S$1.4m worth of contraband cigarettes seized

Four Malaysian men were Monday (Jan 13) each sentenced between 34 and 36 months’ jail each for their involvement in contraband cigarettes. The four men were arrested last Saturday after 14,999 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth S$1.4 million were seized, marking this the third largest seizure of contraband cigarettes in four years. The duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded exceeded S$1.1 million.

Last Friday, the Singapore Customs and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority conducted checks on a 12m container upon its arrival at the Tanjong Pagar scanning station. Checks revealed duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in 16 pallets of board partitions.

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10-YEAR-OLD MEGAN TAN'S SPEECH ON ANIMAL RIGHTS IMPRESSED MINISTER SHANMUGAM

Megan is a primary school student studying at Maha Bodhi School. She is already volunteering at ACRES – ACRES had to lower their volunteer age for her! She wrote her speech herself. I was told that Megan is a very shy girl. Thus it must have been difficult for her to stand in front of an international audience and give a speech. But she decided to make the speech because of her deep care and concern for animals .

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Private-home sales down 80% last month

SALES of new homes plunged last month to their lowest level in five years as cooling measures and economic uncertainty hit the market. Developers released fewer units in the wake of growing resistance from buyers, who are becoming increasingly keen to hold out for lower prices. The result was that only 259 units were sold last month - the lowest since January 2009 and a remarkable 80 per cent down on the 1,271 units snapped up in November.

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It is about overcrowding, not xenophobia

I refer to this week’s VoicesTODAY topic, “Is xenophobia a growing problem?” Any claim of xenophobia among Singaporeans must be substantiated, for it drives a wedge in our relatively cohesive society. Singapore residents, including foreigners who have lived here for several years, are merely unhappy about overcrowding. Having too many people on a small piece of land, with public infrastructure that is overtaxed, causes discomfort and stress due to intensifying competition for limited resources such as housing and cars. The unhappiness is not directed at foreigners.

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Judge has harsh words for victim in underage sex case

A man was jailed for 10 months yesterday after having kinky sex with a minor. Ramos Lobatan Alan, 26, a Mexican, was the second of five men facing charges of underage sex with the girl to be sentenced. However, during sentencing, District Judge Low Wee Ping had some harsh words for the 15-year-old victim. He said the court was "troubled by the conduct of this minor who seems to be very misguided" and had contributed to men having to face the law.

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HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN UNKNOWINGLY OVERCHARGED BY BUSES?

We should be aware of is being overcharged on buses. I was shocked to see that a mere 10 min bus ride on a Basic SBS Bus Service 66 was charged $1.86. Investigation by Transitlink showed that the system recorded my boarding place at Science Centre when in fact I was at the eastern side of the island. I don't think everyone looks at the card readers every time they tap on and off to know if they've been overcharged. How much extra money are buses making from unsuspecting customers?

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Court of Appeal overturns order for journalist to reveal sources

SINGAPORE — The Court of Appeal yesterday allowed a veteran journalist to withhold the source or sources from which he had obtained a confidential audit report on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), overturning an earlier court order for him to reveal who he got the document from. The highest court in the land also ruled that any pre-action interrogatory procedure should be allowed only after a court had taken a multi-factorial view and questioned whether it is just for the applicant to secure the information sought even before any proceedings are commenced.

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Man who stabbed mother to death acquitted on grounds of temporary insanity

SINGAPORE: He loved his mother, who lived with his family, but under the heavy influence of drugs, Mohamed Redha Abdul Mutalib stabbed her to death two years ago in their Eunos Crescent flat. In what is believed to be a rare case, the former healthcare assistant at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) was on Wednesday acquitted of murdering Asnah Aziz on grounds of temporary insanity. Issuing his verdict, High Court judge Tay Yong Kwang said Redha, 32, was of unsound mind and incapable of knowing his act constituted murder.

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SAF looking into S$3b deal to upgrade F-16s

SINGAPORE: The Government is in discussions with the United States over a proposed US$2.43 billion (S$3.09 billion) deal to upgrade its ageing F-16 fighter jets, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on Wednesday. Under the deal to upgrade 60 of Singapore's F-16 fighter jets, the aircraft will be equipped with, for example, Sensor Fuzed Weapons and Guided Bomb Units, as well as the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, which will project a display onto a pilot's helmet visor, allowing him to aim sensors and weapons at where he is looking.

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Vatican facing UN showdown on sex abuse record

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is gearing up for a bruising showdown over the global priest sex abuse scandal, forced to defend itself publicly for the first time against allegations it enabled the rape of thousands of children by protecting paedophile priests and its own reputation at the expense of victims. The Holy See tomorrow (Jan 16) will be grilled by a United Nations (UN) committee in Geneva on its implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which among other things calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to protect children from harm and to put children’s interests above all else.

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