Cabbie finds, returns S$1.1m
A taxi driver has been heralded as a hero after he returned S$1.1 million (US$900,000) in cash to a vacationing Thai couple who left the money in his cab. Sia Ka Tian, 70, was shocked to find the money in a black paper bag on the back seat on Monday after he dropped the couple off at a shopping center. “When I saw the money, I thought trouble is here. I was sure there was at least S$200,000 in the bag,” the Straits Times quoted the 31-year veteran of the taxi business as saying. However, when he took the money to transport company ComfortDelGro’s lost-and-found office, his stunned colleagues counted S$1.1 million in thousand-dollar bills. “The money is unimportant to me. It doesn’t belong to me, so how can I use it?” Sia told the newspaper. The Thai couple reported the loss to the transport company and Sia was waiting for them when they arrived to claim the money. The report did not say what the couple were doing with that large a sum. The driver received an undisclosed cash reward from the grateful couple, whose names have been withheld, and the company also plans to give him an award for good service. “Finding 1 million dollars in cash is not an everyday affair and, in fact, we wonder how many people would have possibly been tempted [to pocket it],” company spokeswoman Tammy Tan said. “We are immensely proud of him and are glad that the passengers recovered their money.”
Facebook arrests criticized
Officials have arrested one young woman for a Facebook post criticizing the shutdown of Mumbai for the funeral of a powerful Hindu fundamentalist politician. Another young woman was arrested simply for hitting the “like” button next to the comment. Analysts and the media yesterday widely condemned the Maharashtra State Government for what they said were attempts to curb freedom of expression. Shops and transportation across Mumbai, India’s financial capital, closed on Sunday for the death of right-wing leader Bal Thackeray. The arrests of the two women on Sunday were seen as a move by police to prevent violence by Thackeray’s supporters. Both women were released on bail on Monday. The women apologized, but angry supporters ransacked an orthopedic hospital run by the uncle of one of the women.
Jay-Z goes truffle hunting
First it was Cristal champagne, Hennessy cognac and the expensive Mercedes Maybach. Now, white truffle traders are wondering if their rare, pricey and prestigious produce will be the next to see demand soar because of an endorsement from hip-hop artist Jay-Z. The multimillionaire rap star headed for Alba over the weekend with a group of friends to eat dishes such as egg, truffle and spinach ravioli and to spend about 15,000 euros (US$19,200) on more than 3kg of the precious food, according to La Stampa. The rap star, who grew up on the tough streets of Brooklyn, even ventured into the woods of Piedmont with a local farmer and his dogs to search out specimens of the truffle.
Cope wins fractious poll
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives chose a right-leaning new leader on Monday in a razor-thin victory — 98 votes — and with so much rancor that some feared the party could break apart. Jean-Francois Cope, a Sarkozy ally who reached out to the far right by leading a legislative effort that banned Muslim veils, defeated former prime minister Francois Fillon in Sunday’s vote.