Thursday, 10 May 2012

Watz Online - 10 May 2012

SDP, NSP not contesting in by-election

National Solidarity Party secretary-general Hazel Poa (TODAY file photo)
SDP, NSP not contesting in by-election

SINGAPORE - Hours after a nomination date for the Hougang by-election was announced today, two opposition parties have made clear that they will not be contesting in the single-member...
In a statement, the National Solidarity Party's secretary-general Hazel Poa said: "After careful deliberation, the National Solidarity Party has decided that it will not be fielding a candidate in the upcoming Hougang by-election."

Singapore Democratic Party secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said, in a post on the party's Facebook page: "The Singapore Democratic Party had stated previously that we would not contest a by-election in Hougang SMC."

"Our position remains unchanged. We will not be fielding a candidate for this election. This is because our prime concern is that the constituency remains in the hands of the Opposition," said Mr Chee.

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Hougang by-election to take place on 26 May

Polling Day for the Hougang by-election will take place on 26 May, if contested.

Nomination Day will happen on 16 May, between 11am and 12pm, at Serangoon Junior College, President Tony Tan announced in his writ of election issued on Wednesday, after which nine days of campaigning will begin.

The single-member constituency seat was left vacant since 14 February, when former MP Yaw Shin Leong was expelled from the Workers' Party and did not appeal his dismissal.
Read PM Lee's statement on the by-election, which he shared on his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon

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China probing claims of toxic cabbage

China is investigating claims vegetable sellers are spraying cabbage with harmful formaldehyde to keep it fresh, an official said on Tuesday, in yet another food safety scare to hit the country.

Dozens of vegetable dealers in the eastern province of Shandong, a major vegetable supplier, are using the chemical to keep produce fresh on the way to market, media and Internet reports said this week.

Formaldehyde -- commonly used as a preservative for laboratory specimens and embalming -- can be fatal if ingested and is also a cancer-causing substance.

A local government official confirmed the practice and said authorities had started an investigation.

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Asian markets, euro hit by Greek fears

HONG KONG - Asian markets and the euro fell Wednesday on fears Greece could leave the eurozone after the country's second biggest party said it would rip up a bailout deal following weekend elections.

The anti-austerity Syriza leftists said Sunday's polls showed Greeks had rejected the strict cuts imposed as part of plans to clear up Athens' mountain of debts.

Their warning came as European leaders began drawing up plans to introduce more growth measures after furious voters kicked out pro-austerity leaders elsewhere in the continent, including France.

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All stories from the MRT disruption COI

A compilation of all articles on the Committee of inquiry into the MRT disruptions that happened on Dec 15 and 17 last year which affected more than 200,000 commuters.

Led by Judge Tan Siong Thye, the Committee of Inquiry (COI) will also make recommendations and consider suggestions of SMRT, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to improve train operations, prevent the recurrence of such disruptions and enhance the management of such incidents

After the inquiry, the COI will prepare a report with its findings and recommendations. The report is to be submitted to the Ministry of Transport.

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Maids die in Singapore; Indonesia calls for safety

Eight Indonesian maids have fallen to their deaths from high-rise apartments in Singapore this year, and the Indonesia Embassy said Tuesday it is pushing for a ban on cleaning outside windows.

Indonesia, which supplies about half of Singapore's 200,000 maids, has asked employment agencies to include a clause in work contracts that prohibits maids from cleaning the outside of windows or hanging laundry from high-rise apartments, Indonesian Embassy Counsellor Sukmo Yuwono told the Associated Press.

"It's upsetting. These are human beings dying for nothing," Yuwono said.

Singapore is under pressure to improve the working conditions of foreign maids, who live full-time in one in five households in the city-state of 5.2 million people. In March, the government pledged to mandate at least one day off a week for maids starting next year.

Last week, a court fined an employer 5,000 Singapore dollars ($4,000) and barred her from hiring domestic workers in the future after a maid fell and died from her fifth-floor apartment last year while cleaning windows standing on a stool.

Eight maids, all Indonesian, have died after falling out of windows while working this year, five of whom were cleaning windows, Singapore's Manpower Ministry said. Four maids fell to their deaths in 2011.

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Partly nude woman beaten up near Clarke Quay
Partly nude woman beaten up near Clarke Quay 
(Left) The scene of the incident, (right) the partially nude woman was holding her pants and underwear.

A partially nude woman was seen running down Mohamed Sultan Road near Clarke Quay in the wee hours of this morning (8 May).

The bizarre scene was witnessed by a 16-year-old student known only as Lin, who snapped a photo of the woman as he passed by the area in a taxi.

Lin said the woman looked like she was in her twenties and one of her breasts was showing.

She was also holding her pants and her underwear in her hands.

Lin said the woman was chasing four men down the street at about 5.25am. She apparently didn’t seem perturbed by the shocked looks from the public.

Other women who appeared to be her friends were chasing her from behind.

The fleet footed woman managed to catch up with the men only to be ganged up upon and beaten to the ground.

The feisty woman repeatedly tried to get up as the men rained punches and kicks on her.

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Neighbour dispute  turns ugly with woman using her chopper 
The woman hacking at Mr Lin’s gate with a chopper. (Photo / Screengrab of video footage provided by Mr Lin)

A man got the shock of his life when his neighbour charged at him with a chopper.

He apparently hacked at his gate several times as well.

Lin Bo, a businessman, has been staying at Pearl Bank apartments near Outram Park MRT station for the past two to three decades but since the last few months, he's been having to face some drama from one of his neighbours.

The 58-year-old began to find pieces of rubbish frequently thrown onto the corridor outside his apartment.

In the beginning, it was only pieces of tissue left on the ground but it prompted Mr Lin to install a closed circuit television camera to identify the litterbug.

He quickly discovered the culprit to be his neighbour, a woman in her 70s who has also been a resident at the apartments for decades.

The situation got worse towards towards May last year.

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U.S. Millionaires Told to Go Away as Tax Rule Looms

Go away, American millionaires.

That’s what some of the world’s largest wealth-management firms are saying ahead of Washington’s implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as Fatca, which seeks to prevent tax evasion by Americans with offshore accounts. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Singapore Ltd. and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. (DBS) all say they have turned away business.

“I don’t open U.S. accounts, period,” said Su Shan Tan, head of private banking at Singapore-based DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest lender, who described regulatory attitudes toward U.S. clients as “Draconian.”

The 2010 law, to be phased in starting Jan. 1, 2013, requires financial institutions based outside the U.S. to obtain and report information about income and interest payments accrued to the accounts of American clients. It means additional compliance costs for banks and fewer investment options and advisers for all U.S. citizens living abroad, which could affect their ability to generate returns.

“In the long run, if Americans have less and less opportunities to invest overseas, it would be a disadvantage,” Marc Faber, the fund manager and publisher of the Gloom, Boom and Doom report, said last month in Singapore.

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CORRECTED-Singapore says committed to price stability

Reuters - Singapore's central bank is committed to price stability in the medium term and monetary policy should temper but not fully offset cost pressures from the supply side, its deputy managing director Ong Chong Tee said on Monday.

Ong also said inflation was expected to ease gradually over the year but along a somewhat elevated trajectory and that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) policy stance was aimed at keeping the economy on an even keel.

The MAS surprised financial markets last month by saying it will tighten monetary policy slightly because of persistent inflationary pressures.

"With respect to cost pressures arising from the supply side, monetary policy should aim to temper but not fully offset this," Ong told a conference.

"Higher labour costs in the short term due to permanent supply side shifts are part and parcel of the market equilibrating process to guide the economy to a more sustainable growth path."

The MAS recently raised its forecast for headline inflation this year to 3.5 to 4.5 percent and has said higher wages and global oil prices will put upward pressure on prices.

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Man died after being hit by LRT train, coroner told

A 48-year-old packer jumped down a rail track and died after he was hit by a Light Rapid Transit (LRT) train, a coroner's inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Closed-circuit television footage of the April 19, 2011 incident at Petir LRT Station was shown in court at an inquiry into the death of Mr Tan Yio Toh.

Mr Tan was seen taking a lift and emerging at the platform with another passenger, Mr Nur Hidayat Nordin, 19, at about 10.30pm that day.

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Tanker catches fire on expressway

Tanker catches fire on expressway

SINGAPORE: A tanker caught fire on Wednesday afternoon, along the Pan—Island Expressway in the direction towards Jurong.

The incident happened when the tanker was near the CTE exit.

The civil defence said it was alerted to the incident at 2.54pm.

Firefighters were at the scene within minutes and quickly extinguished the blaze.

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Another Hyundai Sonata taxi catches fire
ComfortDelGro and Komoco Motors launch investigation
For the second time in two weeks, a Hyundai Sonata ComfortDelGro taxi has caught fire along an expressway - and the taxi operator has pledged to recall its taxis once it is certain of the cause or causes.
In the meantime, Komoco Motors, which is the official distributor for Hyundai cars here, will send a "specialist team of technicians to conduct a full investigation at all ComfortDelGro taxi service centres next week".
No one was hurt in both instances. Nevertheless, Komoco said in a statement that the incidents were "regrettable". It added that the technicians will carry out "random inspections of all high-usage taxis and ensure minimum recurrence of the incidents".

Residents need to play role in ensuring common areas are free from fire hazards

Residents must play their part in ensuring common areas are free from obstruction and fire hazards.

The Coordinating Chairman for PAP Town Councils, Teo Ho Pin, hopes more residents will help keep watch of common areas at HDB flats.

The authorities say there has not been a noticeable increase in the number of complaints from residents.

But it's hoped more will play their part in ensuring the area is tidy.

This comes as two fires broke out in Toa Payoh and Marsiling in the past week, after items were left at lift landings.

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