Hurun Research Institute yesterday released the Top Five of the Hurun Rich List 2010, the twelfth annual ranking of the richest individuals in China. The complete Hurun Rich List 2010, China’s equivalent of the Forbes list, listing 1363 individuals with personal wealth of at least a billion Chinese yuan (US$150 million), will be released mid-October. Hurun is a luxury publishing group run by British accountant Rupert Hoogewerf in Shanghai.

Twelve billion dollars. That’s what it takes to be named the richest person in China. China’s richest individual is Zong Qinghua with $12 billion, a fortune that is however dwarfed by the $53.5 billion amassed by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, who this year beat Bill Gates to the title of world’s richest person.

Zong Qinghou, 65, the Chinese soft drinks magnate famous for tackling the French Danone group in China’s highest-profile foreign investment dispute, has been named the mainland’s richest man with a personal fortune of $12bn. Zong tops a list of 1,363 yuan billionaires in China — up from 1,000 last year.

Zong heads Wahaha, China’s leading soft drinks company, which recently emerged largely victorious from a protracted global legal battle with Danone, its former joint venture partner. “Drinks King” Zong, 65, has overseen Wahaha’s rise to become China’s dominant drinks business with expected profits this year of US$1.5bn and 30,000 employees,” the Hurun Report, which compiles the list, said in a statement. He rose from 12th place last year.

After battling Zong in litigation and arbitration proceedings from Samoa to the British Virgin Islands, Danone last year decided to sell its 51 per cent share of the joint venture to Zong for only €300m — despite winning a partial ruling in its favour from a Stockholm arbitration panel. Danone had alleged that Zong — who managed the joint venture’s 36 subsidiaries — ran parallel operations that competed against the joint venture.

Zong and his wife and daughter hold 60 per cent of shares in the Wahaha group, which dominates China’s soft drinks market and has expanded into food products.

Zong was one of two drinks makers in the top five of the Rich List, released in Shanghai on Wednesday, underlining the strength of some Chinese consumer goods brands, and an unexpected rise in the proportion of manufacturers at the top of the list, at the expense of property developers.

“2010 is the first time in ten years a property tycoon has not made the Top Five,” says Rupert Hoogewerf, the list’s founder. He noted that China’s fourth wealthiest man, Liang Wen’gen, made his fortune from selling construction equipment — rather than from property speculation.

“Liang sells construction equipment to businesses feeding off the great Chinese urbanisation boom and has, in the process, made himself richer than any property developer”, says Mr Hoogewerf.

On average, the Hurun Rich Lister started out aged 34 in 1993, and is today 51 years of age. This is fifteen years younger than US or European counterparts, with faster growth in their fortunes.

“China probably now has the largest number of billionaires anywhere in the world,” says Rupert Hoogewerf. “We already know of 189 US dollar billionaires in China this year, but you can safely say that we have missed at least half again, meaning there are between 400 and 500 USD billionaires.”

The most popular family names in this year’s list are Wang with 103 people, Zhang 95, Li 92, Chen 89, Liu 59, Huang 47 and Wu 40. Interestingly, Zong Qinghou, this year’s Number One, is the only one with the surname Zong.

The Hurun Rich List is a snapshot of wealth as of 16 August 2010. The exchange rate used for US$ was RMB 6.8. The list relates to Mainland Chinese only, defined as someone born and brought up in Mainland China, no matter what passport they might hold today.

Last year’s number one, 44-year-old Wang Chuanfu, has seen his wealth drop ten percent as a result of his company’s waning fortunes on the stock market, placing him twelfth on the list with US$4.6 billion. The Warren Buffet-backed auto entrepreneur’s wealth was accumulated mainly from his BYD high-technology firm, which has specialized in batteries for mobile telephones and electric vehicles. BYD has recently had to cut its forecast of conventional car production for this year from 800,000 to 600,000. Delays in production of his electric cars have led the market to conclude that it may be years before BYD’s green cars make a big contribution to profits.

Wang Chuanfu

2008’s number one, Huang Guangyu, the imprisoned electronics tycoon and founder of Gome, the Chinese electronics empire, ranked 21 despite losing a protracted battle — waged from his jail cell — to replace the current Gome chairman with Mr Huang’s sister. Huang is serving 14-year prison sentence for insider share-trading, bribery and other offences.

Huang Guangyu of Gome

With its emerging wealth, China also has a growing income gap. The minimum monthly wage in parts of China is as low as 660 yuan ($95). China’s top leaders have made boosting farmers’ incomes a top political priority as they worry about social unrest.

Here are China’s top 5 richest people in 2010 according to Hurun:

1) 65-year old Zong Qinghou of Wahaha is the richest man in China with a personal fortune of US$12 billion. ‘Drinks King’ Zong has grown Wahaha into China’s dominant drinks business with expected profits this year of US$1.5 billion and 30,000 employees. This year, Wahaha finally settled its protracted dispute with France-based Danone. Zong, who, together with his wife and daughter owns 60% of Wahaha, has jumped up from twelfth place in last year’s list.  The owner of a company best known for its soft drinks brands was named as China’s richest person with a personal fortune estimated at some 12 billion dollars on Thursday. Zong Qinghou, 65, shot to the top of the annual China Rich List of the country’s wealthiest entrepreneurs after his Wahaha group settled a long dispute with French firm Danone, the Shanghai-based Hurun Report said. Zong, his wife and daughter hold 60 per cent of shares in the Wahaha group, which dominates China’s soft drinks market and has expanded into food products.

China's richest person...Zong Qinghou

2) Li Li & family caused a sensation when drug maker Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical went public in May, catapulting him straight into second place on the list with a personal fortune of US$6 billion. Li Li, 46 years, his wife Li Tan and her cousin Shan Yu founded the business in 1998 and together own a 75.6% stake. Hepalink makes heparin, a blood thinner purified from pig intestines, used to prevent blood clots. This is the first time a pharmaceutical tycoon has made it into the Top Five of the Hurun Rich List — underlining the rise of local drug companies eager to serve the rapidly expanding Chinese healthcare market.

Li Li of Hepalink

3) 53-year-old  Zhang Yin, founder of the paper-recycling giant Nine Dragons Paper, sees her wealth grow by almost a billion US dollars to US$5.6 billion on the back of growth in the domestic retail market. Li Li’s rise, however, drops Zhang down one place to third. Notwithstanding this, Zhang remains the richest woman in China, and the richest self-made woman in the world. “Paper Queen” Zhang Yin, who in 2006 became the first woman to head the list, remains China’s richest woman and now ranks third in the list.

Nine Dragons Paper's Zhang Yin...China's richest woman

4) Liang Wengen of Sany Heavy Industry Co. Ltd is proof of the adage that if you want to make money in a gold rush, sell shovels to gold miners. 54 year old Liang jumped 16 places to fourth with a personal fortune of US$5.4 billion. Liang sells construction equipment to businesses feeding off the great Chinese urbanisation boom and has, in the process, made himself richer than any property developer.

Liang Wengen.... Chairman of Sany Group

Liang’s wealth rose sharply largely after listing a second subsidiary, this time in Hong Kong. The only company from the Hurun Top Five headquartered in China’s poorer Western regions, Liang has overseen Sany’s growth into one of the world’s biggest makers of construction equipment, with sales last year of US$4.5 billion and 46,000 employees. Liang owns 58.2% of the group.

5) Fifth of the list is a  tie between Robin Li Yanhong with search engine company Baidu Inc. and Yan Bin of Ruoy Chai International Group, whose brands include Red Bull energy drinks.

Robin Li Yanhong saw his wealth double year on year, placing him fifth on the list with US$5.3 billion. 42-year-old Li has Google’s departure from China to thank for Baidu’s sharp share increase, and is this year lining up Baidu to take on Taobao in the online shopping market.

Robin Li Yanhong of Baidu

Yan Bin has grown his fortune on the back of a strong performance in sales of Red Bull energy drinks in China, which are expected to hit US$800 million this year. Fifty-six year old Yan started his business in Thailand and is also known by his Thai name of Chanchai Ruayrungruang. Apart from Red Bull, Yan owns the luxury Reignwood Group, which includes the best-known golf club in Beijing. He is the second drink maker in the Top 5.

Yan Bin also known by his Thai name of Chanchai Ruayrungruang

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Sarah Murdoch, supermodel host of Australia’s Next Top Model, has been left red faced and close to tears after realizing that she had announced the wrong winner of season six of the Fox Television reality show last night.

Sarah Murdoch

Sarah named 19-year-old Kelsey Martinovich from Sydney the winner who then gave a  heartfelt acceptance speech in a live finale before the host realized she had announced the wrong name. Martinovich had completed her acceptance speech before Murdoch backtracked on stage to reveal the real winner from a public vote was 18-year-old Amanda Ware from Gold Coast.

Her hand over her face, Murdoch made an awkward apology. Murdoch said the wrong name was fed to her earpiece.

“I don’t know what to say right now. I’m feeling a bit sick about this,” Murdoch told a 2,000-strong audience.

But Martinovich was a good sport and gracious in her sudden defeat, saying: “It’s okay” over and over, hugging and repeatedly congratulating Ware and dismissing Murdoch’s apologies.

The disastrous event was dissected in real time on Twitter, and it became an international trending topic immediately.

Prominent blogger Mia Freedman sent a sympathetic tweet to Murdoch: “Oh @SarahAMurdoch you handled that with grace. I wouldn’t want to be the person who fed you the wrong name.”

Foxtel publicity director Jamie Campbell blamed the blunder on a miscommunication between series directors in a broadcasting truck control room and Murdoch on stage.

She said: “Sarah handled what was a difficult situation with utmost professionalism and grace. Amanda and Kelsey were neck and neck in the voting all night.”

Sarah is the daughter-in-law of media baron Rupert Murdoch. Foxtel is owned by Australian phone company Telstra, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Consolidated Media Holdings.

Martinovich may have had a very short-lived reign as Australia’s Next Top Model, but Foxtel said she would receive a Ł12,000 cash prize and trip to New York as compensation for the blunder.

There are accusations that the bizarre mix-up is a publicity stunt to push up the ratings. And Australian newspapers are saying that this is the country’s most awkward TV moment.

Kelsey Martinovich

Ware won an appearance in Harper’s Bazaar magazine, a modelling contract, Ł12,000, a trip to New York and a car.

The winner Amanda Ware

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Being incarcerated has not put a damper on American rapper Lil Wayne’s media onslaught. He has been dropping mixtape and guesting on tracks to the point where he’s almost not missed. He has released just as many music videos, freestyles and guest features during his stint in Ryker’s Island as he ever has.

His manager Cortez Bryant compiled “I Am Not A Human Being”, an album of all new material released digitally yesterday on Wayne’s birthday. This is the eighth studio album by Lil Wayne. The physical version of the album will be released on October 12, 2010 with 2 additional tracks. This is the fifth album of Lil Wayne recording outside of Tha Carter series of albums.

I AM NOT A HUMAN BEING

The “I Am Not A Human Being” mixtape aims to whet fan’s appetites for Tha Carter 4, Wayne’s next studio album, much in the way 2007′s The Leak preceded Tha Carter 3. “I Am Not A Human Being” marks Wayne’s return to traditional rap following the rap-rock “Rebirth” fiasco.

Released on iTunes yesterday,  “I Am Not A Human Being” has now peaked at number one. Within twelve hours after its release it has already surpassed Eminem’s Recovery, taking over the Hip-Hop/Rap charts to become the number one overall album on iTunes.

The album has got some great reviews and it seems that Wayne’s stint in the jail has not affected his music in the least. Weezy is well on his music grind and his latest album seems to be a family affair of sorts featuring Nicki Minaj, Jay Sean and Drake.

Here is a review of the tracks  gleaned from the Internet:

1. Gonorrhea: The first song of the album features Drake. The beat on the song is mellow and the rhythm is quite good. Drake’s performance is confident and assertive with a run-on flow that fits the track.

2. Hold Up: This song features T-Street. The song adds a brand new dynamics to the album and the beat of the song is quite powerful and bold.

3. With You: This is the sweet side of Weezy, with help from Drake. It is a cutesy love ballad with Drake sticking to crooning on the hook. Wayne actually adheres to a bar structure for a change. The piano and the angelic soul singing sample provide the romantic mood.

4. I Am Not A Human Being: A song from the era when Weezy was walking around with a guitar slung over his shoulder, with 80’s 808’s and guitars and breaks. The song goes hard with lines like “Fuck it…whoever it is.” The breaks bring in tough drums that bang and high powered rock guitars.

5. I’m Single: “I’m Single” slows it down to a crawl, with Weezy proclaiming his prowess with the fairer sex. His rhyme scheme is two line but his narrative is tighter on this and not his normal freestyle ramble.

6. What’s Wrong with Them: Drake, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj collaborate in the song “What’s Wrong with Them” and the song is a treat. This could be Nicki Minaj’s breakout track. Weezy offers free association rhymes that lurch into an impossibly hooky chorus with Nicki sounding as sweet as Rihanna.

Nicki Minaj

7. Right Above It:  This song was designed from the start to be a Drake breakout track, and Lil Wayne shows up for the occasion. This is vintage Weezy–the fireman spitting at his hottest.

8. Popular: One of the commonalities of the songs on this album is an almost disco-esque background, with Wayne being as introspective as he’s ever been. This song is perhaps the best example of it.

9. That Ain’t Me: Weezy’s defiant poem from prison eschews the gaudy displays of his bling bling youth in favor of fantasizing about the simple fun you can indulge in when not locked up behind bars.

10. Bill Gates: In this song, Lil Wayne returns to that Young Money type music. It sticks out as the strongest of the new songs, with the heavy dramatic brass and the pounding keyboards combining with that double snare to take Wayne home in style.

Lil Wayne has another hit album on his hands! With his ability to create one-liners that the world will quote, we are sure that these songs will all become anthems. Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Jay Sean are some of the biggest artists on the scene. With each one bringing a new element to the album, “I Am Not A Human Being” is a well rounded rap release, surprisingly coherent and consistent in quality. It displays all that makes Wayne great. It doesn’t overdo it too much in any one area and that balance combined with the work’s brevity is a perfect prelude to Weezy’s road home. Well done.

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“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is a 2010 sequel to the 1987 popular movie “Wall Street”. It follows the actions of Gordon Gekko, a Wall Street trader, after his release from prison. This is the first sequel Oliver Stone has done to any of his movie.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” was a wake-up call about the financial wreck Wall Street was headed for. Had we only listened. Or perhaps we listened too well, and Gordon Gekko became the role model for a generation of amoral financial pirates who put hundreds of millions into their pockets while bankrupting their firms and bringing the economy to its knees.

Michael Douglas reprises his Academy Award-winning role of Gordon Gekko and Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin, Carey Mulligan, and Frank Langella also star in the film. Charlie Sheen reprises his role as Bud Fox as a cameo. Actress Susan Sarandon who plays Shia’s mother shines in a very minor role.

The first movie left off with Gekko going to jail after Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) sang like a canary to the judges over Gekko’s involvement with insider trading.  In the sequel, it is now 2008 and Gordon Gekko is released from prison and finds himself a little outdated and an outcast.

Set in New York City, the film takes place 23 years after the original, revolving around the 2008 financial crisis. The film’s plot mainly centers around the reformed Gekko acting as more of an antihero rather than a villain and follows his attempts to help Wall Street before its soon-to-be stock market crash as well as trying to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan) with the help of Jack Moore (Shia LaBeouf), Winnie’s fiance. In return, Gekko helps Jack get revenge on the man he blames for his mentor’s death.

Jake Moore works for an old-line Wall Street house named Keller Zabel, headed by his mentor and father figure Louis Zabel (Frank Langella). This firm is brought to its knees by Bretton James (Josh Brolin), who is instrumental in spreading rumors about its instability. In a tense boardroom confrontation, Zabel is forced to sell out for a pittance. The next morning, he rises, has his soft-boiled egg, and throws himself under a subway train.

The death of his beloved mentor gives Jake a motive: He wants revenge on Bretton James, and suddenly all the parts come together: How he can hurt James, enlist Gekko, look good to Winnie, gain self-respect and maybe even make a nice pile of money along the way. Meanwhile, Gekko also has an old axe to grind with James and will stop at nothing, including using his daughter, to get back on top. Then the story hurries along as more melodrama than expose.

A scene from Wall Street Money Never Sleeps

The premise behind the new movie is based on the 2008 financial crash, when the large banks faltered and required bailouts from the government.  “Greed is Good”, the line that was made famous by Gordon Gekko is still used, but this time he is doing it the “legal way”.

It’s a smart, glossy, beautifully photographed film that knows its way around the Street (Stone’s father was a stockbroker). Stone’s film is not only topical, it holds out lessons for the future too. For as Gekko tells us: Greed has not only become greedier, it has become legal now. More importantly, money is the `bitch that never sleeps….’

Is greed still good?

Gekko: “Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

Yes, the sequel has strength; Wall Street never sleeps, and Gordon Gekko still beckons.

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Susan Boyle’s second album, due for release in US on November 9 on the SYCO/Columbia Records label, has topped the US charts on pre-orders six weeks before its official release. The official UK release date is November 8.

The Gift is number one on Amazon’s US music chart just one day after being made available to order. Boyle’s album topped the chart, beating new releases from Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Neil Young and Taylor Swift.

Susan Boyle's second album "The Gift"

Amazon declared this “the season of Susan” and said the interest in the Britain’s Got Talent sensation was unprecedented. “She has done phenomenally well going to the top of the chart in the US based on one day of pre-orders alone and she’s racing up the charts in the UK as well,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “She has really captured the hearts of the nation, both here and in the States.”

Susan Boyle’s debut album, “I Dreamed A Dream”, was a 9 times platinum record-breaking debut in 2009 to become the largest global CD pre-order in history; it went on to sell nine million copies and was the biggest selling album of that year. Judging by the buzz around the singer’s new release, she may just top that.

The album features ten tracks including Christmas classics “The First Noel”, “Away In A Manger”, “O Holy Night”, “Make Me A Channel For Your Peace,” “Auld Lang Syne,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,”alongside covers of pop hits such as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” and Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

The first single from the album is a cover of “Perfect Day”, a song originally written and performed by Lou Reed in 1972. SuBo was to perform “Perfect Day” on “America’s Got Talent” earlier this month but was prevented from singing it, leading to accusations that Lou Reed himself had refused her permission for the song. Representatives for Lou Reed said the song had been cleared for British television but not for the United States before the “America’s Got Talent” broadcast. Evidently SuBo and Lou Reed have buried the hatchet.

Susan launched an online talent competition called Susan’s Search to search for a duet partner where wannabe singers were invited to upload videos of themselves performing “Silent Night.” The competition was one of YouTube’s most successful, getting one entry every six minutes after its launch last July. Susan picked given ambulance medic, Amber Stassi, a shot at fame by selecting her for a duet on her forthcoming album. Susan Boyle’s “The Gift” presents the debut of Amber Stassi, singing a transcendent duet with Susan on “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Amber Stassi

Amber Stassi

Susan said in a press release: “When making this album, I really wanted the songs to touch hearts. Music has always been a companion to me, particularly on special occasions. I wanted there to be a mix of songs that would flow with all our moods this holiday season. As much as the season is a time for reflection, it is also a time for fun and enjoyment with those closest to us.”

On another note, Susan Boyle recently moved into her new Ł300,000 house which she bought in March this year. The house is lovely, but modest by celebrity standards.

Susan Boyle's new house

It had been reported by Susan’s brother, Gerry Boyle, that she could not afford to furnish the home, as despite amassing Ł10,000,000 in royalties from the sale of her albums, the money was said to be “ring fenced” and Susan was reportedly living on just Ł500 per week.

With Christmas just three months away, Susan Boyle’s “The Gift” will be the perfect gift.

“The Gift”…..Susan Boyle’s gift to the world!

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Watch your back, Jasmine Villegas. You’re now public enemy number one to a continent of Justin Bieber’s teenage female fans.

Jasmine Villegas

As first reported by TMZ, a Canadian tourist was walking by a Honda car on September 9 in Venice, California when he noticed his country’s most adorable import in the backseat and snapped a few pictures of Justin Bieber and Jasmine Villegas locked in a serious make-out session.

Justin Bieber & Jasmine Villegas

Justin Bieber & Jasmine Villegas

So just who is this Jasmine Villegas who crushed the dreams of millions of Bieber fans?  Jasmine Marie Villegas (born December 7, 1993) is an American teen R&B and pop singer. She is of Filipino and Mexican heritage. Jasmine Villegas was seen earlier this year playing the romantic lead in Justin Bieber’s “Baby” music video. She is the opening act for Justin Bieber’s ongoing “My World 2.0” tour.

Jasmine Villegas made a name for herself, following in Justin’s path by singing covers of female pop and R&B songs and posting them to YouTube. The 16-year-old has been making her musical shuffle around to different producers, but finally she has signed with Sony Epic Records.

With her good looks, and obviously good connections, Jasmine V is ready to take over the music and acting world. She has been a part of many principal roles in television commercials as well as television shows, and music videos. In 2006 she finished shooting a pilot for a Disney sitcom House Broken, a spin-off from Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, starring Arwin, Brian Stepanek. She is also good friends with Paige Hurd and Small Change.  She was also a former member of School Gyrls.

Jasmine V. has been building a strong fan base over the past few years engaging “The Jasminators” – as the fans call themselves– over the Internet. Her YouTube is updated weekly with new behind the scenes videos, live versions of cover song renditions and more. To date more than 20 million fans have viewed her YouTube page videos.

Prior to her Epic Records signing, Jasmine V. released a song “Serious” with an accompanying video that eventually led to the Sony label to take notice. She also speaks to fans daily via Twitter and has already been a trending topic on the social networking site numerous times.

Her youthful ambition and undeniable talent have taken Jasmine into other creative arenas. She has been featured in print advertisements for Target National, Mary Kate and Ashley, American Girl, Levi’s, Hilary Duff, Robinsons May, Macys, Mervyns, Girl Scouts, Sparklets Drinking Water, Kohls as well as principal roles in television commercials for Chevrolet, The Dog, Kellogs, Zellers, Marshalls, and McDonald’s. Jasmine has also made guest starring appearances on Disney’s “That’s So Raven,” Touchstone Pictures’ “My Wife and Kids” starring Damon Wayans, and she has also gone on to become Ms. Hawaiian Tropic and Ms. Royal Essence. She also has a reoccurring role on the ABC’s prime time show “The Nine”, and a guest role on the television series “Threat Matrix”. She has also been featured in Kanye West’s music video “Jesus Walks” and Frankie J.’s “How To Deal”.

Justin and Villegas are rumored to be dating … but they insist they are just “really cool friends.” But with the widely reported kissing episode, few would really believe them. Hearts of millions of teenage girls worldwide have now been crushed. It thus come as little surprise that a lot of scathing comments have been posted on Villegas’s YouTube videos. The wrath of teenage girls!

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a two-part fantasy-adventure movie directed by David Yates and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The book was released on 21 July 2007, ending the series that began in 1997 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This book chronicles the events directly following Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and leads to the long-awaited final confrontation between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort.

The film will be the seventh and final instalment in the Harry Potter film series, and the third to be directed by Yates. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry’s best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The story follows the trio on a quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s secret to immortality – the Horcruxes.

Part I will be released on 19 November 2010 and Part II on 15 July 2011 Both parts will be released by Warner Bros Pictures in 2D and 3D formats on their individual release dates. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be the only entry from the series to be converted entirely in 3D. It will also be released in IMAX 3D.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Gallows Part 1

The decision to divide Rowling’s final book into a two-part movie came from the original declined proposal to split Goblet of Fire in 2004. Deathly Hallows was shot back to back, and treated as if it were one film. The idea to split the book into a two-part movie had been around since the middle of 2007, but only came into serious consideration after producer David Heyman was able to talk to writer Steve Kloves when the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike ended and Heyman had Rowling’s approval. Kloves started his work on the script for the second part in April 2009.

According to Warner Bros. executive Alan F. Horn it will allow “an extra hour and a half to celebrate what this franchise has been and do justice to all the words and ideas in the amazing story.” Heyman described the workings behind the split: “Deathly Hallows is so rich, the story so dense and there is so much that is resolved that, after discussing it with J. K. Rowling, we came to the conclusion that two parts were needed.” Kloves was not able to start work on the script until the WGA strike ended.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction–the Horcruxes. On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart. Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort’s Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort…alive. Harry’s only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. But as he searches for clues, he uncovers an old and almost forgotten tale–the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks. Little does Harry know that his future has already been decided by his past when, on that fateful day, he became “the Boy Who Lived.” No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing ever closer to the task for which he has been preparing since the day he first stepped into Hogwarts: the ultimate battle with Voldemort.

The gang's all here.... Harry, Ron and Hermione in a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

Harry and Hermione in one of the movie's camping sequences.

Ron and Harry switch into stalker mode in a scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

Harry riding in the sidecar of Hagrid's giant motorbike.

Hedwig is back...sending owl mail

Helena Bonham Carter and Jason Isaacs put aside the crazy for a second to have a serious meeting about the "Boy Who Lived" in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Hermione gets her spell on.

Hermione takes part in a bloody battle in a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

t's time for smoochies... Harry and Ginny get close in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

A scene from the ambush at Luna Lovegood's house.

Harry and Voldemort

Xenophilius Lovegood ends up betraying Harry to save his daughter.

“These are dark times, there is no denying,” intones a serious-looking Rufus Scrimgeour at the start of the new Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows: Part I trailer.

The latest trailer for the highly anticipated 3D sequel just dropped, and it’s the most dark, twisty and action-packed clip yet. As the trailer says of the Harry/Voldemort battle, in the end “only one can live.”

Watch the trailer below:

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World ranking number one Malaysian squash superstar Datuk Nicol Ann David equalled the record of five World Open titles held by Australia’s Sarah Fitz-Gerald when she completed one of the most devastating spells of her career by beating Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy in Wednesday’s final in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Nicol in the final against Omneya Abdel Kawy

David crushed home hopes with an 11-5 11-8 11-6 victory over Egyptian fourth seed Omneya Abdel Kawy in Wednesday’s final.

David continued the form she has shown throughout the tournament, looking supremely calm and confident, stroking the ball to all four corners and accelerating when necessary.

Abdel Kawy, the first Egyptian ever to reach the world final, was unable to get a foothold in the match until the second game, which she led 3-0 and 6-3. It took only just over half an hour for David to win 11-5, 11-8 11-6 against the Egyptian, and there was only one brief phase in the middle of the match when the outcome seemed in doubt.

That was when Kawy’s great racket skills helped her carve out a 7-4 second game lead, but David was unruffled, and stepped up the pace to take the game.

She did that by combining patient and high-paced rallying with well-chosen moments to make attacking ploys, most often with an accurate or clinging drop shot followed by a testing drive to the back.

The home crowd tried to lift Kawy as they returned for the third game, but the match had already taken its decisive twist.

David was soon 3-1 up and then 7-2 with Kawy enduring the added frustration of a bad bounce near the backhand back corner, causing her to bang the ball into the court in annoyance.

This was though a good-tempered match, and a revealing one: David, who looked as though she had a couple of challengers breathing down her neck a year ago, now looks far ahead of the field.

“My focus was strong throughout the tournament,” said David after the successful defence of the title in which she did not drop a single game.

“I really wanted this. I didn’t want to let it slip.

“It’s amazing that I can do something that Sarah has done, because she’s such a great player,” David said of the champion, who is now an important sparring partner.

“She’s helped me so much and – with my coach Liz (Irving) she’s been instrumental in what I have done.

Earlier this month, Nicol David entered her 50th successive month atop the world rankings. She won the British Open title in 2005, 2006 and 2008, as well as the World Open title in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Nicole David in action

Nicol is the first squash player to have won the World Junior title twice; in 1999 and 2001 under the tutelage of Richard Glanfield. She remained the only female squash player to have achieved this, until Raneem El Weleily emulated Nicol’s feat by winning her second World Junior Championship in 2007.

Nicol David in action

Nicol joined Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA) and turned professional in 2000 when she won her first WISPA title, after only a month in the tour. The victory came in February, when she defeated Salma Shabana in the final of the Savcor Finnish Open.

On June 7, 2008, Nicol David was honoured with the Order of Merit (Darjah Bakti) or D.B. in conjunction with the birthday of the His Majesty Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. She was the first recipient of the award which was established on June 26, 1975. The award is limited to 10 recipients who have made significant contributions in the arts, sciences and the humanities.

Nicol was also invited to carry the Olympic torch for Malaysia during the build up to the Athens Olympics in 2004 and was appointed UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador for Malaysia.

Nicol David’s other notable achievements include the Asian Squash Championship, which she won with a record of seven times (in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010). She also held a 13-month, 51-match winning streak, from March 2006 until April 2007, when she finally lost to Natalie Grinham in the final of the 2007 Seoul Open. Nicol has also obtained the WISPA  Player of the Year on five consecutive occasions, from 2005 until 2009.

On July 12, 2008, Nicol was among 497 people honoured in conjunction with the 70th birthday of the Penang State Governor Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas. Nicol was also one of the 28 people who received the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri award (DSPN), which carries the title Datuk, making her the youngest person ever to be conferred Datukship in Penang.

Nicol with her DSPN award which carries the title Datuk

Nicol is the daughter of Ann Marie David, a retired Malaysian Chinese school teacher, and Desmond David, a Malaysian Indian engineer, who is also a former state athlete and footballer. She has two sisters, Lianne and Cheryl, both of whom are accomplished squash players at the national level. As a youngster, mathematics was Nicol’s best subject at school; she dreamed of one day becoming an engineer. Nicol scored seven A’s for her Penilaian Menengah Rendah and obtained seven A’s in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (the equivalent to GCSE), which she studied at Convent Green Lane Secondary School in Green Lane, Penang.

Nicol's parents

David, now the winner of 48 WISPA World Tour titles from 63 finals, will now fly to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games as overwhelming favourite to capture the only significant title missing from her collection.

Malaysia salutes you, Datuk Nicol. Thank you for being such an inspiration and the embodiment of the Malaysia Boleh concept. Congratulations, Datuk!

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A new Pokemon Black and White started selling on the market on September 22, 2010 and most stores in Japan are sold out and millions of people preordered it. Pokemon is huge business. There are a lot of addicts of Pokemon games who love collecting them. Gotta catch them all, right?

Pokemon Black & White

With the release of Pokemon Black and White, Pokemon trainers have new maps and a new game to play on the land of Pokemon.  New Pokemon species are also added in the Pokedex.  In the previous Pokemon release, the Pokemon Platinum, they had tons of Wi-fi related interactive games.  Pokemon gamers will have new stuff to experience with the new Pokemon Black and White series Riding on the waves of the Pokemon Black & White worldwide craze , some people created a trailer of Pokemon Apocalypse which has gone viral on the web but the question about its authenticity arises. The video quality of Pokemon Apocalypse trailer is quite amazing as fan-made videos get dark and gritty most of the time, but something about the video trailer is not right.

A lot of people have been confused whether this is a trailer for a real movie or not.  Apparently, it is now almost certain that this is just a product of a group of Pokemon gamers’ passion for the game. The  persons behind the trailer are Lee Majdoub and Kial Natale who have this to say about the trailer:

LEE MAJDOUB: It was a side project we came up with while working on a short film. We were talking about live-action ideas. Kial wanted GTA. I wanted Dragon Ball Z. I think somebody mentioned something about Pokemon and Kial and I made eye contact and ideas just started flowing. Kial wrote a script almost immediately. I read it and sent him back my thoughts, and we did that back and forth for a while. We actually wrote it as a film and filmed full scenes. We wanted to make it as legitimate as possible. Major kudos to Kial for actually taking the first step.

KIAL NATALE: This project really snowballed out of control. For me, it started off as an attempt to make a video on par with College Humor’s original content: their parodies are spot on, with amazing production value. Somewhere down the line, however, my long dormant Pokémon fanaticism kicked in and I just wanted it to be more and more. I started adding more scenes and re-working the Pokémon effects: for anyone who thought our CG looks bad now, you should have seen them before!

The synopsis of the trailer:

Pikachu, the most favorite Pokemon of Ash almost dies in corrupt underground Pokémon fights. Ash’s loved ones have been threatened by Team Rocket with guns. Celadon City hasn’t been the same since the Gyms closed down. Pokémon fighting has gone underground, and the sport has gotten a taste for blood. Ash, Misty, and Brock have been forced deep into the city’s seedy criminal subculture to keep training, but the Pokémon aren’t the only ones in danger. Now, Ash must choose to either become a master in the grim world of illegal pokémon fighting, or make a desperate stand to free them all from the criminal grip of Rocket Industries.

Pikachu

Pokemon….gotta catch them all!

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Tomorrow is Zhong Qiu Jie . Zhong Qiu Jie is also known as Harvest Moon, Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival and Moon Cake Festival  and in Vietnamese “Tet Trung Thu”. It is a day of family reunions much like a Western Thanksgiving. Chinese people believe that on that day, the moon is the roundest and brightest signaling a time of completeness and abundance. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, children delight in parading multi-colored lanterns as families take to the streets to moon-gaze.

The festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, has no fixed date in the Western calendar, but the day always coincides with a full moon.

Descriptions of the “Mid-Autumn” first appeared in “Rites of the Zhou”, a collection of ritual matters of the Western Zhou Dynasty some 3,000 years ago. It described the eighth lunar month, the second month of autumn, as “zhong qiu” (meaning mid autumn).

The Chinese began celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival in the early Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), a period of material abundance and cultural blossoming. The Chinese worshipped the moon by offering liquor, fruit and snacks outdoors, expressing thanks for bumper harvest and praying for the god of the moon to bring good luck.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is characterized by:

Mooncakes: A legend goes that mooncakes were first made in the 14th Century, when people exchanged pancakes that were stuck with slips of paper reading “Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the eighth month”. It was said to be a secret message from rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang calling on the Chinese to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)

Lord Rabbit: Known as Tu’er Ye in Chinese, the Lord Rabbit is a traditional icon of the festival. It has a human body, but a rabbit’s ears and mouth.

Matchmaking: The Chinese believe the god of the moon is a highly efficient matchmaker. In some parts of China, masquerades are held on the Mid-Autumn Festival for young men and women to find partners. One by one, young women are encouraged to throw their handkerchiefs to the crowd. The young man who catches and returns the handkerchief has a chance of romance. It is also a romantic night for lovers, who sit holding hands on hilltops, riverbanks and park benches, captivated by the brightest moon of the year!

Lanterns and dragon dances: These are traditional activities during the holiday, but are popular mainly in south China, particularly in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong.

This day is celebrated as the end of the summer harvesting season by farmers. Traditionally, to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, Chinese family members and friends will gather on this day and under the moon, they eat moon cakes and pomelos. Besides this, putting pomelo rinds on one’s head, carrying brightly lit lanterns, burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang’e are included in additional cultural or regional customs. To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, barbecuing outdoors has become a widespread way.

Traditional foods for a Chinese Mid-Autumn feast are red — for good luck. Lobster and salmon are particular favorites along with apples, pomegranates, roasted peanuts, pomelo, chestnuts, fatt koh (sponge cakes) and moon cakes.

When the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest position, Moon Festival parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar. Moon-cake is the traditional food of this festival, available in many different varieties with yummy ingredients, and sold everywhere in traditional flavors like lotus and egg yolk or exotic varieties like durian, chocolate, coffee and ice-cream.

Over the weekend, I was at Boulevard Shopping Complex and saw a wide variety of moon cakes and lanterns for sale. I could not resist taking some photos of the moon cakes and lanterns.

Kids love these lanterns

A giant fish lantern costing over RM100 (USD 30)

A wide variety of moon cakes for sale at Boulevard Hypermarket

And yesterday my best friend Ken in Brunei came down from Brunei and had lunch with me. He also gave me a beautiful box of moon cakes. The box is exquisite and my wife loves it. And the moon cakes were really nice. Thanks a lot, my friend!

The beautiful box of moon cakes given to me by my friend Ken...thanks Ken!

To all my friends and readers of this blog, I wish you all a very happy Zhong Qiu Jie!

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