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Comedienne Sharul Channa
pays tribute to dad
D eli v ery
Ms Sharul Channa with her father
Mr Kamal Kumar Channa.
REPORT ON PAGE 6
MCI (P) 078/03/2019
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JUNE 14, 2019
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Marketing Team Head
Villagers angered over failed
rescue of boy trapped in borewell
Villagers have reacted angrily to a failed
rescue mission of a two-year-old boy af-
ter he fell into a 45m deep borewell in
Bhagwanpura village, Sangrur district,
Fatehveer Singh was trapped for
over 110 hours and was declared dead
after he was pulled out on Tuesday
The rescue operation was “delayed
due to lack of required technical assis-
tance,” resident Kultar Singh was
quoted as saying by local media.
Protestors gathered at the site on
Tuesday and shouted slogans against
the state government. They also
blocked a main road briefly before po-
lice were deployed to prevent further
Pilot sends hijack alert by mistake,
makes emergency landing
An AirAsia flight on the way to
Srinagar from Delhi was diverted to
Chandigarh on Sunday morning when
the pilot accidentally sent a hijack alert
instead of a snag code to the air traffic
The flight departed from the Indira
Gandhi International Airport in New
Delhi at 6.30am. After 30 minutes, the
pilot realised that there was a technical
glitch in the engine but pressed the
hijack code by mistake. Security
agencies were alerted and the standard
operating procedure in a hijacking
situation was rolled out.
The aircraft, carrying 175 passengers
and six crew members, made an
emergency landing in Chandigarh at
7.35am. Later, the passengers were
flown to Srinagar in another plane.
Six escape death sentence for
rape, murder of eight-year-old girl
Six men were convicted on Monday
over the notorious 2018 gang rape and
murder of an eight-year-old girl from a
Muslim nomadic tribe in Jammu and
Kashmir that provoked horror and
stoked inter-religious tensions.
The six men from the Jammu region
escaped the death sentence, however,
with three defendants given life
imprisonment and the others five years
According to the charge sheet, the
girl was abducted while she was out
grazing horses and taken to a village in
Jammu on Jan 10 last year.
In an ordeal lasting five days, she was
sedated, repeatedly raped and then
strangled and bludgeoned to death.
On Monday, a seventh man was
acquitted while an eighth person, who
claims to be underage, faces a separate
No survivor in IAF’s AN-32 crash
The Indian Air Force (IAF) said
yesterday that all 13 occupants of its
AN-32 aircraft which crashed in
Arunachal Pradesh on June 3 are dead.
Indian authorities on Tuesday
spotted the wreckage of the plane after
days of searching a remote
mountainous region close to the China
border. The Soviet-built AN-32,
carrying eight crew and five passengers,
disappeared from the radar on June 3,
prompting a frantic search by the IAF
and ground teams.
The IAF identified the dead as G.M.
Charles, H. Vinod, R. Thapa, A.
Tanwar, S. Mohanty, M.K. Garg, K.K.
Mishra, Anoop Kumar, Sherin, S.K.
Singh, Pankaj, Putali and Rajesh
Cyclone Vayu veers away from
Cyclone Vayu did not make landfall on
the Gujarat coast yesterday as it was
expected, the Indian Meteorological
Department (IMD) said.
It is likely to move north-northwest
and then north-westwards “skirting the
Saurashtra coast”, IMD scientist
Manorama Mohanty said.
Additional Chief Secretary Pankaj
Kumar said that, although the IMD has
announced that the cyclone has
changed its course, “it may still cause
heavy winds and rains, and so we are
still on stand-by mode”.
Life sentence for hijack hoax
A special National Investigation
Agency court on Tuesday sentenced
Mumbai-based businessman Birju
Kishor Salla, 38, to a life term in jail and
a fine of Rs5 crores for creating a hijack
scare on a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways
flight on Oct 30, 2017.
The fine will be used to compensate
each pilot of the flight with Rs1 lakh,
each air hostess with Rs50,000 and
each passenger with Rs25,000 for the
misery they underwent.
Mr Salla had planted a threat letter
in the toilet of the flight, claiming that
hijackers and bombs were on board and
demanded that the plane be diverted to
UP town on edge after murder of
two-year-old over unpaid loan
Authorities on Tuesday deployed
hundreds of police and suspended the
Internet in Aligarh district in Uttar
Pradesh where the brutal murder of a
two-year-old girl caused inter-religious
The Hindu girl was killed over an
unpaid loan of $144 and her badly
mutilated body was discovered on a
rubbish dump last Sunday.
Police said the child was thrashed,
strangled and her eyes gouged out. The
Tappal area where she lived has been on
edge since the accused men belong to
the Muslim community.
Hindu groups have led the protests in
Tappal, urging authorities to mete out
“instant justice” to the perpetrators.
Get head, foot massage on trains
Thirty-nine trains originating from
Indore will now offer head and foot
massage services to passengers on
board, Railway officials said. The
service costs Rs100 per passenger.
Mr Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, director
(media) of the Railway Ministry, said
that each train would have three to five
masseurs, who will be hired on
The trains on which the service has
been provided include Malwa Express,
Indore-Lingampalli Humsafar Express,
Avantika Express, Indore-Veraval
Mahamana Express, Shipra Express,
Narmada Express, Ahilya Nagari
Express and Panchvally Express.
Fine for visitors who overstay at
From Sunday, visitors to the Taj Mahal
can only stay for a maximum of three
Turnstile gates at the entrance and
exit of the Unesco world heritage
monument will monitor the time the
visitors enter and leave the place.
Superintending archaeologist Vasant
Swarankar said if visitors exceed the
three-hour time limit, they will be
charged a fine equivalent to the price of
the ticket. In addition, if they do not
arrive at the given time, they will not be
allowed entry and will have to buy a
Tripura, Mizoram launch ambitious
The Tripura and Mizoram governments
have undertaken an ambitious plan for
afforestation in the two north-eastern
Tripura Forest and Tribal Welfare
Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia said that
the state government has decided to
plant at least 10 lakh trees across the
state this year.
He added that the state government
will provide Rs200 a month to families
residing along important roads for the
maintenance and protection of roadside
plantations to make Tripura a beautiful
green state and attract tourists.
Several unauthorised colonies in
Delhi face water shortage
With temperatures soaring in the
national capital, several areas in the city
are reeling under chronic water crisis.
The worst hit are the unauthorised
colonies including in the Devli,
Badarpur, Kanjhawala, Dwarka,
Narela, Sangam Vihar, Burari,
Khanpur, Bawana and Mohan Garden
areas, which have very little piped
Community taps installed for these
colonies either run dry for days or just
have water for a couple of hours,
resulting in long queues for getting even
Residents are also complaining that
they have to walk several kilometres in
scorching heat to fill water to meet their
ISRO scientists working on the orbiter vehicle of Chandrayaan-2.
India unveils spacecraft for
India on Wednesday unveiled a spacecraft
which is expected to take off for the moon next
month, making the country only the fourth in
the world to achieve the feat. The mission is
India’s second to the moon, and if successful it
will put the nation in the league of the United
States, the former Soviet Union and China.
Named Chandrayaan-2, the craft is made
up of an orbiter, a lander and a rover devel-
oped by the Indian Space Research Organisa-
tion (ISRO). It will be launched from Sri-
harikota space centre on July 15 and is ex-
pected to land near the lunar South Pole on
The rover will carry out experiments while
being controlled remotely by ISRO scientists.
“It is going to be the most complex mission
ever undertaken by ISRO,” Chairman K. Sivan
was quoted as saying by local media.
At least 31 children have died in north-
ern India in the last 10 days from a
deadly brain disease believed to be
linked to a toxic substance found in ly-
chee fruit, health officials said on
The deaths were reported from two
hospitals in Bihar state’s Muzaffarpur
district, famous for its lush lychee or-
Dr Sunil Shahi, superintendent at
the Sri Krishna Medical College and
Hospital in Muzaffarpur, told ANI:
“From January to June 2, 13 patients
were admitted, of them three died.
From June 2 to this day 86 people were
admitted, of them 31 died”. The chil-
dren all showed symptoms of Acute En-
cephalitis Syndrome (AES), the dis-
trict’s senior health official Ashok Ku-
mar Singh said, adding that most had
suffered a sudden loss of glucose in
“The health department has already
issued an advisory for people to take
care of their children during the hot
summer when day temperature is above
40 degrees Celsius,” Mr Singh said.
At least 40 other children complain-
ing of similar symptoms were being
treated at intensive care units.
“We are trying our best to save
them,” said Dr S.P. Singh, the chief med-
ical officer of Sri Krishna Medical Col-
lege and Hospital.
In the wake of the growing number,
the union ministry of health and family
welfare on Tuesday constituted a multi-
specialist high level team to tackle the
Outbreaks of the disease have hap-
pened annually during summer months
in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring dis-
tricts since 1995, typically coinciding
with the lychee season.
Known locally as Chamki Bukhar,
the disease claimed a record 150 lives
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
said the health department is keeping a
close watch and has directed people
about the preventive measures.
“Ahead of rains (monsoon), every
year this disease creates havoc. It is a
matter of concern that every year chil-
dren die due to it,” he said.
In 2015, United States researchers
said the brain disease could be linked to
a toxic substance found in the exotic
fruit. They also said more study was
needed to uncover the cause of the ill-
ness which leads to seizures, altered
mental state and death in more than a
third of cases.
Between 2008 and 2014, there have
been more than 44,000 cases and
nearly 6,000 deaths from encephalitis
in India, particularly in the states of Ut-
tar Pradesh and Bihar, according to
‘Acute encephalitis in India: An unfold-
ing tragedy’ by Jai Prakash Narain,
A. C. Dhariwal, and C. Raina MacIn-
tyre published in the Indian Journal of
In 2016, there was a rise in encephali-
tis, with over 125 children reported to
have died in one hospital in Gorakhpur
in Uttar Pradesh alone.
Outbreaks of neurological illness
have also been observed in lychee-grow-
ing regions of Bangladesh and Vietnam.
31 children die from
lychee-linked brain disease
A child receives treatment for Acute Encephalitis Syndrome at a hospital in Muzaffarpur.
June 14, 2019
SICCI wants SMEs to explore
markets beyond Singapore
Buyers of mini-vegetables from
the first vertical farm in Singapore
can now be assured the greens are
grown without the use of artificial
fertilisers or pesticides.
Sky Greens, an urban farm in
Lim Chu Kang, has received certi-
fication under the world’s first na-
tional standard for organic vegeta-
bles grown in urban environ-
ments. The standard was devel-
oped here to address key chal-
lenges such as limited land, lack of
soil and water and higher operat-
ing costs due to energy consump-
tion and manpower constraints.
Sky Greens received the Singa-
pore Standard 632 (SS 632) certifi-
cation for organic primary pro-
duce from Control Union Certifi-
cations on Tuesday. It was devel-
oped by the Food Standards Com-
mittee under the Singapore Stan-
dards Council. Urban farms world-
wide, including importers, ex-
porters and retailers, can apply for
the SS 632 certification.
Food Standards Committee
chairman Allan Lim said the certi-
fication would increase con-
sumers’ confidence in local pro-
duce and give Singapore’s agri-
food industry a certain level of
recognition. Such certification can
improve farmers’ reputation and
make them more competitive in-
ternationally, he said.
“The certification may allow lo-
cal urban farms to expand into
markets outside Singapore. It can
help local urban farms to be on an
equal footing with those in the
US, for instance,” said Dr Lim.
Environment and Water Re-
sources Minister Masagos Zulkifli,
who witnessed the certification
presentation, said there is growth
potential for local farms, given the
increasing demand for organic
He said the global organic food
and beverage market is expected
to grow to US$320 billion (S$437
billion) by 2025, with the fastest
growth expected in the Asia-Pa-
The Straits Times
The chairman of the Sin-
gapore Indian Chamber
of Commerce and Indus-
try (SICCI) has his work
cut out for him, but is rel-
ishing the challenge.
Dr T. Chandroo took
over the leadership in
April last year with the
aim of pushing small and
prises (SMEs) to inno-
vate and digitalise. He
also wants to get more
women involved in en-
trepreneurship and lead-
ership. “As we look after
the big boys, the compa-
nies that have been mem-
bers for a long time, we
also need to focus on
our local SMEs,” said
Dr Chandroo, 65.
The chamber has
around 1,000 members
and most are SMEs, with
many in the service in-
dustry, which includes
lawyers, accountants, in-
professionals and retail-
ers. About 30 per cent of
the members are family-
owned businesses in sec-
tors such as food and bev-
erage, retail and com-
Dr Chandroo said:
“We are also pushing
them to digitalise, be-
cause if you don’t trans-
form, you will be left be-
hind. You have to go on-
line and look at e-com-
merce and e-payments.
“Small retailers can
leverage e-commerce to
widen their markets,
launch new products
and services online to
reach a much wider audi-
ence and customer base
that is not limited to
He added that Indian
SMEs can be very tradi-
tional because they are
used to certain ways of
“We have to tell them
the benefits and slowly
shift their mindsets.”
The Straits Times
Dr T. Chandroo.
Thumbs up for Sky
Greens’ organic vegetables
Vertical Farm facility at Sky Greens, an urban farm in Lim Chu Kang.
Harsher penalties for sexual misconduct at NUS
New and tougher sanctions for sexual misconduct at the
National University of Singapore (NUS) took effect
yesterday. They include expulsion and longer
suspensions for severe or serious offences.
A new disciplinary process will start next month to
give victims a greater voice in the proceedings and
hearings before the Board of Discipline.
Security measures such as secure shower cubicles,
restroom locks as well as extra closed-circuit television
cameras and security officers in hostels are being
ramped up in stages, and will be completed by October.
NUS will also launch its victim care unit at the end of
MOM: Retrenchments grow in Q1, led by
Retrenchments rose in the first quarter of the year,
driven by manufacturing losses and hitting mainly
production and related workers from electronics, said
the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday.
The number of retrenched employees stood at 3,230,
up from 2,510 in the previous quarter and also higher
than a year ago, the MOM said in its labour market
report. Retrenchments in electronics made up 18 per
cent of the number, followed by services industries such
as wholesale trade, as well as transportation and storage.
It added that among retrenched residents,
professionals, managers, executives and technicians
(PMETs) continued to make up the majority at 69 per
Two-day showcase of Sikh heritage and culture
The inaugural Sikh Heritage Day on June 8 and 9 was
launched by President Halimah Yacob and attended by
5,000 Singaporeans of different races and faiths at Our
The exhibition focused on several key themes – Sikh
tenets, history, identity, heritage and how the
community has contributed to Singapore.
Attendees were treated to performances of
traditional Sikh music by the Gurmat Sangeet Academy
and a bagpipe performance by Sikhs from the Malaysian
Pipe Band Club. They also got to sample vegetarian food
and had their turbans tied by Sikh volunteers.
Economists cut S’pore growth forecast to 2.1%
The trade war between the world’s largest economies is
taking its toll and private sector economists are now less
bullish about Singapore’s growth prospects.
They expect Singapore’s economy to grow 2.1 per
cent this year, down from their March forecast of 2.5 per
cent growth, with manufacturing expected to act as a
major drag. They expect the sector to contract by 0.2 per
cent, a far cry from their earlier prediction of 2 per cent
Sectors like finance and insurance, wholesale and
retail trade, and accommodation and food services are
also expected to fare worse now as the trade war
between China and the United States escalates.
Medisave top-ups for eligible Pioneer Generation
and Merdeka Generation seniors in July
Singaporeans from the Pioneer Generation and
Merdeka Generation will receive Medisave top-ups of
between $200 and $800 next month.
The top-ups will cost the Government a total of
$270 million, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of
Health said. The top-ups can be used to pay for
MediShield Life premiums and other Medisave
approved insurance plans, hospitalisation, day surgery
and approved outpatient treatments.
Josephine Teo: Update by September on raising
retirement and re-employment ages
An update on raising the retirement and re-employment
ages will be available by September, Manpower Minister
Josephine Teo said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
She announced in March that the Tripartite
Workgroup for Older Workers had reached a consensus
to raise the retirement age and re-employment age,
currently at 62 and 67 respectively. The retirement age
was last raised in 1999, from 60 to 62. The
re-employment age was raised from 65 to 67 in 2017.
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