Monday, 23 April 2012

Watz Online - 23 Apr 2012

Welcome to S'pore - but we're getting picky

As Singapore's tourism industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, its contribution to the country's GDP could double to as much as 8 per cent from some 4 per cent in 2011, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief Aw Kah Peng said in an exclusive interview with BT.

What's more, STB hopes to get there by targeting quality tourism and quality visitors - rather than going "after all and sundry" - given Singapore's constraints in land, infrastructure and manpower.

STB has been conducting consumer insight research to establish which travellers it should be targeting and to better understand their decision-making process.

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The uneasy expats

Lack of clarity over whether employment passes, PR permits will be renewed aggravating uncertainty.

A contact for a story said: "We need to talk this week." The reason, as it turned out, was that he had to leave town because his employment pass had not been renewed. And he is not the only one. Other employment pass holders have also been forced to leave and even some permanent residents' (PR) re-entry permits have not been renewed.

While there is plenty of discussion in Singapore about having too many foreigners here, the buzz in the expat community is about how uncertain it is whether they can continue to live here.

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SPECIAL REPORT: The underage prostitute scandal

48 men have been charged in court for paying for sex with
an underage prostitute. The accused include civil servants, high
flyers in the finance industry, and other notable figures.

The underage prostitute, now known as Miss XXX, is believed to be a Singaporean student who is svelte and buxom.

80 men have been implicated. More charges are expected to be filed

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Miss XXX's appointment schedule

The New Paper
Thursday, Apr 19, 2012

The alleged pimp, Tang Boon Thiew, kept records of the underaged prostitute's liaisons over a year.

Sept 23, 2010
- 3.33pm to 4.24pm. Room 1011, Hotel 81 Bencoolen. Chiang Meng Chuan, 31.
- 7.30pm to 9pm, Room 1559, T2 Marina Bay Sands. Lee Vin Sen, 35.

Sept 24, 2010
- Evening. Unit at Block 39, Cambridge Road (near Little India). Reyner Desvando Suhartono, 28.

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Singapore to lend IMF $5 billion

Singapore on Friday (April 20) joined the ranks of the Group of 20 (G-20) countries by contributing a US$4 billion (S$5 billion) loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help troubled economies.

This is part of the broader international effort to boost the IMF's lending capacity, which managing director Christine Lagarde wants to increase by US$400 billion.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Friday announced that Singapore will make a bilateral loan of US$4 billion to the IMF but stressed that this contribution will be by way of contingent loans to the Fund, and not directly to countries borrowing from it. "Hence, as with our permanent capital subscriptions to the IMF (or quota subscriptions), this bilateral loan will remain part of Singapore's Official Foreign Reserves," MAS said in a statement.

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Bukit Panjang LRT services hit by 2½-hour disruption

SINGAPORE - The Light Rail Transit (LRT) service at Bukit Panjang was hit by a disruption yesterday afternoon. The train fault affected services between Bukit Panjang and Senja stations.

The disruption, which took about two and a half hours to remedy, occurred at 4.45pm. All three service lines were affected at different points, with disruptions along Service A and Service C occurring first, while Service B was stopped for nine minutes to facilitate the detrainment of passengers aboard the Service A train.

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Goal to make S'pore free of shark's fins

SINGAPORE - A series of anti-shark's fin campaigns by various groups are taking place islandwide over the next few months with a common goal: To make Singapore fin-free in the near term.

The advocates are arguing for a ban on trade of the popular dish and its consumption at official banquets and functions. They are also hoping to persuade Chinese restaurants here to remove the dish from their menus and corporate events.

Two communities - Chong Pang and Canberra under Nee Soon GRC - have banned the dish from being served at official functions.

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Indonesian suspect in online vice ring case allowed to leave S’pore

Reyner Desvando Suhartono, an Indonesian businessman who was one of the 48 men charged with having paid sex with a minor, was granted permission to leave Singapore to get married back home.

According a Straits Times report, the court heard that Suhartono had made arrangements for his 2 June wedding as far back as November 2011 before the authorities called him up.

Suhartono’s lawyer, Edmond Pereira, got the court to let his client leave for Indonesia during two periods – from Friday to 29 April and from 16 May to 6 June.

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Seven maids have fallen to their deaths this year

An Indonesian maid plunged to her death on Thursday (19 April) from the fifth floor of a flat in Punggol, reported The Straits Times newspaper.

The 34-year-old is suspected to have fallen while cleaning the windows.

The accident occurred at around 5.25am, at Block 174C of Edgedale Plains.

Her employer told Shin Min Daily she was asleep when the maid fell.
She reckoned the maid might have fallen while cleaning the windows.

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MRT breakdowns, like floods, are now part of Singapore life 

Clench your teeth and bear with it -- floods and MRT breakdowns are here to stay.

While #SGFloods is so 2011, #MRTbreakdown is what’s in now.

Wednesday morning’s breakdown on the Circle Line was the third MRT disruption since last Friday and, by all accounts, it won’t be the last.

I’ve lost count of how many have taken this place year alone. But the real clincher for me was when SMRT started handing out chit sheets on Wednesday for those who were going to be late for work or school.

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