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Thread: Singapore Also Can
01-15-2013, 09:31 PM #6818
Year of the snake ushered in with two record breaking attempts
Published on Jan 15, 2013
A snake shaped sculpture made from about 850 yellow sky lanterns looms over passers-by along South Bridge Road on Jan 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
By Debbie Lee
This year's Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown from Jan 18 to March 11 will see not just one, but two snake figures weaving through its roads.
Designed by Singapore University of Technology and Design students and faculty, both snake sculptures aim to secure a place in the Singapore Book of Records.
The first snake figure, which is over 108 metres in length, will attempt to set a record for Longest Snake Sculpture. A second sculpture made from about 850 yellow sky lanterns aims to set a record for Largest Sculpture Made From Sky Lanterns.
The 108m-long figure is located near the main arch facing Chinatown Point, while the other snake sculpture looms over passers-by along South Bridge Road.
Visitors can also look forward to a new ticketed lion dance competition on Jan 27 where lion dancers perform on stilts up to 2.5 metres high over a water platform.
01-15-2013, 10:09 PM #6819
Making ends meet: Financing the future of S'pore
by Devadas Krishnadas
04:45 AM Jan 16, 2013
The annual national Budget is something that most Singaporeans take only passing and selective notice of. They should give it more attention.
The Budget is not simply an exercise in national accounting. It is an expression of where the tyre meets the road for policy. No money, no talk as the saying goes.
Singaporeans should take comfort in three important features of the national Budget.
Firstly, unlike almost every other of the world's advanced economies, our Budget is not debt financed. Thus, we avoid being at the mercy of fickle credit markets. The net result is that within the boundaries of our fiscal space, we can act with confidence. This makes us fiscally credible and policy predictable.
Secondly, the Government runs lean comparative to other economies in our GDP per capita bracket. Considering the modern city we inhabit, this means we get considerable bang for each buck of public expenditure.
Thirdly, unlike the other advanced economies, we have been reducing the burden of taxation rather than increasing it.
Direct taxation has fallen over the past decade though indirect taxation has increased. The Government has practised a tax-and-transfers model to moderate the regressive nature of consumption taxation.
LOOMING FISCAL CHALLENGE
To most fiscal planners these features are highly desirable.
However, in recent years - most loudly during the series of political elections over the past 18 months - there has been growing contention that there should be less emphasis on economic growth and greater expenditure on social safety nets.
Well-founded concerns over growing income inequality have also led to suggestions that "something" must be done to countervail this trend.
If we want to increase public spending on social investments, there are three ways to go about it.
The first is to choose different ways to cut up the revenue pie.
This calls for a change in priorities in public expenditure and acceptance of ensuing trade-offs.
The second approach is to increase the revenue pie with higher taxation or a greater share of investment returns from our sovereign wealth funds.
The third approach is to persist with trying to grow the economy and thereby expand the revenue base.
We are facing three large public finance drivers.
The first is the infrastructure needs to support population growth.
The second is the needs of an ageing society. Third is the moderation of growth as we settle into economic maturity.
The fiscal future of Singapore would probably require a mix of all three approaches to public finance. Should these still be insufficient, we would find ourselves resorting to risky measures of debt financing or running down reserves.
WHY WE GROW
Simple budget expansion is not a panacea for the challenges that Singapore and Singaporeans face.
And yes, there is a distinction. When we think about "Singapore", it is as an abstract. Doing so permits policy-makers to arrive at technically-clean policy solutions.
However, it is when there is a need to reconcile these solutions with how we think about "Singaporeans" as a citizenry that policy-making becomes conflicted and sometimes controversial. This is because while policy should be considered a means and, to a considerable degree, can be treated objectively and rationally, the ends are unfailingly political and thus inherently subjective and ideological.
Therefore, the first task of analysis in our consideration of any Budget is to make a distinction between what is policy means and what is political end.
As illustration, let us take the central thesis of the ruling party's political narrative. This concerns the role of economic growth. Is growth a political or policy objective?
A large number of Singaporeans in the recent past have taken issue with the prioritisation of economic growth over social policy considerations. Their occasionally heated, but clearly sincere, perspective is understandable if we accepted two things as fact: The first is that economic growth is a political objective, and the second is that its prioritisation needs to be mutually exclusive to social policy. But neither of these assertions are true.
The political narrative characterises economic growth as a policy, not a political end. The political end is national survival. The rationalisation is that Singapore must have growth in order to prosper and without prosperity, we decline and fail. This is because of two actual facts of economic and political reality.
First, there is no such thing as a "standing still" or "rest point" for the economy. We are either growing or we are contracting.
Second, our survival is conditional on our relevance in the international space. Being a very small country, our only credible channel of relevance is economic. All our other dimensions of engagement, whether political, military and cultural, are conditional on our being economically relevant.
While seemingly objective, this is still arguably an ideological point of view. It would be perfectly possible to take a different view. Radical political ideas in the past have asserted that national survival is not consequential and the greater end is some form of social transformation - anarchy, class dominance, even racial supremacy.
More recently, some have suggested that while national survival was primal, as an idea it need not be indexed to growth but to other measures like "happiness". However, what has hitherto proved impossible is how to make this work.
GROWING FOR WHOM?
In Budget 2011, the Government clearly articulated a shift in emphasis from "quantity" growth to "quality" growth. Budget 2011 set the goal of growth as being real income growth for all Singaporeans.
Providing jobs for all who can work and boosting real incomes make for the best possible social policy formula. It gives our citizens the dignity of taking care of themselves and the sense that they are doing better over time. The mechanism for achieving this target is to improve productivity across the economy.
Achieving productivity improvements is rarely straightforward. But unless the economy restructures onto a more productive plane, we cannot expect to stay competitive. Unless we are competitive, we cannot afford the social investments we commonly desire nor could we keep the ones we already have made. Such is our reality.
Until otherwise proved, we must thus accept that our particular circumstances imply that economic growth as a policy objective is sound and serves the supreme political end, national survival.
Economic growth and social investments are not mutually exclusive. The challenge is how to find a mix where the first can be sustained such that we can continue to afford the price of the second, and where well intentioned social policies do not inadvertently undermine our ability to grow or stay fiscally sound.
ARGUING ABOUT THE 'WHY' AND THE 'HOW'
The future political contests will be on two axes. The first, and more difficult, is the contest of political ends. The ruling party has a well-oiled political narrative. The Opposition could try to present an alternative political narrative to win the support of the people.
The second axis is where the Opposition could embrace the prevailing political narrative and limit its case to arguments about policy means. The second approach need not necessarily weaken any eventual claim by the Opposition to form a government but neither does it help it.
If the Opposition is unable to present a countervailing political narrative, it should avoid confusing the electorate with disputes about what are essentially shared political ends. Their focus should be on the debatable policy means to secure those ends.
Future debates must be characterised by political actors investing energy and intellect to study, compose and present compelling policy ideas to move us forward.
There is an onus on all political actors to premise their platforms on two principles of action. The first is that these platforms should be more than about what they are standing against, and extend to include a clear articulation as to what they are standing for. Second, provide policy solutions on how to actualise their political goals.
A BIG TENT OF IDEAS
One's relationship with the Budget should not be restricted to responding to it upon its release. There is much scope for more participation by academics, civic leaders, the citizenry and all political actors to engage more intensively to generate ideas and feedback to the Budget process.
When doing so, there is an obligation to make clear not only how the suggested policy means serve declared political ends, but also an acknowledgement of the consequential fiscal imperatives.
The Government should erect a big tent for a rigorous debate over policy ideas. If it does, it is up to us to set aside the temptation to merely pin feathers of opinion onto the canvas, and to walk in prepared to share in the heavy lifting of policy solutions.
Devadas Krishnadas is the Director of Future-Moves. He was previously Deputy Director of Fiscal Policy at the Ministry of Finance. This is extracted from a longer article posted at IPSCommons.
Given its small size, Singapore's economic survival is contingent on its relevance in the international space. Photo: Reuters
01-16-2013, 10:33 PM #6820
More new MRT lines to be built by 2030
Published on Jan 17, 2013
The Government has announced a slew of new rail transit projects which will be completed by 2030. -- ST GRAPHIC
By Christopher Tan
The Government has announced a slew of new rail transit projects which will be completed by 2030. By then, Singapore's metro network will increase to 360km, from 178km today. The latest new rail projects were announced by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew during a visit to the Downtown Line 1's Chinatown station Thursday morning confirmed speculation .
The biggest project will be for a 50km MRT line running from Changi to Jurong that will be up by 2030. Called the Cross Island Line, it will pass towns such as Loyang, Pasir Ris, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Timah, West Coast and Clementi along the way. And it will have interchanges with all the current radial lines. Part of the line will have an offshoot that links Punggol to Pasir Ris.
Next is the 20km Jurong Region Line, which is targeted for completion by 2025. It is a H-shaped network linking Choa Chu Kang, Tengah, Jurong East, West Coast, Boon Lay and Jurong West to the North-South and East-West lines. It could be a medium-load system that might have a stop at the Nanyang Technological University.
Also in the works, a 4km line that will make the Circle Line a complete circle, allowing easier access for commuters living or working on the western and eastern loops of the current line when it is completed around 2025.
The Government will also extend the North-East Line by one station north of Punggol. The 2km extension, when done by 2025, will serve the so-called "new Punggol Downtown".
Another 2km extension project, due around 2025, will see Downtown Line 3 join the current East-West and future Eastern Region lines that runs through Marine Parade.
Finally, planners are also considering building a new station along the North-South Line between Yishun and Sembawang stations to serve future developments.
Last edited by Loh; 01-16-2013 at 10:36 PM.
01-18-2013, 04:31 AM #6821
Almost 200,000 homes will be ready in the next four years: Khaw
Published on Jan 18, 2013
Singapore's Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan seen at the press conference where new property cooling measures were announced at the Treasury Building on Jan 11, 2013. On Friday, Jan 18, 2013, Mr Khaw wrote in a blog post to expect almost 200,000 homes to hit the market by 2016. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
By Daryl Chin
Expect almost 200,000 homes to hit the market by 2016. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote this in a blog post on Friday to assuage buyers' concerns in the wake of property cooling measures announced last week.
He noted that the current imbalance in the market, was not due to insufficient building in the past, but the high investment demand today. "The alternative of doing nothing, allowing the prices to run beyond economic fundamentals, will only invite a large and serious price correction in the future. That will not do anyone any good," he wrote.
The slew of measures last week was aimed at protecting first time buyers, and making it harder for investors to take advantage of the current low interest rates and drive up prices. However, he also noted that many of the new rules were "counter-cyclical in nature" and will be lifted when "the market regains its balance"
The properties coming on stream in the next four years includes 80,000 private properties, 10,000 executive condominiums and 110,000 HDB flats. This is equivalent to four Ang Mo Kio towns.
01-18-2013, 04:38 AM #6822
Jet Aviation Singapore triples its maintenance hangar size
Published on Jan 18, 2013
(Left to right): Director of Jet Aviation Daniel Clare, Executive Director of Economic Development Board Lim Kok Kiang, Vice President of Jet Aviation Gary Dolski and Director of Jurong Town Corporation Leow Thiam Seng at the Hangar Expansion Ground Breaking Ceremony held at Seletar Airport on Jan 18, 2013. Jet Aviation Singapore will triple the size of its existing hangar and increase ramp space at its current facilities in Seletar Aerospace Park. -- ST PHOTO: TED CHEN
By Sabrina Tiong
Jet Aviation Singapore will triple the size of its existing hangar and increase ramp space at its current facilities in Seletar Aerospace Park.
Its new hangar will be able to hold an additional five large business jets, which is equivalent to the size of a Boeing-737. Bigger ramp space will also accommodate aircraft. There will also be two storeys of office space and shop space to provide support for maintenance work, and sales and marketing.
The company's expansion is to help meet increased demand for maintenance services, following a growth in business aircraft sales in Asia. Jet Aviation is the authorised service centre for Bombardier, Gulfstream and Boeing business jets.
On Friday it held a groundbreaking ceremony for its expansion which is targeted for completion in the first quarter of 2014.
01-18-2013, 04:47 AM #6823
World's street food culture descends on Singapore
Posted: 17 January 2013 2313 hrs
SINGAPORE: The chance to savour street food from all over the world will arrive in the form of a 10-day food festival.
The inaugural World Street Food Congress features street food from the likes of Indonesian kaki limas, American food trucks, Chinese food inns, and Jolly Jeeps from the Philippines.
The event consists of a two-day conference and networking session, daily feasts put together by street food masters and an award ceremony to crown the best street food hawkers.
The World Street Food Congress aims to preserve the street food culture, professionalise the street food industry and explore new opportunities in this business.
The food festival will be held at the F1 Pit Building and Paddock from May 31 till June 9.
It is organised by food guide publisher Makansutra and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.
A kitchen demonstration hosted by Makansutra founder (left) KF Seetoh. (Photo: Makansutra)
01-20-2013, 01:55 AM #6824
IRCC launches newsletter and song to reach out to the young and old
Published on Jan 19, 2013
The Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) today launched a newsletter and song as part of its efforts to reach out to both the young and old here at the inaugural IRCC Family Day at the Jurong Bird Park, which saw a turnout of about 1,600 IRCC members and their families. -- SCREENGRAB: WWW.IRCC.SG
By Kezia Toh
The Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) today launched a newsletter and song as part of its efforts to reach out to both the young and old here.
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong, officiated the launch this afternoon at the inaugural IRCC Family Day at the Jurong Bird Park, which saw a turnout of about 1,600 IRCC members and their families.
Noting that the IRCC is at the frontline in maintaining harmony in Singapore, Mr Wong said: "It helps us to promote mutual trust, understanding and respect among the different communities.
"And in fact, before there is potential friction or misunderstanding, the IRCC is also there to mitigate between groups."
Last edited by Loh; 01-20-2013 at 01:57 AM.
01-20-2013, 10:14 PM #6825
Summit of top young scientists opens in Singapore
Published on Jan 20, 2013
By Stacey Chia
Top young scientists from around the world have descended upon Singapore for a week-long gathering to discuss how research can address global problems. About 500 people, will take part in the inaugural Global Young Scientists Summit @ One-North, organised by the National Research Foundation and other agencies and institutions.
At the opening ceremony today, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that it is increasingly important for scientists from different parts of the world to collaborate, as many challenges confronting the world are global in nature. DPM Teo, who is also the chairman of the National Research Foundation noted that such an event is part of this effort.
"We want to help build a strong global research network, by helping young researchers to engage and connect with their peers as well as with eminent scientific leaders. we hope that these interactions will also pave the way for future collaborations," said DPM Teo, at the National University of Singapore's University Cultural Centre.
The event, which will run till Friday will feature talks by 15 speakers which includes, Dr Sydney Brenner, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2002, and Dr Dan Schechtman, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
01-20-2013, 10:20 PM #6826
S’pore, US researchers developing portable device for traumatic brain injury
SINGAPORE — A portable diagnostic tool that can quickly detect traumatic brain injury (TBI) and improve treatment is being developed by researchers from Singapore and the United States.
The teams from Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and SFC Fluidics, a US-based biomedical device development company, are working together to develop the device for TBI, a common cause of death and disability caused by blasts, falls, knocks, traffic accidents and assaults.
They want to produce a device that is fully-integrated and has automated biosensors.
All it will take is a drop of blood to detect up to three biomarkers released by the brain after sustaining injury.
These biomarker readings will be displayed on an easy-to-read screen.
An indicator will alert the caregivers on the severity of the injury and enable them to prevent the condition from worsening.
As the device is portable, it will be ideal for diagnosis at the scene of the accident.
Unlike conventional diagnostic tools such as neurological tests and computed tomography or CT scans, the biosensor device does not have to be handled by trained personnel.
The IME is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, which is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent in Singapore. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
01-21-2013, 04:11 AM #6827
Bigger baby bonus and Medisave grants for parents
Published on Jan 21, 2013
Babies in a nursery at Mount Alvernia hospital on Jan 19, 2010. Parents will soon be getting bigger baby cash gifts from the government under broad pro-family measures unveiled on Monday. -- PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
By Jessica Cheam
Parents will soon be getting bigger baby cash gifts from the government under broad pro-family measures unveiled on Monday.
Those with Singapore citizen babies born on or after Aug 26 last year will get $6,000 as a baby bonus cash gift, up from $4,000 before. This applies to the first and second child.
For the third and fourth child, the cash gift will increase to $8,000 from $6,000.
The cash will also be given out more quickly, in three payments over a year, instead of four payments over 18 months previously.
Newborn citizens born on or after Aug 26 last year will also get a Medisave account with a grant of $3,000.
This is to help defray children's healthcare expenses and will be paid in two instalments.
The first half will be paid out when the child's birth is registered, and the remaining half in the subsequent year provided the child remains enrolled in MediShield.
Under the enhanced package, the government will also extend MediShield to cover newly diagnosed congenital and neonatal conditions. This takes effect from March 1 this year.
01-21-2013, 04:16 AM #6828
Government releases new measures to promote marriage and parenthood
Published on Jan 21, 2013
The Government on Monday announced measures under a Marriage and Parenthood package aimed at making Singapore more family-friendly. -- PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
By Jessica Cheam
The Government on Monday announced measures under a Marriage and Parenthood package aimed at making Singapore more family-friendly. These include:
* Housing: Married couples with children under the age of 16 and who are buying HDB flats for the first time will get priority allocation of new flats. Married couples with children who are renting flats directly from the HDB will also be able to do so at affordable rates.
* Cost of raising children: A bigger baby bonus cash gift of $6,000 will be given for the first two births and $8,000 for the third and fourth births. Right now, the baby bonus is $4,000 and $6,000 respectively. Every Singaporean baby will also get a Medisave account with $3,000 in it. MediShield will also be extended to cover congenital and neonatal conditions of babies.
* Paternity leave: The Government will legislate one week of paid paternity leave for fathers. Fathers can also share one week of their wife's maternity leave entitlement.
* Work-life measures: Working mothers who adopt will get four weeks of government-paid adoption leave. Parents with children aged seven to 12 will get two days of childcare leave. In addition, there will be extended maternity protection to cover full term of pregnancy for those dismissed without sufficient cause.
* Support for conception and delivery: The government will co-fund Assisted Reproduction Technology treatments from the current 50 per cent to 75 per cent. Delivery fees in public hospitals will be standardised
The package will cost the government about $2 billion a year, up from the $1.6 billion budget previously.
01-21-2013, 08:53 PM #6829
Channel NewsAsia expands Asia coverage
Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
5 hours 5 min ago
A new Marina Bay Studio will be a key feature as regional broadcaster Channel NewsAsia (CNA) embarked yesterday on a major relaunch — with CNA Managing Director Debra Soon (above) striking a gong at the official relaunch — to provide expanded coverage of Asia.
The result of a collaboration with DBS Bank, the state-of-the-art studio will be showcased during a new one-hour lunchtime show, Asia Connect.
The relaunch will feature a new tagline, ‘Understand Asia’, a new look and a fresh slate of programmes. CNA, a MediaCorp channel, will also boost its programming line-up significantly, and open new bureaus and facilities across Asia, besides producing more original content and news stories for the additional hours of live broadcasting, 24 hours a day, up from the current 20 hours.
01-21-2013, 09:03 PM #6830
Senior Home Care services to be expanded
TODAY File Photo
SINGAPORE - From Dec 17, there will be another 400 more subsidised places for senior home care to help families with frail elderly and persons with disability.
This comes as the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) expands the subsidised Senior Home Care services from mid-December, by appointing two new private sector providers - ECON Healthcare Group and Lentor Residence.
Currently, eligible users of the Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) services receive mean-tested MSF subsidies.
These subsidies will be extended to eligible users of the two new private sector operators.
Families with a frail elderly or person with disability, and with monthly per capita household income of up to S$2,200, can qualify for the subsidies.
They can expect to receive government subsidies ranging from S$12 to S$150 per week.
MSF said with this extension, families will benefit from more choices and greater support in home care for frail seniors and people with disability.
The expansion of Senior Home Care is in line with MSF’s long-term plan to extend home care services to about 4,000 elderly and people with disability by 2016.
It will also help families with frail elderly and people with disability who may need home care services when the mandatory day off for foreign domestic workers is implemented in January.
Today, about 350 families are served by three VWOs, namely NTUC Eldercare, Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities and TOUCH Community Services.
Minister of State for Social and Family Development, Madam Halimah Yacob, said: “This expansion of subsidised home care services through the appointment of two private sector providers is in line with our long-term plans to expand home care to cater to our ageing population.
“More immediately, it will also benefit families who need home care services for their elderly or disabled family members when their domestic workers have their mandatory day off.”
Caregivers, families and persons needing care can contact the Centre for Enabled Living at 1800-8585-885 or visit www.cel.sg. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
01-21-2013, 09:41 PM #6831
Channel NewsAsia expands coverage
By Sharon Tong, May Wong | Posted: 21 January 2013 1230 hrs
SINGAPORE: Regional broadcaster Channel NewsAsia embarked on a major relaunch on Monday to provide expanded coverage of Asia.
Armed with the new tagline "Understand Asia", a new look and a fresh slate of programmes, the move is designed to woo more viewers across the region.
It will boost its programming line-up significantly, as well as open new bureaus and facilities across Asia.
The channel is meeting its competitors head-on in the round-the-clock news cycle.
It will produce more original content and news stories for the additional hours of "live" broadcasting, 24 hours a day -- up from the current 20 hours.
With a fresh new on-air look to reflect the dynamism and energy of Asia, Channel NewsAsia will increase business content by 50 per cent.
A new one-hour financial programme, Business Central, airs at 8pm.
It will feature key stories from the region's financial hubs -- Singapore, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Shanghai -- as well as give viewers insights into daily developments in other key world financial centres from its bureaus in London and New York.
Daytime market reports and key interviews will be conducted out of Channel NewsAsia's latest facility at the Marina Bay Financial Centre in the heart of Singapore's new financial district.
The Marina Bay Studio will be featured during a new one-hour lunchtime show, Asia Connect, which will bring together market reports from Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore and keep viewers on the pulse of Asia.
This state-of-the-art studio is a result of the collaboration with leading Asian bank DBS Bank.
News content is increased by more than one-third.
A daily additional newsbelt called News Pulse, from midnight to 6am, tracks world developments overnight for Asia, with breaking news from the US and Europe.
This will be followed by a new start to Asia's day, with First Look Asia, from 6am.
With a line-up of new programmes interspersed throughout the channel, viewers are given an uninterrupted flow of news through the day.
Channel NewsAsia's managing director, Ms Debra Soon, said as the focus of the world economy shifts towards Asia, the channel is well-positioned to deliver what it has been doing daily since 1999, and help audiences around the world better understand Asia.
She said Channel NewsAsia has made substantial investments to provide more business content about Asia, from Asia.
It intends to increase its lead in covering Southeast Asia better than other broadcasters operating here, as well as provide more coverage on South Asia.
These are part of a drive to deliver insightful documentaries and programmes for viewers.
"All this is to take on our global competitors who are operating in the region, and we will focus on delivering content on Asia better than anyone else we know. As a channel started in response to the the first Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, we believe we are well positioned to tell the story of Asia's progress, dynamism and challenges," said Ms Soon.
CEO and Director of DBS Group, Piyush Gupta, agreed that there is much to take away from Asia's resilient character.
DBS Group chief executive officer Piyush Gupta, said: "There is a lot to learn from Asia as well. The fact that most of Asia did not go through the economic crisis of 2007, 2008 speaks to the resiliency and fundamental robustness that has been built into many parts of the region. This is something which Asia itself learnt from the crisis from 1997 and 1998. Maybe there are lessons from that for the rest of the world as well."
At the channel's launch party at the Marina Bay Studio, the new positioning seems to be resonating.
Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) chief executive officer, Ray Ferguson said: "The world moves very fast. There are more and more surprises, more shocks, more different twists and turns. We have seen a real rise in volatility in the financial markets, now more so than in the last four years of the global financial crisis, and all the aftermath of that. It's really important that everybody in business, investors and people out there are able to tap into the latest information, get good analysis around it, get information that is coming from an Asian perspective and that is what Channel NewsAsia provides."
Simon Ong, group managing director at Kingsmen Creatives, said: "The West is not so exciting now. Everybody wants to come to Asia but Asia is not so simple, it is very complex and we are not just China or India. Southeast Asia is also another exciting area so if they want to come to Asia, they need to know Asia well. I hope Channel NewsAsia can continue to make Asia an exciting place by reporting it to the world."
Channel NewsAsia will also increase content about Asia with 30 per cent more current affairs programmes focused on the region's progress.
These include Power List Asia, which features interviews with top CEOs and tycoons.
Channel NewsAsia's chief editor Lian Pek said the content is also available on a multitude of platforms to further engage viewers.
Ms Pek said: "We know that viewers don't really want to be talked to these days so we are going to take the approach of really engaging our viewers basically by soliciting more views via social media. The style and the format of our presentation are certainly going to be more interactive. So the whole point is really going to be more engaging, more informative and of course, more entertaining."
To provide more in-depth coverage of developments in and around Asia, the channel has also opened more bureaus in places like Mumbai and New Delhi.
Ms Pek said: "We're further differentiating our programming between our Singapore and international feeds because, obviously our audiences are growing beyond the shores of Singapore."
Simultaneous parties were held in Mumbai and Hong Kong to celebrate the channel's expansion.
01-21-2013, 10:31 PM #6832
New Medifund Junior scheme set up
Posted: 22 January 2013 1059 hrs
SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry will pump in an additional S$10 million over the next five years to help needy children with healthcare costs under a new scheme called Medifund Junior.
Children below 18 will be able to tap into this fund to help defray their healthcare costs.
With this new fund, there will now be a dedicated source of financial assistance for bills incurred by sick children from needy families.
The fund will also help defray costs for needy children diagnosed with congenital or neonatal conditions before 1 March 2013.
The government will also set up a Medisave account and deposit a one-off Medisave grant of S$3,000 over two tranches for all Singapore citizens born on or after 26 August 2012.
The move is to support Singaporean families in retaining continuous MediShield protection for their newborns.
City skyscrapers in Singapore. (AFP file photo)
01-23-2013, 12:27 AM #6833
More child and infant care subsidies for lower- and middle-income families
Chan Chun Sing at the YWCA Outram Child Development Centre on Jan 23, 2013. Photo: Ernest Chua
By Ashley Chia
3 hours 36 min ago
SINGAPORE — From April, lower- and middle-income families will be getting more subsidies aimed at making child and infant care services more affordable.
Up to two-thirds of Singaporean households, or families with a gross monthly income of S$7,500 and below, will receive more support in the form of an additional subsidy.
With this initiative, up to two-thirds of households can now benefit from higher subsidies on top of the Basic Subsidy - Ministry of Social and Family Development
Enhanced child card subsidies: Full day child care programme
Monthly Household Income
S$2,500 and below S$440 S$2,501 - S$3,000 S$400 S$3,001 - S$3,500 S$370 S$3,501 - S$4,000 S$310 S$4,001 - S$4,500 S$220 S$4,501 - S$7,500 S$100 Above S$7500 S$0
Under the new framework, eligible families with children in full day child care, will receive between S$100 and S$440 in additional subsidy, while those enrolled in full day infant care will get between S$200 and S$540 in additional subsidy.
The Additional Subsidy replaces the Centre-Based Financial Assistance Scheme for Child Care, which provides child care related financial assistance for families earning S$3,500 and below.
It will be given on top of the current Basic Subsidy, where all parents receive S$300 subsidy for full day child care programmes and S$600 for full day infant care programmes.
“With this initiative, up to two-thirds of households can now benefit from higher subsidies on top of the Basic Subsidy,” said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) today in a statement.
For lower-income families requiring more help, the Government will continue to provide other forms of assistances, such as a one-time start-up grant of up to S$1,000 per child to help with the initial cost of placing a child in a centre, said the MSF.
Details of the new subsidy framework were announced by Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing today. It complements other measures to defray the costs of child-raising under the Marriage and Parenthood Package announced on Monday.
The new framework will increase the Government’s investment in child and infant care by S$105 million, said the MSF. This brings the total budget for Government spending in this area to about S$360 million for the financial year 2013.
Separately, the Government will also expand the number of good quality, affordable child care and infant care places for lower and middle income families, announced the MSF.
The Anchor Operator Scheme will be extended to more operators, and receive “enhanced levels of support”. More details will be released by the second quarter of this year.
“These enhancements are part of the Government’s efforts to improve the accessibility, quality and affordability of early childhood development programmes,” said the MSF.
The Implementation Committee on Enhancing Pre-school Education is reviewing measures to improve the pre-school sector, and will announce the details when ready.
01-23-2013, 12:40 AM #6834
Singapore Institute of Technology holds ground-breaking ceremony at NYP
By Eugene Neubronner
22 hours 35 min ago
SINGAPORE — The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), together with Nanyang Polytechnic, held a groundbreaking ceremony earlier today. The ceremony – the fourth of five such planned – paves the way for construction to begin on the Institute’s on-site campus at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).
The chairman for NYP’s Board of Governors, Mr Tan Pheng Hock, hailed the event, and said SIT’s emphasis on polytechnic graduates paired with overseas universities gives “many the option to get an overseas university education right here in Singapore.”
SIT will start a new course in Electrical Power and Engineering in partnership with Newcastle University later this year at NYP.
SIT eyes bigger sites for main campus
By Eugene Neubronner -
8 hours 22 min ago
SINGAPORE — The country’s fifth publicly-funded university is experiencing growing pains, but the institute is not complaining.
Overbooked courses and plans to expand student intake have the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) looking into possible alternative sites for the university’s main campus. It is currently set to take over the Institute of Technical Education’s headquarters at Dover Drive by 2015.
While the Dover Drive site was conceptualised for 2,000 students, the university plans to increase its cohort size to 3,500 by the end of the decade.
Speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday at Nanyang Polytechnic, SIT’s President-Designate, Professor Tan Thiam Soon, said the Dover Drive site would be able to cope for the “next four to six years”.
Beyond that, more space would be needed. A combination of issues — mostly traffic-related and centred around the Dover Drive site — is what worries the university. But Prof Tan was quick to say there were no concrete plans to move the university from its initial site for now. “These are just options,” he said, “We still have some time to think about it.”
Yesterday’s ground-breaking ceremony was the fourth of five. The SIT is building a satellite campus at each polytechnic to offer courses that complement those by the polytechnic it shares space with. The Nanyang campus is slated to be completed by the third quarter of next year.
Prof Tan said interest continues to be strong for the university. At its open house last weekend at Orchard Road’s *Scape Youth Park, there were more than 400 enquiries for its new course in Electrical Power Engineering, which begins this August in partnership with Newcastle University.
Pointing out that demand for manpower from the energy and energy management sectors is not being met by other universities here, Prof Tan said the resulting jobs for its graduates will demonstrate the viability of the SIT’s course.
Prof Tan also reiterated that the university is committed to starting its own degree courses by 2015 and has already begun hiring staff with this in mind. But it will not be neglecting its tie-ups with foreign universities and will continue to “strengthen” its bonds with its foreign partners, he added.
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