program had helped European allies including Germany, France and Denmark, without offering details. Asked about his reaction to German expressions of surprise, Alexander stated: "We don't tell them everything we do or how we do it. Now they know."

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Christopher Wilson and Peter Cooney)

Venezuela slams U.S. over 'repressive regimes' remarks


CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demanded the United States apologise on Thursday after the Obama administration's nominee for envoy to the United Nations said there was a crackdown on civil society in the South American country.

Maduro has often clashed with Washington since winning an April election following the death of his mentor, socialist leader Hugo Chavez. He said Samantha Power's comments to a Senate confirmation hearing had been aggressive and unfair.

"I want an immediate correction by the U.S. government," Maduro said in comments broadcast live on state television.

"Power says she'll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression? There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth."

His comment was an apparent reference to the not-guilty verdict handed down in the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman on Saturday for the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Maduro has been the most vocal of three Latin American leaders who offered asylum to Snowden, the 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor wanted by Washington for leaking details of secret surveillance programs.

Since taking office, Venezuela's leader has veered between appearing to want better ties with Washington and denouncing alleged U.S. plots to assassinate him and trigger a coup d'etat.

During her Senate conformation hearing on Wednesday, Power vowed to stand up against "repressive regimes", and said that meant "contesting the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela."

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who became Chavez's foreign minister and vice president, said the "fascist right" in Venezuela were gleefully applauding her comments.

"And the U.S. government says they want to have good relations? What tremendous relations they want," he scoffed.

In June, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of a regional summit. That meeting was seen as a sign of improving ties after years of hostility during Chavez's 14-year rule.

But the latest collision came when Maduro became the first foreign leader to say explicitly that he was offering asylum to Snowden, the NSA leaker who has been trapped in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for more than three weeks.

Bolivia and Nicaragua also subsequently offered him sanctuary, but Venezuela's government has said it can do little to help him as long as he remains stuck at the airport.

(Editing by Ken Wills)

U.S. concerned over North Korean arms ship, Panama awaits U.N


PANAMA CITY/MIAMI (Reuters) - A U.N. team is due to arrive in Panama next month to inspect a North Korean ship which was seized carrying arms from Cuba, a potential breach of U.N. sanctions that the United States said was "incredibly concerning."

The five-member team of U.N. experts will arrive on August 5 to examine the ship, Panamanian government officials said.

The military cargo is suspected of being in violation of a U.N. arms embargo that covers all exports by Pyongyang and most imports. North Korea is under a host of U.N., U.S. and other sanctions due to repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests since 2006 in defiance of international demands that it stop.

North Korea has asked for the ship and crew to be returned but Panama has not responded, saying the country has no official representation in the Central American nation.

"There are no North Koreans in Panama, and we don't have any plans to respond to them," said Panamanian Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino. "According to Panamanian law they committed a crime. We won't speak with North Korea, period."

The U.S. government has strongly backed Panama's seizure of the ship, the Chong Chon Gang.

"There is a process in place and we are supportive of that process, because the bottom line is that any alleged violation of Security Council sanctions is incredibly concerning to us," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

Panama has been at pains to underline it acted alone in seizing the ship, though security experts say the United States, which operated the Panama Canal until a final withdrawal on December 31, 1999, is likely to have provided assistance.

When asked whether information provided by the United States was used, a U.S. intelligence official said: "Yes."

A Panamanian frigate on routine patrol stopped the ship off its Atlantic coast last week and seized its cargo after a tense standoff with the North Korean crew.

The 35 crew members were arrested and charged with attempting to smuggle undeclared arms through the canal.

"No Americans were involved in the operation," said a Panamanian official familiar with the incident.

Officers on the frigate were first alerted by the fact that the Chong Chon Gang was not issuing a transponder signal as required by maritime law, and suspected it was smuggling drugs, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It was a drug bust that came up with weapons," the official said.

After an extensive search that took several days authorities discovered the weaponry aboard and Cuba later said it was "obsolete" Soviet-era missile equipment, MiG fighter jets and other arms being sent to North Korea for repair.

Panama has 100 police cadets unloading the sugar in sweltering conditions in the port of Manzanillo and have so far only cleared one of the four holds, a Panamanian official said. The U.N. team had initially planned to arrive on Tuesday but delayed their trip to give Panama more time to empty the cargo.

Earlier on Thursday, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations said the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee would examine the case.

The U.N. team of investigators heading to Panama will be drawn from an eight-member panel of experts appointed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to monitor the sanctions imposed on North Korea, according to diplomats within the Security Council.


Joe Reeder, former chairman of the Panama Canal Commission's Board of Directors and an ex-under secretary of the U.S. Army, said Panama's security apparatus has a history of cooperating closely with U.S. authorities, who may have shared intelligence on the ship.

Mulino, Panama's security minister, was highly regarded by U.S. officials at the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, Reeder said.

Officials were alerted by a number of suspicious factors, including where the ship was coming from and the fact that its transponder had been switched off, Reeder said.

"They ... were clearly trying not to be detected," he said.

Panamanian officials said they had found the ship's electrical equipment burned and that access to its storage areas had been blocked when they boarded the ship.

Officials also noted that the ship's draft "was measurably lower coming back from Cuba than it was going out," Reeder said.

He said the raid was sensitive due to the neutrality of the canal, and the decision would not have been taken lightly.

"If (Panama had) busted that thing and there was nothing on it, everybody would have egg on their face," said Reeder, who is now with the law firm Greenberg Traurig in Washington, D.C..

The U.S. Southern Command in Miami, the Pentagon's headquarters for operations in Latin America, declined to comment about the specifics of the Chong Chon Gang case, though incidents involving illegal maritime activity, from drug smuggling to human trafficking, fall within its responsibility.

"It's very routine for us to be working very closely with countries in the region and sharing information with partners," a spokesman for Southcom said.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Affin Research maintains "Reduce" on FGV, target price RM4.07


KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Research is maintaining its "Reduce" call on Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) with a target price of RM4.07 as its offer for Pontian United Plantations, which would probably set a new benchmark for plantation land pricing, is unlikely to be well received by investors.

"FGV has proposed to undertake the offer to acquire all the voting shares of RM1.00 each in Pontian United Plantations, for a cash consideration of RM140 per offer share, via a voluntary conditional take-over offer. If fully accepted, the total issued and paid-up share capital of 8.65 million Pontian shares would cost FGV RM1.21bil," it said.

"Pontain owns approximately 40,000 acres (16,188 ha) of oil palm plantation land, primarily in Sabah, and recorded net profits of RM42nil in 2009, RM53.7 mil in 2010 and RM71.7mil in 2011. In the financial year ended December 31, 2012, Pontian recorded a net profit of RM39.5mil and net assets of RM414mil," it said.

Affin added the full acquisition price of RM1.21bil looks high in view of the implied price of RM74,800 per ha of plantation land and net profit of RM2,440 per ha in 2012, when the crude palm oil average selling price was RM2,862 per metric tonne compared to RM2,400 per metric tonne in 2013.

"FGV intends to fund the offer consideration by internally generated funds, proceeds raised from FGV's initial public offering, balance estimated at RM3.bil and/or bank borrowings," it said.

Muhibbah advances to RM2.66 on turnaround prospects


KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Muhibbah Engineering extended their rally early Friday to a high of RM2.62 as investors were upbeat on the turnaround prospects for the company.

At 9.23am, it was up five sen to RM2.62. There were 1.72 million shares done at prices ranging from RM2.59 to RM2.66.

The FBM KLCI was up 6.58 points to 1,798.12. Turnover was 208.25 million shares valued at RM108.26mil. There were 245 gainers, 96 losers and 193 counters unchanged.

CIMB Equities Research raised its target price for Muhibbah Engineering from RM1.83 to RM3.18 as it offers the most attractive turnaround prospect among the smaller-cap contractors.

It said prospects were underpinned by oil & gas infrastructure, marine/port-related work and a fabrication licence from Petronas.

Tenaga powers KLCI towards key 1,800 level


KUALA LUMPUR: Fund buying of Tenaga Nasional helped propel the key FBM KLCI towards the key 1,800 resistance level early Friday following its strong earnings.

At 9.10am, the KLCI was up 6.56 points to 1,798.10. Turnover was 122.96 million shares valued at RM105.62mil. There were 198 gainers, 55 losers and 162 counters unchanged.

Tenaga rose 28 sen to RM9.28 while its call warrants Tenaga-C1 jumped 15 sen to 37.5 sen.

Farm Best-WB surged 30 sen to 30.5 sen on its listing. Other gainers were Kretam, up 19 sen to RM2.81, Hartalega 12 sen to RM6.62 and Crescendo nine sen higher at RM3.16.

Public Bank-F and UMW fell 10 sen each to RM16.96 and RM14.42 while Hap Seng shed four sen to RM1.98, Mudajaya and AirAsia three sen down to RM2.69 and RM3.25.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Emma Roberts in trouble


Actress Emma Roberts has been arrestedfor allegations of domestic violence.

In her upcoming movie We're The Millers, Emma Roberts plays a street-wise toughie not afraid to mix it up, who then becomes part of a fake family that's helping smuggle pot across the Mexican border.

That scrappiness takes on a new resonance in the wake of allegations of domestic violence against the actress. According to TMZ, Roberts was arrested in a Canadian hotel on July 7 after a guest reported a fight in a neighbouring room and cops showed up to find Roberts' boyfriend, actor Evan Peters, with a bloody nose and a bite mark, in the room with Roberts.

The 22-year-old actress is key to bringing in a younger demographic for Rawson Marshall Thurber's We're The Millers, an R-rated comedy starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston that opens the first week of August in the United States. Even if she maintains the same media schedule she did before the arrest, the Roberts incident (Peters did not press charges) is likely to be a distraction for some reporters who would otherwise be talking about the movie. And most actors don't keep the same media schedule.

After an early film career embodying teen sweetness in the likes of Nancy Drew, Roberts has gone to a more mature place over the last few years, starring as a fragile-but-gritty high-schooler in It's Kind Of A Funny Story, a more duplicitous than you'd think girl-next-door in Scream 4 and now the street kid of We're The Millers.

How much do actors' real-life woes affect their box-office perception? In some cases it can bounce right off. Christian Bale's on-set rant to a cinematographer didn't ding Terminator: Salvation even after the rant went viral, in part because much of the young male demographic that the movie was aimed at dug the freak-out. The Rupert Sanders-Kristen Stewart affair only seemed to help Snow White And The Huntsman.

Then again, there's plenty of fallout when something like this happens right before a movie's release. Stars keep a low profile, media forget about the film and audiences can be left with a bad taste. It's hard to watch Roberts confronting street thugs on screen when that hotel image keeps lingering in one's mind. – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Kuala Besut by-election: PAS not aiming to take over Terengganu, says Husam Musa


KUALA BESUT: PAS has no intention to take over the Terengganu government from Barisan Nasional even if it wins the Kuala Besut by-election, says its vice president Datuk Husam Musa.

He said the Barisan state government would be maintained, even though a win for PAS in the by-election would mean 16 seats each for both parties, resulting in a hung state legislative assembly.

"It's only that they (Barisan) would not be able to do as they like. We will play a constructive check-and-balance role in the administration of the state, that is orientated towards the well-being of the people in Terengganu," he told a media conference at the party's election base in Kampung Baru here Wednesday.

He was reacting to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein's statement that PAS' bid to wrest the hung assembly through populist sentiments and form a new government would not be received favourably by the people. - Bernama

Maid falls to her death from 11th floor of apartment in Sunway Damansara


PETALING JAYA: The body of a foreign woman was found on the ground floor of an apartment in Sunway Damansara here early Thursday.

Petaling Jaya deputy OCPD Supt Fadil Marsus said security guards discovered the body at around 5.30am.

"Investigations revealed that the woman, identified only as Rodina, worked for a couple on the 11th floor of the apartment.

"The woman was last seen by her employers around 10.30pm on Wednesday," he said.

He added that other residents heard a loud sound consistent with something falling, around 3am.

"We also found a bed sheet and hose dangling from the kitchen window of the apartment were she worked," he said.

Supt Fadil said the case has been classified as sudden death.

Sex bloggers: Far from sexy


KUALA LUMPUR: Despite her infamous public image, sex blogger Vivian Lee cut a far more subdued figure in court Thursday, when she and her boyfriend Alvin Tan were charged over religiously insensitive postings on their Facebook page.
"She looks so demure. So unlike her sex kitten image," a journalist covering the event remarked.

Earlier, when they were produced in court, Tan, 25, glowered at the crowd in the public gallery while Lee, 24, looked nerdy in glasses.

Lee, who wore a pink T-shirt with the words "I love your nice spirit" on it, sported a wrist cast on her right hand.

Tan (centre) and Lee appear in court

When asked about the cast, the kindergarten teacher replied: "I got robbed a few weeks ago."

Earlier, Tan and Lee, who were in the dock, were seen talking to his mother.

They appeared friendly when The Star Online spoke to them during the court adjournment.

The judge's decision not to grant bail to the duo shocked those in the public gallery.

The duo's reaction to this was not clear as they were immediately whisked away by the police out of the court room.

Tan was taken to Sungai Buloh Prison and Lee to Kajang Prison.

The duo claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to three charges related to their Ramadan bak kut teh greeting on their Facebook page and pornographic pictures in their blogs.


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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A new lease on circus life


KATHMANDU: A young man climbs atop a human pyramid and performs a perfect handstand, while nearby, a girl effortlessly swings a dozen glittered hoops around her hips.

Like most troupes around the world, performers from Nepal's Circus Kathmandu have been practising their tricks for years.

But unlike others, most of these artists, until recently, were not given a choice.

Eleven of the thirteen-strong troupe are rescued victims of child trafficking who had been sold into circuses in neighbouring India and made to perform to crowds.

Now they are free to perform because they can, not because they have to.

"I like the fact I'm not being forced into doing anything now," says Anjali Chhetri Khadka, 20, who joined the troupe when it formed in 2011.

"I'm performing on my own free will and I can do whatever part of the performance I choose."

When she was seven years old, Anjali's parents sold her to traffickers.

She was smuggled across the border into India where she spent the next four years doing unpaid work at a circus in Darjeeling before being rescued.

Families, impoverished and desperate, receive as little as 1,000 Nepalese rupees (RM32.90) for the sale of their child, experts say. They are often tricked into believing a better life awaits their child across the border.

But the reality is usually quite different.

Like many trafficking victims, Anjali does not like to talk about her past.

"There are children there (in some circuses) as young as five or six years old," explains Leslie Brown, the Nepal representative for Freedom Matters, a British-funded non-governmental organisation that works to rehabilitate rescued circus performers.

"They are taught to interact with and perform with wild animals, and they are very commonly abused, neglected and sexually molested," she says.

Young Nepalis have traditionally been favoured by circus owners due to their small builds and fair complexions, according to Brown.

Once far away from their country and families, and unfamiliar with the local language and culture, trafficked children are easier to exploit and control, and less likely to run away, she says.

A typical day at a circus starts at dawn with several hours of gruelling training followed by at least three shows to the public that last late into the night.

"Some young girls are forced to carry out private performances to groups of men," according to Shailaja CM, who works for non-profit group Sano Paila and has carried out dozens of raids on Indian circuses since 2004.

Working alongside Indian authorities, they have rescued almost 400 trafficked Nepalis, including most of those now at Circus Kathmandu.

When they find them, 80% have tuberculosis, some are pregnant and most are suffering from injuries after years of physical abuse by trainers, she says.

"At the worst circuses, the children are normally happy to see the rescuers, but at others, they are frightened because the circus owners have told them that we will sell them into brothels and not take them home."

Years of successful raids and the criminal conviction of circus owners, encouraged the Indian and Nepali governments to continue to crack down on the exploitation of these children.

In 2011, India's Supreme Court also ordered circuses to stop employing children and instructed the government to rescue and rehabilitate working minors.

The following year, Nepal endorsed the National Plan of Actions Against Trafficking of Persons which focused on preventing trafficking of women and children and prosecuting those responsible.

As a result, numbers of both child performers and children being trafficked for that purpose have "dramatically dropped", according to Shailaja.

But the rehabilitation of those already rescued continues. Most children return home to the lives they lost, but for some, reintegrating back into their families is impossible.

"It depends on many factors, for example, stigma within the community, the belief that the child has brought back HIV/AIDS with them, that they are somehow spoiled," says Brown from Freedom Matters.

The organisation works to provide medical care and shelter to those in need and then helps get them back on their feet by teaching them new skills so they can earn a living.

Sunita Karki was trafficked into a circus when she was nine and rescued three years later. Now 20, she is studying for a law degree in Kathmandu and wants to help those who have suffered a similar fate.

"I'm going to work with organisations that rescue people from circuses," she says.

"I want to become a professional lawyer and be good at what I do so I can help those in similar situations."

But for members of Circus Kathmandu, performing is a way of life and has become a career.

Theirs is the only contemporary circus in Nepal, and they have set their sights on performing overseas, with a debut planned in Britain next year. — AFP

Mother sues daughter over share of property


A 63-year-old woman, who is being sued over a Housing Board flat by her mother, claimed that 91-year-old widow Eileen Chia Yoke Mui had been "put up" to it by her sons, who are not party to the case.

Yvonne Goh Mei Ling yesterday told the High Court that her siblings, Eric Goh Wai Mun, 69, and Evan Goh Wyming, 65, had "orchestrated" proceedings to reverse a move by their parents to share the property in Clementi with her and her sister Yvette Goh Meich'ang, 53.

She insisted that her father – late scout pioneer Dennis Goh Chin Chye – wanted them to have a "home base" to stay whenever they return from England, where they live.

Chia claimed, however, that Yvonne harassed her into making her two daughters the joint owners of the property in 2009, and that she had not been properly advised on its legal implications.

The sisters claimed that the partial transfer was a gift from their parents.

When a co-owner dies in a joint tenancy, her share goes to the other owners.

But if Chia is successful and the sisters' names are removed, all four siblings will get an equal share when their mother dies. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Are you a stress eater?


A study finds that habits, not cravings, drive food choices when you're stressed.

A SMALL study has found that for people who eat during times of stress, habits may drive food choices.

While conventional wisdom dictates people tuck into fatty or unhealthy foods when stressed out, this isn't always the case, said Dr David Neal, head researcher of the study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

"Habits don't change in a high-pressure situation," he said. "People default to what their habits are under stress, whether healthy or not."

In the study, 59 business school students at UCLA were asked during mid-term exams which snack they would like from an array of choices, which included healthful options like nuts, fruits, and yogurts as well as less austere choices, such as candy bars, flavoured popcorn, and cookies.

They also were asked to rate how often during the week they ate that type of snack. The results found that during peak stress, participants were likely to fall back on their habitual snack, whether it be a candy bar or an apple.

"Habits are 45% of daily life," Neal said. "They cause us to disregard rational or motivational drivers and instead be cued by context, automated actions, time pressure and low self-control."

Prior research from the University of Southern California has found that when stressed, people fall back on established routines, and this includes healthy habits, such as going to the gym to burn off steam, as well as bad ones, such as overeating or shopping sprees. That study, involving 65 university students, was published last month in the Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology. – AFP Relaxnews

Eat nuts to live longer


A new study finds that eating nuts, particularly walnuts, may give you a longer life.

IN a longitudinal study of more than 7,000 people over 50 years old in Spain, the study found that those who ate nuts more than three times a week had reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease compared to non-nut eaters.

People who ate nuts also tended to have a lower body mass index and a smaller waist, and were also less likely to smoke and be more physically active, than those who rarely or never ate nuts. Nut eaters also ate a better diet in general, with more vegetables, fruit, and fish.

Nut eaters had fewer risks of type 2 diabetes and hypertension as well. Overall, nut eaters had a 39% lower mortality risk and walnut eaters had a 45% lower risk.

People eating more than three servings (one serving equals 28 g) a week of nuts reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by 55% and cancer by 40%. A similar effect was found for walnuts.

"Quite how nuts are able prevent premature mortality is not entirely clear, nor why walnuts should be better for you than other nuts," said study author Jordi Salas-Salvadó, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. "Walnuts have particularly high content of alpha-linoleic acid and phytochemicals, especially in their 'skin', both of which, along with fibre and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, may contribute to their healthy effect."

The findings, announced yesterday, will appear in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine. In a separate study from last year, researchers from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, US, found that when compared to eight other types of nuts, walnuts were found to have the highest amounts of polyphenols – compounds thought to reduce heart disease risk by lowering blood cholesterol levels, improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation. – AFP Relaxnews

Healthy fasting for children


Are you about to get your children started on fasting? Don't worry, there's a safe and healthy way to get your child to fast.

GENERALLY, children who have not yet hit puberty do not have to fast. However, as they get older, you may want to start preparing your child for this ritual. You can start encouraging your child to begin fasting at the age of seven by getting him to fast for a few hours a day and gradually introduce him/her to all-day fasting.

It is important to teach your child the correct way to fast in order to get him mentally and physically accustomed to the discipline. Since our weather tends to be hot, it is crucial that you take your child's age into account so as to avoid illness and fatigue.

Given that your child is growing – developing bones and muscles – and needs more nutritious foods in proportion to his size, you must assess your child's ability to fast.

Start with the basics. Before Ramadan, you can:

– Get your child to eat smaller meals throughout the day to help control the temptation to eat large meals.

– As Ramadan draws nearer, cut down your child's number of meals a day so that his mind, body and appetite are all in tune for the coming fasting period.

– Gradually cut down your child's consumption of salt and sugar as these increase thirst and cravings.

During Ramadan, you can:

– Gradually initiate your child into the fasting month. In the beginning, encourage him to fast until 10am.

This can be gradually extended to the noon prayer time (zuhur), and then until the time of the evening prayer (asar).

– Give your child a proper meal during sahur that will last him throughout the fasting period every day. Slow-digesting, fibre-rich foods such as wholegrain cereals, fruits and vegetables are an essential part of the meal.

– Don't allow your child to overeat (this can cause bloating and indigestion) or eat spicy foods, which can increase gastric acidity.

The best way for your child to get all the energy and protein he needs is to include a variety of protein sources (e.g. milk, cheese and yogurt in meals and snacks). Carbohydrates like rice and potatoes are also an important source of energy.

Don't forget to pack more colour into your child's meals as these contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Even white foods like garlic, onions, mushrooms and cauliflower contain allicin and quercetin – substances that may defend the body against inflammation.

To help you in your child's meal planning during Ramadan, here are some suggestions for sahur, buka puasa, and moreh (a form of "supper" held either during the breaking of fast or after tarawih prayer and witr prayer).


Food: Breakfast cereals, e.g. oats, wholemeal breads, pancakes (lempeng), rice with mixed vegetables, chicken porridge, tuna/egg/sardine sandwiches.

Drink: Milk, malted drink, plain water, fruit juice, tea.

Fruit: Bananas, papaya, watermelon.

Buka puasa

Food: Rice with kurma or chicken curry, laksa, mi goreng, rendang, pulut, lemang, traditional Malay cakes, roti jala, nasi kukus with fried chicken.

Drink: Plain water, fruit juice, tea.

Fruit: Mango, watermelon, papaya.


Food: Bubur lambuk, traditional Malay cakes – kuih lapis, dodol, ondeh-ondeh, curry puff, mi rebus.

Drink: Plain water, fruit juice, syrup juice, grass jelly drink.

Fruit: Watermelon, orange, banana.

Avoid carbonated drinks during iftar (time of breaking fast) as they can produce gas and cause discomfort.

It is good to inculcate fasting in your child from young. Just remember to ensure that your child meets his nutrition requirements at the same time.

Although it's easier to allow your child to eat the same meals you eat during buka puasa, it is better to do some meal planning before or during Ramadan to ensure that your child will eat healthy and nutritious foods.

Prof Dr Norimah A. Karim is a nutritionist. This article is a courtesy of Malaysian Paediatric Association's Positive Parenting Programme. The opinions expressed in the article are the view of the author. For further information, please visit


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