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SINGAPORE: Singapore's last polar bear,  Inuka, has been put down on “humane grounds” after a second health  examination in three weeks found that its health had not improved  despite intensive treatments.

The 27-year-old polar bear  was put into “deep sleep” under anaesthesia at around 7am on Wednesday  (Apr 25) and was not revived, said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, deputy CEO and  Chief Life Sciences Officer of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

Any form of treatment would have caused him more stress and prolonged his suffering, Dr Cheng added.
“Today’s medical examination revealed that the open wounds on his paws and abdomen had not significantly improved  despite additional treatment over the last three weeks. These wounds, which were quite deep, would have caused pain and discomfort to Inuka, and would only be aggravated as his arthritis worsened,” WRS said in a  statement.

“The vets had hoped that the treatment instituted since the last checkup would have resulted in more improvement, and as it was  not the case, it was clear that Inuka’s health and welfare state was  compromised and the responsible course of action was not to prolong Inuka’s suffering,” WRS added.

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SINGAPORE: Ms Indranee Rajah will be promoted to be Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday (Apr 24).

Ms Indranee, 55, will also be Second Minister for Finance and Education.

She  will be the third female full minister in the Cabinet, joining Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Mrs Josephine Teo, who was appointed Manpower Minister in the current reshuffle.
The  current Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Finance and Law will also be appointed Second Minister for Law until Jun 30 when Mr Edwin Tong becomes SMS in the ministry.

Mr Lee also announced other promotions and transfers in the changes that he had said will give younger ministers greater exposure.

Parliamentary  Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Baey Yam  Keng, 47, will be promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS) for Transport and will continue at MCCY.
Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin, 40,  will be promoted to SPS and continue in both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

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If you were so far unable to fight the urge of digging into spicy water-filled crispy golgappas or steaming momos, here's a very strong - and shocking - reason.

A latest study has found high faecal contamination in such fast food and junk food items , especially in several west and central Delhi localities.

Underlining that street food and hygiene have always been strange bedfellows, the study by Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Pusa, shows extremely high volume of E. coli bacteria, which can cause severe infections, in these snacks.

Taking note of the report, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has written to Delhi's food safety commissioner to check the quality of street food items.

"We conducted the study to analyse the microbial load in Delhi's street food. It was done with a survey of commonly consumed street food by 100 individuals," said Dr Arpita Sharma of the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition.

"We chose five locations in West Delhi, where daily sales were the maximum, for collecting samples. For microbial analysis, five street and five franchisee food products were taken from the most popular shops. We collected food samples (samosa, golgappa, burger and momos) twice from the street shops and franchisee outlets at a one-month interval," she said, adding that the samples were drawn from west and central Delhi. Also read: Milk and oil used by street vendors under govt scanner

To the surprise of scientists, even samples from posh areas like Connaught Place were found infected with bacteria. Other famous markets from where samples were lifted are Rajouri Garden main market, Rajendra Place and Subash Nagar.

The normal Most Probable Number (MPN) of coliform bacteria is 50 or less as per the Central Pollution Control Board, but it was found to be over 2,400 in the samples of branded burger, vegetarian and non-vegeterian momos and other food items .

The bacterial pathogens commonly found in street eateries are Bacillus cereus (causes vomiting and diarrhoea), Clostridium perfringens (abdominal cramps and diarrhoea), Staphylococcus aureus (vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal cramps and mild fever) and Salmonella species (typhoid, food poisoning, irritation and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract).

"This is a matter of great concern. I would never eat street food after reading this report," said Dr Shobha Broor, microbiologist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). "The report literally means that whatever we eat, we are ingesting faeces."

The presence of coliform in the samples indicates the absence of clean water as well as unhygienic conditions at the place where the food was prepared. "E. coli ends up in food through faecal matter. The source could be contaminated water. At most of the street vendors, or even branded outlets, the quality of water and handling of food lack supervision," the report states.

Other experts Mail Today spoke to also confirmed that the study's findings were worrisome. Dr Manoj Singh, professor at department of pathology, AIIMS, said: "E. coli can cause many diseases, like typhoid and cholera. Street food handlers should be trained for maintaining health and hygiene."

Dr Sharma said: "A positive coliform test in golgappa water is a direct indication of faecal contamination. There was high bacteria count in burgers, momos and samosas too . In burgers and momos, the vendors use raw vegetables that increase chances of cross-contamination of various disease-causing bacteria.

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Travel / Beware of booking room at MBS via "middleman"
« on: April 23, 2018, 06:17:00 pm »
 The Queer And Haunted Story of Room 3150
Today I want to tell you all a story that happened yesterday at Marina Bay Sands. Personally I'm not even sure what to make of it, or its full implications. As I'm typing this I'm terribly sleep-deprived so I'm probably going to analyse this series of events again after I wake up.

May this be a form of public education to the masses about the perceived safety of hotels. I'm probably going to file a police report after I wake up as well. I'm really curious about what you think, so let me know in comments how you would interpret this situation la! hahaha.

Here goes:

The plan yesterday was for us to have a hen's party at MBS. My friend's husband booked a room on behalf of the four of us at a special rate at SGD$420. The guy who gave us the special rate told us to call his staff when we reached the hotel at 2pm. So we placed a deposit of $200 first.

-2pm: We reached the hotel. The staff told us to wait for 30mins.

-2.30pm: The staff said she is delayed, and asked us to wait for another 30minutes.

-3.15pm: After waiting for one and a half hours, the staff came in and brought us upstairs. We got into the room 3150, and then she gave 2 cards to us and we paid the remaining sum of $220.

-5pm: The two of us went up to the Banyan Tree Fitness Club @ Marina Bay Sands ( Tower 2 Lvl 55 ) Super nice! But both of us didn't have sports shoes so we couldn't gym. One of us went back to the hotel room, and I went to use the sauna and spa facilities.

-5pm to 6.30pm: I was happily saunaing and steaming (The trick to having the whole entire sauna to yourself is to pour 20 scoops of water, Finnish style, into the coal thing LOLLLL, which I did).

By the way there were no instructions saying if I'm supposed to be naked when using the sauna (but I was), though after that I saw people using the facilities with their bikinis and swimsuits. so OPPS. LOL

At 6.30pm I returned to the hotel room.

-7pm: Two more of us arrived for the party so we left the hotel room to buy dinner back to the hotel.

-8pm: NOW, this is when all the drama starts. We got to level 31 and then could not open the 3150 hotel door with both cards.

So we briefly panicked as we had valuable stuff inside the room! One of us called the guy who gave us the rate of $420 and I called the front desk.

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SMRT’s love affair with top military men is not new. It started way back in 1997, when former Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Kwek Siew Jin was moved into the organisation as the rail operator’s chief, followed by former Chief of Army Brigadier General Boey Tak Hap in 2002.

That was a time when social media was not even a figment of the Singaporean’s imagination. The two military men escaped the intense public scrutiny that SMRT’s new general-turned-CEO is facing. Kwek announced in 1997 that the North-South and East-West lines would be upgraded. But nothing was done; if those plans had kicked in, the storm that is blowing in the organisation might not have happened. Anyway, that is all water under the bridge now.

I had the opportunity to observe Kwek and Boey up close in 2000 when we launched the Today newspaper with SMRT as an investor. Both were members of the Mediacorp Press board, and although Kwek didn’t display any business smarts, he asked the right questions. But the man didn’t have a deep knowledge of the newspaper business to ask incisive follow-up questions. Boey, who lasted only 10 months in SMRT, was silent during board meetings. He seemed to be out of his depth in understanding a business that his organisation had invested in.

To add a sense of perspective to the rail pain the former chief of the military and outgoing SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek has experienced for the last five and a half years – the same suffering his successor, former military chief Neo Kian Hong, might face – here are two points worth considering. One, academic Cherian George has raised, rather obliquely, the intriguing possibility that the mess some of the military men have fallen into goes back to the PAP government’s desire to keep them within its tight embrace.

Post-military career cushioning

George said in his latest book, Singapore, Incomplete: “When scholar-officers leave the Singapore Armed Forces at age 50 or younger, the government doesn’t require them to fend for themselves and thus get into mischief. They are transplanted into ministries and government-linked companies (GLCs), keeping them safely within the family.”

The government narrative is that the military has to be kept young, partly because there are younger officers waiting in the wings and wanting to move up quickly. At one time, the retirement age for regular commissioned officers was 45. With the national retirement age moving up to 62, the military had to follow somewhat. The limit went up to 50 years and as a commentary by military analyst Ho Shu Huang says, “the truncated retirement age may still remain a psychological hurdle that many may still find hard to overcome.”

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After what Zuckerberg said to Congress, Facebook then spun that it could be adopting the new European laws on privacy and everything else as its default protection standard for the rest of the world including the US.

In his answers to Congress over Facebook’s involvement in the scandal, Mark Zuckerberg said that GDPR [new European laws on privacy and everything else]   was “going to be a very positive step for the internet”. When asked whether the regulations should be applied in the US, he replied: “I think everyone in the world deserves good privacy protection.”

Well, we now know that that’s a lot of bull because the BBC report says

Facebook has changed its terms of service, meaning 1.5 billion members will not be protected under tough new privacy protections coming to Europe.

The move comes as the firm faces a series of questions from lawmakers and regulators around the world over its handling of personal data.

The change revolves around which users will be regulated via its European headquarters in Ireland.
Facebook said it planned clearer privacy rules worldwide.

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 gun being handled by a young mother in a town outside Cleveland accidentally discharged, sending a bullet into her two-year-old daughter’s chest and killing her, police said Saturday.

The mother, who investigators did not identify, owned the weapon legally and had a permit to carry a concealed gun, according to a statement from Wickliffe, Ohio, police.

Police and paramedics were called late Friday to an Econo Lodge in Wickliffe where they tried to resuscitate the little girl. She was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital. Three siblings in the hotel were unhurt.

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SINGAPORE: Singapore's headline inflation rate eased to 0.2 per cent in March from 0.5 per cent in February, mostly due to a smaller increase in the prices of services and a fall in private road transport cost.

Core inflation - which excludes the costs of accommodation and private road transport - eased to 1.5 per cent in March from 1.7 per cent the previous month, reflecting lower services inflation.

Data released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday (Apr 23) showed that the cost of private road transport fell by 0.6 per cent in March, reversing the 0.6 per cent increase the previous month. This came as car prices fell following a decline in Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums, MAS and MTI said in a release.

Services inflation slowed to 1.4 per cent in March from 1.9 per cent in the previous month, mainly reflecting smaller year-ago increases in air fares and holiday expenses.

Food inflation dipped to 1.4 per cent in March from 1.5 per cent a month earlier due to a smaller increase in the prices of non-cooked food items and prepared meals.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says Pyongyang has suspended its nuclear and long-range missile tests, and will shut down its atomic test site.

"From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

"The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country's northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test."

The decision was made in a meeting of the ruling party's full Central Committee, which had convened to discuss a "new stage" of policies.

"The overall projects of the party and the country will be geared towards building of a socialist economy, and all our efforts will be made towards it," the KCNA said.
Mr Kim told the committee: "As the weaponisation of nuclear weapons has been verified, it is not necessary for us to conduct any more nuclear tests or test launches of mid- and long-range missiles or ICBMs.

"The northern nuclear test site has completed its mission."

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LONDON: The upcoming Cabinet reshuffle will involve all the Government ministries, but not all ministers will move, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (Apr 20).

Speaking to Singapore media at the close of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Meeting in London, Mr Lee also confirmed that the reshuffle will be announced next week.

Some of the key ministers will have their portfolios adjusted, Mr Lee said, although they will "basically stay in places where they still need time to continue to develop initiatives which they have started”.
Mr Lee had earlier said that a Cabinet reshuffle would be set to take place after Parliament takes a mid-term break. The reshuffle, he said, is to give younger ministers more exposure and responsibility.

Parliament’s mid-term break, which is known as a prorogue, started on Apr 3. It will reconvene on May 7.
Mr Lee had also said that he had asked the younger, fourth-generation ministers, known as the 4G leadership, to draft the Government’s agenda for the President’s Address, which will be delivered by President Halimah Yacob when Parliament reconvenes.

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