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  1. The problem is how to catch these people, heard if the same unit been caught a few time, the flat will be confiscated. Then the fine should make it at $10K each , like the OPC fine or maybe jail for a week This one takes the cake
  2. CANCER is on the rise in Singapore - especially those linked with bad habits associated with modern lifestyle, including smoking and eating too much. According to figures from two years ago, which are the latest available, 12,123 people were diagnosed with cancer, up from 10,576 in 2008. This marks an increase of nearly 15 per cent. One reason for these numbers, said National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) director Soo Khee Chee, is an ageing population. The NCCS is Singapore's leading cancer treatment and research centre. "In developed countries like ours, people are living longer. Previously, people would die before they got cancer." But what is more worrying is how "lifestyle cancers", such as prostate, breast and colorectal cancers, are contributing to the rise. Prostate cancer cases went up by 52 per cent from 2003 to 2012, when cases of breast cancer also rose, by 25 per cent. These cancers are among the top three most commonly found in men and women respectively. They are also known as "developed-world cancers" because they are associated with the lifestyle in these countries. A factor that increases the chance of getting cancer is smoking, said Professor Soo. "Overall, the rate of smoking is moving downwards, but there is a trend of more younger people here taking it up." Health Promotion Board figures from 2010 showed that 16 per cent of young people aged 18 to 29 smoked regularly, up from 12 per cent in 2004. Other factors contributing to the rise of cancer here are poor diet and lack of exercise, because we are "overfed and eating the wrong food", said Prof Soo. Having fewer children and having them later also increase a woman's chances of getting cancer, he added. Cancer remains the No. 1 killer in Singapore, with 30 per cent of deaths in 2011 caused by the disease. This is five times more than deaths caused by accidents, violence and poisoning together. But the outlook is not all bleak. The chances of getting cancer can be lowered dramatically by modifying one's lifestyle. Stopping young people from smoking, for instance, "will almost decrease cancer deaths by a third if we succeed", said Prof Soo. Some of the most common cancers are also those that have the highest survival rates. Breast cancer - the most common cancer in women - has a five-year overall survival rate of 89 per cent. This means that 89 of every 100 people diagnosed with breast cancer were still alive after five years. The corresponding figure for lymphoma sufferers is 70 per cent, while that for colon cancer is 60 per cent. "Cancer is not a death sentence," said Prof Soo. "It would be a pity if cancer patients go into despair or give up because they think that way." Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/cancer-cases-the-rise-singapore-20140203
  3. Taxi fares in Singapore poised to rise in March [SINGAPORE] First, bus and train fares. And now, taxi fares are poised to rise - as early as March. The Straits Times understands market leader ComfortDelGro, which controls 60 per cent of the total taxi fleet of around 15,000 cabs in the Republic, has signalled to the authorities its intention to adjust flagdown and distance rates. The Public Transport Council, which has to be informed of fare changes, has yet to respond to queries from ST filed early Thursday (Jan 27). Currently, taxi flagdown fares are mostly S$3.70 for diesel taxis and S$3.90 for petrol-electric hybrids. And for every 400m thereafter up to 10km, the metre goes up by 22 cents. Beyond 10km, the distance fare rises by 22 cents every 350m. At its last fare adjustment in 2011, ComfortDelGro raised the flagdown fare of most cabs by 20 cents and distance fares by two cents per fare band. The planned adjustment is expected to be similar. As has been the practice, other taxi companies - Trans-Cab, SMRT, Premier and Prime - will adjust fares after the market leader. https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/transport/taxi-fares-in-singapore-poised-to-rise-in-march
  4. MediShield premiums could rise, Health Minister says Updated 02:29 PM Mar 07, 2012 SINGAPORE - Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said MediShield premiums are due for an increase soon. Mr Gan, speaking in Parliament at the Committee of Supply debates today, said the premiums "need to be adequate to sustain MediShield members' claims and to fund future liabilities under the scheme". "As MediShield premiums are set to be sustainable for a five-year period and the last increase was in 2008, we are due for the next update soons," said Mr Gan, noting that MediShield has paid out 21 per cent more in claims each year between 2008 and last year, during which time the premiums collected grew by only 10 per cent a year. "Ultimately, MediShield operates on a not-for-profit basis, with premiums actuarially calculated to cover expected payouts and meet risk and reserve requirements. The reserves ensure that MediShield will be able to honour policyholders' future claims." He said a 45-year-old may see a premium increase of S$7 per month, with younger age groups seeing a smaller increase, while a 75-year-old could see an increase of S$25 per month. To offset these increases, a one-time Medisave top-up of up to S$33 per month was announced in the recent Budget for all Singaporean policyholders to help cushion the impact of the increase. In addition, older policy holders who are beyond the re-employment age of 65 will receive direct and long-term assistance via Medisave top-ups under the GST voucher scheme, up to S$37.50 per month which can offset the premium increase in full. CHANNEL NEWSASIA URL http://www.todayonline.com/Hotnews/EDC1203...h-Minister-says Copyright 2012 MediaCorp Pte Ltd | All Rights Reserved
  5. Even more worrying now that weight lifting, and gym training are getting more popular among the youngster. More education is needed on the long term harmful effects of steroid. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/rise-in-steroid-misuse-by-singapore-teens-a-worrying-trend-8912576
  6. COME next Monday, prepare to fork out as much as 49 per cent more for a cab ride, now that ComfortDelgro, Singapore's biggest player, has unveiled its 'overhaul' of the current taxi fare structure. This follows what it says was an 'in-depth review' of the taxi industry to address commuters' concerns, simplify the fare structure and encourage call bookings 'to better match the demand and supply of taxis'. City Area Surcharge - Up First, to incentivise more cabbies to ply the Central Business District during peak hours, the city area surcharge, which is now $1, will be raised to $3 between 5pm and midnight from Mondays to Saturdays. The lack of taxis in the city at the end of office hours on weekday evenings is a frequent complaint from passengers, the company noted. For drivers who are afraid of paying Electronic Road Pricing charges to enter the city and risk not getting a passenger, ComfortDelgro says it will even pay an 'ERP rebate' to cabbies who cannot land a passenger within 15 minutes of entering an ERP zone. Late Night Surcharge - Up The late night surcharge between 12am and 5:59am daily will be revised back to 50 per cent of the metred fare - instead of the staggered 10 to 50 per cent surcharges now in effect. Will this revive the old problem of 'disappearing taxis' between 11pm to midnight? The company says no, 'given that the City Area Surcharge will be in force right till midnight, giving little reason for taxi drivers in the city to 'hide'.' Peak Period Surcharge - Up Instead of the standard $2 peak period surcharge now in effect between 7am and 9.30am on weekdays and 5pm to 8pm from Mondays to Saturdays, passengers will have to pay an added 35 per cent of their metered fare during those hours. A detailed breakdown of this extra 'premium fare' will be shown on each receipt 'to ensure transparency', the company says. Flag down, distance rate, waiting time - Changed As hinted earlier, the flag down fare will be raised by 30 cents from $2.50 to $2.80 for the first kilometre. But the distance rate and waiting time will also be adjusted to 'more accurately reflect the cost of travel', it added. So instead of upping fares by 10 cents for each set distance or waiitng time, this will soon go up by 20 cents each time. Specifically, every 385 metres for the second to 10th kilometres, and every 330 metres above 10 kilometres. The waiting time will also be raised from the current 10 cents for every 25 seconds to 20 cents for every 45 seconds. Call Booking Fee - Down Bucking the trend of the increases, call booking fees will be cut from $4 to $3.50 during prime time hours, which are 7am to 9.30am and 5pm to 11pm on weekdays. It stays at $2.50 for all other times. 10 to 49 per cent more in overall fares Under the new pricing structure, ComfortDelgro says, the bulk of its passengers who travel during off-peak hours will pay 10 per cent more in fares. All other passengers will be expected to pay between 18 per cent and 49 per cent more. The biggest jump in fares will affect those who take cabs out of the city from Mondays to Thursdays, between 8pm and midnight. Instead of $7.65 currently for an average 9km trip, they'll have to fork out $11.40. With all these changes factored in, ComfortDelgro explained, peak-hour cab fares in Singapore are about the same as Hong Kong's but still only half that of Sydney's. Local fares are also only about a quarter of London's. 'Better match supply and demand' Refering specifically to the current difficulty of getting cabs in the city during peak hours, ComfortDelgro's CEO (Taxi Business), Mr Yang Ban Seng, said: 'We think this fare revamp will better match supply and demand of taxis. Our aim is to try and ensure that more taxis will go to areas where they are needed most and at the times they are wanted most.' Mr Nah Tua Bah, president of the Comfort Taxi Operators' Association, added: "The higher city area surcharge will act an an incentive for drivers to make that trip back into town." Welcoming the increases, a joint statement by six taxi operators' associations called the latest fare adjustments 'fair and timely'. The associations said cab fares should 'reflect the operating cost of the taxi business' and that the primary consideration should be the 'income stability' of drivers. The group urged other taxi companies to follow ComfortDelgro's lead and also adjust their fares 'as soon as possible'. Summary of Fare Adjustments Basic Fare Current Revised Flag Down: $2.50 for 1st km* 1km to 10km: $0.1 for every 210m Above 10km: $0.1 for every 175m Waiting time: $0.1 for every 25sec Flag Down: $2.80 for 1st km* 1km to 10km: $0.2 for every 385m Above 10km: $0.2 for every 330m Waiting time: $0.2 for every 45sec Peak Period Premium $2 flat rate Mon-Fri, 7:00am-9:30am Mon-Sat, 5:00pm-8:00pm (not applicable on Public Holidays) 35% of metered fare Mon-Fri, 7:00am-9:30am Mon-Sat, 5:00pm-8:00pm (not applicable on Public Holidays) City Area Surcharge $1 Mon-Thu, 5pm-8pm Fri & Sat, 5pm-11:30pm $3 Mon-Sat, 5pm-midnight Late Night Surcharge 11:30pm-11:44pm 10% 11:45pm-11:59pm 20% 12:00am-12:59am 35% 01:00am-05:59am 50% Midnight-05:59am 50% of metered fare Current Booking Fee Prime Time: $4 Mon-Fri 7:00am-9:30am 5:00pm-11:00pm Non-Prime Time : $2.50 All other times including Sat, Sun & Public Holiday Prime Time: $3.50 Mon-Fri 7:00am-9:30am 5:00pm-11:00pm Non-Prime Time : $2.50 All other times including Sat, Sun & Public Holiday * For Toyota Crowns and Nissan Cedrics
  7. https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/ev3jjz/singapore-suicide-elderly-senior-citizens?utm_source=vicefbus
  8. The interest in new off-peak cars has practically disappeared as a result of sky-high Certificate of Entitlement (COE) premiums in recent months, with industry analysts predicting that recently-implemented car loan curbs may further dampen demand. Only eight new red-plated cars were registered last month, as compared to 96 registered in the same period two years ago. Figures from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) also showed that the number of normal cars converted to off-peak cars under the revised scheme fell to 761 in the past financial year, compared to the 1,361 cars that were converted between April 2010 and March 2011. Between April 2011 and March 2012, 857 normal car owners switched their rides to red plates. The proportion of red-plated cars has also shrunk in recent years. They now constitute about 7.3 per cent of cars here, as compared to a peak of 8.4 per cent in 2010. Then, there were 50,040 off-peak cars, as their numbers rose steadily between 2003 and 2010. The off-peak car scheme was introduced in 1994 to allow more people to own cars but not contribute to peak-hour congestion. Buyers paid lower taxes for such cars, but they could be driven only during evenings, weekends and public holidays. The scheme was revised in 2010 to make it more attractive for people to switch to these red-plated cars, with cash rebates given earlier and the vehicles allowed to be driven during all hours on Saturday and the eve of five public holidays. The LTA had previously envisioned that the enhanced off-peak car scheme could eventually lead to about 10 to 15 per cent of red-plated cars here, which it believed could reduce peak-hour traffic volume. Motor traders TODAY spoke to said that demand for off-peak cars usually wanes when car prices are high, as the S$17,000 tax savings would constitute a smaller percentage of the total car price. Said Singapore Vehicle Traders Association President Neo Tiam Ting: "The rebate is the same no matter what the car prices are. So, for example, a few years back in 2009, when car prices were about S$50,000, the rebates will take up a higher percentage as compared to now, when car prices are about S$100,000." Mr Ron Lim, General Manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, felt that the recently-enforced curbs on car loans will be a "further deterrent" for budget buyers who previously turned to off-peak cars. During the Ministry of Transport's Committee of Supply debate last month, Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan had suggested doing more to promote red-plated cars as an option for consumers who wished to fulfil their aspirations but may not need to drive every day. Contacted yesterday, Mr Lim suggested the authorities could consider giving a bigger tax rebate so that potential car owners can see the benefits of owning an off-peak car. SIM University's Head of Urban Transport Management programme Park Byung Joon suggested that the weekday timing restrictions on off-peak cars could be tweaked to make the scheme more attractive. Pointing out that that roads get congested mostly during the two peak hour time belts of 7am to 10am and 5pm and 8pm, Dr Park suggested that red-plate drivers could be allowed to drive any time outside of these 6-hour timeslots. Responding to TODAY's queries, the LTA said that "there are no plans to change the benefit structure (of the scheme) at this point of time". "The OPC (Off-Peak Car) scheme is an ownership scheme which allows motorists to own cars at lower cost, if they are prepared to use it sparingly," the LTA spokesperson added. "The tax benefits and usage conditions of the OPC are set upfront so that car buyers and owners can assess, based on their own travel patterns, whether or not an OPC would be able to meet their needs." Source: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/numbe...dives-coes-rise
  9. Original article: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC12...n-the-rise-here
  10. Increase of taxes, as country is more developed. Though a citizen of a higher tax bracket status, I do encourage to the gov to tax more on the rich, while maintaining those who are at the mid or lower tier tax brackets. This is a way to contribute back to the country. Taxes Must increase for social spending
  11. http://www.sgcarmart.com/news/article.php?AID=18147 To support social spending ? Vehicle registration fees and transfer fees are just two of 24 car-related fees that will be raised, with effect from 20th December. 06 Dec 2017 | Local News : Singapore Vehicle buyers will have to pay more for a wide range of vehicle-related services from 20th December. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is raising the rates for a slew of fees from vehicle registration to vehicle transfer. In a letter sent out to motor traders last Friday, the authority said the change was because of 'rising costs of providing these services'. These services, it said, included things like the setting up and maintenance of IT systems, as well as manpower cost. Some say the hike in car-related fees are small when compared to others such as the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (banding rebates and surcharges shown above)The biggest hikes include those made to registration fees, which will go from $140 today to $220, a 57 percent hike; and transfer fees (which is levied when a vehicle's ownership changes), which will more than double from $11 to $25. The cost to lay up a vehicle (to stop the vehicle from incurring tax and insurance costs for an extended period when it is not used) will more than triple from $5.35 to $17.12. In response to queries from The Straits Times, an LTA spokesman said the changes arose from 'a review of fees that are collected for administering vehicle services'. "From 20th December, 24 out of 61 existing fees will be adjusted upwards, as these fees have largely remained unchanged for more than 10 years," she said. Motor traders were surprised by the move. Mr. Nicholas Wong, General Manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said, "These fees are small when compared with things like Certificate of Entitlement and the Additional Registration Fee, so I don't understand why they have to be raised. "I guess this is part of the tax increases was pre-empted recently." Mr. Neo Nam Heng, Chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said he would refrain from commenting on tax revenue issues, but pointed out that 'cost will be passed on to consumers'. Motorist Gay Eng Joo, 46, said, "Cars are big-ticket items here, so I don't think these changes will make much of a difference to consumers." Mr. Gay, an engineer, said other schemes such as the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES), which starts next month will have a 'bigger bite'. The VES metes out tax rebates or surcharges according to a car's emission levels. The majority of cars available today will either lose their rebates or face surcharges from next month.
  12. Households to see average rise of about 22% in electricity bills from Oct By Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 29 September 2008 1035 hrs SINGAPORE: Higher oil prices have pushed up electricity prices for this quarter by about a fifth. SP Services said on Monday households will see an average increase of 21.46 per cent in electricity bills, when average electricity tariffs go up by 5.38 cents per kilowatt-hour. On average, all SP Services customers will face a 21.89 per cent increase. For the period from October 1 to December 31, tariffs have been pegged to a higher "forward fuel oil price" of S$155.14 per barrel. This price is 38.06 per cent higher than the S$112.35 per barrel in this current quarter. The electricity tariff is reviewed quarterly and adjusted in line with fluctuations in the cost of electricity, and approved by the Energy Market Authority. At a news conference on Monday, the Authority's chief executive Khoo Chin Hean said that the increase is the highest so far this year. So much so for the increase by the gov on the U-Rebate thing...LPPL...as mentioned tariffs have been pegged to a higher "forward fuel oil price" of S$155.14 per barrel." what if the oil price drop during this period, r they going to refund us??? KNN trying to recoup the URebate through forecast oil price, might as well become a fortune teller...
  13. Source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/afp/20080820/tts-...ce-f6a4e2a.html AFP - Wednesday, August 20 SINGAPORE (AFP) - - World oil prices rose in Asian trade Wednesday on fresh supply concerns after key producer Venezuela indicated it could ask OPEC to cut output, dealers said. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for September delivery, rose 56 cents to 115.09 dollars a barrel. The contract had jumped 1.66 dollars to close at 114.53 dollars in New York on Tuesday. Brent North Sea crude for October delivery added 50 cents to 113.75 dollars a barrel after rallying 1.31 dollars to settle at 113.25 Tuesday in London. Venezuela's Energy and Petroleum Minister, Rafael Ramirez, said Tuesday his country will propose production cuts at the next Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting if oil prices continue to fall. The cartel is to meet next month in Vienna. "If there is a trend or dynamic toward lower oil prices, Venezuela will consider the possibility of a cut in production," Ramirez said in remarks released by the ministry. "This is the position that we will take at the next OPEC meeting," he said. Wednesday's price gains were "follow-through from last night's bounce," said Jonathan Kornafel, a director for Asia with energy derivatives trading house Hudson Capital Energy. "I don't think any decision is going to be made but I won't be surprised at the rhetoric and traders are looking at it," he said. Despite the latest price gains, world oil prices are down from all-time highs above 147 dollars in July as weak US economic data raise fears for oil demand and dim investor appetite for commodities. Data released on Tuesday added to signs that demand is slowing in the world's biggest energy consumer, the United States, dealers said. The US Labor Department said wholesale inflation soared to 9.8 percent in July, the fastest rate in 27 years, while the US Commerce Department reported new home construction fell 11 percent to the lowest level in 17 years. "Standing back from all of this to glance at the big picture would certainly seem to endorse the oil market's sharp month-long decline," said John Kilduff, an analyst at MF Global. The US Department of Energy was to release its latest weekly snapshot of energy stockpiles in the country later Wednesday. Oil prices, which broke through the 100-dollar level at the start of 2008, remain well above year-ago levels.
  14. Bros, bad news for most... Those staying in HDB units please brace yourselves for this ridiculously absurd price increase of as much as 73% while those staying in landed properties lucky you price decrease of 3% soon... From CNA: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/sin...1204325/1/.html Waste collection fees expected to rise By Joanne Chan | Posted: 29 May 2012 2138 hrs SINGAPORE: Households in Singapore can expect to gradually pay more to have their trash collected. The National Environment Agency (NEA) said the move is aimed at uplifting the waste collection industry, which is struggling with rising operating costs while it grapples with improving service standards. Industry players said these challenges have been made harder by government contracts that have locked in fees for the past seven to eight years, with no provision for adjustments. With several contracts up for renewal over the next few years, the NEA, which manages the public waste collection scheme, is looking to reshape the industry. For the purpose of waste management, Singapore is currently divided into nine sectors, served by four companies. This will be reduced to six sectors, to help companies achieve economies of scale. Andrew Tan, CEO of the National Environment Agency, said: "This in turn will translate into greater affordability and at the same time, giving opportunities for the waste collectors to invest in the capital, in the training of their workforce and also the equipment needed to do a good job in terms of waste collection." Chairman of the Waste Management and Recycling Association, Guah Eng Hock, also pointed out that waste collection companies are required in their contracts to have a recyclable sorting facility in each sector. He said that with the larger sectors, companies will be able to enjoy greater economies of scale. A standard waste collection fee will also be introduced. Today, households pay as little as S$4.03 per HDB flat, or as high as S$22.50 for a landed home. Prices also differ between estates. For example, HDB flats in the city area currently pay S$4.03, while those in Pasir-Ris and Tampines fork out S$6.87. The difference in pricing is due to separate contracts being called for each sector, subjected to open bidding. Moving forward, all households will pay a "uniform fee" - depending on whether it is an HDB flat or landed property. The fee will be derived from the weighted average of successful tender bids submitted by public waste collectors. The first to come under the new fee structure will be households in Pasir-Ris, Tampines and Bedok. From July, HDB properties in those areas will pay S$7, while landed homes will pay S$23.19. The NEA said households would have had to pay more, if the new uniformed fee structure was not applied. The new uniformed fee structure will be progressively rolled out to the rest of Singapore by 2015. In return for higher fees, waste collection companies will have to meet higher service standards. This includes having quieter and cleaner vehicles, and responding quicker to public feedback. Companies will also have to provide better incentive schemes to encourage households to recycle. Singapore's only landfill on Semakau island is currently at half its capacity, and is expected to run out of space by 2040. Thus, recycling remains a key strategy for managing waste in Singapore and the government hopes that consumers and businesses will start at the source - by sorting their recyclables from other waste. Singapore's recycling rate currently stands at 59 per cent - a long way from its long-term target of 70 per cent. -CNA/ac
  15. Anybody really know what a cyber-bully is? When does one label someone a cyber-bully? Are there cyber-bully in this forum? What are the signs of a cyber-bully? Does Moderator really take action on if there are any cyber-bully in this forum? thanks
  16. Read in today ST that another cases of kidnap scam where the old couple lost more than $50,000 to the con man by claiming that they are holding their son in custody. Police had adviced members of public since 25/08/07 and another 5 scarm were reported on 28/08/07 and bringing a total to 10 cases. It should be easy to trace the con man as the account number was given for the bank transfer. (another catch me if you can) As a son/daughter it is our duty to inform our parent to be alert and not to listen to any phone calls claiming that we had been kidnap. Those responsible should be not be spared of jail term up to 3 years. The old couple hard earn money just gone like that.
  17. uh oh.... i/r going up anytime soon? High debt-GDP ratio could hurt in face of global slowdown Bylivia yap THE rapid rise in household debt here, coming amid the uncertainty of global financial markets, has been red-flagged. Kelvin Tay, the regional chief investment officer for the Southern Asia-Pacific for UBS Wealth Management, said the high household debt levels, coupled with high property prices, could make Singapore vulnerable to a rise in unemployment, a reduction in incomes and asset deflation if a slowdown in global economic markets happens. Singapore's household debt - total consumer loans of Domestic Banking Units - stood at 279 per cent of the total gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year, up from 177 per cent in the corresponding quarter in 2007. The 279 per cent figure is even higher than the 198 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2009, after the 2008 financial crisis. Mr Tay said 80 per cent of household debt here is made up of mortgages, which, coupled with the climb in property prices since 2009, explains why household debt as a percentage of GDP shot up so sharply from 2007. He said: "With (household debt) at such significant levels, it will be difficult for the government or policy makers to stimulate demand to offset the sluggish exports we are currently experiencing." This has been worsened by panic selling of risk assets, such as US high yield and Asian local currency bonds, since the US Federal Reserve's indication last week that it might start tapering its bond-buying programme later this year. Mr Tay said a rise in US treasury yields usually leads to a rise in Singapore government bond yields. As the USD is a major component in the basket of currencies used to manage the SGD, interest rates here usually follow the trends of USD interest rates. "Given the sharp rise in credit growth over the last few years, I would not be surprised if an increase in interest rates is followed by deterioration in the loans portfolio of banks and other financial institutions; this would in turn lead to a tightening of credit supply and a higher cost of financing for credit in general." He still believes the Asian market will continue growing, despite the impending halt of liquidity from the Fed. He rejects the notion that this could lead to a repeat of the Asian financial crisis "because the circumstances of both the global economy and, more importantly, the Asian economies, are now very different from 1994". Mr Tay said the Asian economies, excluding Japan, have strong fundamentals, with total foreign exchange reserves comprising more than half the world's GDP (52 per cent), much higher than in 1994 (23.6 per cent). Corporate balance sheets are similarly healthy, and although the net debt-to-equity ratio increased to 26.1 per cent from 18.3 per cent after the Lehman Brothers' crisis in 2008, this is still well below the 41.8 per cent in 1994, when the Fed began to raise interest rates. Despite a relatively sharp rise in debt over the past few years, the gross debt-to-GDP ratio for Asian economies excluding Japan averaged 46.4 per cent, with GDP growth for this year and the next likely to average 6.3 per cent. This is well above the 3 per cent growth rate for the world. Mr Tay said: "In short, the Asian story not only remains intact, but is also more attractively valued than before. "Compared to the years just before the Asian financial crisis, Asia excluding Japan has significantly more FX reserves, lower net debt-to-equity levels and sovereign debt levels and healthy growth rates."
  18. Huat ah! http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/sin...1225965/1/.html SINGAPORE: 16,000 public healthcare administrative, ancillary and support staff will see a salary increase of between 4 and 10 per cent from September. This comes after a review of healthcare staff salaries by the Health Ministry and the healthcare clusters. By 2014, 2,000 of these staff can expect a wage increase of between 10 and 20 per cent through a progressive wage model. The model has been developed to help lower wage workers attain sustainable wage increases through productivity, training and job redesign. It will focus on three key groups - health attendants, healthcare assistants and patient service associates. These announcements were made at the the launch of the Healthcare Cluster Tripartite Workgroup, which focuses on raising productivity of the healthcare sector. The tripartite partners comprise the Health Ministry, six public healthcare clusters and NTUC's healthcare clusters of unions. - CNA/xq
  19. From 2009 to 2010, I studied hawker centres in Singapore while on a Fulbright Fellowship. Before I even arrived, I came across articles suggesting that first-generation hawkers were dying or retiring, but their children were not taking over. These articles focused on the loss of certain foods and did not consider the potential effect on hawker centres. During my research, I concluded that hawker centres were endangered, though everyone I spoke with believed they would always exist. Since 2010, there have been positive signs: The Government has improved stall rental policies, developed a training programme with master chefs and is building the first new hawker centres since 1986. While these actions will help, I do not believe they are enough. Even the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan has admitted that while it is easy to build new hawker centres, the "key challenge is to find enough Singaporeans willing to enter this profession, which is a difficult, challenging one". For my research, I interviewed about 100 hawkers at 26 different centres across Singapore. The average age of my interviewees was 50, with a range from 33 to 82. I quickly stopped asking about profits because no one wanted to discuss them. A newspaper article earlier this year ("Hawkers unsure of not-for-profit model"; Jan 13) referred to a man who made only slightly more than $10,000 last year. Based on my research, I suspect such low levels of profit are relatively common. Part of the problem is that hawker food is too cheap. While there has been dismay over price increases, in reality they have not increased significantly in recent years. An article last year ("Serving up a good deal for hawkers"; May 30, 2013) noted that overall, the price of chicken rice has increased a mere 50 cents since 1993. In 20 years, the cost of everything else has risen - fuel, raw ingredients, utilities and so on. It is impossible for hawkers to make decent profit margins if public opinion does not allow them to raise their prices to keep pace. Beyond this financial reality, the reasons people become hawkers are also posing additional challenges for the long-term outlook of hawker centres. The overwhelming majority (69 per cent) of those I interviewed had entered the trade because of family. Only 6 per cent quoted a passion for cooking as their motivation. There was a notable level of dissatisfaction among hawkers, mainly among those who had switched from other careers. I spoke to a 37-year-old engineer who had taken over his father's stall against his father's wishes. When I asked the son what he liked best, he responded: "Actually, I don't like anything." He cited the long hours and resulting loss of a social life as the most difficult aspect. This dissatisfaction is understandable, given that 70 per cent of the hawkers I interviewed worked at least 12 hours per day and 38 per cent of those worked at least 14 hours per day. No one I interviewed worked fewer than nine hours per day. In addition to the long hours and low profit margins, being a hawker involves physically exhausting work in a hot environment. Consequently, it is not seen as a career path for those with higher levels of education. Many of my interviewees did not know what would happen to their stalls in the future, but 32 per cent told me their children would not take over, pointing out that they were better-educated and could therefore get better jobs. If the main reason people become hawkers is to help their families, and that trend is declining as education and corresponding opportunities for better jobs are increasing, where will the next generation of hawkers come from? I'm just an ang moh (Caucasian foreigner) and I can't claim to know what's best for Singapore. But I do know that more action is needed to save hawker centres. And it's not the Government's responsibility to try to save them - it's everyone's. First, the public should accept moderate price increases so that hawkers can make decent profits and have a higher quality of life. If this would make food too expensive for low-income citizens, perhaps the Government could offer them subsidised food cards. Similarly, perhaps the Government could consider offering all hawkers subsidised rental rates. This could make entering the profession more appealing by increasing the potential for profits and the ability to achieve a work-life balance. Others have suggested that raising the profile of hawkers might encourage people to enter the profession. The government could apply for hawker centre culture to be added to Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. If successful, this designation would significantly raise the profile of hawkers and hawker centres both abroad and at home. Recent television shows such as Wok Stars, in which celebrity chefs Alvin Leung and Willin Low whip into shape a handful of hawker-wannabes, have already attempted to glamorise the hawker profession. However, I would encourage the organisers to offer a prize of free rent at an actual hawker centre, rather than a private food court. If all else fails, serious consideration should be given to allowing foreigners to become hawkers, provided they have completed the training programme. While there is an inherent irony in turning over a cultural institution to foreigners, cooking skills and recipes can be taught. Besides, foreigners already cook in private food centres and coffee shops. Ultimately, whatever path is chosen, hawkers and hawker centres are endangered and should be treated with the respect and acclaim accorded to any other cultural treasure. Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/opinion/more-opinion-stories/story/public-must-accept-rise-hawker-food-prices-20140815
  20. The average premium collected for motor insurance dipped slightly last year, even as the sector saw a 17.3 per cent increase in underwriting profit to $59.1 million. At its annual results briefing on Tuesday, the General Insurance Association (GIA) said the average motor premium collected last year was $1,250, down from $1,280 in 2012. The association attributed the slight dip to more insurers entering the marketplace, and said this trend is likely to continue. As a whole, the motor insurance sector collected $1.22 billion in gross premiums, a 2 per cent drop from 2012. Said GIA president AK Cher: "The GIA will continue to work with our various stakeholders to ensure that motor claims are effectively managed and premiums continue to stabilise." Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/motor-insurance-sector-sees-rise-profits-general-insurance-industry-gr
  21. http://youtu.be/D1HBsRq2veQ 1540 drivers nabbed for drink driving in 6 months is quite a lot man.
  22. Just a couple of weeks ago, Mitsubishi teased us with images of its new compact sedan. It came with four doors and it seemed to be only as big as, if not smaller than, the Chevrolet Sonic or the Renault Symbol. However, the wait is over and now, we've finally got to see what the latest compact sedan from Mitsubishi will actually look like. Planned to bow at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, official images of the car have spread across the World Wide Web. The car is to be called the G4 Concept at the automotive exhibition in China that will take place later this April. According to the Japanese automaker where the car comes from, the Mitsubishi G4 Concept will feature high clarity diamond headlamps and front grille that are cut brilliantly. In addition to that, Mitsubishi also claims that the rear combination taillights will have a sharp impression left behind as the car heads away out of sight. Judging from the images, the exterior of the Mitsubishi G4 Concept looks sporty somehow with the sporty front bumper design, side skirts, and a sporty rear bumper. There's also a spoiler trunk lid featuring a highly mounted (seemingly LED) brake lamp. The automaker is planning to sell this model globally so we should also see one on our shores when it's finally marketed. If you're curious about what it has under its hood, well, the model will feature a MIVEC engine with a displacement capacity of 1,200cc. It will be mated to a CVT transmission and the body of the car will be equipped with RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) technology. Well, it's up to Mitsubishi to claim that the car will leave a sharp impression. Yet, from what we've seen on the images, there's just too much blue on it. The headlamps feature a blue colour and so do the front grille, front fog lamps, and even the rear combination taillights. Honestly, it looks kind of tacky.
  23. The JPY is now at its weakest since 2006/2007. Have the Hondas and Mazdas dropped their prices accordingly?
  24. Is it true? Heard it will rise to 3.45% this Friday?
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