Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bigger changes to Cabinet ahead in 2018, says PM Lee Hsien Loong, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Bigger changes to Cabinet ahead in 2018, says PM Lee Hsien Loong, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Bigger changes to Cabinet ahead in 2018, says PM Lee Hsien Loong

MANILA - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (April 29) that he plans to make bigger changes to his team next year, and put new ministers in charge of some ministries.

His comments follow the latest round of Cabinet changes, which saw Mrs Josephine Teo and Mr Desmond Lee promoted to full ministers in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Speaking to Singapore reporters at the Asean Summit in Manila, PM Lee said: "This one is not a full set of changes, I expect to do a much bigger change next year... there will be more changes by that time and more new ministers will be helming their own ministries."

Asked to comment on the Cabinet changes announced on Thursday, Mr Lee said he had promoted the ministers because they deserved it.

"They've shown that they are capable of more responsibilities. They have done good work and I expect them to do even more," he added.

Besides Mrs Teo and Mr Desmond Lee, four ministers of state will also be promoted to senior ministers of state: Dr Lam Pin Min, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Dr Koh Poh Koon and Mr Chee Hong Tat. They will continue in their current ministries.

Dr Lam will also be appointed Senior Minister of State for Transport.

The PMO had said that the changes, which take effect on Monday (May 1), are part of leadership renewal.

Besides their portfolios in the PMO, Mrs Teo will also be Second Minister for Manpower and Foreign Affairs, while Mr Lee will be Second Minister in his present ministries of Home Affairs and National Development.

PM Lee said he had assigned Mrs Teo to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to shadow Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.

"They've worked together for a long time so I think that should work well," he said.

Observers saw Mrs Teo's move as a sign that she may be groomed to be the next manpower minister, especially given her past experience working in the labour movement.

As for Mr Desmond Lee, who at 40 will be one of the youngest full ministers in recent years, PM Lee quipped: "I've left him at (MHA and MND) and I'm sure his ministers, knowing that he is a minister, will give him more work to do."

In other changes announced on Thursday, parliamentary secretaries Low Yen Ling and Faishal Ibrahim will be promoted to senior parliamentary secretaries in their current ministries: Trade and Industry, and Education for Ms Low, and Education and Social and Family Development for Dr Faishal.

Minister of State Sam Tan will take on the foreign affairs portfolio, in addition to his current ones in MOM and the PMO, while Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin will take on an additional post in the Health Ministry.

Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck asked to step down from office on June 30 and return to the private sector. His term as mayor of North East District ends on May 26, but he will still be an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo will replace him as mayor.

The four other mayors - Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Dr Teo Ho Pin, Ms Denise Phua and Ms Low - will be reappointed on May 27.

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I thought being president would be easier, says Donald Trump, United States News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

I thought being president would be easier, says Donald Trump, United States News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

I thought being president would be easier, says Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

President Donald Trump on Thursday (April 27) reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," he told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."

A wealthy businessman from New York, he assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on Jan 20 after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an upset.

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Mr Trump's mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

"Here, you can take that, that's the final map of the numbers," the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red.

"It's pretty good, right? The red is obviously us." He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room.

Mr Trump, who said he was accustomed to not having privacy in his "old life", expressed surprise at how little he had now. And he made clear he was still getting used to having 24-hour Secret Service protection and its accompanying constraints.

"You're really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can't go anywhere," he said.

When the president leaves the White House, it is usually in a limousine or an SUV.

He said he missed being behind the wheel himself. "I like to drive," he said. "I can't drive any more."

Many things about Mr Trump have not changed from the wheeler-dealer executive and former celebrity reality show host who ran his empire from the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York and worked the phones incessantly.

He frequently turns to outside friends and former business colleagues for advice and positive reinforcement. Senior aides say they are resigned to it.

The president has been at loggerheads with many news organisations since his election campaign and decided not to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington on Saturday because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media.

"I would come next year, absolutely," he said when asked whether he would attend in the future.

The dinner is organised by the White House Correspondents' Association. Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason is its president.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

It Changed My Life: Migrant worker goes from painting condos to boss of own company, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

It Changed My Life: Migrant worker goes from painting condos to boss of own company, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
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It Changed My Life: Migrant worker goes from painting condos to boss of own company

Mani Malaichamy proudly surveys his Kaki Bukit office, filled with barrels of paint in different colours, before opening the door to show me his new 2.4 litre, white Toyota Harrier.

"I really believe God gave me everything," he says, eyes darting to a poster of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, pinned to a wall.

The 47-year-old, who shelled out $420,000 to buy the office two years ago, is referring to the glorious way his life has panned out: An Indian migrant worker who arrived penniless in Singapore 20 years ago but defied great odds to found a painting company which pulled in $2.6 million in revenue last year.

"But I have a second 'god', Mr Ang Ah Teng," says the managing director of MMM Contract Services.

Mr Ang is his former employer, a man who, he says, taught him everything he knows and encouraged him to spread his wings.

The youthful looking Mr Mani speaks fractured English in an almost Singaporean accent.

Mr Mani in a photo taken in 1997 when he was working for property development company Fook Tong Nam. PHOTOS: MANI MALAICHAMY

The youngest of seven children, he is originally from a small village near the town of Tirrupatur in Tamil Nadu.

His parents were poor rice farmers who often had to borrow money when droughts destroyed their crop. To supplement their income, the family also reared goats.

Growing up, he remembers going to the fields with his school books to be a human scarecrow to frighten birds. "I finished school at 17. After that, no more studies. One thing, no money. Another thing, have to help the family," says Mr Mani who completed his secondary education at a village schol.

Jobs were not easy to come by.

For some time, he worked as an assistant in a provision shop in Chennai. He also had a stint teaching illiterate seniors to read and write under a programme by India's Ministry of Education.

When there was no work, he helped out on the farm.

"In a kampung, no need much money because no need to spend. We planted our own rice and vegetables; we didn't need to buy a lot of things," he says.

But he dreamt of getting a job which would pay well enough for him to build a house and help his parents pay off their loans.

"My two elder brothers did not help the family after they got married. I wanted to make money to help my parents and so that my sister could get married," says Mr Mani, who has four sisters.

He wanted badly to come to Singapore.

"There were many agents in my village recruiting workers to work here," he says.

The only snag was the hefty commissions they charged.

When he was 28, his brother-in-law - then a migrant worker in Singapore - cobbled together $4,000 and arranged for an agent to find Mr Mani a job here.

The gregarious man remembers the day he landed in Changi Airport. "I saw everything very nice and very beautiful. The Chinese people at the airport said my name very different. The smell here also very different," he recalls with a laugh.

His employer was a property development company in Marine Parade. Instead of a construction site, he was dispatched to the office of one of the company's new condominium developments in Bukit Timah.

"That's because I could speak a little bit English. The other workers could not," he explains.

His job included painting and fixing minor defects in the condo units. The company allowed him to sleep at the site office.

"I was very happy because I was alone. No one to disturb me. At night, I could read," says Mr Mani who devoured Rapidex, a popular series of English coursebooks for Tamil speakers.

He was paid $18 a day, and could earn a few more doing overtime.

Mr Mani (in blue) borrowed $4,000 to come to Singapore 20 years ago to work as a labourer, earning $18 a day. With help from his former employer, he now owns his own painting business, which pulled in more than $2.5 million last year. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

"I worked every day, from Monday to Sunday, from 8am to 7pm, and until 10pm if there was overtime. My pay was about $600 a month, I don't go out except on Sunday evenings when I finished work. I went to Serangoon to talk to friends and relatives from my village," says Mr Mani, who saved money by cooking his own meals on an electric cooker in the carpark outside his site office.

Because he was so prudent with his spending, he paid back the $4,000 to his brother-in-law in a little over a year. He also set aside some to take English classes at a school for foreign students in Orchard Road.

Occasionally, he also handed money to an agent to take home to his parents in India.

On the advice of his boss, he got himself certified by the Construction Industry Development Board not long after.

After four years here, he returned home to India to get married. By then, his daily pay had gone up to nearly $30.

"I was already 32, so must get married mah," he says, using the Singlish word often used to express something which is obvious.

The marriage was arranged by his parents. His wife, Madam Mamathy, 40, has a Master's in Commerce from Alagappa University.

"But she never worked. Many women are very educated but never work, very common in India. I only saw her once before we got married, when she was 12 years old," he says.

That he was not as highly educated was not an issue.

"It's nothing. She and her parents know I have talent, and that I would make money and take care of her. They know what I can do, they know I can learn things very fast," he says proudly, without a hint of conceit.

It took him eight months and another agent to find a higher paying job in Singapore. By then, his wife was pregnant with their first son.

"I had to come back. I had only enough money to get married but not to buy a house. I also had to pay for my sister's marriage," he says.

His new employer was ATC Painting Specialist, owned by Mr Ang.

Mr Mani's resourcefulness and eagerness to learn earned him many opportunities.

"I did many things. I was driving a lorry, fetching workers, collecting cheques, making payments, supervising, taking care of projects," he says animatedly, adding that he also took a three-month course to get certified as a safety officer.

"My boss made me a supervisor. Every year, increase in pay, and bonus," adds Mr Mani, who sent the bulk of his pay to his wife in Chennai.

Unlike his colleagues who lived in hostels, he preferred to sleep in his company's paint shop.

"I liked (being) alone. I don't like to join them... quarrel, quarrel. Anyway I parked my company lorry there, so it's easy for me," he says.

Mr Ang, 53, says that his employee fell sick often when he first joined the company.

"I think he was not used to the weather. But he's hardworking. If he wasn't, I wouldn't have hired him. I taught him a lot, and he was not a bad learner," he says.

By 2005, Mr Mani was earning nearly $3,000, enough for him to get an S Pass, granted to middle-level foreign workers. Mr Ang also advised him to apply for dependent's passes for his family.

"Actually, I wanted to start a business in Chennai. I already bought a small piece of land. I wanted to build a two-storey house, use the bottom for a shop and live upstairs. But my boss encouraged me to try and apply for my family to come to Singapore."

He did, successfully. In 2006, they became permanent residents.

His journey, he says, did not happen without sacrifices.

"I worked so hard. I didn't see my elder son till eight months after he was born. I could only afford to go back once every five years.

"When my father died in 2004, I did not even go back. I just went to a corner and cried. I was doing an urgent project. And I was scared that if I went back, I would lose my job. That was what happened to my father, who worked in Sri Lanka. When my grandfather died, he went back to India but after that, he lost his job in Sri Lanka."

When his wife and elder son Arul Prakash, now 15, arrived in 2005, they lived in a one-room rental flat in Bukit Merah.

(Above) Mr Ang Ah Teng with Mr Mani Malaichamy's younger son Areesh in the Pasir Ris condo. PHOTOS: MANI MALAICHAMY

A few years later, he bought a three-room HDB flat in Bedok on the resale market. His younger son Areesh Prasanth was born in Singapore in 2010.

Getting his PR gave him the confidence to act on his entrepreneurial dreams. "I know I could come out and do business. I know my customers, I know how to apply for workers. But I thought of my boss, he taught me everything. Without him, my family would not be here with me."

Mr Ang, however, encouraged him to strike out on his own.

Mr Mani says: "He said, 'You go out and fight. If you are not successful, you can come back.' Where to find boss like that? Even I cannot be like that. I was so happy I cried," he says.

With his boss' blessings, he started MMM (his initials as well as those of his father and wife) in 2007 while still working at ATC. He accepted small jobs painting houses and bungalows at night and on weekends.

Three years later, he quit ATC, put $10,000 of his savings and plunged into his business full-time. He hired two workers, and got himself a second-hand motorcyle to run around on.

An interior designer got him his first major contract, worth $150,000, to paint a factory in Woodlands.

"I'm very lucky. All my Singaporean customers have been very good to me. They like me and give me a lot of jobs," says Mr Mani who now has 26 staff, including a couple of Singaporeans. He has another electrical services company.

Even Mr Ang passed him contracts, including one to paint Greendale Secondary School in Punggol. Since then, Mr Mani has landed contracts to paint several other schools including Marymount Convent and CHIJ Katong Convent.

Asked why he went out of his way to help his former employee, Mr Ang says: "It's very simple. I'm growing old. There's also a lot of work to go around. If he can chiong, let him do it," he says, using the Hokkien word which means to take risks. "You cannot keep everything for yourself. Anyway, if he's successful, I'm happy for him."

Mr Mani has taken a leaf from his boss' books on how to treat staff. He organises company trips to Malaysia and invites them over to his home for meals often.

"When you treat them well and become their friend, they will be so happy to work for you," he says.

He and his family have adapted happily to life in Singapore.

"When I first came to Singapore, the smell of durian made me want to vomit. But now I love it so much. I also love eating mee goreng for breakfast every day," says Mr Mani, who worships at Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Ceylon Road and is active in the Parents' Support Group at Temasek Secondary School where Arul is a student.

He has, he says, worked extremely hard for what he has but sometimes finds it hard to believe he has come so far. Last April, he and his family moved into a $1.2 million condo in Pasir Ris.

He says: "I used to paint condos but I never dreamt I would one day live in one."


From penniless migrant worker to painting company founder

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Friday, April 28, 2017

May Day Message 2017: Unemployment rate could rise further, says Lim Swee Say, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

May Day Message 2017: Unemployment rate could rise further, says Lim Swee Say, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

May Day Message 2017: Unemployment rate could rise further, says Lim Swee Say

SINGAPORE - Unemployment in Singapore has risen and could rise further, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Friday (April 28) in a May Day message.

The reason he gave is that some sectors in the economy are still struggling with structural changes.

But the rise in unemployment is still below the peaks that hit Singapore during the 2003 outbreak of Sars, or the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and the 2009 Global Financial Crisis.

The challenges confronting the economy, however, are "no less daunting" than in the past, Mr Lim said in his annual message ahead of May Day on Monday.

The unemployment rate for local workers rose to 3 per cent last year, after holding steady at about 2.8 per cent since 2012. It reflects the slowing economy, which grew by about 2 per cent in the past two years, down from the average of 4.5 per cent previously, Mr Lim noted.

"Our economy is still growing, not shrinking," he said.

But the transition this time is less cyclical, and more structural, he added. "Some sectors are still under stress and unemployment could rise further."

Recovery too will be unlike previous downturns. "More time and effort is needed to get through this transition completely", Mr Lim said.

The key to achieving it lies in the hands of both employers and workers, he added.

They need to be better and quicker in adopting technology, innovate faster and raise productivity so that they can compete globally for investments and jobs. Workers also need to cope with disruptions to jobs and learn new skills, the minister said.

"There is no shortcut to success," he said. "It is never easy for any country to transform its economy and workforce."

Mr Lim, however, is confident that businesses and workers can make the transition.

"We have succeeded time and again to emerge stronger. This time, we can and will succeed again," he said.

His optimism stems from the three-way partnership between the Government, employers and unions. The tripartite partnership is committed to helping businesses transform and workers cope with the economic changes, he said.

NTUC's message

In a separate May Day message, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said that it will step up efforts in training and job placement for workers.

It is expanding its NTUC Education and Training Fund for more workers to upgrade their skills, said NTUC president Mary Liew and secretary-general Chan Chun Sing in a joint message.

The NTUC is working with institutes of higher learning to coach students in career planning. It is also working with government bodies to identify the skills workers need to land future jobs and develop training courses in these fields.

These moves will ensure the labour movement stays relevant to the needs of the economy and the aspirations of workers, the NTUC said.

Besides jobs and training, the social enterprises such as supermarket chain NTUC Fairprice and insurance cooperative NTUC Income are also evolving, offering new products and services. "We must disrupt ourselves before others disrupt us," said the NTUC.

SNEF's message

Meanwhile, the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) said it will do its part to help raise productivity. "Labour-management cooperation will be key in sustaining productivity gains at the enterprise level," said SNEF president Robert Yap, adding: "SNEF is committed to continue to be 'by the side' of employers and labour movement to help strengthen this productivity partnership."

NTUC's month-long May Day celebrations start on Monday (May 1) when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers his annual May Day Rally speech.

The annual May Day awards for those who have contributed to the labour movement will be presented at an event on May 13. On May 21, a carnival for foreign workers will be held at Sungei Tengah dormitory.

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Doctor charged with raping, molesting patient, ordered not to perform consultations for women, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Doctor charged with raping, molesting patient, ordered not to perform consultations for women, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Doctor charged with raping, molesting patient, ordered not to perform consultations for women

SINGAPORE - A doctor who has been charged with raping and molesting a 23-year-old patient at his clinic has been ordered not to perform consultations for female patients without a female chaperone present.

This was among other conditions imposed on him by the Interim Orders Committee (IOC), after being referred to the case by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).

Wee Teong Boo, 66, was on Feb 24 this year charged with raping a patient and molesting her at his general physician practice at Wee's Clinic & Surgery at Bedok North Avenue 2 in 2015.

The SMC said in an announcement on Friday (April 28) that it referred the information on the charges to an Interim Orders Committee (IOC) to determine if it was necessary to suspend his registration or impose conditions or restrictions for the protection of members of the public.

The SMC noted that Wee has not yet been convicted of the charges and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, it added that it has considered the seriousness of the charges and the need to protect the public while criminal proceedings against Wee are ongoing.

After making inquiries into the information and considering the arguments by Wee's Counsel and the SMC's Counsel, the IOC on April 22 imposed the following conditions and restrictions for Wee's registration:

He shall not undertake any consultations of female patients without a chaperone present. This chaperone must be a fully registered female medical practitioner in Singapore.

Secondly, Wee shall not conduct any examinations of the breast, pelvic, genital or anal areas for female patients, and such examinations shall be performed by the female chaperone.

These two conditions will not apply in cases where there are life-threatening emergencies.

The female chaperone is to maintain a log detailing the cases where she is involved as a chaperone, and submit the log to the SMC every two weeks.

Wee was ordered to comply with the conditions and restrictions from April 22 this year for a period of 18 months.

The order will be reviewed by the IOC after six months.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cabinet changes: Josephine Teo, Desmond Lee promoted to full ministers, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Cabinet changes: Josephine Teo, Desmond Lee promoted to full ministers, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Cabinet changes: Josephine Teo, Desmond Lee promoted to full ministers

SINGAPORE - Junior ministers Josephine Teo and Desmond Lee were promoted to full ministers in a round of Cabinet changes announced on Thursday (April 27).

Mrs Teo will be appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), and Second Minister in the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Lee will also be appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. He will also be Second Minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, his present ministries.

The changes take place on May 1.

Ministers of State Lam Pin Min, Janil Puthucheary, Koh Poh Koon and Chee Hong Tat were also promoted to Senior Ministers of State, and will continue in their current ministries.

(From left) Ministers of State Janil Puthucheary, Chee Hong Tat, Koh Poh Koon and Lam Pin Min.  PHOTO: ST FILE

These changes are part of leadership renewal, said the PMO in a statement.

Parliamentary secretaries Low Yen Ling and Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim will be promoted to senior parliamentary secretaries in their current ministries. Ms Low is in the trade and industry and education ministries, while Associate Professor Faishal is in the education and social and family development ministries.

The changes further solidify the core of Singapore's fourth generation of political leaders, which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been strengthening with successive rounds of Cabinet shuffles in recent years.

Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck will step down and return to the private sector on June 30, at his request.

Full ministers

Mrs Teo's promotion makes this the first time Singapore has two female full ministers in the Cabinet.

Mrs Teo, 48, was first made a senior minister of state in September 2013 and holds three portfolios in transport, foreign affairs, and the Prime Minister's Office.

She will continue in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Second Minister, but will relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Transport.

Mrs Teo will continue to oversee population matters, assisting Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Mr Lee, 40, is one of the youngest full ministers in recent years.

He cut his teeth in the Ministry of National Development (MND), where he was a minister of state for two years from 2013 to 2015. He was promoted to senior minister of state for National Development and Home Affairs in October 2015.

Most recently, he helmed the changes to the Town Councils Act in March.

He is also Deputy Leader of the House, and helps with setting the agenda and the order of business of Parliament.

Before entering politics in 2011, he was an in-house counsel at Temasek Holdings. He had previously been a legal service officer with experience in the Supreme Court, the Attorney General's Chambers and the law and health ministries.

Junior ministers and officeholders

Dr Lam, 47, who is in the Ministry of Health, will also be appointed as Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport.

Mr Chee, 43, was a senior civil servant who entered politics in September 2015.

He became Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Health on Oct 1, 2015.

His colleague Dr Janil was a paediatrician before running in the 2011 general election.

The 44-year-old became Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Education on Jan 1, 2016.

On that same day, Dr Koh, 45, was also made Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry.

The former colorectal surgeon was elected in the 2015 General Election after an unsuccessful campaign in the 2013 Punggol East by-election.

New appointments

Minister of State Sam Tan Chin Siong will take on a foreign affairs portfolio, in addition to his current ones in the Manpower Ministry and the PMO.

Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin will be appointed to the Health Ministry, while continuing in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mayoral appointments

The PMO said that Mr Teo requested to step down from public office to return to the private sector, and that PM Lee accepted the request.

Mr Teo's retirement will be accompanied by changes in the mayor positions.

Mr Teo will relinquish his appointment as Mayor of North East CDC when his term ends on May 26, while remaining an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

He will be replaced as mayor by Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo.

The four other current mayors - Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Dr Teo Ho Pin, Ms Denise Phua and Ms Low Yen Ling - will be reappointed as mayors.

The new mayor appointments will take effect on May 27.

Ms Low will be appointed as coordinator for the CDCs.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trump condemns anti-Semitism on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, World News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Trump condemns anti-Semitism on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, World News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Trump condemns anti-Semitism on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Donald Trump said anti-Semitism should be defeated and called the Holocaust the "darkest chapter of human history" in a video address on Sunday (April 23), following two recent bungles by him and his administration regarding Jews and their treatment during World War II.

"The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror, and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear," Trump said in a speech to the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in New York on Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In January, on international Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Trump administration put out a statement that failed to mention Jews, the overwhelming majority of those killed in concentration camps under Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Trump's four minute message included somber references to Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, a commitment to support Israel, and a rebuke of prejudice and anti-Semitism.

"We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found. We must defeat terrorism, and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel's destruction," Trump said in an apparent reference to Iran.

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Schoolboy, 12, who died after being hit by goal post was avid footballer and Man U fan, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Schoolboy, 12, who died after being hit by goal post was avid footballer and Man U fan, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Schoolboy, 12, who died after being hit by goal post was avid footballer and Man U fan

SINGAPORE - Muhammad Hambali Sumathi, 12, loved playing football. As a member of Geylang Methodist Secondary School's football club, Hambali was quite good at it, too.

But on Monday (Apr 24) morning, on the very field he spent many happy hours playing, the bubbly Secondary 1 student lost his life in a freak accident.

Hambali had reached for the crossbar of the goalpost yesterday to do a pull-up when he fell backwards. The structure tipped over and struck his head.

He was conveyed unconscious with head injuries to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where he later died.

The incident happened close to 9.15am during a physical education class. The students had been playing five-on-five football, with groups occupying half of the school field. One student, Amos Leong, 12, said: "(Hambali) felt frustrated when his team mate did not score a goal."

This was when the boy, whom The Straits Times understands was around 1.68m, reached for the crossbar.

A classmate, who declined to be named, said: "I think his hand slipped, he fell, and then the goal post hit his head. When it fell on him, his leg got stuck in the net.

"I was right beside him."

This was when he, together with three others, rushed forward to lift the heavy goal post off their friend.

Amos said he went to the school's general office to call for help.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it received a call for assistance at about 9.35am and dispatched an ambulance to the school's Geylang East campus.

Speaking to ST at the family's home in Aljunied Crescent, Hambali's father said he received a call from the school's principal around 9.50am, telling him of the incident.

Tears welled up in his eyes as 54-year-old Sumathi Abdul Hamid recounted how he immediately took leave from his houskeeping job at a hospital to be with his son.

"The doctors tried to save him... for more than an hour. But they couldn't," he said, choking up. "They told me, 'I'm very sorry.' "

Hambali's mother, Madam Rajimah Jaafar, was inconsolable. The 49-year-old housewife, who declined comment, fainted twice yesterday, said a family friend who wanted to be known only as Madam Norayati.

A Manchester United fan, Hambali, the fifth of seven siblings, was a playful and clever boy, said his brother. "I often saw him playing basketball and football downstairs, but his school results had been good," said Mr Mohammad Rizwan Abdullah, 19, who is serving his national service. "I can't believe he is gone."

Mrs Jenny Poh, 41, whose daughter is Hambali's classmate, said she was sad to hear of the boy's death.

"He was close to my children, as they always cycled together in the neighbourhood," said the mother of four, adding that he would come by her house about three to four times a week.

In response to media queries, Geylang Methodist Secondary School's principal, Mr Wee Tat Chuen, confirmed that a student was involved in an accident on the school field yesterday morning during a physical education class.

"(He) was an active and friendly boy who loved soccer. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy," said Mr Wee. "The school is in touch with the student's family, and is also providing the necessary support to students and staff affected."

The school field has been closed to facilitate police investigations, which are ongoing, he said.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Singapore schoolboy dies after goal post hits him in freak accident, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Singapore schoolboy dies after goal post hits him in freak accident, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Singapore schoolboy dies after goal post hits him in freak accident

SINGAPORE - A 13-year-old schoolboy died in hospital on Monday (April 24) after being struck by a goal post during physical education class.

The Straits Times understands that the incident took place some time after 9am at Geylang Methodist Secondary School, which is in Geylang East Central.

The boy had been playing football with his classmates in the morning when he grabbed onto the goal post. It fell on him, and hit his head.

He was sent to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, and died later. His schoolmates were later informed of the incident.

When ST visited the school on Monday afternoon, three police cars could be seen on the premises.

ST has asked the school for comment.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Othman Wok, member of independent Singapore's first Cabinet, dies aged 92, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Othman Wok, member of independent Singapore's first Cabinet, dies aged 92, Politics News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Othman Wok, member of independent Singapore's first Cabinet, dies aged 92

SINGAPORE - Mr Othman Wok, a member of independent Singapore's first Cabinet, has died at the age of 92.

In a statement, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Mr Othman died at 12.21pm at the hospital on Monday (April 17). He leaves behind his wife, four daughters, seven grandchildren, two great-grandsons, a step-daughter and three step-grandchildren.

He will be buried at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery on Tuesday (April 18). A ceremonial gun carriage will bear the body from Sultan Mosque to the Pusara Abadi Muslim cemetery, the PMO said.

The State flag will be flown at half-mast on all Government buildings till a memorial service organised by on Wednesday (April 19) is completed.

He was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital on April 6, but his situation worsened on Sunday night, son-in-law Munir Shah, 64, said.

Mr Othman was an MP for Pasir Panjang constituency from 1963 to 1981. His portfolios included social affairs and culture, and he is remembered for championing multi-racialism as well as his work in social welfare and sports development.

The PMO statement said: "The Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are sad to learn of the passing of Mr Othman Bin Wok and wish to convey their deepest condolences to his family."

It lauded Mr Othman - one of the signatories of the Separation Agreement - as a founding father of Singapore.

"He was a key member of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's Cabinet, during the critical period when Singapore was in Malaysia, and then separated from Malaysia to become an independent republic. He supported Mr Lee in the fight for a multi-racial and multi-religious Singapore, and became one of Mr Lee's closest comrades," the statement said.

In a Facebook post, the People's Action Party said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had praised Mr Othman as "one of the multi-racial team of founding leaders who built Singapore".

Born in Singapore in 1924, Mr Othman joined Malay newspaper Utusan Melayu as a journalist in 1946, working under its founder Yusof Ishak, who would later become Singapore's first president.

Mr Othman joined the People's Action Party soon after its founding in 1954, and was involved in its publication Petir.

He stood for election to the legislative assembly in Kampong Kembangan in 1959, and lost narrowly.

In 1963, Mr Othman, by then deputy editor of Utusan, contested again, this time in Pasir Panjang. He won by a majority of 992 votes, and was made minister for home affairs and social welfare by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The ministry was soon renamed and Mr Othman became minister for social affairsfrom 1963 until 1977. He also took on the culture portfolio from 1965 to 1968.

While in office, Mr Othman took a deep interest in the plight of the disadvantaged in society, from the disabled to wayward teens and welfare home residents.

In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said Mr Othman worked to advance the quality of social welfare service, moving beyond the basic functions of assistance and rehabilitation to also focus on social progress for national development.

"Mr Othman's visionary step of initiating the predecessor of the National Council of Social Service helped to create a more effective social service ecosystem. He also championed the training of social workers and volunteers to better equip them with skillsets needed," the ministry said.

"Mr Othman's tireless efforts in shaping the social sector in Singapore set a solid foundation for all of us at MSF to build upon. He will be dearly missed."

Mr Othman also oversaw the formation of the Singapore Sports Council, set up to encourage and nurture passion and excellence in sport, which his team felt was vital to a young nation's sense of self-confidence.

Significantly, he helped ensure the needs of Malay Singaporeans were met. Many of them were anxious after separation from Malaysia in 1965.

Mr Lee and other Malay MPs initiated a fund for the building of mosques to which working Muslims contributed via the CPF system.

Under his watch, medical and welfare services for Singaporean haj pilgrims were also expanded.

Mr Othman's signature contributions were in rallying Malay Singaporeans round to support a society where everyone was treated equally, regardless of race or religion.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong previously noted that when Singapore was part of Malaysia and the PAP fought for a multiracial society, Mr Othman was denounced by ultras as an "infidel", "a traitor to Malays", and got death threats. But he stood firm, "and that made all the difference to Singapore".

Old guard minister Ong Pang Boon said Mr Othman was among the first Malay leaders of the PAP, and contributed significantly to the PAP's multiracial platform.

"We worked closely in the early years of the PAP. I was the Party's Organising Secretary and Othman, who was then a journalist with Utusan Melayu, was our unofficial Malay translator. I would see him whenever we needed Malay translations for Petir and other publications. Othman always obliged," Mr Ong said.

"I will always remember Othman to be a man of integrity and with absolute loyalty to the PAP and Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He was also a man of high EQ, who always had kind words for his Cabinet colleagues, his grassroots workers and friends, and the man-in-the-street."

In a Facebook post on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wrote: "We are indebted to (Mr Othman), and will always be. He made a multiracial Singapore possible, which matters more than anything else we have."

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

How 3D Printing is making Drones Affordable and Accessible

How 3D Printing is making Drones Affordable and Accessible

How 3D Printing is making Drones Affordable and Accessible

How 3D Printing is making Drones Affordable and Accessible

Image credit: Pixabay

Guest Writer

Founder, Morphedo

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The dawn of the Drone Age has already begun. We hear about these aerial vehicles quite often now. These unmanned flyers have proven themselves to be efficient workers, capable of carrying out precise jobs and are expected to change our world in the most interesting ways.

Drones in the sky, in the sea and on the land are now setting examples of how the technology is going to improve our everyday life. So far these unmanned vehicles have been widely used for purposes like journalism, aerial photography, military transport, disaster aid and spraying crops with fertilizers or pesticides. Are you excited about the future where drones will be an integral part of possibly every field? Then, you also deserve to know about another game changer technology; 3D Printing. Also termed as additive manufacturing, the technology is considered to be a genie that creates 3-dimensional physical objects directly from the 3D design. Almost every industry has started evaluating and adopting the technology to reap its benefits. Let's talk about how 3D Printing is making Drones affordable and accessible.

Benefits of using 3D Printing for Drone Making

  • Customized Drones: 3D Printing allows you to manufacture personalized products according to an individual's needs and requirements. This increases the feasibility of making customized drones. Any specific part of a store-bought drone can also be tailored to suit your needs.
  • Easy Upgradation: 3D Printing supports upgradation of drone's parts to make it more efficient. Design iterations are very economical with the technology as compared to the traditional ways. This brings in the scope of making many modifications in the 3D design, 3D Printing them and testing the 3D Printed parts till the desired result is achieved. Flexibility and speed do not stand in the way of the experiment.
  • Improved Performance: The weight of a drone affects its flight time. The lighter the drone is, the longer it flies. A light drone has improved battery life, is more responsive and agile during the flight. It also remains stable in case of hard landings or crashes. The 3D Printed parts are made lighter by optimizing the design structures to carry the required weight. The choice of raw material used for 3D Printing also plays an important role in making the parts light.
  • Saves Downtime: You can 3D Print the hard to find spare parts of your drones rather than running in search for them every time they break off in a crash. This would save you from a lot of downtime.

Drone Parts that can be 3D Printed

Almost everything apart from the electronic components in a drone can be 3D Printed. Following is the list of a few components that I can think of right now:

  • Frame
  • Landing gear
  • Propellers
  • Camera mount
  • Antenna holder
  • Protective equipment like prop guards

The possibilities of 3D Printing are limited just by imagination. You can add many more functional as well as non-functional accessories to the list.

Companies using 3D Printing to manufacture drones

Following is the list of a few companies that have deployed 3D Printing in the process of drone manufacturing.

Blue  Robotics: This Company based in Southern California adopted 3D Printing for developing their submarine drones. The technology was used for prototyping as well as for manufacturing certain parts of their underwater drone at a low cost without affecting the quality. This helped them test their product in a shorter time, without having to order parts in bulk, which usually happens in other manufacturing processes like injection molding. With the help of 3D designing and 3D Printing the company was able to make a unique product that allowed their underwater drone to operate fully even when submerged in salt water.

  • This Italian company uses 3D Printing to make lightweight components for their drones. It helps them in maximizing the battery power and in increasing the unmanned aerial vehicle's flying time. They use Laser Sintering 3D Printing technique, which allows them to create complex parts even in small quantities. Soleon produces a number of on demand customized drones, made to serve distinct purposes. Recently, they came up with their 3D Printed agricultural pest control drone called SoleonAgro. It is a useful agricultural tool with the look of a wasp.
  •  The Netherlands based company Aerialtronics makes drones for applications like livestock monitoring, infrastructure inspection and creative filming. It offers customizable drones with several tailoring options like number of motors, variations of software systems, motor housings, and custom enclosures for hardware and software. Making limited versions via traditional manufacturing options would have been slow and very expensive. Whereas the usage of 3D Printing allows them to go for many design iterations, reducing their R&D cost by approximately 50%.

3D Printing has been able to pave way for many expensive industries to thrive. Drone making companies should definitely welcome this technology to take their product development to the next level. Being able to create the right 3D Design and chose the right material is the key. 

Manya Jha is one of the founders at Morphedo, a 3D Printing product and services startup.  Aspiring to be a serial entrepreneur she is a firm be...

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Pocket-size gadget for 100,000 potential coders, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Pocket-size gadget for 100,000 potential coders, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Pocket-size gadget for 100,000 potential coders

To the children in the classroom, it is a toy.

To the Government, it is a device that could help nurture Singapore's future army of coders.

A pocket-size, codeable computer called the micro:bit is being targeted to reach some 100,000 school-going children and adults over the next two years.

The idea is to let the children tinker with it, while they learn to code and, perhaps, develop a love for technology.

Announcing the move yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said: "Who knows, one day we may be nurturing Singapore's own generation of Steve Jobs."

The $30 micro:bit contains a programmable array of LED lights, sensors, a Bluetooth chip and an accelerometer. Users can write codes to turn the micro:bit into a locator tool, for instance, by detecting the presence of another micro:bit tagged to their belongings.

The device is already in use in schools in Britain to help teach coding and inspire interest in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

At his ministry's annual workplan seminar yesterday, Dr Yaacob said Singaporeans need a curious mind and the passion to tinker and create things with their hands.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will work with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to roll out micro:bit as part of its new Digital Maker Programme to interested primary and secondary schools over the next two years.

Microsoft Singapore will provide training for the MOE teachers and absorb the cost. The whole exercise is estimated to cost up to $3 million.

The devices will be distributed by Home-Fix DIY to schools, and by the end of this month, it will also be on sale at Home-Fix's retail stores islandwide.

The initiative complements existing enrichment programmes such as Code@SG's Code for Fun, introduced in June 2015 in MOE schools to give children a brush with computing through robotic kits such as Leo Wedo and MoWay, and microcontrollers such as Arduino.

It is part of a larger strategy by the Government to plug the technology manpower gap in Singapore.

Since then, 128 primary and secondary schools have rolled out the Code for Fun scheme, and 56,000 students - some as young as seven years old - have signed up.

The Digital Maker Programme will also be rolled out to the community via the People's Association, the Science Centre Singapore and self-help groups.

In IMDA's early trials at Tanjong Pagar and Toa Payoh East community centres, residents there had used the micro:bit to create an automated watering system for the community garden.

Dr Yaacob said seed funding will be provided to local companies that develop products like the micro:bit.

CHIJ Kellock Primary pupil Darina Daud, 12, said: "I thought computing was going to be boring - until I tried making a digital greeting card with micro:bit."


Tea-maker and other devices made using micro:bit

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Body found in Singapore River, police investigating unnatural death - Singapore - Stomp

Body found in Singapore River, police investigating unnatural death - Singapore - Stomp

Body found in Singapore River, police investigating unnatural death

Source: ST / Feline Lim

Chew Hui Min
The Straits Times
13 Apr 2017

SINGAPORE - A dead body was found on Thursday (April 13) morning in the Singapore River.

Police said they were alerted to the discovery at about 8am. It is understood that a cleaner working at the River found the body.


The victim was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that officers retrieved the body of a Chinese man in his 60s.

Mr Moses Arumugam, a tour bus driver, saw a forensic vehicle and police cars at Connaught Drive when he was there at about 10am.

A cordon was set up at Esplanade Park and Mr Arumugam saw a blue tent by the water. The body had been retrieved from the river by then.

Two boatmen were seen questioned by policemen, he said.

Police are investigating the unnatural death.

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All national servicemen to get NS50 PAssion card, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

All national servicemen to get NS50 PAssion card, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

All national servicemen to get NS50 PAssion card

As Singapore marks 50 years of national service (NS), all national servicemen - past and present - will be eligible for a free commemorative NS50 PAssion card.

While this is a token of appreciation for their contributions, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday, "nothing can replace the hours that they have spent defending Singapore".

At separate appreciation ceremonies yesterday, Dr Ng, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung gave out NS50 recognition packages, including $100 in vouchers and also application instructions for the card.

The ministers stressed the importance of NS, which has fulfilled Singapore's need for security since 1967 and allowed it to progress.

"Without the SAF (and) NS to protect our sovereignty and way of life, there can be no progress," Dr Ng said at a ceremony in Toa Payoh.


Without the SAF (and) NS to protect our sovereignty and way of life, there can be no progress.


He was citing comments by the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at a 2012 meeting with Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officers on how a strong SAF was needed to ensure Singapore's sustained security and economic future.

The NS50 PAssion card offered by the People's Association (PA) comes with a five-year membership - which costs $10 to $12, depending on age profiles - and can be used at community clubs, Water Venture outlets and PAssion card merchants. Those with existing PAssion cards can still apply and use their cards concurrently.

Separately, real estate giant CapitaLand yesterday unveiled various privileges for national servicemen. For instance, it will offer them an exchange of their NS50 vouchers for CapitaVouchers, which can be spent at more than 2,000 retail outlets across 17 malls here.

More than one million men have served NS since 1967 in the SAF as well as in the police and civil defence forces, as part of the Home Team.

Among the first to receive the NS50 packages were more than 500 national servicemen, including father-and-son pairs, who attended the ceremonies yesterday.

Over these two months, the PA will be organising 52 ceremonies to hand out the packages. Many others will receive theirs by mail later this year.

On the father-and-son pairs, Dr Ng said yesterday that the idea fits the NS50 theme, From My Generation To Yours. "It is a simple theme, my generation to yours. There can be no stronger representation of one generation to another than fathers and sons," he added.

At a ceremony in Nee Soon, Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said: "It is wonderful to see so many fathers who have gone through national service here, with so many of their sons who are going through national service, supported by so many mothers, wives, girlfriends and sisters."

At a ceremony in Gambas, Mr Ong said the vouchers "are not just for the national servicemen, but for your whole family to enjoy, including wives and daughters".

A common theme touched on by the ministers was how the entire society - including the family and grassroots organisations like the PA - plays a part in keeping Singapore safe and secure from threats like terrorism and cyber attacks.

Noting how recent terror attacks in London, Stockholm and St Petersburg could also happen here, Dr Ng said: "It could happen tomorrow, it could happen years from now. When it happens, we must ask ourselves how Singaporeans will respond."

Group internal audit manager Ho Chin Thiam, 60, who was in the first batch of police officer cadet trainees, received the NS50 recognition package yesterday, and said he would be using his vouchers at the HomeTeamNS clubhouses.

"I feel honoured to receive this package, and that my contributions are recognised," he said.

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