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SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 13, 2019
MCI (P) 078/03/2019
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Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Marketing Team Head
Arrests after Delhi’s
Police in New Delhi on Monday
arrested the owner and manager
of a factory where 43 people
died in the Indian capital’s
deadliest fire in 20 years.
The blaze started early on
Sunday morning when more
than 100 workers were sleeping
in the four-storey building
located in a residential area.
The factory, which made
school bags, toys and stationery
goods, was packed with
combustible materials such as
paper, plastic and cardboard,
causing it to burn for hours
before being brought under
Most employable talent
Maharashtra tops the list of states with
the highest employable talent, followed
by Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra
Pradesh and Karnataka, according to
the India Skills Report 2020 which was
released on Tuesday.
Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune stood
out as the most employable cities.
The report assessed 300,000
candidates from 35 educational
institutions across 28 states and nine
Woman shot in the face for
refusing to dance
A man is on the run in Uttar Pradesh
after he shot a wedding singer in the
face because she stopped performing.
The incident took place on Nov 30
in Chitrakoot district but came to light
only a week later after a video of the
shooting was shared on messaging
Police said the shooter has been
identified and they are “confident” he
will be caught soon. The woman
survived and is recovering in hospital.
Delhi a gas chamber, then why
One of the four men on death row
over the infamous 2012 New Delhi
gang-rape and murder appealed
against his sentence on Tuesday citing
pollution. Akshay Kumar Singh said in
his review petition to the Supreme
Court that the air quality in New
Delhi was like a “gas chamber” and its
water “full of poison”.
“Everyone is aware of what is
happening in Delhi-NCR (national
capital region) with regard to air and
water. Life is going to be short, then
why death penalty?” he asked.
Probe into encounter that killed
A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde
and Justices S.A. Nazeer and Sanjiv
Khanna said on Wednesday that a
former Supreme Court judge will be
asked to probe the killing of four rape
accused in last week’s alleged
encounter near Hyderabad.
According to the police version, the
four men, all lorry workers in their
twenties accused of rape and murder
of a 26-year old veterinarian, were
shot dead by a police team after they
fired at them in an attempt to escape
from the scene of the crime.
Tribal artistes are seen waiting to perform at
the Tribal Sports Competition in Bhopal.
More than 4,500 students from 284
Eklavya Schools across 24 states particpated
in the five-day event which concluded on
Eklavya Model Residential Schools were
started by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in
1997 to ensure tribal students in the remote
areas of the country get access to quality
The Games had competitions in
16 different disciplines, including hockey,
wrestling, football, archery, kabaddi and
kho-kho, a popular tag game.
4,500 take part in Tribal Games
Fire engulfs a police officer during protests in Agartala, the capital of Tripura.
India moved thousands of troops into
the northeastern state of Assam yester-
day as violent protests erupted against
a new law that would make it easier
for non-Muslim minorities from some
neighbouring countries to seek Indian
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s
Bharatiya Janata Party-led government
has said the Citizenship Amendment
Bill is meant to protect besieged mi-
Critics say it undermines the coun-
try’s secular constitution by not offer-
ing protection to Muslims while others
argue it will open India’s northern
states to a flood of foreigners.
Resistance to the bill has been the
strongest in Assam, where a move-
ment against illegal immigrants from
neighbouring Bangladesh has sim-
mered for decades.
As India’s upper house of parlia-
ment passed the bill in the early hours
of Thursday, protests took place across
In Assam, protesters defied a cur-
few, torching cars and tyres and chant-
ing anti-Modi slogans.
While the streets of Assam’s capital
Guwahati were largely calm as troops
moved in from neighbouring states,
protesters were back on the streets in
other parts like Morigaon, where they
Mobile Internet was suspended in
some parts of Assam with the govern-
ment saying that social media plat-
forms could potentially be used to
“inflame passions and thus exacerbate
the law and order situation”.
“A landmark day for India and our
nation’s ethos of compassion and
brotherhood!,” Mr Modi tweeted after
the citizenship law was apssed on
Wednesday. “This Bill will alleviate
the suffering of many who faced
persecution for years.”
Opponents of the legislation have
threatened to challenge it in the
Supreme Court, saying it violates the
principles of equality and secularism
enshrined in the constitution.
“The bill will take away our rights,
language and culture with millions of
Bangladeshis getting citizenship,” said
Gitimoni Dutta, a college student, in
Despite assurances from Home Min-
ister Amit Shah that safeguards will be
put in place, people in Assam and
surrounding states fear that arriving
settlers could increase competition for
land and upset the region’s demo-
The Citizenship Amendment Bill
seeks to grant Indian nationality to
Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains,
Parsis and Sikhs who fled Afghanistan,
Bangladesh and Pakistan before 2015.
The bill passed the upper house of
parliament with 125 members support-
ing it and 105 opposing. It will be sent
to the president to be signed into law,
with his approval seen as a formality.
The government said Muslims from
Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan
are excluded from the legislation be-
cause they do not face discrimination
in those countries.
In response, Bangladesh’s Foreign
Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told
news agency UNB on Wednesday that
his country did not oppress minorities.
“In our country, religious harmony
is at a very high level. No one from
other religions is oppressed here... We
see those (minorities) in equal eyes
and as the citizens of Bangladesh.”
The United States Commission on
International Religious Freedom said
on Monday that Washington should
consider sanctions against Mr Shah, a
close associate of Mr Modi, if India
adopts the legislation.
“The passage of the Citizenship
Amendment Bill marks the victory of
narrow-minded and bigoted forces
over India’s pluralism,” said Mrs Sonia
Gandhi, leader of the main opposition
Defending the bill in the upper
house, Mr Shah said the new law
sought to help only minorities perse-
cuted in Muslim-majority countries
contiguous with India.
“Nobody is taking citizenship away
from India’s Muslims. This is a bill to
give citizenship, not take citizenship
away,” Mr Shah said.
Tapping his white cane, Mr Vinod Kumar Sharma
spends four hours a day running the gauntlet of
crowded trains and New Delhi’s congested, potholed
and often pavement-less roads.
He is one of an estimated 63 million visually-im-
paired people in India, according to the World
Health Organisation. Of those, some eight million
are completely blind – around 20 per cent of the
Many roads in Delhi lack pavements, forcing the
44-year-old father of three to walk on the roadside,
probing his white cane in front as cars and trucks
tear past just centimetres away.
On trains, where passengers are packed like
sardines in the megacity of 20 million people, he is
dependent on fellow commuters helping him to
navigate platforms and squeeze in and out of
Mr Sharma said that people always help him to
get on and off trains.
“The people are good. But there are broken roads
and open sewage holes which are always a risk,” he
Mr Sharma, like many other blind Indians, also
battles a dire lack of opportunities in education and
employment for disabled people.
Many are forced to beg or turn to charity to make
Poverty and poor access to healthcare in rural
areas also contributes to the high prevalence of
vision impairment in India, experts say.
Mr Sharma, who hails from one of India’s poorest
states – Bihar, lost his sight as a teenager while
working in the fields near his village.
He moved to the Indian capital to try and get
treatment, but when doctors were unable to help
him, he stayed on.
He trained at a school for the blind and landed a
job in a factory, making children’s braille toys for
more than two decades before it shut down last year.
He started to retrain as a massage therapist in
January, resolutely making the long commute to
classes at the Blind Relief Association in Delhi.
“I have picked up massage as I have become
older and there aren’t many other avenues for me,”
Ms Swapna Merlin from the Blind Relief Associa-
tion said many of its trainees are from rural regions
and have been brought up to believe that they
cannot exist outside their families’ care.
“Once they come out and know they can do
different things, that itself is a big exposure to
them,” she said. “Every story of success is an
inspiration for many others.”
The blind stumble on Delhi’s ‘broken’ streets
Mr Vinod Kumar Sharma crossing a railway track in Delhi.
Troops moved to Assam amid violent protests
Which of these is a chewy ice-cream produced in
Turkey and Azerbaijan?
a) Eskimo b) Dondurma c) Frigo
Viscacha and Chinchilla are rodents native to which
a) South America b) Europe c) Asia
According to Greek mythology, whom did Aphrodite
put as a newborn infant in a box and hand over to the
care of Persephone?
a) Odin b) Adonis c) Narcissus
With which team did Michael Schumacher begin his
Formula 1 career in 1991?
a) Benetton b) Ferrari c) Jordan
Which poet’s Lyrical Ballads, written along with
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the English
a) John Keats b) Edgar Allan Poe c) William Wordsworth
What is the official language of Colombia?
a) English b) Spanish c) Portuguese
According to a famous proverb, Fortune favours
a) Humble b) Wise c) Bold
If you were dining at Bennelong Point, which
landmark structure would you be at?
a) Eiffel Tower b) Sydney Opera House c) Burj Khalifa
What does the red disk in the centre of Japan’s flag
a) Sun without rays b) Sacrifice c) Monarchy
The highest civilian award in the field of contribution
to the unity and integrity of India is named after whom
a) Vallabhbhai Patel b) APJ Abdul Kalam
c) Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Indian Dance, Remix It Up! Indian
fusion dance choreographer and
performer Iswarya Jayakumar melds
contemporary and Indian classical
dance styles in this presentation.
Dec 14 & 15, (Sat) 5.45pm,
7pm, 8.15pm & (Sun) 4.45pm, 6.15pm,
Esplanade Waterfront Canopy
Log on to
Institute for Financial Literacy:
Financial Planning for the
Self-Employed. Understand the need
and importance of managing expenses
and cashflow. Free but need to
Dec 16, 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Stamford Arts Centre,
155 Waterloo Street
Log on to
Chinatown Walking Tours – Telok
Ayer Heritage Trail, organised by
Urban Redevelopment Authority. Free
but need to register.
Dec 27, 10am to noon
Meet at The URA Centre
Atrium, 45 Maxwell Road
Log on to
The Christmas Parade is back with a
brand new interactive Santa’s
Workshop, a mix of international
theatrical productions, a whimsical
Poinsettia Wishes floral display and
more three-dimensional light
installations, in addition to the
traditional games and rides as well as
shopping and dining stalls.
$6 (online Nov 29 to Dec 12);
$8 (Dec 13 to 26); $10 (onsite)
Till Dec 26, 5pm to 11pm (Mon
to Thu); 4pm to 11pm (Fri to Sun, Dec
25 & 26); 4pm to 12.30am (Dec 24)
Gardens by the Bay,
18 Marina Gardens Drive
Log on to at
Community blood donation drive.
Jan 5, 9.30am to 3.30pm
795 Mountbatten Road
From the Coromandel Coast to the
Straits – Revisiting Our Tamil Heritage:
A compendium of narratives that
recount the experiences of Tamil
diasporas in South-east Asia and
Singapore from pre-modern to
contemporary times. Free admission.
Till April 30, 10am to 7pm (Tue
to Thu); 10am to 8pm (Fri & Sat);
10am to 4pm (Sundays & Public
Holidays); Closed on Mondays
Indian Heritage Centre,
5 Campbell Lane
Log on to
A Little Magic exhibition – a vast
array of beautiful fairy-tale themed
stamps from all over the world. Free
Till Dec 29, 10am to 9pm
Tampines Regional Library,
1 Tampines Walk, 02-01
Our Tampines Hub
Log on to
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You may enjoy success and good
reputation. Those involved in
service may win their boss’ favour.
Chances of career growth and
promotion are very high.
The beginning of the week may
disturb your mental peace and you
may not concentrate well. You will
indulge in unnecessary expenses.
You may have differences with your
family members or spouse. In the
professional sphere, you will have
more work to do and may face
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may not have enough time to spend
with your loved ones. Your
confidence and patience will be
You will win the heart of your
superiors but you may not maintain
cordial relations with your family.
You should not make an important
decision as it will likely land you in
Your wishes may come true. You
will take remarkable steps in
implementing some of your ideas
that will rapidly gain ground. Job
prospects look bright.
A growth in status and finance will
be a great source of joy for you.
New business associations are
You may have heavy and sudden
expenditure. You will not perform
according to your potential. You will
need to be more careful in your
interactions with people who matter.
You will find various sources of
earnings. You will make a
favourable impression on people.
There will be good progress in your
Success may not come easily to
you. Be careful about your
reputation during this period. You
may be prone to injuries.
You are in a very aggressive mood.
Your overconfidence may invite
problems and may cause your
relationship with family members to
You may go on a long-distance
journey. The family atmosphere may
not be cordial. You may have
arguments with your spouse.
For health, property, love, matrimonial,
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3x3 squares. At the same time, you must create a row
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