Inmates cook up a storm in Changi catering kitchen as part of training, rehab programme, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – When father-of-two Faruk was sentenced to seven years and 10 months’ jail in 2017 for drug-related offences, he did not expect to find a passion for decorating cakes or learning how to fold pastries while behind bars.

The 38-year-old, who declined to give his full name, spends six days a week in a kitchen as part of his work programme during his incarceration in the Changi Prison Complex.

While his family has yet to try his creations, the former mechanic hopes to make his sons, aged 12 and 13, their favourite strawberry cheesecake, when he is released.

“My family was surprised that I could bake cakes. I could see from their faces that they are happy I’m learning because I have never done this kind of thing before,” said Faruk in a phone interview on Wednesday (Oct 7). “(In the kitchen,) I learnt how to be patient, relax, and come up with more ideas to decorate (the cakes).”

He hopes to work in a pastry shop after his release.

About 30 or so inmates are chosen every year to work in The Changi Tearoom, after they have attended correctional programmes that support their rehabilitation.

They are chosen based on interest or prior experience working in the food and beverage sector. Other programmes include tailoring workshops and working in call centres.

Located in the prison complex, the catering kitchen serves as an industry-standard training ground for offenders.

It is managed by YR Industries, a subsidiary of the Yellow Ribbon Singapore. While the public can usually order catering services from the kitchen, it currently serves only prison staff in the light of Covid-19 safety measures.

Another offender, who wanted to be known only as Michael, said he refined his skills in The Changi Tearoom kitchen.

He is serving a 5½ years’ jail term for drug-related offences. The 29-year-old had previously worked as a chef for a decade before his incarceration in 2018.

Singapore Chefs’ Association chef mentor Dexter Lim (left) plating a course created with Michael. PHOTO: SINGAPORE PRISON SERVICE

He said: “I feel very lucky and very blessed to have this opportunity because there are only so many of us and (I am) able to gain something during this time.”

Michael plans to cook his family and friends a three-course feast after his release. “They deserve everything since I put them through so much and they’ve stood by me, so I want to do what I can for them.”

Faruk, Michael and the other chefs are in the midst of rolling out six-course meals for an online silent auction on Oct 22.

Four sets, each enough to feed four, will be delivered to the highest bidders, with all proceeds going to the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

The menu includes main course options of chicken roulade served with carrot mash and confit asparagus, or seared salmon with butter glazed vegetables, roast potatoes and oriental celery pesto. Dessert will be a florentine blueberry vanilla cheesecake.

They are being mentored by the Singapore

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Notre Dame back in spotlight after president caught in Rose Garden coronavirus storm

Notre Dame is back in the national spotlight after the school’s president, Reverend John Jenkins, tested positive for covid-19 after attending a high-profile event at the White House.

Jenkins was pictured without a mask during a White House event at the Rose Garden nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on September 26. Some students of the school, which has instituted coronavirus mitigation protocols and briefly suspended in-person classes after an outbreak, immediately started a petition calling for the president to resign.

More than ten attendees — including the President of the United States Donald Trump and Jenkins — have since tested positive for covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Rev. Jenkins apologized for attending the event and “failing to lead as I should have.”


‘Frustrated at the hypocrisy of the lack of leadership’

The situation enraged students at the prestigious university.

“Notre Dame is kind of a good example of like a microcosm of the United States in terms of just people are frustrated at the hypocrisy of the lack of leadership,” Makira Walton, a 21-year-old Notre Dame student, told Yahoo Finance. “It’s obviously a very deadly disease and, and we shouldn’t just use statistics to discount what is a loss of life that is very personal to some people — I think that kind of gets lost in translation.”

Walton, who co-authored the petition calling for Jenkins’ resignation, added that while she was “very, very thankful that nobody has seemed to have had very serious symptoms from this White House outbreak, including Father Jenkins,” the situation was frustrating since the school’s leader was “in direct breach of the University’s COVID-19 procedures, as he was recorded shaking hands with several unmasked individuals and photographed sitting without a mask in close proximity to other attendees.” 

In this Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, photo former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, front second from right, speaks with others after President Donald Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington. Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins stands at back right. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
In this Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, photo former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, front second from right, speaks with others after President Donald Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington. Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins stands at back right. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“It’s frustrating,” Patrick Kelly-Dutile, one of the authors of the petition for Rev. Jenkins to resign, told Yahoo Finance. He noted the stress of “having gone through the entire process in the late spring … of going home early from last school year, and having to finish the year remotely, and then going through the lockdown when the entire summer, having to take these sort of preventative measures.” 

The political science and Spanish double major, a junior, has been living on campus housing since early August and was supposed to be studying abroad in London this semester.

“The president of the university — who has brought forth these guidelines for us to follow — deciding that maybe they don’t apply to him,” Kelly-Dutile added, “that seems kind of hypocritical.” 

Jenkins penned an op-ed in the New York Times

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White House pushes for pre-election SCOTUS vote, ‘Zoombie’ storm Paulette and CDC issues Halloween warnings

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump appears to have secured enough Senate support to push a vote on his Supreme Court nominee. “Zombie” storm Paulette has come back to life and Covid-19 claims another victim: Halloween.

Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.

White House gets behind idea of pushing Supreme Court nominee vote before the election

A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation, three NBC News White House correspondents report.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to GOP confidence Tuesday when he threw his support behind Trump’s push to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quickly.

All eyes had been on Romney, often a Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Trump even expressed appreciation toward his frequent foe during a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday, saying: “Thank you, Mitt.”

To date, only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

The president promised to “reveal” his nominee at the White House at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Meantime, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden punted on the hypothetical question of how Democrats should retaliate if Republicans manage to secure their nominee. Asked if he’d be open to expanding on the number of Supreme Court seats if given the opportunity, he demurred.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question. Because it will shift the focus,” Biden said.

The former vice president also won an interesting endorsement Tuesday: Cindy McCain threw her support behind Biden in a stinging rebuke of Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee.

Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals until now.

Cindy McCain’s backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump and give him a boost the crucial swing state

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The Latest: McEnany: White House ‘Fully Engaged’ Amid Storm | Florida News

Here are the latest developments on tropical weather (all times local):

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says the White House is “fully engaged” as Hurricane Sally pounds the Gulf Coast with wind and rain.

Speaking Wednesday morning on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” McEnany said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is also fully engaged and cited President Donald Trump’s issuance of emergency declarations for the affected states.

McEnany didn’t have details on which officials the president had spoken with as of Wednesday morning but said “it’s safe to say the White House has been in active contact with all of these governors.”

Sally made landfall early Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 hurricane with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — City officials in Orange Beach, Alabama, say they’ve received 120 calls after midnight from people whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Sally.

Mayor Tony Kennon says between 50 and 60 people were rescued and are staying in makeshift shelters Wednesday morning.

Kennon also said there are people they haven’t been able to get to because of high water. But he said they’re safe in their homes and will be rescued as soon as the water recedes.

Meanwhile, U.S. Coast Guard crews based in New Orleans are prepared to make rescues if needed, as soon as the storm passes.

Sally made landfall early Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 hurricane with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — A section of Florida’s Highway 98, which runs parallel to the Gulf of Mexico, is blocked by debris and downed power lines as Hurricane Sally moves inland after making landfall on the Gulf Coast.

In a tweet, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office says residents should stay home because roads in the area “are dangerous right now.” The agency says numerous roads in the area are closed due to the storm.

The Category 2 hurricane made landfall early Wednesday morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama, with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph).

The National Hurricane Center says Sally is still Category 2 Hurricane with top winds of 100 mph (155 kph) as it moves inland, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north-northeast of Gulf Shores, Alabama.

That’s where it made landfall at 4:45 a.m. local time Wednesday. Hurricane-force winds still extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 kilometers), so life-threatening conditions are affecting a big stretch of the Gulf Coast.

The hurricane center says “historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding,” with up to 35 inches of rain expected.

Officials in Florida’s Panhandle have shut down Interstate 10 at the Escambia Bay Bridge near Pensacola due to sustained high winds on Wednesday morning. Multiple roads have also been shut down due to flooding in Florida’s Panhandle.

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Hurricane Sally made landfall Wednesday morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a

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Orange skies in California and a dark storm over the White House

More than 190,000 Americans are dead. Millions have lost their jobs. Countless businesses are in ruins. A generation of kids hasn’t gone to school for months.

a man sitting at a table with wine glasses: Visitors are seen in Dolores Park under an orange sky darkened by smoke from California wildfires in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 9, 2020.

© Stephen Lam/Reuters
Visitors are seen in Dolores Park under an orange sky darkened by smoke from California wildfires in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 9, 2020.

Yet despite knowing that the coronavirus was highly dangerous, viciously contagious and much worse than even the most severe flu, President Donald Trump delayed mobilizing the US government immediately. Worse, he refused to share what he knew and warn the American people, insisting everything would be fine.

Oh yes, and it’s all on tape.

A dark storm that has been building for weeks over the White House — in the form of a new book by reporting legend Bob Woodward — burst midmorning on Wednesday. Even by the standards of the Trump administration, this was a political blockbuster to end all blockbusters.

a view of a city

© Provided by CNN

The book “Rage,” due to be published next week, lays bare the most staggering act of presidential negligence of modern times. Unlike the scandals of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, in which political corruption and personal failings mushroomed into cover-ups and abuses of power, Trump’s transgression shows that he abrogated the most basic duty of a president: safeguarding the health and safety of the American people.

It was clear from his actions for months that Trump publicly denied the potency of the virus and played down its impact. But to hear him say that he knew better in audio recordings made by Woodward is something else. By the way, Election Day is less than eight weeks away.

What we’ve learned

‘This is deadly stuff’

Trump told Woodward in a February 7 interview that Covid-19 was airborne and “more deadly than even your strenuous flu.” Yet for weeks afterward, the President told Americans that it was comparable to the flu and predicted that the virus would just go away.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: US President Donald Trump speaks on judicial appointments in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on September 9, 2020.

© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks on judicial appointments in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on September 9, 2020.

Fears of nuclear war

Woodward’s reporting also delves into topics beyond the pandemic. He quotes top US security officials saying they feared a nuclear war with North Korea amid tensions in 2017. Then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis slept in his clothes in case of a launch by the isolated state, and repeatedly went to Washington National Cathedral to pray, according to Woodward.

Love letters

Once they were talking, North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un reportedly flattered Trump in what the President has called “love letters,” writing that another meeting would be like a scene from “a fantasy film” and describing their relationship as a “magical force.”

A secret weapon

Trump boasted to Woodward that the US has a new secret nuclear weapons system. Defense sources confirmed the mystery weapon.

‘We would have saved lives’

Reacting to the Woodward revelations, New Jersey Governor Phil

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