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  1. Was searching and there is no topic on usa protest. So here I create this topic. https://www.businessinsider.com/minneapolis-protest-pictures-photos-of-riots-looting-aftermath-2020-5?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=sf-bi-main&utm_medium=social It's getting out of hand.. Lucky in Singapore we have a robast system in place to ensure that the country will not run into chaos..
  2. Duke-NUS scientist accused of spying for Russians in the US Read more at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/us/hector-alejandro-cabrera-fuentes-spying-russia.html NEW YORK — United States federal officials have arrested a researcher from Duke-National University of Singapore for allegedly acting on behalf of a Russian agent who recruited him to collect information about the US government and met repeatedly with him in Moscow. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a Mexican citizen, and his wife were about to board a plane back to their native Mexico from Miami on Sunday, when a customs official asked to inspect their phones. The official looked in a file of recently deleted images on the phone of Fuentes’s wife and found a close-up photograph of a license plate. The plate belonged to the vehicle of a US government source, federal prosecutors said in a statement. Fuentes admitted to the US Customs and Border Protection that he had told his wife, who was not named in the statement, to take the picture. It turned out, federal prosecutors said, that Fuentes was acting on behalf of a Russian government official who had recruited him in 2019 to rent property in Miami-Dade County and gather information. “The Russian official told Fuentes not to rent the apartment in Fuentes’s own name and not to tell his family about their meetings,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice. Hector Fuentes met with the Russian official twice in Moscow, it said. During the second meeting this month, the official gave Fuentes a physical description of a US government source’s vehicle. The Russian official “told Fuentes to locate the car, obtain the source’s vehicle license plate number, and note the physical location of the source’s vehicle,” according to the statement. The two were supposed to meet again around April or May so that Fuentes could give him the information, officials said in the statement. Federal officials said Fuentes and his wife rented a car, and Friday they followed the US source home. A security guard on the premises became suspicious of the couple because the rental car had tailgated another vehicle to get inside the building complex. As the guard approached Fuentes, his wife got out of the car and snapped a photo of the government source’s vehicle, federal officials said. The guard asked the couple what they were doing there, and Fuentes said they were visiting someone at the building. “Security did not recognize the person as living there and told Fuentes to leave the premises,” federal officials said. When Fuentes was questioned about the photo two days later at the airport, he admitted he had been directed by a Russian government official to conduct the operation, the officials said. Fuentes has been charged with acting on behalf of a foreign agent without notifying the attorney general. He has also been charged with conspiracy to act on behalf of a foreign agent. At a hearing in Miami federal court Tuesday, Fuentes said he had a variety of jobs, including one as a researcher at Duke-NUS, where he earned US$7,500 a month, according to The Miami Herald. Fuentes also told a magistrate judge he earned US$5,000 a month from an Israeli company based in Germany and had about US$100,000 in bank accounts in Mexico, Singapore and the United States, according to the newspaper. Fuentes is listed on the Duke-NUS website as one of the lead researchers of a 2016 study on cardiovascular disease. In 2015, he gave a presentation at a conference hosted by the European Society of Cardiology in London. In his bio, Fuentes was described as a graduate of Kazan University in Russia, where he obtained a degree in molecular biology and microbiology. He will be arraigned March 3 in Miami federal court, federal officials said. Ms Dharshini Subbiah, a senior communications specialist at Duke-NUS, told Duke-NUS campus newspaper The Chronicle: “All of his appointments have been suspended, and pending the ongoing investigations in the US we are unable to comment further." In response to TODAY's queries, a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spokesperson said: "MHA will not be commenting on this case." THE NEW YORK TIMES
  3. Just back from a road trip to USA. Thought good to share what I have learnt along the way as there is definitely a learning process for those not used to driving LHD cars in winter climate. This is not going to be exhaustive handbook but just some pointers to help in the itinerary planning process. Winter tires necessary for winter climate going up Canada? This had been one of my biggest worry as I have read that winter tires are compulsory for cars in Canada. I am concern as I will be travelling to Niagara falls at Canada side. Online research did not provide me with a definite answer, other than that it is compulsory for cars from some time ago. Taking to a few Canadian angmos also did not yield any definite answers, but their cars are definitely with winter tires. So that added to my worries as what if my rental car collected from Washington DC got turned back at immigration checkpoint. I felt relieved only when the staff at Thrifty assured me that their fleet comes with all weather tires which would be good for going up Canada, that the winter tire ruling is only for cars purchased in Canada but not on rental cars. So indeed it went smoothly through the Canada leg without any issues. Road travel during winter Another concern is whether winter tires or even tires chain necessary during winter. The answer is not necessary. What is confusing is that different states have different policies with regards to this, but mostly is about permitting and not about being mandatory. But most car rental companies would not allow tires chains as could damage the tires. When there is snowing, can see specially equipped pickups or trucks with shovel busy plying the roads to push the snow away. You will also observe many black "gravels" on the road during winter, which have been dispensed from these vehicles which are salt used to de-ice the road. They could be brown or black depending on states. Be careful when driving over bridges as bridges will freeze before tar road to create slippery surfaces when temperature dips. It would be good planning to start driving only after 9am when the sun is already up to reduce chances of accidents due to car sliding on roads as seen on news, another good excuse to wake up later. On days when snowing overnight, be sure to cater at least 15min to warm up the car and turn on windscreen heating coil to thaw the front and rear windscreens. Rental cars should come with low grade ice scraper with a brush end and a plastic pointed end. Use the pointer end to scape the ice then use the brush end to remove the ice. Very easy to do. Also remember to be de-icing wiper fluid from Walmart or petrol stations to topup the fluid tank. Normal water will freeze at tubing outside the hood thus not able to clear up the windscreen when needed. My rental car will squirt some water when toggle to do windscreen wiping, and with normal water even if can come out will freeze at windscreen causing it to be more blurry. But with de-icing fluid, the wiper is able to clean up very nicely. Also try not to drive after sky darken from about 4+pm till 6pm depending on states. USA span across 6 timing zones for those not initiated. Due to poor time management, I have to drive a few nights till 8pm to reach my destination. Very bad decision thinking back. Roads in USA is not like over here with street lights all over. Even across those inter-state expressways, there are no street lights at all so is almost pitch dark. So driving at night has a tunnel effects which worsen because you can only see slightly ahead and there are many winding roads. The drivers there also do not have a habit of turning on high beams during my time there. Frankly with cars going at excess of 65 mph, it is really quite harrowing to do cornering without any lights. After awhile, I learnt to form "packs" with cars nearby to take advantage of lights thrown from the cars, especially big trucks which are more brightly lit-up. With that, I do not have to constantly toggling the hi-beam lights. Try to constantly glance at the nav tools (handphone with Google map in my case) to keep note of the road ahead to avoid being surprise by sharp turnings. I have been using Google Map exclusively without any problem. Another event to look out for during winter is when there is snow blizzards. It could descend quickly and reduce visibility to less than 100m and caused severe chain collision accidents. A 40+-cars accident occurred just early this month due to snow blizzards, with another major accident last week due to icy road conditions. So have to watch the weather updates on TV or accuweather website for alerts. Road manners of typical Americans I would rate them very poorly. I have been tailgated by big trucks and smaller cars even when I am already going at above permitted speed on that road and keeping to the right most lane, and I mean really close as at times cannot even see bumper. The drivers will not horn, maybe too polite, but they sure keep up the pressure by driving really close to you. And they also do not slow down to let you pass when you try to enter the road through slip road, even worse than on our roads. This make driving at night challenging when you need to drive to nearby mall or restaurants for makan and need to do many turnings across many roads over short distances. It would be good habit to go through the route before proceeding to know where you will need to turn thus going to the correct lanes before that. Really a letdown as I have not expected this level of aggression there. Driving in Malaysia and Australia and Japan are much easier as their drivers are more forgiving. Topping up Gas In USA the gas stations all have different prices unlike over here. The prices just across the street could be lower by 10 cents so if you trying to save some money better do some checking first. I rely on the Google Map extensively as it will display the gas prices for most stations. As I need to topup gas almost everyday, I will search for gas stations nearby hotels or restaurants along the way to see the prices. Depending on states or locations, the prices for Regular gas, which is RON87 unleaded, could vary from USD 2.10 to USD 3. So if you are running abit low on gas and you checked that the gas station near your destination is much more expensive that at the meal stops, then better topup gas first. Payment is quite easy - either at pump itself or counter. For payment at pump, you just need to slide a credit card into the pump machine to authorize payment, then remove nozzle and select which grade of petrol, then start pumping away. After you put back the nozzle, payment will be completed automatically and you can press to get the receipt. Alternatively, you can go to the counter to pre-pay an amount of petrol, go to the gas pump and select the fuel grade and start pumping. This method is more troublesome as you need to calculate roughly how much gas to topup. But good thing you can go back counter to get refund on un-used gas if you have paid extra. Rental cars I used rentalcars.com to book my rides as I found it to be significantly cheaper than going to the individual rental car sites with same ride and rental terms. I had reserved a Nissan Quest through Thrifty, but on the day of collected was offered alternative rides. The staff at the counter just told me to collect any of the 8 ro 9 MPVs at a section of the carpark, where there were some Chevrolet Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan, and a Toyota sienna. The cars frankly are not that clean and I chose the cleanest which is a Chevrolet Pacifica which did not come with sunroof unlike other rides. But I figured it is winter so this feature not important at all. All the full-size MPVs are frankly about same size and definitely good enough for 4 pax with the luggages. And with 3.6L V6 engines definitely can run quite effortlessly. I also opted for the Platepass feature which allow electronic payment of toll fees like our ERP. It is quite necessary if need to travel from Washington DC to Niagara falls as there are many toll roads along the way. Without the option, I would need to pay an admin fee of USD15 for each toll payment which will add up quite rapidly. It is also for peace of mind as it meant one less thing to worry thus can enjoy the trip more. Moving Around New York As not advisable to drive in NYC, it is better to choose an lodging near outskirt of NYC with easy access to bus or subway stop. One such option is Meadowlands View Hotel which is close to a bus stop that can bring you into Times Square in 35min. The hotel also provides paid shuttle bus at higher costs but great convenience especially during winter as you do not need to walk to the bus stop. I only did the High Line, Chelsea Market, Twin Tower Memorail Park, Staten Island loop ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, then eat Vietnamese dinner at Broadway area before catching the Mean Girls show. Then just walk to Rockafella Tower and Times Square before heading back hotel past mid-night. Due to time constraints, have to forgo Central Park. Only consolation is manage to take picture of the theater where Stephen Colbert shoot his daily show which is just behind the theater hosting the Mean Girls show which cost a bomb, USD100/ticket for middle row seats. Moving Around Washington DC By luck it happened to be on a Sunday That I was in Washington DC. I said lucky because the notorious parking happen to be free every Sunday. I reach there at about 10am and still manage to find a parking spot near the Air and Space Museum. It would be good to park at the mall as it is really close to the Smithsonian museums and the Lincoln Memorial, just make sure to be there before 930am to be kiasu. Manage to cover only that and the Natural History Museum where the famous movie was shot on location. There are really a lot to see if you want to pore over every exhibits which will take about 1 day to cover each museum properly. But if you in a rush, covering 2 museums is the max I would recommend given that all open from 10am and close at 530pm. Lunch can eat at the food trucks aplenty at the Mall area instead of inside the museum for price and variety. The Mall area is not referring to shopping malls but the vast green grass area spanning the museums and memorials. There is option to take the Circulator bus if do not want to do the walking, as not recommend to shift car around as parking spot is really difficult to find after 11am. It is also not recommended to stay inside the area as parking is a killer. I chose to stay at the Courtyard Marriot which is walking distance to the White House, which turned out to be a bad decision as parking there cost USD 44 before taxes which is just slightly cheaper than at Niagara hotel of USD 50 at Canada side. And I reached the hotel only after 10pm after having dinner at nearby Luke Lobster which is quite good imo, so could have driven another 20min to outside DC for cheaper hotels as not enjoying any benefits of staying there. The White House is losing the allure for me as it is my thinking that Trump has cheapen it since taking office, so never bother to stop and take pictures with it, just drive by only. Booking hotels The hotels in USA nowadays mostly come with free breakfast for those mid-range like Hampton Inns, Home2Suites, Best Western, Fairfields, Red Roof, etc. I stayed at almost different hotels each night so have quite good sample size haha. The free breakfast would come with basic hot food like scrambled egg and sausage, fruits corner, DIY wafer making, cornflakes, milk and juices, coffee/tea. Not elaborate or definitely sufficient. There would mostly have a coffee/tea corner where guests would be able to make their drinks to go or just sit at the comfortable lobby area to enjoy. The prices for 4 pax for a 2 queen/double bed room can range from S$90 to $250. I prefer Hampton Inns which cost mostly from S$120 to S$150 before tax. The hotels at Niagara Canada side are killer at > $250 inclusive of breakfast, before the parking charge of USD 50. But the view is definitely worth it. Ok I will stop for now. Feel free to add in your experience and tips for the benefits of those thinking of embarking on a road trip there. I would recommend to consider at west side instead of east side as there are more nature parks to enjoy. I will post my itinerary later on. Also bear in mind need to cater clothing for wide variation in weather if intend to travel from upper North down to South tip. For example, Niagara side could be dipping below freezing temperature while Florida could be enjoying 20 degree celsius on same day. Cheers.
  4. My wife’s friend invited us to go over to New York, USA to visit her and stay at her place. So we agreed and planned for a visit in Autumn before the winter snow comes and it will be too cold to walk around. My wife’s friend stays at the suburbs of New York City but still within New York state so it is a good place to stay and still able to visit New York City. After extensive search on various websites, we settled for Qatar Airways flight with a stopover at Doha, Qatar. Initially, wanted to try the SIA direct flight but wifey say she does not want to seat in the aeroplane for 19 hours and also the cost was more than double of what we can get on Qatar Airways. We listed down the places of interest we wanted to visit since it was our first time to USA. And since it was NYC, most of the places will be what we saw in the movies and TV. Then we planned for shopping and throw in a road trip to satisfy my desire to drive long distances in USA. My wife’s friend provided some tips on places to visit and my colleague/trusted friend in the office provided me with lots of tips on what to see, where to eat and how to get around NYC as he is a regular to USA. His twin brother stays there and he visits him every year. There was enhanced security check for everyone bound for USA at Doha, Qatar airport. They first check if you have ESTA, if yes, your name will be already on their list. Then it is time to strip down your clothes. No sweater or jackets, remove belt, footwear, keys, coins, wallet, hp and anything from your pockets. Next, empty all your hand carry items in your bag. All electronic devices like laptop, camera, drone, tablet, hp, etc must be placed separately in another tray. They wipe down all electronic devices and put the cloth into the ion scanner to check for traces of explosive/gun powder (I guess). I left my drone in my carry-on bag and when the x-ray detected it, was told to go back to the line and repeat the process again. Passengers were already boarding the plane while I was still going thru the checks. Many ppl were in the same scenario too. Touch down in JFK airport. It was a wet morning. I left SG on Fri night and reached NYC on a Sat morning. Woohoo, as if time stood still. But in fact, it was already Sat night in SG. Have flown exactly 24 hours and the time difference between NYC and SG is exactly 12 hours. The queue at immigration was terribly long, 45 mins before we get to see the officer. And over here, they see u as a family. Ya, whole family stand in front of the officer and he ask questions and stamp passport. For us, he didn’t ask much as it was our first time there, only ask how long we will be in USA. Retrieved our luggage and followed the instruction that Enterprise car rental had provided me. Took the air train to where all the car rentals are located. For Enterprise, got to take a shuttle bus after alighting from the air train as it was further away. The temp was around a cool 14°C. Had booked a Rav4 but there was no Rav4 on site so the guy provided me with a Hyundai Tucson. Less than 10,000 miles on the odo, still got new car smell. Loaded our luggage and drove to my wife’s friend home, another 40+km away. Had to keep awake and ensure I drive the correct direction. Somehow lost my way while I was on the freeway as there was a split 3 ways and I guessed the wrong one. Did a few rounds in a neighbourhood and got back on to the freeway. Entrances to the freeway were not clearly indicated on the road, no big signboard.
  5. So what’s the big deal running around the West Coast ? well no.. not where the greater southern waterfront is.. it’s the Pacific West Coast and the PCH aka Pacific Coast Highway A little jaunt from Seattle down to SF with side trips to Olympic National Park and some other nice spots. This journey offers nice B roads, lots of scenery and good food I wanted to try a car which I might consider buying and I wanted a SUV so it came down to the RAV4 or the CHR depending what was available. Both use the same 2.0l with the CVT As fate decided there was only one .. my Black Steed fitted with 18” rims no less. The C-HR is no stranger to us, it’s a ubiquitous PHV in Singapore but here it uses a 2 liter naturally aspirated engine with the same CVT tranny. The car had to take two of us along with luggage and two weeks of shopping, which is no mean feat, I’ll have you know... Thankfully it was up to the task, swallowing four bags, two backpacks and a large box with great aplomb. Sure you need to fold down the seats if you want quick access and the sloping rear hatch doesn’t do its load carrying function any favors. The interior is tighter than a Vezel but for us it was cosy. The front seats wrap nicely around you and it sits a lot lower than the typical SUV. But then again it’s no real mud eating 4x4, more of a hatch on mildly elevated stilts. The interior is typically Toyota with the omnipresent retro clock and the diamond shaped motifs all over. The build is excellent with no rattles, even after 21000 miles of abuse by other renters. It won’t impress those looking for all round soft touch materials but thing look built to last. The cockpit wraps around the driver and controls generally fall into reach easily. The short stubby gear shift is solid but I wished it was longer. No paddle shifters sadly and no HUD. But here stateside you get a full suite of features with CarPlay and a real set of safety features. Lane departure warning, rear side detectors, blind spot detectors, and my favorite: active cruise control. More on that later... Visibility, like space is a bit compromised at the rear, although front visibility is excellent. The upside of such a compact car is that you point and it zips through, parking is easy and your fuel consumption is great. 33.5 mpg great in fact, which is around 14-15 km/l, which helps when the fuel tank is quite small.. You get DRL here with a full LED headlamp package and CarPlay but the stereo is decidedly weak.. it begs for a ICE and speaker overhaul.. Cool CHR logo when you open the door .. The engine has been with us in many iterations and being a naturally aspirated engine it doesn’t give that kick when you take off, but at highway cruising it is more than adequate. It also has enough power for the mountain roads and the CVT pairs well to keep it in the power zone. Furthermore with varying road speeds, frequent gear changes won’t upset or burn out the clutch because there isn’t one ☝️. On the open road you can easily hit high speeds and wind road is ok, allowing you to talk easily. No Lexus silence here, but it’s fine. Tire roar on lousy interstate sections does get fatiguing but they are only intermittent thankfully. But onto that active cruise control... it measures distance and allows the car to adjust speeds accordingly ... very neat and will slow the car down then pick up speed to keep up with the car in front. With car like agility and a lower stance you are encouraged to take corners more aggressively and the chassis is nimble. This car shares the BRZ chassis and it shows.. in winding roads, where road holding matters more than power, you can show larger capacity engine cars a clean pair of heels easily and you can corner 10-20 mph more than the suggested speed on the sign. Throwing it into bends will bring a big smile on your face. I think the 2l is a better match than the 1.2 turbo we have in long distance driving. Lapping up the miles in my Black Steed has been an absolute joy 👍 More on the sights and food soon 😉
  6. StreetFight3r

    US blacklists Huawei & affiliates

    They say if u cant beat them, ban them.
  7. Departing to USA New York via SQ 26 Airbus A380-800.
  8. On this thread, I'll share some videos on the sights and sounds of Washington DC, the capital of USA. In honour of MCF, the first two videos will be on cars. Here is one. A 1977 Honda Civic. This car revolutionized American car industry. Did this car come to Singapore? Here is the second. This car was called the Tucker Automobile from 1948. It was a commercial failure.
  9. Commercial property sales have slowed in the U.S. this year—but Chinese investors are continuing to plow money into the market. So far in 2016, Chinese companies have purchased or are buying 47 U.S. properties worth $9.3 billion, according to deal tracker Real Capital Analytics. That makes them the most active foreign buyers in the U.S., with more than double Canada’s $4.2 billion worth of deals. By contrast, for all of last year Chinese investors did 71 U.S. deals worth $6 billion. Chinese investment abroad has soared as the Chinese economy has slumped over the past year. Investors are looking abroad to protect their wealth against the volatility at home, analysts said. In the most recent high-profile transaction, China Life Insurance Group Co. last week provided an unspecified piece of the equity toward the purchase of the Manhattan office tower at 1285 Sixth Ave. in New York, according to people familiar with the matter. A venture led by developer Scott Rechler including China Life paid $1.65 billion for the 1.8 million-square-foot building, whose tenants include UBS Group AG and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Mr. Rechler said his firm, RXR Realty LLC, attracted participation from institutional investors because it was able to convince UBS, which occupies about half of the building’s space, to renew its commitment through 2032. Other investors were wary of buying the building as long as UBS’s status was uncertain, especially with signs cropping up of a market slowdown. “That chilled other investors,” Mr. Rechler said. ‘They’re parking more capital in the safe locations in the West. ’ —Jim Costello The Chinese are streaming into the U.S. even as overall deal activity slows. In the four months of 2016, all investors purchased $135.9 billion worth of commercial property, compared with $171.4 billion during the same period last year, Real Capital said. The slowdown comes six years into a bull market for commercial property. Many investors have moved to the sidelines because they believe values, which have risen steadily since 2009, might level off or even begin falling. Debt financing also has become more difficult to obtain. As of May 10, Wall Street has issued just $28.5 billion in commercial mortgage-backed securities, compared with $44.1 billion during the same time last year, according to Commercial Mortgage Alert, a trade publication. But buyers from Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world often are more motivated than domestic U.S. investors. Many are eager to diversity. Others are concerned about risk in their own countries. Until 2012, the Chinese government prohibited the country’s insurance companies from buying foreign property. With those restrictions lifted they are flexing their muscles throughout the world. Last year, China Life made its first U.S. investment along with Ping An Insurance Co. They purchased a majority stake in a $500 million Boston development in the city’s popular Seaport District. Mr. Costello said foreign investors used to focus on buying trophy assets such as New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, but lately have been expanding out of downtowns in top cities in a search for higher yields. Last week, the sovereign-wealth fund of Bahrain purchased a 49% stake in a portfolio of seven office buildings between Phoenix and Dallas. The deal valued the 1.2 million-square-foot portfolio at about $250 million. Mr. Rechler, for his part, has garnered a reputation as a good market timer. He sold his earlier real-estate company for $6.5 billion in early 2007 as storm clouds were forming over the economy and then started buying property just as the market began to recover in mid-2009. His RXR Realty controls 87 commercial properties and had $12.7 billion of assets under management as of the end of last year. Mr. Rechler initially wasn’t interested in 1285 Sixth Ave. when it was put on the market last year by J.P. Morgan Asset Management and AXA Financial Inc. But he began talks after he came up with a plan to add value to the property by extending UBS’s lease. To execute that plan, Mr. Rechler first had to deal with UBS’s neighbor, Paul, Weiss, which had an option to take more space in the building. As long as that option hung out there, UBS wouldn’t renew. Mr. Rechler eliminated that problem by cutting a deal with the law firm to modify its expansion option. He also agreed to sell some Paul, Weiss partners stakes in the building, according to people familiar with the matter. Besides China Life, Mr. Rechler’s group included New York developerDavid Werner, who at one point was competing against Mr. Rechler for the property. J.P. Morgan and AXA were represented by Doug Harmon and Adam Spies of Eastdil Secured.
  10. Waste of taxpayers money. This ATB really got Permanent Head Damage. http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/singaporean-charged-poisoning-water-classmates-the-us-20
  11. Boringchap

    Plane Lands on a road in USA

    This is certainly not something you see everyday. A light plane lands on a road in USA, caught on car camera.
  12. Yewheng

    Bill gates invented NEWater

    Bill gates invented Newater. What puzzle me is that no one comment in the comment box below on singapore newater. Do people around the world know about singapore newater?
  13. Jman888

    World Peace USA & NK

    Enjoy!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yst9d8KyxSw
  14. Any bros got recommendation on which prepaid data sim card to buy in US for IP5s? Hope to pick one up at the SF Airport. Kum sia.
  15. Iceland got problem. USA printing money. HK controlling property bubbles. But S'pore still showing good signs, e.g. many pple rushing to condo showroom, buying big cars, etc. May be the next financial crisis coming. what you guys think?
  16. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/baltimore-ravens-cheerleader-molly-shattuck-accused-raping-teen-boy-article-1.2000050 "She allegedly made his acquaintance by borrowing a method from the millenial playbook — she started commenting on photos the teen posted on Instagram,"
  17. In USA, the car loan company is able to disable the car if the car instalment is not paid on time. Coming here soon? I think not likely . . . http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024625051_carpaymentsxml.html The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old’s asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start. The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Arizona, remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March. “I felt absolutely helpless,” said Bolender, a single mother who stopped working to care for her daughter. It was not the only time this happened: Her car was shut down that March, once in April and again in June. This new technology is bringing auto loans — and Wall Street’s version of Big Brother — into the lives of people with credit scores battered by the financial downturn. Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year. But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements. The devices, which have been installed in about 2 million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle. “I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Wal-Mart,” said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of collections at First Castle Federal Credit Union in Covington, Louisiana. Roughly 30 percent of customers with an auto loan at the credit union have starter interrupt devices. Now used in about one-quarter of subprime auto loans nationwide, the devices are reshaping the dynamics of auto lending by making timely payments as vital to driving a car as gasoline. Seizing on such technological advances, lenders are reaching deeper and deeper into the ranks of Americans on the financial margins, with interest rates on some of the loans exceeding 29 percent. Concerns raised by regulators and some rating firms about loose lending standards have disturbing echoes of the subprime-mortgage crisis. As the ignition devices proliferate, so have complaints from troubled borrowers, many of whom are finding that credit comes at a steep price to their privacy and, at times, their dignity, according to interviews with state and federal regulators, borrowers and consumer lawyers. Some borrowers say their cars were disabled when they were only a few days behind on their payments, leaving them stranded in dangerous neighborhoods. Others said their cars were shut down while idling at stoplights. Some described how they could not take their children to school or to doctor’s appointments. One woman in Nevada said her car was shut down while she was driving on the freeway. Beyond the ability to disable a vehicle, the devices have tracking capabilities that allow lenders and others to know the movements of borrowers, a major concern for privacy advocates. And the warnings the devices emit — beeps that become more persistent as the due date for the loan payment approaches — are seen by some borrowers as more degrading than helpful. “No middle-class person would ever be hounded for being a day late,” said Robert Swearingen, a lawyer with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, in St. Louis. “But for poor people, there is a debt collector right there in the car with them.” Lenders and manufacturers of the technology say borrowers consent to having these devices installed in their cars. And without them, they say, millions of Americans might not qualify for a car loan at all. A virtual repo man From his office outside New Orleans, Vead can monitor the movements of about 880 subprime borrowers on a computerized map that shows the location of their cars with a red marker. Vead can spot drivers who have fallen behind on their payments and remotely disable their vehicles on his computer or mobile phone. The devices are reshaping how people like Vead collect on debts. He can quickly locate the collateral without relying on a repo man to hunt down delinquent borrowers. Vead says that first, he tries reaching a delinquent borrower on the phone or in person. Then, only after at least 30 days of missed payments, he typically shuts down cars when they are parked at the borrower’s house or workplace. If there is an emergency, he says, he will turn a car back on. None of the borrowers or consumer lawyers interviewed by The New York Times raised concerns about the way Vead’s credit union uses the devices. But other lenders, they said, were not as considerate, marooning drivers in far-flung places and often giving no advance notice of a shut-off. Lenders say that they exercise caution when disabling vehicles and that the devices enable them to extend more credit. Without the use of such devices, said John Pena, general manager of C.A.G. Acceptance, “we would be unable to extend loans because of the high-risk nature of the loans.” A leading device maker, PassTime of Littleton, Colorado, says its technology has reduced late payments to roughly 7 percent from nearly 29 percent. Spireon, which offers a GPS device called the Talon, has a tool on its website where lenders can calculate their return on capital.
  18. Roadrunner2029

    Japan vs. Germany, Japan vs. USA

    No offense, I've driven Japanese, American and German cars and Japanese cars are the most reliable. But thought this article was a funny compilation of road crashes. http://club.autohome.com.cn/bbs/thread-c-639-26164664-1.html  Nissan vs. VW Nissan vs. VW Honda vs. Chery QQ :) Nissan vs. Chevrolet Buick vs. Nissan But don't worry, the Koreans are not left out. Buick vs. Hyundai: Even PRC man vs. Mazda More in the link. I still trust scientific tests more, even though they are performed in a lab.
  19. Thaiyotakamli

    Singlish For War Strategy

    Its fake but have a laugh ba haha http://therealsingapore.com/content/sg-f16-pilots-use-singlish-stop-us-f15-pilots-listening-during-joint-exercise Being in the Singapore Airforce for many years already. I would like to share with your readers this story of ours which makes Singlish a very powerful and unique identity for us Singaporeans. The Spore air force went to the US to take part in their Red Flag combat exercise. For the first three days, our F-16 pilots, no matter how much they planned and prepared, they were always ambushed by the USAF F-15s. Then they realized that the USAF pilots were eavesdropping on their conversations (not disallowed by the rules), so they switched from plain English to Singlish/Chinese/Malay. Suddenly the F-15s lost their magic, and for the last three days, found no way through the defensive screen set up by our F-16s. So who says Singlish got no use har?
  20. China mode on, Dont play play hor, we need change master soon liao. http://m.ft.com/cms/s/0/d79ffff8-cfb7-11e3-9b2b-00144feabdc0.html China to pass US as largest economy By Chris Giles, Economics Editor The US is on the brink of losing its status as the worlds largest economy, and is likely to slip behind China this year, sooner than widely anticipated, according to the worlds leading statistical agencies. The US has been the global leader since overtaking the UK in 1872. Most economists previously thought China would pull ahead in 2019. The figures, compiled by the International Comparison Program hosted by the World Bank, are the most authoritative estimates of what money can buy in different countries and are used by most public and private sector organisations, such as the International Monetary Fund. This is the first time they have been updated since 2005. After extensive research on the prices of goods and services, the ICP concluded that money goes further in poorer countries than it previously thought, prompting it to increase the relative size of emerging market economies. The estimates of the real cost of living, known as purchasing power parity or PPPs, are recognised as the best way to compare the size of economies rather than using volatile exchange rates, which rarely reflect the true cost of goods and services: on this measure the IMF put US GDP in 2012 at $16.2tn, and Chinas at $8.2tn. In 2005, the ICP thought Chinas economy was less than half the size of the US, accounting for only 43 per cent of Americas total. Because of the new methodology and the fact that Chinas economy has grown much more quickly the research placed Chinas GDP at 87 per cent of the US in 2011. For 2011, the report says: The US remained the worlds largest economy, but it was closely followed by China when measured using PPPs. With the IMF expecting Chinas economy to have grown 24 per cent between 2011 and 2014 while the US is expected to expand only 7.6 per cent, China is likely to overtake the US this year. The figures revolutionise the picture of the worlds economic landscape, boosting the importance of large middle-income countries. India becomes the third-largest economy having previously been in tenth place. The size of its economy almost doubled from 19 per cent of the US in 2005 to 37 per cent in 2011. Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico make the top 12 in the global table. In contrast, high costs and lower growth push the UK and Japan further behind the US than in the 2005 tables while Germany improved its relative position a little and Italy remained the same. The findings will intensify arguments about control over global international organisations such as the World Bank and IMF, which are increasingly out of line with the balance of global economic power. When looking at the actual consumption per head, the report found the new methodology as well as faster growth in poor countries have greatly reduced the gap between rich and poor, suggesting that the world has become more equal. The worlds rich countries still account for 50 per cent of global GDP while containing only 17 per cent of the worlds population. Having compared the actual cost of living in different countries, the report also found that the four most expensive countries to live in are Switzerland, Norway, Bermuda and Australia, with the cheapest being Egypt, Pakistan, Myanmar and Ethiopia.
  21. Thaiyotakamli

    Obama Convoy in Malaysia

    Hardly seen, such a long convoy! Obama scared his Cadillac will get stolen in Malaysia https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=287673454734470&set=vb.109849832516834&type=2&theater
  22. http://www.voltairenet.org/article182064.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSx8yLOHSUs
  23. Nic_low

    Motorcycle versus flash flood

    http://dai.ly/x15csdh Flash floods, seemingly, are increasingly common on our land stripped island. From the views of many pictures, and videos in some cases, we can safely say that we will never want to be in that situation. Imagine the muddy water that climbs to the height of your wheel arches and penetrates your cabin. Then, it kills your engine, and leaves you (and your car) in the middle of the road (which should look more like a lake by then) like a sitting duck. Then again, there are the more adventurous sort among us, as proven by the video. This man in Colorado met with a flash flood. However, he didn't quite believe what he saw and decided to take on the treacherous waters. Jump to the video to see who emerge winner in the end.
  24. As a guy with an ever increasing interest in the automotive industry, I have come across and read about several concepts and technologies from deployable rear wings, four-door coupes, carbon ceramic brakes and the engineering and development of record breaking cars like the Veyron. But looking at the Laraki Motors' Epitome - I doubt I have ever seen a concept that is both crazy and cool. While the shape of the Epitome largely reminds me of a cross between a Aston Martin One-77 and the Lexus 2054 concept, I believe the Epitome must have travelled from the year 2154 where the elite live in a space habitat called Elysium. Any existence of the brand or model was premiered globally at the recently concluded Pebble Beach Auto Show. Yet interestingly, this isn
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