Jumaat, 14 Februari 2014

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

CNY price hikes stay for good

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

IT'S almost two weeks since the Chinese New Year weekend but some coffee shops which typically raise their drink prices over the holiday period have made these hikes permanent.

They have cited a number of reasons ranging from increased staff wages to rental costs and prices of food items such as coffee powder, sugar and milk.

A check with 27 coffee shop operators and drink stall owners showed that eight had raised prices of their coffee and tea beverages by about 10 (26 sen) to 20 cents (52 sen) a cup.

Their stalls were located in areas such as Queenstown, Bedok, Tampines, Raffles Place, Ang Mo Kio and Bishan.

At the Golden Shoe Market in Raffles Place, a cup of coffee from Sunrise Traditional Coffee and Toast's stall now costs S$1 (RM2.60), up by 10 cents from before.

Owner Teo Saiew Lim, 49, said he raised his prices just after the festive period when his supplier notified him that the cost of condensed milk had gone up.

He put up a sign and reprinted his menu to notify customers of the new prices, he added.

Tony Lee, 64, who runs a drink stall at Bedok Central Food Centre said he upped his prices of coffee and tea drinks by 10 cents late last year.

This was to cover increased costs of cleaning services – which went up from S$200 (RM520) to S$250 (RM650) a month late last year – as well as coffee powder.

A 9kg tin of coffee powder used to cost about S$40 (RM104) but recently went up to S$75 (RM195), he added.

Meanwhile, other drink stalls, such as one at Mei Ling Market and Food Centre in Queens­town and another at Pek Kio Market and Food Centre in Owen Road, said they had chosen to absorb the higher costs for now.

Rental and labour costs have risen by about 10% in the past year. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Thailand deports 1,300 Rohingya boat people

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

BANGKOK: Thailand has sent around 1,300 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, a top official said, dismaying rights campaigners who warned the minority Muslims faced persecution in the former junta-ruled country.

Thousands of Rohingya, described by the United Nations as among the world's most persecuted minorities, have fled sectarian violence in western Myanmar in rickety boats since 2012, mostly heading for Malaysia.

Many of those who arrived in Thai waters were locked up in overcrowded immigration prisons.

Thai authorities began deporting the Rohingya in September through a border checkpoint in the province of Ranong, national immigration chief Lt-Gen Pharnu Kerdlarpphon said.

Rights activists criticised the move to return the Rohingya to Myanmar, where they face travel restrictions, forced labour and limited access to healthcare and education.

"The deportation of Rohingya is a blatant violation of international laws that prohibit sending back refugees and asylum-seekers to a place where they can face danger and persecution," said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Rights groups say the Rohingya often fall into the hands of people-traffickers, sometimes after they are deported by Thailand.

Sunai urged the Thai authorities to explain what had happened to the 1,300 Rohingya, saying the foreign ministry did not appear to have been involved in the deportation.

There was no immediate comment from the ministry.

Thailand said last year it was investigating allegations that some army officials in the kingdom were involved in the trafficking of Rohingya.

Roughly 500 Rohingya are believed to remain in detention in Thailand following a raid on a suspected people-trafficking camp last month.

Myanmar views its population of roughly 800,000 Rohingya as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and denies them citizenship.

More than 200 people have been killed and more than 140,000 left homeless in outbreaks of Buddhist-Muslim violence since June 2012 in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The United Nations has called on Myanmar to investigate reports – denied by the authorities – that dozens of men, women and children were killed in attacks on Rohingya last month with the alleged involvement of police. — AFP

Women handle the gift-buying in Japan

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

TOKYO: Japanese women flocked to department stores to buy Valentine's Day chocolates for all the men in their lives, but more of them this year are dispensing with tradition and treating themselves or their friends.

In much of the West, Feb 14 is a day when men can sink or swim on their ability to make impressive dinner plans or buy a suitable bunch of flowers.

But in Japan it is the women who make the running, buying "honmei" (true love) chocolates for the husband or lover, and "giri" (obligation) treats for colleagues and bosses.

The custom stretches back to the late 1950s when a firm called Mary Chocolate began advertising Valentine's Day as "the only day of the year a woman professes her love through presenting chocolate".

Sayaka Aizawa, a 29-year-old housewife shopping for sweets at the Matsuzakaya department store in Tokyo, was unaware other countries celebrated the day differently.

"I have never thought of it. I thought women were supposed to give chocolate. I wish I were receiving them, but it's not happening in Japan," she said. — AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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