Bride tells husband on wedding night that she loves... someone else

Heads from a broken bride and groom cake topper.

She wept continuously on her wedding night. 

So when her husband, only known as Kumar, asked her why, Haripriya, 20, confessed to him that she was in love with someone else - a lorry driver. 

Haripriya had married Kumar on Wednesday (Dec 10)  in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu according to Malaysia Nanban.

Following the confession, both families discussed the issue and decided to return the Rs 100,000 (S$2,100) Kumar spent on the wedding.

Kumar then agreed to let Haripriya marry the real love of her life on Friday (Dec 12).

Source: The Star Online

People seen taking selfies at site of hostage situation in Sydney

A hostage running towards a police officer outside Sydney cafe, where hostages are being held by a gunman.

There is a time and place for selfies, but the site of an ongoing hostage situation is not it.

People have been posting photos on social media of themselves posing outside the police barrier at Martian Place in Sydney's Central Business District where a gunman is holed up in a cafe with hostages.






Their actions have been roundly criticised on Twitter.








But it isn't just bad behaviour that has emerged in this crisis. Actions worthy of praise have also been publicised on social media.

People in Sydney are now offering to ride on public transport with Muslims who fear they may be targets of racists because of the hostage situation.


The hashtag #illridewithyou is trending in the state capital. 






It's one of the best things to have emerged out of the hostage situation, which has been under way for 10 hours.

At least five hostages have been released or escaped since the mid-morning siege began. It is unclear exactly how many hostages are still in the cafe.

Sources: AFP, Reuters, Twitter

Related reports:

Hostages held inside Sydney cafe, Arabic flag held up

Update: NSW police confirms hostages held by gunman in Sydney cafe

Latest: Five hostages run out of Sydney cafe that was taken over by gunman

About 100 animals rescued after police raid foul-smelling bungalow in Selangor

Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue members transporting two rescued poodles onto their van.

More than 100 animals were rescued from an unkempt bungalow in Subang, Selangor, in what is described as the "biggest and worst case of animal abuse" in Malaysia. 

On Sunday (Dec 14), police along with members of Malaysia Independent Animal Rescue combed the alleged illegal animal breeding facility and found animals cooped up in enclosed cages.

The yard was reeking of faeces.

80 dogs, three cats, two geese, few birds and chickens and a gibbon were found. 

Some of the animals were restrained while others were found in cages.    

In addition to the odour, the compound was also found littered with different kinds of vehicle parts.   

Worst case

"This is the biggest and worst case I have dealt with because there are so many animals involved," said president of the animal rights group Puspa Rani.

She said: "I have seen illegal breeders with around 20 dogs or so. But I’ve never heard of one of this scale.

"Some have open wounds while others can’t walk. Some are blind. Many are also severely malnourished, with several not having food or clean water. They need urgent treatment."

Ms Puspa alerted police after she was was notified of the compound through a Facebook tip-off.

Protected species

"The monkey is a protected species and I suspect some birds are as well," she said, claiming that the bungalow's 52-year-old owner was keeping some protected species of animals.  

Animal abusers in Malaysia can receive a jail term of not more than a year or a fine of RM50,000 (S$18,700).

Keeping protected species without a valid licence warrants a fine of not more than RM50,000, a jail term of up to two years, or both.



Source: The Star Online




18 years after he was executed for rape, Chinese teen is found innocent

 The judge of the higher people's court delivers retrial files to Hugjiltu's parents (C) in Hohhot, northern China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region on December 15, 2014. A Chinese teenager executed after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago w
The judge of the higher people's court delivers retrial files to the parents of a teen, who was executed after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago, was declared innocent by a court on December 15, in a rare overturning of a wrongful conviction.

A Chinese teenager executed after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago was declared innocent by a court Monday, in a rare overturning of a wrongful conviction.

The 18-year-old, named Hugjiltu and also known as Qoysiletu, was found guilty and put to death in Inner Mongolia in 1996, but doubt was cast on the verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005.

“The Inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court finds Hugjiltu’s original guilty verdict... is not consistent with the facts and there is insufficient evidence,” the court in Hohhot said in a statement.


“Hugjiltu is found not guilty.”  - the court in Hohhot, in a statement.

The retrial comes after a pledge by leaders of the ruling Communist Party to strengthen the rule of law “with Chinese characteristics” – a concept experts caution refers to greater central control over the courts rather than judicial independence.

Hugjiltu’s parents compensation of 30,000 yuan (S$6,350), according to the official Xinhua News Agency – although the money was a personal donation by the head of the court, it added, rather than an official payment by the institution.

Images on social media showed the deputy president ​(below) ​apologising to Hugjiltu’s now elderly parents.

“This is an amazing thing the court did, to admit that they were wrong,” said Wang Gongyi, deputy director of the research institute of the Ministry of Justice.

“It also sends a clear message to the police and prosecutors around the country: if there’s not enough evidence, don’t impose wrongful convictions,” he told AFP.

“In the future, this case will be singled out as what not to do and will influence the entire legal system.”

Police in Hohhot, where the crime took place, said they opened an investigation into the officers responsible for the original case, according to the Legal Evening News.

The regional court said Hugjiltu’s confession did not match the autopsy report as well as being inconsistent with “other evidence", and that DNA evidence presented at the trial did not definitively connect him to the crime.

 Wrongful convictions

China’s courts, controlled by the ruling Communist Party, have a near-100 percent conviction rate in criminal cases and confessions extracted under dubious conditions are commonplace.

In Hugjiltu’s case, authorities interrogated the teenager for 48 hours, after which he confessed to having raped and choked the woman in the toilet of a textile factory, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported in November. He was executed 61 days after the woman’s death.

Hugjiltu’s family tried for nearly a decade to prove his innocence, according to reports, and the Higher People’s Court officially began a retrial in November.

Many on social media decried what they saw as insufficient compensation for such a grave miscarriage of justice, with one asking: “Is 30,000 yuan really enough to buy the life of a family member?”

Others demanded the court officials and police responsible for the original conviction be held responsible.

“We must bring all those morally corrupt public security officers to justice,” another user said on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform.

China executes more people than the rest of the world combined, according to rights groups. The country put an estimated 2,400 people to death last year.

China has occasionally exonerated wrongfully executed convicts after others came forward to confess their crimes, or in some cases because the supposed murder victim was later found alive.

In one case, police claimed a dead body was that of a woman who had recently disappeared and charged Teng Xingshan with her murder. Teng was executed by firing squad in 1989, but in 1993 the supposedly murdered woman returned to the village saying she had been kidnapped.

Teng was exonerated of all crimes in 2005.

Several other high-profile wrongful convictions have sparked public outrage in recent years.

Last year, a man who served 17 years in prison for killing his wife was declared innocent by an appeals court in the eastern province of Anhui.

A few months earlier two men who had been sentenced to death and life in prison in 2004 for the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl were also acquitted. - AFP


Tags: China, rape, acquitted, dead and teen

Latest: Five hostages run out of Sydney cafe that was taken over by gunman

A hostage runs towards a police officer outside Lindt cafe, where other hostages are being held, in Martin Place in central Sydney December 15, 2014. Two more hostages have run out of the cafe at the center of a siege in Sydney,.

Five people ran out of a Sydney cafe where a gunman has taken hostages and displayed an Arabic flag against the window, witnesses and police said on Monday (Dec 15), adding that no one has yet been harmed.

Dramatic videos showed two women running out of the cafe into the arms of the police.

They were both wearing aprons indicating they were staff at the Lindt cafe where a gunman has been holding an unknown number of hostages for several hours.

About an hour earlier, three men had run out of the cafe.



It was not clear if they escaped or were released.

Immediately after the three men had ran out of the cafe, New South Wales police deputy commissioner Catherine Burn gave a short briefing to the media.

“Three people have now emerged from the location in Martin Place, the first thing we will do is make sure they are okay.We will work with these people to figure out more information. We do not have information to suggest that anyone is harmed at this stage.” - New South Wales police deputy commissioner Catherine Burn

Police said they did not have precise figures on how many hostages remained in the building but Burn said “it is not as high as 30” as some reports had suggested.

She added that police negotiators “have had contact and continue to have contact” with the person holding the hostages, but they still did not know the motivation for the siege.

Source: AFP, Reuters

Related reports: NSW police confirms hostages held by gunman in Sydney cafe 
                          Hostages held inside Sydney cafe, Arabic flag held up             

Update: NSW police confirms hostages held by gunman in Sydney cafe

Andrew Scipione holding a press conference.
A man is seen standing behind the window of the Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held, in this still image taken from video from Australia's Seven Network on December 15.
A police officer runs across Martin Place near Lindt Cafe where hostages are being held, in central Sydney December 15, 2014.

One armed man is holding an undisclosed number of hostages in a siege in Sydney said New South Wales state police commissioner Andrew Scipione told a press conference on Monday (Dec 15) adding that it was yet to be deemed a terrorism event.

He however, did not disclose the number of hostages being held in the Lindt Cafe in central Sydney. 

“I can confirm for you that we have an armed defender in the premises holding an undisclosed number of hostages in the city, in the Martin Place area,”  Scipione told a press conference.

He also said that the police has not had direct contact with the hostage taker.

In response to a question from the gathered media, he was reluctant to confirm that it was a terror related event. 

The nearby Sydney Opera House was temporarily evacuated after a suspicious package had been found, a staff member told Reuters.

Tourists were being let back into the world-famous venue by early afternoon.

Qantas Airways Ltd said planes were avoiding flying over the central business district but were landing as normal.

Source: AFP, Twitter

Related report: Hostages held inside Sydney cafe, Arabic flag held up 

Tags: Australia and sydney

Miss South Africa crowned Miss World 2014

Rolene Strauss of South Africa (C) is crowned Miss World 2014, as Elizabeth Safrit of the U.S. (R) and Edina Kulczar of Hungary (L) who placed third and second respectively, look on at the ExCel Centre in east London, December 14, 2014. Contestants from 126 countries are in London to compete in the 2014 Miss World competition, the 63rd time the annual event has taken place.
Miss South Africa and the 2014 Miss World, Rolene Strauss, reacts afgter being crowned during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant.
Miss South Africa and the 2014 Miss World, Rolene Strauss, poses in her seat after eing crowned during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant at the Excel London ICC Auditorium in London on December 14, 2014.
Miss South Africa and the 2014 Miss World, Rolene Strauss, poses in her seat after being crowned during the grand final of the Miss World 2014 pageant at the Excel London ICC Auditorium in London on December 14, 2014.

Miss South Africa, 22-year-old Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World 2014 at the contest’s glitzy final in London on Sunday, with an estimated billion viewers watching on television around the globe.

Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar, was judged the runner-up and Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit, came third in the 64th annual competition, contested by women from 121 countries.

Medical student Strauss clasped her hands together in surprise and was crowned by the outgoing Miss World, Megan Young of the Philippines, to huge cheers in the ExCeL exhibition centre.

“South Africa this is for you. I think I will brace myself for what’s about to happen. It’s a huge responsibility.” - Rolene Strauss

She told AFP she wanted to help spread education in her homeland and help other people realise their dreams.

I am what I am today because of the opportunities I have received and I would love to give others the same opportunities; educating, the opportunity to be educated, to make healthy choices and also to live their dreams,” - Strauss said.

Shimmering costumes 

This year’s event has been rocked by the murder of Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, who was shot dead along with her sister last month.

Strauss and other contestants will travel to the crime-plagued central American nation to build a school named in the sisters’ honour.

“We hope that it will really start to impress on the people in Honduras that the violence, and hurting people like those two innocent women... maybe they can think again before they take a gun,” Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley told AFP.

Sunday’s show started with a spectacular choreographed dance routine, with all the beauty queens on stage in costumes inspired by their homelands – including Miss Bolivia in a colourful feathered headdress.

While beauty remains central to the event, the women taking part are chiefly judged on their talents and involvement in good causes.

Miss Malaysia won the talent competition in a live sing-off with Miss Scotland.

Miss Malaysia Dewi Liana Seriestha followed by Miss Singapore, Dalreena Poonam Gill. Photo: AFP

In the Beauty with a Purpose section – the heart of Miss World – contestants present a charitable project they have been working on in their homeland.

In this section, the judges gave equal first place to Misses Brazil, Guyana, India, Indonesia and Kenya, unable to separate them.

Bollywood star honoured 

The event also featured a special 20-year award for 1994’s Miss World, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai.

The 41-year-old Indian actress appeared on stage with her film star husband Abhishek Bachchan, their daughter Aaradhya and her mother.

The prize was for the “Dhoom 2” star’s charitable work with children with cleft palates since being made famous by Miss World.

“I stand here overwhelmed by this honour,” she said. The 10 contestants who topped the final scoreboard were, in descending order, from India, South Africa, England, Guyana, Brazil, Hungary, Kenya, United States, Mexico and Australia.

They were joined by Miss Thailand, who won the people’s choice award, voted for by people around the world through a mobile phone app.

Miss Thailand,winner of the people’s choice award. Photo: AFP

The judges chose Miss Hungary, Miss Australia, Miss South Africa, Miss United States and Miss England as their top five before picking their top three.

Miss World began in 1951, a year before its chief rival Miss Universe.

Strauss is the third South African Miss World, the country having held the title in 1958 and 1974.

Venezuela tops the all-time leader board with six titles, ahead of India and the United Kingdom on five titles each.

Related report: GALLERY: Peek into Miss World Singapore's hectic schedule before Sunday's finals 

Source: AFP

Hostages held inside Sydney cafe, Arabic flag held up

Picture showing hostages pressed up against the window of the CBD cafe

Australia’s world-famous Sydney Opera House was evacuated after a suspicious package was found, television channels reported on Monday (Dec 15), soon after gunmen were reported holding hostages in the centre of the city.

A police operation was already underway in the central business district of Sydney after hostages were being held inside a cafe, where a black flag with white Arabic text could be seen in the window.

A spokeswoman for New South Wales police could not immediately confirm the reports.

An Opera House spokeswoman did not answer calls.

Martin Place in the central business district was shut down as scores of police surrounded the Lindt Chocolate Cafe, with TV pictures showing a flag, black with white Arabic writing, held to a window.

Reports said as many as 20 people were in the cafe and that there were at least two gunmen, although police had no immediate comment, only confirming that an operation was underway.

Witnesses reported hearing loud bangs that sounded like gun shots. Patrick Byrne, a producer at Channel Seven whose newsroom is opposite the cafe, said staff at the television station watched the situation unfold.

“We raced to the window and saw the shocking and chilling sight of people putting their hands up against the panes of glass at the cafe,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“This was just extraordinary.”

Source: AFP


Wealth of data services with new 3D virtual model of Singapore

Imagine being able to explore Singapore in its entirety like an online computer game.

You will be able to zoom in and out of any building, road or public space you wish, and wander around basement carparks and corridors.

Unveiled earlier this month by the National Research Foundation, Virtual Singapore will be a 3D model of the entire country that will be developed based on geometric and image data from various public agencies.

It will show virtual 3D replicas of buildings, carpark spaces, roads and other above-ground structures. It will also allow researchers, businesses and members of the public to take advantage of its data-rich features.

Read the full report in our print edition on Dec 15.

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