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Jakarta gunman a former terror convict
Police in Indonesia have identified the man who was caught on camera firing a gun in Thursday’s deadly attacks.
National Police chief Inspector General Badrodin Haiti confirmed that the man, Sunakim, aka Afif, was arrested in 2010 by the counter terrorism squad for his involvement in terror-related activities.
“It was him, the shooter, whose photos are circulating,” the police chief was quoted as saying by Indonesian newsportal kompas.com on Friday (Jan 15).
Carrying a backpack and wearing black gloves, he was seen pulling out a gun after explosions took place inside a Starbucks outlet and a police post at the Thamrin intersection in Jakarta .
He and his accomplice blended in with the crowds at the intersection after the bombs exploded.
Insp Gen Badrodin said that the terrorist was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010, the Jakarta Post reported.
Afif was one of five terrorists killed in the attacks. A total of seven people were killed.
At least 20 people were injured in the attack.
Source: kompas.com, Jakarta Post
1 brain-dead, 5 in hospital after French drug trial goes wrong
A “serious accident” during a drugs trial in France has left one person brain-dead and five hospitalised, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Friday (Jan 15).
She said the six had been taking part in a “trial of an oral medication being developed by a European laboratory” in Rennes, northwest France.
Media reports said the drug was a cannabis-based painkiller, but this was denied by the health ministry.
The study had been halted and all volunteers taking part recalled, the minister said.
The study was a phase one clinical trial, in which healthy volunteers take the medication to “evaluate the safety of its use, tolerance and pharmacological profile of the molecule”, the minister added in a statement.
Medical trials typically have three phases to assess a new drug or device for safety and effectiveness.
Phase I entails a small group of volunteers, and focuses only on safety.
Phase II and Phase III are progressively larger trials to assess the drug’s effectiveness, although safety remains paramount.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said an investigation had been opened.
Ms Touraine said she was determined to “shed light on” what happened.
Cleaner finds dead baby in Terengganu sewer
A cleaner in Malaysia made a grisly discovery when he found a dead baby while cleaning a sewage pit.
Mr Wan Sazali Wan Sayed found the baby girl with its umbilical cord attached during a routine inspection near University College Bestari in Setiu, Terengganu.
Police forensic teams determined that the baby was born prematurely at about six months and had been abandoned less than 48 hours before its discovery.
Injuries were found on the baby's arm and thigh, sign of damage inflicted by high pressure which have led investigators to believe it was flushed down a toilet.
The sewage pit is located 400m from the college's female dormitory and 100m from the male dorms.
State Criminal Investigation Department chief Assistant Commissioner Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Hamzah said that the body was undergoing a post-mortem at Setiu Hospital and that a detective was searching for a suspect at the college.
Source: The Star Online
50 evacuated from Four Seasons Hotel Singapore early this month
A fire broke out on Jan 6 at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore along 190 Orchard Boulevard at 11.20 pm.
On Friday (Jan 15), a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman told The New Paper the fire broke out in a kitchen on the ground floor and was extinguished with one water jet.
SCDF sent two fire engines, two Red Rhinos, one ambulance and eight support vehicles to the hotel.
The spokesman added the sprinkler system was activated before SCDF arrived and about 50 people were evacuated by the building’s security staff.
No one was injured. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The incident happened weeks after the ceiling of the Hilton Singapore hotel driveway collapsed on Dec 13, damaging two cars and injuring four people.
Update: Statement from Four Seasons spokesman
"At around 11pm, the exhaust fan in our One-Ninety restaurant kitchen caused a short circuit and burnt the fan motor which led to a lot of smoke and activated the general alarm.
"No one was injured and there was no evacuation.
"The situation was quickly normalized with the assistance of our in-house Crisis Management team and the local Fire Department."
What is it like living with OCD?
Singapore has one of the highest obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) rates. What is it like to live with this mental disorder?
She was lying in bed casually surfing the Internet at 1am when she saw two ants crawling across her study desk.
Her reaction? Extreme, in the eyes of most people.
Miss Sabrina Teo jumped out of bed and woke her mother up, asking for help to clean her "dirty" table.
The 23-year-old university student then burst into tears and immediately took a taxi to her boyfriend's place to stay for the night. We corroborated this incident with her family members.
Miss Teo said: "The ants were filled with germs, and they were tracking dirt onto the table."
Every time an ant crawled on her table or cupboard, she would remove everything and start cleaning each item with wet wipes and wipe down her table. This would take about an hour.
She has an aversion to "dirtiness", which leads to strong physical reactions.
Miss Teo said: "My heart starts to beat faster, and I will start panicking, trying to clean up. It is the helplessness that makes me cry... Like if I don't get rid of the dirt, I won't know what to do about it."
Miss Teo's reactions are symptomatic of someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), say doctors.
People with this mental disorder feel the need to check things repeatedly, have certain thoughts repeatedly, and/or feel the need to perform certain routines over and over.
She washes her hands about five to 10 times a day to keep herself clean.
Miss Teo's eczema worsened from her frequent hand-washing and from the detergent used to clean her things.
Once, her friend picked up and used her mobile phone.
Miss Teo said: "The whole time, I kept my eyes fixed on my phone and her hands, thinking to myself, 'Please stop, please stop'."
After her friend put the phone down, she said she sneaked off to the toilet to clean her phone and phone case thoroughly with wet wipes.
"When I am outside, I avoid contact with strangers because I don't know how dirty they are.
"Some people might have spilt something on themselves or touched something dirty. I don't want them to dirty me as well.
"If I have no choice and people touch my stuff, I will clean them with wet wipes. But to avoid offending others, I do it discreetly."
Even though her cleaning habits do not bother her as she wants things to be clean and in order, she said it "annoys everyone around me as I can get quite extreme sometimes, so they might feel frustrated when I force them to do what I want".
According to a major study spearheaded by the Institute of Mental Health conducted in 2010, a staggering three per cent of Singaporeans are hit by the illness in their lifetime - one of the highest figures in the world.
That means that about one in 30 people here suffers from OCD, compared to about one in 40 in the United States.
Dr Brian Yeo, 54, consultant psychiatrist at Brian Yeo Clinic Psychiatric Consultancy,agreed that OCD is very common in Singapore.
He said: "Most OCD symptoms are actually traits of a successful person: always checking that things are done, ensuring that things are clean and making sure everything goes according to plan.
"But once it becomes excessive and extreme, it then becomes a disorder."
One of the most common signs he sees is an obsession with cleanliness.
"If you change or affect their ritual in cleaning, they will feel uncomfortable and will need to start over," he said.
One of the worst cases in his experience is a patient who would not use public toilets and refused to travel far from home in case a toilet trip was necessary,
Another patient would make her husband dip his feet in an antiseptic before stepping into the house.
Dr Yeo said most OCD patients cannot control their behaviour and would prefer not to think about it.
He added: "Most (ordinary) people don't see a problem with OCD behaviour as long as they are willing to adjust to their (OCD sufferers') lifestyle. It is only when people are unable to accommodate it, then it becomes a problem and even a danger."
Family and loved ones are often affected.
Dr Lim Boon Leng, psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, said family members are sometimes bewildered by the behaviour of OCD patients and may be upset with them over the irrationality of their behaviour.
He said: "They may also be roped in to perform the ritualistic compulsions. For example, a child is made to wash and clean himself excessively as the mother has an obsession with contamination. This often leads to quarrels and frequent fights."
One man, who did not want to be named, said his wife insisted that he and his five-year-old son eat at a particular spot in the house. The area is thoroughly cleaned after they eat. Any deviation would create huge arguments. His wife has since sought treatment.
Miss Teo is also looking for treatment. Her family acknowledged that it is hard, but they want to support her.
Said her sister, Joanna, 19: "Sometimes it gets frustrating because we have to stand there and watch her go about her routine. It really puts our patience to the test but we've all got used to it over the years.
"Now we just let her go about doing her thing so long as it makes her comfortable and happy. We'd rather see her happily cleaning every day than seeing her get upset over a dirty table."
Miss Teo said: "I think my family gets annoyed sometimes, but they try not to show it because they love me too much. They try to keep my area clean at least so I won't be too bothered by it."
The whole time I kept my eyes fixed on my phone and her hands, thinking to myself: 'Please stop, please stop'.
- Miss Sabrina Teo, on an incident when her friend used her mobile phone
Q&A ON OCD
WHAT IS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)?
A mental disorder where the sufferer has thoughts, feelings or fears that drive him to do something repeatedly.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
The common signs are having repeated thoughts or images about many different things and performing the same rituals over and over such as excessive hand-washing, constant checking, counting behaviour and hoarding.
OCD usually begins before the age of 25 and often in childhood or adolescence.
IS IT HARMFUL?
Most people do not see OCD as a problem, as long as everyone else is willing to adjust to his or her lifestyle, said consultant psychiatrist Brian Yeo.
Once other people or family members are unable to accommodate his or her lifestyle, it becomes a problem and the patient might need treatment and professional help.
HOW TO TREAT OCD?
If you or your loved one experiences signs of OCD and it starts to negatively affect daily life, seek professional help from a psychiatrist.
Most of the time, OCD patients will undergo behavioural treatment - exposure and response prevention (ERP) - to reduce the compulsive behaviour, Dr Yeo said.
A typical course of ERP treatment lasts between 14 and 16 weeks.
Doctors may also prescribe medication. The most commonly prescribed medications for OCD are anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants.
Man who fought cancer twice writes book to raise money for cancer research
Man pens book on experiences with disease to raise money for cancer research
Nowadays, even routine things like having breakfast with his two young children have taken on fresh meaning.
After facing two bouts of cancer, Mr Cayden Chang, 44, has learnt how to be "fully present", especially when spending time with his two daughters, who are eight and five.
He was also inspired to pen The Book Of Hope, in which he shares personal anecdotes about his battle with cancer.
The book was launched yesterday.
While the first encounter with cancer taught Mr Chang that life is short, the second encounter made him want to "soak it all in" when with his wife and children.
Mr Chang said: "When I play with my kids, a smile isn't just a smile. I pay attention to all the little things.
"Their eyes, mouth, teeth and their micro-expressions. I want to know and remember them all."
The director and founder of Mind Kinesis Management International, a personal development coaching company, first found out that he had stage 2 renal cancer in 2010 when doctors found a fist-sized tumour in his left kidney.
The operation to remove the affected kidney left him with a 30cm-long scar on his abdomen.
He thought that was the end of it.
But during a yearly check-up in 2014, doctors found two more tumours, one on his left urinary tract and the other on his bladder.
The surgery left him with another scar, this time 25cm long.
Doctors had warned Mr Chang then that the next two years carry the highest risk of a possible relapse of the cancer cells.
The thought of a third brush with the disease scares him.
But it also inspired him to write the book, which includes how he watched his mother die of lung cancer in 1997.
Mr Cayden Chang's second encounter with cancer inspired him to write 'The Book Of Hope', which tells of his experiences with the disease, including watching his late mother battle terminal-stage lung cancer in 1997. TNP PHOTO: EDWIN FONG
Author Pearlin Siow, 39, who helped to edit the book, said: "I hope this book can bring hope to cancer patients and let them know that cancer isn't a life sentence."
Thirty-seven people here are diagnosed with cancer every day, said a Singapore Cancer Registry report in 2014.
Ms Siow said: "It's amazing how Cayden still remains positive. He's a fighter and nothing gets him down."
The book launch last night raised slightly more than $14,000 for the Singapore Cord Blood Bank.
Mr Chang hopes to raise another $20,000 for the National Cancer Centre for cancer research from the 2,000 books on sale .
He said: "I hope this book can encourage cancer patients to cling on to hope, which for me is my wife and children."
While he admits he is scared of dying and "that day will come", he chooses to park those thoughts aside and focus on living life.
"I try to keep myself occupied and focus on work and things that I can do instead of what I cannot change. I also choose to help others as it gives my life meaning."
Mr Chang and his wife, Madam Aw Boon Ling, 38, have yet to explain his condition to their children because he thinks that they might be too young to understand.
Madam Aw, a project manager, said: "When cancer happens to someone so close to you, you learn not to take things for granted.
"When your loved ones suffer, it's painful to watch. You can't fully understand the pain they go through, but you can be by their side to offer comfort."
One of Mr Chang's biggest wishes is to continue living a "simple" and "routine" life with his family, as he knows that he is living on borrowed time.
Mr Chang said: "Waking up late, having meals together at home and going to the park to watch my daughters play and laugh.
"It's nothing spectacular, but just living this simple routine every day until my daughters grow up is enough."
Right now, it feels like I am on a 'tourist visa' and living on a two-month stamp on the passport of my life.
- Mr Chang, in a quote from his book, on how he now goes for check-ups every two months at the National Cancer Centre and breathes a sigh of relief every time his results come back clear
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Book Of Hope
$25 before GST
WHERE TO BUY:
Kinokuniya at Takashimaya
Mr Cayden Chang's second encounter with cancer inspired him to write The Book Of Hope, which tells of his experiences with the disease, including watching his late mother battle terminal-stage lung cancer in 1997.