While you wouldn't bat an eyelid over common house geckos on the walls of car parks, even the most hardened of us would get a shock should we stumble upon a massive monitor lizard lurking at a staircase landing. Which was exactly what one resident of the Buangkok Edgeview HDB estate encountered on Tuesday (Oct 13) afternoon. Abdullah Muhammad alerted his neighbours in the estate’s Facebook group page to the unexpected sight at 997 Buangkok Crescent, a multi-storey car park. As it is a newly-established Build-To-Order estate located next to Kampong Lorong Buangkok , the resident believed that the colossal reptile had escaped from its habitat near Singapore’s only surviving traditional village. Though it was also likely that it might have just gotten lost after wandering off from the North Eastern Riverine Loop canal nearby. Prior to making its way to the car park, the monitor lizard was seen rambling in front of My First Skool at Buangkok Edgeview, making a mess of the ... » Learn More about Monitor lizard messes up preschool garden after wandering into HDB estate near Singapore’s last kampung
Farooq abdullah on pulwama attack
KABUL: Mediators in Moscow on Thursday (Friday in Manila) urged the Taliban not to launch a spring offensive, as international efforts for a peace deal intensify ahead of a deadline for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. The conference in Moscow came as part of intensifying negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban and the United States to negotiate Washington’s exit nearly 20 years after US troops invaded the country in response to the September 11 attacks. Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan appealed for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan and to the warring sides to avoid deaths to “create a favorable atmosphere for achieving a politico-diplomatic settlement.” “We call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and the Taliban Movement not to declare a spring-summer offensive campaign,” they said in a joint statement. The international mediators also said the two sides should reach an ... » Learn More about Don’t launch offensive, Taliban told
DHAKA: Authorities in Bangladesh on Friday sent the first group of more than 1,500 Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process. The 1,642 refugees boarded seven Bangladeshi naval vessels in the port of Chittagong for the trip to Bhashan Char, according to an official who could not be named in accordance with local practice. After about a three-hour trip they arrived at the island, which was once regularly submerged by monsoon rains but now has flood protection embankments, houses, hospitals and mosques built at a cost of more than $112 million by the Bangladesh navy. Located 34 kilometers from the mainland, the island surfaced only 20 years ago and was never inhabited. Saleh Noman, a Bangladeshi journalist who traveled with the refugees, said by phone from the island that the refugees were given rice, eggs and chickens for lunch after their body temperatures were measured by health workers as a coronavirus precaution. ... » Learn More about 1,642 Rohingya refugees arrive in Bangladesh
Singaporeans woke up on Saturday morning to a familiar headline - that the People's Action Party (PAP) was back in government - but also to a new normal, of an entrenched opposition party in Parliament and a clear shift in what voters expect of politics in Singapore. The PAP returned to power with 83 of 93 seats in the July 10 polls, a general election held amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic mayhem it has caused. The flight to safety by voters, seen clearly in the 2001 General Election held soon after the Sept 11 attacks in the United States, did not materialise despite the predictions of pundits. Voters instead sent a different signal. Despite the challenges, or because of them, they want more alternative voices in Parliament. For many voters, one alternative voice they want belongs to the Workers' Party (WP). Even with the retirement of long-time opposition MP Low Thia Khiang ahead of the election, the party retained Aljunied GRC and Hougang with bigger margins of ... » Learn More about Singapore GE2020: A watershed election and new normal?
DHAKA: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (Mar 27) concluded his two-day official visit to Bangladesh, a trip that sparked both violent protests and enthusiasm that relations between the two neighbors will continue to grow. Modi arrived on Friday to join celebrations of Bangladesh's 50th anniversary of independence, but the visit was overshadowed by violent protests in the capital, Dhaka, and elsewhere. At least five people were killed and 40 injured in clashes between protesters and security officials. Hundreds of students from madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, clashed with police and border troops in the eastern Brahmanbaria district. Police said they had to open fire to control the violence. "We received three bullet-hit dead bodies and two others succumbed to their injuries later," Abdullah Al Mamun, a doctor at the government-owned Brahmanbaria General Hospital, told Reuters. Critics accuse Modi’s Hindu-nationalist party of stoking religious ... » Learn More about India’s Modi ends Bangladesh visit that sparked violent protests
SINGAPORE - Diversity is a source of strength for societies, and engaging meaningfully with difference is not easy, but it is necessary, President Halimah Yacob said on Wednesday (June 19) in a speech where she outlined three key ingredients for social harmony. These are accommodation, dialogue and social cohesion, which must be nurtured by individuals rather than just governments, she said. "Friendships and connections will have to be built, face to face," she said. "Social trust has to be forged, one positive encounter at a time." "Strength from diversity can only grow from dialogue, give and take, speaking and listening." The President was speaking at the opening dinner of the inaugural International Conference on Cohesive Societies , a platform she had mooted to discuss ways of forging interfaith understanding and social cohesion. Around 700 academics, government officials and members of religious and civil society groups from close to 40 countries are attending the ... » Learn More about President Halimah underlines need to engage with diversity, strengthen social cohesion
While Indonesia’s budding democracy has faced a number of problems over the past year, there are still many reasons to be optimistic about the country’s democratic trajectory, observers have said. Activists and experts have often highlighted what they consider to be the declining quality of democracy in Indonesia, as indicated by worsening scores in the Freedom House and Economist Intelligence Unit democracy indexes as well as Statistic Indonesia’s (BPS) Democracy Index. But Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) executive director Philips Vermonte said such symptoms should be seen in the context of the country’s relatively young democracy and that the public perhaps needed to “manage [their] expectations.” “I agree that this year in particular shows some serious challenges to our democracy,” Philips said at a discussion on the year in politics held by The Jakarta Post in Central Jakarta on Tuesday. “There are some mixed signals for Indonesia’s democracy, and ... » Learn More about Indonesia has reasons for optimism despite democratic setbacks