Monday, 7 January 2013

Watz Online - 7 Jan 2013

SIA asks pilots to take unpaid leave

SINGAPORE Airlines has asked its captains to volunteer for unpaid leave amid a global economic slowdown that has dented long-haul travel demand, the airline says.

The move came nearly a year after the company - considered a bellwether for the full-service airline industry - made a similar offer to its first officers.

The airline has also frozen its intake of cadet pilots as part of a slew of cost-cutting measures

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Singapore banks put some staff on forced leave 

Two banks in Singapore have taken action against some employees after internal reviews, Business Times reported Friday, quoting people familiar with the situation.

The move comes during an ongoing probe by regulators on how benchmark rates are set.

In the last few months, OCBC Bank and UBS AG have sent a few of their employees on forced leave. These employees are on teams that deal with non-deliverable forward foreign exchange contracts, which are over-the-counter derivatives used to hedge or speculate in thinly traded currencies, the newspaper said.

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Singapore’s GIC announces appointment of group chief investment officer

Mr. Lim will replace Ng Kok Song in that role. Mr. Ng will take on an advisory role at the GIC — which manages about $100 billion — as chair of global investments, a new position, confirmed Felicia Tang, GIC vice president, corporate affairs and communications.

Mr. Ng also will join the sovereign wealth fund’s international advisory board and serve as an adviser to the GIC’s investment strategies committee and its group executive committee. Meanwhile, he’ll continue as a director on the boards of GIC Asset Management, GIC Real Estate and GIC Special Investments.

Mr. Lim, a 19-year GIC veteran, also serves as president of GIC Asset Management and deputy group CIO. A GIC news release Friday said Mr. Lim will continue to serve as president of GIC Asset Management “for the time being.” Ms. Tang declined to comment on whether the role of deputy group CIO will be filled.

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CapitaLand to Exit U.K., India Projects, Reassess Australand

CapitaLand Ltd. (CAPL), the Southeast Asia developer that is reorganizing into four main units to help focus on its key markets, said it will look to exit some projects in the U.K., India and the Middle East, and reassess its investment in Australia’s Australand Property Group.

The Singapore-based developer, Southeast Asia’s biggest, will exit commercial and residential investments in the U.K., India and Gulf Cooperation Council nations, Chief Executive Officer Lim Ming Yan told reporters in Singapore today. It also is re-examining its 59 percent in Sydney-based Australand. The exits planned in India, U.K. and the Middle East won’t include the company’s serviced residence and malls businesses, Lim said.

CapitaLand, which in the past year announced top management changes and the retirement of its founder, is focusing on China and Singapore, and seeking to exit businesses where it doesn’t have a significant presence. The group will be realigned into four divisions: CapitaLand Singapore, CapitaLand China, CapitaMalls Asia and The Ascott Ltd., the developer said in a statement to the Singapore stock exchange today.

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NUS and Temasek Foundation Partner Thailand’s Ministry of Education to Boost English Language Learning in Thai Universities

Bangkok, Thailand, 4 January 2013 - The Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Temasek Foundation today announced the launch of a programme, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Thailand, to develop, trial and implement methodologies, strategies and activities that will further enhance the English language competency of university students. The programme is made possible through a grant of over S$400,000 by the Temasek Foundation to CELC.

The programme was officially launched today in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Associate Professor Wu Siew Mei, Director of CELC, and Associate Professor Preang Kitraporn, Chairman of the Meetings of Rajabhat University Presidents.

The signing of the MoU was witnessed by Thailand’s Vice Minister of Education Ms Chaweewan Klangsand, Singapore’s Ambassador to Thailand Mrs Chua Siew San, Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Foundation Mr Benedict Cheong, and NUS Vice Provost (Student Life) Professor Tan Tai Yong.

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Making more babies is hard to do

SINGAPORE is starting 2013 with another attempt to produce what the nation’s rising wealth cannot give – more babies.

The fundamental dilemma, which has led to a much-disliked era of mass immigration, is beginning to split the country.

The current poor birthrate, one of the world’s lowest, is worrying the government a lot more than the bulk of the citizenry.

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StarHub sports price hike leaves many upset

With effect from January 15, the local telco's sports group package will cost S$19.26 per month, up from S$12.84, after it recently acquired non-exclusive broadcast rights to ESPN Star Sports' (ESS) portfolio of multimedia assets and bundled the new television channels - ESPN, Star Sports and ESPN HD - with its 11 existing sports channels.

But consumers are upset at being left without the option of selecting which sports channels they want and having to accept the increased charges even though they may not want the new channels provided.

Furthermore, the channels are already available on SingTel's mio sports package, which many sports fans in Singapore already have.

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