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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Studying panda poo part of 'Rediscover' city activity

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A chance to analyse panda droppings at the River Safari, a tour of Singapore Cable Car's back-of-house and a guided tour of the Singapore Sports Museum by sports personalities.

These are some of the activities the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has lined up from April to October for the second phase of its Tourism50 celebrations.

The STB was set up in 1964 as the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and is marking 50 years of tourism development and promotion.

The new string of activities, called Rediscover, was launched yesterday.

It offers a glimpse into how tourist attractions in Singapore are run behind the scenes.

STB hopes it will help Singapo-reans rediscover their country's tourism offerings and appreciate the people behind them.

"It's not always about discovering the new," said Melissa Ow, assistant chief executive of STB's experience development group.

"It's also important to help people revisit, reconnect and understand that there's so much we offer as a city and destination."

Rediscover will kick off over the Easter weekend, from April 18 to 20, with a family carnival at the 43-year-old Jurong Bird Park.

More than 20 events from the arts, attractions, cruise and sports industries will be held during the seven-month celebrations.

Other highlights will include free guided tours of the artworks displayed at MRT stations on the North-East and Circle lines next month, and a "Be a Panda Researcher" programme with experts at River Safari in June.

Every Sunday in September, sports personalities such as marathon runner Mok Ying Ren and national sprint legend C. Kunalan will lead guided tours of the new National Stadium and Singapore Sports Museum at the Singapore Sports Hub.

These will cost S$25 (RM65) per person.

Attractions such as the Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay will also be offering promotions such as free admission and discounts for locals.

The first Tourism50 event, offering free tours of Haw Par Villa, attracted more than 13,000 visitors over two weekends last month.

More information on Tourism50 can be found at — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Indian national jailed for molest

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

On Jan 16 this year, a woman said goodbye to a worker who had completed upgrading work in her HDB flat in Tampines, and turned away.

From behind, he suddenly slid his hand under her armpit and reached for her breast. It was only after she bit his palm that he released her.

Vadla Kandappachari was sentenced to nine months in prison yesterday, after pleading guilty to molesting the 43-year-old woman.

The construction worker from India also admitted to one other charge of outraging his victim's modesty by kissing the back of her right palm. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Maoists kill 12 in India poll-related violence

Posted: 12 Apr 2014 05:37 AM PDT

RAIPUR, India: Maoist rebels killed 12 people in two poll-related blasts Saturday in an insurgency-hit region of central India, police said, highlighting security worries in the nation's marathon election.

The attacks came as Indians cast ballots in the southern resort state of Goa and in the far-flung northeast in another round of the multi-phase polls that wind up May 12 with results due May 16.

Six polling team officials were killed when Maoists blew up their bus in the state of Chhattisgarh, senior police officer Gurjinder Pal Singh told AFP.

"The Maoists triggered the landmine blasts," Singh, a key official in ensuring election security in the state, told AFP.

Five security men engaged in an election safety operation and another victim were killed in a separate landmine blast that created a huge crater in the road.

The men were blown up near Darbha, where Maoists massacred the top leadership of the Congress party of Chhattisgarh last May.

The blasts, just an hour apart, came just days after Maoist rebels killed three soldiers guarding polling officials in Chhattisgarh in a gunbattle.

The deaths underscored the security challenges facing election organisers in India.

Separatist and Maoist insurgencies afflict large swathes of India's northeast, northwest and central regions.

The elections, which the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party are tipped to win, ousting the ruling Congress party after a decade, kicked off earlier in the week.

The vote is held in stages to allow security forces to be moved around the country to protect voters.

In part of Chhattisgarh, polls began on April 10. Two more rounds of voting are scheduled in the state on April 17 and April 24.

Maoist rebels killed 16 people in a massive attack on security forces in central India in March in the deadliest attack so far this year, heightening fears of more unrest in their stronghold.

The Maoists, who have been described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the country's most serious internal security threat, have been fighting since 1967 for a communist society by toppling what they call India's "semi-colonial, semi-feudal" form of rule.

The insurgency is believed to have cost tens of thousands of lives, with much action focused around the insurgent-dominated, so-called "Red Corridor" stretching through central and eastern India.

The rebels are believed to be present in at least 20 states but are most active in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, occupying thousands of square kilometres (miles) of land. -AFP


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