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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

'Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants' set to travel again

Posted: 25 Apr 2014 01:25 AM PDT

Stars of the original movie have reportedly been courted for another installment of the movie.

The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants is getting another sequel, as Alloy Entertainment is developing Sisterhood Everlasting, which is based on the book of the same title by bestselling author Ann Brashares, the company announced Wednesday.

While there are no deals in place with the original cast, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara and Amber Tamblyn have expressed interest in reprising their roles and are in various stages of discussions to return, an individual familiar with the sequel told TheWrap.

One member of the original Sisterhood is set to return, while Ken Kwapis will direct from a screenplay by Liz Garcia, who will adapt Brashares' novel.

Sisterhood Everlasting finds the four friends grown apart in the 10 years since the last film in the franchise, though Tibby tries to bridge the distance by reuniting the girls for a trip that will change their lives forever.

"The Sisterhood series is one of Alloy's most cherished properties and we are looking forward to continuing its legacy with Sisterhood Everlasting nearly a decade after the first film was released," said Alloy president Leslie Morgenstein, who will produce with Elysa Dutton and Christine Sacani.

"The original film brought together an incredible group of talent who we hope to unite for fans once again." Along with Alcon Entertainment, Alloy was responsible for the first two Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants films that were released in 2005 and 2008. — Reuters


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

South Korean PM resigns over government response to ferry disaster

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 07:50 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won announced his resignation on Sunday over the government response to the ferry disaster, in which it was first announced that everyone had been rescued, focusing attention on poor regulatory controls.

The Sewol ferry sank on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional holiday island of Jeju on April 16.

More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers on a field trip from the Danwon High School on the outskirts of Seoul, have died or are missing and presumed dead.

The children on board the Sewol were told to stay put in their cabins, where they waited for further orders. The confirmed death toll on Sunday was 187.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy and one of its leading manufacturing and export powerhouses, has developed into one of the world's most technically advanced countries, but faces criticism that regulatory controls have not kept pace.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors raided two shipping safety watchdogs and a coastguard office. They have also raided two vessel service centres, which act as maritime traffic control.

Chung's resignation has to be approved by President Park Geun-hye, who has the most power in government.

"Keeping my post too great a burden on the administration," a sombre Chung said in a brief announcement. "...On behalf of the government, I apologise for many problems from the prevention of the accident to the early handling of the disaster.

"There are too many irregularities and malpractices in parts of society that have been with us too long and I hope those are corrected so that accidents like this will not happen again."

Chung was booed and someone threw a water bottle at him when he visited grieving parents the day after the disaster. President Park was also booed by some relatives when she visited a gym where families of the missing were staying.

Tempers have frayed over the slow pace of the recovery and frequent changes in information provided by the government.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education sent text messages to parents that "All Danwon High School students are rescued" in the hours after the disaster, media reported.

(Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Michael Perry)

North Korea says army must develop to be able to beat U.S.

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 07:40 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged the army to develop to ensure it wins any confrontation with the United States, the reclusive country's news agency said on Sunday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama warned the North of its military might.

Kim led a meeting of the Central Military Commission and "set forth important tasks for further developing the Korean People's Army and ways to do so", KCNA news agency said.

"He stressed the need to enhance the function and role of the political organs of the army if it is to preserve the proud history and tradition of being the army of the party, win one victory after another in the confrontation with the U.S. and creditably perform the mission as a shock force and standard-bearer in building a thriving nation."

Obama said on Saturday on a visit to Seoul, where the U.S. army has a large presence, that the United States did not use its military might to "impose things" on others, but that it would use that might if necessary to defend South Korea from any attack by the reclusive North.

North and South Korea are still technically at war after their 1950-53 civil conflict ended in a mere truce.

The impoverished North, which routinely threatens the United States and the South with destruction, warned last month it would not rule out a "new form" of atomic test after the U.N. Security Council condemned Pyongyang's launch of a mid-range ballistic missile into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.

North Korea is already subject to U.N. sanctions over its previous three atomic tests.

Recent satellite data shows continued work at the nuclear test site in North Korea, although experts analysing the data say that preparations do not appear to have progressed far enough for an imminent test.

"We don't use our military might to impose these things on others, but we will not hesitate to use our military might to defend our allies and our way of life," Obama told U.S. forces at the Yongsan garrison.

"So like all nations on Earth, North Korea and its people have a choice. They can choose to continue down a lonely road of isolation, or they can choose to join the rest of the world and seek a future of greater opportunity, and greater security, and greater respect - a future that already exists for the citizens on the southern end of the Korean peninsula."

(Editing by Michael Perry)

White House looks at how 'Big Data' can discriminate

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 06:15 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is preparing to release a report next week that will outline concerns that current U.S. privacy laws and regulations do not do enough to protect consumers from potential discrimination due to "big data" algorithms that crunch through information gathered online, a White House official said on Saturday.

The review, led by President Barack Obama's senior counsellor, John Podesta, was sparked by the revelations last year of former spy contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about how the National Spy Agency uses big data analytics methods for surveillance.

Obama has moved to rein in some of the activity by U.S. intelligence agencies. But he also asked Podesta to take a 90-day look at how the private sector, medical researchers and other parts of government are innovating with big data, and whether privacy is at risk.

"The challenges to our privacy do not come from government alone. Corporations of all shapes and sizes track what you buy, store and analyze our data, and use it for commercial purposes," Obama said when he announced Podesta's review in January.

Podesta and other senior officials have met with Internet companies, data brokers and advertising agencies, academic researchers and privacy and civil liberties groups privately and in three public workshops to explore the opportunities and issues involving big data.

"It was a moment to step back and say, 'Does this change our basic framework or our look at the way we're dealing with records and privacy?'" Podesta said in an interview with the Associated Press published on Saturday.

Earlier this month, at a workshop at the University of California, Berkeley, Podesta said he believed updates were needed for the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a statute governing Internet communications, which he helped draft as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill in 1984.

Podesta described the advances that big data has helped make in climate science and medical treatment and research. But he also pointed out that information shared on social networks about race, religion, age and sexual orientation could be used for ill.

"It's easy to imagine how big data technology, if used to cross legal lines we have been careful to set, could end up reinforcing existing inequities in housing, credit, employment, health and education," he said.

He described a program called "Street Bump" in Boston that detected pot-holes using sensors in smartphones of citizens who had downloaded an app. The program inadvertently directed repair crews to wealthier neighbourhoods, where people were more likely to carry smartphones and download the app. The city later fixed the app.

"The lesson here is that we need to pay careful attention to what unexpected outcomes the use of big data might lead to, and how to remedy any unintended discrimination or inequality that may result," Podesta said at the workshop.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Dan Grebler)


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

This Stone rocks

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Matt Stone rocks Perth – and the world – in his affair with sustainable food and Australian native ingredients.

TAKE a 26-year-old man from Down Under, rock some tattoos on him, and hand him a crank-handle spatula. You'll get Matt Stone, not the average chef. He's a good looker with a passion for respecting the environment and working with ethical producers.

"I let the environment and the world of sustainability dictate the food that I cook," says Stone in a phone interview from Australia.

Stone is one half of the duo starring in Recipes that Rock, the TLC cookshow premiering tomorrow on Astro Channel 707. The executive chef of Greenhouse Perth, an eco-friendly restaurant, he won the 2011 Good Food Guides Best Young Chef while his restaurant was named Best Restaurant; in the same year, he was crowned the Gourmet Traveller Best New Talent.

The string of achievements is quite a feat for a young man who didn't finish high school. Being a young chef – and not having paper qualifications – it took a while for Stone to get respect from his peers.

In 2003, at the age of 15, Stone started work in the kitchen at the Leeuwin Estate Winery in his hometown of Margaret River. After two years as a kitchen apprentice, he moved to one of Perth's most highly regarded restaurants, Star Anise, where he developed his skills and passion for cooking under head chef David Coomer. Coomer was his inspiration and at the age of just 20, he was appointed sous chef of Star Anise.

Two years later, Stone was approached to lead the kitchen of Greenhouse Perth. Here, he embraced the Greenhouse by Joost philosophy of preparing fresh, sustainable, locally-sourced, whole foods. He did not consider himself a qualified chef, but that did not stop him from being a champion for sustainable dining.

Stone and James catch and cook their own dinner in Recipes that Rock.

Stone (left) and James catch and cook their own dinner in the show.

Greenhouse was started by Joost Bakker, a self-taught, discipline-crossing, boundary-pushing florist, furniture and lighting designer, artist and environmentalist who works with recycled materials and plants and has been creating media headlines since the 90s. In his element in this environment, Stone made a name for himself as a progressive cook and put Greenhouse at the front of Perth's dining culture.

"Australia has a massive amount of fruits, spices and herbs that we're only just discovering," says Stone. Taking this as his chance for a cooking experiment, Stone adds that he wants to try cooking exotic dishes like crickets, green tree ants and Australian native products like wallaby and kangaroos!"

Kangaroos? One might be shocked, but Stone says it's all in the name of sustainability. "In Australia, there are three (wild) kangaroos for every person. They don't take up man's space; we don't have to grow and produce grains and feed for them. So in my eyes, it's a no-brainer to be eating them.

"Consuming insects is definitely common in Asia. It's really an ethical way of consuming protein, vitamins and nutrients," says the chef who finds Copenhagen a fantastic city teeming with the best restaurants.

For a chef with a tattoo of a pizza slice, Stone is a superb master of wines. Stone recommends the Leeuwin Estate chardonnay, which he says is really delicious; the Picardy pinot noir, because Picardy is a great producer in the Southwest of Western Australia and they consistently make really lovely pinot noir wines which lend to a lot of his food pairings; and Dom Perignon, because he just loves drinking champagne.

Stone is described as the chef with tattoos. Why has tattoo come to define him? Stone believes that being a skater and a punk rock lover had influenced him into getting seriously tattooed. "If I could spend a heap of money buying artwork and putting them on my wall at home, why not get them and put them on myself!"

Food is often said to bring people together; for Stone it reflects the environment which is in itself, art. Art on his body and art in the cooking pot.

The show

In the six-part series Recipes that Rock, Stone teams up with 45-year-old Alex James, a British rock star-turned-cheese maker, to embark on a gourmet journey around the Margaret River region of Western Australia.

In each half-hour episode, the duo dove into the culinary delights and freshly-picked produce across Margaret River, once a chilled-out surfing town known also for its wines. More recently, artisan cheese, chocolate and olive oil producers have made it their home alongside outstanding microbreweries.

Inspired by the high-quality Asian dishes and Pacific Rim cuisine, Stone and James cook up feasts like sticky Vietnamese pork, Mexican spiced abalone with avocado and mango salad, barbecued marron with grilled asparagus and beach herbs, and delicious desserts like a liquid-centred chocolate cake and sheep milk ice-cream with fruits, pistachios and rose petal syrup.

Not only do the boys cook up a storm in the kitchen, they get down and dirty hive-hunting for gooey golden honey, scouring the aqua-blue beaches to pick abalone and play catch with piglets stuck on an island off the mainland of a free-range pig farm.

The boys continue ticking off their food lover's must-do list: hunting for black truffles, touring the local wineries, catching their own dinner and meeting with experts who share special tricks of the trade while rubbing shoulders with renowned chefs from around the globe – Alex Atala, Alvin Leung, Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi and Tetsuya Wakuda to name a few – as the gourmet world descends on the region for Margaret River's Gourmet Escape.

Recipes That Rock is on every Monday at 7pm on TLC (Astro Channel 707), starting April 28; encores every Tuesday at 10am. Visit Matt Stone's restaurant Greenhouse Perth here: To find out more about the interesting work of Joost Bakker,

TV's US presidents we wished were sort of real

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 08:55 PM PDT

From super intelligent to adulterous to power-hungry, leaders of the land of the free have been portrayed in many ways in television series.

Some people are so fascinated with the president of the United States and would stop at nothing to find out all they can about who he really is, his favourite hangout joints, whether he cries at the end of a romantic comedy or even his shoe size.

And since he doesn't have his own reality TV show in which we can take a glimpse into his private life, the only thing that comes close to imagining what the president is like at home and what he really does behind closed doors is through a television series with a POTUS character.

Of course these fictional shows may not give us an accurate representation of the president's behaviour, but nevertheless shows like Scandal and The West Wing do give us a side of the leader of the free world that many want to see.

Now TV's US presidents come and go but only some remain in our hearts and memory long after they are assassinated, impeached or simply killed off to give the show's writers some new material to work on. Here are the ones who made the cut:

Scandal (President Fitzgerald Grant)

Played to perfection by Tony Goldwyn, President Fitzgerald Grant is the poster boy for all things red, white and blue – well, except for his extra-marital affair which threatens to make his world come crashing down.

Married to an almost perfect woman, Fitz courts a lot of drama as he gets entangled in a deliciously dangerous and oh-so-naughty affair with his White House aide, Olivia Pope. All that sexual tension between the two lovers and their super-secret trysts make for a delicious viewing.

Other than that one dirty bit on his otherwise impeccable resume, Fitz was born to lead and that he does with a great sense of pride. His Ivy League education also comes in handy now and then.

House Of Cards (President Francis Underwood)

If there is one war that any world leader should not get into with President Francis Underwood, the fictional 46th President of the United States, it has to be a war of words. Francis (played by Kevin Spacey) is a ruthless and cunning politician whose flair for words would definitely bring one down without much effort.

He is known for his biting remarks and colourful quotes such as, "If we never did anything we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should", "They talk while I imagine their slightly salted faces frying in a skillet" and "A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power".

When Frank is not busy fighting his opponents, he is hell bent on getting what he wants – more power and materialistic possessions – and doesn't think twice about killing those who stand in his way.

The West Wing (President Josiah Bartlet)

There have been a few presidents featured on this multiple award-winning show but Martin Sheen's Josiah "Jed" Bartlet is the one that the audience favours. Classified as an "ideal liberal president", Bartlet is a distinguished leader with lots of intelligence, personality and a great sense of humour.

He may also be the only fictional US president who was created based on a few real presidents and their characteristics, like Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. The series even had a story arc in which Bartlet hides a serious illness, like Kennedy, during a presidential campaign.

Creators of the show were also inspired by actual events that happened, and used the situations to mould Bartlet's character even further.

24 (President David Palmer) 

Dennis Haysbert 

In the show where people don't eat or use the toilet, actor Dennis Haysbert plays President David Palmer, a Democratic senator from Maryland who eventually becomes the first African-American US president.

Of course, he is not the only president featured on the adrenaline-pumping show that had millions of people hooked worldwide.

David, often described as a committed and honest leader who has the best interest of the American people at heart, is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Sherry with whom he has two children Keith and Nicole. But of course, no First Family is free of scandal and David's is no exception.

Together with show protagonist Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), David fights to keep the "land of the free and home of the brave" just what it is and may or may not have paid for it with his life. Is this where you say spoiler alert?

Commander In Chief (President Mackenzie Allen)

Do not even bother coming up with "PMS-fuelled speeches" and "international pillow fight" jokes to describe Geena Davis' role as US President Mackenzie Allen.

Yes, she is a woman and yes, she is the President of the United States of America ... in this show.

Proving that women have to work twice as hard even in the White House, Mackenzie is a force to be reckoned with and no, nobody should mess with this Iron Lady. Sworn into the office after her predecessor suffers a stroke, Mackenzie surprises her people, and everyone else around the world, with her commanding ways and quick wit.

Calm and intelligent, she is a university chancellor with two Nobel Prize awards but is first and foremost a loving mother and wife to an understanding husband who doesn't mind decorating the White House Christmas tree while his wife is busy running the country.

Witch-ful thinking: 'American Horror Story' offers a new variety of scares

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

The new season of American Horror Story is set in a coven full of powerful witches.

American Horror Story: Coven, the third season of the FX anthology series, differs in many ways from Season Two, trading a harrowing asylum for a witches' coven; 1960s Massachusetts for present-day New Orleans; and deep, deep darkness for scary with a dash of comedy, co-creator Ryan Murphy says.

"This is my favourite season that we've done so far," he says. "It's very odd and peculiar and very pop culture-y ... particularly after last year, which was so dark and grim and hard. I loved it, but this year was designed to be a little bit scary, but more fun. I heard a lot last year, 'Oh, we love it, but it's hard to sit through.' So, I wanted this year to be not so hard to sit through, a little bit more light in tone."

Coven features a mix of veterans of earlier Horror seasons in different roles including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Frances Conroy – and newcomers such as Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett.

Lange, in her third Horror turn, trades in her nun's garb from Asylum for a more glamorous look as Fiona, "the world's biggest liberal" and a Supreme, the most powerful witch of her generation. Fiona comes back to New Orleans to protect the younger witches in an academy run by her daughter, Cordelia (Asylum's Sarah Paulson), with whom she has a hostile relationship.

"I think (Jessica) particularly loved that she got to wear St Laurent heels and make-up after last year. It was something completely different for her," Murphy says. "And she hasn't in her career, because she's such a great dramatic actress, had a lot of occasion to do comedic stuff."

The youthful coven members, played by Horror alumnae Taissa Farmiga and Jamie Brewer and first-timers Gabourey Sidibe and Emma Roberts, have ties to the Salem witches and possess a range of powers, including telekinesis, mind-reading and an undesired ability to kill via sex.

The identity of the next Supreme is a big, season-long mystery, Murphy says, but Fiona won't go quietly.

"She's not giving up that throne, no way."

Bates and Bassett play historical figures, Madame LaLaurie and Marie Laveau, respectively, whom Murphy learned about while researching New Orleans' rich past.

LaLaurie was a sadistic 19th-century slave-owner who tortured her human possessions, while Laveau was a voodoo practitioner. Each has a role in the present; Laveau runs a hair salon.

Fiona, who cannot use her powers to stop ageing, seeks out LaLaurie to learn why she has eternal life and then learns of her past atrocities, Murphy says. So LaLaurie is forced to become a personal slave to Sidibe's Queenie as payback.

"Through that relationship, (LaLaurie) has an entire season of guilt and remorse, finally learning about the gravity of what she did," Murphy says. "It is also a meditation on race relations in this country. There's a very strong arc about the Salem witches and the voodoo witches and, 'Can't we all get along to fight our common enemies?' So, it really is an allegory for any minority group in our country."

Bates had a grand time with the role, despite Murphy's early warning.

"I said, 'I don't know if you'd ever want to play a character that's eight times worse than your character in Misery,'" he says. "And I just spent the weekend with her, and she says that this part is her favourite part that she's ever played ... She loves the costume, she loves the arc, she loves the comedy."

Another change for Coven is the location shooting in New Orleans (the first two seasons were filmed primarily in Los Angeles studios). Murphy wanted the historical connection to Salem, but didn't want to film there, and Lange pushed to shoot in New Orleans.

"It made sense to me that the true witches were smart enough to escape and had fled," he says. "So, once she said that, I started to (do) research ... and then you come across Madame LaLaurie, Marie Laveau and the Axeman serial killer (Danny Huston), and all these great horror legends of that city. And it just felt like a natural to me ... There's something about that city that's quite magical and quite creepy and scary." – USA Today/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

American Horror Story: Coven premieres tonight at 11pm on FX HD (Astro Ch 726).


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Wall St Week Ahead - A burst of energy with Exxon, Chevron on tap

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 04:24 AM PDT

NEW YORK: Since late February, when investors fell out of love with biotechnology and other high-flying stocks, the market's fuel has been oil.

Energy names have been the best-performing sector in the S&P 500 since Feb. 25 when the selloff in high-growth stocks began. The sector will look to build on recent gains when bellwethers Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp and ConocoPhillips report results next week.

The rotation to value has limited the broader market's selloff. That could continue: Morgan Stanley said in a recent note that strong rotations to value names are usually followed by longer periods of value leadership.

Energy sector funds have attracted inflows in nine of the past 10 weeks; flows have averaged $488.9 million weekly over the last four weeks, the most since March 2011, according to Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company.

On a total return basis, energy is up more than 7 percent since Feb. 25, compared with a gain of just over 2 percent for the S&P 500 and a loss of 1.8 percent on healthcare, the worst-performing sector in that period.

"These big energy companies that pay dividends and have solid buyback programs are more defensive in nature as long as the price of the underlying commodity holds up," said Mike O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Both Exxon and Chevron rank among the top 10 dividend payers in terms of absolute dollars, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. With a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.2, significantly below the S&P 500's 17.8, energy should continue to attract investors as the rotation to value continues.

"A lot of the major oil companies are entering the next phase of their life cycle, where there's more of an emphasis on profitability and cost control," said Faisel Khan, senior oil equity analyst at Citi in New York.

"We think that returns have a pretty good chance of growing from here."

Halliburton Co, the world's No.2 oilfield services provider, said earlier this week that their customers are stepping up spending to drill and complete wells as operating budgets swell. Schlumberger Ltd and Baker Hughes Inc also spoke of improved markets in North America.

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, capacity utilization in the oil extraction sector currently sits at 99.2 percent of total capacity, far exceeding the average over the previous 40 years of about 92 percent.

So far in this earnings period, 14 energy names have reported results, with 11 - or 79 percent - exceeding estimates, making energy No. 1 among sectors with more than 10 companies reporting.

"With investors generally underweight Big Oils, there are early signs that significant negative consensus EPS revisions are likely leveling off," said Asit Sen, an analyst at Cowen & Co, referring to earnings per share estimates in a note this week. - Reuters

China to further ease currency controls for multi-nationals in pilot

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 04:19 AM PDT

BEIJING: China will expand a trial programme to make it simpler for multi-national firms to transfer funds within and outside the country, in a move that will further open its tightly controlled capital account.

The experiment, which began in 2012 in Beijing and Shanghai, came in response to growing demand from international companies operating in China for more freedom to use their growing amounts of yuan to boost the efficiency of their management of capital.

However, Chinese regulators have also been keen to keep any speculative pressures on the currency at bay.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), which manages the country's $3.3 trillion foreign exchange reserves, is expanding the trial programme to any Chinese or foreign company with operations inside or outside China with an annual forex income of over $100 million, the regulator said in a statement on its website late on Friday.

One of the goals of the trial programme is to "explore and reproduce a mechanism for the capital account convertability system", SAFE said.

The new rule, which would take effect from June, will allow multi-national companies to open overseas and domestic accounts simultaneously as well as conduct collection and settlement of accounts in foreign exchange.

It allows free transfer of overseas accounts within the company without quota caps, while domestic accounts will continue to have limits.

Firms say the freer flow of funds across China's borders would boost efficiency and cut costs.

China has pledged to allow market forces to play a greater role in the economy and its markets.

Beijing wants to expand the Chinese currency's footprint beyond Hong Kong, where more than 80 percent of yuan trade settlement transactions are handled, and foster greater confidence among offshore businesses to adopt the yuan as a currency for trade. - Reuters

Japan, US tiptoe into new phase of Pacific trade talks

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 04:14 AM PDT

WASHINGTON: The United States and Japan are edging into a new phase of trade negotiations after US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's summit, people with knowledge of talks to create one of the world's biggest trade pacts said.

Talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation bloc which would span 40 percent of the world economy and extend from Asia to Latin America, have been deadlocked as the United States and Japan stared off over farm and auto exports.

Although Obama and Abe did not announce an end to the stalemate at Thursday's meeting in Tokyo, a joint statement issued shortly before Obama left on Friday said the two countries identified a "path forward" on key issues, a contrast to the "gaps" highlighted after previous talks.

Briefing reporters on the president's plane from Japan, a senior U.S official said negotiators set the parameters for agreement on Japan's sensitive sugar, beef, pork, rice, dairy and wheat sectors, involving which trade barriers to eliminate, which to reduce, and over which time period.

"There are these parameters, and there are trade-offs among parameters. The deeper the cut in the tariff, the longer time it may take to get there," he said.

A U.S. congressional aide briefed on the negotiations said there was momentum heading into TPP negotiations in Vietnam in May, where concrete trade-offs could be made.

"That's the first time we have seen the Japanese moving in our direction," said the aide, who declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

"We were on a path of gridlock and now there seems to be a path forward, if you're a trade negotiator you've got to be excited about that."

Trade experts said the administration comments pointed to a long phase-out period for tariffs Japan was prepared to move on such as beef, which it agreed to cut in a deal with Australia weeks earlier, while allowing continued protection for sectors such as rice.

"That's something that the United States can do, because U.S. negotiators are not under extreme political pressure to get a comprehensive reform on rice," said Peterson Institute for International Economics trade analyst Jeffrey Schott.

Officials from other TPP countries noted U.S. recognition of the role market access played in persuading other TPP partners to sign up to common rules on issues such as intellectual property, important to the United States and Japan.

For big agricultural exporters such as Canada, New Zealand and Australia, access to Japan's markets might offset doubts about the intellectual property rules.

"Once it's clear that there is going to be a U.S.-Japan deal that is perceived to be a good deal for everybody ... there will be decisions made," the aide said. "There will be trade-offs, trade-offs not just in the market access talks but trade-offs within the rules package as well, across the entire agreement."

The joint statement also called on other trading partners to take steps needed to conclude the agreement, making clear the United States and Japan do not want to bear the burden alone.

"It's going to take all 12 countries, not two, in order for TPP to cross the finish line," said Alston & Bird policy adviser Eric Shimp, a former U.S. Trade Representative negotiator.

But Japan would likely have to go into more detail about its concessions to prompt Canada to open up its dairy and poultry markets.

"It's hard for me to see Canada offering more market access, or showing its hand, before Japan does. The sequence is fairly clear," said McDermott Will & Emery partner Jay Eizenstat, also a former USTR negotiator. - Reuters


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

600% more Chinese want to be cops

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The number of Chinese applying to join the police force has risen by more than 600% following a nationwide drive to recruit more constables from the community.

Bukit Aman assistant director of personnel (recruitment) Asst Comm Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said there were 3,881 applications as of last Tuesday and the police were optimistic of receiving over 5,000 applications by the time the campaign ends this Wednesday.

He said the campaign, which kicked off on March 3, had attracted a record number of applications from Chinese youths in two months compared to the whole of last year when only 500 Chinese applied for the post of constable. Recruitment is for youths aged between 18 and 28.

Increasing the Chinese presence would help promote national unity and enhance the force, he said, adding that most applicants came from Negri Sembilan, Johor and Pahang.

ACP Saiful said this was the first time a drive for constables was carried out and attributed the good response to the police's personal touch.

"Our officers went to the ground to address all the misconceptions and spoke to potential recruits and their families. Instead of focusing on malls, we went to semi-urban and rural areas in every state and worked closely with the community and non-governmental organisations.

"From our feedback, many Chinese youths are keen to join the force but don't know how to apply. They wait for recruitment advertisements, not knowing that application forms are online," he said, adding that the applicants would undergo a physical test and an interview next month.

"Hopefully, we can get them in after the Hari Raya holidays in July. If there are insufficient vacancies for those who pass the physical and interview stage, the applicants will be considered again next year."

He said there were many departments in the force that people were unaware about.

"We need translators, pilots, administrators, engineers and even IT experts to investigate white collar crimes."

The campaign aims to increase the number of Chinese policemen from 1,974 to over 5,000, or at least 5% of the force which currently has 115,000 uniformed personnel.

"The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will be briefed on the result of the campaign once it is over and he will decide what comes next," said ACP Saiful.

Application forms can be downloaded from

US President arrives in familiar style - a wave and casual pats

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SUBANG: With his customary single wave of the right hand and a heartening smile, US President Barack Obama walked out of Air Force One to begin his historic visit to Malaysia.

The scene of him waving "hello" on the steps of his presidential aircraft has been seen on TV many times since he took office in 2009, but this time, the 44th President of the United States, was here in the flesh.

The Boeing 747-200B touched down just past 5pm in fine weather and cool temperatures due to a heavy shower earlier.

Moments later, Cadillac One aka The Beast pulled up on the tarmac beside the aircraft.

Then, it was that moment the nation had been waiting for 48 years – the President of the United States emerging.

The charismatic Obama, looking dapper in his dark blue suit and rested despite his hectic trips to Tokyo and Seoul, hurried down the airstairs.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman was the first to greet the President, followed by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the minister-in-attendance.

Among the others standing in line were Wisma Putra secretary-general Datuk Othman Hashim, US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun and Special Envoy to the United States Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis. Together with them were also Americas Division Undersecre-tary Datuk Syed Sultan Mohd Idris and Ambasador-designate to the United States Datuk Awang Adek Hussin.

The president was seen exchanging words with those who greeted him, smiling and giving each a pat too.

Obama acknowledged scores of others who waited for him, some for as long as four hours, including a large number of media personnel.

He smiled and waved at them before being accompanied to The Beast by Khairy.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice joined him on the ride to Parliament House for the official welcoming ceremony.

The security protocol was extremely tight for the president's arrival, with journalists having to undergo three levels of identity checks.

The president's arrival was telecast live by the local TV networks. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first US president to visit Malaysia way back in 1966.

Obama: Draw strength from ethnic and religious diversity

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States and Malaysia can draw strength from their ethnic and religious diversity and hope from history to carve a brighter future for the next generation, says US president Barack Obama.

In his remarks at a state banquet hosted at Istana Negara here in conjunction with his three-day state visit to Malaysia, Obama said that while the United States and Malaysia may be different as nations, their people shared similar hopes and aspirations.

"I believe that whether we come from a remote village or a big city, whether we live in the United States or in Malaysia, we all share basic human aspirations – to live in dignity and peace.

"(We want) to shape our own destiny, to be able to make a living and to work hard and support a family. And most of all, to leave the next generation something better than what was left to us," he said.

At the banquet graced by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, Obama said these were the aspirations that can illuminate a new era of partnership between the US and Malaysia.

Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

The American president sprinkled his remarks with a few Bahasa Malaysia words, a gesture that was well-received by the audience, as shown by their appreciative applause.

At the start of the speech, he wished everyone selamat petang and ended it with terima kasih banyak.

In between, he used the word bekerjasama (teamwork) when touching on the partnership between the US and Malaysia, as well as "boleh spirit" in reference to the "Malaysia Boleh" mantra.

Obama alluded to a batik exhibition showcasing some of his mother's batik collection organised at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia two years ago, adding: "I'm deeply grateful to the people of Malaysia for celebrating that part of my mother's life. It was very kind of you."

He also thanked Malaysia for the "extraordinary hospitality" shown towards him and his delegation.

Obama flew into the Malaysian capital at 5pm yesterday for the visit to Malaysia as part of his four-nation tour of Asia that started in Japan, followed by South Korea while his final stop is the Philippines.

Earlier, the King expressed Malaysia's gratitude to the United States for its unwavering support in the search for the missing Flight MH370.

Tuanku Abdul Halim said: "Your involvement since the beginning of the search and rescue mission, and ongoing recovery operation, indeed exemplifies the strong commitment established between our two countries."

The King said he was pleased to see the ties between Malaysia and the United States "gaining so much traction, as over the years, our common interests and shared values have flourished". — Bernama


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'Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants' set to travel again

Posted: 25 Apr 2014 01:25 AM PDT

Stars of the original movie have reportedly been courted for another installment of the movie.

The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants is getting another sequel, as Alloy Entertainment is developing Sisterhood Everlasting, which is based on the book of the same title by bestselling author Ann Brashares, the company announced Wednesday.

While there are no deals in place with the original cast, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara and Amber Tamblyn have expressed interest in reprising their roles and are in various stages of discussions to return, an individual familiar with the sequel told TheWrap.

One member of the original Sisterhood is set to return, while Ken Kwapis will direct from a screenplay by Liz Garcia, who will adapt Brashares' novel.

Sisterhood Everlasting finds the four friends grown apart in the 10 years since the last film in the franchise, though Tibby tries to bridge the distance by reuniting the girls for a trip that will change their lives forever.

"The Sisterhood series is one of Alloy's most cherished properties and we are looking forward to continuing its legacy with Sisterhood Everlasting nearly a decade after the first film was released," said Alloy president Leslie Morgenstein, who will produce with Elysa Dutton and Christine Sacani.

"The original film brought together an incredible group of talent who we hope to unite for fans once again." Along with Alcon Entertainment, Alloy was responsible for the first two Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants films that were released in 2005 and 2008. — Reuters


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Zacharevic eyeing walls for artwork in Kuching

Posted: 25 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KUCHING: The artist who painted the now-erased mural in Johor depicting a snatch theft waiting to happen, is in the state capital for his latest project.

Fans of Ernest Zacharevic (pic) may catch of a glimpse of him in the vicinity of Carpenter Street and Main Bazaar here tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Lithuanian, who has not consented to interviews with local media, arrived here on Friday evening. This is his second trip to Sarawak, following a scouting tour late last year.

Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic will be showcasing over 20 brand new murals and installations from today  to Feb 14 daily from noon to 8pm at old Hin Company Bus Depot in Jalan Gurdwara. (Charles Mariasoosay - 16/01/2014)

Not much is known about what Zacharevic has planned for the city, except that he spent yesterday shortlisting a number of walls to be painted on, according to Spago Property Sdn Bhd's designer Elysia Chua.

The developer is sponsoring Zacharevic's work here, and Chua is a personnel on the mural project team.

"He's mainly looked at the old part of the city and seemed inspired. Zacharevic was very impressed with Kuching Waterfront," Chua told The Star yesterday.

"On Friday we brought him to see about five potential walls. Public interest is quite high. There are property owners whom have asked us to invite Zacharevic to view their walls."

Chua said Zacharevic indicated a suitable wall should be a "rustic" one with "special characteristics". The Lithuanian, known for his nostalgic pieces as well as social commentaries, has visited Santubong, Sarawak Cultural Village and the hotspring at Padawan.

Recently, Chua was seeking suggestions for walls from Netizens.

"We asked people via Facebook to submit their proposals to us. Response is not bad. They can still send," she said.

If all went according to plan, Zacharevic might start painting tomorrow. Interestingly, Chua indicated that the artist could embark on more than one piece here.

"For smaller pieces, he can do one overnight. The bigger ones, like those he did in Italy, took about four days. All I can confirm is that Zacharevic would like to begin on Sunday, but that he is scheduled to be here for a week," she said.

A team of videographers and photographers are arriving here today to document Zacharevic's work.

According to Chua, councils have also been consulted, which have assured that as long as properties to be painted on are privately owned, no official permission is needed.

On what the Lithuanian was like, Chua said he was reserved.

"He's shy but he opens up after you get to know him. He is very artistic, very knowledgable and philosophical."

Zacharevic has been active in the Malaysian arts scene for quite some time. Late last year, he made headlines for a piece in Johor that struck a chord with many.

The mural depicted a woman with a branded bag smiling and walking down the street — seemingly unaware that she was steps away from a masked, knife-wielding villain who was "lurking" around the corner.

Both characters were depicted as Lego figures.

The muralist's artwork began appearing around George Town in 2011, but did not gain much recognition until 2012 with his painting of a girl practising kung fu next to the Penang Goldsmiths Guild Temple along Muntri Street.

Since then, Zacharevic's distinctive style of interactive art has helped draw younger crowds to the Unesco World Heritage site to take their "selfies" with the famous artworks.

Spago Property's projects include Academia Lane near Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and the up-and-coming Greenwich South.


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Bali hijack alert passenger 'mistook cockpit for toilet'

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 12:40 AM PDT

DENPASAR, Indonesia, April 26, 2014 (AFP) - An Australian passenger who sparked a hijack alert on a flight to Bali has denied being drunk and claimed he banged on the door of the cockpit after mistaking it for the toilet, Indonesian police said Saturday.

Matt Christopher Lockley also said he was in a state of depression during the Virgin Australia flight Friday to the resort island, as he was searching for his Indonesian wife with whom he had lost contact, they said.

Security forces rushed to the airport on the Indonesian island when the Boeing 737-800 from Brisbane touched down following a report from the pilot of a hijacking attempt after a passenger started thumping on the cockpit door.

Lockley, wearing flip-flops, white shorts and a T-shirt, was dragged off the plane by heavily armed air force personnel and arrested by police. The alert prompted a shutdown of the airport and the diversion of several flights.

Indonesian officials initially said he had been drunk but police said Saturday the 28-year-old, who is in custody but has been admitted to hospital suffering from fatigue, has denied being under the influence of alcohol.

He told police that before flying he had taken only two pills of Voltaren, four pills of Panadol - both types of painkiller - and drank two bottles of Coca-Cola, Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto told AFP.

"According to him, he was not drunk but suffering from depression due to a family problem," the spokesman said, adding police were waiting for alcohol test results but there was no smell of drink on his breath when he was detained.

Lockley, from the northeast Australian state of Queensland, said that he was on his way to Bali to search for his Indonesian wife, with whom he had lost contact two weeks earlier, according to the spokesman.

In his depressed state, Lockley claimed to have been "having hallucinations that somebody followed him and wanted to steal his bag", Wiyanto said.

"According to him, he banged the cockpit door as he thought it was the toilet door."

Police said earlier that a stewardess said Lockley had asked for medicine before thumping on the cockpit door.

After this, the crew handcuffed him and put him in a seat at the back of the plane until it arrived in Bali.

Wiyanto said Lockley could be charged for breaking a law against risking passenger safety, punishable by a maximum jail term of two years and a fine of 500 million rupiah ($43,000).

A spokesman for the Australian embassy in Jakarta said: "We can confirm the arrest of a Queensland man following an incident on board the Virgin airline flight to (Balinese capital) Denpasar.

"The Australian consulate will provide consular assistance as required."

Chinese ships return to disputed waters after Obama Tokyo visit

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 12:36 AM PDT

TOKYO, April 26, 2014 (AFP) - Two Chinese coastguard ships sailed into waters around disputed islands in the East China Sea Saturday, the Japanese coastguard said, two days after US President Barack Obama delared his support for Japan.

The vessels entered 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) into Japan's territorial waters off one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, around noon (0300 GMT), the coastguard said.

It was the first such move since Obama announced Thursday that Washington would defend Japan, under the bilateral military alliance, if China initiates an attack in the tense territorial dispute.

China has already dismissed Obama's position, saying that the islands are "China's inherent territory."

Chinese ships last entered the area on April 12, according to the Japanese coastguard.

Chinese vessels and aircraft regularly approach the East China Sea archipelago - thought to harbour vast natural resources - after Japan nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest spate of incidents in a long-running territorial dispute.

Relations between Tokyo and Beijing have fallen to their lowest point for years.

Some observers warn they might come to blows over the islands, where ships from both sides lurk to press claims for ownership.


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Parents want test meds out now to keep boys with Duchenne alive

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Most boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy are in a wheelchair by 15 and in a casket before 30. Parents want to know then, why hasn't the US FDA approved an experimental drug that could save their sons?

A wheelchair by age 12, maybe 15 if he were one of the lucky ones. A ventilator would be next, and then would come the casket, probably before he turned 30. That was what Terri and Bill Ellsworth expected for their son when doctors confirmed his diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a debilitating and fatal disease striking one in 3,500 boys.

Instead, Billy has become an active, happy teenager who likes to dance to Beatles songs, walk around at classic car shows, hike on local trails, and jog in his living room along with avatars of Michael Jackson and Elton John he created for his Wii video game. He's like a lot of other 13-year-olds but for an awkward gait, and the Wednesday afternoons he spends at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for an infusion of an experimental drug that's keeping his disease at bay – and without any side effects.

Billy, of Coraopolis, Philadelphia, is one of a dozen Duchenne patients who are receiving eteplirsen as part of a clinical trial. The drug was expected only to slow the progression of the disease, but Billy and others in the trial are finding their symptoms are improving. Testing confirms that their lungs are getting stronger and their bodies are producing dystrophin, an essential protein that wasn't present in muscles biopsied two and a half years ago when the trial began.

Results astounded researchers. "I've done many, many clinical trials and never encountered one that was so clean, effective and very well tolerated," says principal investigator Dr Jerry Mandell, Ohio State University professor of medicine and director of gene therapy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, where testing was initially conducted. For the 12 boys and their families, it's a miracle drug. But other Duchenne patients can't access it because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't yet approved it.

Terri Ellsworth and other mothers are lobbying regulators to expedite approval under a 2012 law that encourages faster reviews of breakthrough therapies that address unmet medical needs for rare and life-threatening diseases. They spent the past month collecting signatures on a petition they sent to the White House urging the administration to expedite approvals of drugs that treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The White House has promised to respond publicly in writing to petitions with at least 100,000 signatures. The Duchenne petition reached that threshold a few days ago.

Duchenne parents believe eteplirsen meets all the requirements for expedited approval, and they're urging action now because their children are running out of time. They were hopeful last July when the FDA expressed interest in eteplirsen, but were disappointed when the agency came back three months later and paused the process, saying government scientists needed more data from drug developer Sarepta Therapeutics. The Massachusetts-based company is awaiting more direction from the agency.

"FDA's drug approval process requires well-controlled clinical trials that provide the necessary scientific data," agency spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said in an email message, noting she couldn't discuss specific cases under review. "If a drug product is to be marketed, well-controlled clinical trials are needed to ensure that the drug is safe and effective when used as indicated."

The issue seems to be the size of the sample, not the quality of the research, says Mandell. He knows his trial was small, but its results were clear. All 12 boys showed increased dystrophin production and clinical improvement or stabilisation well beyond expectations for patients whose muscles normally degenerate rapidly. "We didn't breach any acceptable protocol. Everything was done according to the way it should be done," Mandell says.

Billy Ellsworth likes to watch the cats that live outside his home in Coraopolis, Pa., March 27, 2014. He is part of a clinical trial for eteplirsen, a drug that has not only slowed the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but also improved his symptoms. (Rebecca Droke/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/MCT)

Billy Ellsworth likes to watch the cats that live outside his home. As a boy who imagined himself in a wheelchair by now, he appreciates even simpler things. – MCT

The delay is astounding to Dr Steve Wilton, a neurologist at Murdoch University in Australia who developed the science behind eteplirsen while working at the University of Western Australia. "There is no doubt that more trials will give more information, but from what I have seen, the data is very compelling that eteplirsen is working as anticipated," he says. "It's obvious that it's working."

More trials would cost money and, worse, time – at least four years. "The FDA may have the time but our boys don't have time," Terri Ellsworth says. "I'm watching my friends' boys losing ambulation daily, weekly." Her son is sure that without eteplirsen he would be like them. "I would probably not be walking," says Billy, who has been helping his mum advocate for FDA approval so others can access the drug. "I want to help them because I want them to do the things I can do."

The delay has been devastating to parents who had hoped the drug would be on the market early next year. In a form letter, the FDA has been telling parents and others who inquire that the scientists who are reviewing eteplirsen have not yet reached any conclusions.

"We are prevented by legal regulations from divulging this information or our assessment of this information, making it hard to understand FDA's evolving position," wrote Catherine Chew, acting director of the Division of Drug Information at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Please know that we hear your frustration, and fully understand the dire urgency of the situation. We understand that you feel that eteplirsen is highly effective. FDA's ongoing analyses of eteplirsen and other drugs for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy are based on thorough and extensive assessment of all data and information by a large multi-disciplinary team of FDA scientists."

Parents know that side effects could emerge years down the road, but that's a risk they are willing to take to save their dying boys. "Parents are willing to take the risk because we have no alternative," Terri Ellsworth says. "The alternative is death."

For UCLA researchers Carrie Miceli and Stan Nelson, the search for a cure for muscular dystrophy is a personal cause. Their son Dylan Miceli-Nelson suffers from Duchenne, a fatal genetic disorder. In these photos from 2010, when Dylan was 9, Carrie plays handball with him and Stan performs stretching exercises on their son. - Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/MCT

How Eteplirsen Works

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is caused by a mutation, or error, in the gene responsible for production of dystrophin, a protein that stabilises muscle cells. Without dystrophin, normal activity causes excessive damage to muscles – first limb muscles, and later, other muscles including the heart. Over time, the progressive damage causes muscle cells to die, and they are replaced by fibrotic tissue and fat.

Eteplirsen works by directing the cellular machinery to skip exon 51, a small part of the dystrophin gene, to correct genetic mutations. That allows enough dystrophin production to transform Duchenne muscular dystrophy into Becker, a less severe form of the disease. About 13% of patients with the disease have genetic mutations that could be corrected with eteplirsen.

If approved, it would be the first drug on the market to treat muscular dystrophy. Approval would encourage Sarepta and other pharmaceutical companies to develop more exon-skipping genes that address the larger number of Duchenne patients with other genetic mutations in the dystrophin gene. "The longer it takes to get eteplirsen approved, the longer it will take to get started on (approving) these other compounds," including several that are nearly ready for clinical trials, Wilton says.

That's a big concern for Amy Aikins of Seneca in Venango County, Philadelphia. Her nine-year-old son Elijah has a form of Duchenne muscular dystrophy characterised by a different genetic mutation. Eteplirsen won't help him, but another exon-skipping compound might.

Mendell hopes approval of exon-skipping drugs like eteplirsen would lead to routine muscular-dystrophy tests for newborns so children can be treated before symptoms appear. Such tests already are available but aren't done routinely because there are no approved treatments.

Meanwhile, Duchenne parents are growing increasingly frustrated – and increasingly vocal. "I know this drug works. It more than works. It's reversing symptoms in Billy. He's doing things he couldn't do before," Terri Ellsworth says. "You would not know this kid has Duchenne. He has coordination and stamina."

Billy is hiking, jogging, kicking a ball around his yard, and dreaming of dancing on television with Ellen DeGeneres. As a boy who imagined himself in a wheelchair by now, he appreciates even simpler things. "I can climb into my bed without help. I can open water bottles and Jell-o cups. I can climb uphill without help," Billy says.

It's a different story for Elijah, whose physical decline is apparent from one month to the next. He used to walk more easily up stairs but now uses his arms on the railing to drag himself up, says his mother. Elijah knows he will be in a wheelchair before long, and he's starting to have questions about death that no nine-year-old should have.

"There's a chance to give my son a better life," Aikins says. "If we do nothing, we know what's going to happen. We know." – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services


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