The waste bar
is a hangout
delivered to your doorstep. Call 6319-1800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch us online at www.tabla.com.sg
MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
FEBRUARY 15, 2019
BACK IN INDIA WITH
Exchange cigarette butts
for beer at Goa waste bars
REPORT ON PAGE 4
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Write to us at
Talk to us at
For home delivery, call
(Mon to Fri 9am to 6pm)
Catch us online at
Advertise with us by calling
Kalwant Kaur at 9171-4327
Nishal Rampersadh at 8395-0438
Marketing Team Head
India’s first war memorial to be
India will get its first National War
Memorial 40 years after it was first
proposed by the armed forces.
The memorial, which will bear all
the names of independent India’s war
victims, will be inaugurated by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on Feb 25.
The design of the memorial is a
series of four concentric circles or
“chakras” around a main obelisk like
the national symbol, the
Dharmachakra. It is situated in the “C
Hexagon” of the India Gate circle.
The project had been pending for
decades under previous governments
and had missed two deadlines – the last
Independence Day (Aug 15) and this
year’s Republic Day (Jan 26).
Crackdown on illegal bootleggers
after 80 die from toxic hooch
Police have launched a crackdown on
illegal bootleggers after 80 people were
killed drinking toxic hooch in the north
Police believe the deaths occurred
when victims across two neighbouring
states drank from the same batch of
illegal homemade brew, which was
produced by a criminal group operating
between Uttar Pradesh and
The majority of the deaths were
reported in Uttar Pradesh, with 36
dying in Saharanpur district and eight
in Kushinagar. Thirty-six people died in
Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district.
Two suspects accused of selling the
illicit liquor have been arrested.
Shivaji’s Raigad Fort to be made
The hilltop Raigad Fort in Maharashtra
from where Chhatrapati Shivaji
Maharaj laid the foundations of
“Hindavi Swaraj” is poised for a major
revamp to make it a global tourist
The 350-year-old majestic fort,
which stands on a 820-metre hill and
rises to 1,356m above sea level, is
presently managed by the
Archaeological Survey of India.
Highlights of the attraction will
include a heritage walk encompassing a
14km and four-hour tour of the fort and
more than 350 historic sites within it
which tourists will get to explore
Tea exports down in 2018
India’s tea exports decreased
marginally to 249.11 million kg in 2018
from 251.91 million kg exported in the
previous year, according to data from
Tea Board India.
Provisional data from the board also
suggested that tea exports, in value
terms, in the last calendar year were up
by about three per cent to Rs5,132.37
crores as compared to Rs4,987.59
crores in the same period a year ago.
Exports to neighbouring Pakistan
and China went up, while the
shipments to Germany, the UK and
Commonwealth of Independent States
countries, including Russia, Ukraine
and Kazakhstan, were down in volume
Wrestler-turned-police officer gets
12 years’ jail in drugs case
Former international wrestler Jagdish
Bhola was on Wednesday convicted
and sentenced by a special Central
Bureau of Investigation court in a
multi-crore drugs racket, termed as
Punjab’s biggest and busted in 2013.
He was sentenced to imprisonment
for 12, 10 and two years in the three
cases in which he was convicted.
Bhola had been a deputy
superintendent in the Punjab Police but
was dismissed from service in 2012
after his links with the drugs racket
He was arrested in November 2013
in connection with a Rs700-crore drugs
New study shows Patna is India’s
most polluted city
Three cities have beaten Delhi to
become India’s most polluted this year,
with Patna emerging as the first.
The other two cities occupying
prominent positions on the list are
Kanpur and Varanasi.
This is according to a study released
by IIT-Kanpur and non-government
organisation Shakti Foundation.
The study also revealed that the
country witnessed 50 per cent more
pollution than China this year.
It is based on data studied over a
45-day period through October and
November last year.
Tamil Nadu imposes fine on
plastic ban violators
A heavy penalty of up to Rs1 lakh will
be imposed on those who flout the
plastic ban rule in Tamil Nadu.
Minister S.P. Velumani introduced
the bill in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on
The bill amends laws relating to
powers of municipal corporations and
municipalities to levy fines on those
violating the ban on single-use plastics.
Onlookers on the rooftop of a building next to the hotel where a fire broke out.
in hotel fire
At least 17 people were killed when a
fire engulfed a five-storey hotel in the
heart of Delhi before dawn on
Tuesday, leaving some survivors in
critical condition and others dazed
The dead included at least two
women from Myanmar and a child
who could not escape the leaping
flames and the thick smoke at Hotel
Arpit Palace in the
of Karol Bagh.
Two employees of Hindustan
Petroleum Corporation, an Indian
Revenue Service official and three
members of a family from Kochi in
Kerala were also killed in the second
worst fire incident in the capital since
the 1997 Uphaar cinema tragedy in
south Delhi that killed 59 people.
February 15, 2019
Mrs Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Mr Rahul
Gandhi touring Lucknow.
India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty on Mon-
day unleashed its newest star – with
thousands turning out to see Priyanka
Gandhi Vadra speak at her first rally as
the country gears up for general elec-
Crowds showered rose petals on the
great-granddaughter of India’s first
prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as she
took an open-bus tour through Luc-
know, capital of the key northern state
of Uttar Pradesh.
The opposition Congress party is
counting on the 47-year-old daughter of
assassinated prime minister Rajiv
Gandhi to boost its campaign against the
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led
by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who
is expected to call the elections in April.
Mrs Vadra and elder brother Rahul
Gandhi, the Congress president, waved
at cheering supporters who chanted
their names while dancing to drums.
Many wore pink T-shirts emblazoned
with her picture.
At a rally she called for supporters to
join a campaign to build “a new future”
for India and a “new kind of politics
where everyone is a stakeholder”.
But it will not be easy for the brother-
sister combination to sway voters in Ut-
tar Pradesh, where two regional caste-
based parties now compete for power
with the BJP and Congress is only a mar-
The BJP won 73 of the 80 seats in the
state in the last general elections. BJP
president Amit Shah said last week the
party would win 74 seats this time.
Mrs Vadra stayed in Lucknow for
three more days and held marathon
meetings with party workers from more
than 40 constituencies.
“I am still trying to understand what
are the issues and the complexities
where we lack in the organisation,” she
said. “I’m learning a lot from party work-
ers and taking their views on how to
fight elections, to win.”
News agency IANS quoted party
workers who met Mrs Vadra as saying
that they were told: “My focus is on
strengthening the party organisation in
the state and to ensure that we win, the
‘muqabla’ (fight) is between Rahul and
Modi and not me.”
Priyanka getting views
on how to win
With India’s parliamentary elections
due by May, supporters of Prime Minis-
ter Narendra Modi are looking at differ-
ent ways to boost his image.
Some have imprinted his photo on
wedding invitations and gold and silver
bars, while others have him waving
from coffee mugs and T-shirts.
A shop owner in Surat, a city from
the state of Gujarat from which Mr Modi
hails, has gone a step further: He has
launched the “Modi Sari”.
It is available in different styles. And,
after word spread about its availability,
women in Surat have been flocking to
the shop to buy the sari, reported the
The newspaper quoted shopkeeper
Ronak Shah as saying: “The digitally-
printed sari has become a favourite
among women. We have four varieties
which we are selling currently. In the
coming days, we are planning to launch
saris of other politicians and leaders.”
Customers have the option to choose
between a sari that shows Mr Modi
against a backdrop of flowers or one
with the face of the Prime Minister
alongside what appears to be the demon-
etised Rs1,000 note.
A shopper told the Ahmedabad Mir-
ror: “When I went to the store, I saw the
sari with the photo of PM Modi. I really
liked it, so I bought it. To wear his sari is
a matter of pride.”
According to the Times of India, a
supporter in Hyderabad recently used
the wedding card of his son as a platform
to canvas for Mr Modi’s re-election.
Mr Subhash Rao Kishan Rao Yande,
68, asked guests to vote for Mr Modi in-
stead of giving gifts to the couple.
NDTV reported that a Gujarati fam-
ily last month invited guests to their
son’s wedding and urged them to vote
for the BJP.
The invitation card read: “Our gift is
your vote for PM Modi in 2019 Lok
Groom Bhushan Branson tweeted
on Jan 3 that Mr Modi’s government has
achieved a lot during its tenure: @naren-
dramodi Sir. With my wedding invita-
tion card, I am trying to explain the
achievement, schemes by Modi Govt. &
Urging all invitees get the use. Hand to
hand helping them to get the max.bene-
fit. I believe “We have to take care of
Modi, Modi will take care of nation.”
NDTV also reported that a restau-
rant owner in Karnataka has been ap-
pealing to to his customers to vote for
Mr Modi during the coming elections.
It said Mr Velappa from Hubli has
stuck stickers and posters of Mr Modi on
his restaurant wall along with the
achievements and initiatives of the
He has also printed Mr Modi’s inspir-
ing quotes on the food bills, which has
taken his customers by surprise.
It quoted the restaurant owner as say-
ing: “I want people to give one more
chance to Prime Minister Narendra
Modi. I have pasted a lot of stickers of
the Prime Minister in my shop to influ-
ence people. I want my customers to
vote for him.”
Mr Modi’s supporters in the past
have used the Swachh Bharat (a cam-
paign to clean the streets, roads and in-
frastructure of India’s cities, towns and
rural areas) logo on their wedding cards
too. He had retweeted some of them.
Last year, a jewellery shop in Surat
sold gold and silver bars with Mr Modi’s
face engraved on them. Mugs and T-shirts
with such photo impressions have also
been popular across the country.
creates a buzz
A woman in a store in Surat trying on a “Modi Sari”.
New measures to help caregivers
A slew of measures will be rolled out
over two years to help Singaporeans
who care for the old, the sick and the
disabled. These include a new $200
grant to offset costs of care, more
respite care options, and the
loosening of restrictions on Medisave
funds for people to help pay for their
The announcement was made by
Senior Minister of State for Health
Edwin Tong at a marathon seven-hour
Parliament session on Wednesday.
1,000 evacuated after fire at
Smoke was seen wafting from a room
at the back of the Carlton Hotel in
Bras Basah Road yesterday
afternoon, with witnesses saying that
they heard several loud explosions
from the premises.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force
(SCDF) said that the fire was
contained within a switch room and
about 1,000 people were evacuated
from the building. SCDF officers put
out the fire using extinguishers. There
were no reported injuries.
Budget to focus on helping
companies embrace tech
The Budget will focus on how
companies can increase productivity
and stay competitive, said Finance
Minister Heng Swee Keat.
This will involve, in part, an
emphasis on improving capabilities in
the workplace and getting firms to
embrace technology. Said Mr Heng:
“I hope to see (companies) putting
big emphasis on training and
upgrading our workers.
He will deliver the Budget 2019
statement next Monday.
Amy Khor pledges more help
Seniors will continue to get more help
and programmes to age in place, stay
in good health and receive support
from care networks, said Senior
Minister of State for Health Amy
Dr Khor said the Health Ministry is
strengthening efforts in three areas:
empowering seniors to stay healthy
and active, enabling communities of
care and evolving new models of
ageing in place. She said the
Government also wants to provide
them with opportunities for personal
development and community
Increase in tourist arrivals
Total arrivals to Singapore rose
6.2 per cent to 18.5 million, while
tourism receipts went up by 1 per
cent to $27.1 billion, according to
preliminary estimates released by the
Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
The STB said that organic search
interest in Singapore increased by
more than three times in the US
during the release of Hollywood film
Crazy Rich Asians, according to
Google data, while there was a
110 per cent spike in searches on
travel planning site Orbitz.
The Trump-Kim summit also
boosted the Republic’s image for its
capability to host major international
and business events, it said.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tues-
day defended the way the authorities han-
dled the HIV Registry data breach, and
said public disclosure of the matter was a
judgment call balancing the need to be
transparent and how it would affect the
people on the list.
He told Parliament that while action
has been taken to delete the information
that had been leaked, the authorities are
still monitoring further exposure of the
Last month, the Government re-
vealed that details of 14,200 Singapore-
ans and foreigners diagnosed with HIV
were stolen and posted online.
The person who did it was American
lecturer Mikhy Farrera Brochez, who
was deported last year after serving a jail
term for fraud and drug-related offences.
Brochez, who is HIV-positive, had
twice used the blood of his doctor
boyfriend Ler Teck Siang for an HIV test
to get an Employment Pass.
Ler was head of the National Public
Health Unit and had downloaded the
HIV Registry onto a thumb drive.
Brochez got his hands on it.
In a statement after MPs raised ques-
tions on how the matter had been han-
dled, Mr Gan said that the well-being of
those on the registry weighed heavily in
how the authorities responded.
When the Ministry of Health (MOH)
first found out in 2016 that Brochez had
access to the confidential information, it
had to decide whether to inform those af-
fected and to publicise the matter.
“These were not straightforward deci-
sions. On the one hand, there is the need
to be transparent. On the other hand, we
need to consider the impact of an an-
nouncement on the affected persons
with HIV – would it serve their interest,
or harm them instead?” he said.
The decision was not to inform those
on the list or make the data breach public.
But last year, when Brochez sent a screen-
shot of 31 registry records to several gov-
ernment agencies, MOH decided to con-
tact and alert the 31 affected individuals.
Then last month, when Brochez put
the full contents of the HIV Registry up to
January 2013 online and provided the
link to a non-government party, the likeli-
hood of the identities being made public
“MOH therefore decided to make a
public announcement on Jan 28 even
though we remained deeply concerned
about the impact this would have on the
affected persons,” said Mr Gan.
He stressed that at each juncture in
2016, last year and this year, MOH had to
make judgment calls.
“It is arguable that MOH should have
made a different call. But I reject any alle-
gation that MOH sought to cover up the
incident,” he said, alluding to comments
that the ministry had been less than open
about the matter.
He also elaborated on how the min-
istry had been tightening security of the
HIV Registry since 2012. He said this has
been “a regrettable incident caused by
the irresponsible and deplorable actions
of two individuals”.
The Straits Times
Interfaith champion is
ST Singaporean of the Year
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Mon-
day announced new measures to boost
training safety in the Singapore Armed
Forces (SAF) while revealing fresh details
in Parliament about the recent training
deaths of two national servicemen, in-
cluding actor Aloysius Pang.
Stressing that the Ministry of Defence
(Mindef) and the SAF are responsible for
the lives of all national servicemen under
their charge, Dr Ng said he was “deeply
sorry for the loss of four precious na-
tional servicemen in the last 17 months”.
“Mindef and the SAF will hold our-
selves accountable for every single na-
tional serviceman entrusted to us. The
SAF will strengthen its safety systems,”
In a 50-minute speech, Dr Ng shed
more light on the circumstances that led
to the deaths of national servicemen Cor-
poral First Class (CFC) Liu Kai last No-
vember and CFC (NS) Pang on Jan 23.
Two other national servicemen and a
regular have died since September 2017,
following a period of zero fatalities from
2013 to 2016.
Dr Ng said CFC Liu’s Land Rover was
mounted by a reversing Bionix Infantry
Fighting Vehicle on Nov 3 last year dur-
ing a field training exercise despite re-
peated commands by the rear guide to
stop the Bionix.
Investigations are under way on
whether the communications set used by
the Bionix crew of four was working at
that time, said Dr Ng, sharing prelimi-
nary findings by the independent Com-
mittee of Inquiry (COI) into the incident
at the Jalan Murai training area.
Dr Ng said two additional emergency
horn buttons have been installed in all
Bionix training vehicles since last Novem-
ber to allow crew members to sound the
alarm in the event of an intercom failure.
From next month, rear-view cameras
will be progressively installed on the
Bionix training fleet.
On the incident involving CFC Pang,
Dr Ng said inspections of the Singapore
Self-Propelled Howitzer, which the actor
was doing repair works on during a mili-
tary exercise in New Zealand, did not de-
tect any machine malfunction of the gun-
CFC Pang, 28, failed to get out of the
way of the barrel as it was lowered on Jan
19, leading to injuries to his chest and ab-
Dr Ng said the servicemen involved in
both incidents have been redeployed
from their operational roles.
Police investigations are ongoing to de-
termine culpability in CFC Liu’s case,
and the Attorney-General’s Chambers
will decide on possible criminal proceed-
Even if no charges are filed, Mindef
may charge those who breach military
law in military court, said Dr Ng.
In CFC Pang’s case, the Chief Military
Prosecutor will decide if any serviceman
is to be prosecuted for criminal or mili-
tary offences. Neither the police nor the
state coroner has jurisdiction over deaths
outside Singapore, he said.
On the “systemic measures” the SAF
will undertake, Dr Ng said that comman-
ders who are responsible for safety lapses
will be marked in their performance re-
view even if no accident takes place.
He also said that the newly announced
Inspector-General’s Office (IGO) will be
headed by the Chief of Staff-Joint Staff.
Mindef said the IGO, to be set up in
the first half of the year, will have powers
to conduct independent audits and pro-
mote safety culture across the service
and formation headquarters.
The Straits Times
The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez, Singaporean of the
Year 2018 winner Siti Noor Mastura, President Halimah Yacob
and Mr Edmund Koh, President of Asia Pacific, UBS Group AG
and UBS AG.
Gan on actions MOH took over HIV data breach
New measures to boost safety in SAF
Interfaith champion Siti Noor
Mastura has been named The
Straits Times Singaporean of the
Year for 2018.
Ms Noor Mastura, 28, is the
co-founder of non-profit organi-
sation Interfaith Youth Circle,
which conducts scriptural reason-
ing sessions, where people dis-
cuss passages from religious texts
of different faiths that touch on
common themes. It also runs cam-
paigns such as Break Bread Build
Bridges, which encourages peo-
ple from a community who cele-
brate a religious festival to host
someone who is not from that
faith so others can experience,
say, Hari Raya or Christmas in
the home of the host.
President Halimah Yacob pre-
sented Ms Noor Mastura with a
cash prize of $20,000 and a tro-
phy at the Istana on Tuesday. The
award, now in its fourth year, is or-
ganised by The Straits Times and
presented by UBS Singapore.
The Straits Times
|Singapore Press Holdings|
|Copyright © 2019 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co|