Jumaat, 18 April 2014

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Phone app alerts CPR-trained people to cardiac arrest cases

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A new smartphone application alerts people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to nearby cardiac arrest cases, and a map of all public automated external defibrillators (AED).

These are among initiatives being introduced by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) as part of its efforts to leverage technology to respond faster to emergencies and save lives.

The CPR mobilisation app and defibrillators registry were unveiled at the SCDF Annual Workplan Seminar on Thursday, alongside other new tools, such as an unmanned firefighting and rescue vehicle, which also doubles as a forklift or bulldozer.

"Like all of our Home Team, we are challenged by the situation of tight labour within our workforce," said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, who was speaking at the event held at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.

"We have to expand the capabilities of SCDF, not just through manpower expansion as demands on them grow, but also through innovation."

The innovations by the "life-saving force" also extend to tapping full-time national servicemen as well as the wider community more.

The defibrillator registry, for instance, is being set up in partnership with the Singapore Heart Foundation, and SCDF will work with training centres to sign up people who are CPR-certified to build a critical mass for the phone app. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Property firm wants workers to go back early

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

It pays to leave work early at property valuation firm GSK Global. Those who finish their tasks with few errors by 7pm every day are rewarded with pay rises, bonuses and more days off.

And they get fewer days off and little or no bonuses when they are inefficient.

"I get upset if I see employees staying in the office after 7pm," said boss Eric Tan, 47. "It shows that they are either inefficient or are not focused."

Unfortunately, there are not enough firms in Singapore that pay close attention to long working hours, said human resource analysts, employers and workers.

Far too often, firms demand results and neglect work processes, leading to extra-long work hours.

"Workers can get overwhelmed if they have many things to do. But not many bosses are giving them guidance in planning and prioritising their tasks," said Singapore Human Resources Institute president Erman Tan.

The issue of excessive long hours causing more young professionals to burn out was highlighted in a Straits Times report earlier this week. Experts said the problem is that the work-life schemes at most firms, such as flexi-work and work-from-home options, offer flexibility but do not lead to shorter work hours.

Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, said technology is more a bane than boon.

"You can be at home but still working all the time with your mobile phone or laptop. Of course, you won't feel rested," he said.

This is where bosses must step in, said analysts. A suggestion is to have rules on e-mail after work hours. France, for instance, announced last week that it will implement a law to stop some 250,000 workers in the technology and consultancy sectors from replying to e-mails after 6pm.

GSK Global's Mr Tan said such rules are useful only if they are enforced. "When I see my staff talking about work in our company's WhatsApp group or replying to e-mails in the evenings, I will tell them to stop." — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Tanker engineer jailed for siphoning marine fuel

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

An oil tanker chief engineer was sentenced to 18 months' jail after he was found guilty of siphoning 200 metric tonnes of marine fuel oil worth US$125,400 (RM405,719).

But Greek national Pittis Stavros (pic), 58, is appealing. Bail of S$120,000 (RM310,402) has been offered pending his appeal, and he was scheduled to leave for home yesterday morning.

Stavros – a chief engineer of the MV Sakura Princess which was chartered by V8 Pool Inc – was found guilty last week of criminal breach of trust.

On Jan 10 last year, bunker company Constank had been nominated to supply 1,800 metric tonnes of marine fuel oil to Sakura Princess, the prosecution said.

A bunker clerk on board the Coastal Saturn was deployed to supply the vessel with 500 metric tonnes of oil, as the vessel claimed it needed fuel urgently.

Stavros struck a deal with an independent surveyor and the bunker clerk to shortchange his vessel of 200 tonnes of fuel.

More than 42 million tonnes of marine fuel was sold here last year, making Singapore the world's top bunkering port. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Hilary Duff returns to TV with a new comedy

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

The newly divorced actress and former Disney star plans a comeback to television.

TV Land is moving forward with half-hour comedy, Younger, which comes from producer Darren Star (Sex And The City) and stars Hilary Duff.

Written, executive-produced and directed by Star, the cable channel has given the single-camera comedy a 12-episode order.

It is set for a Fall 2014 debut and will become TV Land's first show to shoot in New York City.

TV Land's president, Larry W Jones, said in a statement: "Younger's serialised style is different for us, yet fits our brand with its humour and relatability. These are compelling characters that our audience will root for, love and love to hate."

The series also stars Sutton Foster (Bunheads), Debi Mazar (Entourage) and Miriam Shor (GCB).

Younger follows 40-year old Liza (Foster), a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find it's nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age.

When a chance encounter with a young guy at a bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26 – with the help of a makeover, courtesy of her best friend Maggie (Mazar).

Armed with new confidence, she lands a job as an assistant to the temperamental Diana (Shor) and teams up with her new co-worker and 20-something Kelsey (Duff) to make it in the career of her dreams. Now she just has to make sure no one finds out the secret only she and Maggie share. – Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

New Russia sanctions threats as Ukraine stalemate goes on

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 07:10 PM PDT

SLAVIANSK/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - A day after an international deal in Geneva to defuse the East-West crisis in Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists vowed not to end their occupation of public buildings and Washington threatened further sanctions on Moscow if the stalemate continued.

Leaders of gunmen who have taken over city halls and other sites in and around Donetsk this month in pursuit of demands for a Crimea-style referendum on union with Russia rejected the agreement struck in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the United States and European Union and demanded on Friday that the leaders of the Kiev uprising must first quit their own government offices.

Moscow renewed its insistence that it has no control over the "little green men" who, as before Russia annexed Crimea last month, appeared in combat gear and with automatic weapons to seize public buildings - a denial that Western allies of those who overthrew the pro-Russian president in Kiev do not accept.

The White House renewed President Barack Obama's demands that the Kremlin use what Washington believes is its influence over the separatists to get them to vacate the premises. It warned of heavier economic sanctions than those already imposed over Crimea if Moscow failed to uphold the Geneva deal - or if it moved to send troops massed on the border into Ukraine.

"We believe that Russia has considerable influence over the actions of those who have been engaged in destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine," national security adviser Susan Rice said. "If we don't see action commensurate with the commitments that Russia has made yesterday in Geneva ... then obviously we've been very clear that we and our European partners remain ready to impose additional costs on Russia.

"Those costs and sanctions could include targeting very significant sectors of the Russian economy."

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman hit back, while voicing scepticism - of a kind also heard from the Ukrainian government - about how useful the cautiously worded Geneva pact would be.

"You can't treat Russia like a guilty schoolboy," said Dmitry Peskov. "That kind of language is unacceptable."

The Russian Foreign Ministry said: "The Americans are once again stubbornly trying to whitewash the actions of the Kiev authorities, who have embarked on a course of violently suppressing protesters in the southeast who are expressing their legitimate indignation over the infringements of their rights."

Later in the day, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and urged "full and immediate compliance" with the Geneva agreement, a senior State Department official said.

"He made clear that the next few days would be a pivotal period for all sides to implement the statement's provisions, particularly that all illegal armed groups must be disarmed and all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners," the official said.


Ukraine's interim government, in power since pro-Western protests forced President Viktor Yanukovich to flee to Russia two months ago, was at pains to show it was keeping its part of the bargain. Its ill-equipped security forces have shown little sign of being able to regain control in the east by force.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, though admitting he was not overly optimistic about the agreement solving what has become the gravest East-West crisis since the Cold War, said militants would be offered an amnesty. And he and the acting president made a formal joint broadcast pledging constitutional reform to devolve power to the regions and bolster the status of Russian as an official language in areas where it was widely spoken.

Kerry called Yatseniuk and praised him for the amnesty and other measures taken by Ukraine to implement the agreement, the State Department official said.

Russia has made much of the presence of far-right "fascists" among those who forced Yanukovich out in February. In parliament, nationalists briefly tried to abolish a law allowing the official use of Russian, the first language of many in the 46 million population, and of a majority in the eastern regions.

Critics of Putin say that Kremlin-controlled Russian media have fuelled unjustified fear of the new Kiev leadership in the east of Ukraine, where Yanukovich had his power base.

But Russia, which Ukraine and the West say is destabilising the new government in order to maintain and extend its influence over its most populous ex-Soviet neighbour, echoed the Donetsk militants in denouncing the authorities' failure to dismantle what is effectively an anti-Russian protest camp in Kiev.

The barricaded encampment around Independence Square, known as Maidan, played a crucial role in bringing down Yanukovich after he roused popular anger by rejecting closer economic and other ties with the EU in November. Now, hard-core activists on the square say they will defy any efforts to move them on until a presidential election has been held successfully on May 25.

Ukraine's foreign minister warned the militants in the east that they could face "more concrete actions" after the Easter weekend if they failed to cooperate with monitors from Europe's OSCE security body and start vacating buildings. But, he said, the Maidan was not an "illegal" occupation and so unaffected.

Russia's envoy to the European Union said Ukraine was misreading the Geneva accord, "in particular that it only applies to the eastern and southern provinces and those who are demanding federalism, but not to Kiev, where everything is legal including the ongoing occupation of Maidan".

The Geneva agreement requires all illegal armed groups to disarm and end occupations of public buildings, streets and squares. This week has already seen several people killed in eastern Ukraine, although details remain unclear.

The self-declared leader of all the eastern separatists said he did not consider his forces to be bound by the agreement.

Denis Pushilin, head of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, told journalists in Donetsk, the regional capital, that Lavrov "did not sign anything for us; he signed on behalf of the Russian Federation".

First, he said at a news conference in the heavily barricaded, occupied headquarters of the regional administration, Yatseniuk and Acting President Oleksander Turchinov should quit their offices, as they took them over "illegally" after Yanukovich was ousted.

"The Kiev junta is signing agreements and fulfilling none of them. They are provoking crisis," he said. "Turchinov committed a crime against his own people. We will keep going to the end."

But Alexei, a separatist in nearby Slaviansk, acknowledged that the Geneva talks may have changed the situation: "It turns out Vova doesn't love us as much as we thought," he said, using a diminutive term for Putin, who is viewed by many of the militias in occupied buildings as their champion and protector.


Massive unknowns hang over the situation. Putin's ultimate goal may not be the Crimean-style annexation of Ukraine's industrial heartland, despite his comments in a major public appearance on Thursday in which he recalled that what is now eastern and southern Ukraine was the tsars' New Russia.

The Kremlin denies any ambition to take territory and many analysts believe it is principally seeking to influence events in Ukraine to ensure a favourable outcome in next month's election following the loss of Russian ally Yanukovich.

That in turn raises questions of the role of Ukraine's rich business "oligarchs" in the crisis and the election.

Conspiracy theories abound in Kiev, according to which the rich and powerful may be fomenting unrest behind the scenes to further their own ends or to curry favour with Putin, who holds sway over the Russian business interests of Ukrainian tycoons.

Suspicion of the elites whom they blame for robbing the national wealth and corrupting government and society for the 23 years of post-Soviet independence drives activists on Kiev's Maidan to insist they will not dismantle "self-defence" barricades until after they see a fair election next month.

"People will not leave the Maidan," said 56-year-old Viktor Palamaryuk from the western town of Chernivtsi.

"The people gave their word to stay until the presidential elections so that nobody will be able to rig the result. Then after the election we'll go of our own accord."

As shrines to the 100 or so who died in violence on the square became a focus for Good Friday solemnity, when Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus, many said that weariness after five months of protests would not break their will.

"Nobody will take down our tents and barricades," said 34-year-old Volodymyr Shevchenko from the southern Kherson region. "If the authorities try to do that by force, thousands and thousands of people will come on to the Maidan and stop them."

Right Sector, a far-right nationalist group at the heart of battles with riot police in February, saw the Geneva accord as being directed only at pro-Russian separatists in the east.

"We don't have any illegal weapons," said Right Sector spokesman Artem Skoropadsky. "We, the vanguard of the Ukrainian revolution, should not be compared to outright gangsters."

Washington did not spell out what further sanctions it might place on Russia. With the EU, it has so far imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a small number of Russians, a response that Moscow has mocked. But some EU states are reluctant to do more, fearing that could provoke Russia further or end up hurting their own economies, which are heavily reliant on Russian gas.

(Additional reporting by Richard Balmforth, Pavel Polityuk and Alastair Macdonald in Kiev, Christian Lowe, Alissa de Carbonnel and Conor Humphries in Moscow, and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Will Waterman and Mohammad Zargham)

Bodies found trapped inside sunken South Korean ferry - coastguard

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 06:55 PM PDT

JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Divers searching for survivors of a capsized South Korean ferry saw three bodies floating through a window of a passenger cabin on Saturday but were unable to retrieve them, the coastguard said, hours after the ship's captain was arrested.

The ferry, carrying 476 passengers, many of them schoolchildren, and crew, capsized on Wednesday on a journey from the port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju.

Some 174 people have been rescued and hopes were fading for those still missing.

The divers saw the bodies in a submerged cabin where many of the children were believed to be trapped, but were unable to break the glass to retrieve them.

No sounds have been detected from within the capsized hull, the coastguard told reporters.

The discovery comes amid stalled rescue efforts due to strong tides as hundreds of navy, coastguard and private divers scour the site, 25 km (15 miles) off the southwest coast of South Korea.

Investigations into the sinking, South Korea's worst maritime accident in 21 years based on possible casualties, have centred on crew negligence, problems with cargo stowage and structural defects of the vessel, although the ship appears to have passed all of its safety and insurance checks.

The ship's 69-year-old captain was arrested early on Saturday, Yonhap news agency said, after coming under scrutiny over witness reports that he was among the first to escape the sinking vessel during its 400-km (300-mile) voyage to Jeju.

According to investigators, Captain Lee Joon-seok was not on the bridge at the time the ferry, the Sewol, started to list sharply, with a junior officer at the wheel.

Yonhap said Lee faced five charges including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law. Arrest warrants were also issued for the junior officer and one other crew member for failing in their duty to aid passengers.

Handing over the helm is normal practice on the voyage from Incheon to Jeju, which usually takes 13.5 hours, according to local shipping crew.

The ferry went down in calm conditions and was following a frequently travelled route in familiar waters. Although relatively close to shore, the area was free of rocks and reefs.

Lee has not commented on when he left the ship, although he has apologised for the loss of life.

He was described as an industry veteran by the officials from Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd, the ship owner, and others who had met him described him as an "expert".

Some media reports have said the vessel turned sharply, causing cargo to shift and the ship to list before capsizing.

Marine investigators and the coastguard have said it was too early to pinpoint a cause for the accident and declined to comment on the possibility of the cargo shifting.

(Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Nick Macfie)

France denies veto threat looms over Western Sahara negotiations

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 06:30 PM PDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - France's U.N. envoy on Friday vehemently denied threatening to use its Security Council veto power to block any proposals to have U.N. peacekeepers in Western Sahara monitor the human rights situation in the disputed North African territory.

The denial from French Ambassador Gerard Araud came after the United States circulated a draft resolution that would renew the U.N. mission in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, but without asking for sustained U.N. human rights monitoring as demanded by rights advocates.

Two council diplomats told Reuters on Thursday that it would be futile for the United States to include a rights-monitoring mandate for U.N. peacekeepers as Morocco would oppose and France probably veto it. Neither of the diplomats said Araud had explicitly threatened to use the veto, though they said the possibility Paris could do so naturally tainted the discussions.

"Once for all and I stop here," Araud declared on his Twitter feed. "France has NOT threatened to use its veto directly or not. The last French veto was in the 80s."

"France will take its decision on the basis of a proposal if there is one," he added.

He was responding to comments on Twitter from Kenneth Roth, head of the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch chided Araud for supporting Morocco on Western Sahara.

"Shame on France, doing Morocco dirty work, for threatening to veto rights-monitoring for U.N. mission in Western Sahara," Roth posted on his Twitter feed.

Last week U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed his appeals for sustained human rights monitoring in Western Sahara and warned against unfair exploitation of the region's natural resources.

Morocco took control of most of the territory in 1975 when colonial power Spain withdrew, prompting a guerrilla war for independence that lasted until 1991 when the United Nations brokered a cease-fire and sent in a peacekeeping mission known as MINURSO. Rabat vigorously opposes the idea of MINURSO monitoring alleged rights abuses in Western Sahara.

The U.S. draft has gone to the so-called Group of Friends on Western Sahara - France, Russia, Spain, Britain and the United States - according to Ahmed Boukhari, the U.N. representative for Western Sahara's Polisario Front independence movement.

Polisario wants MINURSO to take up human rights monitoring.

The renewal of the mandate of the peacekeeping mission marks an annual battle in the Security Council between France, which defends Morocco's position, and a number of African nations and Polisario. Algeria is also a strong supporter of the Polisario.

Last year the United States, on Ban's recommendation, initially proposed that MINURSO take on the job of human rights monitoring. But Morocco was furious and Washington dropped the idea. By way of a compromise, Rabat agreed to allow some U.N. rights investigators to visit the territory.

Diplomats close to the Group of Friends on Western Sahara said France had indicated last year that it would not veto the U.S. proposal. But that was never put to the test because the U.S. delegation removed it from the draft resolution.

Council diplomats have voiced dismay at the fact that the U.N. secretariat twice revised Ban's report on Western Sahara last week within the space of several hours. The main change in the third and final version altered his call for a human rights "monitoring mechanism" to a call for "monitoring".

Polisario's U.N. representative Ahmed Boukhari accused Morocco and France of pressuring the United Nations to revise the report. Araud denied the allegation and Morocco did not respond to a request for comment.

Western Sahara is slightly bigger than Britain and has under half a million people known as Sahrawis. It is rich in phosphates - used in fertilizer - and, potentially, offshore oil and gas. Polisario has complained about Western firms searching for natural resources based on permits from Morocco.

Rabat wants Western Sahara to be an autonomous part of Morocco. Polisario instead proposes a referendum among ethnic Sahrawis that includes an option of independence, but there is no agreement between Morocco and Polisario on who should participate in any referendum.

Attempts to reach a lasting deal in U.N.-mediated talks have floundered. In his report, Ban appealed for a revival of the Western Sahara talks aimed at securing a political deal and some form of self-determination for the Sahrawi people.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

Mt. Gox suitors seek support to save bitcoin exchange

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 04:09 PM PDT

A group of investors seeking to buy Mt. Gox has launched a website to garner support from creditors of the bankrupt bitcoin exchange to prevent a liquidation of its assets.

"We need your help to stop a liquidation, which would be good neither for Mt. Gox creditors nor bitcoin's reputation with the general public and regulators," the investors wrote on the website. 

Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company's bid to resuscitate its business, the court appointed administrator said on Wednesday.

"The Tokyo district court recognized that it would be difficult for the company to carry out the civil rehabilitation proceedings and dismissed the application for the commencement of the civil rehabilitation proceedings," he said.

The investor group, which offered to take over the assets of Mt. Gox and revive it, has received backing from many creditors and hopes to convince the court to reconsider its rehabilitation proposal, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. (http://r.reuters.com/keh68v)

Mt. Gox has about 127,000 creditors.

The exchange filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan in February, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual coins due to hacking.

Mark Karpeles, the chief executive of Mt. Gox, said he would not come to the United States to answer questions about the bankruptcy case, Mt. Gox lawyers told a U.S. federal judge on Monday.- Reuters

Brazil's richest man Batista investigated for financial crimes, report

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 04:03 PM PDT

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil´s federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering, Brazilian media reported on Friday.

If the police probe leads to criminal charges against Batista, it would be yet another major blow for a businessman once hailed as Brazil's model entrepreneur and symbol of its economic success.

Batista´s EBX oil, mining and logistics empire, which two years ago was valued at $60 billion, collapsed last year in a mountain of debt and massive filings for bankruptcy protection.

A week ago, Brazil's securities commission, CVM, announced that Batista was under investigation for insider trading as chairman of his now-bankrupt oil-producing company Óleo and Gás Participações SA <OGXP3.SA>, formerly known as OGX, and its sister company, shipbuilder OSX Brasil SA <OSXB3.SA>.

Batista is now being investigated by the police at the request of federal prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro for financial crimes involving the allegedly illegal sales of shares before his conglomerate fell apart, O Globo newspaper reported.

The police probe will focus on the sale of shares last year in oil producer OGX before the company informed the market that much of its reserves were not commercially viable, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper said.

The Federal Police would not comment.

A spokeswoman for Batista said his EBX group had not been officially notified by federal prosecutors or police and would provide the authorities with explanations in due course.

"Everything will be cleared up and Eike Batista's good faith will be proven," his lawyer Darwin Corrêa said.

Batista, Brazil's richest man for most of the past decade, could face up to 23 years in prison if convicted.

Securities watchdog CVM wants to determine whether Batista withheld information that was unfavorable to some of his businesses while encouraging investors to buy more stock in his companies at a time when he sold shares of OGX and OSX.

Among other probes, the regulator will look into whether Batista used his Twitter account to manipulate OGX share prices while hiding the company's problems. - Reuters

Rajaratnam&#39;s brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 04:00 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, on Friday lost a bid to dismiss some of the insider trading charges leveled against him last year.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled that the indictment adequately alleged the essential elements of the crimes charged.

Buchwald agreed that four securities fraud counts were "internally inconsistent" with a conspiracy charge contained in the indictment.

But she withheld ruling on whether to dismiss them in order to allow the government to decide whether to proceed on those charges.

A lawyer for Rajaratnam did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment.

The case, set for a June 17 trial, is one of a wave of insider trading prosecutions pursued by Bharara's office, resulting in 80 convictions since October 2009.

Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the hedge fund Galleon Group, received an 11-year prison sentence in October 2011 after a jury convicted him on charges related to insider trading.

A grand jury subsequently indicted Rengan Rajaratnam, a former portfolio manager at Galleon, in March 2013 on one conspiracy count and six counts of securities fraud.

Prosecutors alleged that Rengan Rajaratnam, 43, had conspired with his brother to trade on non-public information related to technology companies and Clearwire Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc <AMD.N>, netting $1.2 million in illegal profits.


Rajaratnam's lawyers had argued the indictment failed to charge that he knew two alleged tippers of non-public information received personal benefits in exchange for giving tips to Raj Rajaratnam.

The tippers, prosecutors said, were Rajiv Goel, an employee of Intel Corp <INTC.O>, and Anil Kumar, a former McKinsey director. Both admitted to providing tips to Rajaratnam and received probation in 2012 after pleading guilty and cooperating with the investigation.

In her ruling Friday, Buchwald said while the indictment did not explicitly state the tippers received benefits, it provided enough details to give Rajaratnam notice of the charges against him.

She added that the indictment's sufficiency was a separate issue from whether she would require prosecutors at trial to prove Rajaratnam knew of any benefits received by the tippers.

The issue is set to be considered Tuesday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an appeal by insider trading defendants Todd Newman, a former portfolio manager at the hedge fund Diamondback Capital Management, and Anthony Chiasson, co-founder of the hedge fund Level Global Investors.

Newman and Chiasson were convicted in 2012 and subsequently sentenced to 4-1/2 years and 6-1/2 years in prison, respectively.


With regard to the four "inconsistent" securities fraud counts against Rajaratnam, Buchwald raised issue with how prosecutors could allege in one part of the indictment that Raj Rajaratnam caused Galleon funds to buy Clearwire stock and then later say Rengan caused those stock purchases.

Buchwald said she would dismiss those four counts unless the prosecutors offer "a coherent, logical theory as to how defendant aided and abetted the alleged securities fraud."

She gave the government until May 1 to decide whether to move forward on those counts.

The cases are U.S. v. Rajaratnam, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-cr-00211; and SEC v. Rajaratnam in the same court, No. 13-01894.- Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

The Star bags two MPI-Petronas journalism awards

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 07:43 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Star bagged two prizes at the Malaysian Press Institute MPI-Petronas Malaysian Journalism Awards 2013.

Assistant news editor Yip Yoke Teng clinched the best public service reporting award with her article Conditions going downhill.

"The article highlighted the rape of Bukit Enggang due to illegal logging and sand mining, as a result of ill-management by the many government agencies monitoring the former forest reserve.

"The damage is not only to the environment, but poses a serious danger to villagers in the vicinity as well.

"I hope with the win, Bukit Enggang and the hills of Hulu Langat can one day be saved, following an improvement in public service," she said.

Journalist Isabelle Lai Lin Hui won the best environment reporting-Petronas category for her series of articles on Cameron Highlands, titled The ravaging goes on, Saving the Highlands and Pos Terisu areas raided.

Both received a cash prize of RM15,000 each at the awards presentation ceremony here Friday night.

In his speech, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin said he was proud with the high commitment of the local media, especially the mainstream media that practised responsible journalism.

"This is shown in their reporting on the MH370 tragedy, which has caught the attention of the media worldwide," he added.

The MPI Awards was launched in 1980 to recognise the nation's best journalism work and products. Its name was changed in 1994 when Petronas came in as the sponsor.

A total of RM300,000 in prize money was presented to winners in 12 categories.

Paloh assemblymen involved in accident still unaware of wife&#39;s death

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 04:39 AM PDT

IPOH: Datuk Nozula Mat Diah, the Paloh assemblyman involved in a road accident Thursday, has yet to learn that his wife has passed away.

Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) surgeon Dr Basel Ebernesan said Nozula still did not know that his wife, Datin Maziah Din, died in the accident.

He said Nozula's injuries were serious, but was in stable condition.

"It's still early to predict the outcome. We have placed him (Nozula) in the high dependency unit ward and given (him) painkillers so he can rest for faster recovery.

"He is not assisted by any breathing device and is breathing normally," Dr Ebernesan told reporters here on Friday.

Datuk Nozula Mat Diah's injuries are serious, but is in stable condition.

Nozula had bruises on his lungs from the impact of the car crash and seven broken rib bones - six on the right and one on the left.

Dr Ebernesan said they had to take precautionary measures and monitor the patient closely over the next few days.

He added there were no plans to transfer Nozula to a hospital in Kelantan as the patient's condition did not permit it.

Nozula's 19-year-old son, Mohd Fitri, who suffered a shoulder injury was reported to be in stable condition at KPJ Hospital, here.

Over in GUA MUSANG, Nozula's wife Maziah was laid to rest at the Felda Chiku Muslim burial ground on Friday.

Her remains arrived at her family home in Chiku town at 7.15am, after a post-mortem at HRPB in Ipoh.

Among those present at the 10am burial were Maziah's daughter and driver of the car involved in the accident, Norfatim Nabila Nozula, 22, Galas assemblyman Ab Aziz Yusof and hundreds of Paloh residents.

Norfatim, when met by reporters after the funeral, said it was raining at the time and the road was slippery, causing the Nissan Murano to spin and skid.

"I did not panic and managed to control the car, which skidded into the opposite lane, hit a hillslope and landed in a drain in my attempt to prevent the car from plunging into a ravine on the left side of the road.

"I got out of the car and pulled out my younger sister Nadirah, Mohd Fitri and nephew, Raja Haris, while asking for help from passers-by.

"My parents were still trapped in the damaged car and firemen later extricated them," recalled Norfatim, adding that she was deeply saddened by the incident which took the life of her mother.

The accident at 6.30pm Saturday occurred at Km23 of the Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai Road when Nozula and his family members, coming from Gua Musang, Kelantan, were on their way to attend a relative's wedding in Kuala Lumpur. - Bernama

Woman caught trying to pass drugs to son in court

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 03:45 AM PDT

BALIK PULAU: Police arrested a woman for passing drugs to her son just after the Magistrate's Court sentenced him for possession of drugs here Friday.

The 56-year-old woman has been remanded for seven days to assist in investigations, south west district police deputy chief DSP Siti Nor Salawati Saad said.

The Court had sentenced the woman's 35-year-old son to nine months' jail for drug possession.

Siti Nor Salawati said the woman had passed 9.4g of heroin wrapped in tobacco leaves to her son as he was being escorted by policemen to a lockup.

An alert policemen caught the woman in the act. - Bernama

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts &amp; Fashion

Jersey Boys: Life of the party

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Jersey Boys came to our shores with unforgettable songs, admirable acting and colourful drama.

"Jersey's great, you got some of the finest prisons around!" proclaimed Tommy DeVito, one of the members of the 1960s pop group The Four Seasons, on stage at the Jersey Boys musical at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night.

DeVito, who is played by actor Daniel Buys, is just the sort of smarty-pants character to entertain the masses with his streetwise attitude and big heart. Throughout this Broadway musical, his fellow bandmates – Frankie Valli, DeVito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi – were no less witty, charming and street savvy.

Essentially, this was the tell-all tale of these Italian-American bruisers from New Jersey who rose from their dingy hometown bars and made themselves pop stars.

During the height its chart-bustin' career, The Four Seasons were no strangers to fast cars and fast living as told in the musical biography 'Jersey Boys.'

During the height its chart-bustin' career, The Four Seasons were no strangers to fast cars and fast living as told in the musical biography 'Jersey Boys.'

Jersey Boys, which is a musical biography of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, has been hailed as one of the best behind-the-music histories to hit the stage. And deservedly so.

On its opening night here, Jersey Boys' The Four Seasons definitely rolled out a warm-hearted show to write home about.

Here was a story filled with drama, redemption and friendship. And not to forget a truckload of hit singles that got the crowd swaying in their seats.

The audience was hooked right from the start of Jersey Boys, especially with the Frankie Valli lead role ably handled by angel-voiced actor Grant Almirall.

This fabulous quartet had me with their hilarious banter and very well-written script. It was like reliving classic punchlines from TV comedies like Taxi and Happy Days, with a bit of mobster cool lifted from Goodfellas, Mean Streets, or the Godfather trilogy thrown into the mix. Add the hand gestures, slicked back hair, pinky rings and three-piece suits.

I knew immediately I was set for an entertaining two-and-a-half-hour (black Cadillac) ride, what more being a huge comedy fan.

Amidst the mob connections, punch-ups and a good amount of slapstick, it was still down to the heartfelt story to keep the audience interested. Of course, we couldn't forget the group's music – which remains the main draw of this musical. Meeting the required vocal strengths of Frankie Valli (and his height – he was shortest of the four) was South African actor Almirall, 35, who brought Valli's character to life, while pulling off the multi-octave vocal feats in style. What was even more wonderful was how this expert stage performer blended himself into Valli's life and offered the viewers a true insight of his roots. So what you saw on stage was a real-life development of Valli's amazing vocals and how it matured right up to the very last performance in the group.

All four cast members, who played their respective Four Seasons' roles, narrated their stories with their individual spin. That offered unique storytelling angles on the group's journey to stardom.

The boys finally find a name fitting for the band - The Four Seasons.

The boys finally find a name fitting for the band - The Four Seasons.

The other 33 members on stage also took on their roles effortlessly. Of course, the story spans over 50 years and therefore the show zipped along at quite a rapid pace and surprisingly enough, reflected all four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. Metaphors for the highs and lows of this group, perhaps?

But fret not, Jersey Boys was easy to follow and it was filled with entertaining dances, amazing singing and acting.

Throughout the show, the crowd enjoyed more than 30 beloved songs associated with The Four Seasons' career. Much excitement came from Sherry, the band's first US-released single and No. 1 US hit in 1962. This track was then followed by two other US number one's – Big Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like A Man. And there you had it, the famous quartet who gatecrashed the music scene in the US, claimed their number ones and sold millions of records, before the British Invasion in 1963. Later on came the feuds, bitter jealousies, and personal tragedies in The Four Seasons.

No further spoilers, but if there was a big musical moment, then it would be Almirall's take on one of Valli's most famous solo performances – Can't Take My Eyes Off You, which raised the roof at Istana Budaya. Of course, the party mood got even better when electrifying tunes such as Beggin', December 1963 (Oh What a Night), Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye), and My Eyes Adored You were cranked up. Beyond the great musical jukebox, the Jersey Boys stage show ran through all the emotions – sad, funny and truly inspirational.

Just the right tonic to lift your spirits! The standing ovation from Istana Budaya (at the end of the night) said it all about the enduring appeal of Jersey Boys, a musical that keeps on giving.

> Jersey Boys is showing at Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur till April 27. Showtimes are 8.30pm and 3pm (matinees). For tickets, go to www.ticketcharge.com.my or call the hotline: 03-9222 8811. For more info on the show, visit www.facebook.com/jerseyboys.malaysia. Jersey Boys is organised by Milestone Production Sdn Bhd. 

The Star is the gold sponsor and Red FM is the official radio station. The Star readers can enjoy a 20% discount on all ticket categories. Just key in the promo code: "STAR" when purchasing via www.ticketcharge.com.my or at outlets.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: Central

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Central

World&#39;s first Tiananmen museum to open in Hong Kong

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 06:33 AM PDT

HONG KONG: The world's first museum dedicated to the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown wants to convince Chinese visitors to fight for democracy when it opens in Hong Kong next week, almost 25 years on, organisers said Friday.

The permanent exhibition, which is scheduled to open next Saturday, commemorates those killed in the authorities' brutal crushing of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing on June 3-4, 1989.

All reference to the crackdown is banned on the mainland, where many remain unaware of it.

The museum is funded by the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which also organises the annual June 4 candlelit vigil in Hong Kong attended by tens of thousands.

"A lot of people have forgotten what has happened and mainlanders are not allowed to remember. So here, we preserve that memory and remind the people what has happened and also to drive the people to fight for democracy in China," the group's chairman Lee Cheuk-yan told reporters.

"By letting them remember and letting them know what actually happened, they will have anger towards the Communist Party - which in order preserve its power, went to the extent of shooting its own people.

"This should not be tolerated by our mainland compatriots," he said.

Organisers will use social media, including Weibo - China's equivalent to Twitter - to promote the museum, Lee said.

The 800-square foot (74.32 square-metre) venue, in the commercial district of East Tsim Sha Tsui, will display images from the protests and subsequent crackdown, including the famous 'Tank Man' photograph of a civilian staring down a long row of military vehicles.

It also includes a two-metre tall statue of the Goddess of Democracy, similar to one erected at Tiananmen Square during the protests almost 25 years ago.

Owners of the commercial block that houses the museum have threatened to take legal action, saying that the museum may have violated the property deed and may cause nuisance to tenants, due to its highly political nature, according to media reports.

"We have all the legal backup and we are confident we can face legal challenges and this museum will be open continuously," Lee said.

Beijing has never provided an official final toll for the military crackdown, which was condemned worldwide. Independent observers tallied more than 1,000 dead in Beijing, without including victims elsewhere.

The Chinese Communist Party branded the Tiananmen protests a "counter-revolutionary rebellion" but pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong have consistently commemorated the incident.

Every year, tens of thousands of residents gather at the city's Victoria Park to mark its anniversary.

Since returning to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong enjoys a level of civil liberty that is unavailable in China under the so-called "One Country Two Systems", which guarantees the city's semi-autonomous status. - AFP

Vietnam says 7 killed in shooting on China border

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 06:31 AM PDT

HANOI: Seven people were killed in a gun battle between border guards and Chinese illegal migrants at a remote frontier crossing in northeast Vietnam, authorities said Friday.

Sixteen Chinese nationals - 10 men, four women and two children - were detained early Friday after attempting to enter Vietnam, the Quang Ninh provincial government said in a statement.

While authorities were preparing to send them back, "some Chinese men in this group seized guns from Vietnamese border guards and shot at them... killing one guard on the spot," the statement said.

Vietnamese and Chinese authorities sought to calm the situation but the migrants refused to drop their weapons and a firefight erupted, it added.

In total two Vietnamese border guards and five Chinese migrants were killed, according to the statement, which said the incident was "not a terrorist attack".

It was not immediately possible to verify the authorities' account.

The statement did not say whether the dead included Chinese women and children.

Vietnamese state media reported that the Chinese migrants were from the Muslim-majority province of Xingjian but there was no independent confirmation.

Vietnam's remote northeastern region, which borders China's Guangxi province, is poor and mostly populated by a patchwork of ethnic minority groups.

There have been previous human trafficking and people smuggling cases in the area, including of Vietnamese women forced to marry Chinese men and young boys kidnapped for sale to wealthy childless Chinese families.

But it is unusual for irregular Chinese migrants to be caught trying to enter Vietnam, with more Vietnamese migrants travelling north to find work in China's fast-growing cities.

No data exists on the scale of economic migration across the remote, sparsely guarded border but it is believed to be widespread as it is difficult for the neighbouring communist countries to control all movement across their 1,300 plus kilometre-long joint border. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Anything is possible: A homemaker joins Japan&#39;s biggest girl group, AKB48

Posted: 18 Apr 2014 11:50 PM PDT

A mother of two kids has been chosen from a pool of over 5,000 applicants to join the young musical group.

Japanese commercial music juggernaut AKB48 has added a 37-year-old mother of two to the wildly popular all-girl group as it looks to broaden the appeal of its teen-dominated line-up.

The collective, whose 90-plus singers and dancers are rotated in and out of the limelight according to their waxing and waning popularity, regularly pump out songs that sell more than a million copies.

But the management behind one of the most successful brands in showbiz put out advertisements last month seeking older members to branch out of its teen and early-20s demographic.

Enter homemaker Mariko Tsukamoto, a mother of two, who was picked from a pool of over 5,000 applicants including an 82-year-old lady, according to local media. Tsukamoto will take part in live concerts and promotional events through August.

"I want to cheer up all the mums out there who are busy raising kids, like me," she said in a statement Thursday.

AKB48, one of the most lucrative groups of all time, is part pop act, part talent show, where a member's time on the front line is determined by how much adoration they inspire from fans.

The most popular girls or young women remain a part of the core group that sings and dances their way through formulaic bubblegum tunes. Those who fall out of public favour are demoted to a sub-group in an organisation structured somewhat like a football league.

Much of the group's appeal lies in frequent opportunities for fans to meet them, chat with them or befriend them on social networking sites. — AFP Relaxnews

Malaysian singer Najwa Mahiaddin and her New York state of mind

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Najwa Mahiaddin is making her mark as a musician abroad but the singer reveals life in the Big Apple is not all glitz and glam.

A warm summer day at the back of a building in the thriving art and music district of Brooklyn in New York, the exhaust fans whirred without relent while the stench from a nearby dumpster hung faintly in the air.

"What are we doing here?" singer-songwriter Najwa Mahiaddin thought to herself as she arrived at the venue – the venue of her performance, that is. Mostacho Xprmnt, a R&B fusion band which comprises four Berkelee graduates including Najwa, had landed a gig at the, well, less-than-conventional setting.

"It sounded like a great idea at first. It was summer and we thought it would be cool for people to sit outside on a patio, and just hang out and listen to live music," said the 28-year-old artiste and daughter of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"But there was a heat wave going on at the time. It was so hot. And it didn't help that we were playing near where the exhaust fans were. We didn't look good on stage at all, we were all sweating," Najwa continued, seeming to recall the moment with both distress and fondness at the same time.

"It was an experience I will never forget."

Najwa was speaking to Star2 in a Skype interview from New York, recalling the ups and downs of her musical career so far.

Najwa Mahiaddin is actively pursuing her music career in New York, booking a show at Ella Lounge recently.

Najwa is actively pursuing her music career in New York, booking a show at Ella Lounge recently.


The Johor native left for the Big Apple last year after completing her degree in contemporary writing and production at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston.

"Music is everywhere here. Just riding the subway, you see so many musicians in the stations and they're really good. Surrounded by all these talented people, it makes you more inspired to write music," said the performer, who is both a solo artiste and the vocalist of Mostacho Xprmnt, on her decision to move to Manhattan.

But of course, launching a music career, perhaps even an international one, is foremost in her mind.

The raven-haired songstress plans to "go all out" this year, revealing she has hired a booking agent to help her land new gigs and will even start actively shopping for a record deal.

"I'm not gonna sit and wait around. I've been trying to push my music out there, planning for more shows, getting the word out," said Najwa who plans to pursue a music career both in New York and Malaysia, devoting her time equally at both places.

The singer said she also met up with fellow Malaysian export Yuna in New York for tips and advice on breaking into the industry.

But it isn't as glamorous as it sounds (if her backyard performance is any indication).

"You can't expect to perform at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden straight away. You've got to experience performing at different venues to different audiences and see whether they are receptive," said the singer who also earns extra pocket money giving vocal lessons at a music school on a weekly basis.

"You have sound engineers insisting on doing sound for you but don't know how to. There was one guy who was turning the knobs while I was singing and by the end of the show, I felt like my mic was completely off," she shared with a laugh, recalling another memorable experience.

"Every musician has to start somewhere."

A new direction

Najwa got her big break in 2011 when she released her debut album, Innocent Soul, while pursuing the Berklee transfer programme at the International College Of Music, Kuala Lumpur.

Immediately, she took the local industry by storm, clinching the Best English Song (for Got To Go) and Best New Artiste title at the Anugerah Industri Muzik the same year. The singer became known for her sultry vocals, her soul and R&B stylings and empowering lyrics.

But it seems the chilly winds of New York has brought about a change to her latest work, Aurora, a digitally released five-track EP.

"I wrote a lot of girl power songs like Got To Go but with this one, it's more mellow and there's this healing type thing. In New York, it's always cold and concrete and when it snows, it gets muddy and slushy. I'm influenced by the things I see and feel," she explained.

Najwa Mahiaddin's EP Aurora

Arguably more quiet and contemplative, Najwa sings about escaping with her lover to an alternate reality in the Alice In Wonderland-inspired Wonderland and offering a shoulder to cry on for a friend who had just broken up in Before.

But the most drastic change of all takes place musically. Listeners will be surprised to hear a strong electronic influence on Aurora, a huge departure from her vintage R&B roots.

"I have been listening to a lot of songwriters who have an electronic influence – not EDM or dance. That's the direction I want to go. I still enjoy performing with a four-piece band but it's important to present something new to listeners," shared Najwa, who also credits her electronic flair to Berklee mate and the EP's producer Harsya Wahono.

Despite the change in musical direction, the singer assured she hasn't lost her "soul": "If you strip the music off and have me on the piano, I would still be able to play it, it will still have me in it. There's still that soulfulness there because the songs were written organically - me sitting in front of the piano, the same way I write my other songs, and taking that and putting it into an electronic setting."

A clear indication that Najwa is still clinging tightly to her sense of self is the contemporary rendition of Seri Mersing in the EP. Released locally as a single, the popular ghazal folk song has been performed by seasoned artistes like Sharifah Aini and Siti Nurhaliza.

"When I was in Berklee, people always asked me, 'what is the music of your country?' And I recalled ghazal bands playing at family gatherings and the singers singing Seri Mersing," shared Najwa who first decided to rearrange the song for a class assignment.

Besides promoting her cultural heritage Stateside, Najwa hopes the song will inspire Malaysians themselves: "In Malaysia, some youngsters may be taken with the western culture. Through this song, I want to let them know we have such a rich heritage and we should be proud of it."

A family affair

Seri Mersing undoubtedly serves as a passage back home for Najwa, sparking memories that envelope her like a warm, familiar blanket against New York's unforgiving breeze. "I'm constantly in contact with my family, we have a Whatsapp group where we keep in touch. I also hang out with them a lot when I get back," she said, believing in the importance of staying connected with her loved ones.

Asked on which side of the family does her musical talent comes from, Najwa deduced: "My mum would say this as well. It would make sense for it to be from my dad's side. He's naturally talented. He can play the piano by ear. It's innate, he never studied or anything.

"He does sing sometimes but I don't think it'll be to the point where he's going to switch careers," she said with a chuckle, adding that behind her father's serious facade, people would be surprised to find him very relaxed and laidback at home.

The singer also shed light on what it felt like growing up in a high profile household: "We try to be as normal as possible. I would do whatever anyone else was doing. I followed my mum and grandmother to the pasar malam. There's no such thing as we don't do this or that."

Najwa didn't feel there was any added pressure either to carry herself in a certain way because of her famous father: "The pressure isn't because of who my dad is. When I make decisions, just like any other children, I don't want to embarrass my parents. I want to make them proud. Like I want to do well in school to make them proud."

Najwa also spoke openly on accusations suggesting the singer is using her father's influence to expand her music career: "I've gotten that a lot, I try not to read up on what people say. I work just as hard and I have never asked my dad for anything.

"I'm in music, he knows nothing about music. I have to sit down and explain to him about the music industry and what record labels do. Yes he is very supportive, and I have my whole family behind me. But there's no, 'I'll get you that record deal.'

She added candidly: "If that were the case, I wouldn't be a struggling musician in New York and doing that backyard show."

> Aurora is available for sale on iTunes, Amazon mp3, as well as via streaming on Spotify.

Hail to the Chiefs: British band Kaiser Chiefs scores big with new album

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Kaiser Chiefs brushes off the loss of a founding member to score its first number one album since 2007.

Despite predicting a riot and proclaiming that every day they love us less and less, British band Kaiser Chiefs has never missed a beat in the 13 years it has been together.

In fact, fans seem to be loving the band more and more these days, thanks to frontman Ricky Wilson's high-profile gig as judge and mentor on Britain's version of The Voice. Shortly after the final of the show aired, the band scored its first British number one album since 2007 with fifth album, Education, Education, Education & War.

What's even more remarkable about Kaiser Chiefs' return to the top is the fact that it has had to get over the departure of one of the band's co-founders and key songwriters, drummer Nick Hodgson, who left the band in 2012.

Hodgson, together with childhood friends Simon Rix (bass guitar) and Nick "Peanut" Baines (keyboards), formed the band Parva with Wilson and guitarist Andrew White in 2000, which was renamed Kaiser Chiefs (after the South African football team Kaizer Chiefs) in 2003 in an attempt to recover from the ignomity of being dropped by their then record label.

The band's debut album, Employment (2005), hit number two on Britain's album charts, and included British top 10 singles Everyday I Love You Less And Less and I Predict a Riot. It then went one better with 2007's Yours Truly, Angry Mob, which not only became its first ever British No. 1 album, but also scored its, and so far, only number one British hit single, Ruby.

While subsequent albums Off With Their Heads (2008) and The Future Is Medieval (2011) were also equally successful, the band was dealt a blow when Hodgson announced on Twitter that he was leaving after 15 years to concentrate on "other projects".

During a phone interview from Britain, Rix explained that the loss of Hodgson – who was not just an integral part of the band but also their lyricist – initially left a big hole in the band, but it also helped bring the remaining members together.

"It's funny, but Nick leaving actually made our band more ... 'band-y'. We're doing more things as a band now, not as individuals," he said. "Nick was the leader and was leading the way, making decisions, and all sorts of things. When he left there was a big hole, so now, we have to do things together. I kind of like the idea of us being a gang again."

Education, Education, Education & War is also the first album involving the band's new drummer Vijay Mistry (formerly of Club Smith), who joined the band as Hodgson's replacement in 2013, and has been a positive influence on the rest of them.

"Vijay's a great drummer, and he comes from a different place (than us). He's got more of a rock background, and is a good, positive person," said Rix. "Some of us can be quite negative at times, and always look at the worst of things; he is the opposite of that."

According to Rix, the new album is a return to the formula that made their first two albums such huge successes.

"It's like our third album again – we're continuing (from where we left off) from the first two," he said. "We went a different direction with the third and fourth albums, so this feels like we're returning to the form of the first two."

First single Coming Home does seem more melancholy than most of the songs on those two albums though, which Rix puts down to the fact that they've pretty much grown up since the release of Yours Truly, Angry Mob.

"We've changed a lot actually – back then, we listened to a lot of new wave and The Clash, but today we're older and wiser and have listened to more music. We're more sonically educated now," he explained. "Our music is wider now, and songs like Coming Home, Up In Heaven and Roses are songs where we explore sonically – yes, there's melancholy, but there's always hope in the end.

"But the big choruses are still there, and a lot of the songs (on the new album) are classic Kaiser Chiefs songs that could have been on any album we made," he concluded.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved