Seeing Kim was a historic moment for me, says Singapore resident

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un visits Merlion Park in Singapore ahead of Tuesday’s historic summit with US President Donald Trump. (Reuters)
Updated 12 June 2018
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Seeing Kim was a historic moment for me, says Singapore resident

  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday said hosting the summit will cost 20 million Singapore dollars ($15 million), about half of which will be spent on security.
  • The Gurkha Contingent will be deployed to secure the summit venue. With a reputation for being among the fiercest warriors in the world, the Nepali Gurkhas have since 1949 been recruited as a frontline force in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: Singapore residents braced for major traffic jams and road diversions on Monday as security forces fanned out across the island state ahead of Tuesday’s historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Stringent security measures will be in place until Thursday, police said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday said hosting the summit will cost 20 million Singapore dollars ($15 million), of which about half will be spent on security.

Authorities had warned that there would be roadblocks and increased security checks, especially in marked-out zones where the event will take place and where delegates are expected to stay.

The zones include the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island, where the summit will be held, and the St. Regis Hotel, where Kim is staying; and the Shangrila Hotel, where Trump is staying.

Long lines had formed along the streets toward the St. Regis Hotel when Kim arrived on Sunday night with his convoy of more than 20 vehicles, including an ambulance.

Lee Yoonmi, who lives in the St. Regis Residence next to the hotel, was leaving her apartment when she heard that Kim was coming. She waited for more than an hour before seeing him briefly.

“They were so scary,” Lee said of Kim’s bodyguards. “There were so many of them. They were making sure no one takes pictures of him. If they saw anyone take a photo with their phone, they’d immediately come to you and tell you to delete it.”

Lee, who has been living in Singapore for five years, added: “I’m South Korean, so for us this is once in a lifetime, a historic moment for me and for Singapore.”

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Saturday said his country is hard at work making sure the environment is safe and secure for the negotiating parties.

“My staff in the ministry have… all had sleepless nights answering messages from all over the world, addressing very specific requests — it goes far beyond serving coffee and tea,” he said.

Shawn Ho, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told Arab News: “Singapore is a very open place. We try to check, but obviously we can’t guarantee that everyone who comes in has the best intentions. There’s always an element of risk.”

But despite the risks, Singapore agreed to host the summit because “it knows that it will contribute to peace and stability in the region and in the world,” said Ho.

Thousands of security personnel are out in force, in what could be one of Singapore’s largest security operations.

They include the armed forces, police and auxiliary forces, many of whom had their annual leave frozen in preparation for the summit.

A special guard force, the Gurkha Contingent, will be deployed to secure the summit venue. With a reputation for being among the fiercest warriors in the world, the Nepali Gurkhas have since 1949 been recruited as a frontline force in Singapore.

Lynette Chan, a teacher whose office is in one of the special zones, said she does not mind the traffic diversions: “It’s a short-term inconvenience for a long-term, big-picture gain.”

She added: “It’s a small part to play in helping to create peace in the region. It’s also good for economic and political stability.”

Eunice Shin, who lives in another zone, said: “It doesn’t inconvenience me too much.” Police and reporters are stationed just across from her building, she added.

“Everyone’s really nice. It’s very peaceful,” she said. “My kids are enjoying it with all the fire trucks around. They’re very impressed because you never see any police in Singapore.”


Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

Updated 11 min 32 sec ago
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Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

  • Celia Barquin Arozamena was found in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometers north of Des Moines
  • A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where a suspect was apprehended

AMES, Iowa: A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said Tuesday.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University.
Barquin was found Monday morning in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Des Moines. Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.
Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.
A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.
An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.
Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.
Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her career as a Cyclone with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State’s history to do so.
She became the third Cyclone women’s golfer to compete in the US Women’s Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future.”
Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school.”
“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.