Thursday, 1 November 2012

Watz Online - 1 Nov 2012

M'sian woman behind porn blog asks: It’s my own life, why can’t you be more open?

Vivian Lee defends herself and wishes people were more open about the blog posts. (Photo taken from Vivian's FB profile)
Vivian Lee defends herself and wishes people were more open about the blog posts. (Photo taken from Vivian's FB profile)

She and National University of Singapore (NUS) law scholar Alvin Tan Jye Yee have been the talk of the town -- on both sides of the Causeway.

Vivian Lee, 23, has been featured on tabloids, newspapers and online media in recent days for posting sexually-explicit photos and videos of herself and Tan on their personal blog “Sumptuous Erotica”, which has since been taken down.

But speaking to Yahoo! Singapore on Thursday, the Malaysian said she has no regrets about showing her private and sexual life to the world. Having said that, she admitted the blog was taken down due to “family pressure”. 

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Could China use the Singapore strategy on the New York Times?

In February, 2010, the International Herald Tribune published an article by then columnist Philip Bowring about Asian political dynasties in Asia, in which he included Singapore. A month later The New York Times, which owns the IHTpublished a very bizarre apology: 
In 1994, Philip Bowring, a contributor to the International Herald Tribune's op-ed page, agreed as part of an undertaking with the leaders of the government of Singapore that he would not say or imply that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had attained his position through nepotism practiced by his father Lee Kuan Yew. In a February 15, 2010, article, Mr. Bowring nonetheless included these two men in a list of Asian political dynasties, which may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit. We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended. We apologize to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong for any distress or embarrassment caused by any breach of the undertaking and the article.
In 1994 lawyers representing Singapore's leaders had taken the newspaper to court for the article mentioned above and another one (which, ironically, suggested that some Asian leaders relied "on a compliant judiciary to bankrupt opposition politicians" without even mentioning Singapore.)  The IHT apologized, settled the $678,000 in libel damages, and, as part of the settlement Bowring agreed that he would not say or imply that Lee Hsien Long took office through nepotism. (Singapore has been ruled by Lee Hsien Long since 2004; his father Lee Kuan Yew ruled as prime minister from 1959-1990 and then behind the scenes after that.) Singapore courts found the newspaper and Bowring guilty of libel in 2010--because they broke the terms of their 1994 agreement to refrain from alleging that Singapore's leaders engaged in nepotism--and the newspaper paid $114,000 in damages and costs.

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UBS says under investigation in Singapore over possible rate manipulation

UBS is under investigation in Singapore along with other banks for possible manipulation of Libor and other benchmark rates, the Swiss bank said on Tuesday.

In notes to its third quarter earnings report, UBS said that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), as well as authorities in the United Kingdom, United States and Switzerland, are conducting investigations into whether it and other banks tried to manipulate rates.

More than a dozen banks are under investigation by regulators in the United States, Europe and Asia. However, this is the first time that UBS has disclosed that it is involved in the probe in Singapore. 

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PM Lee on the issue of family breakups in Singapore

PM Lee on the issue of family breakups in Singapore

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong related some Singaporeans’ housing problems connected with the issue of family breakups via his Facebook page in the wee hours of the morning today.

He said: “One resident I saw was locked out of his marital home years back, recently divorced, and has transferred the flat to his ex-wife.

“Another recent divorcee is having to sell her flat, leaving her and her teenage daughter to fend for themselves, with no other relatives here to fall back on. Both asked me for Housing Development Board (HDB) rental flats.”

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9 in 10 employees working overtime: survey

A survey revealed that nearly 9 in 10 Singaporeans are working beyond their official hours. (Thinkstock photo)

Work-life balance does not yet exist in Singapore, according to an overwhelming majority of employees who took part in a survey on the subject in Singapore.

According to a JobStreet survey released on Monday, nearly nine in 10 (or 88 per cent) polled said they are working beyond their official hours.  Heavy workload and unreasonable deadlines were the main reasons for pulling in a long shift.

Of this group, 70 per cent choose to complete the unfinished work in office, while the remaining 30 per cent chose to bring work home. A total of 650 workers and 135 employers were polled during the survey done last month.

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Passengers take Jetstar crew hostage after delay

Angry passengers have held a Jetstar crew hostage after a flight delay in China.

A Jetstar pilot and crew were held hostage for more than six hours by a mob of angry passengers after their flight was diverted from Beijing to Shanghai because of bad weather.

The experienced Australian pilot is being hailed as a hero for his calm actions after being confronted by the angry passengers as they disembarked at Shanghai's Pudong airport

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Singapore economy to see moderate growth in 2012 and 2013

Singapore's Gross Domestic Product growth is likely to come in below potential for the second consecutive year in 2013, says the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

In its half-yearly Macroeconomic Review, October 2012 released today, the central bank said over the last two years, the global economy has been subjected to frequent swings in sentiment, alternating between bouts of cautious optimism and alarming risk aversion.

In the second quarter and third quarter this year, for instance, MAS said there was a discernible loss in growth momentum, following a temporary rebound in the earlier part of 2012.

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Singapore Sees Below-Potential Growth as Price Pressures Persist

Singapore’s economy will grow at below- potential levels for a second year in 2013 even as a tight labor market and rising costs of goods and services add to inflationary pressures, the central bank said.

The island’s pace of growth “slowed discernibly” in the past two quarters, and external demand is expected to remain “tepid and volatile” next year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a twice-yearly review today. Gross domestic product may increase 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent this year, it said, reiterating a previous forecast. It didn’t give a prediction for 2013 growth.

“While the global economy should be relatively less volatile next year, its growth momentum is unlikely to pick up significantly as the deleveraging process in the advanced economies will be protracted,” the monetary authority said. “As such, Singapore could see its second consecutive year of below-potential growth in 2013."

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Dymon launches pvt equity fund with Temasek unit's backing

Dymon Asia Capital is branching out to the private equity world, launching a fund with backing from a unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, a company email obtained by Reuters shows, indicating an uncommon move by a hedge fund.

The firm aims to raise S$300 million ($246 million) for Dymon Asia Private Equity (DAPE), Keith Tan, Dymon's managing partner told clients in an email this month.

Tan did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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GIC Singapore to infuse $150M in $1B Genpact deal with Bain

Last year GIC had co-invested with Bain Capital in another big ticket deal where the two put in $850 million in Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest bike-maker in terms of volumes.
Sovereign wealth fund GIC Singapore is joining Bain Capital in a deal to buy 30 per cent stake in the business process management and technology services company Genpact Ltd for $1 billion. GIC Singapore will invest $150 million in the transaction along with Bain Capital's $849 million in Genpact, according to a filing.
The deal comes after the two firms co-invested $850 million in Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest bike-maker in terms of volumes, last year.

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Hong Kong pulls welcome mat for foreign property buyers

Hong Kong’s new anti-foreigner property tax may catch on elsewhere. Battling the effects of cheap money and capital flight, the territory’s authorities have slapped a 15-per-cent stamp duty on buyers without a permanent resident’s card. Though the move will have unintended side effects, its political logic could prove appealing in other urban hot spots.

The average cost of a small Hong Kong apartment rose by a fifth in the first nine months of the year. Yet the territory’s currency peg to the U.S. dollar means raising interest rates would merely attract more foreign inflows. So far, the authorities have concentrated their efforts on protecting the banking system by placing increasingly tight limits on mortgages.

The new special stamp duty is aimed squarely at the other driver of Hong Kong property inflation: Chinese buyers. Investors from the mainland seeking a safer place to park spare cash have become an increasing feature in recent years. In 2008, non-residents bought one in 17 of Hong Kong’s newly-built properties. Last year, they snapped up one in five.

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Singapore's public housing resale prices record new high in Q3

Singapore's public housing resale prices, which track the transitions in secondary market, recorded a quarterly rise of 2 percent in the third quarter, the city-state's Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Monday.

The figure was in line with the flash estimate released earlier this month. It was the fastest rise ever since last Q3. According to earlier official data, the resale prices rose by 1.3 percent in this Q2, following the 0.6 percent climb in Q1.

However, the resale transactions fell by about 6 percent from 7, 011 cases in Q2 to 6,560 cases in this quarter.

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Virgin Australia Sells 10% Stake to Singapore Airlines

Virgin Australia Sells Stake to Singapore Air in Qantas Duel

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. (VAH) sold a 10 percent stake to Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) and sought control of two local rivals, creating the biggest challenge to Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN)’s market leadership in more than a decade.

Singapore Air will spend A$105 million ($109 million) on new Virgin shares, according to a statement today. Brisbane- based Virgin will pay at least A$35 million for 60 percent of budget carrier Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. (TGR)’s Australian unit and it will bid for all of regional operator Skywest Airlines Ltd. (SXR), according to filings.

Virgin jumped the most in almost two months on the deals, as Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti builds on a strategy of alliances that already includes investments from Etihad Airways PJSC and Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR) The move adds to pressure on Qantas, which last month announced a tie-up with Emirates in a bid to end losses on international routes.

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No jail sentence for pastor after appeal

No jail sentence for pastor after appeal

A church pastor’s jail sentence was reduced to a fine after the appeal process, reported Channel NewsAsia  ( CNA).

Steven Yang, who is a pastor at Eternal Life Baptist Church, was initially sentenced to a two-week jail term after he had lied to a customs official that his fuel tank wasn't modified and that he had the right amount of fuel in his car while driving to Malaysia.

Singapore registered vehicles must have at least three-quarters of their fuel tank full when driving into Malaysia.

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