North Korea fired shots across its border with South Korea — just hours after Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance since rumors of his death., Business Insider – Business Insider Singapore

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North and South Korean forces briefly exchanged fire across the warring nations’ troubled border Sunday, just hours after Kim Jong Un made his appearance in public for several weeks after rumors of his possible death.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a Sunday statement that at 7.41 a.m. local time that multiple shots were fired from the North Korean side of the border towards a guard post in the south.

The incident took place in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, near the city of Cheorwon, which is on the South Korean side of the border.

South Korean military personnel said they responded to the shots by returning “two rounds of gunfire and a warning announcement according to our manual,” according to the BBC.

Officials went on to say that they did not believe that the shots were an official provocation as they came from farmland and it was a foggy morning.

“In absence of vision [for the target] and in the fog, would there be an accurate provocation?” – the official said, according to Reuters.

The approximate location of where the gunfire incident happened.

The incident on the fiercely defended border came the morning after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un appeared to make a first outing in public in several weeks, following widely circulated rumors that he was gravely ill or possibly even dead.

North Korean state media released images of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, making his first public appearance after weeks of speculation about his health and whereabouts.

Kim attended the completion ceremony of a fertilizer plant north of the capital, Pyongyang on Saturday, marking his first public appearance since April 11, photos published by official state media outlets appeared to show.

Business Insider has not confirmed the authenticity of the images, or whether they were actually taken on Saturday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the completion of a fertilizer plant, together with his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, in a region north of the capital, Pyongyang, in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 2, 2020.

As well as rumors of his death, it has also been speculated that Kim’s absence was down to him having heart surgery. Footage of Kim during his outing in Pyongyang Saturday appeared to show a black circular mark on his wrist, which some media outlets speculated is a sign he has had surgery.

Senior officials in South Korea said that they do not believe this is the case.

“There were speculative reports that Chairman Kim underwent a surgery citing some difference to his walk,” a senior official said, according to Reuters.

“We have reasons to believe that there was no surgery, but cannot disclose such details.”

A screenshot from a Mail Online video pointing to the supposed needle mark on Kim's wrist.

As Kim appeared to reemerge after his period of absence from public life – which some have linked to possible fears about the North Korean leader contracting coronavirus – Britain’s Daily Mirror reported that there are fears he could embark on a campaign of executions and military brinkmanship as a means of reasserting his strongman image.

The newspaper reported that Kim is “likely to order a ‘wave of public executions’ and fresh nuclear threats against the West to re-establish credibility after being off grid for weeks.”

The Mirror cited an unnamed western security source as saying: “I believe we could expect a violent taking out of any perceived threat amongst Kim’s inner-circle.”

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#KitaJagaKita: Singaporeans Are Helping Stranded Malaysians With a Place to Stay

#KitaJagaKita: Singaporeans Are Helping Stranded Malaysians With a Place to Stay

You can define humanity in a lot of ways and as cases of Covid-19 continue to surge, a little bit of kindness is what we all need. Just check out the hashtag #KitaJagaKita on your social media platforms and you’ll be surprised with the amount of Malaysians that are going out of their way to help each other at times like this.

This sentiment has spread across the crossway to Singapore too! Netizens down in SG are opening their homes to Malaysian workers who are stranded without accommodation after the Restrictive Movement Order (RMO), last Wednesday.

According to The Star, in response to a report about 20 Malaysians spending the night outside Kranji MRT station, many Singaporeans offered to house the workers in their own homes or to provide them with food and blankets.

A generous citizen, Eriyani Bakeri, offered one of her family’s spare rooms for free. Although she was not well-off, the housewife said she was saddened by the plight of the Malaysian workers in the aftermath of RMO and was more than happy to cook more food for her guests.

Charity organisation – Homeless Hearts of Singapore is doing their part by linking up Singaporeans who have rooms to offer to the Malaysians.

Ummar Hasim, on the other hand, called on fellow Singaporeans – through the Couchsurfing SG Facebook page to open up their homes to the workers. The group, of which he is a member, lets Singaporeans host travellers during their stay there.

Another SG citizen, Levin Foo, ordered 40 sleeping bags, 40 blankets, as well as some hand sanitisers and masks to distribute to workers still searching for a place to stay. The self-employed 36-year-old said the items cost about S$700 (RM2,130) in all and were sponsored by a friend.

“They have to leave their families to come to Singapore to work. Some Singaporeans don’t understand this,” he said.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth – Grace Fu, urged members of the public to contact the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) if they knew of any Malaysians who needed temporary accommodation. Fu said various Singapore government agencies were helping house Malaysian workers at the Jurong East Sports Hall, which has been converted to a temporary relief centre.

The workers are given a ‘ready pack’, which includes items such as toiletries, towel, toilet paper and a sleeping bag. They can even shower and wash up before leaving for work in the morning.

At times like this, we need to think about the less fortunate but most importantly, we need to act too. Do as much as you can while moving as little as possible. Whether it’s donating money to a charity, helping your neighbours to get some groceries, or even tipping your food-delivery rider.. let’s help each other as much as we can!

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‘I have no intention to be rewarded’: Grab driver says after giving free ride to passenger whose father died, Singapore News – AsiaOne

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Most Grab drivers take us to our destinations. Some go the extra mile.

One Grab driver is being praised for making a difficult day just a little better for one rider when he waived the fare and even gave her an ang bao after learning that her father had just died.

Nasran Zainal’s good deeds first came to light when the passenger, who remains unnamed, took to Facebook to share their encounter on Feb 28.

She had booked a ride on Feb 26 heading to Singapore General Hospital to visit her father, who had died earlier that day.

“I booked a Grab ride from home to SGH and got a driver who was travelling along PIE (Pan Island Expressway) and three minutes away. I was with my aged mum,” she wrote.

“After a while, I checked the app and suddenly saw that he was along ECP (East Coast Parkway) and the waiting time turned to 11 mins.”

Feeling confused, she messaged Nasran to clarify and explained their reason for heading to the hospital.

Nasran, 34, sent his condolences and explained that he had to make a detour as he had been at an exit along the expressway when he received the booking, but assured them that he would pick them up nonetheless.

At this point, she was “already very appreciative” of Nasran, she said.

But there were more surprises to come.

When they reached the hospital, Nasran handed them an ang bao, saying it was a “small token”.

“I rejected it and said ‘don’t need’ as I felt really paiseh (embarrassed) of him doing that [sic]. After some haggling, I accepted the small token as he was really insistent.”

The second surprise came the next day when she received a refund of the $11 fare.

After enquiring with Grab’s customer service personnel, she found out that the driver had requested the refund as a “goodwill token”.

Addressing Nasran, the passenger wrote: “You are really a shiny gem who went the extra mile. Anyone who knows Mr Zainal, please pass the message to him. Thank you.”

The post quickly attracted over 6,400 shares and some 800 comments singing Nasran’s praises.

One commenter wrote: “We salute you Mr Zainal. You are a very kind and compassionate man. May God bless you and your family.”

Another said: “A great man with a wonderful heart. May you be blessed with good health and happiness. Drive safely and thank you for your kindness.”

Speaking to AsiaOne on Mar 2, Nasran explained:

“Upon hearing that her dad passed away, I really felt sad for the family. In my heart, I said I should do something for the family.

“I have always believed we should do something for the community and help anyone whenever they need, regardless of race or religion.”

In response to his good deed going viral, Nasran was modest and self-effacing, saying that there were others who had “done much more” than him.

“Honestly I really didn’t expect this to be viral as I have no intention to be rewarded for what I have done. I feel blessed and thankful to all the people who have been sharing this news and sending good wishes for myself and my family on social media.”

AsiaOne has reached out to Grab for comment.

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China’s coronavirus death toll reaches 1,770 – World – TASS

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BEIJING, February 17. /TASS/. The number of people who died from the novel coronavirus in China has reached 1,770, more than 70,500 cases of the disease have been confirmed, while more than 10,800 people are said to have recovered from it, China’s health committee reported Monday.

On Sunday, the committee informed about more than 68,500 cases, 1,665 deaths and 9,419 recovered. According to the data update, the official coronavirus death rate is now standing at 2.5% compared to Sunday’s 2.43%

Among China’s regions, the Hubei Province has the most cases with 58,100 people identified to have contracted coronavirus, 1,696 of them dead and 6,639 recoveries. Hubei is followed by the Guangdong Province (south China) with 1,300 infections, the Henan Province (central China) and the Zhejiang Province (east China) which report 1,200 and 1,100 cases respectively.

According to data available on Sunday, there are 381 coronavirus cases in Beijing, 144 of them were discharged from hospitals, while four people died.

According to the latest official reports, more than 150,500 Chinese citizens are monitored in the country because they had close contacts with those who are known to have contracted the disease. China also says there are about 7,200 people placed in quarantine because of coronavirus fears. According to doctors, more than 10,600 people are in critical condition.

A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously called 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan – a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people – in late December. The WHO declared it a global emergency, describing the outbreak as an epidemic with multiple foci.

The virus spread to 25 more countries, apart from China: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency. Chinese authorities have confirmed more than 68,500 cases of the disease, over 1,665 people died, while more than 9,400 people are reported to have recovered.

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Coronavirus spreads to more than 800 in China: First death outside epicentre | Stuff.co.nz

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China’s National Health Commission said Friday afternoon (NZ time) the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths.

The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicentre of the outbreak.

The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Many countries are screening travellers from China for symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation has decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, a step that can bring more money and resources to fight a threat but that can also cause trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage, making the decision a politically fraught one.

The decision “should not be taken as a sign that WHO does not think the situation is serious or that we’re not taking it seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “WHO is following this outbreak every minute of every day.”

The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that originate in animals before making the jump to humans.

Chinese authorities moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. While sweeping measures are typical of China’s Communist Party-led government, large-scale quarantines are rare around the world, even in deadly epidemics, because of concerns about infringing on people’s liberties. And the effectiveness of such measures is unclear.

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” said Gauden Galea, the WHO”s representative in China. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”

GETTY IMAGES
People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan

Jonathan Ball, a professor of virology at molecular virology at the University of Nottingham in Britain, said the lockdowns appear to be justified scientifically.

“Until there’s a better understanding of what the situation is, I think it’s not an unreasonable thing to do,” he said. “Anything that limits people’s travels during an outbreak would obviously work.”

But Ball cautioned that any such quarantine should be strictly time-limited. He added: “You have to make sure you communicate effectively about why this is being done. Otherwise you will lose the goodwill of the people.”

GETTY IMAGES
A resident wears a mask to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan.

During the devastating West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, Sierra Leone imposed a national three-day quarantine as health workers went door to door, searching for hidden cases. Burial teams collecting corpses and people taking the sick to Ebola centres were the only ones allowed to move freely. Frustrated residents complained of food shortages.

In China, the illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub. Local authorities demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged civil servants wear them at work.

After the city was closed off Thursday, images showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as people stocked up. Trucks carrying supplies into the city are not being restricted, although many Chinese recall shortages in the years before the country’s recent economic boom.

Analysts predicted cases will continue to multiply, although the jump in numbers is also attributable in part to increased monitoring.

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES
A Chinese passenger that just arrived on the last bullet train from Wuhan to Beijing is checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station.

“Even if (cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,” the WHO’s Galea said, adding, however, that the number of infected is not an indicator of the outbreak’s severity so long as the death rate remains low.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels.

China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. This time, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasised that as a priority.

Health authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, placing those believed infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes, with air passed through filters.

The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, now closed for an investigation. Experts suspect that the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but that it may also be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.

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Pictured: Parents accused of keeping their five-year-old son in cage before scalding him to death | Daily Mail Online

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The parents accused of keeping their son in a cat cage before scalding him to death have been pictured – as they refuse to take the stand in a murder trial.

Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, both 27, have been accused of abusing their son at the family home in Singapore three years ago.

The trial, which began on November 12, heard how their five-year-old son had died  in October 2016 after being scalded by 198F (92C) water which had caused burns to 75 per cent of his body.

Azlin Arujunah (right) and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman (left), both 27, have been accused of abusing their son at the family home in Singapore three years ago

High Court judge Valerie Thean today called for the couple to testify but both have said that they ‘do not wish’ to do so.

Rahman’s lawyer, Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, said that ‘there are reasons why people take the stand or not’ and branded it as a ‘strategic decision’. 

The Deputy Public Prosecutor said: ‘If they choose to take this course, they have to lie where they make their bed,’ according to the Straits Times.

The pair had previously admitted acts of abuse in numerous police statements.

The cat cage that Arujunah and Rahman are accused of keeping their five-year-old son in before his death in October 2016 

The only witnesses for the defence will now be their respective psychologists.

Dr Jacob Rajesh, Arujunah’s psychologist, created a report on how she was suffering from an adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

And Dr Ken Ung diagnosed Rahman with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hypnotic use disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.

The case is currently being heard at Singapore’s High Court.

On the first day of the trial the court heard how the five-year-old was kept in a cat cage and tortured with heated spoons and pliers for months before he died. 

His death was caused by blows to the head and a deluge of 198F water poured over his back and calves, prosecutors said. 

Pictures of the boy’s injuries were shown on a screen in court.

He had a fracture to his nose and bruising on his limbs, scalp and lips as well as his gums being torn, the pathologist said.

High Court judge Valerie Thean at Singapore’s High Court (pictured) today called for the couple to testify but both have said that they ‘do not wish’ to do so

The child, who has not been named due to a court order, died just a day after he was admitted to hospital. 

A foster family had taken the boy in shortly after his birth in 2011 but he later returned to his biological parents in 2015.  

Singapore’s legal system maintains a mandatory death penalty for a number of offences including murder. 

If found guilty, Arujunah and Rahman could be executed at the gallows in Changi prison.  

Both defendants deny murder and the trial continues. 

Pictured: Parents accused of keeping their five-year-old son in cage before scalding him to death

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He defied death and became a bodybuilding champ after surviving a stroke, Singapore News – AsiaOne

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Looking at his glistening eight-pack abs, firm pectorals, defined deltoids and thick biceps, you’d never imagine that Kellvin Lim, 46, once suffered from a stroke.

Five years ago, Lim was about to leave the house for work when he suddenly collapsed. His wife initially thought he was playing a prank on her, but it turned out he had suffered cerebral haemorrhage after two blood vessels burst in his right brain.

At the hospital, doctors had warned Lim’s family that the chance of surviving the surgery was only between five and 10 per cent, and he would risk dying or becoming a vegetable should the surgery fail. With no other option left, Lim’s family gave their consent.

He’s since crawled back from the brink of death to become the second runner up of the 2018 Fitness Ironman bodybuilding competition in the above 176cm category, and the runner up of this year’s competition in the above 40 years old category.

Lim recently accepted an interview with Lianhe Wanbao in hopes that his story would help motivate and encourage others going through a hard time.

Though his surgery was successful, he wasn’t able to move the left side of his body very well and depended on a wheelchair to get around. After he was discharged from the hospital, Lim found himself relying on his wife for many things.

“I used to frequently wet the bed. There’s a coffee shop below my place that’s just about 300 metres away but it would take me 15 minutes just to wheel myself over. It always felt as though people were looking at me and I became really depressed then,” Lim recounted.

However, he refused to accept fate. When he thought about his aquarium business and his three kids, it motivated him to push himself.

“No one else can help me, only I can help myself.”

He spent the next three years recuperating and undergoing rehabilitation. Still, he found himself rather plump and decided to actively visit the gym.

“I wanted to change myself, so in 2017 I got rid of all my bad eating habits and spent my mornings swimming and my evenings at the gym. I even hired a private trainer and lost almost 20kg that year,” Lim tells Lianhe Wanbao.

He recounts how it was a struggle for him to lift even a 5kg dumbbell in the beginning. Still, he got rid of his wheelchair and walking cane and forced himself to walk to the office every day as part of his training.

“A lot of times, when I was out of breath, I really felt like giving up. But thinking of my family and my business, I could only persevere.”

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Selfless Uncle With Mental Disorder Praised For Arranging Worshipers’ Shoes at Jumaat Prayers

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Through his selfless act, a Chinese man in Singapore shows us what it means to live in a melting pot country.

According to Berita Harian, Mr Steven Tan Lee Meng, 55, or ‘Uncle Steven’, made it his weekly routine to arrange Muslim worshippers’ shoes and slippers around Masjid Al-Mawaddah at Sengkang, Singapore, every Friday during Jumaat Prayers.

It is almost impossible to not notice the man break a sweat and work diligently outside of the mosque to make sure that the place is neat and in order.

Not only that, this selfless man would even help handle the traffic afterwards to ensure that everything flows smoothly.

As a sign of respect, Uncle Steven said that he only roams outside of the mosque and tried his best to avoid stepping into the praying area.

“Everyone that came from either their workplace or home would be wearing their shoes. But after that, some of them would have a hard time finding them and or even lose them.”

The man, who used to work as a computer technician, said that by doing so, he felt that his life is “accomplished”.

Source: Facebook

Everyone who notices the cheerful and hardworking man will always greet him and some would even offer him cash or food.

“Sometimes people would give me money but I told them that I’m not there for rewards, I just want to help.”

“But they would still insist on it, saying that maybe I could donate it somewhere instead,” said the atheist man, who is known to regularly donate money to the mosque.

Uncle Steven is also known to have a little bit of mental disorder, specifically Bipolar Disorder (a mental health condition causing people to have extreme mood swings) and he lives with his brother at Hougang who is also suffering from a mental disorder.

Even so, a permanent volunteer of Masjid Al-Mawaddah, Mr Shahrudin Rudin, 60, said that he would never disturb anyone. “If he’s not around, I would have to do all of it myself,” he said.

His simple action is touching, which is evident as worshippers there commented,

“When I look at him… I feel touched that there are still people like this in Singapore.”

“Even when he is mentally ill and he isn’t a Muslim, his heart is noble.”

Source: Facebook

According to Uncle Steven, he doesn’t only do his good deeds at the mosque, but also at the temple and church.

On a serious note, he admitted that an outbreak of sensitive issue could possibly occur as he regularly goes to the mosque.

“But I’m not scared, because I know that everyone here is honest.”

Thank you, Uncle Steven, for showing us that race and religion shouldn’t stop us from being compassionate with each other.

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After 21 Years Of Waiting, The Ring Of Fire Solar Eclipse Returns to M’sia This December!

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Some of us who had the opportunity to witness this phenomenon the last time it was visible in our part of the world 21 years ago, and this December we’ll be able to witness it again! This unique phenomenon is known as the Annular Solar Eclipse or more popularly as the “Ring of Fire”.

Source: Astronomy Now

The last time the ring of fire was visible in Malaysia was on the 22nd of August 1998, when the Earth, Moon, and Sun lined up in a straight line, causing our part of the world to fall into a state of darkness for a certain amount of time.

The most strategic location to witness the formation process of this phenomenon, which only occurs once for every two decades, is in the south districts of Malaysia which are Tanjung Piai, Johor and Serian, Sarawak.

According to Berita Harian, everyone should be able to go out and experience the darkness that will cloak almost half of the Earth’s surface. The darkness will start from Saudi Arabia, to India, Sumatra, Malaysia (Johor and Sarawak), Singapore, and back to Malaysia in Sabah and Sarawak before it ends at the Pacific Ocean, this 26th December.

The Director of National Planetarium, Anita Bahari, said that the phenomenon will only occur in the range of two minutes and 30 seconds to three minutes and 30 seconds depending on the location.

Another factor that would define the precision of anulus (the Latin word for ring) formation would be the dispersion of clouds, haze and probably rainfall that might occur during the lineup of all three celestial bodies.

“Tanjung Piai was chosen by us as a location to hold the Malaysia Solar Festival 2019 and it will be filled with activities that will cater to two million visitors.”

“Because Tanjung Piai is the best position to be in when the eclipse occurs, the annulus is expected to happen from 1.21 pm to 1.23 pm.”

“Visitors who attend the festival at Tanjung Piai National Park will be able to get the longest experience with the phenomenon in comparison to other areas around peninsular Malaysia”

Source: Blogger

Anita Bahari also said that the other districts in Malaysian would only be able to experience half of the eclipse.

Thankfully, nature will not be affected as much, though the gravitational pull during the eclipse will cause a high tide at Tanjung Piai and the rest of the peninsular’s west coast.

Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM) also said that the seawater level will increase at Tanjung Piai to 3.4 meters, compared to its usual level, which is between two and three meters.

“This is a common water level so the visitors shouldn’t worry as much, however, what’s more intriguing is how it will affect migrating birds and plants because of the temporary darkness in the afternoon.”

Anita also said that researchers from around the nation and astronomy enthusiasts will crowd the location. However, visitors are highly advised to not look at the eclipse with their naked eyes and to use the 10,000 special glasses that will be provided by the Planetarium which contain sunlight filtering films.

Because if you don’t, the eclipse rays of sunshine will blind you.

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Singapore Grand Prix: Humidity meets hedonism during Asia’s most punishing race

Singapore (CNN)Imagine driving at speeds so fast that it feels like a 45 kilogram dumbbell is pressing against your head, and you’re wearing so much heavy gear that you’re quickly drenched in sweat.

That’s what Formula One drivers will be experiencingthis weekend during the only full night race of the F1 season in Singapore, a city-state known for its heat and humidity that has recently been cloaked in haze from fires in Indonesia.
“(Singapore) is a very tough race, I think physically it’s the hardest one of the calendar as it’s very humid and long … and it’s a street race so your mind is working flat out,” said rookie British-Thai driver, Alex Albon, who Red Bull promoted to its Formula One team from sister squad Toro Rosso earlier this year.
    Albon is aware of how much pressure his mind and body are under as he works the tight corners in Singapore.And, as one mistake can kill any driver’s chances of climbing up the leader board, Albon said hewill look to minimize the risks in Singapore, by focusing his driving skills in the practice sessions up to the qualifying race.
    But learning to deal with the challenges of any particular circuitis just part of the job for modern drivers who also need to deal with the publicity that comes with it.
    Since Formula One’s transition into a blockbuster business in the 1990s, a sizable chunk of a driver’s time is taken up with the fanfare of meeting fans, sponsors and the media.
    “Formula One is a very unique sport. For example, media has access to the drivers four minutes before they have to get in the car and race. I don’t think any other sport has that kind of access,” said Michael Italiano, Daniel Riccardo’s performance coach at Renault.
    All that leads to the need for drivers to have two characters, one that juggles the demands of the business and the other that focuses onthe sport,Italiano said.
    “You have to be quite durable as an athlete,”he added.

    All eyes on drivers

    As one of the world’s most-watched annual sporting events, F1 drew 490 million unique television viewers in 2018, according to a Formula One statement.
    Since its inaugural race in 2008, more than 490,000 international visitors have descended on Singapore for the grand prix, helping the city-state generate over $1.4 billion in tourism receipts, according to Jean Ng, executive director of sports at the Singapore Tourism Board.
    And while the stereotype of petrol heads, roaring engines and a hefty carbon footprint cloud the image of F1, for the die-hard and emerging class of fans who closely follow the sport, the grand prix is about so much more.
    It promises the the drama of a high-speed race, and a bonanza of weekend entertainment, which includes everything from concerts with A-list singers to luxurious parties.

    The chance to meet a driver in the flesh also remains a draw for many.
    In a tight, winding corridor in the Formula One paddock area, five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton zips by on his scooter. He’s just come from a driver signing session, where eager fans have crowded into a VIP suite in the hope of taking a photo or getting a piece of racing memorabilia signed by team driver.
    Amongst them is 19-year-old Singaporean Putera Dyann, who grew up watching the sport with his father, a McLaren supporter.
    Dyann won a spot at the coveted signing event by coming second place in asimulated racing competition held earlier this month by Singapore GP organizers. Dyannfaced off with dozens of other competitors, each gunning for the fastest speed for eight laps around a computerizedcircuit.

    Fans queue to get a photo with their favorite driver.

    Putera Dyann, 19, wants a Ferrari driver to sign his steering wheel.

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