City Harvest Church leaders trial: Chew Eng Han takes the stand

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee

The trial against the six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders resumed today as former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han took the stand.

Chew, who is unrepresented and who broke away from the church in 2013, went on the offensive right from the off against his five co-accused.

He recounted what happened after they were brought in for questioning by the Commercial Affairs Department on May 31, 2010.

He said on the night they gathered in a meeting room at the Conrad Hotel, he saw CHC founder Kong Hee and his deputy Tan Ye Peng looking scared as the church's lawyer, Mr Jimmy Yim, berated them.

Mr Chew said: "When the fire broke out, I didn't see any leadership or shepherds. All I saw was fear. That was my first wake up call that something was wrong."

Chew, Kong, Tan and three others are accused of misusing millions of church money - $24 million to fund the music career of singer Ho Yeow Sun; and  $26.6 million to cover up the initial amount. 

Read the full report in our print edition on Jan 27.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Malaysia Airlines website hacked

The Malaysia Airlines website was hacked on Monday morning (Jan 26) by the "Lizard Squard".

The website’s front page was replaced with an image of a tuxedo-wearing lizard and read "Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD - OFFICIAL CYBER CALIPHATE".

It also carried the headline "404 - Plane Not Found", an apparent reference to the airlines’ loss of flight MH370 last year with 239 people aboard.

Media reports said versions of the takeover in some regions included the wording "ISIS will prevail".

Malaysia Airlines released a statement confirming its Internet domain name had been compromised, re-directing users.

"At this stage, Malaysia Airlines’ web servers are intact," it said. 

Flight bookings not affected

However, it added that it could take nearly 24 hours to fully resolve the issue, which it had reported to Malaysian authorities.

"Malaysia Airlines assures customers and clients that its website was not hacked and this temporary glitch does not affect their bookings and that user data remains secured," it said.

The Lizard Squad  has struck before, taking credit for attacks that took down the Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live network last month.

Source: AFP

Miss Singapore loses out; Miss Colombia takes Miss Universe crown

Miss Colombia Paulina Vega is crowned Miss Universe 2014 during the 63rd Annual MISS UNIVERSE Pageant.

While Miss Singapore didn't make the top 15, the show still had to go on.

The beautiful and stunning Miss Colombia Pauline Vega won the Miss Universe crown in Miami earlier. 

 

 

Miss Colombia impressed during the question and answer round.

In response to the (admittedly ridiculous) question "What can women learn from men?", she answered via a translator that some men believe in equality and that's what women should learn from men.

But that question was comparatively simple. Miss USA was asked to deliver a message to global terrorists.

Miss Jamaica was given the statement that "one in three women will experience domestic violence",

She was then given the thirty seconds to say what she would do to keep that number down.

The organisers keeping it light there.

Watch top 5 contestants  - including Miss Netherlands, Miss USA, Miss Jamaica, Miss Ukraine answer their questions below:

 

 

A favourite on social media Miss Jamaica came in 5th place - much to the shock of the audience, who were heard booing.

 

 

 

 

Related reports: 

Miss Universe Singapore national costume revealed - what do you think?

5 reasons why Singapore's Rathi Menon will make the top 5 of Miss Universe

Why we love Rathi Menon, 2014's Miss Universe Singapore

 

 

Running Man to jump to success in Malaysia?

Another one?: Hit Korean variety show Running Man (above) already has a China version. Now Malaysia may also produce their own version amid outrage from the public.

The hit Korean variety show Running Man has become a global phenomenon since its first episode aired in 2010.

Its fans of the cast - Yoo Jaesuk, Kim Jong Kook, Lee Kwang SooHaHaJi Suk Jin, Kang Gary and Song Jihyo - span Asia, US and Europe.

Like other hit television shows, the idea has been remade to suit different audiences.

And now there may be a Malaysian version, called Lari; though not everyone is happy about that.

According to the Malay Mail Online, when news broke last week  of the new version , Malaysian fans were up in arms.

Aside from questioning why a localised version was needed, and could the format be copied well.

Others claimed to feel embarrassed by the announced Korean show remake, especiaslly in the wake of recent controversy over K-pop group B1A4 interacting onstage with female Muslim fans. 

But it also seems that fans of Running Man just don't like the idea of a remake at all.

When China announced its own version last year, Chinese fans of the iconic show slammed the idea, proclaiming that no one could replicate the "humour and heart" of the original cast.

A supposed teaser for Lari has circulated online bombed with netizens too with the main issue being a lack of production values.

Would you watch a Malaysian version of Running Man?

 

Source: Malay Mail Online, YouTube


 

Related reports: M'sian fans who hugged K-pop band B1A4 could face arrest for public indecency, M'sian fans who hugged B1A4 escape punishment

 

 

 

Hoax caller put through to British PM prompts security review

By claiming to be one of the UK spy chiefs, his phonecall was put through to British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Now security procedures are in question.

The caller pretended to be the director of Britain’s electronic spy agency Government Communications Headquarters​ (GCHQ) Robert Hannigan, and was put through to Mr Cameron on an official mobile phone on Sunday (Jan 25).

Mr Cameron ended the call when he realised it to be a hoax.

The conversation was described as "brief" with no sensitive information being disclosed.   

It was followed by a previous hoax call to GCHQ on the same day, in which Mr Hannigan’s mobile phone number was given to the caller.

"Following two hoax calls to government departments today, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on the alert for such calls," said a government spokesman.

"Both GCHQ and Number 10 take security seriously and both are currently reviewing procedures following these hoax calls to ensure that the government learns any lessons from this incident."

Not the first time

Sunday's incident was not the first time prank callers had managed to get through to UK government officials.

In 1998, British radio DJ Steve Penk managed to speak to former UK prime minister Tony Blair by pretending to be then-British Conservative leader William Hague. 

Four years later, Downing Street was plagued by thousands of callers asking to speak to "Tony" after hoax callers overwhelmed Downing Street's switchboard.

Source: Metro, AFP, BBC

Watch: Van narrowly misses family of three in Yishun

A screengrab of the video that Mr Bernard Ng showing the van mounting a kerb and barrelling across the pavement - narrowly missing a family of three.

It was a shocking moment that could have been horrific.

"It was like some horror or action movie," said Mr Bernard Ng.

Mr Ng was just about to drop his parents off at their flat Yishun flat on Sunday night (Jan 25).

In the dashcam video which Mr Ng passed to The New Paper, a van is seen bursting through what looks like a hedge, over the pavement - near a family of three - and barrels across Yishun Ave 11.

The 33-year-old business owner told The New Paper the van only narrowly missed the family.

He explained that the van travelled on the pedestrian crossing that cuts across the road divider before ending up on a slope on the other side of the road.

"I was about to turn into the carpark when suddenly this van rampaged across the road," he said.

Mr Ng said that the family "had the most shocked look on their faces".

He added: "They just pointed at the van as it come to a rest behind a bus stop on the opposite side of the road. 

"It was so scary. It's the first time that I have seen such an incident on this stretch of road." 

Will Geylang lose its flavour when new laws kick in?

BUZZING: Geylang is well-known for its food and other less savoury activities.

Geylang was unceremoniously thrust into the spotlight during the Little India riot inquiry last year.

It was described by former Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee as a potential powder keg, with unsavoury characters abound, “a hint of lawlessness” and hostility against the police. 

Since then, the area has been hit by a slew of measures.

Enforcement raids against illegal immigrants, vice workers and contraband sellers have been stepped up.

There are frequent enforcement raids, along with police raids every month, say those who work in the area.

There have also been two measures to turn off the alcohol taps in Geylang.

Over the last nine months, some 40 coffee shops in the area have lost their liquor licences as they had infringed various regulations, the Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association told The New Paper.

There were initially 96 coffee shops in the area with beer licences.

Then on Jan 19, the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill was tabled in Parliament, with Geylang one of the areas targeted by the Bill.

While specific details have not been released, part of the Bill suggests no drinking in public places after 10.30pm. Alcohol sales at take-away shops would also be stopped at that time.

Separately, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has proposed to rezone the heart of the red-light district such that no new residential premises can be built there.

The URA said this was to “rebalance and moderate” the mix of properties in the area. The diverse mix of shophouses, eateries, freehold properties and even brothels have led to increasing “friction on the ground”.

But what does this mean for the colourful area, well known in equal parts for its food as well as for other less savoury activities?

Member of Parliament Edwin Tong, who oversees part of Geylang, sought to reassure both residents and retailers.

He told TNP that while retailers have expressed concern, especially with the looming increased alcohol restrictions, residents welcome the new measures that will reduce ill behaviour in the area.

“I can understand the anxiety of the impending alcohol control laws, but they are not meant to prohibit drinking. It’s just to cut down on unruly drinking,” said Mr Tong, who often sees drinkers spilling over onto roads from the coffee shops, which can be a safety concern.

WAIT AND SEE

As for many of the coffee shop owners, they are taking a wait-and-see approach, said Mr Hong Poh Hin, (below) vice-chairman of the Foochow Coffee Restaurant and Bar Merchants Association, which represents more than 400 coffee shop owners in Singapore.

Many of those whose liquor licences were revoked had been caught violating rules, such as having customers still consuming alcohol on their premises in the wee hours despite a midnight cutoff time. And some others were caught selling liquor past their licensed timings.

“When you ask customers to stop drinking and leave, they get angry with the employees and a fight breaks out. But if you let them continue with their drinks, you get fined. So it can be quite difficult for the coffee shops,” he said.

Mr Hong added that most coffee shops would stop selling beer at midnight but would allow patrons to stay on and finish their beers.

But the increased enforcement raids have meant that many of them were caught flouting the rules just for letting customers stay on past midnight.

Mr Hong said: “I think as long as the new laws don’t shorten the on-premise drinking hours on our licences, we should still be okay.”

On the property side, things may be looking up for Geylang, said Mr Colin Tan, Suntec Real Estate Consultants’ director of research and consultancy.

When there are fewer residential properties in the area, people are less likely to complain about noise and bad traffic, which can affect business operations. At the same time, it pushes up the prices of existing homes due to its limited supply.

“Geylang is a very central area and people certainly will be willing to pay more for the convenience,” he said.

And historically, it seems unlikely that the new restrictions would do much to alter the face of Geylang either, said heritage blogger and naval architect Jerome Lim, 50.

“Over the years, while there have been changes, Geylang always returns to being the same vibrant area that it is,” he said.

Tech smarts gives him edge

TECH SAVVY: Minister Vivian Balakrishnan enjoys putting together his own mini computer.
TECH SAVVY: Minister Vivian Balakrishnan enjoys putting together his own mini computer.
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HE CREATES MINI MACHINES FOR FUN

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Tech solutions to flood, rat problems

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