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Archive for Singapore

Newsline: Russia probe throws doubt on confirmation of US ambassador to Singapore

The confirmation of Kathleen Troia “K.T.” McFarland as US Ambassador to Singapore may be in limbo, reflecting a degree of turmoil in Washington triggered by the FBI’s investigation of President Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during last year’s US presidential election. The nomination confirmation was stalled after Ms McFarland appeared to contradict her statements about her knowledge of any communications between Russia’s then Ambassador in Washington, and Mr Michael Flynn, a key Trump campaigner later appointed national security adviser in the administration. She had told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in written comments for her confirmation hearing in September that she “was not aware” of any communications between the two men. But the New York Times reported on Monday that it had obtained an e-mail Ms McFarland sent on Dec 29, 2016, the day former President Barack Obama’s administration authorised new sanctions against Russia, saying Mr Flynn would talk to Mr Kislyak that evening.



Newsline: Chinese embassy in Singapore issues etiquette manual to its citizens arriving at Changi Airport

It’s fairly normal for friends and family to welcome visitors from abroad at the arrival terminal in airports. Imagine being greeted by embassy officials instead – with pamphlets on how to behave, no less. That’s what happened to Chinese tourists arriving at Singapore’s Changi Airport, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP). Embassy staff reportedly waited at Terminal 3 to hand out flyers listing do’s and don’ts. Some of these tips include a reminder to pay tips in cash and not via mobile payment, which is commonplace in China. Another piece of sound advice from the embassy is that airline goods such as blankets must not be removed from the plane. The flyer also reminds Chinese visitors to refrain from taking durian with them when using public transportation because of the fruit’s pungent smell. The embassy also made sure to caution its citizens against jaywalking, whistling during a show at the theatre as well as cutting in line when standing in queue.


Newsline: Singaporean Consulate in Denpasar Helps Tourist Bitten by Komodo Dragon

Singaporean consulate in Denpasar, Bali was contacted to assist tourist from their country. The health condition of Loh Lee Aik, a tourist from Singapore attacked and bitten by a komodo dragon on Wednesday, starts to get better. He suffered a tear on his leg after trying to take a picture of the dragon. Until now, Loh, who is a photographer by profession, is still undergoing treatment in Siloam hospital, Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). “His condition is getting better and is going back to normal,” Siloan Labuan Bajo hospital Marketing Communication Raynaldo Kamil Harun said on Saturday, May 6.


Newsline: UN suspects illicit arms trade in North Korean embassies in Cuba, Singapore

A United Nations report has found North Korea developed sophisticated techniques to circumvent UN sanctions, including the suspected use of its embassies to facilitate an illegal weapons trade. The report, compiled by a panel of eight UN experts, said North Korea was also making use of more complicated financial countermeasures to make its isolated purchase of banned goods more difficult to track. The publication is part of an annual accounting of North Korea’s compliance with layers of UN sanctions imposed in response to Pyongyang’s banned nuclear and missile programs. The panel reports to the UN Security Council. It said North Korean embassies in Cuba and Singapore were suspected of organising an illegal shipment of fighter jets and missile parts that were seized on a North Korean container ship in Panama last July.


Newsline: Indonesia summons Singapore ambassador over spying reports

The Indonesian government summoned Singapore ambassador Anil Kumar Nayar to clarify reports that Singapore had assisted Australia and the United States in spying on Asian countries, including Indonesia. New spying allegations broke on Tuesday which said Singapore and South Korea were “third parties” in an Asia-wide spy network backed by the United States and Australia, according to documents leaked by US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Sydney Morning Herald published the allegations on Monday which detailed Singapore’s involvement in tapping Internet and telecommunications traffic moving through the city-state. South Korea was alleged to be a partner of Western countries in a similar plot to spy on China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The reports involving Singapore and South Korea come just as Indonesia’s week-long row with Australia over spying allegations showed some signs of cooling off.


Newsline: Singapore ex-diplomat charged in tarts scam

A Singapore diplomat has been charged with inflating the number of pineapple tarts carried on official visits in the latest corruption case to hit the city-state. Lim Cheng Hoe, former chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allegedly overbilled authorities by around S$89,000 ($71,100) by overstating the amount of gifts bought for official purposes between 2008 and 2012. He faces 60 charges and could be jailed for up to three years on each, if found guilty. Singapore, a wealthy Asian finance and trade centre ranked as the world’s fifth least corrupt country by Transparency International, has been embarrassed by a number of recent cases involving senior officials. Recently, an assistant director of the anti-corruption watchdog was charged with misappropriating S$1.7m.


Newsline: Singapore Embassy in Cairo in constant contact students

Singaporean students studying in Cairo said the Singapore Embassy there has been in constant contact with the student community, ensuring that they remain safe. Channel NewsAsia spoke to Nurshilah Abdul Wahid, one of the 250 Singaporean students pursuing Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University, who is back in Singapore on a semester break. She said: “We were advised by and kept in touch with the Singapore Embassy in Cairo. They kept giving us updates on the precautionary measures we should take… And also student liason officers sent by MUIS also ensured that we stayed vigilant and kept us updated with the news and the demonstrations that are happening.” However, 69 Singaporean students at the university are still in Cairo. Some had planned to take extra classes — but these were cancelled two days ago after the unrest worsened.