Indonesian faces six years for hot billboard movie

JAKARTA — An Indonesian man arrested for hacking into an electronic billboard and streaming a porn film during Jakarta rush hour could face up to six years in jail, police said yesterday.

The Japanese film Watch Tokyo Hot was broadcast for 10 minutes on the advertising screen on Friday at a major intersection in the capital, leaving motorists variously amused
or horrified.

The power was quickly shut off to the “videotron” — as the giant screens are locally known — but not before scenes of a couple engaged in a steamy tryst were captured on motorists’ phones and went viral on social media.

Police and cybercrime specialists launched a hunt for the perpetrator and on Tuesday arrested a 24-year-old IT analyst in his office.

Access to pornographic websites is blocked in Indonesia, and romantic scenes in films and television programmes are often blurred or cut altogether by state censors.

The arrested man, whose identity was not disclosed, admitted responsibility for the crime, Jakarta police chief Mochamad Iriawan said.

He carried out the prank after spotting login details displayed on
the billboard.

“The suspect claims he worked alone,” Iriawan told reporters.

“But we are still investigating whether he was working alone, whether he had a particular motive, or whether he was just fooling around.”

Police plan to charge the man with publicly displaying a porn film and displaying a film showing indecent scenes. — AFP

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World’s first 
hijabi ballerina

SYDNEY — Stephanie Kurlow put on her first tutu at the age of two and donned her first hijab at the age of nine.

When she first converted to Islam along with her family nine years ago, she feared her beliefs could never coincide with her artistic passion.

Now, at only 14, Kurlow’s fears are behind her as the young dancer is en route to becoming the first professional ballerina in the world to don a hijab.

While some may see the head covering as a deterrent, she has managed to combine her faith and her talent just fine.

Initially, Kurlow could not find a ballet class which would allow her to wear the garment while training.

Rather than back down, she launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for rigorous, private tutoring which would provide her with the training she needed to become the world’s first Muslim hijabi ballerina.

Almost 700 people donated to make her vision a reality, raising a total of over RM22,000.

And like a good ballerina, she made it all look so easy.

“I think it’s really cool and amazing how ballerinas never show pain. We could be bleeding in our shoes and never show pain,” Kurlow said.

Inspired by ballet trailblazer Misty Copeland and hijabi Emirati lifter Amna Al Haddad, Kurlow hopes her story will inspire other girls who feel disconnected from their dreams due to their religions, ethnicities or backgrounds.

She plans to one day open her own dance facility specifically geared toward diverse youths.

This school will have special programmes for specific religions, support groups for youth and people who are from disconnected communities.

“I will provide for our future generations a chance to express and heal themselves and others through the magnificent art of performing and creativity,” she said.

Still just a teenager, Kurlow is undeterred by the disapproval thrown her way, from both Muslim and ballet communities.

“I’ve got those looks or those little whispers from people saying I can’t do it, and there are some parts of the ballet world that only see me for the clothes I wear or the beliefs I have,” she said.

Kurlow is, however, not easing up on her cause.

“This means everything to me. I think I can bring people together through dance and inspire some young people from different races that might be a bit disengaged,” she said — Agencies

Robbers in bind over Kardashian’s gems

PARIS — Pulling off a US$10 million (RM41.37 million) jewel heist is one thing — but finding a buyer is another, say experts, predicting the robbers who targeted Kim Kardashian would struggle to dispose of their loot.

Kardashian, the world’s highest paid reality television star, was held up at gunpoint in a luxury Paris apartment in the early hours of Monday.

The robbers made off with a ring worth €4 million (RM18.56 million) and a case of jewellery with a value of €5 million (RM23.2 million).

Sandrine Marcot, acting president of the French union of jewellers and watchmakers, said the value of the haul would “crash” due to the media hype around the heist and the recognisability of the stolen goods.

“Everyone knows that ring. It won’t be easy to get rid of it,” a police source said.

Last week, Kardashian had posted a Twitter photograph of her left hand sporting a huge diamond sparkler — reportedly a 20-carat ring by Lorraine Schwartz given to her by her husband, rap superstar Kanye West.

“These are not everyday jewels. These are unique pieces,” Marcot told AFP, predicting the spoils of the raid would be cut into smaller gems to conceal their origin.

Precious stones often come stamped with a laser mark, making them “extremely easy to trace”, Marcot said.

Some laser marks are so deep they are impossible to cover up but others can be concealed by savvy polishing, making the stone “difficult to identify, unlike, for example, a stolen painting,” the police source said.

In most cases, the robbers work with several intermediaries, including a shady jeweller in charge of whittling down the gem into less conspicuous stones.

But a gem which has been recut is worth only a fraction of its initial value.

Kardashian’s ring could lose three-quarters of its value after being reworked, according to police.

And yet despite the difficulty in disposing of eye-popping jewels, they still exert a powerful pull on thieves, with Monday’s robbery the latest in a string of brazen heists around France in recent years.

“You will always have customers who want stones or to melt down the metal,” the police expert explained. — AFP

WORLD BRIEF

Hotel maid stalks Andy Murray

GLASGOW — Tennis star Andy Murray has claimed to being stalked by a hotel maid who once woke him by stroking his arm. Murray explained when playing at a tournament he went to sleep, placing a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his hotel door. Much to his surprise he was awoken at 7am by the woman who he found sitting on his bed touching his arm. The Scottish tennis player then spotted the same woman at other hotels he was staying in while travelling on the tennis circuit. “At one of the tournaments I played, there was a maid in the hotel. She also turned up at a couple more tournaments in the hotels that I was playing at in Rotterdam and Barcelona. I don’t know if that’s a fan thing but that was a bit extreme,” Murray said.

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Rapper Kid Cudi reveals depression struggle

NEW YORK — Rapper Kid Cudi has entered treatment after revealing a long struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Writing on Facebook on late Tuesday, the 32-year-old said he felt ashamed before fans who looked up to him. On Monday, “I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me,” he said. “If I didn’t come here, I would’ve done something to myself.” His disclosure quickly became a major topic on social media, with the overwhelming majority of people voicing compassion for the rapper whose real name is Scott Mescudi. He had his start in the late 2000s as his underground, introspective style of hip-hop gained the attention of rap superstar Kanye West, who became his mentor and later credited Kid Cudi with influencing his own work. — AFP

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Prince’s Paisley Park to open on limited dates

MINNEAPOLIS — Prince’s closely-guarded studio complex in Minnesota has delayed plans to welcome legions of fans, with officials granting only temporary permits on three dates starting Thursday. The late Purple Rain star’s state-of-the-art studio was set to open with tours this week, but local officials in Chanhassen, a suburb of Minneapolis, delayed their approval. Some local residents said they were concerned the estimated 600,000 fans expected to visit the studio-turned-museum each year would create traffic jams and congestion in the town of 24,000. The studio will now open today, Saturday and the following Friday, Oct 14. Ticket-holders scheduled for tours on dates up to October 15 were encouraged to come on the three available days instead, or receive a refund. The 5,100sq m complex will open a week before fans descend on Prince’s Minnesota hometown for a memorial tribute concert. — AFP

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Kaine, Pence attack each other’s bosses at debate

FARMVILLE (Virginia) — Democrat Tim Kaine tried to make the vice-presidential debate all about Donald Trump on Tuesday, calling the Republican presidential nominee a danger to United States national security and someone who denigrates women and minorities and appears to pay little in federal taxes.

The debate between Kaine, the No. 2 to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and his Republican rival, Mike Pence, was the only such encounter between the vice-presidential contenders, and the two spent most of their time attacking each other’s front runners.

Their bickering was so intense they frequently talked over each other as Kaine, a US senator from Virginia, tried to frighten voters away from Trump, while Pence, the Indiana governor, attempted to portray Clinton as untrustworthy for the White House and a failure as President Barack Obama’s first-term secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Kaine drew Pence’s ire by hearkening back to a remark from former Republican President Ronald Reagan that some fool or maniac with a nuclear weapon could trigger a catastrophic event.

“And I think that’s who Governor Pence’s running mate is,” Kaine said.

Pence shot back: “Senator, senator, that was even beneath you and Hillary Clinton and that’s pretty low.”

Kaine, in a line that was clearly rehearsed, repeatedly sought to persuade Pence to defend Trump’s positions. He reminded millions watching on television that Trump was enmeshed in a public feud with a former beauty queen last week, and he pointed out that Trump had praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But Kaine’s overarching objective was to hammer home that Trump has refused to release his tax records, unlike all other presidential nominees in modern history.

The New York Times reported last weekend that Trump had taken a US$916 million tax loss in 1995 and may have avoided paying federal taxes for 18 years because of it.

“Governor Pence had to give Donald Trump his tax returns to show he is qualified to be vice-president. Donald Trump has to give his tax returns to show he is qualified to be president,” Kaine said.

Pence, who has a low-key style compared to Trump’s signature bombast, said Trump as a New York real estate developer had created thousands of jobs and used US tax laws as they were designed to be used.

“Why won’t he release his taxes?” Kaine fired back.

The two candidates interrupted each other so much in a bid to score points that the debate moderator, CBS News’ Elaine Quijano, intervened at one point.

“The people at home can’t understand either one of you when you speak over each other,” she said. — Reuters

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Diane James quits as head of UKIP

LONDON — Britain’s eurosceptic UK Independence Party was thrown into turmoil on Tuesday as its leader Diane James quit, citing “personal and professional reasons” for stepping down just 18 days after her election.

“It has become clear I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign,” James said in a statement published on her Twitter account.

“For personal and professional reasons, therefore, I will not take the election process further,” she said, explaining she would not formalise the leadership process with the UK Electoral Commission.

James said she would continue her work as a UKIP member of European Parliament, dampening earlier speculation she would also be resigning from her EU role.

The Times newspaper said James felt shaken after being spat at on a train last week and was additionally reluctant to lead UKIP without assurances about the party’s funding.

Media reports had earlier suggested she stepped down due to her husband’s ill health.

UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said he received confirmation of James’ resignation “with regret”, adding he would call an emergency meeting of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to prepare for a new leadership contest.

“Whilst the decision is unfortunate, it is one that Diane is entitled to make. We thank her for all her work as leader, and as a hard working MEP, a role she will continue with her customary vigour,” Oakden said.

James, 56, was elected leader on Sept 16 to replace Nigel Farage — one of the best-known faces of the “Brexit” campaign — who quit following Britain’s shock vote to leave the EU, saying his life’s ambition had been achieved.

Bookmakers named Farage and Steven Woolfe, UKIP’s migration and financial affairs spokesman, among favourites to replace James. — AFP

What they said

DEMOCRAT Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence, the White House understudies of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, exchanged pointed barbs in their prime-time vice- presidential debate on Tuesday in front of millions of American voters.

Here is a selection of key quotes from their only head-to-head clash of the campaign before the Nov 8 election:

Indefensible?

“I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult-driven, selfish, me-first style of Donald Trump.” — Kaine

“Senator, this insult-driven campaign, I mean, that’s small potatoes compared to Hillary Clinton calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters a basket of deplorables.” — Pence

Tough on Putin

“The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia (continues) to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis taking place.” — Pence

“He (Trump) loves dictators. He’s got a personal Mount Rushmore: Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Moamer Kadhafi and Saddam Hussein.” — Kaine

Pre-dawn Twitter storm

“Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot.” — Kaine

Deportation nation?

“Hillary and I believe in comprehensive immigration reform. Donald Trump believes in deportation nation.” — Kaine

“That’s nonsense… After we secure the border, not only (with) the wall, but beneath the ground and in the air, we do internal enforcement. But he said the focus has to be on (deporting) criminal aliens.” — Pence

Abortion

“I know, Senator Kaine, you hold pro-life views personally, but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me.”
Pence

“We don’t think women should be punished, as Donald Trump said they should, for making the decision to abort.” — Kaine

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Greats bid Palmer farewell

NEW YORK — A tearful Jack Nicklaus led the tributes to Arnold Palmer on Tuesday as the golfing world gathered to bid farewell to the trailblazing icon who died last month at age 87.

A who’s who of golf descended on the Saint Vincent Basilica in Palmer’s Pennsylvania hometown of Latrobe at a memorial service to celebrate the life of the man known to millions simply as “The King.”

Nicklaus was among friends and loved ones who addressed the congregation in the three-hour service, sharing memories of a more than 50-year friendship which began in the late 1950s.

The 76-year-old 18-time Major winner choked back tears during an emotional tribute, describing Palmer as a golfer “who epitomised charisma.”

“He was an everyday man, everyone’s hero,” Nicklaus said. “Arnold managed to remove the ‘I’ from icon and instead let the world share in his greatness.

“Golf gave so much to Arnold but he gave back so much more. He appealed to everyone. He was the king of our sport, and he always will be.”

Nicklaus addressed an audience containing some of the biggest names of golf spanning different eras, from Palmer contemporaries such as Lee Trevino through to Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Ernie Els to the current crop of stars.

Palmer’s close friend Charlie Mechem opened the tributes to the golf legend, whose worldwide legion of followers was affectionately known as “Arnie’s Army.”

“This is the elite battalion of Arnie’s Army, as it should be,” Mechem said.

US Ryder Cup stars Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson were also among the crowd.

Fowler and Watson arrived clutching the Ryder Cup, which the US wrested back from Europe last weekend after three consecutive defeats.

“It’s pretty cool to be able to bring it here,” Fowler told an interviewer on the Golf Channel television network shortly before the service got under way.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem admitted he had found it hard to put his sadness at Palmer’s passing to one side.

“I got the same instructions, which were to make this an uplifting celebration, but I can tell you it’s really, really hard to do that because we come here with heavy hearts,” Finchem said.

“When we talk about Arnold’s legacy I don’t believe it’s a legacy of the past. It’s a living legacy that he has left us.”

Peter Dawson, the long-serving former chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, the ruling authority for golf around the world, cited the role Palmer played in broadening golf’s appeal in all corners of the globe, hailing him as the sport’s “greatest ambassador.”

“The qualities of Arnold Palmer’s magnetic character endeared him to golf fans, sports fans and indeed the wider public,” Dawson said.

“Arnie’s Army was global and affection for him was international. He was simply adored by millions.

“Arnold was golf’s greatest ambassador, at home and abroad. He mixed with heads of state, with presidents, with prime ministers, but he never lost his common touch.

“He could open doors that were firmly closed to others. But he was more than an ambassador — he was the king, and always will be.”

Palmer, who died on September 25, won 62 titles on the PGA Tour during a career that saw him play a huge role in bringing golf to a mainstream audience.

His haul of titles included four US Masters Green Jackets, two British Opens and one US Open title. — AFP

Fiba want extra Olympic slot

DANANG — Asia’s growing fascination with three-on-three basketball, the game’s half-court version which is already hugely popular in streets and backyards the world over, has given the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) fresh hope they can get the sport into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Fiba’s previous attempts to win Olympic status for the abbreviated format have failed, but they are more optimistic than ever before because of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) stated desire to include more sports that appeal to younger generations.

Although three-on-three basketball fits that criteria and has its own roots in urban America, Asia has been the driving force behind the inclusion of the high-speed game in major multi-sports events.

The sport has already been featured at the Asian Beach Games, Asian Indoor Games and Asian Youth Games and will be on show at the next Asian Games in 2018. It was also included at last year’s inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan and, significantly, was played at the first two Youth Olympics, which were both held in Asia.

IOC have introduced new rules giving Olympic hosts more power and flexibility in choosing their own sports and disciplines, and a decision on the final programme for Tokyo is expected in June 2017 with three-on-three hoops among the candidates.

“There’s a lot of discussions going on,” Nicolas Widmer, a three-on-three development assistant for Fiba, said. “It won’t replace five-on-five, it would be an addition. It’s a new discipline so it doesn’t mean adding a new sport, it’s a new discipline from the sport of basketball and that’s how we are bidding.

“We expect most NOCs (National Olympic Committees) will develop specialist players but I’m sure there will be some very good five-on-five players who will want to do it because it’s a new opportunity for them as well.” — AFP

Maria Sahrapova

WTA must do more

LONDON — Tennis must raise its game to ensure cases like Maria Sharapova’s do not happen again, the chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said on Tuesday after an arbitration hearing reduced the Russian’s ban for doping.

Steve Simon said WTA, while not the governing body, also had a duty to give players clear and specific notifications about changes to the list of banned substances.

“Nothing good comes from a positive drug test for anybody involved and we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure everybody is educated and something like this never happens again,” he said in a telephone interview.

“We have to look at the reasons CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport ) reduced her suspension.

“It’s part of the process and we need to take a look at everything and make sure we’re doing it better.”

CAS had reduced a ban imposed by the International Tennis Federation from two years to 15 months, allowing former world No 1 Sharapova to return on April 26.

The 29-year-old was handed the ban after a positive test for meldonium, which was added to World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances at the start of the year.

Sharapova admitted taking the drug during the season’s opening Grand Slam in Melbourne in January but said she had been unaware it had been banned.

While reducing the sanction, CAS found the player “bore some degree of fault” — but less than “significant fault” — through relying on agent Max Eisenbud to check the prohibited list for changes and failing to ensure he had done so.

Simon said the absence of any leading player, whether through injury or a suspension, was damaging for the sport as well as the individual.

“Maria is a successful athlete and a prominent personality in our sport and of course she’s missed when she’s not on the court.

“We look forward to having her back,” he said.

“I’m sure she’s going to come back eager and hungry to play well and it will be great for tennis.” — Reuters

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