Friday, 12 April 2013

Watz Online - 12 Apr 2013

China cracks down on officials who appear poised to flee the country

The Communist Party's top disciplinary body is enacting an "anti-flight" program to keep people in place.

While reportedly earning $365 a month, Chinese Railway Ministry official Zhang Shuguang bought this $840,000 house in Walnut, California

BEIJING — When anticorruption investigators started probing China's high-speed rail program, they discovered that one of the Railway Ministry's chief engineers owned a five-bedroom, five-bath Mediterranean-style house in Los Angeles County.

Zhang Shuguang had bought the $840,000 house in the city of Walnut nine years earlier when he was reportedly earning just $365 a month. His wife and daughter had moved there, which led investigators to suspect he intended to skip out of China to join them.

That made Zhang, 56, what the Chinese call a luo guan, or "naked official." The term refers to an official who has sent his family and money abroad and is poised to make a getaway himself.

The communist government has been trying to put officials on a shorter leash since 2007, amid a flurry of scandals in which public funds were squandered on mistresses, luxury villas, cars and gambling.

Investors pull out $370 million from India-centric funds in May

MUMBAI: Redemption from India-focussed offshore funds by foreign investors in May was the highest monthly outflow in a year as hazy economic prospects amid the falling rupee and slow policy decisions prompted them to pull out of India.

Rating agency Standard & Poor's move to cut India's sovereign outlook to 'Negative' from 'Stable' in the last week of April hastened investor withdrawals worth $370 million from these funds in May, after pulling out $334 million in April.

In February and March (before the S&P re-rating), these funds logged inflows worth $393 million and $14 million respectively, data from fund tracker Morningstar shows.

LinkedIn confirms hacker uploaded over 6.4 million LinkedIn passwords

Your online job resume may not be so secure, with business networking site LinkedIn confirming that user passwords were stolen and uploaded online.

A file containing 6,458,020 hashed user passwords appeared on a Russian forum earlier today. The file did not contain any usernames with the passwords and it is unknown whether that information was obtained as well.

LinkedIn investigated the file and in a blog post confirmed that it contains actual user passwords.

"We want to provide you with an update on this morning's reports of stolen passwords. We can confirm that some of the passwords that were compromised correspond to LinkedIn accounts."

The passwords in the uploaded file are stored as unsalted SHA-1 hashes. While SHA-1 is generally a secure algorithm, it can still be decrypted.

The password hashes also lack an extra layer of encryption that is provided by salting, which helps to protect against common hacking attempts from a list of likely passwords, known as a dictionary attack.

Singapore’s New Cruise Berth Ready to Woo European Ships

Singapore opened its second cruise terminal as operators including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL)seek to tap the region’s growing appetite for travel and make up for slowing demand in Europe.

SATS-Creuers Services Pte, which has a 10-year contract to run the only Asian terminal catering to the world’s biggest class of cruise ships, expects 100,000 passengers in its first year, Chief Executive Officer Melvin Vu said. The center will receive eight vessels by August, including Royal Caribbean’s 15-deck Voyager of the Seas.

“They will deploy to new markets so we may profit from the European turmoil,” Vu said in an interview June 4. “The ships are coming because of the natural burgeoning tourism and travel profile with the middle class in Asia.”

Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea are among Asia markets opening new terminals as worldwide cruise vacationers are forecast to grow to 23 million in the next five years from 18 million in 2011, according to data compiled by the Singapore government. Asia accounts for less than 10 percent of traffic now. The euro-area economy was unchanged last quarter as companies cut spending to weather the sovereign-debt crisis.

Lim Boon Heng joins Temasek Holdings' board


Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings has appointed former minister Lim Boon Heng as a member of its board.

Mr Lim, 64, is currently deputy chairman of the Singapore Labour Foundation. He joined Temasek's board this month, according to Temasek's website, bringing the board's size to nine members.

Mr Lim began his career with shipping giant Neptune Orient Lines before joining the National Trades Union Congress in 1981, a year after he was elected MP for Kebun Baru ward. He was also NTUC secretary-general from 1993 to 2006.

He was formerly People's Action Party chairman and Jurong GRC's anchor minister, and has held several Cabinet positions in the Government.

If we have to, forgo the growth

I am a young Singaporean, and after travelling to remote villages and small cities, I am appreciative of the opportunities I had in Singapore. I believe that many share my sentiments.

Now, with the emphasis on our need to grow, to stay competitive, to have more babies, to increase productivity, may I say that all I want is a stable income and no sudden hikes in living expenses.

I want to settle down, knowing that my flat would be affordable. I wish to have a baby, knowing that I could afford the medical bills. I would have more babies if inflation rates are not high.

I do not need tall skyscrapers sprouting up or double-digit growth; there is no wrong in maintaining the status quo. I can forgo a property boom, knowing that I would not sell my home. I feel marginalised in crowded shopping centres filled with foreign accents.

In short, we are a small country. If our land cannot accommodate the bigger population that our economy demands, then forgo the growth. I would probably be a loser, but I think I would be a happy one.

Casino ban to extend to another 15,000 vulnerable S'poreans & PRs

SINGAPORE: Another 15,000 financially vulnerable Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) will be barred from entering the two casinos in Singapore.

From July 2012, the third-party casino exclusion will be extended to 12,000 individuals who are receiving short to medium term ComCare assistance.

ComCare provides social assistance for low-income individuals and families.

These recipients are mostly unemployed or in financial need.

From August, 3,000 individuals paying subsidised rents for their HDB rental flats, and who have  chalked up rental arrears of six months or more, will also be barred.

The Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry (MCYS) said this is part of its move to strengthen existing social safeguards and to protect the financially vulnerable from casino gambling.

There are currently 28,000 persons who are excluded from the casinos under third-party casino exclusion.

They include undischarged bankrupts and those receiving long-term public assistance and special grants.

Man says sorry for pushing elderly woman off bus


A man who pushed an old woman down a bus along Upper Thomson Road on Tuesday has apologized for his actions, saying he suffers from depression.

Alex Ong, a 25-year-old man, was travelling onboard bus service 167 when he suddenly flew into a rage at an elderly woman for pressing the bell at the last-minute along Upper Thomson Road.

During an ugly spat and shouting match that ensued, he physically threatened to slap the woman, who is 76, before going on to push her down the bus.

The whole scene, which was captured on video and uploaded on YouTube, lasted about two minutes. As of Thursday afternoon, the video has been seen 1,600 times.

Suspected S'porean human smuggler detained in Philippines

MANILA - A Singaporean has been arrested at Manila's airport in the Philippines for allegedly attempting to smuggle a Chinese woman into the United States.

Philippine authorities have detained the Singaporean, who has been identified as Tan Pang Kwang and the Chinese woman, Lim Siow Mei.

Tan attempted to smuggle Lim into the United States as a Singaporean.

They will be subject to deportation proceedings.

They were set to take a Philippines Airlines flight to Los Angeles until authorities discovered inconsistencies in the Singapore passport used by the Chinese woman.

Two Malaysians jailed for possessing ATM skimming equipment

SINGAPORE - Two Malaysian men have been sentenced to six years jail each for possessing skimming equipment to make false ATM cards.

Loke Siew Fei, 27 and H'Ng Gaik Chin, 39, each pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening the Computer Misuse Act and one count of possessing equipment for making a false instrument.

They were nabbed in January at a hotel in Geylang.

The court heard that no accounts were compromised and there was no actual loss to customers.

Details of women who gave sexual favours to ex-SCDF chief


According to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), Peter Benedict Lim Sin Pang is charged with corruptly obtaining sexual gratification on a total of ten occasions from two female vendors and one potential female vendor to the SCDF in return for tenders on IT-related contracts.

If found guilty, the three women may also be charged.

According to Lianhe Wanbao, lawyer Amolat Singh said that the women involved have also broken the law, and are likely to be charged. They face either a fine of up to $100,000 or a maximum jail term of five years, or both.

Lim has not made any plea yet. If he pleads guilty, he is likely to only face three charges, according to reports.

The other seven charges will be taken into consideration during his sentencing.

The three charges are for accepting sexual offers on May 2, 2010 with Pang Chor Mui; on October 18 to 21,2011 with Lee Wei Hoon; and on April 20, 2011 with Esther Goh Tok Mui.

Probation for undergrad who punched, bit, head-butted cops