Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Watz Online - 7 Aug 2012

Singapore tops world in Olympic gold medal cash payout

Feng's bronze medal will earn her S$250,000 under the MAP scheme. (Reuters photo)

If there's a medal for the highest cash payout for winning an Olympic gold, Singapore would top the charts.

According to a story by broadcaster CNBC, it said Italy was the most generous with a S$225,000 (USD 182,400) payout for gold, followed by Russia  with S$167,000. France rounded up the top 3 with an S$80,000 payout. In contrast, US gold medal winners only pocket $31,000 for gold, S$18,000 for silver and S$12,000 for bronze.

However, the CNBC story obviously did not include Singapore. 

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Ducktours cries foul

After operating cruises along the Singapore River for the past four-and-a-half years, Singapore Ducktours will be stopping its HiPPO River Cruises in the area - not before crying foul over the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) tender exercise after it did not win the bid to run water taxi services.

Among other things, it took issue with the emphasis on bid price instead of the bidder's track record and argued that the requirements - including the S$3 price cap on the standard service.

Ducktours said this would make operations financially unsustainable, with potential annual losses of between S$1 million and S$1.6 million. 

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GX buys energy trading firm stake to enter electricity market

Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) said today it is buying a 49 per cent stake in the operator of the city-state’s wholesale electricity market.

The exchange is paying an initial S$17.64 million (RM44.09 million) for just under half of the Energy Market Company (EMC), which runs the National Electricity Market of Singapore (NEMS).

SGX said in a statement that the deal should enable it to develop a market for electricity derivatives. 

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SP AusNet faces new Victorian bushfire claims

'There is new evidence to support a claim on behalf of the victims of the fire.' - Maurice Blackman solicitors. Photo: Peter Braig

THE Victorian electricity company SP AusNet faces another class action over its role in the state's Black Saturday bushfires.

The law firm Maurice Blackburn said it would launch a class action against SP AusNet and other parties on behalf of the victims of the Murrindindi bushfire that killed 40 people and destroyed 538 houses on February 7, 2009.

The proposed class action, which is expected to be launched as soon as today, follows a sharemarket announcement by SP AusNet that a Victoria Police report to the state coroner had found that the company's electricity assets were likely to blame for the Murrindindi fire. 

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Singapore's central bank to enhance regulatory regime for fund management companies

SINGAPORE, Aug. 6 — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), central bank of the city-state, said Monday that they would enhance regulatory regime for fund management companies (FMCs).

Effective from Tuesday this week, all FMCs in Singapore need to meet enhanced business conduct and capital requirements, including requirements for independent custody and valuation of investor assets, as well as requirements for independent annual audits by external auditors and an adequate risk management framework commensurate with the type and size of investments managed by the FMCs.

A new category named Registered Fund Management Companies, instead of the former Exempt Fund Manager regime, will serve up to 30 qualified investors and manage up to 250 million Singapore dollars (201.6 million U.S. dollars) in assets under management, the MAS said in a statement. 

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MAS set to face a more competitive world next year

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is bracing itself to thrive in a more competitive world following the underlying problems inflicting the global economy — indebtedness and imbalances — that remain unresolved, in particular, in Europe.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his address at the recent MAS 40th Anniversary dinner, outlined the challenges the central bank will face in 2012.

These include maintaining price stability amid a more volatile global environment, safeguarding the real value of the country's operating and financial review in a more challenging and risky investment climate.

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Jim Rogers Is Mr. Big Short As He Sees More Global Economic Woes, A Robust Chinese Currency, And An Ugly Chinese Property Bubble Burst

Jim Rogers, Chairman of Rogers Holdings and a famed investor, says he sees more trouble ahead for the world economy in the next few years, and is shorting shares in various markets.

I mainly short shares around the world, says Rogers. I have shorted American technology companies, I have shorted European stocks and shorted emerging market stocks.

Rogers made the comment while talking to China Money Podcast (http://www.ChinaMoneyPodcast.com), a top-rated audio program focusing on investing in China.

Long known as a China Bull, Rogers turned pessimistic about Chinas economic future in light of the on-going economic malaise in the U.S. and Europe. I dont see a resumption of the bull market in many places in the world until we have the next economic problems in the US, which will be fairly soon, says Rogers. 

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Doctor warns that laptop heat may hurt sperm activity

(Photo / Wikimedia)

If you are male and like using your laptop on the go, take note.

A doctor has warned that heat from laptops may affect sperm health.

Previously, a study in medical journal Fertility and Sterility - based on the work of researchers in Argentina - have reported that radiation from wifi-enabled laptops have shown a decrease in sperm movement and damage to sperm DNA. This was done on 29 collected sperm samples, and not on sperm in the testes per se.

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3 Colombians jailed for housebreaking

Three Colombians, who admitted to one of the largest housebreaking cases in recent years, were sentenced to between two-and-a-half and five years' jail on Monday.

Thirty-three-year-old Fernandez Zamora Edwin, 42-year-old Hernandez Beltran Edwin Neil and 43-year-old Luis Carlos Carrillo Ramirez admitted to stealing some S$300,000 worth of cash, jewellery and gold bars from a semi-detached home along Upper Serangoon Road on June 13 at about 8.30pm.

The trio had climbed over the low wall surrounding the house. They then broke the kitchen window to gain entry.

Singapore to Build at Least 20,000 New Public Housing Units in 2013 - Minister


SINGAPORE--The Singapore government plans to build at least 20,000 new public-housing apartments in 2013 as part of plans to stabilize the city-state's heated property market, a government minister said Monday.

"Our move to ramp up supply to stabilize the housing market...is making steady progress," Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan wrote on his official weblog in comments about Singapore's public-housing market.

The Housing and Development Board, which develops public-housing projects in Singapore, would have launched by the end of this year 50,000 new flats since 2011, the minister said.

S'pore samaritan pays bills for 60 needy families

(Photo / File)

The “heroine” of Henderson Road strikes again.

In June 2010, she helped 13 needy households pay more than S$10,000 in expenses. Now, she has helped 60 needy families pay more than S$30,000 in utility bills, expenses and rent.

One of these families had an outstanding utility bill of S$8,500, and water and power supply have been cut for some time.

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Global Insider: India, Singapore Maintain Close Ties as Region Shifts

During a visit to New Delhi in July, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an agreement to continue training Singapore troops at Indian military facilities. In an email interview, Jayati Bhattacharya, a lecturer in the South Asian studies program at the National University of Singapore, discussed India-Singapore relations.

WPR: What is the extent of India-Singapore diplomatic, trade and defense ties, and how have they evolved in recent years? 

Jayati Bhattacharya: The long-standing relationship between Singapore and India has been accelerated and facilitated by the tectonic shift of economic power in the Asia-Pacific region. India’s economic liberalization and its “Look East” policy, initiated in the 1990s, have coincided with Singapore’s positioning of itself as a “knowledge hub” and a “global city.” There has been expanding interest in military cooperation as well, due to growing concerns about maritime security shared by the two governments. Naval exercises such as SIMBEX and MILAN have continued since 1993; a Defense Cooperative Agreement was signed in 2003; and the India-Singapore Strategic Dialogue, held since 2007, has been actively discussing and cooperating on strategic concerns in different areas of defense and security.

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Fewer property buyers from China

Hefty new stamp duty and a slowing economy at home are deterring Chinese nationals from buying property here, according to new sales figures.

Once the biggest group of foreign buyers, the Chinese fell to second in the first six months of the year, purchasing 259 homes behind the 372 bought by Indonesians, according to caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Additional buyer’s stamp duty has dampened foreign home demand, with overseas buyers accounting for just 7% of the deals in the first half of the year, down from 20% in the same period last year

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Singapore's Lee and Malaysia's Mahathir would reject Cha-Cha

Lee wrote in his book: “There was no reason why the Philippines should not have been one of the more successful of the ASEAN countries. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the most developed, because America had been generous in rehabilitating the country after the war. Something was missing, a gel to hold society together. The people at the top, the elite mestizos, had the same detached attitude to the native peasants as the mestizos in their haciendas in Latin America had toward their peons.

They were two different societies: Those at the top lived a life of extreme luxury and comfort while the peasants scraped a living, and in the Philippines it was a hard living. They had no land but worked on sugar and coconut plantations. They had many children because the church discouraged birth control. The result was increasing poverty.

 Lee was spot on in this: “Filipino professionals whom we recruited to work in Singapore are as good as our own. Indeed, their architects, artists, and musicians are more artistic and creative than ours. Hundreds of thousands of them have left for Hawaii and for the American mainland. It is a problem the solution to which has not been made easier by the workings of a Philippine version of the American constitution.

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Morgan Stanley Sued by Singapore Firm Over Pinnacle Notes

The suit asserts claims against Morgan Stanley including fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg 

Morgan Stanley & Co. (MS) (MS) was sued by Hong Leong Finance Ltd. of Singapore over claims the New York-based bank deceptively sold investments it had designed to fail.

Hong Leong said in a complaint filed today in federal court in Manhattan that it entered into a distribution agreement with the investment bank to sell about $72.4 million worth of the so- called Pinnacle notes created from August 2006 to December 2007. The notes later failed and the Singapore-based company was required to compensate customers for at least $32 million in losses, according to the filing.

Morgan Stanley sold the notes as relatively safe investments while rigging them to fail for its own benefit, Hong Leong claimed. Hong Leong describes itself as a local retail financial firm similar to a savings and loan association.

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