Monday, 9 July 2012

Watz Online - 9 Jul 2012

Singapore's US$4b loan to IMF does not draw on past reserves: MAS

Singapore's US$4b loan to IMF does not draw on past reserves: MAS

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said Singapore's US$4 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), if activated, will not lead to a draw on past reserves.

The potential loan would also not reduce the country's reserves nor come out of the government budget.

This is the central bank's response to queries raised by the TODAY newspaper following a series of blog postings by Reform Party's Secretary-General Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam. 

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PM Lee to new citizens: do more to integrate

PM Lee to new citizens: do more to integrate (Getty Images)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged new Singaporeans to make a bigger effort to integrate themselves into Singapore society.

Speaking to about 200 new citizens at a citizenship ceremony at the Teck Ghee Community Centre in Ang Mo Kio on Saturday, PM Lee expressed hope that new citizens will “make friends with Singaporeans – with (their) children’s schoolmates, and pick up Singaporean customs, lifestyles, norms and social rules.”

Recognising the increasing tension between local Singaporeans and new citizens, he emphasised that the practices new citizens were used to “may not be considered socially acceptable in Singapore”, reported local media.

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SE Asia in a quandary over U.S.-China rivalry

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A U.S.-China tug-of-war over Southeast Asian influence is proving to be a critical test for Washington’s “pivot” East as Beijing strengthens its economic and military clout in its own backyard.

Countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), one of the world’s fastest growing regions, are weighing up how to play their cards as the United States plays catch-up with the Chinese juggernaut and tries to reassert itself in Asia.

Washington’s recent flurry of engagement with ASEAN states – from the Philippines and Thailand to Singapore and Vietnam – is a potential source of friction with China, especially as tempers flare over territorial disputes and the rapid Chinese military build-up in the resource-rich South China Sea. 

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Budget Carriers AirAsia, Jetstar Top Region’s Rivals In Brand Survey

Asia-Pacific budget airlines Air-Asia Bhd. and Qantas Airways Ltd.’s Jetstar overtook full-service carriers in a brand-reputation survey as more passengers in the region turned to cheaper options amid a global economic slowdown.

Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., among the world’s 10 biggest carriers by market value, were ranked below the two low-cost air-travel operators, according to the report compiled by Nielsen Holdings NV and research firm Campaign Asia released today.

Global airline profits are set to fall in 2012 by more than half to $3 billion from $7.9 billion last year, according to the International Air Transport Association, as recessions in the U.K., Spain and other European countries damp demand and erode gains from lower fuel prices. 

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AirAsia tops Aviation Week’s Top-Performing Airlines List

TOP HONOURS: AirAsia is ranked top in Aviation Week’s Top-Performing Airlines 2012 report, beating out longer-established and renowned airlines in the industry. 

BEIJING: AirAsia Bhd (AirAsia) has been ranked top in the highly influential aviation industry magazine Aviation Week’s ‘Top-Performing Airlines 2012’ report.

The Asian low-cost carrier said in a statement that it even beat out other longer-established and renowned airlines such as Singapore Airlines  and Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier.

“AirAsia was also ranked highest in the US$250 million to US$2 billion (RM787.1 million to RM6.3 billion) annual revenue category.

“This award is based on a statistical analysis of an airline’s financial and operational performance.

“AirAsia emerged top overall with 81 points, Ryanair received 78 and SIA came in at 70 points,” the statement said.

“This is just amazing. To beat airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Ryanair and all the other global industry players is almost beyond words. 

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Crime issue dogs Iskandar Malaysia

The recent spate of crime spree in Kuala Lumpur and now just across the causeway is
roving to be a headache for the Najib administration which is expected to call for the general election anytime this year.

As early as March this year, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak announced a bold rejuvenation effort at Persada Johor during the launch of Iskandar Malaysia City and Corridor Transformation Programme where crime issues were among some of the things he said were being looked into. In addition, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) had set up a task force and in the midst of implementing police posts and foot patrols to allay investors’ perception of Johor as a crime-ridden state.

Ties with Singapore appear to be at an all-time high with both sides now looking to jointly develop Iskandar Malaysia with the MRT extension to Johor Bahru and Temasek Holdings joint-venture to develop an iconic wellness project in Medini.

The last time Singapore commented on crime issues in Johor Bahru, it led to strained ties between the Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir administrations with the latter admonishing Singapore for its lack of sensitivity. 

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Malaysia kidnappers of Singapore family were “high”

Rita Zahara sits with daughter after kidnapping in Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police in Johor have reported that they believe the suspects involved in the kidnapping and ransom of a Singapore journalist’s family were “high on drugs” when they committed the crime on July 1.

Police said, in a report published by The Straits Times on Sunday, that the alleged criminals were also in drugged when they were apprehended last Wednesday.

Johor police chief Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff told reporters at a press conference held for Malaysia and Singapore media that the three people are believed to be involved in 14 other cases, including vehicle theft, robbery and drugs. 

Proposals made to LTA to construct terminal for long-distance coaches

Proposals made to LTA to construct terminal for long-distance coaches

SINGAPORE: Some bus companies have made proposals to the Land Transport Authority to construct a terminal for all long-distance coaches.

They said the current bus bay is often congested and bus drivers do not have sufficient places to rest.

The bus bay along Beach Road serving long-distance coaches is the largest in Singapore. Every day, more than 100 coaches from five tour companies travelling to and from Malaysia use the bay to pick up and drop off passengers. 

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Engineering success through failure — James Dyson

Singapore’s Minister for Education has called for the country to move beyond rote learning and unlock its creative potential. Simultaneously, Britain’s review of its curriculum is looking to Singapore for inspiration.

But while Singapore’s excelling education system is to be admired, there are lessons to be learnt from Britain too.

Because failure in the classroom is not always a bad thing. In fact, Singapore should be actively encouraging it.
Measuring success in education is not easy. British exam results have risen every year for decades. However, universities and businesses complain of poor basic writing and numeracy skills. 

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Suspect in $4.3 mil gold heist has left S'pore

Previous million-dollar heists

The last reported gold heist with a local connection happened 19 years ago.

Fifty gold bars went missing on Jan 6, 1993, in Penang, Malaysia, shortly after arriving on a Singapore Airlines flight.

Brink's Incorporated had been hired to transport the gold, which had an estimated value of $832,000 then. 

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11th maid falls to her death

According to Lianhe Wanbao, the unidentified maid was found on the ground at Costa Del Sol, a condominium on Bayshore Road, around 5.30pm.

She was dead when police and a Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance arrived at the scene. 

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Why I stay in City Harvest Church

Why I stay in City Harvest Church

I have shared my testimony with thousands of people at live events over the past 10 years: I had a successful 10-year career as a model in Asia. I was also the TV host for the 1988 Korean Olympics for Hong Kong's ATV.

I became an entrepreneur at age 24, and I founded ONE.99shop when I was 29. I came to City Harvest Church in March 2000, at the peak of my business which was turning over $14 million a year.

It was a divine appointment: I had accepted an invitation from my ex-staff at ONE.99shop and that day changed my life forever.