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Thread: Singapore Also Can
10-09-2009, 11:42 AM #358
A higher profile
The Straits Times
Oct 9, 2009
By Jonathan Wong
SINGAPORE sports officials were Friday celebrating the election of one of their own to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-presidency, calling it a further sign of the country's increasing prominence in international sport.
Many felt that Ng Ser Miang's latest post would help the Republic continue to punch above its weight in sporting matters - like how it beat Moscow last year for the right to stage next year's inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
Having worked closely with Ng during the YOG bid phase, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports Teo Ser Luck praised his passion and commitment.
He said: 'It is not just the YOG that we are bringing to the world. This appointment of one of our elder statesmen will continue the Olympic movement here.
'We are fully connected within the Olympic circle and family and this will enhance our position.'
SingaporeSailing president Low Teo Ping was equally delighted by the news. Recalling Ng's younger days as a national sailor, Low said of his former national teammate: 'He always wanted to take on more responsibility and he has always proved himself capable.'
10-09-2009, 11:43 PM #359
National e-health record system up next Nov
The Straits Times
Oct 1, 2009
Project to capture every person's medical history will involve select group for a start
By Salma Khalik
IT TOOK a year and about 250 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health-care providers, but the national electronic health record (EHR) is finally taking shape.
An ambitious project to capture and record every health episode of each individual from birth to death, the EHR is expected to go live by November next year.
In the first year, only two public hospitals, two community hospitals, the polyclinics and between 50 and 100 general practitioners (GPs) will be involved.
More users and features will be added over the next five years, with the entire system expected to be operational by 2014. By then, all doctors, hospitals and step-down care facilities like nursing homes can be plugged in.
Unlike current medical records, which are piecemeal and held by individual health-care providers, the EHR aims to be comprehensive.
The tender will be awarded this month and the actual building of the system will begin next month.
The first screen will list the patient's previously diagnosed ailments, the medication he is on, immunisations, allergies, medical alerts, latest laboratory results, recent specialist visits and hospital discharge summaries.
Dr Sarah Muttitt, chief information officer at the Ministry of Health Holdings, said by the time the EHR is rolled out next year, all the issues on security, patient confidentiality and data integrity would have been worked out.
Different health-care providers - such as hospital doctors, GPs, nurses and therapists - will get different levels of access.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) is in discussion with the Attorney-General's Office on who and when to give access to confidential and sensitive information, such as sexually acquired diseases and mental illnesses.
e-health will record every health detail about the individual from birth to death. -- PHOTO: AFP
10-11-2009, 11:42 PM #360
World Economic Forum (WEF) Reports
As a guide to one's country economic progress compared to the rest of the world, WEF reports serve a useful purpose.
Singapore's position has not deteriorated generally, but seems to have improved judging from the following two WEF reports for 2009. This is a hopeful sign for Singapore.
1. Global Competitiveness Report 2009
(Singapore improved from position 5 to 3)
Dalian, People’s Republic of China,
8 September 2009
Switzerland tops the overall ranking in The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010, released today by the World Economic Forum ahead of its Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2009 in Dalian.
The United States falls one place to second position, with weakening in its financial markets and macroeconomic stability.
Singapore, Sweden and Denmark round out the top five.
European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following suit. The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has continued its fall from last year, moving down one more place this year to 13th, mainly attributable to continuing weakening of its financial markets.
The People’s Republic of China continues to lead the way among large developing economies, improving by one place this year, solidifying its position among the top 30. Among the three other large BRIC economies, Brazil and India also improve, while Russia falls by 12 places.
Several Asian economies perform strongly with Japan, Hong Kong SAR, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, China also in the top 20. In Latin America, Chile is the highest ranked country, followed by Costa Rica and Brazil.
A number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are in the upper half of the rankings, led by Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Tunisia, with particular improvements noted in the Gulf States, which continue their upward trend of recent years. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana feature in the top half of the rankings, with a number of other countries from the region measurably improving their competitiveness.
2. The Financial Development Report
(Singapore improved from position 10 to 4)
New York, USA
8 October 2009
The world’s largest economies took the biggest hit in the World Economic Forum’s second annual Financial Development Report released today. Global financial centres still lead in the report’s Index, but the effects of financial instability have pulled down their scores compared to last year. The United Kingdom, buoyed by the relative strength of its banking and non-banking financial activities, claimed the Index’s top spot from the United States, which slipped to third position behind Australia largely due to poorer financial stability scores and a weakened banking sector.
The report ranks 55 of the world's leading financial systems and capital markets. It analyses the drivers of financial system development and economic growth in developed and developing countries to serve as a tool for countries to benchmark themselves and establish priorities for reform.
The rankings are based on over 120 variables spanning institutional and business environments, financial stability, and size and depth of capital markets, among other factors.
The financial crisis was acutely felt in most global financial systems and caused most countries’ scores to drop significantly compared to 2008.
“The change in scores does demonstrate the implications of the downturn on our assessment of the long-term development of financial systems,” said Nouriel Roubini of New York University and Chairman, RGE Monitor who is the lead academic on the report.
Germany and France suffered a heavy fall in overall scores that pulled them out of the top 10. They dropped in the rankings but demonstrated financial stability scores that were significantly higher than the United Kingdom and US. Australia showed particular strength this year, a trend that is echoed in many Asia Pacific economies.
The breadth of factors covered in the report means that countries with high financial instability scores like the United Kingdom and US could still achieve a high relative ranking in the Index due to other strengths.
We hope this report will provide some insight as to how the financial crisis has affected the world’s major financial systems. It draws attention to the diversity of factors beyond financial stability that must be addressed to support the role of financial systems in driving economic growth. The United Kingdom and US may still show leadership in the rankings, but their significant drops in score show increasing weakness and imply their leadership may be in jeopardy.” said Kevin Steinberg, Chief Operating Officer, World Economic Forum USA.
Some developing countries performed well in the financial stability section of the Index. Chile came in third while Malaysia, Mexico and Brazil are all in the top 15. Norway and Switzerland took the top two spots in this category.
“Developing countries exhibited a relatively strong showing in the financial stability pillar of the Index. For some, this is the result of learning from the mistakes of past financial crises, while for others it may reflect the relative lack of complexity and global integration of their financial systems,” said Co-Author Nouriel Roubini.
Developing countries also earned many of the top spots with respect to commercial access, which measures the availability of capital through such means as commercial loans, IPOs and venture capital.
Developing countries, however, did not score nearly as well in terms of retail financing provided to individuals and small enterprises through savings and demand accounts, microcredit, ATMs and point-of-sale financial services.
“One possible explanation of these figures is that big corporations in developing countries can access global financial markets, whereas smaller businesses struggle to get the same access,” said James Bilodeau, Co-Author of the report, and Head of Emerging Markets Finance at the World Economic Forum USA.
Changes to this year’s Index include improved data on retail, financial access such as bank account penetration, microfinance and point-of-sale access. Refinements to measures of financial stability were also made.
Last edited by Loh; 10-11-2009 at 11:45 PM.
10-12-2009, 12:39 AM #361
Singapore raises GDP forecast
The Straits Times
Oct 12, 2009
SINGAPORE raised its 2009 economic forecast to -2.5 per cent to -2 per cent after the economy surged for a second straight quarter in the July-to-September period, led by manufacturing.
The revised forecast boosted previous expectation of a contraction of between four per cent and six per cent.
Gross domestic product grew an annualized, seasonally adjusted 14.9 per cent in the third quarter, following a jump of 22 per cent the previous quarter, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Monday.
'A clear but modest recovery is underway globally, at least for the next three or four quarters,' said MTI in a statement. The year-on-year expansion confirmed Singapore's recovery from the worst recession in its history, which began in the second quarter of 2008.
Separately, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) maintained a neutral stance in its twice-yearly currency policy review on Monday, favouring neither appreciation nor depreciation against its trade-weighted basket of currencies. The central bank opted for a de-facto devaluation of the Singapore dollar in April to help reverse a collapse in exports.
Looking ahead, MAS said the economy is not expected to sustain the strong pace of expansion seen in Q2 and Q3. While prospects for the external economies have improved, demand in Singapore's key export markets has yet to recover decisively, it noted.
10-12-2009, 12:56 AM #362
Singapore stock market soars
The Straits Times
Oct 11, 2009
THE local stock market has chalked up spectacular gains of 50 per cent so far this year, outperforming other major financial markets.
For the year to date, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) has gained 50 per cent, based on Bloomberg data.
Analysts said that in recent months, with Singapore firms reporting better than expected second quarter earnings, this has prompted the market to rise as investors are confident the worst is over.
Singapore has also officially emerged out of recession, based on the second-quarter GDP figures.
Businesses have hence turned more optimistic. According to data compiled by Thomson Reuters, Singapore companies expect an overall earnings' improvement of 8.1 per cent compared to last year.
The Singapore market has also benefitted from an inflow of liquidity due to the stimulus efforts undertaken by governments around the world, including the United States and China.
The Singapore market has also benefitted from an inflow of liquidity due to the stimulus efforts undertaken by governments around the world. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
10-12-2009, 03:26 AM #363
Singaporean Samuel Kang wins Australian Junior Squash Title 2009
The Straits Times
October 12, 2009
By Frankie Chee
He became the first foreigner to win the Boys' Under-19 title at the Australian Junior Squash Championships (when the 6th seed beat Queensland's first seed, Sunil Seth, in five absorbing sets 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10 in Sydney.) But there was no welcome party for the young Singaporean when he landed at Changi Airport after achieving that feat.
Samuel Kang, 18, a four-time Singapore National Championship winner, beat Australia's top three juniors en route to winning one of the most prestigious tournaments in the region.
Since its inception in 1958, the Junior Men's title at the Australian Junior Championships has always been won by Australians, including David Palmer and Stewart Boswell, ranked sixth and 16th in the world respectively.
"The top three seeds were doing very well and I didn't think I would stand a chance against them," said the sixth-seeded Kang of his feat in Sydney two weeks ago.
The lack of support and recognition for his achievement does not faze him. He explained "Squash is not as big a sport as before, so it's understandable that other sports get the limelight. Furthermore, as sportsmen, we take part not for the recognition, but to do our best in the tournament."
His achievement is all the more creditable considering that he took up the sport only six years ago, after a sports orientation session for Secondary 1 students at the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). He was not selected for the school team initially, but was accepted after he applealed.
His coaches then were his father, Jeremy Kang, 51, a training manager in a finance company, and his school coach, former national player Victor Koh. He made it to the school's resere team when he was in Secondary 2, before representing the school the next two years.
"When he started off with me, he was very raw," said Koh. "He was just like any other new player learning the basics, but he was hard working and dedicated, often staying back for more training, that's how he became so good."
At 15, Kang was selected for the national junior team. He then took part in his first international competition, the Milo All-Star Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur, where he lost in the first round.
"That was a huge eye-opener for me because I was getting somewhere in Singapore but, when I competed on the international circuit, I was nowhere," he said.
Here he was a name to be reckoned with, as he won the national junior championship twice. He was also a member of the Combined Schools team and captained them in 2006.
The defeat in KL helped the ambitious younster realise that his five-times-a week training was insufficient, as other internationals were doing double that.
He started putting in more hours, while studying at Raffles Junior College, where the former International Baccalaureate student got straight As for his A-level examinations.
His efforts and those of his trainers - who have included former national team coaches Simon Yang and Timothy Arnold and squash legend Zainal Abidin - have paid off this year.
He won his first international title at the Malaysian Junior Circuit Grand Finals in June.
The national serviceman is not done yet. His eligibility to compete in junior championships will end this year, so he is trying to win as many trophies as possible - with the United States Junior Open and the Canadian Junior Open in December his biggest targets.
Next year, he will move on to the senior circuit and register with the Professional Squash Association. He is also looking forward to representing the country at the 2011 Southeast Asia Games.
"I've heard stories about the past, so I hope that Singapore will one day dominate the region's squash circuit again, and be one of the top countries in the sports," he said.
10-13-2009, 12:48 AM #364
Singapore out of recession
The Straits Times
Oct 13, 2009
By Fiona Chan
SINGAPORE'S recession is decisively over after the economy surged with unexpected velocity in the third quarter, growing over the same period a year earlier for the first time in more than a year.
This stellar performance prompted the Government on Monday to raise its full-year forecast for the second time in three months, but it cautioned that this pace of growth is likely to slow.
A 'clear but modest recovery' is under way globally, at least for the next three or four quarters, but economic activity is likely to stay below pre-crisis levels, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
Spending levels in developed economies continue to be weighed down by high unemployment and stagnant income. Uncertainty lingers over how soon and how quickly world governments will scale back stimulus packages, it said.
The good news: Despite possible weak growth and uneven recovery next year, Singapore is unlikely to drop back into recession, barring further financial shocks, said the MTI.
On Monday, it said the economy grew 0.8 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, the most common measure of growth.
The economy grew 0.8 per cent in the third quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. -- PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES
10-13-2009, 12:58 AM #365
Budget 2010 to help firms grow
The Straits Times
Oct 13, 2009
NEXT year's budget will provide new and enhanced programmes to support companies' efforts to grow, innovate and compete based on higher productivity, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The measures will reward firms which create new jobs over the medium to longer term, he told trade unionists and members at the NUTC ordinary delegates conference on Tuesday morning.
Said Mr Lee: 'In the longer term, we cannot prosper again and sustain our growth by keeping workers underemployed and unproductive. We have to pursue higher productivity and build better capability, and move workers from less competitive businesses into newer, expanding ones. We have to foster restructuring, not try to hold it back.'
PM Lee also announced that the Jobs Credit scheme will be phased out after two more reduced payouts next year.
'Keeping the Jobs Credit for too long will delay the necessary restructuring, and discourage labour and other resources from being redeployed to new activities where they can be most productive,' he explained.
On the global economic outlook, he said slower growth is expected in the next one to two years, 'but beyond that, prospects for our region are bright.' Singapore should also see modest but positive growth.
10-13-2009, 01:06 AM #366
Government extends Jobs Credit scheme
The Straits Times
Oct 13, 2009
THE Government will extend the Jobs Credit scheme by another six months by giving two more stepped-down payouts in March and June to help firms hold jobs, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Tuesday.
The first extra payment will be based on employees on the payroll in January, at 6 per cent of salary, and the second will be based on next April's payroll, at 3 per cent of the workers' pay. These additional payments will cost the Government $675 million and will be funded from its regular budget, unlike the earlier payments which came from past reserves, said PM Lee at the NTUC ordinary delegates' conference at Orchid Country Club on Tuesday morning.
The $4.5 billion scheme was part of the Resilience Package in Budget 2009, introduced to help ease companies' operating costs and avoid layoffs of workers during the economic downturn. For every resident worker on their Central Provident Fund payrolls, bosses currently get 12 per cent on the first $2,500 of the employee's monthly wage.
Lauding the scheme as 'an extraordinary response to a grave economic crisis,' Mr Lee said it has done its work and held retrenchment and unemployment numbers down. With the economy now having stabilised, he said it is timely to phase out Jobs Credit and adopt more targeted measures to support economic restructuring and enhance productivity.
On the six-month extension, Mr Lee explained: 'Strictly speaking, it is no longer needed. The economy is now recovering, and some companies are hiring again. But if we withdraw the Jobs Credit completely and suddenly, companies may have difficulties adjusting.'
'We have talked to employers and unions. They understand the need to withdraw the Jobs Credit, but hope to be given another few months. We have carefully considered all views and will extend the programme.'
10-13-2009, 03:58 AM #367
Panels to improve policies
The Straits Times
Oct 13, 2009
INTERACTING in cyberspace is not the only way Reach connects with citizens. The feedback unit also regularly appoints experts' committees to suggest ways to improve existing policies.
Five such workgroups, appointed for a two-year period in September 2007, presented their findings to the relevant ministries late last month.
Each group looked at a specific issue - ageing and health, education, economic and employment opportunities, physical and environmental sustainability, and population and integration.
They listened to presentations by civil servants and read documents on key policies pertaining to their areas of expertise, said family physician Teo Beng See, who was vice-chair of the health and ageing group.
After several presentations from the Ministry of Health and one from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Teo's group decided to focus on how to improve access to community rehabilitation facilities.
A survey of 800 Singaporeans and review of existing rehabilitation facilities yielded two broad findings. 'We realised that these services are not really affordable, and patients do not understand the benefits,' said Dr Teo.
10-13-2009, 11:08 PM #368
Halt in Singdollar's rise
The Straits Times
Oct 13, 2009
It is set to hold steady after MAS stands pat on its monetary policy
By Robin Chan
THE rise of the Singdollar against the United States greenback came to a halt on Monday after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signalled it was not going to change its exchange rate policy.
The Singapore dollar, which is kept within a set range against a basket of other currencies, fell to $1.399 to the US dollar at 5.30pm, after hitting a 15-month high of $1.39 last Thursday.
Despite the slight fall, economists do not expect the Singdollar to lose much more value against its US counterpart. They expect it to trade between $1.37 and $1.40 until the second quarter of next year. This is due mainly to the continued weakness of the greenback and market anticipation that the MAS will eventually allow the Singdollar to strengthen.
Some currency strategists predict that the Singdollar could even hit $1.34 against the US dollar by the end of next year.
In Monday's closely watched statement, the MAS announced it was keeping its monetary policy unchanged, falling in line with central banks in South Korea and the European Union.
Despite the economy rebounding 22% and 15% in the second and third quarters respectively, it cautioned that the strength of Singapore's recovery was expected 'to moderate beyond the initial uplift'.
10-13-2009, 11:14 PM #369
Singapore got submarines or not? Malaysia got 2. Dont play play.
10-14-2009, 12:00 AM #370
In 1995, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) acquired a Challenger class (formerly known as Sjöormen class) submarine from the Swedish Navy and another three in 1997, making them Singapore's first underwater platforms.
As the submarines were designed by the Swedish for operations in the Baltic Sea, various modifications were required to suit them to tropical waters. A comprehensive tropicalisation programme was carried out for all four submarines, which involves installing air conditioning, marine growth protection systems and corrosion-resistant piping.
It is believed that the Challenger class were purchased to develop the required submarine operations expertise before selecting a modern class of submarines to replace them, since all the boats are over 40 years old. The four submarines form the 171 Squadron of the RSN.
1. RSN Crest
2. Launch of RSS Archer in Sweden
3. Launch of RSS Chieftain in Sweden
Last edited by Loh; 10-14-2009 at 12:02 AM.
10-14-2009, 12:17 AM #371
Why Sweden? They are only famous for Abba, meatballs, Ikea and Eurovision song contest.
10-14-2009, 12:23 AM #372
Next: Remaking economy
The Straits Times
Oct 14, 2009
Jobs Credit scheme until June; incentives to boost productivity in the works
By Sue-Ann Chia
EMPLOYERS received good news on Tuesday, not just a six-month extension of Jobs Credit but also more goodies that await them in next year's Budget.
The upcoming offerings are aimed at helping companies boost productivity and devise better ways to do business to bolster Singapore's efforts to transform and grow its economy.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the promise on Tuesday when he also said that companies which spur job creation over the medium to longer term will be rewarded.
He did not elaborate on the new incentives in his 45-minute speech at a labour movement conference, but identified broadly the critical steps that needed to be taken for Singapore's post-recession economy.
'We have to pursue higher productivity and build better capability, and move workers from less competitive businesses into newer, expanding ones.
'We have to foster restructuring, not try to hold it back,' said Mr Lee.
Mr Lee, in looking ahead, envisions a shift from saving jobs, which was critical during the recession, to a new phase of growth that will focus on shaping businesses to stay competitive in a new world economic order.
Singapore has taken steps to find new ways to grow the economy. The high-powered Economic Strategies Committee will unveil its recommendations ahead of Budget 2010.
PM Lee with participants at the NTUC ordinary delegates conference yesterday. He thanked unionists and workers for accepting painful measures such as pay cuts. With him are (from left) labour chief Lim Swee Say and Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
10-14-2009, 12:40 AM #373
Wah luckily no BCer from Sweden, otherwise malu-lah!
Singapore different from Malaysia lah! Second-hand also can. Can save money mah and learn to modify and play around with the internal fixtures and fittings underwater. We have only a small territory to defend unlike our much bigger northern neighbour. So you guys got to spend more money ...
Singaporeans love IKEA and they go there window shopping for trendy ideas. Cheaper this way than employing expensive designers.
And I personally love the "Dancing Queens" from Abba!
So Sweden got quality lah. That's why we buy from them at a huge discount!
10-14-2009, 01:50 AM #374
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