Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Watz Online - 9 Oct 2012

Media kept at arm's length of Singapore PM

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong will have a round of talks in the Beehive today.

But the media are being kept at arm's length.

They're being invited to photo opportunities but have been told there'll be no questions to Mr Lee.

Mr Key says that's Mr Lee's wish and is the nature of the Singapore system.

Political Report: PMs and the media

It's the Singaporean way where the media doesn't have a say. It's a model that some of our Prime Ministers would love to adopt, keeping the muzzled media at arm's length. Certainly State Homie John Key would have loved to have been able to do that over the past couple of weeks.

So the Singaporean Prime Minister will leave God's Own thinking that our media are as tame as his, that is if we abide by the "photo opportunity only" directions we're expected to follow during his visit. Fortunately we're not a compliant media, we live in a democracy.

Perhaps then Mr Lee should be asked why he's clearly incapable of answering questions!

Singapore can be hub for New Zealand, says PM Lee 

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made a pitch for the country to be a hub for New Zealand to connect with Asia and the world.

Speaking to business leaders in Auckland, Mr Lee said as Asia moves forward, the world's centre of gravity will shift further east and affect the existing strategic balance of power.

The first day of Prime Minister Lee's official visit to New Zealand saw him meeting business leaders from the Asia:New Zealand Foundation.

Singapore PM on his way

SINGAPORE'S Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will visit Rockhampton later this week to observe Singapore Armed Forces troops taking part in Exercise Wallaby at Shoalwater Bay. The stopover makes up part of his official visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on Friday Mr Lee would be in Australia from tomorrow until Saturday.
His trip follows her visit to Singapore in April this year.

Mayor Margaret Strelow yesterday said the visit to Rockhampton had been planned for some time, but could not confirm when Mr Lee would arrive or how long he would stay.

No choice, govt has to bail out banks: PM

High-risk products now part and parcel of banking business like lending and taking deposits Like it or not, governments have no choice but to bail out banks these days when they are more prone to a crisis, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday said. That's because the traditional banking business of borrowing and lending is now inseparable from the high-risk investment products which banks have got into.

"If it's just a matter of taking deposits and then shuffling that around into investments in projects and loans to companies, I think it's not that hard a problem to solve," he said in reply to a question raised about the recent global financial crisis and Singapore's views on regulation and oversight of the financial market.

"The difficulty is that financial markets have variegated into all kinds of sophisticated activities, products, derivatives, investment activities, trading - and the banks are also in these. And it's very hard to draw a line and say: 'This is too dangerous, you would not do that. That's safe, we will treat that as part of commercial banking and subject to an implicit government guarantee'."

Revisiting the succession question

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says he intends to stay in office for 10 more years. If he does, it will result in a record father-and-son tenure as prime minister.

Faced with a host of tough problems that challenges his government’s ability to resolve, the prime minister has made it clear that he intends to stay in office for 10 more years.

The 60-year-old Lee Hsien Loong told an interviewer that he would prefer not to lead beyond then and “definitely not till 80”.

NTUC fires Assistant Director for racist comments

This Facebook screen capture shows Ms Amy Cheong's comments about weddings. -- PHOTO: SCREEN CAPTURE FROM FACEBOOK

UPDATE at 12:38pm: The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has sacked an assistant director from its membership division after she posted offensive comments on her personal Facebook account.

In a statement sent to the media, its secretary-general Lim Swee Say said the trade organisation has "terminated with immediate effect the services of Ms Amy Cheong, Assistant Director, Membership department after establishing with her that she did post offensive comments... on 7 October 2012".

"Regrettably and rightly so, her comments have upset members of the public, including many union members. We are sorry that this has happened. We have counselled the staff and impressed upon her the seriousness of her action. She is remorseful and has apologised for her grave lapse of judgement," he added. 

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Police report filed against Amy Cheong over offensive Facebook post

[UPDATE at 4:40pm] DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam weighed in on the Amy Cheong issue, saying on his Facebook page that it is "Good that NTUC acted quickly" on the matter.

"The person's comments were offensive not only to Malay-Muslims, but all the rest of us who value Singapore's multiracial spirit and who want to take it further," he added.

Singapore police are investigating the former NTUC staff who was fired on Monday morning for her profanity-laced post insulting traditional Malay void deck weddings

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NUTC seeks two-week paternity leave

THE National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) thinks fathers should get two weeks’ paid paternity leave to be more active in caring for their babies.

Announcing its latest pro-family and pro-baby ideas, assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong said that the labour movement hoped the Government would consider granting fathers this time off.

It is proposing paternity leave in addition to the current 16 weeks of maternity leave, and that a father may share his leave with his wife during their baby’s first year.

Over 2,100 arrested for drink driving so far this year

There has been a slight increase in the number of people arrested for drink driving in the first nine months of this year.

More than 2,100 people were arrested from January to September this year, compared to about 2,000 drivers arrested during the same period last year.

Traffic Police conducted a major blitz against drink drivers early Sunday morning

AGC seeks costs against Hougang resident

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has sought costs against the Hougang resident who lost her bid to get the courts to make a declaration on the calling of by-elections.

But Madam Vellama Marie Muthu's lawyer M. Ravi argued at a cost hearing on Monday that this order should not be made, noting this was a case where constitutional rights were at stake. In the end, no ruling was made, and a further hearing was scheduled for next week.

Madam Vellama had wanted to get the courts to declare that the prime minister does not have "unfettered discretion" in deciding whether and when to call a by-election when a parliamentary seat is vacated, but High Court Judge Philip Pillai dismissed it on Aug 1

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Survey- 50% couples not having babies because ‘Money No Enough’

According to a recent survey conducted by voluntary welfare organisation ‘I Love Children’, about 1 in 2 couples (50%) said not having enough finances is the main reason for not having children. Another 33% or 1 in 3 couples cited not being mentally prepared as another reason for putting off having children.

A total of 614 participants were involved in the survey.

‘I Love Children’ is a voluntary welfare organization set up in September 2005 with a purpose of keeping Singapore young — by advocating a higher priority to having children, and promoting a society where children are loved and mainstreamed. It hopes to inculcate the value and importance of parenthood and family among Singaporeans, as well as encourage a children-friendly environment in Singapore. 

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