Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Watz Online - 15 Jan 2013

US university ends tie-up with Singapore institute

The University of Nevada, Les Vegas, is ending its tie-up with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) after what it claimed to be a disagreement over fees, local daily Straits Times reported on Monday.

The university said it has unsuccessfully asked for more money to run its popular hotel administration degree course in Singapore. SIT described it as a non-renewal of a five-year contract between them. The move has led to uncertainty among those enrolling this August as part of the final batch of 150 students. They fear that their education may suffer, though teaching is due to continue until 2015.

The university said that it is considering pulling out of Singapore, too.

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Singapore Anti-Groping PSA Features Terrible Puns, Victim-Blaming ‘Tips’

Singapore, which might be one of the worst places in the world if you're looking to break the law, has apparently rolled out an anti-public-groping campaign, which would be very helpful and nice if its street-side ads didn't features incredibly creepy pictures supplemented with a litany of instructions about what women can do — "Avoid walking through secluded areas alone";

"Have someone escort you home when it's late" — if they'd rather not have some leering jerkface fondle them on public transportation.

Also, Singapore residents could probably do without the punning "stiff penalties" threat at the bottom of the ad, which makes the whole thing feel less like a public safety announcement and more like an advertising intern's misguided attempt to corner the impoverished irony market in Singapore.

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MPs grill Khaw in Parliament over EC scheme abuse

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan was in the hot seat in Parliament Monday as he faced a barrage of questions over the effectiveness of a scheme to provide affordable housing to higher-income Singaporean households.

At least four Members of Parliament called for the Executive Condominium (EC) scheme to be reviewed following reports that property developers are selling oversized and overpriced units, and that owners are making a killing renting out their units.

MPs also questioned why some developers’ plans to build huge units going for $1.2 million apiece had been approved in the first place as that led to buyers with limited finances being priced-out of the scheme.

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Singapore’s Limits on Land, Labor to Constrain Growth, Ng Says

Singapore’s land and labor limits will “increasingly constrain” its economic expansion and the city state must adjust to lower growth rates as compared to the last two decades, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said.

The island’s citizen workforce will begin shrinking starting in 2020 for the first time in its history, and the nation needs to improve social services and health care programs to help a larger elderly population, Ng said in prepared remarks for a speech in Parliament today. He spoke as Leader of the House.

“Singapore is at the cusp of transition as we face impending and difficult challenges, particularly from the effects of an aging population coupled with low fertility rates,” Ng said. The island’s Southeast Asian “neighbors with their younger populations, abundant labor and natural resources will grow faster than us and give Singapore stiff competition for investments,” he said

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Singapore property prices rising despite govt curbs 

The prices of new homes in Singapore increased to a new record by 1.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, the latest figures from the Urban Redevelopment Authority show.

On an annual basis, prices increased by 2.8 per cent, much less than the 5.9 per cent increase in the previous year, according to a report by Propertywire.com. 

The mass property market segment, which are commonly units located in the suburbs, increased by most, up 3.4 per cent. The high end of the market saw price increased of 0.8 per cent.

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Chemoil dismisses nine from Singapore fuel oil unit -sources

Chemoil Energy Limited dismissed nine people in its Singapore-based fuel oil and marine bunker division, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

Only one person remained in the Singapore fuel oil and bunker division, the source said.

Chemoil is the fifth-largest marine fuel supplier in Singapore, the world's top bunkering hub where more than 40 million tonnes of oil was supplied to ships last year.

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S’pore’s productivity well below most developed countries: DPM Tharman

Singapore’s productivity is well below that of the most developed countries, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, he noted that restaurants here are experiencing difficulties finding employees.

Mr Tharman said some restaurants have raised pay to attract part—timers during the peak Lunar New Year season.

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