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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

Outbreak at Secret Service Training Center Underlines Proximity of Virus to White House

Rick Nelson, a former official on the National Security Council under the George W. Bush administration who dealt with homeland security issues, said few other law enforcement agencies faced such pressure to continue operations while at the whims of political candidates prone to travel.

“They have a relatively small work force that doesn’t allow them to absorb and respond to the fluctuation,” said Mr. Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’re at higher risk than the general public because they can’t do their job if they’re social distancing.”

The Secret Service trains its officers and agents at a sprawling campus in Laurel, Md. The center has mock versions of Air Force One, Marine One, the president’s helicopter and the White House grounds. There is a large parking lot where agents learn how to drive the hulking armored limousine the president is driven in, which is known as the Beast. A nearby garage houses many of the older limousines that the agency has used in recent decades.

As cities began to carry out social distancing guidelines in the spring, the Secret Service closed its training facility in Maryland from March to June 1. Agency officials said it reopened after four months in part to respond to mounting pressure to add to the nearly 7,800 employees in the agency. An inspector general report in 2016 found the agency’s training “continues to be hindered by low staffing levels and high operational demands on the work force.”

The agency enacted various safety procedures, including relocating classes outdoors, instituting temperature checks and requiring agents to wear personal protective gear while participating in close-contact drills, according to Julia McMurray, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, who declined to provide a total number of confirmed cases among agents.

“Any U.S. Secret Service

L.A. Angels star Albert Pujols, wife start new cafe concept that helps equip adults from vulnerable situations with vocational training, life skills

COSTA MESA (KABC) — The Los Angeles Angels missed the playoffs this year but Albert Pujols and his wife, Diedre, are keeping busy. The couple launched Open Gate Kitchen, a new cafe concept fueling social good, which equips adults from vulnerable life situations with vocational training and life skills.

Fernando Escobar is now head cook and manager of the restaurant; but a few years ago, he didn’t know where his next meal would come from. Open Gate International helped turn his life around through culinary school.

“My life was in the place of darkness and addicted to meth and alcohol and I ended up in the streets homeless,” said Escobar.

Making food takes Escobar back to days in the kitchen with his mother; Christmas with his family. It now gives him a feeling of empowerment.

“To be a part of something that could possibly help another single parent out there and another single dad to be able to get back on their feet and to provide for their kids is such a humbling experience,” said Escobar.

Diedre Pujols is the founder of the non-profit Open Gate Kitchen. The Costa Mesa restaurant offers life coaching, culinary training and job placement programs to people like Escobar.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” said Diedre.

The mission is a personal one for Pujols. Her own past struggles with addiction and bad choices help her connect with the students here.

“At 19, I didn’t even want to live anymore and so I feel like there’s a way that I can identify with a lot of these individuals who come in,” said Diedre.

Her husband, L.A. Angels first baseman, Albert Pujols, says he worked hard for his own dreams, and he’s helping his wife do the same for their community.

“Their teachers, they get the best