• Taiwan came out as the top travel destinations for MPs — when it didn’t come out of their own pockets or the government’s coffers — in 2014.

    On Thursday ethics commissioner Mary Dawson released the annual list of sponsored travel for MPs. In total, 60 MPs raked up $442,524 in free travel over the past year. 

    Members of Parliament are required, as a rule under the conflict of interest act, to disclose to the ethics commissioner any travel that exceeds $500 in cost and that are not “wholly or substantially” paid from by a government revenue fund, their own personal funds or by any interparliamentary or friendship group.

    In the 2014 calendar year, there were 17 trips to Taiwan. The cost of most of these were covered by the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association.

    MPs, including Russ Heibert, Bruce Hyer, Dominic LeBlanc, Bev Shipley and Peter Goldring, made trips to Taipei over the past year, either on parliamentary delegations or on trips to assess or learn about trade and

    Read More »from Taiwan ranks #1 for dishing out free trips to Canadian MPs
  • Engineering students put out fire with sound waves

    What began as an idea for a senior research project is now a fully-functional device that really has the Internet talking.

    Engineering students Seth Robertson, 23, and Viet Tran, 28, from George Mason University in Virginia invested about $600 of their own money into developing a “somewhat portable” device that can put out fires with low-frequency sound waves.

    Tran explained to the Washington Post that sound waves are “pressure waves, and they displace some of the oxygen” and at the right frequency, those waves can separate the fire’s oxygen from the fuel.

    “The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting.”

    Initially, the duo assumed high-frequency sound waves would prove effective in dousing a fire. Instead, low frequencies did the trick.

    “But it’s low-frequency sounds—like the thump-thump bass in hip-hop that works,” Tran told the university’s website.

    Robertson and Tran applied for a

    Read More »from Engineering students put out fire with sound waves
  • Lee Kuan Yew 'remains critically ill': PMO

    Former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew "remains critically ill" in the intensive care unit, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the PMO said that the 91-year-old Lee's condition had deteriorated, a day after saying his condition had worsened due to an infection.

    Lee, 91 has been warded at the Singapore General Hospital since 5 Feb for severe pneumonia.

  •  

    It’s St. Patrick’s Day — so happy hour might start a little early for you today.

    If you’re stuck without a bottle opener, try this hack from 21-year-old Cardiff University student Rhys Morgan: open the beer bottle with a sheet of paper.

    The YouTube description outlines the simple steps to opening your beer, opener-free:

    “Fold the paper in half vertically until you end up with only a small amount of paper left. Fold this remaining paper lengthways to create a ‘V’ shape from the paper. Put the ‘V’ of the paper against the underside of the bottle cap and apply pressure.”

    Morgan insists that the trick works with high-GSM printer paper like he has in the video, thinner paper and even paper towel.

    “I learnt the trick during the summer,” Morgan told the Daily Mail.

    “I was at a garden party with, tragically, a broken bottle opener. We needed to create some kind of bottle opener, and I thought that strengthening a sheet of paper by folding it could help it act as a lever to pry the top

    Read More »from Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day: How to open a beer bottle with a sheet of paper
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    AHPETC office.AHPETC office.

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    Speculation over impending elections got another little boost recently when news broke that People’s Action Party (PAP) activists had distributed flyers at night to residents of Aljunied Group Representative Constituency (GRC), encouraging them to question the Worker’s Party (WP) on lapses in the management of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

    The flyers once again hammered on the point of accounting and corporate governance lapses in AHPETC – a new pet topic that the PAP will probably never tire of poking.

    Some think that this is a pretty low blow from the PAP, but negative campaigning is really just part of the cut and thrust of politics. It’s often a built-in component of political campaigning. Play up your

    Read More »from COMMENT: What we should ask about the PAP's flyer drop
  • A television host in Lebanon got the last word while interviewing an outspoken guest. When Rima Karaki from the news station Al Jadeed spoke to London-based Sheikh Hani Al Sibai, the discussion was meant to cover reports that Christians are joining IS. Al Sibai appears to be avoiding the question at first, instead giving a long history lesson on the matter. Then a frustrated Karaki asks Al Sibai to stick to the discussion topic, reminding him of their time constraints: “For your own benefit, I’m telling you that we are running out of time.” Al Sibai shoots back, “Are you done? Shut up so I can talk.”
     
    After the “shut up” heard round the world, Karaki decides the interview is over, saying, “How can a respected sheikh like yourself tell a TV host to shut up?” The sheikh responds, “It’s beneath me to be interviewed by you. You are a woman who …” Not wanting to hear how that sentence would end, Karaki takes back control of her show by saying, “Either there is mutual respect, or the

    Read More »from TV host shuts down rude guest on live television
  • Getting your children to do their homework – it’s a struggle, isn’t it?

    It seems like everything is more important to them than homework. Online gaming, social media, hanging out with friends, watching TV, playing sports… the list goes on.

    But it doesn’t have to be a daily struggle.

    In this article, I’ll explain seven ways to get your children to do their homework – no complaining from them, and no nagging from you.

    1. Make it clear that it’s their homework, not yours.

    Many parents seem to care more about their children’s homework than their children do. As such, the responsibility shifts from the children to the parents.

    But this shouldn’t be the case. After all, it’s your children’s homework, not yours.

    Help them to understand that their homework is their responsibility. Feel free to provide help or guidance, but you should never do the work for them.

    2. Don’t force them to do their homework.

    I can almost hear you saying, “But Daniel, if I don’t force my children to do their

    Read More »from 7 ways to get your children to do their homework (no nagging required!)
  • Sometimes less is more, but that may not be the case when it comes to the SG50 branding that’s been popping up everywhere one goes.

    Some people may see SG50 promotions and branding as a patriotic expression of Singaporean culture but others may find it just a tad too much and perhaps, gimmicky.

    A Wordpress blog titled "Simi Sai Also SG50" has recently been created to show incidences of over-usage of the branding, and questioning the worthiness of some of the SG50 initiatives.

    The title of the blog, loosely translated from the Hokkien dialect, means “everything also SG50”.

    With the tagline “Can don’t SG50 for the sake of SG50?”, the purpose of the website is pretty self-explanatory.

    The blog states that though it supports the idea of celebrating our nation’s 50 years, it feels that some of the SG50 campaigns are just too much.

    “But recently, there’s too much, really too much, events/brands/initiatives jumping onto the SG50 wagon. Some are interesting, some only make me scratch my head,”

    Read More »from Singapore blog questions 'over-usage' of SG50 branding
  • Getting stuck at the MRT station or on the train for over an hour and receiving scarce updates on the situation can be very frustrating for many commuters.

    That was likely the case for those affected by the over one-hour disruption that occurred along the East-West line Tuesday evening – the fifth subway disruption in over a week and the second in the day.

    According to train operator SMRT, the disruption was caused by a “track fault”. 

    The Land Transport Authority reacted by saying that the disruptions were “unacceptable” and directing SMRT to investigate the incidents and give an accounting.

    While some commuters would easily kick up a fuss and complain about it on social media, others have decided to have fun by tweaking movie titles to reflect their plight and posting it on Twitter.

    It all started with @mrbrown, who tweeted, “The Fault in Our Tracks. #SMRTmovies (props to @sarahcoldheart),” after corresponding with the latter on Twitter.

    @sarahcoldheart later tweeted “Frozen.

    Read More »from Singaporeans get witty with #smrtmovies tweets inspired by SMRT train disruptions
  • Commuters commute at lunch hour at Raffles Place in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)Commuters commute at lunch hour at Raffles Place in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

    Shah Salimat is the editor-in-chief of culture news website Popspoken. He tweets at @firdianshah1. The views herein are not representative of his personal and professional affiliations.

    The recently-announced Budget introduced a slew of measures targeted at strengthening safety nets for the lower- and middle-income groups, empowering businesses to continue restructuring efforts and gain independence from manpower issues. It also sought to encourage lifelong learning through financing continuous training.

    Yet, nonchalance among some Singaporeans was worrying. Have we stopped keeping track of our government's finances? Why was there a lack of curiosity to analyse the Budget -- was it caused by the lack of additional cash "hongbaos"?

    Had Singaporeans become apathetic to how its government spends? Marred by the chase to stay afloat in the world's most expensive city, some Singaporeans -- going by the comments online -- balked at the lack of support given to ease current-day concerns
    Read More »from COMMENT: Is the “Singapore Dream” an elusive one?

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