Thursday, 31 May 2012

Watz Online - 31 May 2012

Zhang Ziyi investigated for prostitution

Zhang Ziyi investigated for prostitution

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi is allegedly being investigated for a sex scandal linked with China's former Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai.

According to various sources that have been rampant on the matter, Zhang has been barred from leaving the country, where she is currently shooting "The Grandmasters", while the investigations are ongoing.

This may explain why she has refused to appear at the Cannes Film Festival, where her upcoming movie "Dangerous Liaisons" is contending. She has also refused an invitation to present the Palme d'Or award at the festival.

Zhang's involvement in the scandal with Bo, was believed to have been arranged by another government official and an associate of Bo, Xu Ming, the founder and chairman of the Dailian Shide Group.

The actress had agreed to sleep with Bo for 10 million Yuan (approximately SG$2 million) and they had at least 10 encounters in between 2004 to 2007, according to the Chinese media.

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Crime syndicate targets Singapore flights: police

Singapore police warned on Tuesday that members of a Chinese crime syndicate were believed to be stealing money from the bags of passengers while they slept on flights to and from the country.

Eighteen reports about in-flight thefts have been filed so far this year, up from only one in 2011, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Tee, head of the airport police division.

"Investigations revealed that some of the thieves are suspected to be syndicate members from China working in groups of three to four individuals per flight," Tee told AFP.

"They would strike during boarding operations, or in-flight when passengers are asleep or when using the toilets.

"Their goal is to steal cash which has been kept by passengers inside their travel or laptop bags stowed in the overhead compartments of the aircraft."

Tee said the thefts were confined to some carriers on regional flights.

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Rochor Road-Victoria Street junction is safe, says LTA

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has checked the Rochor Road-Victoria Street junction where two recent high-profile accidents took place, and found it to be safe.

The checks were done in the day as well as in the middle of the night after the accidents.

But 'as an added precautionary measure', the LTA said it will 'synchronise the green phase' of the pedestrian crossing signals and the Victoria Street signal lights, so that both will be green at the same time.

It added that it will reinstate a set of overhead traffic signals once MRT works in the area are completed next year.

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Lexus driver charged over Bugis crash

The driver of a Lexus involved in a crash at the Victoria Street-Rochor Road junction in the Bugis area last weekend has been charged with drink driving and dangerous driving.

Kelvin Seah Koon Yong, 30, who works in the food and beverage industry, allegedly ran a red light and collided with a taxi just after 3am on Saturday. A cab passenger was taken to hospital and treated as an outpatient.

The circumstances of the crash were similar to the May 12 one at the same junction involving a Ferrari. That crash claimed three lives.

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Many still beating red light at jinxed junction

Many still beating red light at jinxed junction
Since the two crashes, the junction of Victoria Street and Rochor Road is now very much in the public eye. 
At least three vehicles ran the red light at the now-infamous traffic light near Bugis Junction, in a survey carried out on Monday (28 May).

Reporters from the newspaper staked out at the site of the Ferrari-taxi crash after the most recent accident involving a Lexus. 

In the span of one hour between 6pm to 7pm on Monday evening, at least three vehicles beat the red light during the evening peak hour.

At least three jaywalkers were spotted while two vehicles stopped illegally at the roadside to pick up passengers.
A shop assistant from a nearby boutique told reporters that the situation in the area is a lot worse at night. She said a lot more jaywalkers will cross the roads illegally after the shops close.

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A Supercar Crash Enrages Singaporeans

Wreck sparks anger at the million-odd immigrants brought in as a result of government policy

At 4 a.m. on May 12, a red Ferrari supercar driven by a Chinese national named Ma Chi ran a red light, slamming into a taxicab at the corner of Singapore's Queen Victoria Street and Rochor Road, killing the 31 year-old driver, the taxi driver and his passenger, a 41-year-old Japanese woman.

The implications of the crash have continued to mushroom, kicking off a massive public outcry both in Singapore and China. In Singapore, it has raised the already festering anger level at the enormous numbers of foreign nationals that have entered the country, as well as the ease with which foreign nationals, especially rich ones, can gain permanent residency. The crash and its aftermatn have become a factor in a by-election scheduled for Saturday in the Hougang district of the island republic, for a seat that has traditionally been held by the opposition.

Ma was described as an “expatriate financial advisor from Sichuan,” his pregnant wife told Singaporean media, adding that she didn’t know his 20-year-old companion. a mainland Chinese woman who died in hospital later. . Ma had purchased a luxury S$3 million condominium on the island nation’s east coast, she said, adding that he also owned a US$400,000 BMW as well as the limited-edition Ferrari 590GTO, which he was said to have bought for his 30th birthday. He was said to be applying for permanent residency when he was killed.

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Taxi drivers catch aggressive freeloader

Taxi drivers catch aggressive freeloader 
(Photo / Wikimedia Commons)

A taxi driver assaulted by an aggressive passenger gathered 20 other drivers within 15 minutes to bring the culprit to justice. The incident happened sometime in March at around 3:30am.

The 38 year-old taxi driver, known only as Mr Liu, picked up a well-built man in his twenties outside Gallery Hotel. The man, dressed in t-shirt and jeans, wanted to go to a bar outside Pan-Pacific Hotel to continue his night of fun.

As the taxi neared Marina Bay Sands, the man suddenly accused Mr Liu of purposely going on a detour to earn a quick buck. Mr Liu tried to reason with him and even offered to deduct $1-2 from the fare. However, the man declined and wanted the taxi to stop immediately.

“After I stopped the car, he refused to pay. As we were in a standoff, I decided to drive him back to where I picked him up,” Mr Liu said.

Low explains comments on media

I SHARE the editorial writer's view that 'anyone who claims to promote the idea of a First World democracy should take care to uphold its institutions, including the media' ('Fallout from the Hougang showdown'; yesterday).

At the by-election public rally last Thursday, I said: 'The media is a potentially powerful tool for or against certain political parties. Therefore, it is imperative that the media must become a reliable source of information for the people, independent from the strong influence of the Government... We must not allow the media to be used by the Government as a political tool.'

At the press conference last Saturday night, I reiterated that only with an independent media that presents fair and accurate information, can the people make an informed choice of their Member of Parliament.

In the recent campaign, I detected biased reporting, calculated to damage the Workers' Party (WP) candidate and the party itself. For example, the front page of The Straits Times last Wednesday showed a large photo of party chairman Sylvia Lim and myself talking to each other with grim faces at our rally, with the candidate in between, with the headline 'WP faces allegations of dishonesty'. This was after the accusations had already been publicly clarified.

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File Picture:

Maid jailed for pouring menstrual discharge into employer's coffee

An Indonesian maid was jailed for one month on Tuesday for pouring her menstrual discharge into the coffee of her employer.

Jumiah, 24, pleaded guilty to mischief at her employer's home on Aug 31, 2011.

The court heard that Jumiah, who had been working for the family for 1-1/2 months, wanted a change of employer but her request was turned down.

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Overseas votes for Hougang by-election evenly split

SINGAPORE: Twenty-seven of 43 registered overseas voters cast their votes in the Hougang by-election.

Thirteen votes went to Workers' Party's Png Eng Huat. People's Action Party's Desmond Choo also received 13 votes.

One vote was rejected.

This brings the total number of votes for Mr Png to 13,460 and that for Mr Choo to 8,223.

Mr Png's final share of the vote is 62.08 per cent while that of Mr Choo is 37.92 per cent.

The overseas votes cast in the Hougang by-election were counted on Wednesday at the counting centre at Serangoon Secondary School.

The Elections Department said that with the overseas votes added, the total number of votes cast in the by-election of 26 May is 21,978, including 295 rejected votes.

This means 94.05 per cent of 23,368 registered electors in Hougang constituency voted in the by-election. 

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Phony exorcism in the bedroom

Phony exorcism in the bedroom

It started with innocent lunches at work.

But soon enough, the topic over a meal between the 31-year-old woman – known only by the surname Cao – and her supervisor would veer towards the supernatural.

The supervisor, 53, claimed he could see spirits.

“He would talk incessantly about supernatural things. He kept saying there was something ‘dirty’ following me, and that it will affect me sexually,” said Ms Cao, a sales coordinator who only joined the company in February.

“After the meal with him, I felt out of sorts, with no control over my actions. I even burst into tears,” she added.
One day, the man, who was not named, said he was tipsy and brought her to a hotel to rest.

The man then said he would help her get rid of the spirits and forced himself on her.

CPF, Medisave minimum sums to go up: MOM

Central Provident Fund (CPF) members who turn 55 between this June and July next year will have to set aside the minimum sum of $139,000, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said.

The new minimum sum is up 6 per cent from $131,000 last year.

According to MOM, the amount has been adjusted over the years to account for inflation, longer life expectancies and Singaporeans’ rising expectations of their quality of life post-retirement.

The government has explained that the CPF minimum sum scheme provides members with a monthly income to support a modest standard of living during retirement.

Since 2004, the CPF minimum sum has been increased by $4,000 each year to reach $120,000 in 2013, as recommended by the Economic Review Committee in 2003.

MOM also announced that from the start of July next year, the Medisave minimum sum (MMS) will be raised to $38,500 from $36,000 -- an increase of 7 per cent.

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Singapore To Ease Car Control Measures; May Help Ease Inflation

Singapore will allow its car population to grow at a faster pace in the next few months than previously announced, a move expected to reduce the cost of owning a car and ease inflationary pressures in the city state.

The Land Transport Authority said Wednesday that it will reduce the annual vehicle growth rate to 1% starting August from 1.5% now, less steep than the earlier announced reduction to 0.5%.

The move will make available 390 additional Certificates of Entitlement, or COEs, a month starting August, the authority said in a statement on its website. The pace of car growth will be reduced to 0.5% from February 2013.

The government auctions a limited number of COEs -- which allow car ownership for 10 years -- twice every month in an effort to keep the vehicle population in check.

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Singapore Telecom Fined Following 3G Network Outages

­Singapore Telecom (Singtel) has been fined by the Singapore telecoms regulator, the IDA following a disruption to its 3G networks last September. The IDA found that Singtel had failed to comply with license regulations calling for "resilient mobile telephone services".

The service disruption caused some of Singtel's mobile subscribers in the central region of Singapore to experience intermittent difficulties in making and receiving calls and accessing SMS, MMS and mobile data services. At all times, 2G services were available.

Investigations showed that the service disruption was caused by a software glitch in the new switches that were progressively being installed by Singtel.

The glitch affected the normal routing of data packets in the network, and mobile services in the central area were intermittently disrupted over three periods between 6 and 7 September causing a total of 22 hours of service disruption.

More than 5 percent of the mobile network's base stations were affected.
Given the serious impact of the service disruption, IDA has decided to impose a financial penalty of S$400,000 on Singtel for its contravention of the Service Resiliency Code.

UPDATED: A Singapore soldier's shame? His maid carries his rucksack

Singapore soldier maid 2011 03 29

UPDATE: The recruit has been located and "counseled" by superiors.

A fellow soldier interviewed by Straits Times Indonesia feels "pity" for him. Perhaps the real pity is this kid doesn't have friends who would mercilessly ridicule him for even thinking about handing his rucksack to a maid.

Here we have the latest victim of a cell phone camera lens: a young Singaporean soldier, in full uniform, trailed by a maid lugging his rucksack.

The photo was first uploaded to Facebook, then circulated through message boards and, finally, broadcast on Singapore's local lifestyle Web site, Stomp!.

Now, it's become more than an excuse for Singaporeans to tsk-tsk at a young man's lameness.

The photo has whipped up a debate: are the island city-state's well-off youth are too pampered to defend their nation?

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Singapore’s maid addiction

Singapore maids 2012 05 29

BANGKOK, Thailand — They call it a job. But working as a live-in maid in Singapore is really an all-consuming way of life.

As it stands, domestic workers in the affluent city-state are guaranteed no days off. Maids — inevitably women from poorer Southeast Asian countries — are largely under the dominion of their employers. How a maid calls home, or when she’s allowed outside, can be dictated by her boss.

These practices, however, appear to be prompting soul-searching among Singapore’s lawmakers. In recent years, they’ve tinkered with rules governing employers’ control over their live-in servants, which are found in roughly 20 percent of Singapore’s homes.

For domestic workers, the latest legal gain is their biggest so far: the right to demand at least one weekly day off starting in 2013. And as maids hanging laundry out of high-rise condos continue plummeting to their deaths — there are nine cases this year and 75 since 2000, according to government figures — Singapore has vowed to punish families that don’t provide safe working conditions.

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Southeast Asia: migrant maids as modern day slaves

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The scar on Porn Sothea's bottom lip has turned into a permanent lump, while her arms and lower legs bear recently healed wounds and bruises.

She has only just returned to Cambodia after working for two years as a live-in maid in Kuala Lumpur, a job assignment that became a harrowing ordeal.

Sothea, 23, signed up for the work in late 2009, believing it would offer a way out of the dire poverty in her village in central Cambodia. Three months after arriving in Malaysia, however, her employer began to subject her to physical abuse and extreme working hours.

"Every part of my body was tortured at one time," Sothea said in December, a few days after she returned. "She punched me in my mouth and face many times, used a thin piece of metal to hit my back, and she grabbed my hair to hit my head against the wall," she said.

Experiences like Sothea's are common among Cambodian migrant maids. During the past year, human rights groups have been overwhelmed with complaints of abuse and exploitation of maids by Malaysian employers and the Cambodian job agencies that recruit the workers.

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Singapore drops to 4th spot in IMD World Competitiveness study

Singapore has dropped one place in an important global competitiveness study, coming in fourth, behind Hong Kong, the United States and Switzerland.

The Republic's ranking in the IMD World Competitiveness study was dragged down by fast-rising prices, a slowing economy and falling productivity.

This is the second year running that Singapore's ranking in the study has fallen. It grabbed the top spot in 2010 but slid to third place last year, in the annual study of 59 economies conducted by Swiss business school IMD.

Hong Kong topped the latest rankings, with high scores for being business-friendly and having an effective legal framework.

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'Not the job' of Yale-NUS College to tell students what to think

It is not the role of Yale-NUS College to tell its students what to think, politically or otherwise, said the college's newly appointed president, Professor Pericles Lewis, yesterday.

Instead, the education institute's role is to encourage them to engage in more critical dialogue to help move Singapore's society forward, he added.

Speaking during a media conference to announce his appointment, Prof Lewis, 43, made clear that his key focus was to broaden the knowledge of students at the new liberal-arts school and for them be able to ask important questions in any field they join.

"It is not the college's job, or mine, to tell Singaporeans what direction to move their," he said.

"(But) it is the job of an education institution to encourage dialogue that contributes to the development of society."

His comments come after controversy surrounding the tie-up between Yale University in the United States and the National University of Singapore (NUS) to establish a liberal-arts school here, whose fundamental principles are closely aligned with the notion of freedom.

Last month, the US university's faculty reportedly voted 100 to 69 to pass a resolution expressing "concern regarding the history of lack of respect for civil and political rights in the state of Singapore".

It also called on the planned Yale-NUS College to uphold principles of "non-discrimination for all...civil liberty and political freedom on campus and in the broader society".

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