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Messages - MariaSharpie

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SINGAPORE:  Unjustified attacks made against the police must be rebutted as they are  a huge disservice to the officers who put their lives at risk every day  to make Singapore, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on  Sunday (Dec 10), in a second post voicing his support for the police in  their raids on illegal brothels.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr Shanmugam had written about the online criticism  levelled against the police for multiple raids on brothels in the  Rowell Road area, saying sympathy for victims of syndicates should not  colour our views on what the police need to do.
His posts follow an online video made by a woman who had taken footage of the police during the raids, accusing them of excessive force, hurting the female sex workers, and having used the services of the  women.
The post has since been removed.

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SINGAPORE: People are not necessarily aware of how smart Singapore already is, said Minister-in-charge of the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) Janil Puthucheary as he took stock of the year's progress in advancing the country's Smart Nation ambitions.

Citing the example of the National Library Board (NLB), Dr Puthucheary highlighted how users can look at and reference the entire collection of books from the comfort of their home via their mobile devices, or that one can reserve a book and pick it up from a locker after work hours. Such features are testament to how technology has already been tapped to deliver services to people.

“The infrastructure, the connectivity, the planning and the software in order to make these happen, it’s phenomenal,” he added. “But to us, it’s just how our NLB is. It’s just like that, right?”

Dr Puthucheary, who is also Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Education, also pointed to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore’s (ICA) application for passport online electronic system (APPLES) as another example.

“You can apply for a new passport essentially by taking a selfie,” he pointed out.


SINGAPORE: Dakota Crescent, one of Singapore's oldest public housing estates, will be redeveloped into a  public housing site, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (Dec 11).

In a Facebook post, he said various options were looked at and a decision was made to build new HDB flats there.

"This will provide more public housing options near the city, and allow another generation of Singaporeans to build their own special memories of Dakota Crescent."

Mr Wong said the central cluster of buildings around the courtyard will be retained and re-purposed.

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As we usher in the year-end holidays, many of us might have already started on our 2018 plans. Here, we have next year’s Chinese astrology predictions by fengshui consultant Joey Yap.

The 40-year-old has given pointers that might help guide you with your love life, career, health and wealth  throughout the year of the dog. Chinese New Year celebrations in 2018 start on 16 February.


Those born in the year of the dog will experience their fair share of personal and professional problems in  2018, with matters from one aspect of your life having the tendency to spill into another. For example, a positive boost in your career could cause a backlash in your personal life. Fret not, you can still overcome  obstacles by summoning the same inner strength you got from your  career.

You might experience financial losses in  2018 so be sure to focus on saving your money. It’s also unwise to move  jobs despite escalating work-related pressures. Hang in there by  remaining consistent and determined in your work.

When it comes to relationships, tensions may arise among married individuals while it’s set to be a lonely road  for those who are single.

Avoid digestive complications by having a  proper balanced diet and exercise. You should also take care of your  health by being extra careful on the roads and avoid the use of metallic objects that might contain harmful materials.

Popular figures who share the same zodiac: Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Prince William


It’s time for you to shine and seize that well-deserved career advancement or business development. You will find  yourself becoming increasingly popular through new friendships and business deals. Be sure to schedule some time for yourself to avoid  feeling burned out.

Financial obstacles might occur early in the year. After which, bonuses and a surge of wealth could take place.

Be open to assistance from others  who might help you conquer minor obstacles. These alliances might enable  you to overcome resistances that could undermine your productivity.

It’s a good year to be in love.  Individuals who are in long-term relationships should consider marriage  while single individuals should start mingling and embarking on a  romantic relationship.

Take care of your health by remaining diligent and avoiding extreme activities. Finding yourself in an ill-fated event could lead to physical and psychological problems.

Popular figures who share the same zodiac: Mila Kunis, Hillary Clinton, Stephen King, Mark Wahlberg


It’s a great year to develop your skills further as your ability to learn new skills enhances; academicians, scholars or students will especially benefit from this  boost.

Be prepared to experience monetary losses due to unlucky financial investments or delayed reimbursements.  You can counter this situation through wise spending at the start of the year and avoid investment schemes.

While it’s going to be a rocky  road for your career in 2018 due to distractions from negative people  around you, stay focused and it will reap benefits at the end. Accept help from generous people whenever you can.

Single individuals will find an easy time finding love this year so start mingling. However, married  couples might run into health-related problems so be sure to encourage  your partners to exercise and consume balanced meals.

Popular figures who share the same zodiac: Prince Harry, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck

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he government will likely raise GST next year to shore up its coffers in order to help out the poor more – that’s probably the official excuse we will hear from them.

When they raised GST to 7% almost ten years ago on 1st July 2007, the same reason was also given ie to top up the government’s budget so that they could spend more on social and welfare services.

For every percentage point increase in GST, tax revenues could go up by about S$1.5 billion and it is a tax that is difficult to evade unlike corporate or personal income tax. For the 2017 financial year, $11 billion GST was collected – about 16% of the government’s total operating revenue of $70 billion.

Who are The Poor?

Without a proper poverty line, it is difficult to determine how many are the actual poor people living in Singapore right now.

Are those who have no homes, nothing to eat and without any proper income deemed poor and thus deserve more help?

How about those who live in our rental flats but struggle to pay bills of all kinds in order to survive to their level best?

To be fair, the government has poured in alot of money through ComCare – a large-scale welfare social initiative to help the poor and elderly through the five Community Development Council (CDC).

Financial wizard Mr Leong Sze Hian has written an article about how the government spent only 0.1% or $130 million of our $400 billion GDP in 2016 on ComCare benefitting 40,000 households.

Moreover, according to the World Bank data in 2014, the government spent a mere 4.9% of our GDP on healthcare which is ranked right below most OECD countries. Countries like US, Sweden, Denmark, Japan and Switzerland spent above 10% of their GDP on healthcare. Mr Heng Swee Keat says the government will hope to increase healthcare expenditure from $4 billion in 2010 to $10 billion this year to about $13 billion by 2020.

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We’ve talked a couple of times this week about the dangerous consequences surrounding Donald Trump’s new policy toward Israel, which the president announced at a White House event on Wednesday. But as Rachel noted on last night’s show, there are some lingering questions not only about what he said, but also about how he said it.

There was clearly something off about the way in which Trump spoke at the event, and while I’m not going to speculate about what have been the cause for the president’s slurred speech, his apparent difficulties did not go unnoticed.

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Chit Chat Corner / Man finds himself in fiancée's childhood beach photo
« on: December 09, 2017, 01:19:25 pm »
People in love often like to look for signs that they truly belong together — “We both love the color blue!” “My horoscope said so!”  — and sometimes, those signs are there even when you’re not looking. Shortly after getting engaged, Verona Koliqi and Mirand Buzaku discovered a delightful coincidence in a photo from 10 years ago.

“My cousin found this photo on her computer, and she sent it over to me on my phone to laugh about how we looked when we were younger,” Koliqi tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The photo shows a group of kids posing in the ocean at a beach in Montenegro. She showed it to her fiancé, and they poked fun at her “tomboy” look. But then Buzaku peered closer at the kid in the background of the pic, lying on a float just like the one he used to have.

“He said, ‘Hold up, I think that’s me!’ ” Koliqi recalls. “We both looked at each other and said, ‘No way, that can’t be true.'”

Everything in the photo matched Buzaku’s memory of how he would hang out in the water — down to the white T-shirt. Because it was still hard to believe, they turned to his family, who confirmed that they’d gone to that same beach at the same time. What’s wild about this is that she was visiting from London at the time, and he was visiting from Kosovo.

“I never knew something like this could happen, even though I’ve heard a saying: ‘You will have passed your soul mate at least once way before you actually meet up,'” she says.

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SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are urged to avoid all travel to Gaza following outbreaks of clashes and violence in the wake of the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a travel advisory on Saturday (Dec 9).

"Singaporeans are advised to avoid all travel to Gaza," said MFA. “Non-essential travel to the West Bank, including Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah, and Israel’s borders with the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria, should be avoided.
"Singaporeans should exercise a high degree of caution in Jerusalem, especially in the Old City and East Jerusalem." 

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After drawing level with Lionel Messi in terms of Ballons d'Or won, the Portuguese says that he's  "never seen anyone better than" himself     

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has branded himself the greatest player in the history of the game.
He picked up his fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, equalling the record of his great rival Lionel Messi.

 Ronaldo was the runaway winner of the gong, picking up the prize for the second year in succession.
“I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones,” he told France Football, the magazine that organises the award.

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SINGAPORE — Announcing its single largest deal to date,  Singapore's largest taxi operator ComfortDelGro said on Friday (Dec 8)  that it will pay S$642 million to acquire 51 per cent of Uber's  car-rental business in the Republic.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will  "create a path" for ComfortDelGro's cabbies to take on bookings via Uber's app.
Ms Tammy Tan, ComfortDelGro's group corporate communications  officer, said this would happen "soon", but did not specify a start date.

"By working together, we will be able to benefit from each other's strengths. Uber will benefit from our fleet maintenance and  management capabilities, while we will benefit from Uber's world-class  technology," ComfortDelGro's chief executive Yang Ban Seng said in a joint statement from the two companies.

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Motherhood, Babies and Fathers / Kindle Garden
« on: December 08, 2017, 05:40:30 pm »
I had the privilege of attending the film launch of a documentary on Kindle Garden, Singapore’s first inclusive preschool.

At the panel session, Mr Lee Poh Wah, CEO of Lien Foundation quoted the tagline of ECDA and MOE (Pre-school), which was “A Good start for every child” and “A Strong start for every child” respectively, and asked: “Really? Every child?” So Lien Foundation embarked on this project with AWWA, commencing operations in January 2016.

Mr Karthikeyan, a Director at AWWA said :“Inclusion is not the same as integration (See explanation here). Inclusion is not merely just about caring for kids with additional needs, it also encompasses the shaping of both flexibility and quality in thinking to allow for a wholehearted acceptance of diversity”.

The two videos demonstrated what that inclusion looks like. It showcased what Kindle Garden does and can accomplish in the development of children – all the children.

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The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) will replace its current clearing system with blockchain technology.

The new system has been in development and testing for more than two years and aims to cut the cost of transactions, and make them faster and more secure.

A timeline for the transition to the technology will be given by March.

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SINGAPORE: Local bike-sharing service provider oBike had suffered a global security breach that lasted  at least two weeks, resulting in user data being leaked online.

According  to a recent report by Bavarian news agency BR24, user data that could be accessed online include names, mobile phone numbers, email addresses,  profile pictures and the routes they took when they rented the bicycles. It added that the data was not encrypted or protected.

It stated in the report that these data did not just affect users in Germany, but also users from others such as Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland and Great Britain.

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Fans of llao llao in Singapore have taken to social media to mourn the loss of the yoghurt chain, a day after a Channel NewsAsia report on Wednesday night (6 December) saying that the Spanish brand will be phasing out all of its 29 outlets starting 7 December.

They will make way for another European yoghurt chain brand called Yolé (pronounced yo-lay), which will begin operations from Saturday (9 Dec). Judging by the Yolé Taiwan Facebook page, the dessert brand will also offer frozen yoghurt with a variety of toppings.

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In countries like the US and UK, people with Down syndrome are gaining more visibility year by year. In Iceland, however, they’ve almost completely disappeared. A recent CBS News probe has revealed why only 2 Icelandic children are born with Down syndrome each year on average, and their findings have sparked a fierce ethics debate online.

Landspítali, or the National University Hospital of Iceland, has been offering prenatal screening tests to pregnant women since the early 2000s, an essential step in detecting development problems in a fetus – including Down syndrome. Unlike the estimated 67% of women in the US who choose to terminate their pregnancies upon diagnosis of the disorder, nearly 100% of Icelandic women do so, making Down syndrome extremely rare in the island nation. “My understanding is that we have basically eradicated, almost, Down syndrome from our society,” geneticist Kari Stefansson told CBS.

Contrary to Internet accusations of forced abortions and ‘social cleansing,’ all of these abortions performed in Iceland were completely of the mother’s own volition. “We try to do as neutral counseling as possible, but some people would say that just offering the test is pointing you towards a certain direction,” said head of Landspítali’s Prenatal Diagnosis Unit Hulda Hjartardottir.

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