Khamis, 2 Januari 2014

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Burst giant yellow duck back on show in Taiwan

Posted: 02 Jan 2014 10:01 PM PST

TAIPEI  (AFP) - A giant yellow inflatable duck which exploded on New Year's Eve returned to a Taiwan port on Friday after it was repaired and cleaned, organisers said.

Hundreds turned out in Keelung on the north of the island to welcome back the 18-metre-tall (59-feet) duck following two days of maintenance after it burst and deflated into a floating yellow disc Tuesday.

It was the second time that a replica of the bath toy had burst while on show in Taiwan. The duck exploded just hours before crowds gathered to count down the new year.

"The warmest welcome for the little yellow duck to come back to Keelung port. I am very excited and happy all over again," fan Mandy Liu wrote on a Facebook page created for the Keelung exhibition.

Another fan, Wu Hsien-che, wrote: "We should pray to the gods and ghosts to ensure the exhibition can go on smoothly."

The duck burst because of rising pressure caused by rapid temperature changes.

Devices have since been put inside the duck for 24-hour monitoring of temperature and pressure, organiser Huang Jing-tai told reporters.

Since 2007 the original duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman - which is 16.5 metres tall - has travelled to 13 cities in nine countries, including Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong, on its journey around the world.

Three Taiwanese cities exhibited their versions of the yellow duck in 2013. But all were forced to temporarily suspend the exhibit due to bad weather or damage.

In November, a duck in the northern county of Taoyuan deflated during a 6.3-magnitude earthquake when an air pump stopped working.

Powerful winds caused the duck's rear end to burst while it was being re-inflated.

Steep price to pay for 'bullying' neighbour

Posted: 02 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

A "BULLYING" couple ended up forking out more than S$22,000 (RM57,034) out of their pockets in a legal battle with a neighbour after they asked him to transform their property into an English country-style home like his.

Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Ng Boo Han, in his 40s, and his wife, Audrey-Ann Koo Oi Lian, in her 50s, knocked on the door of retiree Edward Teo Boon Hiang around Christmas 2010 to ask about his house-builder.

They were so impressed with his self-renovated property that they said they wanted to rebuild their single-storey corner terraced home into a similar double-storey house.

The couple said they had a budget of S$350,000 (RM908,072) from which Teo could draw a wage of S$17,500 (RM45,368).

The neighbours signed a two-page agreement in which the couple gave the 61-year-old a free hand to reconstruct their house.

But a year later, their relationship turned sour when a dispute arose over renovation works.

Teo sued them for S$89,000 (RM230,799), which he said they owed him for his work and extra tasks they had demanded he carry out.

The couple counter-claimed almost S$200,000 (RM518,492) for rectification work, accusing Teo of failing to complete the project.

However, in decision grounds released last month, District Judge Loo Ngan Chor called the couple "unsatisfactory witnesses".

Loo allowed the couple S$25,000 (RM64,831) for defects after Teo replaced the non-conforming zinc roof with clay tiles.

But, he awarded Teo S$35,000 (RM90,807) and S$12,000 (RM31,133) for legal costs plus expenses incurred in the suit on top of this.

The couple appealed against the decision.

After six days of hearing, the judge was not convinced by the couple's claim.

Loo said: "I was convinced that the defendants were in fact flim-flamming the plaintiff and were squeezing him for more." — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Man gets 32 years' jail for rape and sexual abuse of stepdaughter

Posted: 02 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

A REAL estate agent who began sexually exploiting his stepdaughter when she was 11 years old and raped her when she was 14, was jailed for 32 years.

The 37-year-old was also ordered to be given 24 strokes of the cane, the maximum allowed under the law.

Judicial Commissioner Tan Siong Thye said 32 years was an appropriate deterrent punishment but not a crushing sentence in context of his "despicable and callous crimes".

The man began groping the girl about six months after he married her mother in 2008. He then progressed to other forms of sexual abuse and raped her in 2011.

Last month, the man pleaded guilty to seven charges. Another 11 charges were taken into consideration.

Meanwhile, the High Court has ruled against Nitcharee Peneak­chanasak, who fell onto the tracks of Ang Mo Kio MRT station in 2011 and lost her legs.

The Thai teenager, now 16, had sued transport operator SMRT and the Land Transport Authority for S$3.4mil (RM8.8mil), contending that the defendants had breached their duty of care by failing to ensure that the station was reasonably safe for passengers.

But Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy dismissed her claim. He found that the station was "reasonably safe" at the time she was injured and so, the defendants are not liable in negligence for those injuries. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network


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