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Uber to stay online till 15 April 2018, revised date since last announced

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In the latest announcement, Uber, which was supposed to be deactivated on 8th April 2018, will now stay functional till 15th April 2018 as the competition watchdog decides on the next appropriate move.

In a statement released on 6th April 2018, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said Uber and Grab have proposed a set of “alternative interim measures” ahead of the commission’s decision to impose its own set of interim measures.

These proposed measures are to help preserve part of the status quo prior to Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s business in the Southeast Asia region.

“To facilitate CCCS’s deliberation on their written representations and the proposed alternative interim measures, the parties have agreed to extend the initial shutdown date of the Uber ride-hailing app in Singapore from April 8 to April 15, 2018,” the commission said in a statement.

Earlier on 30th March 2018, the commission mentioned it had grounds to suspect that Grab and Uber have infringed the Competition Act, but would not divulge the reasons for its suspicion.

The authority has proposed interim measures to preserve the competition while it investigates the deal.

These measures, which have not been imposed, included making Grab and its American ride-hailing rival Uber maintain independent pricing, pricing policies and product options as they were before the deal.

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The commission also said then that “if interim measures were to be imposed, both companies must not take any action that will lead to the integration of their businesses in Singapore, and affect the viability and saleability of the businesses.”

They also “should not take actions that could prejudice the commission’s ability, power and options to subsequently direct the divestment of business operations in the affected markets.”

Transport researcher at the National University of Singapore Lee Der-Horng said a consolidation of the ride-hailing market was inevitable.

“It is undeniable that commuters and drivers alike have benefited from the intense competition between Grab and Uber for the past years. But with both companies burning furiously through venture capital funds and are still not profitable, it is a no-brainer that such a situation is not sustainable,” he said.

“It is unrealistic for commuters, drivers and the government to expect this situation to continue in perpetuity.”

A Grab spokesman added: “Grab continues to engage closely with the CCCS. We’ve had productive discussions on our alternative proposals, which more appropriately address the CCCS’ objectives during this interim period, and which takes into account our role in Singapore’s vibrant point-to-point transport industry and how Grab serves commuters and drivers.”

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“We hope the CCCS will complete its review in an expeditious manner, so that we can continue competing with incumbent transport companies and with new entrants.”

In the meantime, this bonus extension gives Uber drivers “more time to sign up for alternative platforms”.

Additionally, Uber told the Philippine competition commission that its exit from the region was final.

According to social media site Rappler, Uber Asia Pacific chief business officer Brooks Entwistle said: “Our funding is gone. Our people are gone. We don’t intend to come back to these markets.”

Mr Entwistle was speaking at a hearing conducted by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on 5th April 2018.

The PCC has also proposed interim measures on both parties, similar to CCCS’ proposed measures.

At the hearing, Grab’s external legal counsel Arlene Maneja said these measures were “unnecessary” because the commission’s concerns “are not really real”.

Grab said the extension of the Uber app is specific to Singapore, based on its discussions with the CCCS.

Uber had been set to cease operations in Southeast Asia and move its services to Grab’s platform by 8th April 2018.

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Jollibee is finally open at Waterway Point and the queues are insane

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It is no secret that Singaporeans love their fried chicken, especially the ones from the famous Filipino fast-food chain, Jollibee.

When people heard that an outlet would be opening at Waterway Point on 18 July (Friday), you can bet that many people were pretty excited about the news.

And to show their enthusiasm, some people started queueing outside the store from as early as 7.30am.

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Jollibee snapped some pictures of the insane queues and shared them on Facebook to show everyone how well-loved their fried chicken is.

One reason for the long queues was that the first 100 people in the line were entitled to the very adorable Jollibee pillows. The lucky first 5 customers managed to walk away with the limited edition Jollibee Funko POP! Figurine.

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So, if you’re a fried chicken lover and you live near Waterway Point, you definitely need to check Jollibee’s new outlet out (maybe after the queues have died down)!

Address: 83 Punggol Central, Singapore 828763
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Punggol

Photo credits: Jollibee Singapore

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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.

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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.

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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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