Monday, 14 May 2012

Watz Online - 14 May 2012

Taxi-Ferrari crash: Passenger in Ferrari is a China student

The young female companion of the Ferrari driver involved in the fatal accident on Saturday has been identified as Ms Wu Wei Wei, a student from Wuhan, China.

The woman is one of the two survivors in the accident and, just hours before it, she was said to have been at a graduation party with her classmates.

Though Ms Wu was in the passenger seat of the Ferrari driven by Mr Ma Chi, it is unclear how the two knew each other and how they ended up together that night.

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Wife of dead Ferrari driver wants to know identity of female passenger

The wife of Mr Ma Chi, the driver who died in a traffic accident on Saturday after his red Ferrari crashed into a taxi, wants to know the identity of the woman who was in the car with him.

Lianhe Wanbao reported Sunday that the distraught wife, 29-year-old Ms Ting Ting, had asked reporters about the female passenger, who is said to be a young woman in her 20s.

She suffered from serious head injuries in the crash.

Ms Ting Ting said her husband was an introverted person who liked to drive at night as there was less traffic.

Mr Ma Chi had just returned from a trip to Hong Kong, and liked to meet up with friends after business trips.

When Ms Ting Ting learnt of the accident and that there was a young, female passenger in the car, she was surprised.
She asked who the female passenger was, and which hospital she was warded at.

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Foreigners with TB: Whose responsibility is it?

Employers and the authorities can do more, doctors and NGOs say

As the authorities seek to fend off a resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) here, non-government organisations (NGOs) have backed the medical fraternity's call for more comprehensive screening for foreigners.

The NGOs also proposed that the authorities rethink the repatriation policy for work permit applicants diagnosed with active TB.

Earlier this month, Today reported that two experts - Dr Cynthia Chee and Dr Wang Yee Tang, who are both from the TB Control Unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) - had called on the authorities not to underestimate these foreigners' "potential to spread TB to the community" even though they do not stay here for long.

They also argued that a repatriation policy "has not only potentially devastating consequences for the patient, but would also not serve the greater good of the global community, including our own".

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is currently reviewing its TB elimination programme.

Under the Manpower Ministry's work permit regime, foreign workers who are unable to pass a medical examination, which includes those who have been diagnosed with active pulmonary TB, will have to be repatriated.

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Ferrari crash fuels Singapore anti-foreign sentiment

A wealthy Chinese expatriate who crashed his million-dollar Ferrari into a taxi killing himself and two others has sparked outrage in Singapore, where anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise.

Websites were swamped Monday with postings attacking Chinese and other foreigners in the city-state after it was reported that a 52-year-old local cabbie had died of his injuries following Saturday's pre-dawn accident.

The crash instantly killed the 31-year-old Ferrari driver, Ma Chi, while the taxi passenger, a 41-year-old Japanese woman, died in hospital two hours later, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

Police gave no other details but local media said the Ferrari driver was a financial adviser from Sichuan who was applying for permanent residency and already living in a Singapore penthouse with his family.

Disgruntled locals seized on the incident as another reason to attack the government's immigration policies and the presence of more than a million foreign workers and professionals in the crowded city-state.

Foreigners are blamed for pushing up living costs, straining public transport and stealing jobs, with mainland Chinese bearing the brunt of attacks.

The Straits Times newspaper said the Ferrari was a limited-edition model that Ma had bought for Sg$1.8 million ($1.43 million) for his 30th birthday last year.

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Students unfazed by Yale-NUS controversy

Despite the controversy surrounding the Yale-NUS College, its prospective students - about 50 of them took part in activities over the weekend, together with their parents - are unperturbed by the negative publicity.

Ms Venezia Lim, 19, felt that the clash of views was inevitable. "You are looking at Yale which is so liberal ... and they are coming to an Asian country ... Two cultures wanting to come together, there will definitely be some conflicts here and there, but I think a healthy, open debate about it is a very good thing."

Mr Khoo Zile Willie, 20, a full-time National Serviceman, even felt that any kind of publicity was good. He said: "It brings up the name of the school and also brings up the level of applicants as there is more interest."

The students at the "Experience Yale-NUS Weekend" were among the first batch that have been offered places at the liberal arts college. According to the college, the number of applications in the first exercise were in the "high hundreds". After an interview process, about 10 per cent of the applicants were offered a place.

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Residents angry over plans for elderly facility at void deck

The questions came fast and furious in the multi-purpose hall at the Katong Community Centre on Thursday night.

The residents of Blocks 10 and 11 Jalan Batu in the Tanjong Rhu area demanded to know why they were not consulted about a facility for the elderly slated to be built at their void decks.

Over 250 residents turned up at the rapid-fire dialogue, with resident after resident taking the microphone.

They left Member of Parliament for Mountbatten SMC, Mr Lim Biow Chuan, and Ministry of Health representative Teoh Szin Woon, group director of the Ageing Planning Office, almost no time to make their replies.

Residents said they were angry because:

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Petition wants planned elderly care centres moved elsewhere

Similar cases

FEBRUARY: HDB initially planned to build studio apartments for the elderly at the junction of Toh Yi Drive and Toh Yi Road, but were faced with many upset residents, who petitioned against it. In March, HDB announced they would build the blocks according to plan.

FEBRUARY: Residents in Woodlands voiced their concerns about a day-care centre for the elderly that would be built at the void decks of Block 860 and Block 861.

A petition citing eight reasons for going against the plan was signed by residents of the two blocks.

One reason provided was that there would be more deaths in the estate, leading to emotional stress for residents.

In February, it was said that the construction - supposed to start last month - had been put on hold.

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Southeast Asian Leaders Earn Highest Job Approval in Asia

Asians generally more likely to approve than disapprove of their leaders
by Melanie Standish

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Majorities in more than half of the 21 Asian countries and regions Gallup surveyed in 2011 approved of their chief executives, with leaders in Southeast and South Asia earning some of the highest marks in the region. Laotians, Cambodians, and Sri Lankans were the most likely to express support for their leaders, with more than nine in 10 saying they approve of their job performance. The 20% approval rating that Pakistanis gave their president was the lowest in the region.
leader job approval
Economic stability and peace dividends may help explain some of the relatively high approval that leaders of Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka get from their constituents. Laos' 7% or better economic growth since 2008, for example, likely contributes to residents' approval of President Choummali Saignason. Saignason, who is not elected by popular vote, was re-elected by the country's National Assembly shortly before Gallup's surveys started. Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka may still be benefiting from residents' residual euphoria following the 2009 end of the country's 26-year civil war.

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Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO. Did He Take Up Singapore Citizenship?
Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.
Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up U.S. citizenship, a move that can trim their tax liabilities in that country. The Brazilian-born resident of Singapore is one of several people who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook in a Harvard University dorm and stand to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO.
“Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” said Tom Goodman, a spokesman for Saverin, in an e-mailed statement.

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Vivian Balakrishnan wants more Singaporeans to become hawkers
The Temasek Times, 13 May 2012
In the good old days, Singaporean parents had always exhorted their children to work hard so as to become a doctor, lawyer or some professional in the future.
However, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said he hoped to see more Singaporeans to become hawkers instead.
Speaking during a community event on Saturday, Dr Balakrishnan said he wants to encourage Singaporeans to view the ‘hawking profession’ more favorably:

“To make sure that there are enough Singaporeans who want to go into this business … I have to make sure that we send the message that there will be places available, there will be reasonable rentals,” he said.

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By—election application to proceed, says lawyer

SINGAPORE: The Hougang resident who had filed an application to the High Court over a by—election in her constituency will not be withdrawing her application, her lawyer said on Sunday.

Madam Vellama Marie Muthu had filed an application on March 2 to get the High Court to, among other things, order the Prime Minister to call a by—election in her constituency within three months or a "reasonable time".

The court was scheduled this week to hear an appeal by the Attorney—General’s Chambers (AGC) against an open court hearing on Mdm Vellama’s application.

Earlier, Mdm Vellama — through her lawyer M Ravi — had indicated that she was prepared to withdraw her application, if certain conditions were met. These conditions include not imposing the costs of the application on her.

In response, the Attorney—General’s Chambers were quoted in media reports saying that Mdm Vellama "risks being penalised in costs". Mr Ravi said that because of the AGC’s comments, his client is rescinding her offer to withdraw the application.

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Political will needed to help raise income of low-wage workers

Everyone needs to do their part in raising the minimum wage of low-wage collar workers in Singapore, including the government.

So says Zainal Sapari, Member of Parliament (MP) for Pasir Ris-Punggol, who is also director for contract, casual and low-wage workers at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

In a wide-ranging panel discussion on low-wage workers at a Young PAP forum on Saturday, Zainal, who was there in his personal capacity, said the government has not been blameless for the widening income gap between the rich and poor in Singapore.

Speaking to an audience of about 50 YPAP members and the public, Zainal said, “The government can be equally responsible (for the widening income gap) because it sometimes doesn’t have the political will to make difficult decisions to help low-wage workers.”

Apart from the government, Zainal noted that employers and employees also have a part to play in eliminating injustices in wage payments at the workplace.

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Comprehensive, active strategy needed to help low—income families

SINGAPORE: Former National Wages Council Chairman, Professor Lim Chong Yah’s proposal for "shock therapy" to improve the wages of low—income workers was discussed in Parliament on Monday.

On May Day during a wide—ranging speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had commented on the proposal and said he disagreed with Professor Lim’s idea to raise the wages of lower—income workers by pushing up the wages of low—wage workers rapidly by 50 percent in three years.

Mr Lee emphasised that the only realistic way is to move step by step with wage and productivity moving up together.
He warned that sharp wage increases without a corresponding productivity improvement will make low—wage workers worse off

Giving a full reply on Monday in Parliament, Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan—Jin said what’s needed is a comprehensive and active strategy to help low—income families improve their overall quality of life and share in Singapore’s continued progress.

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