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Thread: Singapore Also Can
05-17-2010, 10:29 PM #1820
Nanyang Poly sees 3 pioneer batches of students graduate
17 May 2010 2253 hrs
By Evelyn Choo
SINGAPORE : Three pioneer batches from Nanyang Polytechnic graduated on Monday.
The students received their diplomas in Space & Interior Design, Visual Communication, and Motion Graphics & Broadcast Design.
Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Lui Tuck Yew, applauded the polytechnic for its collaborations with industry partners.
The students are all set to enter the creative industries.
Jed Zheng, a graduate in Motion Graphics & Broadcast Design, Nanyang Polytechnic, said: "Jobs are pouring in - every day, every week. You get calls and calls that they want to do a promo, a corporate video, event and such. So I would say it's really a good industry to go into right now."
05-17-2010, 10:42 PM #1821
Singapore sees in NZ an important & growing partner
17 May 2010 2146 hrs
By S Ramesh
SINGAPORE: Singapore sees in New Zealand an important and growing strategic partner.
President S R Nathan said Singapore welcomes New Zealand's active engagement with Southeast Asia and ASEAN, and New Zealand's commitment to the East Asia Summit.
He was speaking at a State banquet for the visiting New Zealand Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand on Monday.
President Nathan said the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into effect in January this year, will lead to stronger and enhanced trade relations.
It brings together a market of more than 600 million people and a combined GDP of around US$2.5 trillion.
President Nathan said the FTA's benefits will be far-reaching.
He added: "As small countries with a common strategic outlook, we have shown unwavering commitment to work together to enhance regional cooperation and trade liberalisation.
"The agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership (ANZSCEP), which came into effect in 2001, was Singapore's first bilateral free trade agreement and New Zealand's second bilateral free trade agreement, after Australia.
"As founding members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which spans Asia, the Pacific and Latin America, we have provided a vital mechanism for wider Asia-Pacific economic integration, which should serve as an important building block for a possible Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific in the future."
President Nathan stressed that although the relationship between the leaders of both countries has traditionally been warm and strong, he is confident the excellent Singapore-New Zealand bonds will be further strengthened.
He elaborated: "Over the years, the links between our countries have grown even stronger and more broad-based.
"Beyond the longstanding defence cooperation with New Zealand, underscored by the signing of the Singapore-New Zealand Arrangement on Defence Cooperation in May last year by our Defence Ministers, our armed forces enjoy excellent working relations with their New Zealand counterparts.
"A deep friendship has been fostered through regular bilateral defence interactions, including joint exercises in both New Zealand and Singapore.
"We have also worked closely together in international security operations, such as in the former East Timor, and currently, in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.
"We also cooperate closely with New Zealand in the Five Power Defence Arrangements, and in multilateral security fora such as the ASEAN Regional Forum.
"Above all, Singapore is grateful for the opportunity to conduct our annual artillery live-firing exercises in Waiouru since 1997."
President Nathan revealed that Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo will be making an official visit to New Zealand in June, and in September this year Singapore looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister John Key on his official visit to the Republic.
He said such exchanges will enhance the existing strong ties of mutual friendship, respect and cooperation that marks relations between New Zealand and Singapore.
Before the State banquet, Sir Anand met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.
Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the two men agreed that both countries would continue working closely to strengthen cooperation.
New Zealand Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand (L) and Singapore President SR Nathan
05-17-2010, 11:13 PM #1822
Brazilian samba for Singapore Grand Prix
17 May 2010 2342 hrs
By Ian De Cotta
SINGAPORE : Exclusive entertainment has been set aside for Bay Grandstand ticket holders at this year's SingTel Singapore Grand Prix from September 24-26.
Only fans paying for the S$298 tickets at the grandstand facing the Marina Bay will get to watch Australian Jack Field, and Frenchmen Julien Dupont and Chris Braund executing stunts like the 180-degree and 360-degree spins and high-level stalls on the floating platform.
The Free Trial Bikes - along with the Warriors of Brazil - were the first two shows rolled out by organisers on Monday for this year's Singapore Grand Prix.
But all ticket holders will have access to the Warriors performance.
The Brazilians are exponents of capoeira, a martial arts form that originated from their country.
They will perform to the beat and dance of the Rhythm Carnival, South America's hottest samba band who have shared the stage with Santana, Fugees, Ricky Martin, Sergio Mendes and Black Eyed Peas.
Singapore GP said the complete offering for this year's race, which are likely to include top international artists, will be unveiled next month.
Last year, Chaka Khan, Backstreet Boys and Travis headlined a full calendar that also had leading DJs and stunt troupes entertaining fans at the Marina Bay circuit during the three days of Formula 1 racing.
But only fans who bought grandstand tickets along the start-finish straight got to watch Chaka Khan.
With the Marina Bay race here gaining a reputation for its food and entertainment around the track, Singapore GP director of operations Sarah Martin said the organisers' aim is to make every year distinct from each one.
"We want to do this by delivering a carnival-like experience that includes a stellar line-up of performances and artistes," said Martin. "Over the past two years, we have received excellent feedback on the additional entertainment value that comes with a race ticket."
05-18-2010, 10:12 PM #1823
Over 70% of applicants to NUS medical school score 4As or better in "A" levels
18 May 2010 2305 hrs
By May Wong
SINGAPORE: Between 2007 and 2009, over 70 per cent of applicants to the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine scored four As or better in the GCE "A" Level Examination.
Education Minister Ng Eng Hen said this in a written reply to MP for Marine Parade GRC, Seah Kian Peng on Tuesday.
Dr Ng added that the school selects applicants with the correct aptitude and passion.
Applicants are also put through rigorous interviews with the interview panel assessing key attributes like integrity and teamwork.
Dr Ng said the attrition rate for the medical school has remained stable at below two per cent over the past three years.
05-18-2010, 10:21 PM #1824
Programme to groom managers & executives to champion company productivity & innovatio
18 May 2010 2200 hrs
By Sharon See
SINGAPORE: Singapore is working to groom a pool of managers and executives to champion the cause of productivity and innovation in their companies. It's doing this through a new programme that aims to produce "agents of change".
In the company of businessmen and key decision-makers at the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation's (SMa's) 78th anniversary dinner on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean used the occasion to rally them to get on the productivity platform.
He also announced the programme by the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to train productivity and innovation managers.
Called the Workforce Skills Qualification Certified Productivity and Innovation Manager (WSQ CPIM) programme, it aims to train people who can drive productivity and innovation within companies.
The pioneer batch will be coached by Japanese professional consultants in areas such the re-engineering of specific business or manufacturing processes.
Teo Chee Hean, chairman, National Productivity & Continuing Education Council, said: “At the basic level, productivity is a measure of how much output you get for a given unit of input. Increasing your productivity means that you are producing more for what you put in, making you more competitive, and giving you more resources to grow your businesses and share with your employees.
“Hence, whether you are an SME or MNC, an employer or employee, increasing productivity makes you more competitive and enables real wage growth.
Renny Yeo, president, Singapore Manufacturers' Federation, said: “If you look at Japan as a country, they've always been able to export their products in spite of the very high cost.
“If you've been to Japan, you'll know the cost there is very high for everything that you do. And yet, they're able to compete in the world. Why? Because the Japanese are very good at continuous productivity improvement and innovation and we think we can learn a lot from the Japanese.”
The programme has attracted companies such as Beyonics Technology.
Its employees are keen and looking forward to the input from their overseas trainers under a structured programme.
It's getting managers to come up with a cost-saving initiative or innovation every three months.
Goh Chan Peng, CEO, Beyonics Technology, said: “We just ask the managers to think and come up with some ideas, discuss with their own department personnel, and it's not formalised. So with this formal programme, we'll bring them the knowledge and hopefully they can think better and be more focused on what we're trying to achieve at the productivity level.”
The company is sending 10 employees for the programme who will then share the knowledge with their co-workers.
Singapore Manufacturers' Federation (pic from SMa's website)
05-18-2010, 10:29 PM #1825
Bilbao City clinches inaugural Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize
18 May 2010 1913 hrs
By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid
SINGAPORE : The northern Spanish city of Bilbao has been named the winner of the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.
This is to recognise the local government's efforts in transforming the city into a vibrant metropolis.
Bilbao is home to some one million people and landmarks, such as the Guggenheim Museum.
But transforming it from a dilapidated industrial city into what it is today was not an easy task.
It took some 25 years and 25 urban projects to do so. Much of which was geared to kick-start the economy, clean up the environment and improve the quality of life of its people.
Jon Azua, former deputy prime minister, Basque County, said: "The most important was first of all to recover the self-esteem of the people. Secondly, this is not easy, transforming a city is very complex, you need vision, you need leadership, you need commitment."
Bilbao edged out 77 other nominations for the prize.
Mayor of Bilbao, Dr Inaki Azkuna, said he hoped Bilbao can provide inspiration for other cities.
And Singapore can learn from Bilbao. Cheong Koon Hean, Member of Nominating Committee and CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, said: "One thing that we can learn from Bilbao is that they have used culture as a way in which they uplift the city, into a new platform, and this is something we can improve on, in terms of our art offerings, in terms of our lifestyle offerings, and these are things we are working towards."
Even as Bilbao City Hall takes centrestage, other nominations have been selected for special mention as their experience could serve as useful learning points for other cities. They are the city of Melbourne; the former mayor of Curitiba and Governor of the State of Parana in Brazil, Jaime Lerner; and the Chief Minister of New Delhi, India, Sheila Dikshit.
The prize includes S$300,000 cash and a gold medallion.
Dr Inaki will receive the award from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at a ceremony on June 29.
The award is a biennial international award to recognise individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the creation of vibrant and liveable communities around the world.
05-18-2010, 10:37 PM #1826
EU diplomats here want to see Silviu Ionescu case resolved and justice done
18 May 2010 1625 hrs
By S Ramesh
SINGAPORE: Foreign Minister George Yeo has assured that the "wheels of justice" are in motion in the case involving former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu. He was responding in Parliament on Tuesday to questions by MPs on the seeming lack of progress on the issue.
In fact the European Union ambassadors here are also watching the case.
Silviu Ionescu is now in remand for 29 days in Bucharest.
Mr Yeo told the house that Romania is investigating him for homicide and negligence, leaving the scene of an accident and making false statements.
Mr Yeo added: "We understand that it is possible for the prosecution to seek an extension of the detention when the 29 days are up. The Romanian legal process has moved into a new phase.
“The Romanian government knows that the country's reputation is at stake and has acted properly. The Romanian foreign minister has personally assured me that they want to see justice served.”
Minister Yeo added that from what's been posted on the Internet, many Romanian citizens also feel that Dr Ionescu has disgraced the country and are deeply ashamed of him and they want their own government to see that justice is served.
On Singapore's end, its special envoy and officials from the Attorney General's Chamber is in Bucharest this week to understand the country's system better.
Mr Yeo continued: "Another reason why our special envoy and AGC officials are visiting Bucharest is to understand the Romanian system better.
“I understand the frustrations of Singaporeans at the pace at which the wheels of law appear to be grinding. But we must respect Romania's legal processes which are different from our legal processes and allow the law to take its course in Romania under their own system. But be assured that the wheels of justice are grinding forward."
Mr Yeo added that Romania is a member of the European Union which places great value on the rule of law.
He related a recent meeting with EU ambassadors who felt that it was not only Romania's credibility at stake.
He said: "The EU considers itself a union of values that among other things, places great store for the rule of law. The EU requires that all its member states subscribe to and uphold the high standards that the EU espouses when they join the EU. The EU ambassadors and European Commission officials we have all talked to understand that not only Romania's credibility is at stake.
“At the cocktail, I could sense palpably, the embarrassment and awkwardness felt by the European Union diplomats.
“They have a rule that in all their foreign missions the national flag flies side by side with the EU flag.
“So strictly speaking even though this is a bilateral matter, there is no doubt that EU diplomats and EU governments feel that they have an interest in seeing the case satisfactorily resolved and justice served."
He added that the Romanian government is aware that if justice is not done, bilateral relations are likely to be affected.
05-18-2010, 10:45 PM #1827
No compromise to concept of IRs, with small portion for gambling
18 May 2010 1803 hrs
By Imelda Saad
SINGAPORE : There will be no compromise to the government's concept of an Integrated Resort (IR) - that allows only a small proportion for gambling.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, made this point while addressing a question in Parliament.
For punters, it is clear that the main draw to Singapore's two Integrated Resorts - Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) - are the casinos, which were launched during Phase One openings of the resorts.
Mr Iswaran said such phased openings are common for large scale projects.
"From an operational perspective, phased openings are necessary to allow the IRs to work through operational issues and to allow employees to familiarise themselves with their new roles and gain confidence for the ramp-up in activities," he said.
"It allows developers to work out operational issues and iron out staff training. We must recognise that these are multi-billion and multi-decade projects," he added.
But the casino licenses will be granted only when authorities establish that at least 50 per cent of the Gross Floor Area (GFA) is completed and at least 50 per cent of the Development Investment (DI) has been expended.
Mr Iswaran said: "This was to ensure that the casino would be allowed to operate only when a significant amount of non-gaming facilities were opened and the integrity of the Integrated Resort concept upheld."
As committed, when the IRs are fully open, gaming areas will take up less than 3 per cent of the Gross Floor Area for Marina Bay Sands and less than 5 per cent for Resorts World Sentosa.
Mr Iswaran pointed out that both IRs have, in fact, opened significant non-gaming facilities.
He said: "RWS soft opened with Universal Studios Singapore (USS), its theatre, part of the Festive Walk, and four hotels. The next phase of its development will include the addition of new attractions in USS, the premier of a locally created circus theatre show, a Marine Life and Water Theme Park, and a Maritime Experiential Museum.
"MBS' preview opening included a significant amount of non-gaming areas such as 963 hotel rooms, retail outlets, restaurants, bars and MICE facilities. MBS expects to open its remaining facilities such as the Skypark, Theatres and Museum by end-2010."
He also addressed concerns from opposition MP Low Thia Khiang that many Singaporeans were hitting the casinos. He felt there is a novelty factor at play, but pledged that agencies are monitoring the trends closely.
Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang said: "There are reports that most visitors to the casinos are actually Singaporeans, is that a concern of the government?"
Mr Iswaran replied: "Obviously we want to ensure that Singaporeans who choose to go to the casinos give due thought to that before they go in and not do it on an impulse - which is why we have a whole slew of measures that have been put in place.
"It would be fair to say that there is a novelty factor in place, and to say that whatever we see at play in terms of numbers, in terms of performance in the first few weeks and months is an accurate predictor of what will be happening 12 months, 24 months down the road, I think may be stretching the argument a little bit."
"I think what I can assure the member is that the agencies are monitoring the situation closely and I think once we have a better sense of the patterns and trends, then I think we will better know how the measures we have put in place are working."
On hiccups faced by conference organisers at Marina Bay Sands recently, Mr Iswaran said Singapore's reputation as a top city for MICE events is not determined by the outcome of a single event.
Singapore hosts 6,000 business events annually, accounting for a quarter of such meetings held in Asia.
"You see the integrated resorts having teething problems regarding its hotel rooms, its conference facilities, its roller coaster but funnily enough not their casinos," said Nominated MP Calvin Cheng.
The conference by the Inter Pacific Bar Association was besieged with problems, ranging from a power failure to lack of air conditioning.
Mr Iswaran replied: "It is not uncommon for projects of such a scale to encounter operational glitches when they commence operations. Nevertheless, it is regrettable that delegates at a recent conference found their experience at MBS to be unsatisfactory.
"I understand that MBS has taken the feedback of its clients into consideration and is already taking steps to address these issues. To put it in perspective, Singapore plays host to 6,000 business events annually, and accounted for more than 25 per cent of the meetings held in Asia in 2008.
"Notable MICE events we have hosted in the past include the IMF-World Bank meetings in 2006 and the APEC Summit in 2009, as well as business events such as the World Dental Federation Congress of 2009."
It may still be early days to say just how much the IRs will contribute to Singapore's tourism dollar, but together, both IRs have contributed more than S$12 billion worth of investments and are creating about 20,000 jobs - of which about 80 per cent have already been realised, with a large proportion going to locals.
05-18-2010, 11:09 PM #1828
Government will continue to invest in polytechnic sector: Education Minister
18 May 2010 1945 hrs
By Surekha A Yadav
SINGAPORE : Education Minister Ng Eng Hen on Tuesday said the government will continue to invest in the polytechnic sector, with about 45 per cent of each Primary 1 cohort expected to take the polytechnic route by 2015.
This includes increasing their capacity by 20 per cent over the next four years.
Dr Ng said this at a graduation ceremony of Singapore Polytechnic (SP).
As Kenneth Chen Yixin collected his diploma, he became graduate number 150,000 - a milestone for Singapore's first polytechnic.
Another graduate, Desmond Thiam, is the first from SP to get a place to study Medicine at the National University of Singapore.
As yet another batch leaves with an industry-skewed education, the Education Minister noted the pivotal role SP has played.
He said SP has been a success on many fronts. Firstly, it has consistently provided a steady stream of technically-skilled labour for Singapore. By the end of the 1970s, SP had contributed over 19,000 graduates to the workforce. This week alone, 5,384 students will graduate and add to the 150,000-strong alumni.
Secondly, Dr Ng said it is a "shining example of how an educational institution can adapt to the times and demands of a constantly-changing economy". Over 88 per cent of its graduates have been employed within six months of entering the workforce, despite weak economic conditions.
Thirdly, SP has groomed versatile, highly-driven individuals with a "can-do" spirit. Dr Ng noted that many SP graduates have moved on to become entrepreneurs and assumed leadership positions in multinational companies.
Dr Ng said: "This is how Singapore Polytechnic keeps up. Each time the industry is ready to build a new one, you supply the manpower - it is a very important component that makes our economy thrive."
Graduates of the new diploma courses like Environmental Management and Water Technology - like Kenneth - are confident they will be sought after in the job market as the water and environmental technology sector is set to expand.
Kenneth said: "I intend to work in environmental-related industries, whether be it water, or land, or waste management, to contribute to the society, in a way that I can help people have a better life."
Desmond said: "Since Secondary 2, I was already very sure I wanted to pursue a career in the area of healthcare and life science, so SP's biomedical science programme greatly appealed to me...and it seemed the logical path to continue on."
Over 5,000 students are graduating from SP this year - a long way from its first batch of 192 in 1961.
In 1961, there were 17 courses. This week, SP's batch of graduates come from 65 diploma and post-graduate programmes.
Ng Eng Hen
05-18-2010, 11:19 PM #1829
Home Team using behavioural sciences, psychology to complement law enforcement
18 May 2010 2232 hrs
By Dylan Loh
SINGAPORE: The Home Team is using behavioural sciences and psychology to complement law enforcement hardware.
The Behavioural Sciences Unit, operational four years ago, is spearheading such efforts.
Law Minister K Shanmugam said research done by the unit has translated into security policies and the training of enforcement officers.
He was addressing experts at a criminal psychology conference on Tuesday.
Mr Shanmugam said police psychologists will also be deployed at the coming Youth Olympics to help officers cope with the stresses of handling security operations.
The minister said: "Our psychologists also collaborate closely with foreign collaborators, our counterparts, in research, on terrorism resilience, detection of deception and correctional psychology fields."
05-18-2010, 11:33 PM #1830
Eco-bridge over BKE
The Straits Times
May 19, 2010
Besides humans, it will allow animals, plants to cross the expressway
By Grace Chua
BUILDERS wanted: [to design and construct an eco-link bridge between two nature reserves that will be accessible to both humans and animals.
The bridge would allow animals and plants to move between Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment area around the reservoirs.
To be planted with grass and native trees and shrubs for creatures from both sides to colonise, the area should become a habitat for wildlife when animals and insects move in.
Now, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is calling for tenders to design and build the 50m-wide green bridge to span the BKE, at about 600m north of Rifle Range Road between the Pan-Island Expressway and Dairy Farm exits. -- PHOTO: NPARKS
05-19-2010, 12:19 AM #1831
S'pore's Fort Knox for fine art, valuables
05:55 AM May 19, 2010
SINGAPORE - Singapore's maximum-security vault for art, gold and valuables, which opened yesterday, will allow the city-state to match Hong Kong and Beijing as an Asian centre for art, said Christie's International's regional chief.
Singapore FreePort has 30,000sqm of strong rooms - enough to cover about six football fields - which are inside Changi Airport, allowing non-resident collectors to store valuables such as jewels and wine without paying taxes or filing customs forms. "It's a state-of-the-art facility," said Mr Francois Curiel, Asia president of Christie's, which has leased a floor to provide storage for private clients. "Singapore will again become an important centre for art."
Shareholders in the project, modelled after the freeports in Switzerland, include the National Arts Council and National Heritage Board as part of the Government's efforts to tap the growing private wealth in the region.
The list of storable items at the Singapore FreePort is extensive, including fine art, jewellery, watches, diamonds, precious metals, antiques, vintage cars, wine, cigars, carpets and confidential documents.
Space in the building is already 98-per-cent leased, and the company is planning to add another 25,000sqm - much of which has already been reserved, said Mr Alain Vandenborre, president and co-founder of the Freeport project with chairman Yves Bouvier. He added: "Singapore is probably the only place like Switzerland that offers the required stability, neutrality and security."
The low, flat, maximum-security building was designed by Swiss architects Benedicte Montant and Carmelo Stendardo, and includes energy-saving features such as a thermal insulating structure and vegetation-covered walls to help maintain the precise temperatures and humidity levels inside. "It's like Fort Knox," said Mr Lorenzo Rudolf, former director of Art Basel.
Collectors who store works will be allowed to exhibit them in the city's museums without having to pay taxes or file customs forms, the Freeport's website says.
At yesterday's opening, Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry and Education) S Iswaran noted that high net-worth individuals in Asia were spending larger chunks of their wealth in "investments of passion", such as collectibles and fine art. Besides catalysing a local industry in such things, Singapore Freeport would also spur the development of related services like specialised logistics, conservation and art investment, said Mr Iswaran. One homegrown firm already benefitting is Helutrans, which handles art logistics for Christie's and other international auction houses. It is expanding into the storage of high-value collectibles, he added.
As well as strong rooms for storage of valuables and basement vaults for gold, the Singapore Freeport also has exhibition space. The first, opened yesterday by Geneva-based art dealer Bartha and Senarclens, will show works by artists including Fernando Botero, Julian Schnabel and Marc Quinn. The exhibition, by private appointment only, runs through May 23. BLOOMBERG
The Singapore FreePort has 30,000 sq m of strong-room space. PHOTO COURTESY SINGAPORE FREEPORT
05-20-2010, 03:00 AM #1832
S'pore 'most competitive'
May 20, 2010
Republic edges past Hong Kong and United States in 'photo finish'
By Fiona Chan
SINGAPORE has jumped ahead of Hong Kong and the United States to snatch the top spot in a closely watched global ranking of economic competitiveness.
The Republic edged ahead of its rivals to assume pole position for the first time in what the compiler of the annual rankings, Swiss business school IMD, is calling a photo finish.
The gap between the three in this latest assessment of the world's economies - which places Hong Kong second and the US third - is less than 1 per cent.
This year's rankings are an upset to what has become the traditional pecking order and mark the first time since 1994 that the US has failed to trounce the competition.
For most of the 1990s and early 2000s Singapore has ranked second, but in recent years it has alternated with Hong Kong for second and third place.
IMD said Singapore and Hong Kong 'displayed great resilience through the crisis... and are now taking full advantage of strong expansion in the surrounding Asian region'. It was particularly impressed with Singapore's 13 per cent growth in the first quarter of this year.
IMD said Singapore and Hong Kong 'displayed great resilience through the crisis... and are now taking full advantage of strong expansion in the surrounding Asian region'. It was particularly impressed with Singapore's 13 per cent growth in the first quarter of this year. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
05-20-2010, 03:11 AM #1833
Singapore's GDP expands by 15.5% on-year, 38.6% on-quarter in Q1
20 May 2010 0819 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore's GDP expanded strongly by 15.5 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2010.
This data far exceeded the initial 13.1% preliminary estimate last month.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis the economy grew 38.6 percent, 6.5 percent more than the official government estimate.
Despite the strong growth, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has chosen not to revise its growth forecast for the economy, keeping it at 7 percent to 9 percent for the year.
The strong momentum seen in the first quarter was broad-based, led by the manufacturing sector which expanded by 32.9 percent.
The electronics cluster enjoyed the strongest growth, underpinned by strong global demand for semiconductor chips.
The construction sector also grew by 13.7 percent, reflecting continued growth in public sector construction activities.
The services producing industries grew by 10.9 percent in the first quarter, due to a broad-based expansion in all services sectors.
In particular, financial services which grew 18.1 percent while wholesale and retail trade grew 17.7 percent on a year-on-year basis.
In its outlook for the year, MTI noted that the US economic recovery is becoming more broad-based.
It said signs of a labour market recovery, coupled with improving business conditions, suggested that private demand in the US will continue to improve.
Growth in key Asian economies, including China, will also likely remain buoyant on account of robust domestic demand, intra-regional trade and fiscal stimulus measures.
The global electronics industry is also seeing a ramp-up in activity due to sector-specific factors, including the corporate IT replacement cycle in the US and inventory restocking in Asia.
The ministry, however, cautioned about downside risks.
It warned of heightened market anxiety over the possibility of a sovereign debt default in Europe and concerns over excessive asset price inflation in emerging Asia.
MTI said if these risks materialise, they could affect the global recovery and negatively impact Singapore.
City skyscrapers in Singapore (file pic)
05-20-2010, 03:25 AM #1834
Tiger Airways inks deal to expand base in Singapore
19 May 2010 2017 hrs
By Janice Teo
SINGAPORE: Low-cost carrier Tiger Airways has signed a three-year agreement that will help to grow its Singapore base. With the deal, it expects to carry even more passengers through Changi Airport.
The airline carried 4.9 million passengers between April 2009 and March 2010. This is a 54 per cent increase over the previous year.
Tiger said it plans to expand its fleet and routes out of Singapore.
To do this, the budget carrier will grow its fleet of 10 aircraft to at least 12 by March 2011.
Tiger also expects to hire more staff as it increases the number of flights within Asia particularly to India and Greater China.
To celebrate the signing of the agreement, Tiger is offering 25,000 seats at one cent plus taxes to selected destinations.
These include Haikou, Macau, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Penang, Hat Yai, Krabi and Phuket.
Rosalynn Tay, managing director, Tiger Airways Singapore, said: “With this deal, it means that it gives us more incentives to drive more passengers through Changi which then means that we're able to reduce our costs. This means that we're able to lower our fares and that makes it far more attractive to the passengers who will then book so the cycle continues." - CNA/vm
05-20-2010, 03:49 AM #1835
S. RAJARATNAM LECTURE BY SM JAYAKUMAR - 'Continuing challenges'
The Straits Times
May 20, 2010
It takes active role in multilateral groupings to overcome smallness: Jaya
By Zakir Hussain
AS A small state in a world dominated by big players, Singapore has had to make sure it stays relevant to the world.
That is why it puts much effort into creating and expanding its diplomatic and economic space, Senior Minister S. Jayakumar said yesterday.
But he cautioned that safeguarding this space, making sure its interests are taken into account, and guarding against complacency are continuing challenges.
He was delivering the annual S. Rajaratnam Lecture, which is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Diplomatic Academy and named after Singapore's first Foreign Minister.
Professor Jayakumar, a law lecturer before he entered politics, was roped in by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to become Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1971 to 1974. He also served as Foreign Minister from 1994 to 2004.
Yesterday, he drew on his years in diplomacy to illustrate the challenges Singapore faces as a small state: 'There is a saying that you are either at the table, or you are on the menu.
Professor Jayakumar, a law lecturer before he entered politics, was roped in by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to become Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1971 to 1974. He also served as Foreign Minister from 1994 to 2004. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK
05-20-2010, 04:50 AM #1836
S'pore has to 'stand our ground'
05:55 AM May 20, 2010
SINGAPORE - From time to time, Singapore has to deal with "diplomatic fallouts" when it applies its laws to foreign nationals who commit crimes here, and comes under "immense pressure" to waive its laws.
Citing the cases of American teenager Michael Fay, who was caned for vandalism, and Filipino maid Flor Contemplacion's death sentence for murder, Senior Minister S Jayakumar said: "Sometimes a matter can be blown up or politicised due to political situations in other countries or sensationalised by their media."
In such cases, he said, "we have to quietly stand our ground". Otherwise, people would come to see Singapore's legal system as having "double standards; one for locals, another for foreigners", said Professor Jayakumar, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.
Delivering the S Rajaratnam Lecture at the Shangri-La hotel yesterday, Prof Jayakumar highlighted how being a small country poses special challenges for foreign policy. Singapore needs to continually search for and create its political, economic and diplomatic relevance, he noted.
He also shared behind-the-scenes nuggets with his audience on the historic Free Trade Agreements (FTA) that Singapore signed with Japan and the United States.
For instance, he revealed, the decision to launch the US FTA "came down to a flurry of fortuitous events and timely intervention".
At an Apec leaders dinner in Brunei in November 2000, US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky told the Singapore team there was no consensus within the administration on the FTA and advised it would be "premature" for Mr Goh Chok Tong, then Prime Minister, to raise the matter with President Bill Clinton.
Mr Goh had a night golf game scheduled with Mr Clinton after the dinner, and Prof Jayakumar felt a great opportunity for the two leaders to discuss the FTA informally was "slipping through our fingers".
He quickly called Mr George Yeo - then Minister for Trade and Industry - over to help push the case to Ms Barshefsky. "She had another huddle with her officials and ... agreed PM Goh could raise the topic with Clinton. George and I managed to catch PM Goh just in time before he went off for his midnight golf game," said Prof Jayakumar. The rest was history.
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