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Gunman went on a shooting rampage and seizing 170 hostages in Mali hotel

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Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako on Friday (Nov 20), seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead.

Malian security forces are storming the hotel after the attack by “two or three” assailants, a spokesman for the security ministry told AFP.

According to Mali’s state TV, at least 80 hostages have been freed so far.

Security sources said the gunmen were terrorists who had entered the hotel compound in a car that had diplomatic plates. Many of the guests were in their rooms when the attack began, the security ministry spokesman told AFP.

Automatic weapons fire was heard outside the 190-room hotel in the city centre, with the ministry spokesman saying at least three hostages had been killed.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua said at least seven Chinese nationals were among the hostages, while Turkish Airlines said six of its staff were caught up in the attack.

“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” a security source told AFP earlier.

Malian soldiers, police and special forces were on the scene as a security perimeter was set up, along with members of the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Mali and the French troops fighting terrorists in west Africa under Operation Barkhane.

Two freed female hostages – a Turkish aviation worker and an Ivorian woman who was at the Radisson for an economic conference – told AFP they saw the body of a fair-skinned man lying on the floor of the hotel.

A paramedic said three security guards had been wounded, including one who was in a critical condition after being shot. AFP’s correspondent saw a police officer, who had also been shot, being evacuated by security forces.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is in Chad for a summit of leaders from the Sahel region, is cutting his trip short and flying home, the presidency told AFP.

The Rezidor Hotel Group, the US-based parent company of Radisson Blu, said there were a total of 170 hostages – 140 guests and 30 employees.

“Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order to offer any support possible to reinstate safety and security at the hotel,” Rezidor said in a statement.

The US embassy in Mali advised any American citizens in the country to shelter where they were, contact their families and monitor local media.

A French consultant who stays regularly at the hotel described it as “an obvious target for terrorists”.

“The Radisson is at a crossroads, one of the roads was blocked. Security is provided by private guards. They passed a metal detector under cars,” said the consultant, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I noticed that when they knew you, they didn’t (use the metal detector) any more.”

The Radisson attack follows a nearly 24-hour siege and hostage-taking at another hotel in August in the central Malian town of Sevare in which five UN workers were killed, along with four soldiers and four attackers.

Five people, including a French citizen and a Belgian, were also killed in an attack at a restaurant in Bamako in March in the first such incident in the capital.

Islamist groups have continued to wage attacks in Mali despite a June peace deal between former Tuareg rebels in the country’s north and rival pro-government armed groups.

Source: AFP

 

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Trump to meet with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12

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US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will be meeting in Singapore on June 12 in what would be a historic moment for world peace.

In a tweet sent out by President Trump on May 10 (Thursday), the president confirmed the meeting and added that they would both “try to make it a very special moment for World Peace.”

 

The leaders are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and testing program which has been the cause of world-wide tensions for some time now.

In response to Trump’s tweet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that they would be hosting the event. They said in a statement:

Singapore is pleased to host the meeting between President of the United States Donald J Trump and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea State Affairs Commission Chairman Kim Jong Un on 12 June 2018.

The meeting is particularly notable because it would be the first between a serving US president and a North Korean leader.

Speaking of the meeting, Trump said: “I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful. My proudest achievement will be – this is part of it – when we denuclearize that entire peninsula.”

 

 

 

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Mother-in-law irate at Daughter who brought pig-shaped bread on Qing Ming

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This Qing Ming Festival, something interesting happened!

 

Roasted pig is typically one of the most important offerings to bring to your ancestor’s tomb during Qing Ming Festival. One whole roasted pig can cost up to a few hundred Yuan when it is high in demand. Recently, a lady decided to spice things up (maybe in the wrong way at the wrong time!) to save money but did not win the approval of her mother-in-law.

In this year’s Qing Ming, Lee, decided to flex her creative muscles and improvise to save money. She inventively replaced the O.G. roasted pig with a loaf of bread in the shape of a pig shaped like which she ordered from a bakery in Guangzhou, China.

Externally, the bread looked strikingly similar to the real deal and it even had the golden brown crust that resembles crispy pig skin! The bread helped to cut cost as it cost way cheaper than the original roasted pig.

One day before Qing Ming, Lee arrived at the cemetery with the pig-shaped bread and her mother-in-law became deranged after finding out the situation. She saw the bread as an insult to their ancestors and family, and went on to call Lee ‘unfilial’.

Lee was devastated as her plan to save some money backfired. In the last few years, she would spend a few hundred Yuan to order a roasted pig from a local restaurant during the lead up to Qing Ming. Understandably, the cost of the pigs has become a financial burden, weighing heavily on her.

Furthermore, the fact of the matter is that the roasted pig would usually end up in the trash bin because her family is unable to finish such a huge size of the roasted pig.

“It’s the thoughts that count when we offer food to our ancestors. It doesn’t matter if it’s a roasted pig or a pig-shaped bread, they all represent our thoughts,” Lee said.

It was reported that the pig-shaped bread only cost 39.90 Yuan (approx RM24.50). With a voucher, the price can be reduced to 20 Yuan (approx RM13), which is a tenth of the roasted pig’s price! Sounds like this is more worth it doesn’t it?

With the ever-increasing cost of living, more and more people are switching to pig-shaped bread or even “vegetarian” pigs as offerings for their ancestors nowadays. The younger generation is also doing away with traditional food offerings to reduce wastage.

What do you think of this situation? Tell us what you would do if you were in Lee’s shoes!

 

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43-year-old businesswoman mistaken for a sex worker when her number was shared on adult site

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A BUSINESSWOMAN in Singapore was shocked when she was mistaken for a sex worker when a number of people texted her for “special service”, China Press reported.

According to Zaobao,The 43-year-old received the WhatsApp message on Saturday from an unknown man enquiring about her “part-time job”.

“I was upset and asked him how he got my number.”

“At first he told me that it was from a friend but later said he had got the wrong number.”

“When I said I’d lodge a police report, he admitted that he got my number from a porn site, and kept apologising,” she said.

Less than two hours later, the woman got a similar text message from another man.

The victim said she learnt that someone had posted her number on the website with a message that she could only provide sex service after 9pm because she had to take care of her children during the day.

“I am a businesswoman and I’ve never been involved in vice,” she said.

TOP Photo via Zaobao

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