theSundaily theSundaily en The truth behind popular food myths: an expert weighs in
Nutritional epidemiologist Karin Michels from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, USA, has spent much of her career studying how health can be optimized through a proper diet, and agrees there are many misconceptions around various foods. Believing that many people are not adequately advised on their diets by health professionals, which could have important outcomes for future well-being, here she explains the truth behind some of the most common nutrition myths.

Myth: Red meat is a good source of iron

Although many believe red meat is important to avoid an iron deficiency, Michels says what many of us don't realize is that the iron from red meat is very different from the iron that comes from vegetable sources, legumes and whole grains.

"The red-meat iron actually promotes cardiovascular disease," Michels explains. "The plant iron found in beans and green leafy vegetables is much healthier. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to absorb, so we need to consume more of it or help absorption by consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time."

Myth: Alcohol should be avoided

Alcohol is thought by many to be unhealthy, but the evidence is mixed. "Alcohol cleans out your coronary arteries, so if you have a strong family history of coronary artery disease, it may help you," Michels says. "On the other hand, you have to balance that against the fact that alcohol increases the risk of many cancers. For most people, we recommend limiting alcohol consumption to one beverage a day."

Myth: Top up your calcium levels

Calcium is often promoted to strengthen the bones, but Michels says most people get plenty in a balanced diet and don't need to up their calcium levels.

The only two subgroups which she says need an increased amount of calcium are children and postmenopausal women, but even in these groups calcium-containing foods or small doses of supplements should be sufficient – too much calcium may raise the risk of coronary artery disease.

Myth: Milk is good for you

Although milk is widely accepted as a part of a healthy diet Michels explains that, "Cow's milk is not designed for humans – its composition is completely different from that of human mother's milk."

Part of the problem she adds is that to increase efficiency cows are artificially inseminated to remain in a constant state of simultaneous pregnancy and lactation – which leads to significant doses of the pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone making their way into milk products, which can increase the risk for several cancers. Michels prefers plant alternatives such as almond and soy milk. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Health Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:48:55 +0000 theSundaily 464159 at
Michel Franco and Edgar Wright on Venice film panel
Also among the panellists at one of the most prestigious events in the film calendar will be Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi, Australian critic David Statton and Taiwan-born filmmaker Yonfan.

Organisers had already announced that the festival, which opens on Aug 30, will kick off with Oscar-winning US director Alexander Payne's latest movie Downsizing, and that compatriot Annette Bening will head the Mostra jury.

Mexican-born Franco is best known for his feature length drama After Lucia, which was nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar in 2012.

British filmmaker Wright has worked on several comedies including Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as well as science fiction offering The World's End with Martin Freeman.

British actress Rebecca Hall has worked with director megastars Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen and appeared alongside Ben Affleck in 2010's The Town. — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Showbiz Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:43:44 +0000 theSundaily 464158 at
The best face masks for every skin type
For fighting fine lines … Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment
This limited-edition version of Glamglow's Gravitymud Firming Treatment is a part of an unlikely collaboration with videogame company Sega and comes in the fabulous bright blue shade of Sonic the Hedgehog. Crazy color aside, the peel-off mask is packed with hyaluronic acid and red algae extract to plump skin and soften the appearance of fine lines.

For oily skin … L'Oreal Pure Clay Purify & Mattify Mask
Designed to re-energize the skin for a healthier complexion, this clay-based mask is infused with eucalyptus to absorb excess oil and to tighten pores without drying. This mask can be used in combination with the other products in L'Oreal's Pure Clay range to address various skin concerns at the same time.

For dry skin … Fresh Rose Face Mask
This fragrant gel mask is infused with real rose petals, as well as soothing cucumber extract and aloe vera for a cooling, calming effect. Gentle enough to use every day, this hydrating mask is particularly effective when used as part of your morning routine to smooth and brighten the skin before make-up.

For tired skin … The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask
This creamy, scrub-like mask contains ginseng extract from China, which is known for its energy-boosting properties. Promising to even out skin tone, as well as brightening and refining the skin, the mask is designed to minimize pores and reduce imperfections.

For city dwellers … Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Double Action Peel Off Mask
Antioxidants are key when it comes to protecting the skin against pollution and other environmental irritants, and this peel-off mask is full of them. Additionally, the mask contains tree mushroom extract, a natural astringent designed to reduce visible pores, as well as polymers to lift away dead skin, oil and grime.
( — AFP Relaxnews]]>
Style Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:02:21 +0000 theSundaily 464157 at
Fragile no more: emerging market funding gaps shrink from 2013 The reason? The big balance of payments deficits behind the infamous Fragile Five selloff in 2013 are no longer a problem.

Hints in mid-2013 that the United States might pare easy-money policies sparked a “taper tantrum” across markets.

Hardest hit because of their reliance on foreign capital to plug funding deficits were a quintet of emerging economies – Indonesia, Brazil, India, Turkey and South Africa. They were running current account deficits of over 3% of gross domestic product, and 5% or more in the case of the last three.

With balance of payments crises a real risk, Fragile Five currencies and stocks fell 10-20% after the taper hints.

Since then, slower growth, currency weakness and economic reform have cut the deficits, in some cases to a quarter of 2013 levels. What this means is there is less need for foreign money. As a result, emerging equities and bonds are among the best performing asset classes so far this year.

“That’s been the single most important improvement in emerging market fundamentals since the taper tantrum current accounts are back to levels seen in the mid-2000s,” said Kamakshya Trivedi, co-head of global currency and emerging markets strategy at Goldman Sachs.

“All our research suggests this is a big reason for the resilience with which EMs have absorbed numerous recent shocks – whether the Trump tantrum or rapid moves in core rates in the past month,” Trivedi said.

He was referring to the market selloff after November’s election of Donald Trump as US president, and a recent rise in German and US bond yields to multi-month highs.

Excluding China, a group of 19 big emerging economies now show a current account surplus of roughly 1.5%, having swung from a deficit of just over 0.5% in 2013, according to this chart based on UBS data.

A separate HSBC study showed that even after taking into account the impact of currency depreciation and slower growth, current accounts had a surplus of almost 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) versus a slight deficit in 2013.

Of the 18 countries it analysed, 12 showed a significantly better current account picture compared to 2013 and only three had deteriorated, HSBC said.

Investors remain concerned about some countries – Colombia, not an original Fragile Five member, has seen its gap widen to 4% of GDP. Turkey’s deficit remains over 4%, as political pressure to maximise economic growth has prevented the funding gap from narrowing as much as in other markets.

"We see little to suggest that Turkish lira's vulnerability to external shocks is reducing, unlike in other emerging markets," Morgan Stanley analysts said. – Reuters]]>
Business Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:36:33 +0000 theSundaily 464156 at
Letters - Don’t burden pupils with book loads
Let's put ourselves in our children's shoes. We will realise that going to school is a heavy burden that we literally carry everyday – physically and psychologically. This goes against their daily well-being and the simple satisfaction of happily going to school.

Hence, it's no wonder that there is more indiscipline and frustration in schools today. All this leads to more truancy and even bullying.

The Education Ministry must accept responsibility. It issued circulars on heavy workbooks and homework in 2000 and 2004. But many of its officials, principals and teachers have ignored instructions limiting workbooks. So what is the use of circulars that are barely enforced?

The implications are the growing public perception that the authority of the government is thus being undermined, the heads of schools and staff are being defiant, many parents are challenging the sound professional advice of the ministry.

The result is that the overloaded pupils suffer in silence.

Most parents and pupils are being let down by poor enforcement of the ministry's circulars by the majority in the education system. This has happened because of the irresponsibility of a tiny minority of parents who foolishly insist on teachers giving more homework and thus creating the false need to carry more heavy book loads to school.

Where is the logic in this kind of education?

No wonder our school academic performances measured by international standards like Pisa are relatively low and our national productivity has become unimpressive and even declining.

As former education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom has stated the purpose of education is to produce holistic pupils and building character – and if I may add, nurturing our future leaders.

But are we achieving this sacred goal by burdening our pupils with too much homework, cramping their enthusiasm to learn and think critically and to enjoy their childhood and school life?

In our time, we generally enjoyed school much more and yet prospered. Can we give these same gifts to our children and grandchildren please?

Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin has lamented that we are still "exam oriented". Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abd Rahim has advised that parents and schools should agree on the number of workbooks.

These pragmatic experts and other enlightened education thought leaders and parents can't all be wrong. We must listen and act fast to improve the burdensome situation for our children's sake.

With stronger leadership from the ministers and senior officials in the Education Ministry, there will be stronger support for the enforcement of circulars.

Then parents and teachers can collaborate more, to reduce the burden for our children. Better enforcement of the circulars will bring more relief to pupils, improved academic results, a greater sense of wellbeing and more fun to go to school.

One important solution, even if temporary, would be for schools to provide inexpensive wooden lockers to pupils to keep their heavy workbooks at school. Apparently some schools sell these lockers at only RM15 a locker, which is reasonable. Poor students can be subsidised by parent-teacher associations.

So to all concerned, please don't burden our children and stifle their childhood and their joy of school days. Please help their joy of learning and yearning, to resolve to serve our beloved country on its 60th anniversary and up to and beyond 2050 with Transformation 50 (T50).

Selamat Hari Merdeka 2017.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
Letters Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:37:14 +0000 theSundaily 464155 at
Touch 'n Go, Alipay join hands to tap RM4b e-wallet market
Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific digital transformation industry principal Quah Mei Lee told SunBiz that TNG stands to gain by leveraging on the strong financial backing and global expansion experience of Ant Financial, parent of Alipay. The other new financial services to be offered will help to increase TNG’s revenue and base in Malaysia.

“In terms of acceptance, TNG’s limited acceptance will ride on the growing Alipay acceptance. However, this growth will be competing with the KPI-driven (key performance index-driven) aggressive push for debit card acceptance and use. Although usage of debit card is still low, an estimated 83% or more of the population now has a debit card in hand,” Quah said.

She said the mobile payments market in Malaysia was estimated at close to US$1 billion (RM4.1 billion) in 2016. The market is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate that is close to that of Asia Pacific levels of 28.7% during 2016–2021.

“The JV will definitely help spur the growth of mobile payments in Malaysia,” Quah said.

A banking analyst said this deal will be earnings-accretive for TNG, although its contribution to CIMB Group is not big. He added that in the first two years, the partnership will directly boost TNG’s earnings, and as it is already in leading position, the group will not need to incur much expenses.

“TNG will replicate the success of Alipay in China in Malaysia, because TNG already has its foundation in Malaysia and in various businesses. What they need is just a tweak to complement the business, such as this (JV),” the banking analyst said.

In 2016, TNG’s revenue contribution to CIMB group stood at RM115 million, or 0.7% of CIMB Group’s revenue of RM16.07 billion.

Currently there are 10 million active TNG cards in Malaysia, used for electronic payment purposes at toll roads, public transport systems, parking lots and retail outlets.

TNG yesterday entered into an investment agreement with Alipay, a subsidiary of the world’s leading digital financial services provider Ant Financial Services Group to set up a JV entity to be incorporated in Malaysia. TNG will be the majority shareholder and Alipay the minority shareholder in the JV to launch a new mobile platform for payments and other related financial services in Malaysia.

The capital injected by both parties, which was not disclosed, will go towards the creation of a world-class online and offline payments provider, mobile wallet solutions and other related financial services, leveraging on the respective partners’ local market insights, technology capabilities, market experience, and brands.

“We’re prepared to invest significantly in fintech propositions that will deliver the best value and enhance our customer experience for all our customers,” CIMB group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said in his speech at the signing ceremony yesterday.

The new e-wallet will give current and new TNG users access to more services on their mobile phones. A local brand is expected to be built.

“This will be a new thing for Malaysia, we expect to put differentiated services,” said CIMB Investment Bank Bhd group asset management & investments CEO Effendy Shahul Hamid. The JV will have its own management and board.

TNG will have the exclusivity to develop the mobile wallet with Alipay in Malaysia, but Alipay is open to working with other banks for the e-payment ecosystem, including funding and acquiring merchants.

This marks Ant Financial’s first investment in Malaysia. Ant Financial provides a wide range of digital financial services to over 520 million users in China and beyond. Over 10 million brick-and-mortar merchants now accept Alipay across China. Ant Financial is also enabling local partners in India, South Korea and Southeast Asia to provide digital payment and innovative financial services to local users.

CIMB’s share price closed marginally lower at RM6.34 yesterday, with 8.34 million units changing hands.

The proposed JV is not expected to have any material effect on the earnings per share, net asset per share, gearing and share capital of CIMB Group for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2017.]]>
Business Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:23:17 +0000 Ee Ann Nee 464154 at
Lotte Chemical Titan IPO proceeds shrink further after retail share buyback
Lotte Chemical Titan shares fell six sen to RM6.27 with 3.65 million units traded yesterday. Its market capitalisation stood at RM14.47 billion.

The group said in a filing with the stock exchange yesterday that 34.8 million shares were purchased, denoting 41% of the shares allotted to retail and non-cornerstone bumiputra investors. The exercise closed on July 18.

The group through its adviser Maybank Investment Bank said it had received valid acceptances from 4,125 shareholders with a combined shareholding of over 34.80 million shares worth RM226.25 million.

The group said the proceeds would be enough for the development and construction of its planned integrated petrochemical facility. The bulk of the proceeds equivalent to 73.03% or RM2.59 billion is for the construction of an integrated petrochemical facility in Banten Province, Indonesia. About 17.5% or RM620 million will be used for the PP3 project ( a new polypropylene plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor) while the remaining RM220 million or 6.21% will go to the TE3 project (to increase production of facilities in Pasir Gudang). The rest will be used for listing expenses.

The exercise led to the group breaching the 25% public shareholding mark. It has until next Tuesday to rectify the 1% percentage point shortfall.

In a separate filing with Bursa Malaysia Securities, Maybank Investment, Lotte Chemical Titan’s stock price stabilising manager, said it had reached the limit of its stabilising action, having bought 27.768 million shares from the open market for between RM6.277 and RM6.4718 a share.

Meanwhille, Lotte Chemical Corp has decided not to exercise its over-allotment option, which means that the shares bought under the stabilisation action will be returned to it.]]>
Business Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:20:24 +0000 464153 at
Swaziland turns around world's highest HIV infection rate: Report
The country – where one in three adults is infected with the AIDS-causing virus – has vastly expanded public programmes to test people for HIV infection and put them on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment (ART).

"The rate of new HIV infections has been reduced by half," Velephi Okello of the Swazi health ministry told journalists at an HIV science conference in Paris.

"Remarkable progress has been made ... in controlling the HIV epidemic."

In 2011, 31% of adults (aged 18-49) out of a total country population of just over 1.2 million were infected with HIV, according to government data.

This made Swaziland the country with the highest national rate of new infections, said the authors of the new study, as well as the highest proportion of people living with HIV.

The latest data, based on blood samples from almost 11,000 people aged 15 and over, showed that about 27% of the population was HIV-positive in 2016.

This translated to an infection rate of 1.39% among 18- to 49-year-olds, down from 2.58% in 2011 – a 46% reduction.

Ninety-five percent of HIV-positive pregnant women last year received drugs to prevent transmission of the virus to their offspring.

"As a result, fewer than 1,000 children became infected with HIV in Swaziland in 2016," said the UN agency.

'Great news'

The infection rate was higher among women than men, according to a survey report to the International AIDS Society conference. The decline was also steeper for men, with 52%, than for women (40%).

The survey showed that 73% of people on ART had achieved suppression of the virus – meaning it does not replicate to make them ill – compared to 35% in 2011.

The gains were the fruit of a much improved HIV treatment programme, said the researchers. The share of infected people on ART rose from 37% in 2011 to 74 % last year.

ART not only stops HIV from replicating and attacking a patient's immune system, but also curbs its spread to sexual partners.

"Our recipe for success is that we ... have been able to scale up a lot of the prevention and treatment services in the country," said Okello.

"We have more than doubled the number of people who have started on anti-retroviral treatment, and we have also almost doubled the number of men who have been circumcised in the country."

According to the World Health Organisation, there is "compelling evidence" that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV by as much as 60 percent in men.

The number of HIV tests conducted in Swaziland more than doubled from 176,000 in 2011 to 367,000 in 2016.

"Basically, we think that that's one of the recipes (for success), and also the government commitment to buying and procuring the ARVs for people in the country so that there is a sustainable response going forward," said Okello.

Despite the "great news", she cautioned much more needs to be done to maintain the downward trend.

"While we do celebrate these findings, we still know that Swaziland is facing a severe HIV epidemic," she said.

"In the end, we would like to see a Swaziland which is free from AIDS." — AFP]]>
Health Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:19:05 +0000 theSundaily 464151 at
Foreign net buying below RM100m mark last week
In its fund flow report yesterday, it said the RM76.3 million net purchased makes up a quarter of the inflow in the week before, based on preliminary data by Bursa in the open market and excluded off-market deals.

The amount is also the lowest recorded for the year so far. However, it noted that international investors continued to pump liquidity into stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia although it was a challenging week for emerging markets due to the build-up of political uncertainty in the US.

“Net foreign purchases were recorded in three out of five trading days. Net buying intensity was generally low and did not exceed RM150 million. We note that foreign buying peaked on Monday at RM110 million net amid bolstering optimism in Asia coming from China’s positive gross domestic product data,” it said.

Despite the tapering of foreign purchases last week, the cumulative year-to-date inflow remained above the RM10 billion mark at RM10.35 billion (about US$2.35 billion), the highest among Southeast Asian markets.

Foreign participation rate was rather sluggish, as the average daily trade value (ADTV) fell by 17% for the week, from RM893 million to RM739 million, below RM1 billion for the third week.

After four lacklustre weeks, retail participation rate inched higher to a moderate level, as ADTV increased by 17%, above the RM700 million level to RM778.4 million from RM665.4 million.]]>
Business Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:07:03 +0000 464093 at
Bursa reprimands Eksons over errors in accounts for quarter ended Dec 31 2014
The company announced its financial statements on Feb 26, 2015, however on May 28, 2015 a further announcement was made citing errors and amendments for the accounts ended Dec 31, 2014.

Paragraph 9.16(1)(a) of the Main LR states that a listed issuer must ensure that each announcement made is factual, clear, unambiguous, accurate, succinct and contains sufficient information to enable investors to make informed investment decisions.

“The public reprimand was imposed according to Paragraph 16.19(1) of the Main LR after taking into consideration all facts and circumstances of the matter including the materiality of the breach and upon completion of due process,” Bursa Securities said.

Eksons is also required to review and ensure the adequacy and effectiveness of its financial reporting function and carry out a limited review on its quarterly report submissions. The limited review must be performed by the company’s external auditors for four quarterly reports commencing no later from the quarterly report for the financial period ended Sept 30, 2017.

In addition, Eksons must ensure all its directors and relevant personnel attend a training programme pertaining to financial statements.

The board of directors of Eksons at the material time were Tan Sri Amar (Dr) Haji Abdul Aziz Husain, Tay Hua Sin, Sui Uh Hing, Tang Seng Fatt, Dr Lai Mei Ling and Datuk Philip Chan Hon Keong.

“Bursa Securities views the contravention seriously as the timely and accurate submission of financial statements to enable investors to make informed investment decisions is one of the fundamental obligations of companies listed on the official list of Bursa Securities.”

Eksons closed 1.04% lower yesterday at 95.5 sen with 141,000 shares traded.]]>
Business Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:24:54 +0000 464099 at