Tuesday, May 30, 2017

22 unregistered food handlers arrested at Geylang Serai Bazaar in joint operation by MOM, NEA and SPF, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

22 unregistered food handlers arrested at Geylang Serai Bazaar in joint operation by MOM, NEA and SPF, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

22 unregistered food handlers arrested at Geylang Serai Bazaar in joint operation by MOM, NEA and SPF

SINGAPORE - Twenty-two unregistered food handlers were arrested at the Geylang Serai Bazaar on Tuesday (May 30) in a joint operation by the Ministry of Manpower, National Environment Agency and Singapore Police Force.

A spokesman for MOM told The Straits Times on Monday that it had conducted a joint operation with the National Environment Agency and the Singapore Police Force at the bazaar.

"During the inspection, we found 22 unregistered food handlers who were also working illegally. They were arrested and investigations are ongoing," said the spokesman.

Pasir Ris-Punggol MP Zainal Sapari had earlier addressed the issue in response to photos circulating online and via WhatsApp showing men being arrested at a dendeng or meat jerky stall at the bazaar.

Responding to a comment thread on public Facebook group Halal Cafe & Restaurants in Singapore, where some netizens speculated the arrests were over halal food issues, Mr Sapari wrote: "It was a joint operation between NEA, police and MOM. During the inspection, they found unlicensed food handlers that were also working illegally which is an arrestable offence."

The Straits Times understands that the men were arrested on Tuesday afternoon, at the stretch of the bazaar opposite Tristar Inn.

From photos shared with ST, at least two men were shown being cuffed by plainclothes officers. 

The Geylang Serai Bazaar, which features around 1,000 stalls, opened last Friday (May 26) and will run till June 24.

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Made-in-Singapore infant milk powder launched, costs under $40 for 800g tin, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Made-in-Singapore infant milk powder launched, costs under $40 for 800g tin, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Made-in-Singapore infant milk powder launched, costs under $40 for 800g tin

SINGAPORE - A made-in-Singapore range of infant milk powder, touted as an affordable alternative to those on shelves here, was launched on Tuesday (May 30), amid public unhappiness over high prices.

Einmilk, owned by local company AE Solution and manufactured here by SMC Nutrition with milk sourced from New Zealand, comes in four formulations. Its stage 1 to 3 formulas range in price from $33 to $39 for an 800g tin, while its lactose-free one is priced at $25 for 400g.

The price of infant milk formula here has more than doubled over the last decade to $56.06 for a 900g tin, leading the Government to announce measures earlier this month to curb the hikes.

SMC Nutrition, a subsidiary of food manufacturer SMC Food 21, is one of four companies licensed to manufacture infant milk powder here.

Einmilk formulas are currently available at U Stars supermarkets as well as online on Shopify. There are plans to have it on the shelves of more retailers within the next three to six months, said Einmilk business director Chan Yong Chye.

While educating consumers and convincing them to switch brands presents their biggest challenge, parent focus groups found that pricing under $40 would entice them to make the switch, he said.

"Singaporean parents, we are kiasu (Hokkien for the fear of losing), we want the best product. But whether the best product really comes at that (high) price is something we did a lot of research on," said Mr Chan.

There are also plans to grow its presence in South-east Asia and export to neighbouring countries within the next three years, leveraging on Singapore's reputation for strict safety standards, he said.

The brand was the brainchild of local businessmen Eric Chua and Alvin Tan, who conceived the idea two years ago after finding a lack of affordable and locally-made milk formulas on shelves here.

Said Mr Chua: "(Infant formula) is not cheap.... We wanted to provide quality at an affordable price, made in Singapore by Singaporeans for Singaporeans."

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Rising sea levels: What other countries are doing, Environment News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Rising sea levels: What other countries are doing, Environment News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Rising sea levels: What other countries are doing


As the world's lowest-lying nation - an average of only 1.3m above sea level, the Maldives was the first to sign the Kyoto protocol to fight global warming, and has built sea walls constructed of concrete tetrapods surrounding its capital, Male.

Since 1987, the government has also been reclaiming land. Hulhumale is a reclaimed island that now has hospitals, schools and even government buildings built above the rest of the Maldives.

The Maldivian government launched shore protection projects in 2015, involving the construction of two breakwaters and a revetment, a sloping structure built to absorb the energy of incoming water.


The Netherlands is a flood-prone country with a quarter of its land below sea level. This has made flood control critical, and the government has dedicated over €400 million (S$617.5 million) into flood protection a year.

The nation has built a system of dykes - walls or slopes that regulate water levels, dams and floodgates .

The Maeslant Barrier, with two floating gates, each the length of the Eiffel Tower and weighing four times as much, closes off the New Waterway, a ship canal, in case of a storm tide. It was closed once in 2007, and may be closed more often in the future, with sea-levels projected to rise.

The Dutch are also making use of a sea wall to protect Maasvlakte, Europe's largest port. The wall is 14m high, the maximum projected height of water in the year 2060, and is built using 20,000 concrete cubes, a slope of stones and constructed dunes.


Venice in Italy is facing the pressing problem of slowly sinking into the sea as sea levels rise at the same time.

This led to the passing of the MOSE - Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico or the Experimental Electromechanical Module - scheme by the government in 2003 to construct an artificial flood barrier in the sea.

It cost £3 billion (S$5.3 billion) to build, with estimated maintenance costs of £8 million per year.

The system comprises 78 giant steel gates with hollow panels fixed to concrete bases dug into the sea bed. Compressed air is pumped into the panels, forcing them to rise when a dangerous high tide is imminent, The Telegraph reported.

The system is close to being finished. The barriers will be able to support a 3m tide and protect Venice for a century.

The city has also adapted in other ways. Temporary raised walkways are installed in busier parts of the city; and businesses block their doors until the water sinks. Canals are also dredged regularly.


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Friday, May 26, 2017

ISIS claims responsibility for Jakarta bus station attacks as police probe suicide bombers' links to militant group, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

ISIS claims responsibility for Jakarta bus station attacks as police probe suicide bombers' links to militant group, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

ISIS claims responsibility for Jakarta bus station attacks as police probe suicide bombers' links to militant group

Counter-terrorism investigators are working to establish how the two suicide bombers behind the attack in East Jakarta on Wednesday night are linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

The duo were identified as Solihin, an administrative employee at Darul Anshor, an Islamic boarding school in Poso, Central Sulawesi; and Ichwan Nurul Salam, 34, from Bandung, West Java.

The attack near a bus terminal in Kampung Melayu also killed three policemen and injured 11 others, including a 17-year-old driver and 19-year-old student.

A police source told The Straits Times yesterday that while one of the bombers had ties to militants in Poso, both may have ISIS links.

This is because their use of low- grade explosives and aluminium shrapnel in the "pressure-cooker bombs" on Wednesday was similar to the modus operandi of Indonesian militants loyal to ISIS who targeted police in previous attacks.

On Friday (May 26) morning, the militant group claimed responsibility for the attack"The executor of the attack on the Indonesian police gathering in Jakarta was an Islamic State fighter," the group's news agency Amaq said. No more details were available.

Solihin and Ichwan struck at two spots about 10m apart near a Transjakarta bus shelter. The first bomb went off outside a public toilet at about 9pm local time and the second just minutes later near a bus- stop shelter, police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said yesterday.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the duo's target was a group of police officers who were in the area to escort a parade ushering in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts tomorrow.

  • Singapore leaders condemn bombing

  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have condemned the bombing in Jakarta, and expressed their sadness on behalf of Singapore in separate letters to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

    Dr Tan wrote that he was "deeply saddened" by the blast.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those affected," he wrote.

    He extended Singapore's "deepest condolences to the families of the victims".

    "Singapore strongly condemns this violent and callous act of terror which has caused the loss of innocent lives and many injuries," he wrote.

    "We stand in solidarity with the people of Indonesia during this difficult time."

    In his letter, PM Lee wrote that he was "shocked and saddened to hear of the bomb blast" at the Kampung Melayu Bus Terminal on Wednesday.

    "The loss of lives and multiple injuries caused to the police and civilians were tragic, especially coming right before the holy month of Ramadan," he wrote.

    "On behalf of the Government of Singapore, I offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved families. We condemn this senseless act of violence.

    "We stand together with Indonesia against terrorism. I am confident that the Indonesian Government and people will overcome this swiftly."

Police found a sales invoice dated May 22 from a store in Padalarang, West Java, showing the purchase of a pressure cooker, metal plates, nails, ball bearings, cable switchers and other bomb-making materials.

Inspector-General Setyo said the attack is similar to one in Bandung, West Java, in February by a lone militant suspected of having links to a radical network sympathetic to ISIS.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo condemned the attack, which came just days after a suicide bombing in the British city of Manchester killed 22 people, including children and teenagers. "This is execrable. Ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver fell victim, public mini-van driver, store sellers, as well as policemen," he told reporters in his home town in Central Java, referring to the three dead police officers and 11 people injured.

Insp-Gen Setyo told TVOne news station that local cells might have been spurred to act after the suicide bombing in Manchester and an attack by Islamist militants in Marawi in the southern Philippines.

Indonesia's state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II tightened security at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta yesterday.

"The security in and outside of the airport has been intensified," the airport's security rescue and fire senior manager Tommy Bawono told Tempo news.

Wednesday's attack was reminiscent of a suicide bombing in Solo on July 5 last year. Just days before the fasting month was to end, a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle blew himself up after he was stopped outside the local police headquarters. He also used low-grade explosives in the homemade bomb, which contained ball bearings and screws.

Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, has long struggled with Islamic militancy. Hundreds of radicals have left the country for the Middle East to fight alongside ISIS militants.

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Wider plot behind attack, say police in Manchester, Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Wider plot behind attack, say police in Manchester, Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Wider plot behind attack, say police in Manchester

British police are convinced that there is a wider conspiracy behind Monday night's suicide bombing and are racing to uncover it, as the authorities fear another attack could be imminent. Nearly 1,000 armed soldiers have been deployed on the streets.

"I think it is very clear that this is a network that we are investigating," head of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins said yesterday.

The police now believe that the bomber - British-Libyan Salman Abedi, 22 - was just a "mule", and are hunting for a likely bombmaker as well as other accomplices. Abedi is said to have proven links with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group.

Yesterday, police arrested three more men after the country went into its highest terror alert just 24 hours after Abedi blew himself up at the end of a pop concert at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and injuring more than 60.

It is only the third time that Britain has raised its threat level to the "critical" stage, which means a terror attack is imminent.

The significant move comes as investigators shore up the premise that Abedi, who recently returned from Libya, had help in executing his sophisticated strike.

The three men arrested yesterday live near Abedi's home in south Manchester and are believed to be from Libya. The police also detained Abedi's 23-year-old brother, Ismail, a day after the attack.

Abedi's younger brother, Hashem Abedi, who was born in 1997, was arrested in Tripoli by Libyan counter-terrorism forces.

Meanwhile, troops have moved in to guard key sites in London such as Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, foreign embassies and the Houses of Parliament. This frees up the police to focus on counter- terrorism efforts.

Officers will also conduct more stop-and-search operations and set up vehicle checkpoints, said London police, while up to 3,800 troops could be deployed across the country. Yesterday, more victims of the attack were identified, among them friends Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 47, who were waiting for their 15-year-old daughters at the foyer when they were killed by the blast.

Police presence continues to be heavy as Manchester tries to come to grips with what has happened, and that the perpetrator was one of their own.

"It makes me so angry. I am shocked someone who lived in Manchester could do this," said accountant Reena Ghelani, 28, who made her way to a makeshift memorial at Albert Square to lay flowers during her lunch break yesterday.

Laminator John McGrath, 47, a father of four, was less surprised.

"It has always been on the back of our minds that something would happen, but we didn't think it would be a concert that is aimed at the younger generation," he said.

Singaporean researcher Joseph Ong, 26, who recently graduated from the University of Manchester, was in a cinema on Monday night when the lights suddenly came on.

The manager told the audience that there had been an incident at Manchester Arena. The cinema was evacuated, but he discovered the truth only later.

"My first thought was, did I know anyone who was at the concert or could have been near there?" he said, adding that he texted friends to check on them. There are about 300 Singaporeans at the university.

"It was shocking and very saddening to think they would attack children," he said. "I may be Singaporean, but Manchester is my home away from home."


Suicide bomber had 'proven' links to ISIS

Attack highlights security gaps at soft targets

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Britain raises terror threat to critical level as it identifies suspected Manchester bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Britain raises terror threat to critical level as it identifies suspected Manchester bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Britain raises terror threat to critical level as it identifies suspected Manchester bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi

MANCHESTER, England (AFP) - Britain is imminently facing another terror attack, Prime Minister Theresa May warned on Tuesday (May 23) as she deployed soldiers at key sites after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester.

May said the national terror threat level was being raised from severe to critical, which means another attack is expected "imminently".

Her dramatic statement came after 22-year-old Salman Abedi, reportedly a Briton of Libyan descent, was identified as the perpetrator behind Monday's deadly attack, whose victims included an eight-year-old girl.

"It is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack," May said at her Downing Street office.

She announced that the army would be deployed on the streets to support armed police under a plan codenamed Operation Temperer, which was developed in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris terror attacks.

"This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations."

"You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe," she said.

Started in 2006, the terror threat level is set by a unit based in the MI5 domestic security service.

"Critical" is the highest of five levels and has only been briefly reached twice before and "means an attack is expected imminently".

Police named Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber, as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group claimed responsibility for the carnage.

British media said he was born in Manchester, north-west England, and that his Libyan parents had fled the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Monday's attack came just over two weeks before Britain votes in a general election and is the latest in a series of deadly incidents across Europe.

Earlier attacks, including vehicle-borne assaults in Berlin and Stockholm, have coincided with an offensive on ISIS redoubts in Syria and Iraq by US, British and other Western forces.

Threatening more attacks, ISIS said in a statement published on its social media channels: "One of the caliphate's soldiers placed bombs among the crowds."

The suicide bombing came at the conclusion of US pop star Ariana Grande's concert at the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, one of Europe's largest indoor venues.

Witnesses described the horror when the bomber blew himself up.

"When we left, down the stairs there was probably early teenagers lying on the floor covered in blood and blood on the walls where they'd been laid, so it was just horrifying," female concert-goer Alex Grayson told AFP.

Police staged an armed raid on a Manchester address believed to be where Abedi lived, carrying out a controlled explosion to gain entry after arresting a 23-year-old man earlier Tuesday in connection with the attack.

In an earlier statement following an emergency ministerial meeting, May said: "A single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately."

She said during a visit to victims in Manchester that police would look at the security of such venues.

Police promised extra measures at showpiece events coming up such as Saturday's FA Cup football final.

Campaigning for the June 8 election was suspended by the main parties after the attack and May insisted the country stood tall as defiant chants of "Manchester! Manchester!" broke out at a vigil held in the city centre.


Terrified fans, many of them teenage girls, fled the arena in panic after the explosion in the foyer as they began to leave at the end of Monday's performance by Grande, a 23-year-old former child television star who described herself as "broken" by the attack.

US President Donald Trump and European leaders issued vows of defiance.

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos and teenager Georgina Callander were among the first of the 22 victims to be confirmed.

Another 59 people were taken to hospital, many with life-threatening conditions.

Witnesses reported seeing bodies on the floor after the blast around 10.30pm (2130 GMT) on Monday, and some fans were trampled as panicked crowds tried to flee the venue.

Families were separated, with dozens of young people taken to nearby hotels overnight, and some parents were still desperately searching for their children on Tuesday.

These people are still missing please RT to help find them

— maya (@Plaid_ShirtDays)

"I'm just hearing nothing – her phone's dead," Charlotte Campbell, whose 15-year-old daughter Olivia was at the concert, told BBC radio.

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since July 7, 2005 when four suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London's transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people and wounding 700 more.

It revived memories of the November 2015 attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in which armed men wearing explosive belts stormed in and killed 90 people.

That attack was also claimed by ISIS, as was one in March by a knifeman at the gates of the British parliament – although police downplayed that claim.


Queen Elizabeth II condemned the Manchester attack as an "act of barbarity" and observed a minute's silence at a Buckingham Palace garden reception.

Trump said during a visit to Bethlehem: "So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers."

We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

In a city famed globally for its musical traditions and football teams, showbusiness stars and teams expressed their horror at the carnage.

"We are deeply shocked by last night's terrible events," said Manchester United.

Praying for everyone at @ArianaGrande's show

— KATY PERRY (@katyperry)

My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I'm sending all my love.

— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13)

A support centre for people caught up in the attack was set up at the Etihad Stadium, the home of their rivals Manchester City.

Britain's third biggest city was hit in 1996 by a massive car bomb planted at a shopping centre by Irish Republican Army paramilitaries which wounded more than 200 people.

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Manchester blast: Children among 22 dead; attack carried out by man who died detonating device , Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Manchester blast: Children among 22 dead; attack carried out by man who died detonating device , Europe News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Manchester blast: Children among 22 dead; attack carried out by man who died detonating device

MANCHESTER (REUTERS/NYTIMES/AFP) - At least 22 people, including children, were killed in a suspected terrorist attack at a concert in the northern English city of Manchester on Monday (May 23, Singapore time) where the US singer Ariana Grande had been performing.

The bomb blast which shook the Manchester Arena also injured 59 others.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack, making it the deadliest militant assault in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London's transport system in July 

British police said the attack was carried out by one man who also died at the arena. He had been carrying a device which he later detonated.

"We believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man," Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said. "The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated, causing this atrocity."

He said that the priority was now to establish whether the attacker was acting alone or as part of a network. Local police in the city were working with national counter-terrorism and intelligence officials on the investigation, he added.

British police were on alert for any further attacks. London's Victoria Coach Station and the surrounding streets were briefly closed on Tuesday morning over what was thought to be a suspicious package, the BBC said.

The blast came as the show was ending and pink balloons were dropping from the rafters in a signature flourish by Grande, a 23-year-old pop star on an international tour, reported The New York Times.

The explosion in the foyer of the stadium, which has a capacity of 21,000, sent terrified concertgoers, including children separated from their parents, fleeing for the exits. 

Social media outlets lit up with pictures and videos of  concertgoers leaving the building and a fleet of ambulances rushing to the site. Some concertgoers posted pictures of their bloodied hair and possessions. Outside the venue, concertgoers were seen checking their mobile phones trying to contact their loved ones.

Non-emergency patients in the waiting areas of hospitals were told to leave as doctors prepared to receive the injured.

Grande said late on Monday on Twitter she was at a loss for words over the incident. "Broken," the 23-year-old wrote in her first reaction on Twitter. "From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words," she added. 

The entertainment website TMZ reported that she had suspended her world tour in the wake of the bombing. Sources connected to the singer reportedly told the site she would not perform on Thursday in London and had  also decided to postpone her entire European tour, which also included dates in Belgium, Poland, Germany and Switzerland.

from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande)

May said in a statement police were treating it as an "appalling terrorist attack", adding that the government was working to establish the full details of what happened. "All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected," she said.

May is due to hold a crisis response meeting at 9am British Standard Time/4pm Singapore on Tuesday. Finance minister Philip Hammond said he would cut short a trip to Brussels to return to London. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said more police would be deployed to the city's streets. 

World leaders condemned the attack. United States President Donald Trump offered prayers to the people of Manchester, extending his ''deepest condolences' after the terrorist attack. He denounced the perpetrators of the attack as "evil losers". 

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Queen Elizabeth while French President Emmanuel Macron said he would discuss the fight against terrorism with May. 

The incident evoked the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, which included a deadly assault inside the Bataclan concert hall which killed 90 people.

If you look towards the left you see the explosion and hear the bang. I hope to GOD everyone is ok, and so glad Jess and Em are.

— Joe Gregory (@JoeAaronGregory)

At least one explosion went off in the foyer of the arena, according to the British Transport Police, the force that protects Victoria Station, the train terminus next to the arena. The terminal was evacuated.

Sky News reported that a bomb disposal team was at the scene and the security cordon around the arena had been widened. Police later performed a controlled explosion on an item near the venue, but the item turned out to be abandoned clothing and was not suspicious.

Desperate parents were still seeking their loved ones more than five hours after the blast. Charlotte Campbell told CNN she had yet to reach her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, since the explosion. "We've tried everything we can. They're telling us to wait by the phones. Her dad is out looking. It's the most horrible feeling ever, to know your daughter is there and you don't know whether she's dead or alive," she said.

Campbell, who broke down in tears, said she could not understand how anyone could have carried out an attack on the "innocent children." "I want her home and I want her safe. ... I just want her to walk through the door," she told the US news network. 

Some parents and friends of the concertgoers used social media to search for their loved ones, sharing photos of happy-looking teenagers along with messages pleading for help.
The first unconfirmed reports of an explosion came shortly after 2145 GMT (5.45am Singapore time).

The New York Times quoted concert goer Gary Walker from the northern city of Leeds as saying that he "heard a massive bang and saw a flash" just as the concert concluded.  When he turned, he saw that his wife had been hurt in the stomach and that her leg was possibly broken. He said that he saw "metal nuts on the floor."

Suzy Mitchell, whose flat is opposite the venue,  told the AFP wire agency: "(I) just heard a huge bang from my bed, came out to the front of my apartment and everyone was running away in big crowds."

Videos posted on Twitter showed concertgoers running and screaming from their seats. Hannah Dane, who attended the performance, told The Guardian newspaper that there was "quite a loud explosion heard from inside the Manchester Arena". She added: "It shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out."   

Concert goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters wire agency:  "We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming. It was a huge explosion - you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out of the area."

One concert goer, Sasina Akhtar, told The Manchester Evening News: "We saw young girls with blood on them, everyone was screaming and people were running." Grande became a star on a Nickelodeon TV series and has a big following among teenagers. The concert was said to be packed with teenagers.

She is on an international tour to promote her 2016 album Dangerous Woman and was scheduled to perform at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday. It is not known if she will perform in Singapore at the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix in September. A spokesman said she was unhurt but entertainment news website TMZ said she was "in hysterics" over the deadly blast.

According to The New York Times, parents separated from their children during the mayhem were told to go to a Holiday Inn, where many children had taken refuge. Local residents offered stranded concertgoers places to stay in their homes.

Karen Ford  told the BBC that she had been leaving the concert when the blast occurred. She described the scene as chaotic as "everyone tried to push people up the stairs."  She saw people trying to push past a woman in a wheelchair as children screamed. Some concertgoers left behind their shoes in their hurry to get out.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

The attack  came two and half weeks ahead of an election in which May was predicted by opinion polls to win a large majority.

The tragedy prompted Britain's political parties to suspend campaigning. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said in a statement that he had spoken to May, leader of the Conservatives, and had agreed that all national campaigning for the June 8 election would be suspended until further notice. 

The British pound sagged against the yen on Tuesday after the blast. The pound shed 0.45 per cent to 144.07 yen, but otherwise the currency was fairly steady against its major rivals.

Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena @CCIanHopkins

— G M Police (@gmpolice)

— Manchester Arena (@ManchesterArena)

The chaos outside when we were all trying to get out😫I hope everyone is okay ❤️

— jordan mcbrearty (@JSMcbrearty)

Current scenes in Manchester.

— Kevin W. (@kwilli1046)

Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena

— G M Police (@gmpolice)

@LizKeekoParker 100% sure it wasn't pic.twitter.com/WQl9VEmZAG

— Christopher (@cj_coulter)

Bomb disposal unit has arrived at Manchester Arena following incident at the end of @ArianaGrande gig.

— Pav B (@pavbeee)

Scene outside Manchester arena. Worlds gone mad

— BCFC (@1875SHA)

Victoria station near the Arena has been evacuated, all lines at the station are suspended now..

— Raveen Aujmaya (@raveenaujmaya)

Ariana Grande concert goers at Manchester Arena rush to exits after loud bangs.

— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan)

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Former NIE director and horticulturalist Lee Sing Kong dies at age 65, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Former NIE director and horticulturalist Lee Sing Kong dies at age 65, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Former NIE director and horticulturalist Lee Sing Kong dies at age 65

SINGAPORE - Horticulturalist and former National Institute of Education (NIE) director Lee Sing Kong died of a suspected heart attack late Friday night (May 19). He was 65.

As a horticulturalist, Professor Lee played a leading role in the greening of Singapore, said the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), in a statement on Saturday (May 20).

His contributions to the preservation and development of the country's national parks and greenery helped to realise the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's vision of a Garden City, it added.

Prof Lee was also a widely respected academic who advanced Singapore's teaching education system when he led the NIE from 2006 to 2014.

During his time as director, NIE was placed on the world map as Singapore scored successes in the global Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings in mathematics, science and reading, among other global league tables.

Said chairman of NTU Board of Trustees Koh Boon Hwee: "Sing Kong will be remembered as an exceptional leader of the teaching fraternity and friend by generations of teachers and students."

"He was passionate about education and learning, and lived life to the fullest. We have lost a very special member of the NTU community. Sing Kong will never be forgotten and will be deeply missed," he said.

After stepping down from NIE, he was appointed NTU's vice president for education strategies. He became vice president of alumni and advancement in August 2015.

Over the years, as an educator, he developed NTU's innovations in curricula, teaching methods and assessment.

He also established NTU's Centre for Research and Development in Learning (Cradle), which moved NTU into research for higher education learning.

For his many contributions to Singapore's education system, Prof Lee received the prestigious Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2011. He had received the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2004.

He also made his mark internationally as the first Singaporean to receive the Medal for Distinguished Service in 2013. It is the highest honour bestowed by the Teachers College in Columbia University.

NTU president Bertil Andersson, who expressed his condolences on behalf of the university, said: "Prof Lee was an inspiring figure who left an indelible mark on Singapore's teaching and higher education."

He added: "Throughout his remarkable career, he was a dynamic leader who firmly believed in the importance of higher education."

"Thousands of teachers and students have benefited from his contributions to the teaching profession ... We will miss him deeply."

Prof Lee's wake will be held at his Tung Po Avenue home from Sunday to Monday. He will be cremated on Tuesday morning.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Pastor eaten by crocodiles demonstrating Jesus' water walk | Daily Mail Online

Pastor eaten by crocodiles demonstrating Jesus' water walk | Daily Mail Online

'All that was left was his underwear and sandals': Zimbabwean pastor demonstrating how Jesus walked on water for his congregation is eaten alive by three CROCODILES

  • Pastor Jonathan Mthethwa was reportedly attempting to cross Crocodile River in South Africa 
  • The churchman 'waded 30 metres into the water when the crocodiles pounced'
  • Witnesses said they were helpless as the crocodiles devoured the cleric 
  • It is claimed only his sandals and underwear floated to the surface of the water 

A Zimbabwean church pastor attempting to demonstrate how Jesus walked on water by crossing a South African river on foot was reportedly eaten alive when he was attacked by three crocodiles. 

Jonathan Mthethwa of the Saint of the Last Days church in the town of White River Mpumalanga brought his congregation to the area known locally as Crocodile River before attempting his biblical recreation on March 24, local media reports.

According to witnesses, the pastor entered the water and waded out approximately 30 metres before attempting to make his way to the surface. Unfortunately for the pastor, three crocodiles are said to have pounced and devoured him. 

Pastor Jonathan Mthethwa of the Saint of the Last Days Church was reportedly trying to demonstrate how Jesus walked on water to his congregation when the crocodiles attacked, file photo
Pastor Jonathan Mthethwa of the Saint of the Last Days Church was reportedly trying to demonstrate how Jesus walked on water to his congregation when the crocodiles attacked, file photo
Witnesses claimed only the pastor's sandals and underwear floated to the surface, file pic
Witnesses claimed only the pastor's sandals and underwear floated to the surface, file pic

Only his sandals and underwear were recovered, according to a report in the Daily Post.  

Eyewitness Deacon Nkosi said: 'The pastor taught us about faith on Sunday last week.

'He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he unfortunately ended up drowning and getting eaten by 3 large crocodiles in front of us.

'We still don't understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week. They finished him in a couple of minutes.

'All that was left of him when they finished eating him is a pair of sandals and his underwear floating above the water.'

 By the time South African emergency services ER24 arrived at the scene, the pastor was already dead.

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WannaCry ransomware: Critical sectors not affected at end of Monday, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

WannaCry ransomware: Critical sectors not affected at end of Monday, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

WannaCry ransomware: Critical sectors not affected at end of Monday

SINGAPORE - Critical services in healthcare, transport, telecommunications, finance and retail in Singapore emerged unscathed on Monday (May 15), said the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore, even as the global ransomware attack affected over 100 countries worldwide.

Dubbed WannaCry, variants of the worm started attacking Microsoft Windows machines last Friday (May 12). Experts had warned that there could be more fallout on the first day of the work week from the spread of the virus.

Said Mr Dan Yock Hau, director of the National Cyber Incident Response Centre, said in a statement late Monday: "As of this afternoon, no critical information infrastructure has been affected."

The centre is a unit of the CSA, which said it will continue to monitor the situation closely together with the critical sectors here.

"We are also tracking other sources of intelligence and has reached out to offer assistance to those that were brought to our attention," said Mr Dan.

"CSA's National Cyber Security Monitoring Centre also monitors the developing global situation and track the technical indicators to assess the potential implication to Singapore so that we are able to work on the necessary responses and measures to take," he added.

Customers of Singtel and StarHub can contact the telcos for advice if they are affected. Businesses and members of the public can also refer to SingCert's advisory on WannaCry at www.csa.gov.sg/singcert. They can also seek help from SingCERT through singcert@csa.gov.sg or call 6323-5052.

Over the weekend, infected systems were locked down with a note demanding ransom, crippling hospitals in England and Scotland and some operations of international shipper FedEx and energy giant PetroChina.

French automaker Renault halted production in several of its factories, while German railway company Deutsche Bahn's information screens and ticket machines could not work.

One victim in Singapore was MediaOnline, which supplies digital signage to malls such as Tiong Bahru Plaza and White Sands.

Ms Karen Siow, general manager of Tiong Bahru Plaza, Liang Court and Hougang Mall at Asia Malls, said: "There is no other anticipated impact from this malware as the digital directory systems run on a separate network from the rest of the corporate networks of AsiaMalls."

Victims either did not apply a software patch, released in March (2017), to fix a known flaw in their Microsoft Windows systems, or were using old, unsupported systems such as Windows XP or Windows Server 2003.

Users might have initially been infected by clicking on a bogus link or attachment in the e-mail. Then the worm spreads to multiple machines over the intranet or Internet using a capability believed to have been developed by the United States National Security Agency - causing the attack to be unprecedented in scale by any ransomware.

Infected systems display a ransom note demanding for US$300 (S$420) to be paid in the bitcoin cryptocurrency within three days, or double the amount in seven days, failing which the encrypted file will be deleted.

A Twitterbot that tracks the ransom payments in real time recorded more than US$42,000 paid to date.

Last year (2016), security software firm Symantec recorded more than 463,000 ransomware attacks, up by a third from 340,000 attacks in 2015. Singapore was ranked the 24th top ransomware destination in 2016, after jumping 18 places from the previous year.

Security experts have urged organisations to keep their security software and operating systems up-to-date to protect themselves against known threats. Organisations have also been advised to regularly back up important data to thwart ransomware criminals.

Additional reporting by Melissa Lin

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Grass jelly in viral video not made of plastic, manufacturer has made police report: NTUC FairPrice, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Grass jelly in viral video not made of plastic, manufacturer has made police report: NTUC FairPrice, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Grass jelly in viral video not made of plastic, manufacturer has made police report: NTUC FairPrice

SINGAPORE - A claim that a locally manufactured grass jelly or chin chow product is made of plastic is false, supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice told The Straits Times on Monday (May 15).

A man identifying himself as Vincent Ng had said in a viral video circulating online that the Tan Soon Mui grass jelly he bought from FairPrice was "made of plastic".

The 1min 38sec video shows what appears to be dry, flaky grass jelly, instead of the usual smooth dark product.

"Look, this is what we got from NTUC," says the man. "Look, all these are plastic."

The post has been widely shared on social media.

A FairPrice spokesman told ST that it has clarified with the local manufacturer and found that the claim is false.

"We understand also that the manufacturer has made a police report over the post," said the spokesman. "Checks on existing batches do not reveal any abnormalities and samples have been sent for further lab tests as well."

FairPrice added that the grass jelly manufacturer has advised that freezing and thawing the product may affect its texture and consistency.

FairPrice had on Saturday (May 13) afternoon said in a Facebook post that it was in contact with its supplier over the viral video.

In its post, the supermarket chain asked the creator of the video to contact it directly and provide an actual sample of the product to aid investigations.

However, the FairPrice spokesman told ST on Monday that it "has yet to establish a connection with this customer".

A spokesman for Sheng Siong told ST that the supermarket chain also carries this brand in its stores.

"So far we have not received any complaints but we will monitor the situation closely," said the spokesman. "Customers who are in doubt may bring the grass jelly product back to our stores for an exchange."

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) told ST on Monday that it is aware of the case and is investigating.

"We urge the public to refrain from speculating or sharing unverified claims as they may cause unnecessary alarm," said the AVA spokesman.

FairPrice also said it would like to advise the public "not to further circulate unfounded or unverified information which may cause unnecessary public alarm".

"Our supplier is currently working with the authorities on the matter," it said. "We take the opportunity also to remind the public to be mindful of information spread on social media and online platforms, and encourage all to verify information directly with the source when in doubt."

Consumers who wish to make clarifications may contact the supermarket chain directly at its customer relations hotline at 6552 2722, via e-mail at general.feedback@fairprice.com.sg, or post a comment on its Facebook page.

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