Thursday, 4 October 2012

Watz Online - 4 Oct 2012

Singapore's PMI shrinks for 3rd month, recession looms

Singapore's manufacturing sector contracted for a third consecutive month in September as new orders fell further, a business survey showed, bolstering the view the trade-dependent city-state likely slipped into recession in the third quarter.

The decline in the Purchasing Manager's index (PMI) is in line with other export-driven Asian economies facing tepid demand in Europe and the United States. A similar reading for South Korea showed a fourth straight month of contraction.

Singapore's PMI slipped deeper into negative territory last month, dropping to 48.7 points from August's 49.1 and staying below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction, the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management (SIPMM) said on Tuesday.

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MTI warns of slow growth without inflow of foreigners

If Singapore does not continue to allow for a "calibrated" inflow of immigrants and foreign workers, Singaporeans have to be prepared for little economic growth, limited real increases in wages, and insufficient manpower in the health and social services sectors to serve the Republic's ageing population, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry's (MTI) Occasional Paper on Population and the Economy released yesterday.

At a press conference, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang reiterated that, as the economic growth trajectory slows and the workforce ages and shrinks, Singapore has to complement the resident workforce with a calibrated rate of immigration and foreign worker inflow, even as it seeks to raise the productivity of businesses and encourage more residents to enter and stay in the workforce.

Without these three measures in tandem, the Republic would struggle to reach the economic growth target of 3 to 5 per cent in the years ahead, and keep the real wages of Singaporeans growing, he noted.

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Lim in Opposition Praising Singapore’s Economy Seeks Change

When Sylvia Lim entered Singapore politics in 2001 as an opposition member, her father said he would visit her in jail, recalling how past adversaries of the ruling People’s Action Party were sued, bankrupted or imprisoned. 

“It was half in jest because when you get involved in opposition politics, you never know where the road may lead,” said Lim, 47, who became Singapore’s first elected female opposition lawmaker last year. “We grew up in an era where we saw certain opposition figures being more or less crucified.”

Now the Workers’ Party’s No. 2 official, Lim avoided the fate that befell some predecessors even after her tenacity earned a comparison with a legendary female Chinese general. Key to success has been softening socialist rhetoric that kept the party at the margins of influence in past decades, says Terence Lee, who teaches politics at National University of Singapore. 

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Higher maintenance fees for some hawkers despite tray—return project

The National Environment Agency’s (NEA) tray—return project looks set to be rolled out fully in the coming months.

But some hawkers say that does not work out to lower monthly maintenance fees for them.

The newly revamped hawker centre at Bedok South Road is one of nine food centres picked for NEA’s project.

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Nationwide study on well-being of elderly started

A nationwide study to better understand the prevalence of dementia and depression in the elderly in Singapore and the illnesses' economic burden and healthcare use is currently being conducted.

The three-year Well-being of Singapore Elderly (WiSE) study by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), together with local and international investigators, also aims to identify the associated risks for the two disorders and elucidate caregivers' burden and needs.

About 2,500 elderly aged 60 and above and 2,800 family members have been selected at random to participate in the study through an interview that will be conducted from this month to December next year.

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Man charged with living off earnings of underage prostitute

A man has been charged with living off the earnings of an underage prostitute.

The accused cannot be named to protect the identity of the 17-year-old girl.

He was alleged to have committed the offence in Geylang between mid-January and mid-March this year

Under the law, anyone who knowingly lives off the earnings of the prostitution of another person faces a jail term of up to five years and a fine of S$10,000

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VWO to occupy Potong Pasir void deck used by former MP

A voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) will occupy the void deck of Block 108, Potong Pasir Avenue 1 - the area used by former long-time member of Parliament (MP) Chiam See Tong for his Meet-the-People sessions (MPS).

MP for Potong Pasir Sitoh Yih Pin said this at a media conference on Tuesday to highlight the key developments in his ward, ahead of a community visit by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Sunday.

Mr Sitoh declined to reveal the name of the organisation but said it has been operating in Potong Pasir for a few years and is popular with residents.

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ACS (International) student found dead in his room

An ACS (International) fourth-year student was found dead in his boarding house room last week.

Today newspaper reported that the school’s principal, Mr Kerr Fulton-Peebles, wrote in a circular to parents that the 17-year-old Vietnamese student died in his sleep on 25 September.

The identity of the boy was withheld by the school to protect the privacy of his parents.

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Man given discharge in water tank death case

A Bangladeshi man who had been accused of killing a maid and dumping her body in an HDB rooftop water tank has been given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on charges of trespassing and possessing obscene films.

Twenty-nine-year-old Md Repon Mostafa appeared in court on Wednesday to hear the verdict handed down by the court, after the prosecution withdrew its remaining five charges brought against him in July.

Repon's lawyer, Ram Goswami, said his client is now "completely free of any charge", but will have to remain in Singapore for a Court of Inquiry hearing on 25 October.

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Woman caught trying to sneak out of Singapore in car boot

A 47-year-old Malaysian driver and a 42-year-old woman from China were arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint and are now being investigated for immigration offences.

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said they were caught during checks at about 3am yesterday.

ICA officers had directed the driver of the Singapore-registered car to open his car boot, which had two haversacks and a pair of ladies' high-heel shoes, and noticed that the driver appeared nervous.

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Police bust illegal gambling den along Aliwal Street

Police have arrested seven men, aged between 22 and 57 years, suspected of online gaming.

They were caught at about 8.40pm on October 1 at a shophouse along Aliwal Street.

Police said they were seen engaging in online gaming at individual computer terminals.

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A national conversation in dialects

A locally-organised version of the Our Singapore Conversation project held in Yuhua yesterday took an untypical format: Dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese were used to conduct the dialogue that some 100 elderly residents had with Member of Parliament (MP)Grace Fu.

"Allowing (senior citizens) to use the language that they are most comfortable with … actually allows them to identify and perhaps tell us if they agree with the views that have been expressed," said Ms Fu, who is a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

She added she would consider dialogues in other vernacular languages such as Malay.

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One dead, two ill after consuming illegal health product 

An elderly woman died after she developed a serious rash linked to the consumption of an illegal health product tainted with potent western medicines.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said today that the woman, in her 70s, was hospitalised after taking Flutulang to relieve muscle ache.

HSA tested Flutulang and found two undeclared medicinal ingredients.

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