CNY tragedy: S'pore car in fatal accident - girl, 13, dies

A Malaysian family were involved in a fatal accident on Feb 18 while travelling back to Perak for Chinese New Year.

Tragedy stuck a family yesterday (Feb 18) as they were travelling back to their kampung to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The family of five was driving on the North-South Highway when the 43-year-old father apparently lost control of the Singapore-registered Honda Stream he was driving, said Malaysian police.

The family's 13-year-old daughter died in the accident. 

The father, two sons and a 20-year-old daughter, sustained minor injuries.

Photo: Facebook Screengrab/Daily Traffic Report

The accident happened near Yong Peng, at about 1.30pm on Wednesday (Feb 18).

Inspector Mursyidah Abdul Malik from Muar Police headquarters' traffic division said that all five passengers are Malaysians.

According to her, the father and the two sons, aged 21 and 19, work in Singapore.

The driver's wife, like the two daughters, live in Johor Baru. She was not going back to Perak for Chinese New Year as she only had one day's leave, said Inspector Mursyidah. 

The rest of the passengers were taken to a hospital and were discharged last night. 

Chinese New Year 2015 - year of the goat or sheep? You decide

Goat. Sheep. Goat. Sheep. Goat. Sheep. 

Which one is it?

This year's lunar new year, which falls on Feb 19, marks the start of the Chinese zodiac symbol "yang".

And according to Chinese folklorists, the answer is both. 

This is mainly due to the broad definition of the symbol, "yang".

Meaning, the new year could belong to any member of the caprinae subfamily - goats (yang), sheep "soft yang", and even yellow gazelles "yellow yang".   

"This 'yang' is fictional. It does not refer to any specific kind (of sheep or goat)," said Zhao Shu, a researcher with the Beijing Research Institute of Culture and History. 

You decide

A quick search on Google in English would show that the phrase "year of the sheep" appears most common. 

However a search in French reveals the opposite, in favour of the goat. 

But for most, the decision is simple - they simply choose the animal they feel possess their own favoured qualities. 

So here's a list of personality traits - the good and the bad - for both goats and sheep. Have fun deciding!


PHOTO: Facebook

Good traits: Elegant, charming, artistic, gifted and fond of nature, highly creative and delicate. 

On top of that, goats also display strong inner resilience and exceptional defensive instincts. 

Neutral traits:  They prefer not to be in the limelight and tend to keep to themselves.

Bad traits: Insecure, sensitive and lazy. 

Goats tend to be a little more emotional when it comes to relationships and demonstrate laziness sometimes. 

They are also more likely to refrain from confrontation and avoid taking the less popular stand in a conflict. 


PHOTO: Twitter

Good traits: Tender, polite, filial, clever, kind-hearted, wise, gentle and compassionate.

Additionally, sheep take a special interest towards art and beauty.

They are also compassionate individuals and are economical in their spending.     

Bad traits: Shy, pessimistic, moody, indecisive, over-sensitive and weak-willed.

Source: AFP, Travel China Guide, China Highlights, The New York Times

Nicki Minaj's tour manager stabbed to death in bar fight

The tour manager of rapper Nicki Minaj was stabbed to death and another member of her entourage was seriously injured Wednesday (Feb 18) in a bar fight, the artist and police said.

Minaj, one of the most successful female rappers, said that the two members of her team were stabbed in Philadelphia, where they were preparing for a tour scheduled to start on March 16 in Stockholm.

“One was killed. They had only been there for two days rehearsing for the tour,” Minaj wrote on Twitter.



Police said that an apparent argument set off the fight after midnight outside the Che’ Bar & Grill and that the victim had been stabbed multiple times in the torso before dying in a hospital.

The other man was in critical condition with stab wounds to his left arm and left side, a police statement said.

The police described the alleged assailant as a 30-year-old man with a full beard who drove away in a dark gold Buick Lesabre.

While police did not identify the victims, rapper Fabolous identified the dead man as De’Von Pickett, Minaj’s tour manager, and said that the other victim was associate Eric Parker.



In an Instagram post, Minaj offered her condolences to the family of her tour manager, De'Von Pickett. 

"Unbelievable," she wrote. "Another senseless act of violence that took the life of a great guy. So sad."

Other stars who knew the pair also shared their feelings online.

Pop star Rihanna said she had fond memories of working with Pickett.

Rapper Fabolous posted on Instagram: "I am still in shock & don't want to believe this. And it hurts even more knowing how good these two dudes are ... Please send Eric Parker your blessings & a prayer for him to pull thru. And RIP to the fallen soldier Day Day ... #RIPDayDay #PrayForEricParker" (sic)

Sources: AFP, Twitter, Instagram

Don't know how much to give? Check out this ang pow rate card

How much?: The amount of cash to put in an ang pow is an enjoyable debate that married couples have during Chinese New Year. If only there was a "standard" rate.

Getting married is a wonderful experience. 

Then reality sets in when Chinese New Year rolls around.

The double whammy for newly-weds?

They not only cannot receive ang pows anymore, they have to give them out instead.

With different amounts of cash to juggle for different ang pows, dependent on the relationship they have with the person they are giving it to, sometimes just thinking about it can be a huge headache.

What do you think the ang pow "standard" rate should be in Singapore?

Check out this tongue-in-cheek rate card and see if you agree.

Source: AIA

Champions League: Ronaldo ends goal drought, Porto hold Basel

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after the last 16, first-leg UEFA Champions League football match FC Schalke 04 vs Real Madrid in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany on February 18, 2015. Real Madrid won 0-2.

Schalke 04 0 - 2 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo ended a rare three game goalscoring drought with the first goal in Real Madrid’s record-equalling 10th straight Champions League win on Wednesday, beating Schalke 04 2-0 in Germany.

The holders – whose other goal came through Brazilian Marcelo in the second-half – will fancy their chances of easing through to the quarter-finals when they meet in the second leg next month.

Real’s victory – which fortunately for the hosts did not come near the 6-1 hammering they took in last season’s last 16 first leg encounter in Germany – equalled Bayern Munich’s record which was set back in December 2013.

A Ronaldo header gave Real a deserved lead at the break and Marcelo rifled home a superb second goal with 11 minutes left.

Ronaldo’s goal, his first in four matches, was his 73rd in the Champions League.

Ronaldo scores past Schalke 04's goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther. PHOTO: Reuters

The Ballon d’Or winner now sits only two behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the all-time topscorers list and Real manager Carlo Ancelotti was delighted to see his star forward back on the scoresheet.

“It’s clear that Cristiano Ronaldo lives to score goals,” Ancelotti said.

“It’s not a problem for us if he doesn’t score for a game or two but it’s obvious that the goal did him good.

“It wasn’t only a goal for the statistics. It was an important goal - the lead goal. At a key stage of the season it was important to win and I think we’re on the right track.”

Schalke had chances of their own principally through Felix Platee, whose fierce drive beat Iker Casillas but came back off the crossbar.

Schalke coach Roberto di Matteo conceded that the difference in class between the two teams had told.

“The quality made all the difference,” said di Matteo, who guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012.

“Real had three chances and took two of them. Perhaps if our shot had not hit the bar and gone in things would have been different.” 

FC Basel 1 - 1 Porto

Honours were even in the night’s other game where the Swiss side Basel – who have never reached the last eight of the Champions League in its present format – were held 1-1 by Portuguese side Porto, who won the competition in 2004.

Basel had got off to the dream start as Paraguayan striker Derlis Gonzalez did superbly well to stroke the ball into the Porto goal despite being off-balance.

Basel's Paraguayan midfielder Derlis Gonzalez (left) vies with Porto's Brazilian defender Alex Sandro. PHOTO: AFP

He, however, had to go off shortly afterwards with what looked like a calf injury.

The visitors – who enjoyed an impressive group stage campaign – had two goals ruled out for infringements with the second one quite harsh as Casemiro shot home through a crowd of players.

However, English referee Mark Clattenburg – who booked nine players in the game – ruled it out after a long consultation with his officials.

Porto’s star striker Jackson Martinez had been kept quiet for most of the match but when he worked his first real chance on goal the Colombian lobbed Vaclik but it was just too high and landed on top of the net.

Basel's Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik fails to stop a penalty kick shot by Porto's Brazilian defender Danilo. PHOTO: AFP

The visitors, though, did get a deserved equaliser from the penalty spot – Danilo converting after veteran 36-year-old Argentinian defender Walter Samuel had been penalised for handball.

Porto coach Julen Lopetegui said that he would have been disappointed to have lost the encounter.

“Basel were very good on the counter-attack in the first-half,” said the Spanish coach.

“We dominated after the goal but it was difficult for us.

“The goal that was ruled out early in the second-half surprised me a lot and it took four minutes to take the decision.

“However overall it was a very good performance by us.” - AFP

Qatar Airways denies flight attendants are sacked if they get married

The chief of Qatar Airways, Mr Akbar al-Baker
The chief of Qatar Airways, Mr Akbar al-Baker

The chief of Qatar Airways, Mr Akbar al-Baker, has furiously denied claims that its flight attendants are sacked if they get married.

Mr Baker told CNN that the claims were untrue and his company’s employment practices were “very progressive”.

Asked if staff are fired when they get married, he  said: “That is not true. That is a load of bull****.”

The claims were first made by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) back in 2013, but surfaced again recently after being picked up by the Washington Post newspaper. 

The ITF, an international federation of transport unions, claimed that the Doha-based airline requires female staff to “obtain prior permission from the company, in case you wish to change your marital status and get married”.

It also alleged that Qatar Airways reserved the right to dismiss workers who were pregnant, as that was viewed as a breach of contract.

Mr Baker on Tuesday staunchly defended his company, saying that staff have “all the rights they require”.

“These rumours that are being circulated are not true,” he added.

More than 19,000 people work for Qatar Airways.

Source: AFP

Shanghai gets muted New Year after stampede

A police officer drives a golf cart as he patrols  the promenade on the Bund  in Shanghai on Wednesday
A police officer drives a golf cart as he patrols the promenade on the Bund in Shanghai on Wednesday

Shanghai is toning down Chinese New Year celebrations by cancelling events and limiting people at tourist spots after a stampede killed 36 people seven weeks earlier.

Revellers, many of them young women, were trampled to death on New Year’s Eve after flocking to the historic riverfront, known as the Bund, a popular tourist destination.

Police on foot patrol and driving golf cart-like vehicles kept an eye on tourists who flocked to the Bund on Wednesday (Feb 18), the eve of the traditional festival. 

Large stretches of the Bund remain closed off to the public by a temporary wall put up by the city shortly after the accident. 

“Shanghai is safe. That was just a chance accident,” said one tourist from the southern province of Fujian, taking a group photo with family and friends near where the crush occurred.

In the wake of the accident, the Shanghai government has cancelled at least five events during the week-long holiday, including a food fair and traditional bell-ringing at the Longhua temple.

The city has also announced it will restrict the number of visitors at more than 70 tourist spots, including the viewing platform of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the flagship Shanghai Museum.

Source: AFP

Stroller accident: State Coroner gives findings

The tragedy happened on March 3 last year. 

A four-month-old baby died of head injuries sustained on March 2 after his 21-month-old cousin pushed a stroller he was in, causing it to collapse.

The deceased has not been named to protect his cousin's identity.

State Coroner Janet Wang has found that the stroller was not fully secured when it was opened.

She added that it could only be fully opened with considerable force being exerted by both hands. A click would be heard to indicate that the locking mechanism was engaged.

However, she noted that the baby's guardian, his 29-year-old aunt, was not sure if it was fully opened and could not remember hearing a click. 

Said Coroner Wang: "The safety of the stroller was compromised by its antiquated and rusty condition which made it difficult to engage the locking mechanism.

"This rendered the stroller more susceptible to collapse when an additional force is applied to it."


Related story: Baby dies in freak stroller accident

9 gorgeous dresses from the Oscars red carpet

The Academy Awards are not just about the trophies. 

For some, the pre-show red carpet is the main event, as actresses pull out all the stops with their gowns. 

This year, the red carpet for the 87th Academy Awards will start bright and early at 6am (Singapore time) on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601). 

To prep yourself, here's a look back at some of the more memorable Oscars outfits over the years:

  1. Julia Roberts in a vintage Valentino gown at the Oscars in 2001. This was the year she won Best Actress for her role in Erin Brockovich. ​

    Photo: Resorts World Sentosa

  2. Halle Berry in a stunning black Marchesa​ dress in 2009.

    Photo: Reuters

  3. Kate Winslet donned a beautiful one-shouldered scarlet gown designed by Ben de Lisi to the 2002 Oscars.  

    Photo: Reuters

  4. Kate Hudson at the Oscars last year in a white Versace dress. 

    Photo: AFP

  5. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the 84th Academy Awards, both in stylish black outfits. 

    Photo: Reuters

  6. Hilary Swank at the 83rd Academy Awards ​in a Gucci dress. 

    Photo: Reuters

  7.  Lupita Nyong'o in a stunning blue Prada gown at the 86th Academy Awards.

    Photo: AFP

  8. Anne Hathaway at the 81st Academy Awards in a Giorgio Armani dress. 

    Photo: Reuters

  9. Matthew McConaughey and wife Camilla Alves at 86th Academy Awards in a dashing white suit and a Gabriela Cadena​ dress respectively. 

    Photo: Camila Alves/Instagram

Sources: Harpers Bazaar, Reuters, Marie Claire, Telegraph, Instagram

In China, it’s the time for great human migration

Passengers wait to enter Beijing railway station on Tuesday. Hundreds of millions of Chinese are returning to their hometowns to celebrate the New Year with families.
Passengers wait to enter Beijing railway station on Tuesday. Hundreds of millions of Chinese are returning to their hometowns to celebrate the New Year with families.

For the last week, Soyu has been pondering what she should take home as presents this Spring Festival. 

The 20-year-old Tibetan is at an university in Taiyuan, capital of north China’s Shanxi Province. Finally, she decided to buy a pair of leather shoes for her mother. 

She told the official news agency Xinhua: “My father passed away at a young age, and mother has been toiling on the farm, growing barley to sustain the whole family.

“She has been reluctant to buy new things for herself, and always wears my and my sister’s used shoes.” 

Miss Soyu will fly the more than 3,000km from Taiyuan to Lhasa, and then take a bus to her hometown of Ngari Prefecture. 

She said: “Although traveling by plane is much more expensive than by train, it is worthwhile since I want to see my mother as soon as possible.” 

 A man wipes his tears before he bids farewell to his partner at a railway station in Beijing on Wednesday.

Her deliberations are typical for Chinese returning to their hometown for family reunions over the New Year holiday. 

The 40-day Spring Festival travel rush witnesses about three billion passenger trips nationwide. 

Mr Zhang Xu had a much longer journey home than Soyu. 

The 32-year-old has flown from San Francisco to a remote town in northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. 

He said: “This is the first time I’ve returned home in five years. Though he has brought back red wine as presents for family and friends, he is really thirsty for a taste of home."

China’s 270 million migrant workers make up a major part of the travel rush. 

According to official research, last year’s festival saw 600,000 migrant workers riding motorbikes from Guangdong Province mainly to Guangxi and Guizhou, the major labour exporters. 

With the opening of a high-speed railway linking the three provinces in December, many have abandoned the motorbikes this time around. 

Source: Xinhua