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Singapore’s first and only Hello Kitty themed cafe to shut down in 2019

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All good things come to an end — and so it shall be with Hello Kitty. Not the actual character of course, but the themed cafe inspired by the iconic feline character at Changi Airport Terminal 3. Earlier today, the 24-hour eatery announced in a Facebook post that they will officially shut its doors for good on February 8, 2019.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

This piece of news came as a shock to Hello Kitty’s throng of diehard fans, who queued up for hours on the cafe’s opening day in May 2016 just to snap selfies with the beloved character. No statement has been issued as to why Hello Kitty Orchard Garden would be closing down, but according to operator Europa Specialty Restaurant, an end of licensing and partnership with Sanrio is the reason for closure.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

To mark its departure, the cafe will be throwing tea parties over two weekends in December. It’ll be all fun and games, and don’t forget to savour their feline-shaped waffles and smoked salmon quiche for one last time.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

However, be prepared to spend. A ticket for two sells at $138, and it comes with food and drinks, limited edition Orchids For You figurines and exclusive thank-you cards autographed by Hello Kitty herself.

Guess goodbye really comes at a cost. Buy your tickets here.

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Popular influencer NasDaily releases video celebrating Singapore

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After making a surprise announcement that he was coming to Singapore to film a video, popular travel vlogger NasDaily releases a one miniature long video celebrating all the things we take for granted as citizens of the little red dot.

Nas is famously known for his daily one minute videos which he uploads on his Facebook page, NasDaily. The influencer is known for travelling all over the world and learning about cultures and practices and then making videos about them to educate his viewers.

On Tuesday (21 Aug), Nas put out a post on Facebook announcing that he was visiting Singapore on 22 August and asked fans to gather outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium to be part of his video.

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On the day, over 700 people turned up to be part of this experience.

The video, which was released on 23 August, is entitled “Why I Hate Singapore” and it basically celebrates Singapore’s ethnic diversity as well as many things that Singaporeans take for granted such as the food and the fact that we have drinkable and clean water running from our taps.

While the video acknowledged problems Singaporeans face such as inequality and the high cost of living, it did so in a way that glossed over the problems and encouraged people to appreciate what we have.

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At the event meet up itself, which was changed from outside the Esplanade to the Singapore Sports Hub, which agreed to help the star to shoot his video without break-in any anti-gathering laws, participants got to enjoy Nas’s highly energetic self.

The vlogger talked with fans and gave them a glimpse into what producing his videos took.

Despite the crowd, fans were thrilled to be part of this journey with Nas.

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Shoes collection at Vivocity to help Soles4Souls fight global poverty

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Photo credit: Soles4Souls PR

One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need, which is why VivoCity, the largest retail and lifestyle destination in Singapore has launched a shoe drive to collect 25,000 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes.

The shoes will be delivered to a non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls, that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and gently-worn shoes in 127 countries.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment.

Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programmes offer a long-term solution to poverty through job creation in places like Haiti, Honduras, and Sierra Leone. They also give a second life to unwanted shoes, keeping them out of landfills, and protecting the environment.

“VivoCity is pleased to support Soles4Souls’ mission,” said Ms Gwen Au, Vice President for Marketing Communications, Mapletree Commercial Property Management. “To know that we can create meaningful impact around the globe by simply collecting and donating what is otherwise destined for the trash is a really great feeling.”

The shoes are sold for an average of $1 per pair to non-profit partners in developing countries, that provide business training to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs purchase the shoes and are then able to start businesses of their own selling the product in their local marketplaces. This allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to earn a sustainable income, and ultimately purchase necessities like food, shelter and education.

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The income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child. Revenue generated by Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise operations funds the organization’s free distribution programs, that provide new shoes to people in need both in the U.S. and around the world.

“Millions of pairs of shoes lay idle in people’s closets,” said Au. “We would like to encourage Singaporeans to give those to Soles4Souls instead, and know that they are taking a step to help disrupt the cycle of poverty around the globe.”

VivoCity’s shoe drive for Soles4Souls information:

  • Now through August 12th, 2018, bring your new or gently-worn shoes of any kind to VivoCity and drop off your donations at:
  • 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585, official collection points located at Basements 1 & 2
  • Participating stores where donors can enjoy exclusive offers upon donating the shoes in-store.

Photo credit: Soles4Souls PR

About Soles4Souls

Soles4Souls disrupts the cycle of poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization repurposes product to supply its micro-enterprise, disaster relief and direct assistance programs. Since 2006, it has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and generated over $250 million in economic impact. A non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls earns more than half of its income and commits 100% of donations to programs. Visit soles4souls.org for more information.

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About VivoCity

With over 1 million square feet of lettable floor space attracting a diverse mix of over 300 retailers, large event places, including an outdoor amphitheatre, a 20,000-square-feet open plaza and a 300 metre long waterfront Promenade, VivoCity is Singapore’s largest and most diverse retail and lifestyle destination designed by world-renowned architect, Toyo Ito. VivoCity is a Mapletree Commercial Trust property.

About Mapletree Commercial Trust

MCT is a Singapore-focused REIT that invests on a long-term basis, directly or indirectly, in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate used primarily for office and/or retail purposes, whether wholly or partially, as well as real estate related assets. MCT’s portfolio comprises of VivoCity, Mapletree Business City I, PSA Building, Mapletree Anson, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront. These five assets have a total Net Lettable Area (“NLA”) of 3.8 million square feet valued at $6.337 billion as of March 31, 2017.

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Study shows spike in Russian cyberattacks targeting Singapore during Trump-Kim Summit 2018

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Threat intelligence research team F5 Labs reported that Russia accounted for 88 per cent of cyberattacks targeting Singapore on 12 June 2018, the fateful Trump-Kim summit day.

The date will do down in history as the day which saw United States President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Singapore, the host nation, saw a surge in cyberattacks from Russia, according to a report by online threat analysts F5 Labs. This was also supported by its data partner Loryka in a blog post on 14 June 2018.

Photo credit: F5 Labs

The blog post stated that 97 per cent of all the attacks originating from Russia targeted Singapore.

On further analysis of the data, F5 Labs shared that approximately 40,000 attacks were launched between 11:00 pm (3:00 pm UTC) on 11 June 2018 and 8:00 pm (12:00 pm UTC) on 12 June 2018.

It added that 92 per cent of the attacks collected were reconnaissance scans looking for vulnerable devices while the remaining 8 per cent were “exploits”, which capitalise on vulnerabilities.

The top attack destination port was the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) port 5060, which is an Internet Protocol phone protocol.

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“It is unusual to see port 5060 as a top attack destination port. Our assumption is that the attackers were trying to gain access to insecure phones or perhaps the VoIP server,” the study said.

It added: “Singapore was the top destination of the attacks by a large margin, receiving 4.5 times more attacks than the US or Canada. Singapore is not typically a top attack destination country; this anomaly coincides with President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un.”

The study highlighted that it was “unclear” what the attackers were looking for or whether they were successful in their attempts. F5 Labs will continue to analyse the data collected.

“We do not have evidence directly tying this attacking activity to nation-state-sponsored attacks,” the study added.

“However, it is common knowledge that the Russian government has many contractors within Russia doing their bidding, and that a successful attack on a target of interest would make its way through to the Kremlin.”

In response to media queries, the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore said it believes that the numbers indicated in the article by F5 Labs are a result of “increased scanning activities on network ports and are not reflective of the occurrence of cyberattacks” linked to the summit.

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“These activities are opportunistic and originate from different sources,” CSA said. “In the lead-up to the summit, CSA was alerted to possible phishing activities. We stepped up our monitoring and put in place preventive measures to deal with potential cyber threats.

“There were no reports of any successful attacks to our Critical Information Infrastructure sectors and related entities during the summit.”

CSA has reached out to the three event hotels in Singapore – Capella, Shangri-La and the St Regis – to provide edification on cyber-security hygiene measures. These include measures to safeguard the hotels’ networks and systems, as well as guests’ data, and ascertain all were sufficiently protected.

CSA said it also worked with various parties to review the infrastructure and network setup at the International Media Centre to reduce the risks of cyber interruptions.

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