AP uploads historical videos on YouTube

This is totally welcomed:

The Associated Press and British Movietone, one of the world’s most comprehensive newsreel archives, are together bringing more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. Showcasing the moments, people and events that shape the world, it will be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date.

The two channels will act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia, offering a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history. Available for all to explore, the channels will also be powerful educational tools and a source of inspiration for history enthusiasts and documentary filmmakers.

The YouTube channels will include more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day. For example, viewers can see video from the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, exclusive footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Marilyn Monroe captured on film in London in the 1950s and Twiggy modeling the fashions of the 1960s.

Source: AP makes one million minutes of historical footage available on YouTube

We look into books and pictures to tell stories of the 20th century when you have many videos which quality is just insulting sometimes.

Interesting discoveries #06

Bunch of links this post is. Here lies key things I have read:

1. Marriage equality, same-sex

Ruling that same sex marriage is unconstitutional in America. The New Yorker has a good summary on the key arguments for same-sex marriage.

There really is very little you can argue against same sex marriage without sounding like a selfish jerk.

2. Dog loves guitar

This is too cute to not watch:

Dogs make me laugh.

3. White noise to increase your creativity

This is a website with audio that mimics a cafe. Some Singaporeans would say they get more productive at Starbucks or the likes. Really? Perhaps so. Research has suggested some white noise to be good for creativity. Although I don’t really believe the assessment, here’s a coffee shop background sound you may need one day.

4. On why I start not reading news news

At some point of time in my life, I realized it’s just impossible to catch up with all the news in the world. They are things that are nice to know that is happening but I argue that it is less important than you think. Important news come to you in the old fashion way — word of mouth.

Today’s mainstream news is filled with articles that embraces the negative aspects. There’s always an accident here, a murder case, embezzlement etc.. There just isn’t enough good news except for our Prime Minister planting a lovely bush at the gardens to commemorate some special day that the generation in the future will call history.

News isn’t all that bad though. Just read lesser. For me, it’s a lot lesser. And stop reading about mishaps of others and surround yourself with more positivity. Read social news briefly. Then do your stuff in life. Don’t ever read The Straits Times.

5. The worst URL

Channel News Asia wins this hands down. What is this:

www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/1262412/1/.html

I’m talking about /.html.

Come on, you can do better than this. What kind of CMS output such garbage?!

What the news?

Was reading this Channel News Asia article and found it slightly amusing:

SINGAPORE: A Bangladeshi cleaner was on Wednesday sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment for cheating his fellow countrymen of their work permits.

Fellow countrymen? Can news get more poetic than this?

Shobhan Haider Rupu Ayoub Ali, 29, admitted to 30 counts of cheating in January this year. Prosecution proceeded on eight charges.

I never understood this really. So he cheated 30 times but he’s charged 8 times? So what’s the charge again?

Shobhan’s modus operandi was to deceive fellow Bangladeshi workers that he had jobs for them at Marriott Hotel.

Latin? Argh! I have to check the dictionary for modus operandi. Usage of Latin in news should be deemed actus reus (a prohibited act). (Hey, at least I bothered to explain yea?)

The cleaner would ask the victims for their work permits in order to exchange them for security passes at the hotel.

Oh! So the story is that the cleaner get hold of their work permits and sell it? This just isn’t clear in the beginning of the news article!

Court documents showed that he sold a total of 30 work permits for S$2,500 to another man in the Kallang area.

Ah okay, so now the numbers tally. His 30 counts of cheating comes from selling away 30 work permits illegally? Wait, what? He sold it to another man in Kallang? When’s the first man mentioned? Was he from Joo Chiat?

Shobhan could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined.

Warning of the severity of the crime that will benefit none of Channel News Asia’s targeted audiences. That’s just an odd article. I generally found Channel News Asia articles both too short and hard to digest. I might have better luck reading from the bottom. Maybe I should go back to reading picture books.

CHC member alleged defamation in report

City Harvest Church (CHC) member writes to MCYS to complain of Commissioner of Charities statements.

CHC member writes to MCYS alleging defamation

A City Harvest Church member, Christopher Pang, has written to Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth & Sports Chan Chun Sing alleging that the Commissioner of Charities’ statement on the misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity is defamatory.

Speaking up for the five leaders who were charged in court on Wednesday, Mr Pang claimed that the statement is defamatory, and asked for an apology from the Commissioner of Charities.

He asserted that as a society, the church does not owe members of the public any account of how its funds are used, yet audited accounts are posted on the church’s website for transparency and accountability.

He added that he was not supportive of the move by the Commissioner of Charities to suspend eight church leaders from their offices.

He is particular about the word usage and allegations among others:

There was even an attempt to conceal the existence of this Account by closing the joint bank account and dealing only in cash transactions, which was kept in a safe at the Charity.

Blah blah.

Really?

Of all that was in the report, subject is scrutinizing it over possible defamations? The point of the report is much more than that. Christians in general will not want to be prejudiced over an incident as tiny as City Harvest Church incident; subject should not pick on work processes done incorrectly as he alleged. His allegations act as a poor diversion to the bigger picture — a charitable organization has mismanaged a large sum of money. While he can continue to be upset of over possible defamations, no charity organization should let the mismanagement incident slide and work on improving their accountability among charities.

Pastor Kong Hee charged

Five senior members of City Harvest Church (CHC), including its founder Kong Hee, have been charged in court for alleged criminal breach of trust. The three charges they faced are:

  1. Sham transactions to fund Sun Ho’s music endeavor
  2. Series of transactions to clear (1), round tipping
  3. Covering of tracks

Continue reading “Pastor Kong Hee charged”

Where did the 23 million go?

With regards to the City Harvest Church inquiry, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) commenced investigations into financial transactions involving several individuals and companies, related or connected to the City Harvest Church (Charity). Misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the Charity is uncovered.

Key notes:

  • Financial irregularities of at least $23 million from the Charity’s funds have been discovered. These funds were used with the purported intention to finance Ho Yeow Sun’s secular music career to connect with people.
  • There was a concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from its stakeholders.
  • The following persons from the exercise of their office or employment as governing board members, officers, agents or employees of the Charity are suspended with immediate effect:
    1. Kong Hee (Member of the Charity’s Board and Executive Member);
    2. Lam Leng Hung (Chairman of the Charity’s Board, Trustee, Agent and Executive Member);
    3. Tan Ye Peng (Vice-Chairman of the Charity’s Board, Trustee, Employee, Agent and Executive Member);
    4. Tan Shao Yuen Sharon (Employee and Executive Member);
    5. Chew Eng Han (Agent and Executive Member);
    6. Ho Yeow Sun (Agent and Executive Member);
    7. Kelvin Teo Meng How (Agent, Employee and Executive Member); and
    8. Tan Su Pheng Jacqueline (Employee and Executive Member).

Ho Yeow Sun (or Sun Ho) music endeavor

In 2002, the Charity’s founders, Kong Hee and Ho Yeow Sun (“Sun Ho”), embarked on a “Crossover Project” [“the Project”], with the purported intention to use Sun Ho’s secular music to connect with people and reach out to non-Christians.

Despite the representations made by the Charity and unknown to the Executive Members, the Charity’s funds were used to fund the Project. Over a period of 3 years (2007 to 2010), at least $23 million was used. However, during this period of time, the Executive members were not told of the actual purpose of the use of these funds.

Between December 2007 and May 2010, the Charity’s funds were used to finance the Project under the guise of donations to its affiliated church in Kuala Lumpur, known as the City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur [“CHCKL”]. The funds were then transmitted by CHCKL to support the Project in the United States. During this period, at least $2.1 million was transferred from the Charity to CHCKL to fund the Project.

In addition, donations and tithes to the Charity were transferred into a private fund known as the Multi-Purpose Account [“MPA”]

For the period April 2007 to March 2010, the funds were used for purported expenditures of Kong Hee and Sun Ho, amounting to approximately $600,000 and $3 million respectively.

In or around April 2009, a plan was conceptualised by Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee Gek Yin and Tan Shao Yuen Sharon to transfer monies amounting to $600,000 donated by Wahju Hanafi to the Charity’s Building Fund via a “refund” of Building Fund donations into the MPA to meet some funding needs of the Project, which included US$100,000 to finance a media team from Singapore to publicise and write about Sun Ho’s music career in the United States.

Source: MCYS

Summary of misappropriation

  • at least $23 million was used, over a period of 3 years (2007 to 2010),
  • at least $2.1 million was transferred from the City Harvest Church to City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur to fund the “Crossover Project,”
  • Kong Hee expenditure: $600,000,
  • Sun Ho expenditure: $3 million,
  • transfer monies amounting to $600,000 donated by Wahju Hanafi to the Charity’s Building Fund,
  • US$100,000 to finance a media team from Singapore to publicise and write about Sun Ho’s music career in the United States,
  • Love gifts,
  • Kong Hee’s company sold over $3 million worth of merchandise to the City Harvest Church,
  • However, in 2008, Kong Hee “refunded” royalties to the Charity amounting to approximately $770,000,
  • Chew Eng Han suffered financial difficulties, the Charity refunded donations amounting to about $338,000 to him in two separate tranches, i.e. $240,000 and $98,000. However, in respect of the $98,000, the Charity’s Board only gave approval for the refund of donations to Chew Eng Han 9 months after the refunds were made.

This is not the first time a charity, in this case City Harvest Church (CHC), was scrutinized, previously there was the National Kidney Foundation as well as Ren Ci.

City Harvest’s Kong Hee arrested

Latest after the Commercial Affairs Department probed into the alleged misuse of church funds in May 2010, this has led to the arrest of the pastors:

City Harvest church founder Kong Hee and 4 others arrested

City Harvest church founder Kong Hee and four others from his ministry were arrested by the police on Tuesday morning, two years after investigations first began into the homegrown church.

Mr Kong, deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng and three other church leaders were picked up by the police at their homes early on Tuesday morning and taken in for questioning over the alleged misuse of church funds as well as alleged breaches under charity laws.

Source: Straits Times

And on Channel News Asia:

CAD arrests 5 City Harvest Church members, including Pastor Kong Hee

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean has stressed that the charges filed by CAD are against the five individuals from the City Harvest Church regarding the use of church funds.

He said the charges are not filed against CHC itself and the church is free to continue its church services and activities.

Mr Teo added that CAD carries out investigations when it receives information that a criminal offence may have been committed.

Sun Ho has not been arrested but is suspended from her position as an Executive Member of the Church. Story is still developing.

Wikileaks released secret US embassy cables

Wikileaks has struck again, this time releasing information of embassy cables. They include reports of some Arab leaders – including Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – urging the US to attack Iran and end its nuclear weapons programme. Other leaked information include:

Wikileaks release of embassy cables reveals US concerns

  • Iran attempting to adapt North Korean rockets for use as long-range missiles
  • Corruption within the Afghan government, with concerns heightened when a senior official was found to be carrying more than $50m in cash on a foreign trip
  • Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison camp – including Slovenian diplomats being told to take in a freed prisoner if they wanted to secure a meeting with President Barack Obama
  • Germany being warned in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for US Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in an operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was abducted and held in Afghanistan
  • US officials being instructed to spy on the UN’s leadership by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • The very close relationship between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi
  • Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime
  • Yemen’s president talking to then US Mid-East commander General David Petraeus about attacks on Yemeni al-Qaeda bases and saying: “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours”
  • Faltering US attempts to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon

[More in BBC]

I’m sure these are information are going to be quite controversial. Is this one of the cases where not knowing is better than knowing? Imagine the increased level of animosity towards Saudi Arabia in the coming days. Would this cause more conflict? Lives of diplomats might be threatened due to this to.

On other note, Australia has condemned Wikileaks and has blocked access and will fine people $11k/day linking to it.

Watch what you retweet

You think you can just retweet something and get away with it? Well, actually you probably can. BUT not in China.

CHINESE WOMAN SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN LABOUR CAMP OVER TWEET

Cheng disappeared ten days later, on what was to be her wedding day, her whereabouts unknown until it emerged this week that she had been detained and sentenced by local police.

“Sentencing someone to a year in a labour camp, without trial, for simply repeating another person’s clearly satirical observation on Twitter demonstrates the level of China’s repression of online expression” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.

The offending tweet was originally posted by Cheng’s fiancé Hua Chunhui, mocking China’s young nationalist demonstrators who had smashed Japanese products in protest over a maritime incident between China and Japan involving the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

Hua’s original tweet said “Anti-Japanese demonstrations, smashing Japanese products, that was all done years ago by Guo Quan [an activist and expert on the Nanjing Massacre]. It’s no new trick. If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you’d immediately fly to Shanghai to smash the Japanese Expo pavilion.” [Source: amnesty.org

The poor lady has been sentence to “re-education through labor.” An additional note is Twitter is blocked in China and the only way a Chinese can tweet is to go through a VPN.

An unrelated note: Chinese is a really compact written language. In 140 characters you write a sentence in English, but in Chinese you can write a short paragraph on your day.

Aung San Suu Kyi released

Aung San Suu Kyi has been released by the Burmese military after being detained for more than 15 of the past 21 years:

Burma releases Aung San Suu Kyi

The Burmese military authorities have released the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, from house arrest.

Appearing in front of thousands of jubilant supporters outside her home in Rangoon, Ms Suu Kyi said they had to work in unison to achieve their goals.

The crowd had rushed to the compound when nearby barricades were removed by police.

The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.

[Source: BBC]