Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Confused and dejected, stateless persons plead to be called Singaporeans

TODAY finds out what are the challenges for those whose nationality is unknown in S’pore

By Wong Pei Ting

27 Sept 2016

SINGAPORE — As the opening notes of the National Anthem echoes through her primary school, Cindy Lim stands at attention and sings softly as the Singapore flag is raised during the morning assembly.

Unlike her other Singapore-born schoolmates, however, Cindy is not allowed to raise the state flag. She has to pay higher fees if she joins a school camp. And even though she comes from a low-income family, the Primary 5 student is not eligible for financial assistance from the Education Ministry.

Cindy, who scores excellent grades in her studies and has been a school prefect for three years, is not entirely sure why she is treated differently, but she suspects it may have something to do with an unusual entry in her birth certificate that reads: “The child is not a citizen of Singapore at the time of birth.”

Singapore 'disappointed' with 'irresponsible report' by Global Times on NAM Summit: MFA

27 Sep 2016


SINGAPORE: Singapore's Ambassador to China on Monday (Sep 23) expressed the city-state's disappointment at a report by Chinese newspaper Global Times, alleging that Singapore had acted inappropriately at the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Venezuela.

In a letter to the Global Times' editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, Ambassador Stanley Loh refuted the newspaper's report, stating that it "attributed actions and words to Singapore which are false and unfounded".

The report, published online on Sep 21, said Singapore wanted to include Philippines' position on the South China Sea dispute in the NAM Final Document at the last minute, which was met with opposition by many countries.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Scientists published climate research under fake names. Then they were caught.

By Ben Guarino

September 19

The scientists briefly known as Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez thought they had found something big.

It was not data wrung from a clever experiment or a lucky field observation. Instead, the pair had constructed a model, a mathematical argument, for calculating the average surface temperature of a rocky planet. Using just two factors — electromagnetic radiation beamed by the sun into the atmosphere and the atmospheric pressure at a planet’s surface — the scientists could predict a planet’s temperature. The physical principle, they said, was similar to the way that high-pressure air ignites fuel in a diesel engine.

If proved to be the case on Earth, the model would have dramatic implications: Our planet is warming, but the solar radiation and our atmosphere would be to blame, not us.

[I don't know what to make of this report/study. On the one hand, it seems to suggest non-anthropogenic climate change. But there is a critque at the end of this article by a NASA researcher. So not definitive.]

It's the Economy, Stupid

[DPM tries to talk up market sentiment and the economy. 

Despite clear signals that pessimism is more appropriate. 

Oh well. He has to do what he has to do. ]

In Asia’s eyes, world economy not in a funk, says Tharman

Siau Ming En
September 17, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Of sunbirds, hornbills and Singapore ecotourism

Audrey Tan

SEP 15, 2016

The planned wildlife parks in Mandai raise issues of balancing development and conservation.
The Lion City has embarked on an ambitious ecotourism project that involves developing five wildlife parks in Mandai by 2023.

This is ecotourism the Singapore way, though, for it involves clearing forests in the island's north which are home to native birds and mammals to build parks to house - you guessed it - birds and mammals, including those from far-off lands.

A new Rainforest Park, and the Bird Park which will be relocated from Jurong, will be built on secondary forests on two plots of land next to Mandai Lake Road. They will join the existing trio of attractions in Mandai: the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.

Tourism experts have welcomed the development as one that can help Singapore attract a growing number of ecotourists. But whether such a development meets the International Ecotourism Society's definition of ecotourism, a key component of which refers to "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment", is debatable.

S’pore investors have unrealistic expectations of returns: Schroders

September 15, 2016

SINGAPORE — Singapore investors are unrealistic in their expectations of investment returns, with this over-optimism particularly pronounced among millennials than those approaching their 40s, asset management firm Schroders found in a Global Investor Survey.

The average investor in Singapore, according to the survey, expects a minimum return of 9.2 per cent per year. This is in stark contrast to the current average stock market yield of 3.8 per cent. Millennials were the most optimistic, expecting a 9.6 per cent return on their investment per year, compared with 8.9 per cent for investors aged 36 and above.

[Even the GIC is projecting lower returns over the next 10 years. Their latest report is a 4% return. And these are full-time investors with time to analyse data and trends. And the best they can do is 4%. Of course they will have critics who sneer at their "low performance". These critics are precisely the "CPF bloggers" type who think that they can get 9.2% returns per year.]

“In today’s low interest rate environment, Singapore investors’ return projections are extremely high. In order to minimise income shortfall, investors need to actively consider their investment needs and align their risk-adjusted return profile in light of current market conditions,” said Ms Susan Soh, country head of Schroders Singapore.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Who Has Space for Renewables?

SEP 14, 2016

Project Syndicate

Adair Turner

LONDON – This summer, an electrical power auction in Chile attracted successful bids by wind generators willing to provide electricity at $0.04 per kilowatt hour and solar generators at $0.03 per kwh, easily beating fossil-fuel competitors. That success reflects dramatic cost reductions over the last six years, with the cost of solar power falling about 70% and wind-power costs down more than 30%. Further reductions are inevitable.

Of course, the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow, but intermittency problems are increasingly solvable as the cost of battery and other energy storage falls, and as smart meters and control systems make it possible to shift the timing of some electricity demand. It is now certain that, within 20 years, many countries could get most of their electricity from renewable sources at an easily affordable price.

To be sure, solar and wind farms require large land areas. But at the global level, there is plenty of space.