Friday, 21 December 2012

Watz Online - 21 Dec 2012

Money doesn't buy happiness

Singapore sits 32 places higher than Panama on the Human Development Index, but at the opposite end of the happiness list. And things weren't looking good Wednesday to Richard Low, a 33-year-old businessman in the prosperous Asian metropolis.

"We work like dogs and get paid peanuts. There's hardly any time for holidays or just to relax in general because you're always thinking ahead: when the next deadline or meeting is. There is hardly a fair sense of work-life balance here," he said.

In Paraguay, tied with Panama as the most-positive country while doing far worse than Panama by objective measures, street vendor Maria Solis said tough economic conditions were no reason to despair.

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Singaporeans are the least positive worldwide

Latin Americans are the most positive people in the world, with their region being home to eight of the top 10 countries for positive emotions worldwide. Residents in Panama and Paraguay are the most likely to report experiencing positive emotions. Singaporeans, Armenians, and Iraqis are least likely worldwide to report feeling positive emotions.

Gallup measured positive emotions in 148 countries and areas in 2011 using five questions. These questions ask people whether they experienced a lot of enjoyment the day before the survey and whether they felt respected, well-rested, laughed and smiled a lot, and did or learned something interesting.

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Singapore minister vows to protect foreign workers from unfair treatment

Singapore’s Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has said that his Ministry can and will do more to protect foreign workers.

Tan said in a blogpost to mark International Migrants Day late on Tuesday that there “have been various criticisms” directed at the government’s handling of the migrant worker matters.

“Indeed, as with all issues, I do believe we can do more. Our various systems, including those dealing with employment issues for workers, can be improved and we will continue to work on them, ” he wrote.

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Chinese drivers to have pre-trial conference on strike case in Singapore

The four Chinese bus drivers charged with instigating an illegal strike in Singapore appeared on Wednesday for a pre-trial conference.

There will be another pre-trial conference on Jan. 10, 2013, lawyers representing the drivers said.

Mark Goh, one of the lawyers representing the drivers, said that the judge had advised the lawyer to submit some documents to the prosecutors before Dec. 28 this year, clarifying whether they are asking for the prosecution to drop the case or reduce the penalty demanded.

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River Valley High School Principal assisting in CPIB investigation

Mr Steven Koh Yong Chiah, Principal of River Valley High School, is assisting in CPIB investigation. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES 

The Ministry of Education (MOE) today, announced in a media statement that River Valley High School Principal will be changed with effect from tomorrow (20th Dec).

According to the statement, MOE has been informed by the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) that Mr Steven Koh Yong Chiah, Principal of River Valley High School, is assisting in its investigation.

Thus, MOE has appointed Mrs Teo Khin Hiang as the new principal of River Valley High School with effect from 20 December 2012. 

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Blacklisted Myanmar tycoon seeks salvation in Singapore

Zaw Zaw, one of Myanmar's most powerful businessmen, wants to change that in a complex transaction in Singapore that would blaze a path for foreign investors into a company at the heart of Myanmar's economy - and help Myanmar's sanctions-hit tycoons rebrand themselves.

In an interview in his Yangon office, he said the transaction - a planned S$70 million ($57.1 million) reverse takeover of Singapore bed linen maker Aussino Group - was moving forward and he expects Singapore regulators to complete a review of his books in three to six months, clearing the way for Aussino's transformation into a Myanmar-backed company harnessed to Zaw Zaw's energy division.

Few tycoons in Myanmar are more powerful than Zaw Zaw, whose holdings range from timber, gems and rubber plantations to construction, luxury resorts, petrol stations and banking.

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Pinoy maids in Singapore to get pay hike

Filipino household service workers (HSWs) in Singapore will soon enjoy a pay hike, the Department of Labor and Employment said yesterday.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said employers in Singapore have agreed to upgrade the pay scales of HSWs to a minimum of $400.

Citing a report of the Association of Licensed Recruiters Agencies for Singapore, Inc. (ALRAS), Baldoz said the decision of the Singaporean employers is consistent with the Philippine government’s reform package for HSWs.

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Malaysia takes in Burmese shipwreck survivors rejected by Singapore

Malaysia has accepted 40 shipwreck survivors from Burma who were in limbo for several days after being denied entry to Singapore.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says the 40 men are believed to be minority Muslim Rohingya refugees from Rakhine state.

The survivors were rescued on December 5 by a Vietnamese cargo ship after their vessel sank in Burmese waters, reportedly drowning 160 others.

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India Pokes Nose into South China Sea

India's Navy goes blue-water 

Indian Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi's recent comment that India will protect its interests in the South China Sea by "sending forces" if need be, has created consternation in the region and added to the tensions generated by the countries already laying claim to various parts of the sea.

"When the requirement is there, for example, in situations where our country's interests are involved...we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that," Joshi told a news conference. "Now, are we preparing for it? Are we having exercises of that nature? The short answer is yes."

The admiral's statements are regarded as an expression of Delhi's newfound resolve to act as a serious regional 'balancer' and underscores a growing appetite to expand its footprint in a region that hitherto has been viewed as outside its core interests. At the moment, the equation between the two navies is vastly in China's favor, with the Indian navy possessing140-plus warships compared with 750 for the Chinese, whose navy is not only far bigger but more sophisticated.

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