tells fans in
Singapore he’s open
to villain roles
PAGES 8 & 9
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Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi at the launch of the new Malabar Gold & Diamonds outlet located at Serangoon Road.
I don’t need to be hero
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THE GOOD LIFE
MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 14, 2018
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Priya Varrier is India’s most
googled person this year
Malayalam actress Priya Prakash
Varrier has become the most searched
personality of the year, according to
The 19-year-old became famous
after her “wink song” Manikya
Malaraya Poovi from the film Oru
She was followed by actress
Priyanka Chopra’s husband Nick Jonas
on the list of most-searched
personalities. Priyanka was placed
The third and fifth positions went to
dance performer Sapna Choudhary
and actress Sonam Kapoor’s husband
Anand Ahuja respectively.
Bombay Canteen is India’s
The Bombay Canteen has been
crowned India’s best restaurant.
The Mumbai restaurant moved up
one place from last year to top the list
at the second edition of the Conde Nast
Traveller & Himalayan Sparkling Top
The iconic Indian Accent restaurant
in New Delhi was ranked second.
The winners had to go through a jury
of 111 tastemakers and experts in a
process audited by Deloitte Touche
Taj Mahal hikes ticket prices
The ticket price for Indians to the Taj
Mahal in Agra has been raised by 400
per cent in a bid to lower tourist
numbers and reduce damage to the site.
International tourists will pay about
$19 to enter, up from $16.
Experts say the huge flow of people
is causing irreversible damage to the
marble floor, walls and foundations.
The price hike comes only months
after Indian authorities restricted the
number of tourists to 40,000 a day.
Previously, up to 70,000 people would
visit the site at weekends.
Tamil Nadu to rename over
The Tamil Nadu government will
rename more than 3,000 locations in the
state. These include renaming Triplicane
to Thiruvallikeni, Trichy to
Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin to Thoothukudi
and Poonamalle to Poovirundhavalli.
The decision to rename the locations
was made after the state’s 32 districts
set up a joint high-level committee to
finalise the new names. The committee
studied suggestions from historians and
Zomato sacks driver for eating
customer’s delivery food
Takeaway delivery firm Zomato has
apologised after one of its drivers was
filmed eating a client’s food and
resealing the containers.
The video, filmed in Madurai, shows
a man wearing a Zomato shirt eating
food out of the packed orders, then
resealing them and putting them back
into a delivery bag. It has sacked the
delivery man. Zomato said it will
introduce tamper-proof tapes to seal
food delivery boxes to prevent such
incidents from occurring again.
Nehal’s Miss Universe costume
features majestic throne
Nehal Chudasama is in Thailand
representing India at the Miss Universe
2018 pageant. For the national costume
round, she will be dressed as an Indian
The costume, which weighs 50kg,
features a portable throne inspired by
scenes from the movie Rudrama Devi,
which showcases the Kakatiya Dynasty – a
South Indian dynasty which was ruled by
the North Indian Sultanate.
It was designed by Neeta Lulla and
Melvyn Dominic Noronha.
The national costume show is a separate
part of the pageant and does not count
towards contestants’ overall scores. The
segment allows the participants to honour
and celebrate their countries.
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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Marketing Team Head
After suffering an electoral thrashing at the hands of
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) in 2014, India’s small regional and caste-
based parties are back in the reckoning months ahead
of the next general elections.
Losses for Mr Modi’s party in three key states – Mad-
hya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – on Tuesday
– blamed mainly on rural anger at weak farm prices and
sluggish job creation – have opened the door for new
and old alliances between the main opposition Con-
gress and smaller parties bitterly opposed to Mr Modi.
One of the smaller parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party
established in 1984 to mainly represent people in the
lowest strata of India’s ancient caste hierarchy, said on
Wednesday it would support the Congress to form gov-
ernments in the big states of Madhya Pradesh and Ra-
jasthan, where it fell just short of a majority.
Congress has the numbers to form a government on
its own in the central state of Chhattisgarh, while re-
gional parties Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Mizo Na-
tional Front won in Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram, the
two other states that also went to the polls in recent
However, most political strategists still expect the
BJP to cling on to national power, albeit with a smaller
majority, in an election due by May next year.
But they also acknowledge this week’s results in
three big heartland states have opened up the outside
possibility that Congress could stitch together enough
support from smaller parties to form the next govern-
ment at the Centre.
“At the central level, Prime Minister Modi main-
tains overwhelming popularity over his competitors,
and anecdotal evidence suggests BJP has more boots
on the ground than other parties to mobilise during its
re-election campaign,” Japanese financial holding com-
pany Nomura said in a research note. “However, we do
expect talks of a grand (opposition) coalition to raise
political uncertainty into the 2019 general elections.”
A Congress-led coalition involving multiple smaller
parties could find it difficult to govern, and make eco-
nomic reforms particularly contentious.
That is because almost all the smaller parties have
their own local or community-based agendas that may
not fit with many national policies. For investors that
could mean dealing with more policy uncertainty or
even gridlock over some critical issues.
Adding to that uncertainty, Congress says it will not
announce that its president, Mr Rahul Gandhi, would
be its prime ministerial candidate in the event that it
could put together a coalition, as it seeks to respect the
aspirations of its alliance partners.
Many of the regional leaders are highly ambitious
with years of experience in office.
Mr Gandhi, although heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dy-
nasty that has dominated Indian politics since indepen-
dence, has never held any government position.
On Monday, a day before the state election results
were announced, the Congress led a meeting of nearly
two dozen opposition parties who pledged to oust the
BJP government and “confront and defeat the forces
that are subverting our constitution and making a
mockery of our democracy”.
Heartland turns hurtland
party’s victory in
December 14, 2018
Singapore has filed a declaration un-
der the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) to en-
sure that no signatory of the interna-
tional treaty can unilaterally start
third-party arbitration or adjudica-
tion on maritime boundary disputes
involving the Republic.
Singapore said it believes such
disputes are best settled through ne-
gotiations, failing which, it is pre-
pared to take them to an interna-
tional third party for settlement on
terms that all sides agree to.
The Republic filed the declara-
tion under Article 298(1)(a) of Unc-
los on Wednesday, in order for such
recourse to international dispute set-
tlement to be based on the mutual
agreement of the parties, a Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
spokesman said yesterday.
The declaration, lodged with the
United Nations in New York, comes
amid an ongoing maritime bound-
ary dispute with Malaysia over Sin-
gapore territorial waters off Tuas.
Singapore has informed
Malaysia that it has filed the declara-
This declaration means that
other countries that have signed Un-
clos cannot unilaterally commence
third-party arbitration or adjudica-
tion against Singapore in respect of
maritime boundary disputes. Singa-
pore, likewise, cannot unilaterally
commence third-party arbitration
or adjudication against other coun-
tries for such disputes.
“Singapore believes that mar-
itime boundary delimitation dis-
putes are best resolved through ne-
gotiations, in order to reach an ami-
cable settlement acceptable to all
the parties,” the spokesman said in
response to media queries.
“However, if this cannot be
achieved, Singapore is prepared to
settle such a dispute by recourse to
an appropriate international third-
party dispute settlement procedure,
on terms mutually agreed to by the
parties,” he added.
The MFA spokesman also said:
“Should a dispute arise that cannot
be resolved through negotiations,
Singapore will work with the other
States Parties to agree on the choice
of forum and the specific issues to be
decided, in order that the matter can
be submitted to arbitration or adju-
dication. This is preferable to one
party taking another unilaterally to
arbitration or adjudication, without
prior mutual agreement on these
The spokesman noted that many
countries that have signed Unclos,
such as France, Canada, Italy, Spain,
Australia and Thailand, have made
On Oct 25, Kuala Lumpur unilat-
erally gazetted extended port limits
for Johor Baru Port, which en-
croached into the Republic’s territo-
rial waters. While a section of those
waters has yet to be delimited, Singa-
pore agencies have been patrolling
them for decades.
Singapore has responded by ex-
tending its own port limits, and in-
sisting that Malaysia withdraw its
government vessels and return to
the pre-Oct 25 status quo, without
prejudice to its claims.
Kuala Lumpur has said it cannot
do so, but is committed to de-esca-
late the situation.
Singapore has said it welcomed
Malaysia’s moves to defuse ten-
sions, and both sides are expected to
meet in the second week of next
month to discuss the matter.
“As noted in Singapore’s press
statement of 10 December 2018,
representatives of Singapore and
Malaysia will be meeting in the sec-
ond week of January 2019 to dis-
cuss and exchange views on the Jo-
hor Bahru port limits issue,” the
MFA spokesman said.
“Singapore hopes that by engag-
ing each other, the two governments
will reach a swift and amicable reso-
lution, in accordance with interna-
The spokesman added: “Singa-
pore will continue to uphold interna-
tional law and remains committed
to the peaceful settlement of dis-
putes in accordance with interna-
The Straits Times
The declaration, lodged with the United Nations in New York, comes amid an
ongoing maritime boundary dispute with Malaysia over Singapore territorial
waters off Tuas.
Singapore files Unclos declaration
amid maritime boundary
dispute with Malaysia
SMRT worker’s foot amputated
An SMRT worker had his right foot amputated on
Wednesday after it was crushed in an accident
involving a maintenance vehicle on the MRT tracks
near Joo Koon station.
It is understood that the employee – a man in his
late 50s – was injured by a track tamping vehicle,
which is used to compact the ballast that supports
the tracks. The accident occurred at about 4.10am
near Joo Koon, said SMRT yesterday. It delayed the
start of train service on the East-West Line in both
directions between the Gul Circle and Boon Lay
stations by about an hour, till 6.20am.
The worker was conscious when taken to the
National University Hospital in an ambulance, said
the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
Egg prices soar as Malaysia looks to
Malaysia’s Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that the
country is looking into limiting, or stopping, the
export of eggs.
He said that the move was to ensure a sufficient
supply for the domestic market. Mr Saifuddin said
that residents in Penang, Sarawak and Putrajaya had
complained about alleged cartel activity among egg
suppliers, which had caused prices to rise in the
middle of last month.
Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News
reported earlier this month that the wholesale price
of an egg had jumped from 10 cents in April to
16 cents this month.
What were Singaporeans most curious about
According to Google, sports and current affairs
piqued Singaporeans’ interest the most.
The 2018 Fifa World Cup, which was held in
Russia, was the top trending search in Singapore this
year, ahead of the Malaysia elections and the
Australian Open 2018, which came in second and
The Malaysia elections, which saw the Pakatan
Harapan coalition ending the 61-year rule of
Barisan Nasional, also came in second on the
trending international news list.
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak
came in fourth among trending searches and
Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash’s term
extended 3 years
Justice Judith Prakash, Singapore’s first female
Judge of Appeal, will have her appointment
extended by three years after her current term ends
Justice Prakash, whose new term will begin on
Wednesday, has served more than two decades in
the Supreme Court.
She was appointed Judicial Commissioner in
April 1992 and rose to become High Court judge
three years later. She became the country’s first
female Judge of Appeal in August 2016.
Four High Court judges will also have their
tenures extended by two years upon reaching
65 years old next year.
Teen who killed Anthony Ler’s wife gets
clemency after 17 years in jail
The teen accomplice of Anthony Ler, who
infamously plotted the murder of his wife and got
the death penalty, is finally out of jail after about
17 years behind bars.
Now 32, he was released on Nov 2, after his
petition for clemency was granted by President
Halimah Yacob on the advice of the Cabinet. But his
release is subject to conditions, such as curfew hours
and electronic monitoring, and he will continue to
get rehabilitative support to aid his reintegration
into society, said the Ministry of Home Affairs.
There remains a gag order on his identity because
of his age when he committed the crime.
December 14, 2018
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