Monday, September 30, 2013

Lesen kontraktor masjid runtuh digantung jika gagal patuhi prosedur - ( M4L4YS14 )

Lesen kontraktor yang terbabit dalam pembinaan Masjid Kampung Tebauk di Kuala Terengganu yang runtuh sebahagian bumbung dan silingnya semalam boleh ditarik balik jika mereka didapati gagal mematuhi prosedur ditetapkan.

Menegaskan demikian, Pengarah Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia (CIDB) Terengganu, Ahmad Farrin Mokhtar berkata Jabatan Kerja Raya akan menjalankan siasatan penuh mengenai kejadian itu.

Menurutnya, jika kontraktor terlibat didapati cuai atau tidak mengikut prosedur kerja ditetapkan, maka ia bakal berdepan tindakan tatatertib mengikut Akta Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia (CIDB) 1994.

“Menerusi maklumat awal yang kita lakukan, kontraktor berkenaan memang berdaftar dengan CIDB dan penuhi akta yang ditetapkan dan kita akan serahkan laporan kejadian ini kepada ibu pejabat.

“Kita juga akan melantik panel tatatertib yang terdiri daripada pegawai kanan CIDB yang akan menilai kes berkenaan sebelum hukuman penggantungan lesen dikenakan,” katanya kepada pemberita di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata semasa projek itu dijalankan kontraktor dan pembekal berkenaan berdaftar dengan CIDB.

Awal pagi semalam sebahagian bumbung dan siling ruang kedua solat Masjid Kampung Tebauk runtuh.

Insiden itu dipercayai berlaku pukul 4 pagi ini melibatkan kira-kira 20% bahagian masjid itu yang siap dibina dua tahun lepas melibatkan kos RM5.7 juta dan boleh memuatkan 1,000 jemaah. – Bernama, 30 September, 2013.



Serdang Hospital contractor in trouble for alleged shoddy workmanship - ( M4L4YS14 )

The contractor who built the Serdang Hospital is being investigated for the shoddy workmanship which led to the collapse of the maternity ward ceiling early today.

Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof said he is waiting for a report from his team of experts.

“I also have a lot of questions on this incident,” he told reporters at the parliament lobby.

The Serdang Hospital has been plagued by a host of problems since it was opened in December 2005.

In 2011, the ceiling at the hospital’s main lobby collapsed. 

In August last year, three nurses and a female medical officer at the Emergency Department were injured after when 15 ceiling pieces measuring 2 ft x 2 ft each collapsed.

On the collapse of the roof of the Kampung Tebauk Mosque in Bukit Tunggal, Terengganu, Fadillah said the building was under the purview of the state government.

“We can only provide technical expertise to ascertain the cause of the collapse,” he said.


 



Jamil Khir sokong kempen pemilihan Umno guna Facebook - ( M4L4YS14 )

Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom hari ini menyokong penggunaan saluran laman sosial untuk calon berkempen dalam pemilihan Umno Oktober ini.

Menurut Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri itu penggunaan saluran tersebut merupakan alternatif yang wajar digunakan memandangkan pemilihan kali ini disertai lebih dari 100 calon.

“Tidak ada salahnya berkempen menggunakan saluran ini selagi tidak melanggar peraturan dan ia boleh digunakan oleh semua calon kerana ini merupakan persaingan yang sihat

“Malah saya sendiri memilih menggunakan khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS) sebagai salah satu medium dalam kempen saya,” katanya kepada media selepas Majlis Penyampaian Bantuan Kewangan bagi pembinaan Akademi Tahfiz Darul Abrar di Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur.

Sebelum ini Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pemilihan Umno negeri, Datuk Muda Mamat, berkata calon yang akan bertanding pada mesyuarat pemilihan Umno dibenar menggunakan saluran laman sosial dan SMS.

Bagaimana pun calon ditegah mengadakan bentuk pertemuan dan menggunakan wang bagi mempengaruhi perwakilan, termasuk menganjurkan majlis makan malam.

Selain itu, calon yang berjawatan dalam pentadbiran kerajaan negeri termasuk Ahli Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan negeri ditegah menggunakan kedudukan untuk mempengaruhi perwakilan, terutama mengadakan majlis kepartian untuk berkempen. – 30 September, 2013.

MENYUSUL LAGI



Goggins headed for “Mojave” - ( M4L4YS14 )

30 Sep – Walton Goggins who starred as Billy Crash in Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western “Django Unchained” has taken up a new project under William Monahan for the film “Mojave”.

Monahan has previously won an Academy Award for the script of “The Departed” and directed his first film “London Boulevard” before starting up on this current project. “Mojave” has already locked in two leading men for the film, Jason Clarke and Oscar Isaac.

Clarke appeared in “Lawless” and is acclaimed for his work in “Zero Dark Thirty”. Isaac was part of “The Bourne Legacy” and “10 years”, which could see him scoring an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. He’s also staying musical next year, appearing as the lead in the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis”.

Garrett Hedlund and Louise Bourgoin are also appearing in “Mojave”, which finds a near-suicidal artist fleeing to the desert in order to confront an existential crisis. But though he craves solitude and peace to figure out his issues, he’s dogged at every turn by a homicidal drifter who also shows signs of genius intelligence.

Goggins already has an impressive resume, in between working with the likes of Spielberg for “Lincoln”, Tarantino for “Django Unchained” and Robert Rodriguez for “Machete Kills”. He also scored an Emmy nomination for his work on TV’s “Justified”.



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fight fair, DAP tells Barisan Nasional - ( M4L4YS14 )

Lim Guan Eng urged Barisan Nasional to fight fair and not resort to using the Registrar of Societies in trying to take down the DAP.

“Don’t try to finish us off using the RoS. Be a man and fight us fairly. Defeat us in the national polls,” Lim, referring to the Registrar of Societies, told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

The DAP secretary-general pointed out that the fact his party’s delegates had re-elected the same 20 central executive committee members at yesterday’s special congress was a clear indication there was no cheating when polls were held last December.

“It was clean and fair. So why does RoS want to toy around with us?” he asked.

MORE TO COME.



‘Breaking Bad’ creator cooks up a dark ending for Walt White as series concludes - ( M4L4YS14 )

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The journey of anti-hero Walter White came to a dark end on Sunday when fans of “Breaking Bad” finally learned the fate of the chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin, as AMC’s cult drug drama concluded after a five-season run.

Emmy-winning “Breaking Bad” has captured audiences with its gritty plot about Walter, played by Bryan Cranston, a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who turns to cooking methamphetamine with ex-student Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, in order to make money for his family. Walt’s chemistry skills allow him to create the purest meth available, which becomes known as “blue sky.” Its popularity in the market leads Walt to eventually becoming a drug kingpin known as Heisenberg.

Sunday’s 75-minute finale, entitled “Felina,” saw Walt return to his deserted family home, retrieve a vial of ricin he hid in the wall, and embark on his final mission to tie up the loose ends left by his crumbled drug empire.

Walt visits the gang of white supremacists he had once contracted to kill Jesse, but who instead stole his drug money earnings and kidnapped Jesse to cook the ‘blue sky’ meth. Walt sets up an automatic rifle in his car that discharges when he goes into the white supremacist compound, killing the gang and freeing Jesse from captivity.

Walt takes a bullet but stays alive long enough to call meth dealer Lydia, the last remaining link to his drug empire, to tell her he poisoned her with ricin. Walt watches Jesse drive away a free man, and draws his last breaths in the meth lab at the compound as the police finally catch up with him.

Walt’s death was one of the probable endings that audiences predicted ahead of the finale, especially as his cancer had returned in the fifth season and his path into darkness saw him lose the support of the people closest to him.

In one poignant scene where Walt sees his wife Skyler for the last time, he finally reveals his reasons for taking the dark path into the meth empire.

“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really, I was alive,” Walt tells Skyler, after he gives her coordinates to the site where his police officer brother-in-law Hank was buried in the desert after being shot in the head by Walt’s contracted neo-Nazi gang in an earlier episode.

“Breaking Bad” become the hot topic on Twitter on Sunday, with the hashtag #GoodbyeBreakingBad trending throughout the day. As Walt’s journey came in an end, the majority of fan reactions were positive, with many calling the ending “perfect.”

“We needed to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts … we needed a resolution,” Vince Gilligan, creator of “Breaking Bad,” said in AMC’s post-finale show “Talking Bad.”

Paul added: “What I thought was great was that Walt died protecting Jesse.”

‘EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF GOOD AND BAD’

Walt’s journey from a mild-mannered school teacher into a manipulative drug lord saw him descend the circles of hell as he loses his family and identity to become the cold, calculating Heisenberg.

“In looking into this character and what happens to him and the transformation, I really believe that everybody is capable of good or bad,” Cranston, who won three best actor Emmys for his portrayal of Walt, said at last month’s Television Critics Association panels in Beverly Hills.

“I think, if given the right set of circumstances, dire situations, any one of us can become dangerous,” he added.

AMC, owned by AMC Networks Inc., split the final season of “Breaking Bad” in two, the first half airing in 2012 and the second in 2013. The second half of the final season, which began in August, saw an average of 5.2 million viewers tuning in to see the conclusion of Walt’s saga, more than double last year’s audience for the show, according to AMC.

Online streaming site Netflix is credited with helping boost viewership for “Breaking Bad,” giving audiences a chance to binge-watch earlier seasons to quickly catch up.

On Sunday, Paul hosted a viewing party of the final episode at the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles. Paul joined cast members including RJ Mitte, who plays Walt Jr., driving onto the stage in the rusty RV that Walt and Jesse first cooked meth in, and emerged wearing yellow Hazmat suits, welcomed by hundreds of excited fans, attendee Terri Schwartz told Reuters.

The event raised more than $ 2 million for charity, and Paul surprised fans by posing for pictures ahead of the screening. Many of the show’s celebrity fans, including actor Ewan McGregor and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, attended the event.

“It’s the final night of ‘Breaking Bad.’ It’s devastating, I know. I can’t thank you enough for coming out,” Paul said, before enthusiastically kicking off the screening of the finale with Jesse’s trademark phrase “Yeah, bitch!”

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Stacey Joyce)



Lawyers question criteria for promoting judges - ( M4L4YS14 )

Six top judges are slated to be promoted to the Federal Court and Court of Appeal today against a backdrop of unhappiness in Malaysia’s Bar Council for not being consulted on the latest judicial appointments.

The Bar Council is unsure whether these judges are being promoted on merit or seniority. In today’s promotion, Court of Appeal judges Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin, Datuk Ramly Ali and Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali will be elevated to the Federal Court.

High Court judges Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid will be promoted to the Court of Appeal.

The council, which covers all lawyers in West Malaysia, also feels it should have been consulted as it is an important stakeholder in the administration of justice in the country.

One view is that it harked back to 1988 when the dismissal of then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas sparked a judicial crisis.

“There was no communication due to bad relationship between the (Bar) council and the judiciary then,” past council president Ragunath Kesavan told The Malaysian Insider.

Current council president Christopher Leong when contacted said neither his nor the council’s views were sought this time.

“I am only invited to attend the oath taking ceremony for the judges at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya tomorrow (Monday),” he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

In previous years, the chief justice made it a point to consult the council on the appointment of federal and appellate court judges.

Leong’s immediate predecessor, Lim Chee Wee, who held the post from 2011 to 2013, said the chief justice had sought the council’s feedback when appointments and promotions were made.

Ragunath, who was council president between 2009 and 2011, said then chief justice Tun Zaki Azmi consulted him before the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) discussed the elevation of judges.

“Whatever reservations some may have about Zaki, he displayed respect for the council and did not ignore us even after the JAC was set up in 2009,” he said.

“This time around the legal fraternity is wondering whether judges were promoted based on merit or seniority,” he added.

Ragunath also wondered if the failure to obtain the views of the council was a return of the practice soon after the judicial crisis in 1988 following the dismissal of Salleh.

In today’s ceremony, the promoted judges will receive their letters of appointment from Yang di Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah prior to taking their oath of office before Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Raus Sharif.

Two senior Court of Appeal judges Datuk Abdul Malik Ishak and Datuk Mohd Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus have been overlooked in the current promotion exercise.

Abang Iskandar and Umi Kalthum have leapfrogged several High Court judges to become Court of Appeal judges.

Abu Samah and Ramly were from the Legal and Judicial Service while Apandi was in private practice from 1982 before he was appointed a judicial commisioner in 2003.

Abu Samah, who has been in the Court of Appeal since 2007, has presided over several cases relating to administrative and constitutional law.

One was that non-Muslim lawyers can practise syariah law in the Federal Territories.

Ramly was a chief registrar of the Federal Court and Registrar of Companies before being appointed judicial commissioner in 2000.

He was made High Court judge in 2002 and elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2009.

Ramly was the presiding judge two weeks ago when a three-man bench ruled that lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was qualified as deputy public prosecutor to lead the prosecution team appointed to appeal a High Court ruling which acquitted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy.

Apandi was on the bench that acquitted two former policemen of murdering Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

He was also in the majority that held that public assemblies require police permits and the Police Act 1967 was a valid law.

Apandi also chaired the bench which heard Putrajaya’s appeal to set aside a High Court decision that a Catholic weekly newspaper is allowed to use the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section. The court is scheduled to deliver judgment in October.

In the case of Zakaria, he is the most senior of High Court judges, having been elevated in 2004.

Abang was made High Court judge in 2009 and has presided over several high-profile cases including the Malaysiakini appeal for a print licence and the Sime Darby-E&O case. Umi Kalthum was elevated to the bench in 2011.

Former council president Datuk Param Cumarasawamy said a representative of the lawyers must be a member of the JAC to discuss judicial appointments.

“In a number of Commonwealth countries, the Bar Council president is a member of the JAC to give his input,” he said.

Param, who is also a former United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, said there must be some transparency and accountability in the elevation of judges.

In the past the chief justice recommended names to the Prime Minister who then submitted the list to the king. The Council of Rulers then endorsed the names.

The JAC states that the prime minister must uphold the independence of the judiciary, provide support necessary to enable them to exercise their function, and that public interest must be represented in the administration of justice.

Under the present make-up, the chief justice now becomes JAC chairman. The others in the JAC are the Court of Appeal president, the chief judges of the High Courts of Malaya, and Sabah and Sarawak, and a senior Federal Court judge.

The JAC Act states that four eminent persons are appointed after consulting the Bar Council of Malaysia, Sabah Law Association, The Advocates Association of Sarawak, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and other relevant bodies. – September 30, 2013



For Umno Youth chief hopefuls, a hot battle online - ( M4L4YS14 )

PETALING JAYA, Sept 30 — Akhramsyah Sanusi seems to be making inroads in the Umno Youth chief race as he puts pressure on incumbent Khairy Jamaluddin on his Malay agenda with the slogan “Hidup Melayu”.

However, his campaign has yet to give him the advantage he needed, according to observers who are watching the son of former party secretary-general Tan Sri Sanusi Junid attempting to unseat Khairy.

The contest, seen as “battle of proxies” between former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Sanusi — who was known for being the party strategist — is attracting bloggers who were part of those who had pressured Abdullah to step down four years ago.

Observers say Akhramsyah has yet to sink his feet into the movement as Khairy has still got a strong hold.

The latest issue was the Enchant Project 1MST (1Malaysia Spiritual Tourism) in Maran, Pahang, where the developer admitted receiving financial aid from the government.

Akhramsyah has called on the government to cancel the project as continuing it would invite angry response from various quarters, and this has got backing from some bloggers who are calling on Khairy to give his take on this.

Akhramsyah faced an uphill battle in the last two weeks after registration for the contest as several youth members lodged nine police reports alleging that he lied about heading Malaysian Youth Council (MYC).

The battle got pro-Akhramsyah bloggers into the act by producing newspapers reports about Akhramsyah being installed as MYC chief and calling on the movement’s members who lodged the police report to show proof of their allegations.

Khairy has been quiet in the campaign trail as he continues with his ministry’s work leaving the campaigning to his people whom he had probably briefed on how and what line to campaign on.

The use of bloggers and blogs seem to be the main platform in the battle as Umno Youth members seem to be able to pick up the issues fast and relayed them to those in rural areas who will be the movement’s delegates on October 12 voting.

Despite this, both contenders have been going round the country meeting up delegates and selling their concepts, which in reality does not appease the delegates at all.

One delegate said: “We already know what we want… so whatever both said, we just smiled and nodded… the reality is we all know who to vote already.”



Condition for Umno Supreme Council candidates can be retained or relaxed, says Ali Rustam – Bernama - ( M4L4YS14 )

Former Melaka chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the condition for candidates wishing to contest Umno Supreme Council (MT) seats can be retained or relaxed.

“I leave it to the election committee and the candidates. For me, it can be retained or relaxed,” he said after presenting loans to five young entrepreneurs organised by Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB) today.

Candidates wishing to contest Supreme Council seats must be former MT members or former members of division committees for at least one term.

At the event, Ali, who is also PUNB chairman invited youths to grab financing opportunities through online business, a first offered by PUNB.

He said RM163 million had been disbursed to 416 Bumiputra companies as loan to expand their business from January to September this year. – Bernama, September 29, 2013.



Sun shines on ‘Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs’ sequel - ( M4L4YS14 )

Animated sequel “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2″ shone at the North American box office this weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The follow-up to the 2009 movie based on the eponymous children’s book about a food-making machine that spins out of control and bombards a town with meatballs took an estimated $ 35 million in its opening weekend.

The Sony Pictures Animation film knocked crime thriller “Prisoners” into second place, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The film, starring Hugh Jackman as a desperate parent in search of his child and Jake Gyllenhaal as the detective in charge of the investigation, pulled in $ 11.3 million in its second weekend, taking its total to $ 39 million.

In third place was Formula One motorsport drama “Rush,” Ron Howard’s acclaimed account of the famous duel for the 1976 world championship between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, earning $ 10.3 million in its opening weekend.

Fourth spot was occupied by “Baggage Claim,” a romantic comedy about a lovelorn flight attendant who traverses America looking for Mr Right. The film debuted with $ 9.3 million.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s raunchy comedy-drama “Don Jon,” written and directed by “The Dark Knight Rises” actor, took fifth with $ 9 million in receipts. The film sees Gordon-Levitt play a porn addict who seeks to change his ways in order to win the woman of his dreams played by Scarlett Johansson.

Horror sequel “Insidious: Chapter 2″ slid to sixth place, taking $ 6.7 million. The film, starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson as a haunted husband and wife, is a follow-up to the successful 2010 horror flick “Insidious.”

In seventh spot was “The Family,” starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as members of a mafia clan in witness protection living under the radar in France, earned $ 3.7 million.

Comedy-drama “Instructions Not Included,” Eugenio Derbez’s movie about a Mexican playboy who is suddenly presented with a child from a previous liaison and forced to become a father, came in eighth place, taking in $ 3.4 million.

Adult comedy “We’re The Millers,” about a bogus family attempting to smuggle drugs into the United States from Mexico, was in ninth place with $ 2.9 million.

Meanwhile, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” took in $ 2.4 million to round out the top 10. The Oscar-tipped drama, about the civil rights era as seen through the eyes of a black White House servant played by Forest Whitaker, has earned $ 110.3 million since its release.



Iran taps Farhadi film ‘Le Passe’ for Oscars entry - ( M4L4YS14 )

Iran has submitted “Le Passe,” the latest film from “Une Separation” director Asghar Farhadi, for Oscars consideration in a move opposed by conservatives, who say the film is too French.

“Le Passe” (The Past) tells the story of an Iranian (played by Ali Mosaffa) who returns to France after four years away to sign divorce papers with his French wife Marie (Berenice Bejo).

During the journey, he uncovers a great secret weighing on Marie, her daughters and her new boyfriend.

Farhadi won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012 for “Une Separation” (A Separation), the story of an Iranian couple wrestling with whether to leave the country or remain to care for an ailing parent.

The Fars news agency, considered close to conservatives, criticised the decision, saying “Le Passe” was not only filmed in France but made with entirely French financing.

“Contrary to ‘La Separation,’ there is nothing Iranian in this film apart from a character who could have come from any other country,” it said.

“It would have been preferable to select a purely Iranian film like ‘Dar-Band,’ which would have presented a more realistic image of Iran,” it said, referring to another Iranian contender by Parviz Shahbazi.



‘Meatballs’ sequel swallows up U.S., Canadian box office - ( M4L4YS14 )

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The sequel to “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” where fruits, vegetables and cheeseburgers come to life, devoured rivals at the movie box office by taking in $ 35 million in ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2″ outpaced car racing drama “Rush,” which pulled in $ 10.3 million from Friday through Sunday to finish third, behind last week’s winner, Hugh Jackman drama “Prisoners,” which made $ 11.3 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The “Cloudy” sequel, featuring the voices of Bill Hader and Anna Faris, follows a 2009 hit that saw the fictional island of Swallow Falls devoured by giant food that plunges from the sky.

In the new installment, the food comes to life and evolves into “foodimals” that include a hippopotamus, eggplanatee and a cheespider, a cheeseburger with sesame-seed eyes and french fry legs.

“Rush,” from Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, tells the story of the 1976 battle for the Formula One racing championship. Chris Hemsworth stars as Englishman James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as his rival, Austrian Niki Lauda.

“Prisoners” stars Jackman as a father on a desperate search for his missing daughter.

Sony Corp’s movie studio released “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” “Rush” was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp. “Prisoners” was released by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Eric Beech)



Malaysia identifies strategic areas to strengthen ties with the United States – Bernama - ( M4L4YS14 )

Malaysia has identified several areas and investments to further strengthen collaboration with the United States, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

It is necessary for Malaysia to acquire extensive knowledge in the areas to further empower efforts toward achieving developed nation and high-income nation status.

The prime minister said this at a media conference before ending his working
visit to San Francisco and New York today.

Among the strategic areas are information technology, biotechnology and science and technology that can be used by Malaysia to enhance knowledge and learning of science and technology.

Najib, who is also Finance minister said in his visit this time he also encouraged US companies to increase their investments in Malaysia not only in quantity but also the application of new technology.

On his series of meetings with investors, traders and corporate members and American scientists in San Francisco and New York, Najib said they were very receptive to his presentation.

Also present at the gathering were the prime minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his wife and Malaysian Special Envoy to the US, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis. The prime minister and his wife are expected to return to Malaysia today. – Bernama, September 29, 2013.



Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf in European debut - ( M4L4YS14 )

The Gazan winner of the Arab Idol talent competition, a rare symbol of Palestinian unity, is to give his first concert outside the Arab world in The Hague on Sunday.

Mohammed Assaf, 24, became a national hero when he won the pan-Arab contest in June after transfixing millions of television viewers with his soaring renditions of Arab love ballads and patriotic Palestinian songs.

“I am happy, this is an opportunity to be in front of a non-Arab audience, and that’s a good thing,” Assaf told AFP in an interview. “I’d like to reach out to the world.”

Organisers said they expected the 800 tickets for the young heartthrob’s concert in The Hague’s town hall on Sunday night, his first outside the Middle East and north Africa, to be sold out.

“Music is a unifying message,” Assaf said.

“Maybe there are different audiences, or the techniques are different in the Middle East and in Europe and America, but what I know is music is something that when people first hear, they love.”

Assaf arrived in The Netherlands from his new home in Dubai and had dinner with Arab ambassadors on Saturday evening, a spokesman for the Palestinian delegation in The Netherlands, Roel Raterink, told AFP.

Organisers said Palestinians from Germany and Belgium are also expected to travel to The Netherlands for the concert, which will also be attended by most Arab ambassadors.

Israel in August took the exceptional step of allowing Assaf to move from the Gaza Strip to the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a “humanitarian gesture”.

Israel has maintained a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza since 2006 which was tightened further when the Islamist movement Hamas seized control there the following year.

Assaf said he was now living in Dubai “because of the conditions in my country”.

“Because of the siege, it is easier for me to go to Dubai, it makes travel easier because I have concerts in some Arab countries and in Europe, and in America over the next months.”

No Israeli diplomats will be attending. Israeli President Shimon Peres is on a visit to Amsterdam at the same time, the Israeli embassy said.

One-time wedding crooner Assaf was also to meet members of The Netherlands’ Palestinian community before heading to Italy for another European concert, Raterink said.

Born to Palestinian parents in Misrata, Libya, Assaf grew up in the teeming Khan Yunis refugee camp in southern Gaza before winning the 2013 edition of Arab Idol in Beirut in June.

His victory sparked scenes of jubilation across the Palestinian territories.

The week after he won, Assaf performed in front of some 40,000 fans in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The contest in Beirut transfixed the viewing public with Assaf’s story which saw him sneaking out of Gaza, nearly missing his initial audition in Cairo, and then only making it through after a fellow Gazan pulled out.

Palestinians remain divided between the Islamist Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip and its Fatah rival which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

On his return to Gaza in June, Assaf called for an end to the “division” with the West Bank, and urged unity between Palestinians.

While this is his first performance in Europe as Arab Idol winner, he says he went to summer camp in France in 2003 and performed in Marseille in 2006.

“We took first prize for a cultural song. I was singing and there were guys dancing the debke, an Arab dance,” he said.



DAP elections: Status quo for top leaders, more votes for Zairil - ( M4L4YS14 )

PETALING JAYA, Sept 29 — DAP delegates sent a clear message to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) by re-electing the same 20 people as the ones chosen in the ‘illegal’ party council polls held last year.

Compelled to re-hold elections by the regulatory body, the opposition party’s grassroots voted in the same central executive committee (CEC) lineup that made the cut in the party’s December polls, which the RoS later declared illegal.

Many more of the 2,000-plus delegates who qualified to vote also chose to cast their ballot for the sole Malay representative on the committee, Zairil Khir Johari, pushing his ranking from the bottom rung in December to 12th spot this time around.

The young politician garnered 1,132 votes or 329 more than the 803 votes in the December 15 party leadership election last year.

“I’d like to congratulate those elected and those who cast their votes because they endorsed the decision made by last year’s congress and they elected the same lineup,” party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told a press conference after holding a brief meeting with the newly elected lineup here.

Many more of the 2,000-plus delegates who qualified to vote also chose to cast their ballot for Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari, pushing his ranking from the bottom rung in December to 12th spot this time around.

The young politician was the sole Malay representative on the committee and garnered 1,132 votes or 329 more than the 803 votes he netted in the December 15 party leadership election last year.

Zairil’s position in the CEC would likely help the DAP dispel its Chinese chauvinist stigma although Lim admitted that more must be done to improve the party’s standing among the country’s Malay majority.

“We have always wanted to show that we are a party for Malaysians. Whether or not it dispel (the allegation), we still have to tackle the negative perception,” he told The Malay Mail Online.

But Lim again stressed that the most important outcome of the elections is the polls results reaffirms the decision made by the grassroots in the December congress and that the party must respect it.

“We are a democratic party and we must respect their choice but what is most important is it reaffirms the decision of the congress last year,” he said.

Apart from Zairil, academic Dr. Ariffin Omar was the other Malay who was appointed rather than elected into the council.

Ariffin was also made a vice chairmen, in an apparent move to strengthen the DAP’s multiracial credentials.

Meanwhile the party maintained all of the office bearers appointed in the December congress.

The polls result also produced a surprise when Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong obtained the highest votes at 1,438, topping party veteran Lim Kit Siang who garnered 1,436 votes.

Kit Siang was first in the last polls.

National chairman Karpal Singh, on the other hand bagged third position with 1,432 votes while his son Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, obtained the fourth highest votes with 1,409 votes, with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng following closely with 1,304 votes.

Others voted into the CEC are:

  • Chong Chieng Jen (1,294 votes)
  • Anthony Loke (1,263 votes)
  • Chow Kon Yeow (1,203 votes)
  • Fong Kui Lun (1,193)
  • Teng Chang Kim (1,164)
  • Tony Pua (1,158)
  • Teresa Kok (1,127)
  • Chong Eng (1,111)
  • M. Kulasegaran (1,088)
  • Tan Kok wai (1,088)
  • Teo Nie Ching (1,081)
  • Boo Cheng Hau (961)
  • Nga Kor Ming  (956)
  • Ngeh Koo Ham (809)



Cowell’s ex ‘upsets girlfriend’ - ( M4L4YS14 )

Simon Cowell’s girlfriend is reportedly “upset” by his ex’s words.

Lauren Silverman is currently pregnant with the music mogul’s first child. Simon’s former partner Sinitta recently confessed she felt “betrayed” by the pair’s good news as he was against having children during their relationship in the ‘80s.

While Simon has supported the mother-to-be she is said to feel hurt by Sinitta’s comments and is worried about how close her boyfriend remains with his old flames, also including Terri Seymour, Mezhgan Hussainy and Jackie St. Clair.

“Lauren was really upset by Sinitta’s words. After reading the interview she said it was ‘extremely hurtful’ to take while she’s pregnant with Simon’s baby,” an insider told British magazine Closer. “She must feel vulnerable having Simon’s exes so close by – and she needs him to concentrate on her. She wants Sinitta to stop living in the past, to accept they are in love and find her own man.”

The 53-year-old star dated Sinitta after she became his and Fanfare Record’s first artist signing in the ‘80s. They have remained close friends ever since, even after their relationship ended, but Simon is now putting Lauren first and is said to be thinking about living in the US.

“Simon’s friends have told him Sinitta’s outburst was in part caused because she was devastated after hearing reports he was going to set up a home with Lauren in New York,” the source added. “She doesn’t want to close their close relationship. Simon doesn’t like to see Lauren upset and he’s told Sinitta she needs to respect the mother of his child. He just wants them to get on because he doesn’t ever want to have to cut ties with Sinitta.”

© Cover Media



Zairil gets bigger majority as same set of DAP leaders elected in fresh CEC polls - ( M4L4YS14 )

The same set of leaders were returned in the fresh election to the DAP Central Executive Committe ordered by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) with Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari  elected with a higher majority, proving the party’s critics wrong that it is anti-Malay.

He is the sole Malay to be voted into the 20-member CEC.

He polled 1,132 votes, coming in at 12th spot, as opposed to the elections last December where he barely made the cut with 803 votes.

The soft-spoken 31-year-old had gained instant fame in the last polls because of a technical glitch, which saw him being “elected” to the CEC.

Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong obtained the highest votes at 1,438, followed by party veterans Lim Kit Siang at 1,436 and Karpal Singh (1,432).

Karpal’s son, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, obtained the fourth highest votes with 1,409 votes, with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng closely following with 1,304 votes.

Others voted into the CEC are:

* Chong Chieng Jen (1,294 votes)

* Anthony Loke (1,263 votes)

* Chow Kon Yeow (1,203 votes)

* Fong Kui Lun (1,193)

* Teng Chang Kim (1,164)

* Tong Pua (1,158)

* Teresa Kok (1,127)

* Chong Eng (1,111)

* M. Kulasegaran (1,088)

* Tan Kok wai (1,088)

* Teo Nie Ching (1,081)

* Boo Cheng Hau (961)

* Nga Kor Ming  (956)

* Ngeh Koo Ham (809).

Returning officer Dr Ong Kian Ming announced the results at 8.15pm where 1,725 out of 2,576 delegates had this morning voted.

“We took a long time to ensure all tallying of votes was done properly and audited by our auditors,” he said.

The party has been at loggerheads with the RoS after it announced that there was a technical glitch in the December polls.

DAP is holding fresh CEC elections to avoid de-registration following a directive by the RoS on July 30.

The election was ordered by RoS after several disgruntled members claimed that the election in December last year was not properly conducted after the party announced that a tabulation glitch had resulted in the wrong candidate being elected to the CEC.

These disgruntled members also claimed they were not informed of the party polls.

Party national organising secretary Anthony Loke had rebutted the allegations that it did not inform 753 delegates of the party polls and produced evidence of members’ attendance record, signatures  and postal receipts which showed notices were sent out.

An international auditing firm was appointed by the party to monitor the counting process to prevent a repeat of wrong tabulation of votes.

An attempt by a former grassroots leader to stop today’s fresh polls was dismissed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Friday.

An elated Zairil said he was happy with the unexpected results.

“The status quo of leaders remains. It shows we have foiled RoS’ attempts to cause trouble in DAP,” he said.

In thanking delegates for their trust and support, a shocked Liew said he never expected to poll the most votes and beating even party stalwarts.

The newly elected CEC members are now huddled in a meeting to decide the officebearers among themselves. – September 29, 2013.



Philippines celebrates its first Miss World winner - ( M4L4YS14 )

The Philippines — where beauty contests are a serious affair — celebrated on Sunday its first victory in the Miss World contest, despite hardline Islamic protests against the event in the host country Indonesia.

The triumph of 23-year-old Megan Young was the main headline in major newspapers, who noted that it finally gave the Philippines a winner in all major beauty pageants after several victories in the Miss Universe and Miss International contests.

President Benigno Aquino’s communications secretary Ramon Carandang congratulated Young in a statement, saying the administration was proud of her achievement.

“Over the course of the competition, Ms. Young displayed to the world the beauty, the grace, and the compassionate spirit of the Filipina and has become a source of great pride and inspiration for the Filipino people,” his statement said.

“May her triumph remind all Filipinos of what we are capable of,” he added.

“Finally, the blue-beaded crown for the Philippines,” the Manila Bulletin said in its main story.

The newspapers also mentioned the tight security at the Miss World pageant in the Indonesian resort island of Bali, following weeks of hardline Muslim protests that forced the event to be relocated from its original planned venue near Jakarta.

Thousands of protesters had earlier taken to the streets across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, to denounce the contest.

But in the mainly Roman Catholic Philippines, the victory of Young — a film student at a prominent university — was a cause for celebration especially on social media.

“Feeling proud. The beauty of the Pinay (Filipina) has come out on top,” said one message on Twitter.

“I’m so proud of you Megan. You prove that we’re beautiful. I’m proud to be a Filipino,” another message read.

Beauty queens in the Philippines have often gone on to successful careers as actresses and fashion models.

But Young is already a showbiz veteran, having hosted and starred in several TV shows and movies since 2005.

Earlier this month, the national director for the Philippine licensee of Miss World charged that there was a “smear campaign by a negligible sector of the Philippine pageant industry” against Young.

Although the details of the campaign were not given, Philippine beauty pageant blogger Joyce Ann Burton Titular said steamy photographs of Young, taken last year for local men’s magazine “Rogue”, had been circulating internationally.



Indonesian presidency aspirant on mission to “save” murder suspect Wilfrida Soik - ( M4L4YS14 )

Hoping to leverage on a case that has captured Indonesian public imagination, presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto will be flying to Kota Baru tomorrow with a top Malaysian lawyer for the trial of Wilfrida Soik, an Indonesian migrant worker who is facing the death sentence if found guilty of killing her Malaysian employer.

The Indonesians feel that compassion should be shown towards Wilfrida who they feel is a victim of human trafficking. Last week, Indonesian lawmakers had appealed to Putrajaya to show leniency to Wilfrida.

Prabowo has hired lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pic) to help Wilfrida whose case is now in the final stages of trial.

Shafee told The Malaysian Insider today that he will represent Wilfrida in court.

“Wilfrida’s case is fixed for hearing at the Kota Baru High Court tomorrow. I will be taking over the case at the submissions stage of the prosecution’s case,” he said today.

“I will be making certain applications to put the case on the right track,” he said.

Prabowo, from the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) is going all out to “save” Wilfrida and is contemplating a direct appeal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The Tribunnews.com online portal reported that Prabowo studied in Kuala Lumpur when he followed his father, Sumitro Djoyohadikusumo, to Malaysia. He has a good relationship with Najib as their fathers were close friends.

Wilfrida, 17, has been working since she was 12 and is a victim of human trafficking.

It was reported that in 2010, Wilfrida was approached by some men who managed to get her a job in Malaysia through the Indonesian Ministry of Labour’s agency in Belu.

To help her enter Malaysia, they falsified her papers, passing her off as an adult.

Once she arrived in Malaysia, Wilfrida was employed as a maid in the house of an elderly lady in Johor.

The old lady, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was found dead on December 7, 2010.

Wilfrida was arrested for her murder less than two weeks later.

Poempida Hidayatulloh, a member of the committee which oversees manpower affairs in the Indonesian legislature, said  Wilfrida is a victim of human trafficking and as such he urged the Malaysian government to consider humanitarian factors given its commitment to stemming human trafficking.

Poempida also said that not showing leniency to Wilfrida would go against the government’s efforts to deport illegal workers and would bring the Malaysian government’s commitment to fight human trafficking into question.

“If Wilfrida’s case continues, then her employer and the agent who had recruited Wilfrida should also be held accountable for human trafficking,” the Jakarta Globe reported him as saying.

Malaysia employs some 220,000 housemaids from Indonesia, followed by Hong Kong (152,000) and Singapore (90,000) but a number of high-profile abuse cases have led to Indonesia reviewing the supply to Malaysia and these countries.

Jakarta has also tightened the rules for its nationals working as maids in Malaysia and the Indonesian Embassy labour attaché in Kuala Lumpur, Agus Triyanto, told The Malaysian Insider last month that from 2017, Indonesian maids working in Malaysia must live outside the homes of their employers. – September 29, 2013.



Uthayakumar’s lawyer waiting to meet him to check out ill-treatment claims - ( M4L4YS14 )

Lawyer M. Manoharan is keen to meet P Uthayakumar at the Kajang prison to check on his condition following claims that the Hindraf de facto leader was being ill-treated.

“I will have to inquire from him before taking necessary action,” Manoharan told The Malaysian Insider today.

Manoharan, who had been detained in 2007 together with Uthayakumar under the repealed Internal Security Act in Kamunting, declined further comment, saying he would wait until he heard from Uthayakumar.

He said he would have to give notice to the Prisons Department as required to meet his client.

Manoharan was commenting on a statement by Hindraf deputy secretary R.N. Rajah that Uthayakumar was denied his plastic chair initially given to him to ease his suffering from a prolapsed disc.

Rajah claimed that Uthayakumar was being punished for complaining to the court that he was not treated well in prison.

“His legs have begun to swell again,” Rajah said in a statement yesterday.

Rajah claimed that Uthayakumar was now held in a 10ft by 10ft cell with a 2ft by 10ft squatting toilet and bath area, without a partition for bathroom privacy.

“He is detained with five others,” said Rajah, adding that the other prisoners had a full view of Uthayakumar naked when taking a shower or easing himself.

Questioning the treatment, Rajah asked: “Is he the only political prisoner in jail?”

Uthayakumar, who is a diabetic, had on Tuesday complained of ill-treatment during case management proceedings at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

He is appealing against the 30-month jail term for sedition. High Court deputy registrar Nooraini Yusof had said she would write to the prison authorities to look into Uthayakumar’s medical needs.

Uthayakumar did not apply for bail to remain free pending his appeal.

However, his appeal will not be heard until the lower court judge issues the written grounds of judgment. – September 29, 2013.



Becks ‘happy with family change’ - ( M4L4YS14 )

David Beckham apparently realises there’s been a “power shift” between him and Victoria.

The sports star and his designer wife moved to the UK from Los Angeles with their four children earlier this year.

While Victoria is focusing on her fashion career, David has retired from soccer and is now realising how much he wants to give back to his family.

“Since David hung up his boots he’s been able to focus more on his family and realises now, more than ever, what a support Victoria has been,” a source told British magazine Star.

“There’s been a real power shift in their relationship and he wants Vic to know that he’ll be there for her in the same way.”

David showed how he felt recently by adding a tattoo of Victoria’s name to his already heavily inked body.

The art on his hand came as a surprise to the brunette, who apparently loves it.

“Victoria’s made it clear that she thinks David’s got enough tattoos already but, of course, she’s thrilled by the gesture,” the insider smiled.

“It’s brought them closer than ever. People are saying it’s like when they first fell in love.”

Victoria is planning to open her first store in London and David still has plenty promotional deals.

According to the magazine, the tattoo is to remind them of the pressure they’ve handled throughout their careers.

“It shows how strong they are as a couple and how David feels Victoria will always be his number one,” the source finished.

© Cover Media



Zac ‘focusing on scripts’ - ( M4L4YS14 )

Zac Efron is reportedly refusing to let his addictions issues damage his career.

It has been alleged the former High School Musical star has sought professional help for a “serious” cocaine problem. Since apparently entering rehab twice earlier this year, Zac is now getting his life back on track and is focused on making movies.

“Not being fit for work was a big wake-up call. Zac doesn’t want stories of his partying to stand in the way of him becoming an even bigger star,” a source told British magazine Heat.

Reports have claimed Zac sometimes didn’t show up to Seth Rogen’s movie set for Neighbors and it was “common knowledge” the heartthrob was using drugs.

However, the 24-year-old hunk showed a different side during a spell in rehab and apparently spent a lot of time working on the script for a new thriller, Fire.

“Zac’s been beaten for several key roles lately, by the likes of Charlie Hunnam and Channing Tatum, and it’s made him question if he has what it takes to take his career to the next level,” the source added. “Coke made him feel more confident. He liked the way he felt on it… too much.”

The star’s spiral into addiction was seemingly sparked by several factors. TMZ claims Zac was feeling frustrated with his movie career, which has failed to take off despite his success in the High School Musical franchise. He is also said to have been struggling with “girl issues” and had been spending time with “a bad group of friends”, who introduced him to cocaine.

This week it was alleged Zac had also been dabbling in other drugs such as Oxycodone and had to be resuscitated after using the prescription medication in a hotel room.

© Cover Media



Umno is “paper tiger” out to demonise opposition, says Guan Eng - ( M4L4YS14 )

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today likened Umno to a “paper tiger” and accused the party of demonising the Opposition because it was threatened by the growing support to Pakatan Rakyat.

Lim referred to what he called the “4M” model – mass media, government machinery, money and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s politics of racial and religious extremism – saying Barisan Nasional resorted to lies to hide their corruption, cronyism and abuse of power.

“If they cannot use money to buy you, they will use threats and violence. If that does not work, then they will use hate to define us and rely on the fear of the minority races and DAP as objects of hatred,” Lim said in his speech at the DAP special congress in Petaling Jaya today.

The meeting is to hold fresh polls to elect members to its central executive committee as instructed by the Registrar of Societies, after several disgruntled members claimed that the election in December last year was not properly conducted.

Referring to Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia, Lim called it “a paper full of lies” and having “no shame”.

This comes on the heels of the newspaper’s apology to both Lim and party adviser Lim Kit Siang over a September 9 report on the controversial Tanda Putera film.

In the report titled “Cuba sembunyi kebiadaban DAP” (Trying to hide DAP’s insolence), it was alleged that Guan Eng as the Penang Chief Minister attempted to block the screening of the controversial movie in the state’s cinemas in order to hide a DAP leader’s act during the May 13, 1969 race riots.

The report identified Kit Siang, who it said had allegedly urinated in front of the then Selangor menteri besar’s residence during the riots. Kit Siang had strongly denied the allegation, saying he was not in Kuala Lumpur at that time.

MORE TO COME.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dylan Sprouse Sets The Record Straight On NYU Cafe Job - ( M4L4YS14 )

Photos of Dylan Sprouse working at a New York cafe surfaced online this week, immediately spawning stories claiming the former “Suite Life” star was in dire financial straits.

AccessHollywood.com spoke with the 21-year-old actor, who shot down any rumors of financial woes and expressed his disappointment over Internet reaction.

“[The backlash] was surprising because in no way do I look at any other job as a step down,” Dylan told Access, of witnessing the overwhelmingly negative responses — and the misconceptions –surrounding his new job. “For a variety of reasons, it’s just a step in a new direction – try my hand at something else.

PHOTOS: Designed By Disney! Stars Who Got Their Start In The Mouse House

“Popular media dictates that anything besides acting is a step down… and I don’t necessarily agree with that notion in many ways,” he added. “I think there are a variety of different things to learn in many different fields that we simply cannot know doing just one job. I personally love to stay busy and keep my work ethic up, and I thought this was a really cool opportunity to do that.”

One reason he took the job was to learn more about the inner-workings of a restaurant business for a potential entrepreneurial opportunity with twin brother Cole and dad Matthew.

PHOTOS: Former Child Stars – Then & Now

“My brother, my father and I have been interested in opening up restaurants of our own in different locations, but between the three of us have no formal knowledge of how it’s run at all,” Dylan explained. “So, part of the reason for me taking this job was also to gain insight as to how a business is properly run in the food industry.”

The actor – now in his junior year at NYU – said he deliberately chose a cafe near the university that he had frequented many times.

“[The job] was at a place I like and had spent a lot of money at, so I thought why not work at a place I like and actually just make money instead of spending money on meals?” he said.

So, have the Sprouse brothers – who, in 2010, were the highest paid Disney television actors – lost their fortune?

WATCH IT NOW: Dylan Sprouse On Life After Disney

“No, no,” Dylan said with a laugh, when asked if there was any truth to the “broke” rumors. “My brother and I are… in a lot of senses, we are financially secure and we will continue to be financially secure for the majority of our lives, unless we [screw] up. And we don’t intend on messing up anytime soon!”

While he doesn’t “need” the money, Dylan, who is majoring in video game design, said it is nice to have a little extra spending cash from his café job to spend on gaming.

“[Another] reason I took this job as well, is to have some pocket cash on the side to pay off my video game habits,” he said.

And the actor said he plans on trying multiple non-acting jobs in the future, just to earn new experiences.

“I’d really like to try my hand at something like zoo-keeping or animal rehabilitation would be really cool,” he said. “But also, as I’m majoring video game design, I really want to put a game out there too.”

As for when (and if) we’ll see Dylan and Cody back on the small or big screen, the actor said “potentially.”

“I don’t want to put any stock into it, but it’s definitely in the back of my mind. Primarily, the reason Cole and I got into to college was to get away from the public eye for a little bit, simply because if we were to come out of a six-year running show and jump right into acting, we would be typecast,” he explained. “So we thought this was the best way for people to forget us, whilst getting an education and bettering our lives.

“In doing so, we’re still sort of trucking along with that idea until college is done,” he continued. “If after that we decide to get back into acting, that’s something that could happen.”

– Erin O’Sullivan

Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Quoting “senior Malay communist leader”, Utusan says Chin Peng looked down on Malays - ( M4L4YS14 )

Continuing its attack on Chin Peng, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia today accused the late communist leader of looking down on the Malays. It also said Chin Peng opposed Malay privileges and denied the Malay language as the national language.

In claiming this, the paper’s weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia said it was quoting a “senior Malay communist leader”.

“Malays are stupid, backward, narrow-minded and only want to live their kampung lives. Malays are also easily satisfied with what they have,” the paper quoted the “communist leader”.

It then cited documents – also unnamed – to portray Chin Peng as someone who was vocal against the Bumiputera status in opposing Malay political dominance over non-Malays.

“The Communist Party of Malaya secretary-general also said the Malay elite were tools of the government following the British ruling to help strengthen the Malaysian government through the support of the Malays.

“Chin Peng saw the elite as conspiring with capitalist and monopolist groups to exploit the country’s wealth,” it said in the report, the first of a two-part series.

Another former Malay communist leader, the paper went on, exposed CPM’s propaganda as a lie, saying the party claimed to have fought for equal rights among races and for all languages to be recognised as official mediums.

“Chin Peng stated that the Malay language was a backward language which is limited in its terms compared to the Chinese language.

“At a CPM meeting in 1965, Chin Peng found the Malaysian government of discriminating when its policy gave priority to the Malay language, and he accused the government of sidelining the Chinese language.

“CPM slogan to build Malaya People’s Republic which means loyalty to Malays was a lie as CPM leaders looked upon Chinese as its source of inspiration,” the paper said, in claiming to quote “Malay communist leader”, who also said Chin Peng had dismissed the need for Malay support.

The report further said that CPM’s central committee members frequently called their trips to China as “Hui Chu Kuo”, which meant “return to homeland”.

“Chin Peng believed that when CPM takes over, Malays will have to accept communism. Communist leaders sees Malaya and Singapore as one entity and this will make the Chinese a majority and in turn, bring down the Malay status to the minority,” the paper quoted the unnamed leader as saying. – September 29, 2013.



Whedon could have improved “Avengers” - ( M4L4YS14 )

29 Sep – Joss Whedon has revealed that, even though he might have scored a veritable mega-hit with Marvel’s “The Avengers”, he still thought he could have improved upon its structure.

“When I think of a great film, I think of something that’s either structured so perfectly like “The Matrix” or made so lovingly like “The Godfather Part II”. There was haphazardness in the way it comes together… not just the people, but the scenes,” says Whedon.

“I don’t think you’d look at it and say that it is a model of perfect structure. You’d go, ‘This is working.’ I like it. I’m proud of it and I like its imperfections. The thing I cared most about is making a summer movie like the ones from my childhood… and it is the thing that I pulled off,” he continued.

Whedon is planning to be even more meticulous for the sequel of “The Avengers”, “I want to be clearer about how I engage the audience, and where I take them. I want more control visually, more time to prep it. Not that I didn’t dictate every shot… I did. But there’s only so much you can do when you’re making a summer film when the ball is already rolling as fast as it was when I got in. Why do it again if you can’t do it better?”

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is aiming to be released in the year 2015.



Malaysia most corrupt country? But we have anti-bribery tools, says Pemandu - ( M4L4YS14 )

Putrajaya’s efficiency unit has stepped in to defend its role in anti-graft measures by the government following a recent survey’s finding that Malaysia is among the most corrupt countries in the world.

Pemandu, or the Performance Management and Delivery Unit, said the government has implemented tools to combat corruption in the business landscape, including a number of anti-bribery and anti-corruption tools – or ABAC – implemented over the past three years.

“Pemandu’s Anti-Corruption National Key Results Area has implemented these over the course of the past three years under the first horizon of the Government Transformation Programme as part of a holistic plan to create an ecosystem with the requisite tools for Malaysians to use to combat corruption.

“Plans are underway to step up and strengthen these measures under the GTP’s second horizon,” Pemandu said in a statement.

It was responding to the recently released Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey Report Series 2013, in which Malaysia is placed among the countries with the highest levels of bribery and corruption in the world. It also lists Malaysia as among the countries most likely to take shortcuts to meet targets when the economy takes a downturn.

According to Pemandu, various initiatives have been put in place with the cooperation of different anti-graft agencies including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Malaysian Institute of Integrity, it added.

“Among the initiatives implemented was the Corporate Integrity Pledge (CIP), which was implemented in 2011 to solicit greater participation and cooperation from the private sector in the fight against corruption. CIP was made mandatory for all companies associated with Entry Points Projects under the ETP to sign the CIP.

“To date, 250 companies have signed the CIP and are thereby obligated to tighten their corporate governance policies incompliance with it,” said Pemandu, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Department.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the six national key result areas, “reducing corruption” was one of the most important. He has taken pains to convince Malaysians and foreigners on the efforts and successes in the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the NKRA. Last week, he again pledged to banish corruption.

Pemandu said that there are now plans to introduce a provision on corporate liability into the MACC Act, making companies liable for corrupt acts of their employees. This, it argued, will ensure companies to be more pro-active about implementing anti-corruption measures.

The survey by Ernst & Young polled 681 executives in China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea. Half of them felt that China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were the worst in bribery and corruption.

But Pemandu pointed out that 55% of those polled were satisfied with the companies’ ABAC policy, although they felt it was not enforced effectively.

“In order to strengthen anti?corruption measures in the private sector, the Anti?Corruption NKRA will continue with its work on the Corporate Integrity System Malaysia to encourage more companies to sign the CIP as a tool to develop their own anti-corruption programme,” it said.

This support, said Pemandu, ranges from provision of training to pledges to enhance corporate governance within organisations.

“As well as that, under GTP 2.0, it will be made compulsory for all Public Private Partnership projects to sign the Ministry of Finance’s Integrity Pact,” it added. – September 29, 2013.



Perpaduan kaum tidak dicapai selagi ada sekolah vernakular - ( M4L4YS14 )

Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) menegaskan perpaduan antara kaum di Malaysia tidak akan tercapai selagi sekolah vernakular wujud di Malaysia.

Yang Dipertuanya, Profesor Madya Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, berkata selagi tiada sekolah satu aliran, perpaduan nasional tidak akan dicapai.

“Mantan Perdana Menteri Singapura, Lee Kuan Yew mengambil langkah bijak semasa keluar dari Malaysia, langkah pertama yang dilaksanakan adalah sekolah satu aliran menggunakan pengantaraan Bahasa Inggeris.

“Memang benar pendidikan dalam bahasa Cina masih diajar di Singapura tetapi ianya merupakan inisiatif institusi pendidikan swasta dan bukannya ditanggung kerajaan seperti sekolah jenis kebangsaan di Malaysia.

“Jika di peringkat sekolah rendah lagi tiada interaksi kaum di antara murid dan majikan Cina masih mahu mengambil pekerja fasih berbahasa Mandarin atau Kantonis, maka selagi itulah sikap prejudis antara kaum tidak dapat dihakis daripada budaya masyarakat Malaysia,” katanya dalam satu simposium “Mendepani Agenda Asing dan Melayu Dalam Krisis Kepimpinan” yang diadakan di Putrajaya semalam.

Sementara itu, Mufti Terengganu, Dr Zulkifli Muda menyifatkan kepimpinan negara silih berganti yang dipelopori oleh pemimpin Melayu-Islam tidak dimanfaatkan sebaiknya untuk mencari titik persamaan usaha perdamaian dan persefahaman bagi mengukuhkan perpaduan kaum Melayu.

Katanya, di bawah kepimpinan beberapa Perdana Menteri sebelum ini, umat Islam mempunyai peluang yang cerah untuk mengadakan rundingan perdamaian tetapi tidak dimanfaatkan sebaiknya.

“Semasa pemerintahan Perdana Menteri kedua, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein banyak membuka peluang kepada agama Islam berkembang seperti mengiktiraf lulusan siswazah Mesir dan menubuhkan kolej Islam secara tersusun.

“Usaha ini kemudiannya disambung dengan kepimpinan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yang mengenengahkan slogan berteraskan Islam “Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah” disusuli pengenalan Islam Hadhari oleh Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“Saya percaya jika orang Melayu mengambil peluang ini untuk mengadakan proses pendamaian politik, tidak mustahil pemimpin PAS kini menerajui beberapa kementerian dalam kerajaan,” katanya.

Zulkifli berkata, memperjuangkan Islam dan Melayu adalah satu kewajipan serta selari dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan sambil meminta orang Melayu sedar Umno ditubuhkan bukan berasaskan parti berideologikan kebangsaan tetapi hasil persidangan padang selama tiga hari yang dihadiri 42 parti Melayu untuk menubuhkan satu parti tunggal.

Katanya, keengganan pemimpin Melayu mengambil peluang untuk berdamai melahirkan generasi jahil agama dan langsung tidak arif tentang prinsip asas dalam Islam. – 29 September, 2013.



Will the Warisan Merdeka project spell the end of Chin Woo Stadium? - ( M4L4YS14 )

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — For the past 60 years it has been standing like a sentinel on a hill in the heart of Kuala Lumpur but these days, the future is looking a little uncertain for Chin Woo Stadium.

Kuala Lumpur’s first Olympic-sized pool which athletes had in the past used to train for major sporting events and is still enjoyed by the public, also sits on the same land owned by the Chin Woo Athletic Association Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Unsure about the impact of the proposed Warisan Merdeka project on the stadium, the 92-year-old association is seeking assurance from the tower’s developer, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).

Chew Kee Hui, the association’s secretary-general, worries that digging works by PNB for its planned eight-storey underground car-park and tunnels could cause structural damage to the Chin Woo Stadium.

According to Chew, the stadium lies directly adjacent to the Warisan Merdeka project, which involves a 4.5 acres plot that the association was forced to sell off in the 1970s when it ran into financial difficulties.

When expressing concern over the effect of the project’s piling works on the stadium, he pointed out that the Warisan Merdeka tower at 118-storeys and 600 metres will eclipse the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers which is currently the country’s tallest building at 452 metres.

“What we worry (is that) our wall will crack, what we worry, because quite close, if you dig so deep, maybe the earth will affect our building,” he told The Malay Mail Online recently, referring to the stadium’s proximity to the plot of land where PNB is set to build the project.

“Already we told them now it is [a building in good condition], but now if there is something cracked, then we will sue them,” Chew said, saying that the association had already taken photographs of the stadium as evidence of its current state.

Chew Kee Hui, 70, worries that the digging works for the Warisan Merdeka project - which includes a 118-storey tower - could damage Chin Woo Stadium.“You see what we worry, according to what we know, they want to dig eight stories from the surface of the earth, they make car-park, they want to make two-level traffic to go in and out, [similar to] the Twin Towers,” he said.

He also asserted that PNB has said it plans to build four-way underground tunnels for vehicles that would end at locations such as Dewan Bahasa Pustaka, Bank Negara and Kampung Pandan.

Pointing to a thin strip of land between the stadium’s open-air carpark and PNB’s land, Chew said PNB wants to convert it into a six metres-wide access road, which will purportedly start at Stadium Merdeka and end at the foot of Chin Woo’s hill.

Although the association had requested PNB to set aside 12 metres, the company appeared insistent in only allocating six metres of space to separate the two properties, Chew said.

Despite PNB’s plans for traffic diversion, Chew fears that the traffic conditions in the neighbourhood would worsen, pointing out that parents were already swarming the area due to the existence of seven schools there, including the Victoria Institution, SJK (C) Jalan Davidson, Methodist Boys’ Secondary School, Confucian Private Secondary School and the SMJK Confucian.

“You can imagine now already got traffic jam, an additional 7,000 to 10,000 vehicles coming into this area, you can imagine in the future what will the traffic (be like),” he said in reference to the expected increase in traffic inflow when the project is done.

Chew questioned how the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) could approve the construction of Warisan Merdeka, claiming that the plot ratio for the land was too high, adding that the city authority had failed to release relevant information.

PNB plans to convert the thin strip of car-park space lying between Chin Woo Stadium and the firm's land into a 6m-wide access road despite the association's objection.“We wrote to ask for EIA, layout and also public hearing, all these we wrote to them, they never replied us. Until today we have also not received anything from them,” he said, referring to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and building layout plans.

“That is why we say the project is not transparent, the whole project is not transparent, we know very little from the newspaper, from what they told us, we don’t know more than that,” Chew said.

Chew was unable to furnish documents of PNB’s plans, saying that they had not provided them to the association in the multiple meetings they have had.

The Sultan of Selangor officiated the beginning of Chin Woo Stadium's construction in August 31, 1951, with the building launched by the British Commissioner-General for Southeast Asia, Sir Malcom Mcdonald in December 11, 1953.PNB and DBKL have yet to respond to The Malay Mail Online’s requests for verification and clarification.

Also on the list of Chew’s concerns is the fear that the noise from Warisan Merdeka’s construction would disrupt activities at the stadium and lead to a loss in income for the association which has around 3,000 members.

“In these four or five years, maybe will affect Chin Woo’s daily activities if they started their project,” he said, estimating that around 100,000 to 200,000 individuals use the stadium’s facilities each year, with the yearly collection of the hall’s rental coming up to around RM300,000.

But the association will continue to have funds coming in from the rental of its 150-odd Kenanga apartment units. Chew said the annual RM500,000 in rental income pocketed is enough to pay its 30 over staff and the stadium maintenance works, which can cost from tens of thousands to half a million ringgit.

Chew said the association’s activities, which are open to the public, promote the culture, music and martial arts of the Chinese community, among other things.

“All the while, the aim of our association is to preserve and promote cultural activities regardless of race and religion,” he said, saying that some of the association’s members came from other ethnic groups.

The Chin Woo association is one of the many landowners in the Jalan Sultan neighbourhood which will see its landscape being changed by two projects – Warisan Merdeka and the MRT railway line that includes a station stopping near Stadium Merdeka.

Kuala Lumpur's first Olympic-sized swimming pool was built on Chin Woo's land in 1954 and still remains popular with the public. But Chew has no complaints about the MRT line as the tunnel will not pass through Chin Woo’s land, saying that it would help to ease the traffic jams there.

The Warisan Merdeka project could start as early as next month, several local dailies had reported on July 9, with PNB reportedly being in the final stages of fulfilling DBKL’s requirements for the development.

Government-linked firm PNB has formed a wholly-owned unit, PNB Merdeka Ventures, to carry out the project which is said to cost RM5 billion.

The project — which will include a 118-storey tower, a four-star hotel and two blocks of 40-storey condominiums — will see Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara being retained as heritage sites.

In July, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had said that Warisan Merdeka would bring new life into the “dead” heritage area, giving his assurance that its heritage value will be kept intact.



Jason Derülo jealous of Jordin’s film kiss - ( M4L4YS14 )

Jason Derülo “cringed” when he saw Jordin Sparks smooch another man in a film.

The two singers have been dating for well over a year and have already spoken about marriage. Although their relationship is serious and committed, Jason can’t help getting jealous at times.

“When I watched Jordin kissing a guy in Sparkle – Whitney Houston’s last movie – I cringed. She’s shooting her next video soon and I’ll definitely be there when she does!” he laughed to Now magazine.

As the couple are both in show business, they often have to spend time apart. That can be hard on their relationship, but they have found ways to ensure they don’t miss each other too much.

“Jordin and I Skype and Facetime every day – and talk dirty a bit too! I get some shocking messages from fans – it’s crazy. I’m like, ‘Is this a real person? Do they know other people are looking at this message?’ They don’t care that everyone sees it!” he giggled.

Jason and Jordin were friends before they became romantically involved. It wasn’t a case of love at first sight, with Jason admitting it took him a while to realise she was The One.

Now he is adamant they will be together forever and has even penned a song for her.

“The Other Side, with the line, ‘Sparks fly like the Fourth of July,’ is about her. I knew that when we took that step from friends to lovers, there was no turning back – but sometimes you can’t control these things – especially after a couple of drinks!” he said.

© Cover Media



Ku Li serah kepada perwakilan buat keputusan - ( M4L4YS14 )

Anggota Parlimen Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (gambar) berkata beliau tidak akan berkempen untuk mengekalkan jawatan Ketua Umno bahagian itu pada pemilihan parti bulan depan.

Sebaliknya, beliau menyerahkan kepada perwakilan Umno untuk menentukan kedudukannya.

Katanya, keputusan untuk bersara daripada politik akan diputuskan apabila ada pengganti yang lebih baik daripadanya.

“Tidak ada niat pula untuk saya nak tarik diri daripada mempertahankan jawatan. Perkara ini terpulanglah kepada perwakilan untuk membuat keputusan, saya tidak boleh tongkat langit kerana saya adalah orang biasa,” katanya ketika berucap merasmikan Mesyuarat Agung Khairat Kematian Paloh 1 Kali Ke 4 di Gua Musang, hari ini.

Pada pemilihan parti kali ini, Tengku Razaleigh, atau Ku Li, dengan panggilan mesra, yang menerajui Umno bahagian itu sejak 1962, buat pertama kalinya bakal dicabar Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda Umno bahagian, Datuk Bazlan Baharuddin.

Ku Lu berkata beliau sudah memberi notis lebih awal untuk mencari bakal penggantinya menerajui Umno bahagian itu dan mungkin ada orang lain lebih baik untuk menyambung tugasnya.

“Oleh itu, eloklah saya bagi isyarat lebih awal untuk rakyat dan kepimpinan lain supaya bersiap mencari orang yang paling layak untuk diangkat sebagai pengganti saya,” katanya.

Sepanjang perkhidmatannya untuk rakyat Hulu Kelantan, Tengku Razaleigh berkata beliau sudah membawa banyak pembangunan termasuk membuka rancangan tanah Lembaga Kemajuan Kelantan Selatan (Kesedar) dan Felda. – Bernama, 28 September, 2013.



Muhyiddin nafi harga RON95 akan dinaikkan dalam masa terdekat - ( M4L4YS14 )

Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (gambar) hari ini menafikan harga petrol RON95 akan dinaikkan sekali lagi dalam masa terdekat.

Beliau berkata dakwaan itu tidak benar malah tidak dibincangkan dalam mesyuarat Kabinet semalam.

“Sah tak ada…siapa yang menyebar berita itu, ia tidak betul. Sebenarnya tidak ada keputusan Kabinet, malah ia tidak dibincang,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas menyaksikan proses Simulasi Pemilihan Umno 2013 di Institut Latihan Memperkasa Umno (ILMU) di Janda Baik, dekat Bentong.

Muhyiddin berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas dakwaan kerajaan akan menaikkan harga petrol RON95 dan RON97 masing masing sebanyak 10 sen dan 15 sen seperti yang tersebar di laman-laman sosial sejak semalam.

Berikutan itu, beliau menegaskan harga pasaran bahan api itu kekal pada harga semasa RM2.10.

Awal bulan ini, harga RON95 dinaikkan 20 sen kepada RM2.10. – Bernama, 28 September, 2013.



Sly and Arnie’s Saturday cigar - ( M4L4YS14 )

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone often have a cigar together at the weekend.

The two action heroes star in The Expendables 3 and have been friends for many years.

When they catch up it will normally involve some of their favourite pastimes: smoking and eating.

“Usually on a Saturday we meet in town and smoke a cigar and go to a restaurant and eat,” Sylvester revealed to Empire magazine.

“Arnold’s gone to this place, Cafe Roma, for years, and I’ve just started going there.”

Arnold added: “Sometimes we’ll end up in the same place without even knowing it.”

The two actors have so much in common, they even seem to experience the same injuries.

In 2012 both stars woke up at the same hospital, having undergone surgery on their shoulders.

“So I get rolled out [of surgery] and I’m waking up from the little sleep, and surgeon comes by and says, ‘Did you guys already talk?’ I said, ‘Who?’ [Mimes looking at Sylvester and doing a double take].

“‘What the f**k? What are you doing here?’ He’s lying there with the shot sticking out of him…” Arnold recalled.

“Same f**king needle! Same arm!” Sylvester added.

Arnold, 66, and Sylvester, 67, may be content with appearing in front of the camera right now.

However, one day they hope someone else will decide to make a biopic about them.

“I’m telling you, if someone ever made the movie about the two action guys…” Sylvester said.

“Man, the side trips we’ve had. I’ve been around a long time, but I’ve never seen this combination: doing business together, wars, fights, action, going off here, comebacks. It’s an amazing odyssey.”

© Cover Media



Moderation will help stop extremists, Najib tells UN General Assembly - ( M4L4YS14 )

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak warned the United Nations General Assembly today that extremism poses a grave threat to Muslims worldwide.

The prime minister noted that conflicts and acts of violence, particularly between Sunni and Shia, were tearing communities apart.

“I believe that peace-loving Muslims – the overwhelming majority of Muslims – should unite against the extremists who use our religion as an excuse to commit violence,” he said, adding that a “battle (is) being waged for the future of Islam”.

“By reaffirming our commitment to moderation – and solving the political problems that drive instability – we can seize back the centre ground. We can marginalise the extremists. And we can advance an agenda for peace, harmony and justice”.

Najib went on to say: “It should come as no surprise that there is no scriptural basis for the atrocities being committed in the name of Islam.

“Our task is to reclaim our faith, by articulating clearly the true nature of Islam: the religion of peace, of moderation, of tolerance. We should speak this message clearly, so that all may hear it; and stand firm against the minority who use Islam to further violent and unjust ends.

“We can reclaim our religion, choosing harmony and acceptance over division and conflict. And we can broadcast a vision of Islam as it is understood by Muslims around the world: as a religion of peace, tolerance, and moderation.”

Recalling the last time he spoke at the UN, Najib said: “Three years ago, I stood before you and called for a Global Movement of Moderates. It was a call to reject extremism in all its forms, because the real divide is not between East and West or between the developed and developing worlds or between Muslims, Christians and Jews. It is between moderates and extremists of all religions.”

He added that much has changed since then, with protests and reforms surging through the Middle East and North Africa.

“Out of the heat of the Arab Spring, new questions arose: about the pace of democratic change, about the role of Islam in politics, and about the need for more inclusive development. But the search for answers to those questions has been put on hold. 

“As authoritarian regimes have fallen, and governments have been swept away by political change, extremists have tried to fill the space that remains. Motivated by ideology, politics and religion, they have sought refuge from the hard work of development in the unholy practice of violence.”

He added that conflicts have spilled across borders, inflaming old tensions, and igniting new ones.

“Around the world, extremism is taking lives and crushing opportunity. This affects us all; but it is one people, of one faith, who suffer most. I believe the greatest threat to Muslims today comes not from the outside world, but from within,” he said, adding that the conflict between Sunni and Shia threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Muslims.

The Quran not only condemns suicide, unjust war, and retribution by force; it also makes clear the Prophet’s desire for Muslims to live in peace with one another and their neighbours, the prime minister said. – September 28, 2013.



Hollywood dumps romantic comedies for raunchier laughs - ( M4L4YS14 )

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – From “Some Like It Hot” to “Pretty Woman,” “Sleepless in Seattle” to “The Wedding Planner,” romantic comedies have long been Hollywood’s box office darlings, but this fall raunchy R-rated comedies are getting top billing.

Kicking off a season of coarse comedy is actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon,” out in U.S. theaters this weekend, about a young, attractive man who struggles to connect with women due to his porn addiction.

When Jon falls for the beautiful Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, he finds his relationship expectations challenged, while Barbara has her own ideas for the kind of boyfriend Jon should be.

“I wanted to play with rom-com conventions and poke fun at them a bit,” said Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and starred in the lead role.

“(Barbara) expects her relationship with Jon to be like the romantic movies that she watches, and she tries to make him into that kind of man. They’re both stuck in their expectations instead of accepting each other for who they are,” he added.

“Don Jon,” rated R for its graphic sexual content and strong language, leads a wave of comedies taking the place of conventional romantic-comedies drawing audiences looking for warm feel-good films as the weather gets colder.

Movies such as 2001′s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant that made $ 281 million worldwide, and 2006′s “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, which made $ 205 million at the global box office, demonstrated the power of romantic-comedies to bring in audiences.

But in 2013, few traditional romantic comedies follow the traditional formula of boy meets girl in unlikely circumstances, falls in love and eventually lives happily ever after, a model that made films such as 1990′s “Pretty Woman” or 2001′s “The Wedding Planner” into romantic-comedy staples.

“Rom-coms are not disappearing altogether, but there is a need for a novel approach … where the story-telling structure is different and doesn’t end with a woman and man just being happy,” said Lucas Shaw, film writer at TheWrap.com.

COURTING MALE AUDIENCES

Instead of romance, the fall season will see comedies such as “Bad Grandpa”, starring “Jackass” comedian Johnny Knoxville about an 86-year-old man traveling across America with his 8-year-old grandson, and “Last Vegas,” where four aging friends head to Sin City for a weekend of debauchery. The latter echoes the premise of the “Hangover” franchise spawned from four friends on a wild weekend in Las Vegas, with three films making more than $ 1 billion at the global box office.

One romantic comedy vying for audiences this fall is British film “About Time,” about a man who can time travel, written and directed by Richard Curtis, the man behind hit romantic comedies including “Love Actually” and “Notting Hill.”

The film starring Rachel McAdams has a 65 percent approval rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com, but will go up against Marvel’s superhero sequel “Thor: The Dark World” and drama “The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and is likely to have low expectations at the box office.

“Studios don’t seem to be courting female viewers as much as they should be. Too many of the movies this year are aimed at a younger male audience like (December’s) ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’,” Shaw said.

What’s more, even female-led comedies such as 2011′s “Bridesmaids” and this summer’s “The Heat” starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, have shied away from cinematic romance traditions and instead shown women behaving badly, a popular theme at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Shaw said it is reflective of women wanting to tell stories where they’re not always a damsel in distress or the sweet girl next door.

But one director, fearing the demise of romantic comedies, was eager to bring it back.

“I wanted to do the rom-com, I think it’s the dying genre, and then add more comedy,” Jerusha Hess, director of indie comedy “Austenland,” told Reuters.

Like in “Don Jon,” unrealistic expectations form the crux of “Austenland.” Jane Hayes, a shy woman in her thirties obsessed with the works of 19th century British novelist Jane Austen, embarks on a “pilgrimage” to Austenland, a manor where all residents and visitors must abide by 19th century British manners, and finds herself with two suitors.

The film came out in the U.S. in August and in U.K. theaters on Friday.

“She’s just had this arrested development … we wanted her to feel really trapped in this high school fantasy that she has about being swept away,” said Keri Russell, who plays Jane.

(Editing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Ken Wills)