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  1. #3877
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    Default More measures needed to help at-risk Malay youths

    Channel NewsAsia

    By S Ramesh | Posted: 10 February 2011 1554 hrs

    Yaacob Ibrahim Video
    More measures needed to help at-risk Malay youths


    SINGAPORE: Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, has said more preventive and upstream measures are needed to help Malay youths at risk of dropping out of school prematurely or those facing difficulties in school or at home.

    He was speaking at a seminar to enhance engagement with youths on Thursday.

    About 300 participants - comprising professionals from voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), Malay Muslim organisations and other agencies who work with Malay youths and their families - are taking part in the seminar.

    It is organised jointly by the Community Leaders' Forum and the National Council of Social Service.

    Minister Yaacob said that while progress has been made by Malay youths in education, the Malay community must continue to explore ways to support, motivate and empower the youths to go on to lead lives as productive members and leaders.

    The seminar also aims to strengthen the professional development of practitioners in the social service sector as well as the Malay community.

  2. #3878
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    Default More measures needed to help at-risk Malay youths

    Sorry Repetition.

  3. #3879
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    Default Comparing NTUC outlet coffee, tea prices

    The Straits Times
    www.straitstimes.com

    Singapore

    Feb 11, 2011

    By Linette Lin

    Related Link
    Price Comparisons




    Introduced in May 2010 to help union members get the most out of their dollar, NTUC Value Meals were made available in all Foodfare foodcourt stalls. These value meals range from basic food types like chicken rice, to value-for-money popular cuisines like the Korean Saba set. -- ST FILE PHOTO

    IN THE side report to this story is a comparison list provided by NTUC Foodfare.

    Mr Perry Ong, chief executive of NTUC Foodfare Co-operative Ltd, said: 'We strive to make a difference by helping Singaporeans and workers cope with the inflation by holding off any price increase for basic essential beverages for the whole of 2011 and holding off any food price increases for as long as we can. We are able to do this due to our commercial capabilities achieved through the economies of scale.'

    NTUC Foodfare is also expanding its NTUC Value Meals to all 42 retail outlets, up from the current 8 outlets - by Apr 1 2011.

    Introduced in May 2010 to help union members get the most out of their dollar, NTUC Value Meals were made available in all Foodfare foodcourt stalls. These value meals range from basic food types like chicken rice, to value-for-money popular cuisines like the Korean Saba set.

    Union members can expect to save 5%-15% off the normal price. For example, while the public would pay $3.50 for a plate of fried rice at Foodfare's Ang Mo Kio Hub outlet, a union member would only pay $3.00 - which translates to a 14% discount.

    Since the launch of the NTUC Value Meals, the redemption rate among NTUC union members has continued to grow strongly, surpassing 40,000 meals monthly.
    Last edited by Loh; 02-11-2011 at 12:43 AM.

  4. #3880
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    Default Aware's paternity leave scheme, S'poreans divided

    The Straits Times
    www.straitstimes.com

    Singapore
    Feb 11, 2011

    ST POLL WEB EXCLUSIVE


    More than 1,000 Singaporeans responded to an online poll conducted by The Straits Times, giving a mixed response to five policy changes recommended by Aware on paternity leave recently. -- ST FILE PHOTO


    MORE than 1,000 Singaporeans responded to an online poll conducted by The Straits Times, giving a mixed response to five policy changes recommended by Aware on paternity leave recently.

    The gender equality advocacy group's call earlier this week came in the wake of Singapore's fertility rate dropping to a record low.

    About 1,100 readers shared their views with us on whether Aware's recommendations are viable.

    Recommendation 1:

    Make paid paternity leave of two weeks mandatory, with the cost shared between the employer and the state.

    Percentage of respondents who believe this will work - 66%

    Featured comments:

    'Most men's thinking is still very traditional. Besides, they may view this as a hindrance to their work. If a couple were to work in same company, it will be a burden to the company as it means 2 staff members are down.'

    'This will burden the country and company. The employer has no obligation to pay. Why not mandate to revert the employer CPF to 20% instead, which will prove more effective?'

    Recommendation 2:

    Convert the 4th month of maternity leave into 'parental leave' to be taken by either parent, with the state sharing the cost with the employer when the father takes this leave.

    Percentage of respondents who believe this will work - 55%

    Featured comments:

    'Paternity leave should be made separate and distinct from maternity leave. Won't it be a step backwards for maternity leave benefits if the 4th month is utilised in such a way?'

    'Long-term solutions are needed. These one-off baits are just temporary. Parenting is a lifetime commitment, so long-term help for families should be looked into...'

    Recommendation 3:

    Offer a 'parenting present' of $4,000 to couples where the father takes the 4th month of parental leave.

    Percentage of respondents who believe it will work - 54%

    Featured comments:

    'The father will take the leave for the sake of $4000, but whether he will stay at home to take care of the child is another question. Will he simply leave the child with the granny or maid?'

    'Is this supposed to encourage taking the 4th month as parental leave? Think about what's the objective of granting the additional maternity leave to start with. Do not confuse the original intentions.'

    Recommendation 4:

    Convert the currently mandated 6 days of paid childcare leave into dependent's leave, with 'dependents' including older children and parents.

    Percentage of respondents who believe this will work - 64%

    Featured comments:

    'This shows an understanding that everyone has dependents, not just those people with kids.'
    'This is a benefit for parents with young children but perhaps for children from 7 years up to 12 years old, parents can also utilise such 'childcare leave' or flexible time-off for children when they fall sick.'

    Recommendation 5:

    Extend to unwed parents the same parenting leave benefits enjoyed by married parents.

    Percentage of respondents who believe it will work - 53%

    Featured comments

    'We know the government is not encouraging single parenthood. But like every developed country, Singapore has its single parents and we should learn to acknowledge them soon. Rather have single parents who are responsible, than have problematic couples who end up in divorce and a traumatic child.'

    'This addresses only a small percentage. And are you encouraging people to have kids and not go into the commitment of marriage? This will give rise to social issues in the future.'
    Last edited by Loh; 02-11-2011 at 12:56 AM.

  5. #3881
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    Default Insead S'pore to expand campus again

    The Straits Times
    www.straitstimes.com

    Singapore
    Feb 11, 2011

    A decade on, business school is thriving

    By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer


    When the school decided to set up during the Asian financial crisis critics questioned its viability, but it is now expanding for a second time. -- ST PHOTOS: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

    View more photos



    INSEAD, ranked among the world's best business schools, is set to expand its Singapore campus again.
    It is the second time the school has done so since making the 'bold move' of setting up here at the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
    Last edited by Loh; 02-11-2011 at 01:02 AM.

  6. #3882
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default IATA entrenches presence in S'pore

    Channel NewsAsia By S Ramesh | Posted: 10 February 2011 1953 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Giovanni Bisignani


    SINGAPORE : Singapore has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that will entrench the association's presence in Singapore.

    It was inked on Thursday by Transport Minister Raymond Lim and Giovanni Bisignani, director-general and chief executive officer of IATA.

    The Transport Ministry said the MOU is in recognition of the importance of IATA's presence in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region, and symbolises the strong partnership between Singapore and IATA in civil aviation matters.

    It will further enhance the close collaboration between the association and the Singapore government, as well as other local organisations, in the area of civil aviation.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Raymond Lim lauded IATA for its pivotal role in developing the civil aviation industry and expressed optimism on the benefits of IATA's continued presence in Singapore to the region.

    He explained: "With its close working relations with other strategically important aviation bodies, national aviation bodies in other countries and ICAO, IATA is able to influence the thinking of decision-makers in the industry, international organisations and even governments.

    "Looking ahead, I am confident that IATA will continue to serve the region well as it grows its operations here."

    IATA established its Singapore office as its Asia-Pacific Regional Office in 1994.

    Since then, the aviation industry in this region has benefitted from its presence here, said the Transport Ministry.

    IATA has, through various air traffic management initiatives, helped to promote the safety and efficiency of air traffic management, while its Regional Training Centre has become a key human capital grooming and nurturing centre for the industry.

    It has also worked closely with the Singapore government in organising the highly successful series of the Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit, a biennial event that sees senior management of key players in the aviation industry and key government officials exchange views and share insights on issues surrounding the industry.

    The signing of the MOU also marked the successful outcome of a multi-agency initiative, jointly led by the Ministry of Transport and the Economic Development Board (EDB).

    The initiative, which is a part of the EDB's International Organisation Programme, is carried out in partnership with various Singapore government agencies.

  7. #3883
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Special visa for Interpol officials travelling to Singapore

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Sharon See | Posted: 11 February 2011 1515 hrs




    Photos 1 of 1
    Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Interpol Global Complex


    SINGAPORE: The Singapore government will grant a special visa of up to five years for those who need to travel to Singapore for official Interpol duties.

    Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Interpol Global Complex.

    "Interpol recently launched the Interpol Travel Document to facilitate easy travel between countries for holders of the document. In support of this initiative, Singapore will accord special visa status to Interpol Travel Document holders.

    "We will grant a Multiple Journey Visa of up to five years for visa-required nationals who need to travel to Singapore for official Interpol duties on their national passports."

    In regards to the Interpol Global Complex, Mr Shanmugam said the site for the complex was shortlisted after a thorough search to ensure the location would serve Interpol's needs and is befitting of its status.

    The complex will be sited at the Old Tanglin Police Station and will be operational by end 2013.

    He said: "This site bears special significance to the Special Police Force. It was the site of the Tanglin Division headquarters. We felt that by being located in the heart of the embassy belt and city area, the new complex would give Interpol easy access to the international community as well as its local partners."

    Interpol's Secretary General Ronald K Noble said setting up the facility in the Asia Pacific reflects Interpol's status as a global entity.

    By hosting the complex, Mr Shanmugam said Singapore is taking a big step towards strengthening and institutionalising the strong relationship between the two.

    Mr Shanmugam said Singapore's support of Interpol and its initiatives will continue beyond the construction of the complex.

  8. #3884
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    MM Lee urges Singaporeans to stand united

    By S Ramesh | Posted: 11 February 2011 2124 hrs

    SINGAPORE : Singaporeans have been reminded to stand united regardless of race, language or religion.

    Speaking at the annual Tanjong Pagar Lunar New Year dinner on Friday, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew emphasised that as long as Singapore continues to give everyone equal opportunities, the country will do well.

    Minister Mentor Lee said 2010 was a splendid year, with the economy growing 14.7 per cent - thanks to several factors.

    Mr Lee said Singapore's tourism sector received a boost from Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, while the manufacturing sector grew some 30 per cent last year compared to 2009.

    He added that the Trade and Industry Ministry's forecast of a 4 to 6 per cent growth for this year is not bad for a mature economy like Singapore.

    Mr Lee said: "To keep this going at this stage, we need several things. First, stability and confidence of investors. Stability means everybody is satisfied and acts like a good reasonable citizen, he owns his own home, he has got a good job, his children are going to good schools, polytechnics, universities, ITE.

    "All races are given equal treatment, all use the English language, it is a common platform, nobody gets an advantage and it is also the language which has enabled us to connect to the world and get investments in."

    He said that one factor which will help achieve further progress is providing children with better schools and teachers.

    Mr Lee said: "Fair play enables harmony to be maintained. On that basis, we will continue to do well for many, many more years and our children will grow up in one of the most safe, secure and prosperous countries in this part of the world, if not the whole world."

    Mr Lee said that according to the Liveable Cities Index, Singapore is ranked amongst the top five, and all Singaporeans have played their part in achieving this by working harmoniously with the government.

  9. #3885
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    S'pore set to be AsiaPac's 2nd largest casino market this year: observers

    Posted: 13 February 2011 1149 hrs
    *
    SINGAPORE: Nearly one year after opening its casinos, observers said Singapore looked set to overtake South Korea and Australia this year, to become the second-largest Asia-Pacific casino market behind traditional leader Macau.

    "Singapore has made a dramatic entry to the casino gaming market," financial consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report estimating Singapore's casino gaming market at $2.8 billion in 2010.

    It predicted that Singapore would overtake South Korea and Australia this year to become the second-largest Asia-Pacific casino market behind traditional leader Macau.

    "In 2011, with a full-year's operation for both resorts, we expect revenues to reach $5.5 billion, growing to $8.3 billion by 2014," it said.

    The first casino opened in Malaysian-controlled Resorts World Sentosa on February 14, 2010, with US-based Las Vegas Sands following two months later as the world economy was still clawing itself out of recession.

    Resorts World Sentosa also boasts Southeast Asia's first Universal Studios theme park, while Marina Bay Sands has become an architectural icon with its three curving towers topped off by a "SkyPark" shaped like a sleek ocean liner.

    Thanks in large measure to the casino complexes, tourist arrivals in Singapore last year hit 11.6 million, breaking by far the previous record of 10.3 million set in 2007.

    Most of the visitors came from the Asia-Pacific region, with mainland China, Australia, Indonesia and India together accounting for 53 per cent.

    Tourist spending helped fuel Singapore's 14.7 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2010, making it Asia's fastest-growing economy, after a 1.3 per cent contraction in 2009.

    Meanwhile, concerns of gambling addiction continue to worry civic and church groups.

    "Definitely with the opening of the casinos, we have seen an increase in gambling addicts seeking help," said Tan Lye Keng, executive director of One Hope Centre, a Christian welfare organisation for gambling addicts.

    Mr Tan told AFP that S$100 entry levy imposed on Singaporean citizens and permanent residents failed to deter gamblers.

    The government had introduced measures such as the Family Exclusion Orders (FEO) to curb gambling addiction.

    Families can apply for problem gamblers to be banned from entering the casino premises.

    In January, the National Council for Problem Gambling (NCPG) cut the process of FEO application by four weeks.

    Later that month, the National Addictions Management Service said it would develop self-help manuals to help problem gamblers too shy to seek assistance. It said it hopes this would give addicts confidence to turn to professionals for help.

    But the resorts have also created thousands of new jobs for Singaporeans, and tourists rave over non-gambling attractions like Universal Studios.

    "Visitor arrivals have really come in stronger and I think that's a direct spinoff from having the IRs on shore," Barclays Capital senior regional economist Leong Wai Ho told AFP.

    He said the resorts were contributing in the region of 0.3 to 0.4 per cent of GDP, with the potential for that to increase to 0.7 per cent in the near future.

    "That's only when both casinos, both IRs are up and running fully, so we're not there yet actually. Contributions to date have been significant, but I think the potential is for more to come," he said.

    In the latest financial statement issued by parent company Las Vegas Sands, Marina Bay Sands was shown to have raked in $1.02 billion in revenues from its casino operations in 2010.

    Resorts World Sentosa declined to disclose specific casino revenue numbers, but its total revenue stood at $1.53 billion for the nine-month period ending September 30, 2010.

    Las Vegas-based casino industry analyst Jonathan Galaviz estimated casino revenue constitutes "at least 60 per cent" of the total for Resorts World Sentosa.

    "Tourism is a critical economic component for Singapore's economy," Galaviz told AFP.

    "The exercise of legalising casino gaming, in the context of integrated resort development, has turned out to be a successful endeavour."

    But Galaviz cautioned that Singapore should not get carried away by the success of the casino-powered resorts.

    "I believe from a public policy perspective, that Singapore should protect itself from gaining the perception by the outside world that it is a casino-centric country," he said.

    "For example, the financial sector in Singapore needs Singapore to be known as a stable, serious, and very ethical place for doing business," he added.

    -AFP/CNA/wk

  10. #3886
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    The Straits times
    Feb 13, 2011

    S'pore tops in building policy, water management
    But it lags behind in renewable energy usage and waste management: Study

    By Lin Zhaowei

    Glimmer of hope

    'Generally, in terms of environmental policy, we started quite late compared to other cities. But it is heartening to see we have caught up in some areas.'

    ASSOCIATE-PROFESSOR WONG NYUK HIEN, a design and environment researcher at the National University of Singapore

    Related Link
    ASIA PACIFIC'S TOP 5 GREEN CITIES

    Singapore is among the top four in a new study ranking Asia-Pacific cities in terms of their 'greenness'. -- ST PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

    SINGAPORE is among the top four in a new study ranking Asia-Pacific cities in terms of their 'greenness'.

    The first comprehensive study of this kind in the region, it names Tokyo, Seoul and Melbourne ahead of Singapore for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and live in a sustainable manner.

    The other cities in the top 10 are Osaka, Sydney, Auckland, Busan, Taipei and Hong Kong.

    The study, conducted by consultancy firm Solidiance, looked at economic, environmental and social factors that contribute to how eco-friendly each city is.

    The criteria included carbon dioxide emissions, renewable energy use, waste output and management, public transport ridership and water management.

    The study highlighted that the urban population has been rising rapidly in the region in recent years, driven by economic growth.

    Coupled with the fact that urbanites account for up to 80 per cent of humanity's global greenhouse gas emissions, Asia-Pacific cities have had to turn to green infrastructure projects to ensure environmental sustainability, said the study.

    Singapore came in No. 1 in terms of water management and green building policy, a further nod to its efforts in these two areas. Last September, the World Green Building Council, based in Canada, gave Singapore high marks in green building efforts and water efficiency in a climate change report.

  11. #3887
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singaporeans celebrate final weekend of Lunar New Year

    Channel NewsAsia By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 13 February 2011 1938 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Singaporeans having yusheng in the Singapore Flyer.
    SINGAPORE: It is the final weekend before the 15-day Lunar New Year celebrations come to an end on February 17.

    And in Singapore, thousands came together for one last round of festivities to mark the Year of the Rabbit.

    At the crack of dawn, the Singapore Flyer was packed with people who were there for a very special breakfast - a salad dish called yusheng, eaten during Lunar New Year.

    It is customary for the salad to be tossed as high as possible for good fortune.

    The event was organised for 646 Chinatown residents and new citizens, and it earned a spot in the Singapore Book of Records for the largest number of people having lo-hei in the air.

    The event was organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee.

    At mid-day, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong joined Geylang Serai residents for a Lunar New Year lunch, kicking it off with the traditional yusheng as well.

    MP for Marine Parade GRC Dr Fatimah Lateef also shared some new year greetings in Mandarin.

    In the evening, about 4,000 grassroots leaders and their families filled the grounds of the Istana, in a special garden party to thank them for their community service.

    They had been invited by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet colleagues.

  12. #3888
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NUS wins a top prize at global law contest

    The Straits Times

    Feb 12, 2011

    NUS team argues its way to Jessup Moot Court contest

    By Lin Yang


    For three hours on Saturday at the Supreme Court, the two sides duelled over a fictitious case involving a border dispute between two countries. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING


    A TEAM of four law students from the National University of Singapore has won the first-ever National Round for the Jessup Moot Court Competition, defeating a team from the Singapore Management University.

    For three hours on Saturday at the Supreme Court, the two sides duelled over a fictitious case involving a border dispute between two countries.

    The case was meant to simulate a dispute in international law.

    Attorney-General Sundaresh Menon, Supreme Court Justice Steven Chong and Second Solicitor-General Lionel Yee presided over the proceedings.

    After two hard-fought sessions that saw the students arguing each side of the case and facing questions from the panel, the three judges unanimously awarded the victory to NUS, according to Mr Menon.

    The competition was named after Philip C. Jessup, the US representative to the International Court of Justice from 1961 to 1970.




    Actual International Contest last year:

    Tuesday, Aug 03, 2010
    Printed from STReader, the Digital Edition for StraitsTimes

    K. C. VIJAYAN



    A TEAM from the Na
    tional University of Singapore (NUS) won a top prize in a global law competition, beating the competition from Harvard University, Oxford University and Beijing Foreign Studies University, among others.

    The NUS foursome took the Richard R. Baxter prize the top award for the submissions of written legal arguments in a dispute between two fictitious states over sovereignty of an island.

    Over 500 law schools from 80 countries took part in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot
    Court Competition the world's largest moot court contest, now in its 52nd year.

    The Singapore winners were Mr Nicholas Lim Kah Hwee, 25, Ms Sarah Lim Hui Feng, 23, Ms Shirin Chua,
    23, and Mr Seow Tzi Yang, 25.

    All but Mr Seow have graduated. Mr Seow, a top student in his third year, is pursuing a master of laws
    degree at New York University (NYU) under an NUSNYU dual degree programme.

    The team's win was NUS' fifth in close to three decades. The last time it won was 14 years ago.

    Its first and probably its best win in 1982 came from a team formed by Mr V. K. Rajah, Mr Steven Chong, Mr Davinder Singh and Mr Jimmy Yim, all of whom have become top legal minds here.

    Justice Rajah now sits on the Court of Appeal, Justice Steven Chong is a High Court judge, Senior Counsel (SC) Davinder Singh is the chief executive of Big Four law firm Drew and Napier and SC Jimmy Yim is its managing partner.

    That 1982 team set a record believed to have been unequalled by any other NUS team.

    It not only won the Baxter Award but also the overall title after the oral presentation rounds and Mr Davinder Singh was named best overall speaker in the competition.

    This year's team (2010) went to Washington for the final oral presentations in March.
    The competition involved an international law suit between two fictitious states Aspatria and Rydal
    before the Interna


    tional Court of Justice.

    The case challenged the participants to argue which state had sovereignty over an island, and how the international investment issues which arose from the dispute should be resolved.

    Mr Seow and Ms Chua represented Aspatria and coauthored the arguments which were judged as the best entry by a panel comprising two former presidents of the International Court of Justice and the legal adviser to the US State Department.

    The winner of the best arguments for Rydal came from the Australian National University (ANU), which
    beat NUS' fifth placing. ANU also emerged overall champions. The results were announced last month.

    Mr Seow said yesterday: 'We thank our coaches, Professor Lim Lei Theng and Ms Hapreet Kaur Dillon,
    and we are also grateful to Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Professor Tommy Koh and SC Davinder Singh who judged our practice moots here before we flew off for the finals.'

    Commenting on the wins, Mr Singh said yesterday: 'NUS has had a remarkable record at the Jessup Moot.'

    (For the photo, please refer to:
    http://law.nus.edu.sg/about_us/news/2010/ST030810.pdf
    The NUS law team that won one of the top awards (from left): Mr Seow Tzi Yang, Ms Sarah Lim Hui Feng, Ms Shirin Chua and Mr Nicholas Lim Kah Hwee. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

    Last edited by Loh; 02-13-2011 at 09:22 PM.

  13. #3889
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    Default S'pore households' median monthly income rises

    Channel NewsAsia
    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 14 February 2011 1129 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Singapore office workers


    SINGAPORE: The Department of Statistics (DOS) said the median monthly income from work among resident households increased by 3.1 per cent last year, recovering to a level higher than before the economic downturn in 2009.

    It rose S$150 dollars to $5,000.

    DOS said in real terms, the increase was 0.3 per cent.

    For employed households, or households with at least one working person, median monthly income from work increased by 2.8 per cent in real terms to S$5,700.

    The department said growth in median monthly household income from work among employed households was higher in smaller housing types than those in bigger housing types.

    In real terms, median monthly household income from work increased by 7.0 per cent for those in HDB one- and two-room flats, 3.6 per cent for those in HDB three-room flats, 2.4 per cent for those in HDB four-room or larger flats and 0.2 per cent for those in private properties.

    This is due to the various government schemes which gave a larger boost to those staying in smaller housing types.

    Resident households in HDB one- and two-room flats received an average of S$2,650 per household member while resident households in HDB three-room flats received an average of S$1,480 per household member.

    This was higher than the S$530 per household member for households in private properties.

    Among employed households, the average monthly household income from work per household member increased by more than three per cent in real terms for all income groups.

  14. #3890
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    Default Guess where's Asia's greenest city?

    Channel NewsAsia
    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 14 February 2011 1414 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1

    SINGAPORE: The Asian Green City Index, a study commissioned by Siemens, has concluded that Singapore is Asia's greenest metropolis.

    The survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) analysed the aims and achievements of 22 major Asian cities with respect to environmental and climate protection.

    Singapore stands out in particular for its ambitious environmental targets and its efficient approach to achieving them.

    The republic received full marks in the Index for having an energy reduction strategy.

    It ranks above average for its robust policies that serve to contain urban sprawl and to protect green spaces from the negative side effects of development.

    Singapore also ranks above average for its extensive public transport network, at 0.21km per square kilometre, which is above the 22-city average of 0.17km per square kilometre.

    In addition, the city generates lower-than-Index-average waste per person, and the authorities collect and dispose all of it.

    Siemens Singapore CEO Lothar Herrmann said the country's many policies, incentive programmes and public awareness campaigns have worked well in improving its urban environment.

    He added what's more commendable is that the Singapore government constantly partners the private sector to find new and innovative ways to boost the island's sustainability.

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    Default The Online Citizen "is a political association"

    Channel NewsAsia
    By S Ramesh | Posted: 14 February 2011 1621 hrs

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    K Shanmugam (file picture)
    SINGAPORE: The Online Citizen is not a passive website which simply hosts social or political commentaries by individuals, says Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

    He adds that the Attorney General's Chambers has advised the government that The Online Citizen is a political association within the meaning of the provisions of the Political Donations Act.

    Mr Shanmugam was speaking in Parliament on Monday.

    Nominated MP Viswa Sadasivan had wanted to know the principal considerations for the government's decision to gazette The Online Citizen as a political association.

    Replying, Mr Shanmugam explained that the website provides coverage, commentary and analysis of political issues and also organises on-line and off-line campaigns to change legislation and government policies.

    The Minister assured the House that declaring The Online Citizen (TOC) as a political association will not impede its freedom of expression.

    Mr Shanmugam said: "It has no impact on any activity TOC wishes to do and that is critical. So whatever netizens or others may think, look at what the consequences are. The consequences are.....TOC cannot receive foreign donations and anonymous donations of over S$5,000."


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    Default FairPrice lowers house brand prices

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Hoe Yeen Nie | Posted: 14 February 2011 1142 hrs

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    SINGAPORE: NTUC FairPrice is giving a flat five per cent discount for 500 house brand items for the next three months starting Tuesday, in a move to ease the pressure of rising food prices.

    These items include essential items such as rice, cooking oil and detergent.

    Customers who hold the Plus!Visa or NTUC Plus! Card would receive a further 10 per cent discount on house brand items.

    These are expected to cost FairPrice S$2.3 million over this period.

    The initiative comes under the supermarket cooperative Stretch-Your-dollar programme which was introduced between 2007 and 2009 amid the economic downturn.

    FairPrice said its house brand products are typically at least 10 per cent lower than market prices.

    Its CEO Seah Kian Peng said FairPrice would monitor inflation before deciding if the scheme would be extended.

    "We've always played the benchmarking role, in our quest to fulfil our social mission," Mr Seah said.

    "And because of the market leadership position that we have, everything that we do will be closely-watched by our competitors, and therefore I believe that what we do today will also lead to our competitors adjusting their prices somewhat."

    Over the last few months, FairPrice has also been increasing its stockpile of rice to about three months' supply, beyond the two-month stockpile required of retailers.

    But Mr Seah said the move is part of routine forward-buying.

    "If we believe that the prices of some of these items are likely to go up, we'll do some forward-buying, stockpile a bit more, and with that, we can hold off price increases, if any, for as long as possible," Mr Seah said.

    He added FairPrice is concerned about the prices of all staples as a whole.

    The co-op runs one of the largest supermarket chains in Singapore, with more than 110 outlets.

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    Default

    The Straits Times


    www.straitstimes.com


    Feb 15, 2011


    Singapore invited to attend G-20 summit in France



    FRANCE wants to push ahead with the transition to a multi-currency global financial system, its Economy Minister said on Monday.

    Ms Christine Lagarde told a news conference in Paris ahead of a meeting of G-20 finance ministers this weekend that the world had to move from the "non-monetary system" it now has to one based on "several international currencies".

    The meeting, which will be the first to be held under France's leadership, is also expected to feature discussions on issues such as creating a system to oversee international capital flows and global economic imbalances.

    Singapore, Ethiopia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and Equatorial Guinea are the five countries outside the G-20 that have been invited to attend the summit.

    Singapore has been invited on account of its leadership role in the Global Governance Group, which is a 27- country-strong coalition of non-G-20 nations in the United Nations.

    This is the second time Singapore has been invited to the summit. Last November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and senior officials attended the G-20 summit in South Korea.

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