Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Watz Online - 5 Dec 2012

Singapore concerned over China’s South China Sea rule

Singapore expressed concern today over China’s plan to board and search ships sailing in what it considers its territory in the South China Sea, as tension grows over Beijing’s sovereignty claims in busy Southeast Asian waters.

“Singapore is concerned about this recent turn of events,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to a recent Chinese media report on new rules that will allow police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan to board and seize control of foreign ships that “illegally enter” its waters from January 1.

Wealthy Singapore, home to the world’s second-busiest container port, is the second Southeast Asian country to publicly express concern over the new rules after the Philippines on Saturday condemned the Chinese plan as illegal

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Yale-NUS set-up comes under renewed fire in US

The controversy over the issue of academic freedom at the Yale-National University of Singapore (Yale-NUS) liberal arts college has flared up again in the United States.

The American Association University Professors (AAUP) has published a letter on its website expressing "growing concern about the character and impact" of the Yale-NUS College, while Singapore Opposition politicians aired their concerns at a panel discussion at Yale University's New Haven campus last week.

Among other things, the association has called for transparency in terms of releasing all documents and agreements relating to the establishment of the college, slated to open in August next year.

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No more alien cards for Pinoys

The Bureau of Immigration will no longer issue alien certificates of registration identity cards to Filipinos with multiple citizenships because the authorities have discovered that the cards are being used to conceal Philippine citizenship.

“State policy dictates that we should not condone deceit or misrepresentation on vital citizenship information,” said Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David after the bureau’s alien registration chief Ronaldo Ledesma noted that his office has been receiving ACR I-Card applications from Filipinos who have dual citizenships.

Ledesma said the applicants are usually Filipinos who are either married to alien spouses or children of foreigners and those who involuntarily acquired dual or multiple citizenships.

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McGrath escapes the net yet again

Bernard McGrath … paedophile's whereabouts are unknown. Photo: Dean Kozanic

BERNARD McGRATH, the Australian paedophile wanted by a NSW court on more than 250 child sex charges, has again escaped law enforcement agencies, fleeing Sri Lanka this week.

McGrath, wanted since June, was reportedly living on a tea plantation in the highlands of Sri Lanka, having skipped out of New Zealand ahead of an order for his extradition to Australia. The controller general at Sri Lanka's Department of Immigration and Emigration, Chulananda Perera, confirmed on Sunday that McGrath had fled the country.

It is understood McGrath took an overnight Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore late last week.

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Singapore expects economic growth to slow down to 2-3 pct in future: PM

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that the government is no longer aiming for " ridiculously high" economic growth like those seen in the past years, but rather a more sustainable rate of about 2 to 3 percent per year, local media reported on Monday.
Lee said at a conference of the ruling People's Action Party that Singapore's growth rate used to be 7 to 8 percent per year, and 5 percent on average over the last decade.
"Now, if you can do 3 to 4 percent, I think that's good. As our workforce grows more slowly in future, even 2 to 3 percent will be considered good growth," Lee said.

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Singapore expected to invest more in Iskandar Malaysia 

UEM Land Holdings Bhd says more investments from Singapore are expected to flow into Iskandar Malaysia in the coming years as the economic growth corridor progresses.

Managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said Singaporean investors had now realised that Iskandar Malaysia offered good prospects for them.

He said in the early days of the corridor's inception, many Singaporeans were adopting the “wait and see” attitude as they wanted to see whether the economic growth corridor would take off as planned.

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Black market cigarettes seized at Port Botany ahead of plain packaging laws

Black market cigarettes have been seized ahead of the introduction of plain packaging laws. Picture: Alan Pryke Source: The Sunday Telegraph

More than 10 million cigarettes carrying a recognised brand have been found packed into a sea cargo container from Singapore, which claimed to hold ceramic tiles.

They were destined for an address in Sydney.

A discussion paper prepared for federal parliament as it passed tough new laws earlier this year to jail tobacco smugglers warned the new plain packaging measures coupled with duty free allowances being slashed "may lead to an increase in the amount of tobacco being smuggled".

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Singapore to share integrated transport experience with Chinese city

Singapore will share its experience in developing an integrated transport system with the Chinese city of Dali.

The Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) signed a contract on an Integrated Transport Plan with the Dali Municipal Government on Monday.

The contract was signed in Dali City, which is a major tourist destination in Yunnan Province.

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Arbitration fails to end GMR’s woes

The Maldives government on Monday rejected a Singapore court’s stay on the termination of an airport contract that had been given to a consortium of India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd and a Malaysian company in 2010.

“The government’s decision is very clear. It is non-reversible and non-negotiable,” Masoon Imad, media secretary to the Maldives president, said in an email. “Our decision was based on legal advice we got from our lawyers in the UK and Singapore... We believe the judge was incorrect in interpreting the law. A court cannot issue such an injunction against a sovereign state.”

The laws of Singapore and the UK are very clear and don’t permit an injunction when compensation is adequate, Imad said.

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Globalfoundries to lay off Singapore staff

Foundry chip maker Globalfoundries has announced that it will lay off about four per cent of its Singapore workforce, cutting 300 jobs as a result of weakening macro-economic situation in the country.

The announcement was made along with Globalfoundries' roll out of its long-term initiative to expand 300mm manufacturing capacity in Singapore. The initiative is called "Vision 2015" but the company did not provide a budget for the project.

Globalfoundries said it intends to tune the Singapore mix of existing and new process technologies to better serve growth markets and to position Globalfoundries as a partner to companies that need advanced analogue, digital, high-voltage and RF functionality. The initial phase of the plan will include a capacity expansion of Fab 7 300mm facility to be on a trajectory of nearly 1 million wafers per year. The expansion is expected to be completed by the middle of 2014.

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1955 - S'pore's 'blackest' year

Newspaper reports called 1955 "Singapore's blackest year of industrial unrest", with 271 strikes recorded as of November that year.

Using recollections collected by the Oral History Centre of the National Archives, Benita Aw Yeong shows you why Singaporeans have zero tolerance for illegal strikes. 

Hock Lee Bus Strikes and Riots (When: May 12, 1955) What happened: A strike broke out at the Hock Lee Bus Company after 200 members of the Singapore Bus Workers' Union were dismissed.

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