US mum's plea on Facebook: Please attend my daughter's birthday party

Mackenzie Moretter and her Frozen-themed birthday cake which a company provided for free.

Like any child her age, Mackenzie Moretter wanted a party to celebrate her 10th birthday.

So her mother planned one and invited 10 of her classmates to attend.

But as Saturday (April 18) drew closer and closer, Mrs Moretter​ realised no one was going to turn up.

Not wanting her little girl to be sad, the desperate mother took to various Facebook groups just 12 hours before the event with a plea to strangers: Please attend my daughter's birthday party.

'Just stop by and wish her a happy birthday'

In the post, the US mother explained that Mackenzie had Sotos Syndrome, which can delay social development or cause speech impairments.

She said: "At school she struggles and is often alone on the playground. As a mother, it is heartbreaking being you want your children to be happy (sic).

"I'm reaching out to mums who have daughters between the ages of 9 and 11 that would love to come to a birthday party tomorrow from 11 to 1.30. You don't have to bring gifts or stay long, just stop by and wish her a happy birthday."

Hundreds of people turned up

The response was overwhelming. Companies even offered to provide food, drinks and balloon sculpting free of charge.

On Saturday, more than 300 people attended the birthday party at a park in Shakopee, Minnesota.

A woman dressed as Elsa from Disney's hit movie Frozen was at the event. So was Minnesota Vikings football player Charles Johnson.

Local firefighters dropped by in a fire truck and Mayor Brad Tabke declared April 18, 2015, to be Mackenzie Moretter Day.

Many kids around Mackenzie's age showed up, just as her mother had wished.

Birthday greetings also flooded in from all over the world on the Mackenzie's Birthday Party Facebook page.

Mrs Moretter later thanked all the attendees.

She wrote on the page: "As a mother, I was heartbroken for my daughter. I see a side of Mackenzie the rest of the world may not be privy to  she's intelligent and thoughtful, courageous and kind. Mackenzie was deserving of one, special birthday."

She added: "On Saturday, you changed the life of a little girl that many of you have never met. And, you've given this mother purpose to spread a message of acceptance, tolerance and love, beyond just our home."

Watch Mackenzie's birthday speech here:

 

 

Sources: USA Today, Fox, CBS

Tags: birthday, party and US news

Professional hunter killed after he was trampled by an elephant

Ian Gibson, a well known professional hunter, was killed when an elephant trampled him while he was out on a hunt.

A young male elephant killed a professional hunter on Wednesday (April 15). 

The hunter, Mr Ian Gibson, was tracking a lion in North-East Zimbabwe for an American client when a young male elephant charged at him, knelt on him and crushed him to death, reported the Telegraph.

 Mr Paul Smith, the managing director Chifuti Safaris, the group which employed Gibson for the hunt, said that the full details of the incident are still unknown because the American client and other trackers on the hunt are still too traumatised to give the full details.

The trackers on the hunt said that the bull must have been in heat, which means that it was producing more testosterone than usual.

"In most years someone is usually killed on a hunt somewhere in Africa, and that is why it is called 'dangerous game hunting' but we are very shocked that it was 'Gibbo'," said Mr Smith.

"He was so experienced and this is a most unexpected tragedy," he added.

According to the Telegraph, the Dallas Safari Club, a hunting club in the US is paying for his funeral.

Since the news of Gibson's death emerged, tributes to Gibson have appeared on websites dedicated to hunting.

On social media however, the sentiments have been the direct opposite, with many celebrating his demise.

 

 

 

 

Source: Telegraph, Twitter, Africa hunting.com

Private school here busted after students get diplomas without tests, classes

The students didn't need to attend classes or take tests. They weren't assessed on their performance.

Yet they were still awarded diplomas in maritime studies from Kings International Business School (KIBS), a private education institution in Singapore.

The school's unethical practices came to light after the Council for Private Education (CPE) received feedback in April last year and launched an investigation.

On Monday (April 20), the CPE issued a press release saying it was cancelling the registration of the school from May 5.

The school cannot offer or conduct any courses henceforth.

It must arrange for its students to continue their course at another school or refund existing students their full course fees by May 5.

According to Feb 11 records, it is believed that the school currently has 10 students taking diploma courses.

Some students took up school's offer

The school had been registered to conduct advanced diploma, diploma, certification and preparatory courses.

CPE Chief Executive Brandon Lee said it was unfortunate that some students "chose to take up KIBS’s offer, instead of reporting them to CPE, implicating genuine students who took lessons in the process".

"While the vast majority of PEIs are bona fide education providers, we must continue to be vigilant to guard against such egregious players as what they do cast doubt on the integrity of the qualifications of PEI graduates," he said.

KIBS is the first private education institution to have its registration cancelled for issuing diplomas without ensuring that students had received proper instruction and assessment.

Three on FB: PM Lee's best Facebook posts

Today (April 20) marks the third year that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been on Facebook.

And he is very active on the social media platform. On his page, he has shared many insights on his public and private life with the 745,207 people that follow his account.

Most notable have been the many photographs he has posted, especially those that carry the now familiar parentheses-wrapped tag, (Photo by me).

There have been posts about his families past...

The Prime Minister is often open to a selfie. In fact some shots have been surprisingly open.  

He takes the occasional we-fies too.

A recurring theme is the mix of nostalgia and progress, in this case the nature of tourism here.

Want hashtags? No problem. This picture was tagged #guesswhoisreal

He has a keen eye for the details others may miss, such as this owl in the Istana.

 

or this anniversary post of a snake at Upper Peirce Reservoir Park.

The Prime Minister has also engaged his followers with a series of photos he hashtags #guesswhere

And some of them are rather stunning. More artistic than you might expect from a world leader.

 

 

Singapore may be just a small red dot, but we have many reasons to call it home. The SG Heart Map project is collecting...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, 10 April 2015

 

 

The new Jubilee Bridge looking striking on Friday night. It connects the Merlion Park to the Esplanade Theatres and was...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday, 5 April 2015

 

 

Took this pic on a walk 2 weeks ago. I first saw the crescent moon through the trees, then stepped back and noticed the...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, 14 March 2015

 

 

Went for a walk with my family on Valentine’s Day, before my operation. The night was quiet and calm, no city noises or...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday, 22 February 2015

 

 

Spotted this family taking a photo of their daughter on New Year’s Day. Didn’t realise what it was about until later. Can you guess? Hint – it was at Gardens by the Bay. – LHL(Photo by me)#justforfun

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, 3 January 2015

 

 

Home! Our port and island look beautiful even at 2am.(Photo by me)

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, 12 December 2014

 

 

Another #guesswhere ;)Many of you guessed right! I snapped this pic of Swan Lake at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on a...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, 6 October 2014

 

 

Ho Ching & I chanced upon this couple on an evening stroll down the Marina Bay Sands boardwalk a few weeks ago. Here’s...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, 26 September 2014

 

 

 

LOL. Seems a very dangerous spot. – LHL #guesswhereSome of you got it right! This was near the Botanic Gardens main...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, 30 June 2014

 

 

 

#guesswhere :) - LHLMany of you have got it right! This is the submerged boardwalk at MacRitchie Reservoir, now under...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, 5 May 2014

 

 

Source: Facebook/ Lee Hsien Loong

Still no bail for Amos Yee

Teenage blogger Amos Yee Pang continues to be in remand as no one has posted bail for him, an Attorney General's Chambers spokesman told The New Paper on Monday (April 20).

Yee, 16, was charged on March 31 with one count each of transmitting an obscene picture electronically, and uploading content online which contained remarks against Christianity. 

He was also charged under the Protection of Harassment Act, accusing him of posting an insulting video clip online containing remarks about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

His bail will be reviewed on Tuesday (April 21).

Read the full report in our print edition tomorrow.
Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Tourists who tried to burn quokka fined $4k each for animal cruelty

A screengrabs of the video show the tourists' attempt to burn a quokka.

Two French tourists were fined AUD$4,000 (S$4,200) each after pleading guilty to animal cruelty in an Australian court.

ABC news reported that Thibaud Valette, 24, and Jean Batrikian, 18, were charged over the incident which was captured on video on Rottnest Island, off Perth, on April 3.​

A lawyer acting for the pair told the court that they did not mean to hurt the quokka and that they now feared for their safety after being abused online.

The magistrate said that their claims were "fanciful" and that the fine will act as a deterrent.

The maximum cruelty for animal cruelty in Australia is AUD$50,000 and five years jail.

A video of the pair burning the quokka has emerged.

One of the men ignited an aerosol spray with a lighter while the other recorded the act on his mobile phone.

The quokka ran to safety before it was burnt. 

The quokka are the smallest wallaby species in Australia. 

Once plentiful, their numbers on the mainland have been drastically affected due to the introduction of predators and human activity in Australia. 

Now it is almost exclusively found on Rottnest Island, some 30km off the Perth coast. Rottnest is a haven for the creatures because of the lack of predators.

We have included the video below. 

Some might find the video disturbing.

 

 

Source: ABC News, YouTube, Australian museum, Rottnest Island

Related report: Tourists kicked off island after allegedly trying to burn quokka 

The new Fantastic Four trailer is out - and it's good!

The official trailer for this August's Fantastic Four reboot is here and it looks good ... but will it be able to silence critics?

Last February's cast announcement divided both the Marvel fanbase and the Internet.

While some welcomed the new cast, others questioned the decision to bring in younger actors.


PHOTO: FACEBOOK

As revealed by the trailer and teaser, the upcoming film about Marvel's superhero family will be much darker in tone compared to 2005's Fantastic Four and 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer.

You can expect to see Sue Storm projecting force fields and The Thing, well, clobberin' stuff.

We're also given our first look at Dr Doom, played by Toby Kebbell. 

Kebbell brought the villainous ape Koba to life with the help of motion capture technology in Dawn of The Planet of The Apes (2014).

Let's take a look at the actors who played the Fantastic Four nearly a decade ago and who will be stepping into the shoes of Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm.


Reed Richards aka Mr Fantastic


Then: Ioan Gruffudd


PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

The 41 year-old Welsh actor has starred in movies such in films such as Black Hawk Down, Titanic and Disney's 102 Dalmatians.

He also made a guest appearance in Westlife's Uptown Girl music video.

Very few enjoyed watching Gruffudd's Mr Fantastic. He was described as a "wooden good guy" by Movieweb.

His on-screen chemistry with Jessica Alba was heavily criticised and the duo were even nominated for a Razzie for Worst Screen Couple in 2008.

Now: Miles Teller


PHOTO: REUTERS

The star of the Oscar-nominated flick Whiplash has also starred alongside Shailene Woodley in Divergent and Insurgent.

Teller will play boxing world champion Vinny Paz in the upcoming biopic Bleed For This.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, he said: "I know people already hate me for the fact that I'm playing Reed Richards and that we're ruining their franchise."

It may be his first superhero flick but at least we can be assured that Teller knows what he is doing - he's previously said that his father grew up with the Fantastic Four.


Sue Storm aka The Invisible Woman


Then: Jessica Alba


PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

FHM's 2007 Sexiest Woman of the Year also picked up an award for Best Breakthrough Actress Award at the American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) in 2001.

Unfortunately, Alba has also received several Razzie nominations including Worst Actress for the two Fantastic Four films she starred in. 

In the end, it was a role to forget for her. 

Movieweb called her attempt to play a wiser, older sister to Johnny Storm a failure. It also highlighted her lack of chemistry with co-stars Ioan Gruffudd and Chris Evans.

Now: Kate Mara


PHOTO: FANTASTIC FOUR FACEBOOK

If her last name sounds familiar to you, it's because she is the older sister of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo actress Rooney Mara.

Kate Mara received an Emmy Award nod for her performance as reporter Zoe Barnes in Netflix's critically-acclaimed series House of Cards.

She has also made appearances in CSI, 24 and the first season of American Horror Story.

Fantastic Four director Josh Trank was full of praise for Mara during a cast commentary session. 

"The chemistry between Michael and Kate was just so undeniable," he said.

The relationship between the Storms is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of a Fantastic Four film and it seems Trank is pretty confident of what his actors have achieved.


Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch


Then: Chris Evans


PHOTO: DISNEY

Chris Evans' name is synonymous with Captain America. But before he was Steve Rogers, he was The Human Torch. 

His last outing as Cap in The Winter Soldier won him the People's Choice Award for Favourite Action Movie Actor.

We probably won't even remember that he played Johnny Storm in a few years' time.

Evans served as the films' comic relief, constantly annoying Ben Grimm and trying to be the team's joker.

Apparently, Evans himself is not too proud of the two Fantastic Four films he's done.

"Everybody goes and sees Fantastic Four but nobody sees Sunshine (Evans' 2007 sci-fi/thriller film). I'd have a different career if people saw that," he told Moviefone.

Now: Michael B Jordan


PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

This isn't the first time Jordan's playing a youngster who has been bestowed with powers. 

It isn't his first time working with director Josh Trank either. The two worked together in 2012's sci-fi flick Chronicle, in which Jordan's character gained telekinetic abilities.

Jordan has also done voice-over work. He lent his voice to Cyborg in 2013's Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox animated movie and Jace Stratton in the hit video game Gears of War 3.

It's a big year for Jordan, who will be appearing alongside Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky spin-off Creed after Fantastic Four.


Ben Grimm aka The Thing


Then: Michael Chiklis


PHOTO: AXN

Chiklis rose to fame when he played Detective Vic Mackey in the award-winning television series The Shield, a role which helped him bag the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 2003.

Most recently, he played The Strongman, Dell Toledo, in American Horror Story: Freak Show.

He was generally received more positively in his Fantastic Four role than his co-stars.

TV Guide commended him for "finding heart in the conflicted man-mountain".

Now: Jamie Bell


PHOTO: FANTASTIC FOUR FACEBOOK

Bell helped Steven Spielberg bring the iconic comic book character Tintin to life in the film adaptation of The Adventures of Tintin.

He is best known for playing Billy Elliot in the 2000 film of the same name.

The then 14 year-old Bell picked up several awards for his performance, including the British Academy Film Award (BAFTA) for Best Actor.

Even so, it's easy to see why fans are skeptical the casting of Bell as Ben Grimm.

At least Michael Chiklis looked like he could hold his own in a fight.

But with the help of CGI, The Thing looks like a force to be reckoned with. 

Andy Serkis, who did motion capture work for Rise of The Planet of The Apes (2011) and the Lord of The Rings trilogy (2001-2003), is also helping him bring the fan favourite to life by mentoring him.

Sources: Just Jared, Yahoo Movies, Huffington Post, Moviefone, Movieweb

Stomach flu puts Vivian Hsu in hospital

Last month, Taiwanese actress Vivian Hsu announced via Facebook that she was pregnant.

Due in October, the mum-to-be was extremely happy to be expecting her first child with her Singapore-based Indonesian husband, Sean.

However, Hsu, 40, who has been living here for a year, is currently battling a bad bout of stomach flu.

She was admitted into hospital a few days ago after suffering severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ VIVIAN HSU

Apple Daily reported that Hsu's manager said that she had always had a sensitive stomach.

An increase of fruit juice in her diet over the last few days had also caused her condition to worsen.

But Hsu has been a trooper.

She has posted pictures of her with her sister (below, left) and her husband.

 

我知道我一直都很勇敢!謝謝姊姊還特別飛過來陪伴!❤️我愛你們~

A photo posted by 徐若瑄VivianHsu (@vivianhsu.ironv) on

Her followers had expressed their concern for her saying that now she has to take better care of herself since she is pregnant.

Hsu wrote:

"I know that I have always been brave. 

"Thanks sis, for flying (to Singapore) to keep me company.

"I love you all."

"I wish myself and each and everyone of you good health."

Source: Asian Pop News, Apple Daily, Instagram

 

M'sian police: Video showing mud & fire in graveyard is not from JB

A screengrab of the viral video which reportedly a show a cemetry in JB spewing mud and fire. Malaysian police have said that the video does not originate from Malaysia.

Malaysian police have come out to deny that a viral video showing mud and fire spewing out of the ground of a graveyard originated from a Chinese cemetery in Batu Pahat, Johor.

"An investigation of several Chinese cemeteries in Batu Pahat failed to confirm that such an incident occurred," Bukit Aman police assistant secretariat Datin Asmawati Ahmad said in a statement  on Sunday (April19), reported The Star Online. 

She added that while the video did not originate from Malaysia, the phenomena exists in other countries such as Taiwan.

According to her, mud volcanoes spew mud and natural gas once or twice a year and the the fires are deliberately started by locals to burn off emissions.

The Star Online reported that the original video showed that the video was filmed in Taiwan by the Central News Agency.

It was part of their coverage of a mud volcano eruption at the Xinyuan Township in Pingtung Taiwan on Jan 28, 2015.

The report states that the mud volcano spewing from a grave half submerged a nearby cornfield.

Datin Asmawati urged Malaysians not to spread rumours because of its potential to create "negative speculation."

Sources: The Star Online, Central News Agency, YouTube

Unboxing the 1,000cc Kawasaki H2

TNP's Biker Boy gets a first look at Kawasaki's new H2. I can't start the bike because it's not fueled and it doesn't have a battery to crank the engine. Oh well, I guess I would have to be happy with reading the owner's manual.
TNP's Biker Boy gets a first look at Kawasaki's new H2. That liquid-metal look is present in the H2's tail and fuel tank. Its hand-painted and polished and gives the H2 a unique look.
Kawasaki's traditional bad boy, the ZX10R looms in the foreground as the H2, the newest family in the Kawasaki superbike range is being uncrated in the background.

My palms began to sweat a little as I watched the four large boxes being unloaded from the lorry.

I stood there like a child waiting to tear open his presents.

But it wasn’t my birthday last Thursday.

 

 

For some lucky Singaporeans, it might as well be their birthday when their Kawasaki dealers call them to say that their H2 motorcycles are ready for collection.

For me, getting a first look at the first batch of H2 bikes up close and personal would have to suffice.

 


Technicians unbolting the metal frame that protects the H2. TNP PHOTOS: ZAIHAN MOHD YUSOF

I moved in closer as the technicians from Evershine Auto, the local Kawasaki motorcycles distributor, cut open the cardboard boxes and unbolted the H2 from its metal palette. 

While this might not be the much-talked-about supercharged H2R, which has an eye-popping 300HP and can reach a theoretical speed above 400kmh, the single-seater H2 is equally impressive.

First, it doesn’t look like your contemporary sports bike.

The street-legal H2 has less curves. It’s designed with more sharp angles and features small tunnels for air to glide over its bodywork.  


The fins and the low-drag design of the Kawasaki H2 is evident on the bike's bodywork.

I don’t know much about aerodynamics but this thing looks like it can fly given its close association with Kawasaki’s aerospace branch, which had designed the supercharger on the carbon fibre-infused  H2R.

As I pushed the 1,000cc H2 into the showroom, I noticed that it’s slightly heavier than a 600cc sports bike.

While the saddle area feels like any anorexic sports bike, the H2’s front seems a little bulky and wide.

The bike’s paintwork caught my eye because the gleaming panels may look like metal, but they’re not — they’re hand-painted to look like liquid-metal, like something out of a sci-fi movie.
 

Top of the line components used on the H2. TNP PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHD YUSOF

Of course, the H2 comes with choice components like Brembo brakes, an Ohlins steering damper and a sticky set of rubbers.

Without a battery or fuel, we were not able to bring the H2 to life.

I guess I would have to be happy with sitting on the H2 and flipping the pages of its owner’s manual... For now.

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