Ahad, 8 September 2013

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro


More abused foreign brides seeking protection

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THERE has been a sharp rise in the number of foreign women seeking protection from violent Singaporean husbands, exposing a dark side to the growing trend of men marrying women from other parts of Asia.

Most of the women said they endured regular slapping, beatings, verbal abuse and psychological bullying, and were threatened that they would be sent home and separated from their children if they reported the abuse.

Many turned to the courts for protection only after years of abuse when they could no longer put up with it or felt their lives were in danger, social workers said.

Most of the abused foreign women that social workers help are from China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

A spokesman for the Subordinate Courts said that about 10% of all requests for personal protection orders (PPOs) filed over the past three years were made by foreign wives against their fist-happy husbands.

This is a sharp jump from about 2% to 3% in the five preceding years. It means there were about 300 applications by foreign wives each year in the past three years, compared to about 50 to 90 previously.

A PPO is a court order to restrain an abuser from laying hands on his family members, and he can be fined or even jailed if he breaches the order and turns violent again.

In some cases, the abuser can also be barred from entering the home.

The surge in foreign wives seeking PPOs comes amid an overall increase – last year, the Subordinate Courts received 3,073 new applications, the highest number in the past decade, and up 7% from 2011.

Social workers say rising awareness has made victims more willing to seek PPOs and end family violence.

The bulk of the cases involved people seeking protection from abusive spouses. In the past three years, just over half of the PPOs were filed by wives against their violent husbands, and 11% by husbands against wives.

The rest were filed against abusive children, parents, siblings and other family members, such as former spouses and parents-in-law.

Social workers said some marriages involving foreign brides are particularly prone to abuse, given their shaky foundations.

Violence can happen when couples who marry after whirlwind courtships have mismatched expectations, little trust and understanding, cultural differences and sometimes, no common language.

Latest data shows that about 6,900 Singaporean men married foreigners and permanent residents in 2011 – a 35% jump from 2001. 

Over nine in 10 of these women were from Asia.

The abuse is not just physical. 

Some men also lock their foreign wives at home, do not allow them to go out on their own or make friends or work, fearing that they will gain more independence and cheat on them.

Others threaten harm, blackmail their wives or rain verbal abuse on them.

Yet, many women keep silent about their suffering, as they don't know who to turn to, social workers said.

Besides, they are totally dependent on their husbands, financially and even for the right to remain in Singapore.

They fear that if they report the abuse, their husbands will stop sponsoring their social or long-term visit passes and they will have no choice but to return to their homeland, separated from their children.  -The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Minister: Probe on NGO is 'opportunity for reflection'

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LAST week's news on Malay-Muslim non-government organisation Majlis Pusat being investigated by the police for reasons believed to be related to its management of the annual Hari Raya Aidilfitri light-up projects is an opportunity for reflection, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.

"Majlis Pusat is an old Malay-Muslim organisation and has been very active," said Dr Yaacob, who was speaking on the sidelines of a Mendaki event. 

"We hope that after this episode, they can continue to serve the community but I suppose this episode also gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we can do more to strengthen the governance of Malay-Muslim organisations."

The Straits Times reported on Friday that the Commercial Affairs Department visited Majlis Pusat's office in Toa Payoh Central on Aug 31 to retrieve computers and file documents for investigations.

Responding to media queries last week, Majlis Pusat said that "to ensure efficiency and transparency of investigations", the current executive committee had temporarily relinquish its duties, with adviser and former president Zulkifli Mohammed taking over the mantle in the meantime.

"The Prime Minister himself at the recent National Day Rally spoke about how important Malay-Muslim organisations are to the Malay community," said Dr Yaacob. 

"We now have the resources that he has given to us through the MMCDF (Malay/Muslim Community Development Fund), a total of S$2.6mil (RM6.8mil) starting from next year so we are planning to use part of the money to allow Malay-Muslim organisations to tap on it for capability development."  -The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates


Muslim rebels take hostages in raid on Philippine southern city

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MANILA (Reuters) - Muslim rebels took 30 civilian hostages in the southern Philippines on Monday and held security forces in a standoff as part of a drive to derail peace talks, officials said.

Police commandos cordoned off parts of Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao after a rogue faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) took hostages and tried to march to the city hall to raise their flag, an army commander said.

"They want to hoist their flag, we will not allow that," Colonel Andrelino Colina told a local radio station, saying dozens of armed MNLF landed in two coastal villages at dawn and clashed with security forces.

Three people were killed and 10 wounded as the rebels forced their way to the city centre.

"We condemned the attack on Zamboanga City in the strongest possible terms," Edwin Lacierda, the president's spokesman said in a statement. "The ongoing attack of armed individuals in Zamboanga City, including initial reports of the possible use of civilians as human shields is a cause for great concern."

The gunmen belong to a Muslim rebel group that entered into a peace agreement with government in 1996 and was allowed to run a Muslim autonomous region. Five years later, the group took up arms again, claiming the government did not fully implement the peace agreement.

In Kuala Lumpur, the government and the largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), are preparing for peace talks to conclude a deal on power-sharing and the establishment of a larger autonomous Muslim region by 2015.

"They are trying to spoil the peace process," Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief peace negotiator, told Reuters by phone.

An official from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Joe Lorena, said the attack could have been triggered by rumours that talks in Kuala Lumpur might result in the termination of an earlier deal with the gunmen's group.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Thai Airways Airbus 330 skids off Bangkok runway, 14 injured

Posted:

BANGKOK (Reuters) - An Airbus 330-300 operated by Thai Airways skidded off the runway at Bangkok's main international airport after the nose wheel collapsed on landing late Sunday night, injuring 14 passengers, the airline said.

The flight from Guangzhou, China, was carrying 288 passengers and 14 crew members. Passengers were evacuated using emergency slides and the 14 injured were sent to a Bangkok hospital, Thai Airways said.

"Thai Airways International Flight TG 679 from Guangzhou was scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 23:00 hours local time. The nose gear failed as the plane touched the runway causing the plane to skid," the airline said in an emailed statement.

"Sparks were noticed from the vicinity of the right landing gear near the engine; the matter is under investigation" by Thai civil aviation officials, it said.

Bangkok's futuristic Suvarnabhumi airport opened seven years ago and has since become one of the busiest airports in Asia. Built to handle 45 million passengers a year, Suvarnabhumi Airport is already seeing 53 million passengers annually.

The airport is expanding a new passenger terminal and adding more parking bays and a new runway to enable it to handing 60 million fliers by 2017, according to the Airports of Thailand Public Company Ltd.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Mexico dilutes fiscal reform as plan dodges sales tax

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government on Sunday proposed raising taxes for higher earners, putting a levy on stock market gains and boosting social programs to help the poor, but it shied away from widening a controversial sales tax amid an economic slowdown.

The planned fiscal reform includes a universal pension and unemployment insurance in a country where half the population lives in poverty, as well as emergency spending that will bring on a budget deficit this year and next.

Applying the sales tax to food and medicine is a political hot potato in Mexico, and its omission will dilute the potential impact of the reforms because it was seen as one of the most effective ways of raising more revenue.

Avoiding that tax, which senior figures in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had until recently said looked almost certain, should help blunt street protests by leftists who say it would be unfair on the millions of poor.

Much of the social burden for the reform appears to fall on the middle class, with the top rate of tax rising to 32 percent from 30 percent for those who earn more than 500,000 pesos (24,165 pounds) a year, the plan presented to Congress showed.

It also closes some tax loopholes and ends some exemptions.

"The reform puts an end to tax privileges that shouldn't exist," President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a speech at the presidential residence as he unveiled his reform proposals.

"The aim is that all taxpayers without exception ... contribute to the country as far as their means will allow."

Details of the plan sparked prompt criticism from some members of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), which the centrist Pena Nieto has relied on to help push his economic policies in Congress because his PRI lacks a majority.

"To put this rate on those earning 500,000 pesos is an attack on the middle class," said PAN Senator Francisco Dominguez, who sits on the Senate's finance committee.

By contrast, the plan, which also includes measures to tax soft drinks and impose a carbon charge on polluters, won some early applause from Mexico's main leftist opposition party.

The reform aims to increase Mexico's weak tax revenues by nearly 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2018 - less than the 4 percent of GDP several senior officials in the PRI had said the government was originally targeting.

Pena Nieto also backed off from imposing much higher income tax rates on Mexico's richest, including Carlos Slim, who started this year as the world's richest man.

Instead, following a surprise contraction in the economy during the April-June period, the government plans to deliver a short-term boost to growth with "emergency" spending which will cause a budget deficit this year and next.

The bill proposes a "transitory" deficit of 0.4 percent of GDP for 2013, and 1.5 percent of GDP in 2014.

STOCK MARKET TAX

Fiscal reform is one of the key planks of Pena Nieto's economic agenda, which aims to improve years of sluggish growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy.

The reform proposes imposing a 10 percent tax on stock market gains and dividends and eliminating some two-thirds of special tax breaks and exemptions. The shared border area with the United States will no longer enjoy a lower sales tax that was originally introduced to help spur trade.

Pena Nieto has pledged to lift growth to around 6 percent a year - up from an average of barely 2 percent since 2000 - by also opening up the oil sector to foreign capital, fomenting competition in major industries and improving education.

The plan aims to ease the tax burden on state oil monopoly Pemex, though Pena Nieto did not detail by how much. A draft of the plan foresaw the burden eventually falling to below 60 percent from 79 percent.

That interlocks with a separate energy reform Pena Nieto has presented which seeks to lure foreign investment into the industry to help reverse a slide in crude production.

Mexico wants to wean itself off dependence on Pemex, whose revenues fund about a third of the federal budget. Easing its tax burden should help it to compete better internationally, although it has also been hurt by inefficiencies.

Mexico has the lowest tax revenue in the 34-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), crimping its ability to spend on health, infrastructure and social programs vital to boosting living standards and growth.

Excluding revenues from Pemex, the total of taxes raised by the government was only 9.7 percent of GDP in 2012.

ECONOMIC WOES

The government slashed its 2013 growth outlook to 1.8 percent last month after the economy shrank by 0.7 percent in the April-June period. That increased pressure on policymakers to hold back from any measures that could crimp demand.

The government also aims to levy so-called health taxes, including levies on fuels and soda pop, to combat obesity.

It also plans to continue to erase fuel subsidies, with gasoline prices rising in line with inflation from 2014.

Shortly after taking office in December, Pena Nieto forged a pact with the opposition to push for a range of reforms. It has helped him push major legislation to increase competition in the telecoms sector and improve education standards.

Pena Nieto is already grappling with protests by teachers opposed to tougher standards, causing friction between the PRI and the leftist Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD), whose leader Jesus Zambrano also signed the so-called Pact for Mexico.

Zambrano welcomed details of the tax reform on Sunday.

"It seems this would be a big step forward in re-directing the economic policy of Pena Nieto's government," he told Reuters. "It would mean paying heed to a fundamental part of the agreements contained within the Pact for Mexico."

The PRD is opposed to Pena Nieto's energy overhaul, arguing it plans to give away Mexico's oil wealth. But agreement on the tax plan could bring the two sides closer together, possibly smoothing the passage of the energy bill through Congress.

Still, Mexico's most well-known leftist, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the runner-up to Pena Nieto in last year's election, has vowed protests against the reforms.

Thousands gathered at a rally led by Lopez Obrador in central Mexico City on Sunday, though the atmosphere was peaceful. In 2006, his protests over alleged electoral fraud paralyzed parts of Mexico City for weeks.

(With reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Anahi Rama, Ana Isabel Martinez, Simon gardner, Michael O'Boyle and Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Kieran Murray)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business


Trading in Ogawa World suspended

Posted:

KUALA LUMPUR: Trading in the shares of healthcare and wellness products distributor Ogawa World Bhd was suspended from 9am to 5pm on Monday.

The company said it had requested for the suspension pending the release of material announcement.

Ogawa's shares were last traded at 86 sen.

In its financial year ended June 30, 2013, it posted net profit of RM14.37mil compared with net loss of RM1.35mil in the previous financial year. Its net asset per share was 72 sen.

Japan Q2 GDP revised up sharply, boosts case for tax hike

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TOKYO: Japan's economy expanded much faster than initially expected in the second quarter, adding to growing signs a solid recovery is taking hold and heightening the case for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to proceed with a planned sales tax hike next year.

A marked improvement in capital expenditure led to an upward revision in April-June gross domestic product (GDP) to an annualised 3.8 percent expansion from a preliminary 2.6 percent increase, data released by the Cabinet Office showed on Monday.

The expansion, which roughly matched a median market forecast for a 3.7 percent increase, underscores the strength of Japan's recovery and boosts the chance the government will proceed with a two-staged increase in the sales tax.

It was the third straight quarter of increase following a 4.1 percent growth in January-March.

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, GDP growth was revised up to a 0.9 percent increase from a preliminary 0.6 percent.

Japan emerged from recession in 2012 and data for much of this year has shown the benefits of Abe's reflationary policies and the BOJ's aggressive stimulus.

Preliminary GDP data for April-June fell short of market forecasts due to weaker-than-expected capital spending, casting doubt on whether the tax hike will proceed as scheduled.

But capital expenditure was revised up to a 1.3 percent rise from the preliminary 0.1 percent decline, suggesting that improving business sentiment is prompting companies to spend more on plant and equipment.

The data gives the government more ammunition to counter critics of the tax hike, who have called for a delay or watering down of the increase on the view Japan's economy is still too weak to weather the pain.

Abe has made ending economic stagnation among his key policy priorities, but must also be mindful of fixing Japan's tattered finances with public debt having ballooned to double the size of its $5 trillion economy due to past fiscal stimulus and the rising social welfare costs for a rapidly ageing population.

The government has cited revised GDP data as among key factors in deciding whether to go ahead with lifting the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent next April, and to 10 percent in October 2015. Abe is expected to make a decision early October. - Reuters

Yen sags on Tokyo Olympics win, China data seen lifting Asia shares

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TOKYO: The yen dropped on Monday as traders positioned for a rally in Japanese shares after Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, while Asian shares look set to gain after mildly upbeat Chinese trade data underscored signs of stability in the world's second-biggest economy.

The dollar was steady after plunging against a basket of currencies on Friday following a disappointing jobs report.

The payrolls data saw the dollar index drop to 82.256 from a 7-week high of 82.671 hit on Thursday as some traders pared back expectations that the Federal Reserve might start winding back its stimulus later this month.

The dollar index was at 82.302 in early Asia trade, mainly as the U.S. currency rose 0.7 percent to 99.85 yen, in anticipation of gains in Japanese shares after Tokyo's Olympics win. The dollar/yen has had a high correlation to Japanese equities in recent months.

"In the short-term, this (Olympics-bid win) will be positive mainly through a boost on Olympic-related shares," said Ryota Sakagami, chief equity strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities in a report.

"In the longer run, its impact depends on how much the government can push for infrastructure investments and promotion of tourism business but it is likely to be positive on the Japanese economy and shares," he said.

Improved Chinese trade figures released over the weekend might help Asian stocks push higher during the session.

Data showed China's exports grew 7.2 percent in August, above market expectations of a 6.0 percent rise from a year earlier, adding to evidence that the world's second-largest economy may have avoided a sharp slowdown.

However, import figures came in slightly weaker than expected and investors will be bracing for more data from China this week, including inflation on Monday and industrial production and retail sales on Tuesday.

Investors are also grappling with the anxiety that withdrawal of the Fed's stimulus could destabilise asset prices worldwide.

"Although the U.S. job data was disappointing on the whole, the jobless rate fell, inching closer to the 7.0 percent level, which the Fed said is a threshold to end the quantitative easing," said Tohru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities.

"The Fed will start tapering in September, perhaps little by little, like by $10 billion. It is hard to expect bond yields to fall before the next Fed meeting," he added.

The U.S. Treasury note futures opened at 122-31.5/32, flat from late U.S. levels and off two-year low of 122-7/32 hit on Friday. Cash bond trading will start at 0000 GMT.

The Australian dollar was up slightly on the Chinese trade data, fetching $0.9197, after hitting a three-week high of $0.9222 at one point.

There was hardly much reaction to the widely expected outcome of Australia's national election, which saw the nation's conservative Liberal-National Party coalition sweep into power over the weekend.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures stayed near two-year highs supported by concerns a possible military strike against Syria could stir broader conflict in the Middle East and cause disruption in oil supplies. - Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


The Cleaner Of Chartres

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An engrossing and thought-provoking book set around a grand cathedral. No, it's not a literary Da Vinci's Code, it's better!

THE cathedral of Chartres is generally acknowledged as being one of France's, if not Europe's, finest. A number of features contribute to this claim but the most compelling is probably its stained glass windows. They are mostly medieval and mostly intact, which means they have survived for some 800 years.

So famous and valued are the windows, in fact, that before the Germans invaded France in 1939 during World War II, the glass was removed (we are talking thousands of individual pieces here) and carried to safety. They were then replaced and all the leading renewed. So the setting of Salley Vicker's latest novel is one of great historical and artistic significance as well as one with extensive spiritual overtones.

The spiritual dimensions go beyond the obvious one that a cathedral lies at the heart of the book and at the centre of the life of Agnes Morel, its heroine. Chartres cathedral was a centre of pilgrimage for hundreds of years, claiming to contain the birthing shroud of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom it is dedicated. Perhaps more in tune with our times and with Dan Brown enthusiasts, the cathedral is also home to a great labyrinth on the floor of its nave whose meaning has been picked over extensively but seems certain to involve complex geometric and numerological codes.

Salley Vickers is not much concerned with these, at least on the surface, although their "meaning" briefly teases Agnes as she gets on her knees and scrubs at the stones. If there is a connection, it is that Agnes is also in search of the centre of her own labyrinth, the mystery of her origins about which she knows very little. Found, along with a single earring, in a basket by a kind farmer, she is taken to a convent where she is brought up as a foundling by the nuns. At the age of 15 she is raped and gives birth to a son, Gabriel, who is promptly taken away from her to be adopted. After this trauma, Agnes experiences some sort of a breakdown which may or may not have had violent consequences. For much of the book we do not know.

After treatment Agnes is allowed to leave psychiatric care and ends up sleeping in one of the doorways of Chartres cathedral and shortly afterwards her life as a cleaner begins. In this ubiquitous role, Agnes enters the life of the city and we are introduced to a fine supporting cast of characters: a Welsh professor whose wife has left him to his sculptural studies; an artist for whom Agnes sits; an English dog-walker; and the town gossip, the embittered and frightful Madame Beck. Alongside these are two of the clergy, the elderly and increasingly deranged Abbe Bernard and the kindly, thoughtful Abbe Paul who proves ultimately Agnes's greatest ally when she is attacked by Madame Beck. And in the cathedral itself, is Alain Fleury, a restorer who is taking the layers of dirt off the stones just as Agnes washes away the grime from the floors of her clients. The metaphor of cleaning, exposing and restoring is not an accidental one – Salley Vickers was for a time, after all, a practising psychoanalyst.

The Cleaner Of Chartres is first and foremost a gripping and compulsive read. Agnes's story is involving in its own right and the spiritual and psychological dimensions I have hinted at above add a layer of complexity which is perhaps initially unexpected. Talking about her mother, Vickers commented that, "It was left to my younger brother to fulfil our mother's academic aspirations, while I found another m├ętier for the gifts she had unwittingly bestowed: the fine-tuned radar, a fascination with secrets, a deep understanding of how the past never really goes away" and certainly The Cleaner Of Chartres exhibits all of these traits.

In Agnes, Morel Vickers has created a memorable heroine, one who, despite all the questions about the darknesses of her past, touches the lives of those with whom she comes into contact and brightens them. Vickers rightly exposes small town gossip and self-righteousness for the thinly disguised evil that it actually is and its presence adds an edge of uncomfortableness to the book.

If I have one reservation, it is that Vickers' plotting is almost too neat at times, for she more than most of us must know that real life is rarely tidy. That said, The Cleaner Of Chartres remains one of the most engrossing and thought-provoking books I have read for some time. Twelve years ago, Vickers' Miss Garnett's Angel became a massive word-of-mouth success; there is no doubt in my mind that The Cleaner Of Chartres is destined for the same level of appreciation and acclaim.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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Come and meet Yuna at WITM-MATTA Fair 2013

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KUALA LUMPUR: Travel bugs who are fans of local songbird Yuna – here's your chance to get the best travel deals and also meet the performer at the same time.

The singer-songwriter is set to have a meet-and-greet session at the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) pavilion at the WITM–MATTA Fair 2013 at PWTC today.

MAS regional senior vice-president for Malaysia Muzammil Mohamad said Yuna would be at their pavilion on the mezzanine floor of Hall 1 at 2pm.

"Besides Yuna's performance, we will also have our special discounted rates and packages, not just for MAS but for all our subsidiaries too," he told a press conference here yesterday.

Since the fair started on Friday, the MAS booth has been the centre of attraction with visitors waiting to snap up the over one million seats on offer by the airline.

The national carrier's subsidiary Firefly is also offering 500,000 seats with fares from RM49 under its current Everyday Low Fares.

On ticket sales, Muzammil said that over 100,000 segments were sold on the first day with 80% of the purchasers opting to travel this year.

MAS has also extended its ticket validity period from one month to three months for this fair.

"Also for this fair, economy fares from all over Peninsular Malaysia to international points are common-rated.

Visitors to the pavilion can also drop by the social media counter to stand a chance to win one of six tickets to domestic and international destinations, along with other prizes.

The airline is also offering special fares to its new destinations – Kochi, Darwin and Dubai, as well as popular routes like Perth, Bali, Manila, Kathmandu, Guangzhou, Kunming and Hong Kong.

MASholidays is also offering a free ground package for one child aged below 12 years with every two paying adults, along with all-in group departures to Turkey, Beijing, Kathmandu, India Golden Triangle, Osaka, Medan, Hanoi and Dubai.

Related story:
Europe favourite destination at fair

Battling on against HIV/AIDS

Posted:

Dr Eric P. Goosby has a gargantuan task at the helm of the US' global drive to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

AS a doctor in San Francisco, Dr Eric P. Goosby (pic) became involved in treating HIV patients when the HIV/AIDS "bubble" first emerged.

Now, almost three decades on, he is still involved in the fight against HIV, his ultimate aim being to achieve a generation free of the virus. And he has since moved on from being a doctor in San Francisco to become the United States Global AIDS coordinator.

Recalling those early years of treating HIV/AIDS patients at the San Francisco General Hospital, he says the most difficult part of his job was coming face to face with so much death and dying.

"Up until the development of effective anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs in 1996, everybody who was infected died. It was not 10%, it was 100%. And it wasn't a death that took you quickly," he relates.

"It took three or four years and in that time, you were in and out of hospitals. Your hospital utilisation was extremely high – higher than any other disease. You would be successfully treated for an opportunistic infection, get out, and then be back in with something else."

He adds that while doctors became "very good" at diagnosing opportunistic infections, this did not prevent patients from dying.

As part of his efforts to treat HIV/AIDS patients, Dr Goosby conducted research in the 1980s and 1990s to look into anti-retroviral drugs and the correct way of treating opportunistic infections. That research laid the foundation upon which other researchers could build to find more effective drugs for HIV/AIDS, he says.

He also touches on the importance of putting science together with policy in fighting HIV/AIDS, as evident with the Pepfar (US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) programme.

Launched in 2003 by President George W. Bush, Pepfar holds a place in history as the largest effort by any nation to combat a single disease, according to information on its website.

"The relationship between science and policy, and with the Pepfar, translated that science and policy into programmatic impact," says Dr Goosby, who was by then directing the US strategy for addressing HIV around the world as Ambassador-at-Large and Global AIDS Coordinator.

In Pepfar's blueprint for creating an AIDS-free generation, it is stated that "scientific advances and their successful implementation have brought the world to a tipping point in the fight against AIDS.

"The United States believes that by making smart investments based on sound science and a shared global responsibility, we can save millions of lives and achieve an AIDS-free generation."

He highlights the difficulty in "matching" the science and knowledge of how to diagnose and effectively treat and prevent infections with the needs of the population as one of the challenges in the stride to achieve the target of an AIDS-free generation.

"There has been a deficit in political will, a stigma preventing people from wanting to get tested, from not being identified, not being retained and cared for over time," he says.

The cost for testing and treatment is another problem.

Research in the US has led to effective treatment and lengthening of the life of a HIV positive person who is on treatment to about 78 years.

"If you don't get the drugs, you will be dead within 10 or 11 years from the point of infection, and opportunistic infections happen in about 18 months," Dr Goosby says.

On the issue of stigma, which is still a major concern in HIV treatment programmes, Dr Goosby stresses on the "extraordinary" importance of community in having an ongoing dialogue with civil society to deal with it. This would increase people's willingness to be tested, minimise their high-risk behaviour and prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr Goosby further advises that we must not lose interest in the fight against HIV/AIDS because an infectious disease could "rekindle" and return, as can be seen now with tuberculosis and malaria.

His role is to lead all of the international HIV/AIDS efforts of the US government. He also oversees the implementation of Pepfar programmes and the government's engagement with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Besides this, he leads the Office of Global Health Diplomacy at the US Department of State.

He has an extensive resume, listing among others his position as professor of clinical medicine at the University of California and his work to develop HIV/AIDS delivery systems in the US as the first director of the Ryan White Care Act at the US Department of Health and Human Services. (Ryan was the American teenager who became the poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States in the 1980s.)

Globally, Pepfar pours in US$6bil (RM20bil) yearly in 78 worst-hit countries for HIV-related prevention, care and treatment services, Dr Goosby says.

He adds that the US supports 5.3 million people out of eight million individuals who are on treatment. Through Pepfar, a total of 50 million blood tests for HIV have been carried out, resulting in the diagnosis of 730,000 HIV-positive pregnant women, which in turn prevented 230,000 babies from being born with the virus.

Money is also channelled through the Global Fund.

"We have been able to take the cost down globally from about US$1,300 (RM4,300) per person per year to US$300 (RM983) (the entire cost including drugs)."

The "slope" of new infections would be steeper if factors such as treatment and prevention – like preventing mother-to-child transmission, condom distribution and behavioural intervention in educating the high-risk groups – are not done in a systematic way.

On a more positive note, he says that in the battle against HIV/AIDS, there is for the first time a "programmatic tipping point" with more people on treatment compared to those being newly diagnosed.

26 nabbed in ops against illegals

Posted:

GEORGE TOWN: An Indonesian woman who tried to evade arrest by hiding under a canteen counter was among 26 illegal immigrants rounded up during a state Immigration Department operation.

She was found by enforcement officers at a construction site in Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, off Jalan Tanjong Tokong, here.

The woman had wrapped herself up in a blanket and was hiding behind a counter covered with boxes, hoping to avoid detection. However, her efforts came to nothing.

"Saya tak ada passport (I don't have a passport)," she told the officers upon being caught.

She was later taken to the state Immigration Department headquarters in Seberang Jaya along with the 25 others yesterday.

During Ops 6P Bersepadu, teams comprising personnel from the Immigration Department, Rela, National Registration Department and National Drug Agency screened 501 foreign workers at two construction sites in Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang and Jalan Mayang Pasir.

Several foreigners tried to flee, only to be arrested as both sites had been cordoned off prior to the operation.

State immigration enforcement assistant director Basri Othman said the illegal immigrants nabbed were from Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies


Dwayne Johnson as the Fall Guy?

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The Rock may team up with filmmaker McG on the big-screen version of The Fall Guy.

A big-screen version of the hit 1980 TV show The Fall Guy is coming together with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to star and McG directing.

Both are are negotiating to come aboard the project, which will be financed by Ashok Amritrage's Hyde Park Entertainment and WWE Entertainment, a source close to the project told TheWrap on Thursday.

Amritrage would produce along with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who own the rights to the show, and WWE's Michael Luisi. McG may also produce.

The Fall Guy was a TV show that starred Lee Majors as a stunt man who did bounty hunter work on the side, utilising his Hollywood skills. It ran on ABC from 1981 to 1986.

Warner Bros and DreamWorks have both considered projects based on the show in past years, with Nicolas Cage considered for the lead role. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the news out of Toronto, Canada, where the project is being shopped. — Reuters

Vin Diesel promotes 'Riddick' on Facebook

Posted:

The actor-producer is loving his latest sci-fi action film's box-office prospects.

Vin Diesel's sci-fi action film Riddick opens in Malaysia today, and make no mistake – this is his movie.

It will be No.1 – it's the week's only wide release and is projected to come in north of US$20mil (RM64mil) in the US alone – and it has his imprint all over it.

Diesel secured the rights from Universal (in exchange for a cameo in Fast And Furious), sought out the financing to get the film made and dominates the screen as the intergalactic alien anti-hero with the see-in-the-dark peepers.

On top of that, he's doing a heck of a job of marketing it on Facebook (www.facebook.com/VinDiesel), where he's been pushing Riddick for months to his more than 46 million followers. That's about as built-in a fan base as you could hope for.

"I don't know that there's any actor out there doing what he is in that space," said Boxoffice.com editor-in-chief Phil Contrino. "I think it was directly responsible for getting Riddick made, in that it enabled to show potential backers that there was real and solid support for the project. And I think it had a lot do with making the Fast & Furious movies as strong as they've been, too," Contrino said.

"He's really good at it, and by directly interacting with fans on these movies it makes them feel as if they have a stake in their success, so of course they're going to go see them."

Vin Diesel reprises his role as the inter-galactic anti-hero alien, in the latest sci-fi film Riddick.

The critics are lukewarm on the R-rated space odyssey, which has a middling 63% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But it doesn't take night vision to see that if 6% of Diesel's 46 million Facebook fans turn out for Riddick in its first weekend – it should wind up with around US$23mil (RM73.6mil).

The studio is more conservative with its estimate, and has it in roughly 2,800 theatres in the US.

Riddick is the third film in the futuristic series that began with Pitch Black back in 2000. Written and directed by David Twohy and produced by Ted Field, it proved a breakout role for the then-36-year-old Diesel. Made for US$23mil, it took in US$39mil (RM125mil) domestically for Universal before going on to a very healthy after-life on DVD. Buoyed by that success, the studio bet big – as in a US$105mil (RM336mil) production budget – on the second film, 2004's The Chronicles Of Riddick.

But it was a disappointment at the box office, topping out at US$115mil (RM368mil) worldwide.

Diesel was determined to make a third film about the ex-con survivor of the planet Furya, but Universal wasn't interested. They did want him for the Fast And Furious movies however, and asked him to do a cameo in its third instalment, Tokyo Drift. He agreed, on the condition that he could have the rights to the Riddick character.

With those in hand, he and Twohy set out to finance it independently and did, primarily through selling off foreign rights. When they came back to the US looking for a distribution partner, Universal decided they wanted to get back in the business with the star that had done so much for the cops-and-criminals franchise. The studio only has US rights. The foreign returns – which should be significant since the Fast franchise has made Diesel far more well-known internationally since the first two Riddick films – will be split among a number of distributors. — Reuters

Related story:

The basics of being Riddick

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion


David Bailey's big photo show

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The famous photographer's Stardust will be at the National Portrait Gallery in London next year.

David Bailey is to take over most of London's National Portrait Gallery's ground floor next year when he exhibits more than 250 photographs ranging from some of the defining images of the swinging 60s to work from travels in the Naga hills of India.

The gallery in London earlier announced details of what is one of its biggest ever photography shows, taking up space on a scale comparable to its shows of Lucian Freud portraits last year and works by David Hockney in 2006.

Bailey has chosen the portraits himself and said he could have come up with 10 similar shows and not overlapped.

"It's been a nightmare," said the 75-year-old photographer.

The exhibition will include portraits from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and politics, with rooms devoted to his wife, Catherine Dyer, the Rolling Stones and documentary photographs taken to support Band Aid in 1985 after the devastating Ethiopian famine.

Images in the show will include a striking portrait of Kate Moss, with big hair all over the place and Jerry Hall with Helmut Newton.

Bailey was in typically spirited form at the show's launch in London, expressing irritation at one reporter's question about Hugo Boss being the exhibition sponsor, given it supplied the Nazis with uniforms. Bailey replied: "I've got two Mercedes cars, endless Hasselblads and I listen to Wagner, so you work it out mate."

The NPG's director, Sandy Nairne, was more diplomatic, stressing how pleased it was to have Hugo Boss on board. "I'm well aware over a long period how questions have been raised about Hugo Boss and history but they have been investigated and answered, if I may say so, very responsibly by the company over a long period."

Bailey said it was important to ensure portrait subjects felt good about themselves and were never bored, although he enjoyed it when people were in a bad mood, citing the example of the director Oliver Stone.

"I've never liked his movies ... sort of carry on up your bum movies, aren't they really," he said. Stone, he added, dashed in to the photoshoot saying he only had five minutes, so Bailey took one photo and that was it.

"I said, 'Well you've only got five minutes, now you've got four'. He stayed all day, he was a really nice fella."

The exhibition will be called Bailey's Stardust after his favourite song, by Hoagy Carmichael. Nairne said the show was a major event for the gallery and particularly pleasing because the NPG was the first public gallery to show Bailey's photographs, at an exhibition called Snap in 1971.

There are still some people who question photography's status as an artform, and Bailey bristled when asked about it yesterday. "Photography is not art and painting's not art," he said.

"It's whether the person who's doing it is an artist. So up your bum: I'm an artist." —Guardian News & Media

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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20,000 rally in Phnom Penh

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PHNOM PENH: Thousands of Cambodians, many holding lotus flowers symbolising peace, joined a mass protest in the capital Phnom Penh in a last-ditch bid to challenge Prime Minister Hun Sen's disputed election win.

Around 20,000 demonstrators, some carrying placards and ribbons with "my vote, my life" written in Khmer, gathered in Democracy Park yesterday to demand a probe into allegations that voter fraud denied the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) victory in July's election.

The protest, which was one of the largest opposition demonstrations in recent years, comes as final results are expected to end the CNRP's legal options to overturn the result.

The CNRP has alleged widespread rigging in the election in which Hun Sen's long-ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) claimed victory.

epa03855492 Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party raise their hands during a gathering in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 07 September 2013. Supporters of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) gathered to protest against the Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC), which will announce the official results of the fifth national assembly elections on 08 September. Rainsy has rejected the temporary results, which declared the ruling Cambodian People's Party as winner.  EPA/MAK REMISSA

Thousands of Cambodians, many holding lotus flowers symbolising peace, joined in the protest. — AFP

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy again rejected the polls result yesterday, vowing further peaceful demonstrations unless an independent probe into alleged voter fraud is called.

Opening his address to the colourful rally with a prayer, Rainsy said it was an "historic day" and called for "justice for the voters".

Rainsy, a French-educated former banker, was excluded from standing in the polls despite a recent pardon for criminal convictions that he maintains were politically motivated.

According to preliminary results from the National Election Commit­tee (NEC), the CPP won 3.2 million votes to the CNRP's 2.9 million.

The NEC is expected to rule that the CPP won the election when it declares the final results today.

The country's Constitutional Council said on Friday that it had reviewed the CNRP's complaints about the polls and had broadly rejected them.

The comments failed to deflate protesters who converged in the capital for several hours yesterday.

"I came to demand justice. Our votes have been stolen ... the victory of the people has been stolen," said Uy Sarouen, 54, in a frequently heard complaint.

Experts say the opposition's legal options are running out.

"The chances of the opposition succeeding in its demands are proportional to the number of supporters joining the demonstration," independent political analyst Lao Mong Hay said before the rally. — AFP

Jailed for graffiti mischief

Posted:

HE had sprayed the word "Anarchy" at the inline skating park in Bishan with a circle around the first letter of the word.

Muhammad Ashraf Alias, 29, told police that this was a symbol that meant "to destroy everything".

He also admitted that he "hated everything in life" and that he "felt good" in committing mischief.

In a district court on Friday, the former dishwasher changed his tune and said that he regretted his actions.

He pleaded guilty and was jailed for three-and-a-half-months.

He had sprayed the graffiti at the Bishan Harmony Park at 8.45pm on June 8.

He then went to the street soccer court at Ang Mo Kio Avenue1.

There, he wrapped newspaper around the can of spray paint that he had used earlier and set fire to it in a rubbish bin.

The next day, he was back for more mischief-making.

A jogger saw him spraying graffiti at the soccer court and called the police.

There was also a smouldering rubbish bin nearby.

On seeing the police, Muhammad Ashraf tried to flee on his bicycle but was nabbed after a short chase.

He also admitted to police to finding and misappropriating a wallet at Tai Seng MRT station in early June and spending the S$20 (RM51.50) contained in it.

A report from the Institute of Mental Health stated that Muhammad Ashraf knew it was wrong to commit these acts.

He said that he wanted attention and for "his voice to be heard".

The report further stated that he was not of unsound mind and that he was fit to enter a plea.

He could have been jailed for up to a year and fined for each act of mischief. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East


20,000 rally in Phnom Penh

Posted:

PHNOM PENH: Thousands of Cambodians, many holding lotus flowers symbolising peace, joined a mass protest in the capital Phnom Penh in a last-ditch bid to challenge Prime Minister Hun Sen's disputed election win.

Around 20,000 demonstrators, some carrying placards and ribbons with "my vote, my life" written in Khmer, gathered in Democracy Park yesterday to demand a probe into allegations that voter fraud denied the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) victory in July's election.

The protest, which was one of the largest opposition demonstrations in recent years, comes as final results are expected to end the CNRP's legal options to overturn the result.

The CNRP has alleged widespread rigging in the election in which Hun Sen's long-ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) claimed victory.

epa03855492 Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party raise their hands during a gathering in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 07 September 2013. Supporters of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) gathered to protest against the Cambodian National Election Committee (NEC), which will announce the official results of the fifth national assembly elections on 08 September. Rainsy has rejected the temporary results, which declared the ruling Cambodian People's Party as winner.  EPA/MAK REMISSA

Thousands of Cambodians, many holding lotus flowers symbolising peace, joined in the protest. — AFP

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy again rejected the polls result yesterday, vowing further peaceful demonstrations unless an independent probe into alleged voter fraud is called.

Opening his address to the colourful rally with a prayer, Rainsy said it was an "historic day" and called for "justice for the voters".

Rainsy, a French-educated former banker, was excluded from standing in the polls despite a recent pardon for criminal convictions that he maintains were politically motivated.

According to preliminary results from the National Election Commit­tee (NEC), the CPP won 3.2 million votes to the CNRP's 2.9 million.

The NEC is expected to rule that the CPP won the election when it declares the final results today.

The country's Constitutional Council said on Friday that it had reviewed the CNRP's complaints about the polls and had broadly rejected them.

The comments failed to deflate protesters who converged in the capital for several hours yesterday.

"I came to demand justice. Our votes have been stolen ... the victory of the people has been stolen," said Uy Sarouen, 54, in a frequently heard complaint.

Experts say the opposition's legal options are running out.

"The chances of the opposition succeeding in its demands are proportional to the number of supporters joining the demonstration," independent political analyst Lao Mong Hay said before the rally. — AFP

Jailed for graffiti mischief

Posted:

HE had sprayed the word "Anarchy" at the inline skating park in Bishan with a circle around the first letter of the word.

Muhammad Ashraf Alias, 29, told police that this was a symbol that meant "to destroy everything".

He also admitted that he "hated everything in life" and that he "felt good" in committing mischief.

In a district court on Friday, the former dishwasher changed his tune and said that he regretted his actions.

He pleaded guilty and was jailed for three-and-a-half-months.

He had sprayed the graffiti at the Bishan Harmony Park at 8.45pm on June 8.

He then went to the street soccer court at Ang Mo Kio Avenue1.

There, he wrapped newspaper around the can of spray paint that he had used earlier and set fire to it in a rubbish bin.

The next day, he was back for more mischief-making.

A jogger saw him spraying graffiti at the soccer court and called the police.

There was also a smouldering rubbish bin nearby.

On seeing the police, Muhammad Ashraf tried to flee on his bicycle but was nabbed after a short chase.

He also admitted to police to finding and misappropriating a wallet at Tai Seng MRT station in early June and spending the S$20 (RM51.50) contained in it.

A report from the Institute of Mental Health stated that Muhammad Ashraf knew it was wrong to commit these acts.

He said that he wanted attention and for "his voice to be heard".

The report further stated that he was not of unsound mind and that he was fit to enter a plea.

He could have been jailed for up to a year and fined for each act of mischief. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

McDonald’s: No lizard, burger is 100% chicken

Posted:

PRELIMINARY laboratory test results have indicated that a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin burger which allegedly contained a lizard is "100% chicken".

A photo of the half-eaten burger with what looks like a lizard tail sticking out of it went viral on the Internet this week, but the fast-food chain said yesterday that it was actually a chicken's blood vein.

"The vein is white in colour because of the halal slaughtering process, where blood had to be drained," said McDonald's senior communications manager Kevin Lim.

Food that is labelled halal is prepared in compliance with Islamic rules.

Lim added that the laboratory report has been shared with relevant authorities such as the National Environment Agency.

The restaurant's chicken sausage patties are made from minced dark and white chicken meat that is imported from Malaysia.

"We have also traced back the product's production process and no product from the same batch had any quality issues reported," he said.

"Please rest assured that we make no compromises when it comes to the safety of our food."

The Straits Times reported on Friday that McDonald's had collected the half-eaten burger from the customer who posted the photo on Facebook.

The sample was then sent to a laboratory for testing.

The customer, known only as Sandy Sand on her Facebook page, had said that the burger was bought from the Ang Mo Kio drive-through branch when she posted it at noon on Wednesday.

McDonald's later issued an apology for her experience. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music


Bad boy blues

Posted:

It's hard to dispute that rock and roll and nasty behaviour invariably go hand in hand.

AT some point, every rock and roll fan learns that almost all of their heroes are reprehensible people. Thieves, cheats, liars, addicts, hypocrites, rapists and murderers – welcome, one and all, to the rock and roll hall of infamy.

I found out about the sordid lives of my favourite rock stars when I was a teenager – which is either the best time or the worst time to discover these things, depending on how you look at it. At that age, I had an insatiable appetite for learning about the dark corners of history. Certainly, popular music is a landmine for that sort of freak show.

I remember comparing dirty secrets with my friends: "Did you know that Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin?" "Oh yeah, well did you know that Jimmy Page worships the devil?" "OK, but did you know that James Brown has been to prison, for armed robbery?" "Well, have you heard about this guy named GG Allin, whose concerts are a mixture of sex, violence and bodily fluids?" Now, this was before Wikipedia or Buzzfeed lists, so these darkly fascinating trivia sessions could go on forever, or at least until our lunch period was over.

Naughty by nature: The late godfather of soul James Brown's tough background was reflected in his personality.James Brown is seen attending a press conference for his upcoming show in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 19.

Naughty by nature: The late godfather of soul James Brown's tough background was reflected in his personality.

As I got older, I became less drawn to the intricate details of horrible behaviour and more interested in why rock and roll was so loaded with bad boys. Was it because of the fame, or the access to drugs, or being surrounded by enablers? Well, sure, none of that helps. But the tradition of musicians being scoundrels didn't begin with the dawn of the rock era. If you wanted, you could trace this back to the heyday of the gypsy musicians, who would travel around Europe, get into trouble in a town and move on to the next one before the situation got too hairy.

In rock's more immediate past, however, were blues and country singers who had to be pretty rough and tumble to survive in the world of juke joints and honky tonks. These were music venues where drunken brawls were common place, the audience was with prostitutes and bar owners would often try to cheat their "talent" out of being paid. You had to be kind of a pirate just to exist in this universe, much less have any success. People didn't really aspire to become musicians in these places; these bars were a last refuge for those who had little worth in civilised society. It's fitting that blues legend Robert Johnson has three gravesites and even more stories as to which of his indulgences finally took him down (but that's for another column).

Chuck Berry, who made his name in blues clubs, comes from that hard scrabble tradition. On one hand, Berry might be the single, most important figure when it comes to shaping rock and roll. On the other, he has a reputation as one of the nastiest men you could ever meet. As a teenager, he stole a car at gunpoint (and was imprisoned until he turned 21). At the height of his fame, he was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old girl who worked in a club he owned (and was imprisoned for a couple of years). Decades later, he was sued by all of the female workers at his restaurant because he had installed hidden cameras in the ladies restroom (he settled out of court with the 59 women for more than a million bucks).

It's hard to square that awful man with the same guy playing rock and roll classics and duck-walking across the stage with a bright smile plastered across his face. You want to love Chuck Berry, the performer, and you don't even want to know Chuck Berry, the man. But that's what rock and roll forces us to do time and time again. And, eventually, you have to separate the music that you love from the people that disgust you.

Because, yes, you can enjoy the Beatles' All You Need Is Love, and think it's abhorrent that John Lennon all-but ignored his young son while preaching to the world about understanding. You can relish the heavy metal hedonism of Motley Crue's hits and not condone that Vince Neil killed one of his friends while driving under the influence. You can absolutely adore the music of Ike Turner, Phil Spector, Keith Moon, Sid Vicious, Ted Nugent, Axl Rose and Eminem, and be completely disgusted by what they've done in their personal lives.

Sometimes, that's harder than it sounds – especially because rock and roll is so often an excursion into taboo subjects. It's right in the name of the genre; "rock and roll" is a euphemism for sex, a subject that pop music, its fans and the media are still struggling with (see: Miley Cyrus two weeks ago). You can save yourself a lot of trouble by keeping it simple – enjoy whatever music you want to and stay away from making any rock star your role model.

KL International Jazz Festival is next week

Posted:

A slew of international acts confirmed for the Kuala Lumpur International Jazz Festival, happening next weekend.

IT'S going to be one big carnival when the second Kuala Lumpur International Jazz Festival (KLIJF) takes place at the Universiti Malaya grounds on Sept 14.

Jazz aficionados can expect a convergence of contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, straight ahead jazz, classic jazz, jazz rock, R&B, swing, funk, classic rock and blues. More than 100 musicians are expected to perform at the annual event, billed as Malaysia's biggest jazz festival.

Headliners at the festival are contemporary jazz guitarist and Grammy-award winner Lee Ritenour, and alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who has been creating ripples in the scene with his brand of fusion jazz.

While Ritenour needs no introduction, Mahanthappa is an Italian-born, Canadian-raised, US-residing Indian musician who mixes various genres of music (predominantly Indian) and combines them with the language of jazz to create new form, which is still recognisably jazz.

Other international acts slated to perform at the one day event include saxophonist Jessy J, ex-Billy Cobham guitarist Carl Orr from London; progressive jazz rock fusion groups The Subterraneans from Sydney and Kazutoki Umezu Kiki Band from Tokyo; R&B musician eZra Brown from New York and South African vocalist cum songwriter Zamajobe.

Homegrown talents performing include veterans Jose Thomas and Jordan Rivers, who are familiar faces in the industry. Others include Cats In Love, UiTM Jazz Ensemble, UCSI Contemporary Ensemble, Ballads & Blues, John Thomas Trio and John Dip Silas.

One of the festival highlights is a jazz tribute to the legendary P. Ramlee by The UM Big band led by director of Universiti Malaya's Cultural Centre Professor Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim.

To go with the music, there will be booths offering art exhibits, good food, fashion, eco products, kids zone and a hot air balloon show.

The KLIJF takes place from 11am to midnight on Sept 14. Festival Village entry tickets are priced at RM60 while All Excess tickets start from RM138. All Excess ticket holders are entitled to the village stages as well as all indoor shows at Dewan Tunku Chancellor. Tickets are available from www.tickethotline.com.my or by calling 03-7725 1177. Log on to www.klinternationaljazz.com for more information.

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