In the news: Assassins, airports and the coldness of life

Feb 15, 2017 09.06AM |

NORTH Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s half-brother has been assassinated at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, apparently by North Korean agents. Mr Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of former leader Kim Jong Il, was estranged from the reclusive leader and spent much of his time outside the hermit kingdom. He had spoken out against his brother’s regime.

Reports vary. South Korean TV Chosun said that the elder Mr Kim had been attacked by two women with poisoned needles. ST’s online version said that a woman covered his face with a cloth laced with some liquid. And Today reported that he had been splashed in the face with a liquid. By the time he got to the airport clinic, he had a headache and felt dizzy. He then experienced a seizure and died on the way to the hospital. Police are searching for the killers.

The high-profile killing comes as North Korea is embroiled in an international incident for its latest ballistic missile test. Pyongyang rejected criticism by the United Nations, saying that the test was part of its development of self-defence capabilities.

Over here in Singapore, it is Total Defence Day and to mark the occasion, air raid sirens island-wide will sound at 6:20pm in memory of the fall of Singapore 75 years ago.

Some upbeat news about airports is that tourist numbers in 2016 are a new record for Singapore. Tourist arrivals grew by 7.7 per cent to 16.4 million and tourist spending rose 13.9 per cent to $24.8 billion, according to Singapore Tourism Board’s initial estimates.

Indonesian arrivals pipped Chinese visitors, although the Chinese spent more. Accommodation, food and beverage and shopping spending grew the most, while entertainment, sightseeing and gaming spending shrank by 16 per cent in the first nine months of 2016.

With tourism and manufacturing on a rise, is the economy expected to perform better in 2017?

We know for sure, though, that none of these tourist dollars will be going to the Sungei Road Thieves’ Market after July 10. The iconic landmark – Singapore’s last free hawking zone – will be shut down to make way for high-rise residential developments.

The market had already been halved in 2011 to build an MRT station, and hawkers will likewise be left out in the cold this time, with no alternative arrangements made for them to ply their trade.

What else is cold? This morning’s temperatures hit as low as 22.6 degrees celsius in the eastern part of Singapore, in keeping with an earlier National Environment Agency forecast of a possible 22-degree low. Temperature in the central area was about 23 degrees celsius.

Twenty-two Singaporeans who won’t mind the cold are the athletes going to represent our country at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan. The games start on Sunday and Singapore will compete in short-track speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey.

What we want to know is how we can watch the action! Will it be on TV?


Featured image from TMG file.

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