Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Taxing e-commerce players such as Amazon one way to raise Govt revenue: Experts

VALERIE KOH

FEBRUARY 22, 2017

SINGAPORE — With the Government needing to impose new taxes or raise existing ones to fund growing healthcare and infrastructure expenditure, tax experts have suggested several ways for the country to boost its coffers: Taxing e-commerce operators such as Amazon and Taobao as well as those providing business-to-business (B2B) services, creating a new tax bracket for the ultra-rich, and increasing the goods and services tax (GST) rate.

While Singapore has one of the lowest corporate tax rates globally, the experts noted that raising these rates was not a viable option if the Republic wants to maintain a competitive tax regime at a time when countries around the world are seeking to reduce corporate taxes. Nevertheless, they singled out the burgeoning digital economy as one potential revenue source.

The rise of e-commerce has resulted in a loss of tax revenue, as overseas online retailers are generally not taxed in Singapore on their income generated from consumers here.

China finishing South China Sea buildings that could house missiles: US

22 Feb 2017 09:02

CHANNELNEWSASIA

WASHINGTON: China, in an early test of U.S. President Donald Trump, is nearly finished building almost two dozen structures on artificial islands in the South China Sea that appear designed to house long-range surface-to-air missiles, two U.S. officials told Reuters.

The development is likely to raise questions about whether and how the United States will respond, given its vows to take a tough line on China in the South China Sea.

China claims almost all the South China Sea, which carries a third of the world's maritime traffic. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims. Trump's administration has called China's island building in the South China Sea illegal.

Building the concrete structures with retractable roofs on Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs, part of the Spratly Islands chain where China already has built military-length airstrips, could be considered a military escalation, the U.S. officials said in recent days, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Budget 2017: The main points

Some articles on the Budget.

The first one is a broad overview. It is so broad that it even commented that Minster of Finance is back.

The second article goes into the essential details - water rates to go up, a carbon tax (in two years), differentiated tax for heavy motorcycles, measures for young couples buying their first flat, and help for businesses, and employees/job-seekers.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Is WWIII imminent? Speculations.

China. South China Sea. An unhinged Trump, thin-skinned and impulsive. Recipe for another World War?

The first article with a short clip suggests that there are similarities. Whether those similarities are superficial or essential, remains to be seen. The hope seems to be that while the problems and the situations are the same, how the world now answers the questions posed by those problems are intended to avoid war.

But then again, there is Trump, who seems eager to prove that he does not follow (or know) the rules.

So are we heading for an inevitable World War III?


Debating the real cost of drinking water

ASIT K. BISWAS
AND
CECILIA TORTAJADA

FEBRUARY 20, 2017

Singapore’s decision to raise water prices after 17 years is to be applauded. Studies show that pricing can affect behaviour, and there is strong evidence to suggest that under-priced or free water leads to very inefficient uses of water, including increased wastage.

Take the case of Doha, the capital of Qatar, where water is free. The average daily water consumption of residents is 1,200 litres.

In Singapore, domestic water consumption per capita is 151 litres, which is still relatively on the high side. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, humans need a minimum of two litres of drinking water per day to survive.

Water should be priced accordingly to provide a sustainable financial model for the proper operation, maintenance, updating and construction of new facilities for water and wastewater treatment systems.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Three shifts in education beliefs to become the future economy

Devadas Krishnadas

For The Straits Times

15 Feb 2017

We need to shift from a belief system that a few bright people, identified early and groomed, will lead us to a sunlit future to one where the leaders of tomorrow can emerge at any age and from any path

The economy of the past was organised upon an emphasis on travelling up a predictable ladder of development. To assist the economy to make transitions, the government very ably focused on ensuring the infrastructure and the workforce were well in place to anticipate demands.

Those convenient times are well past. The economy of the future will not be predictable and will also be less predicated on heavy investments in infrastructure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The daring night raid that vindicated Japanese Americans

FEB 12, 2017

In the wake of Pearl Harbour, a secret intelligence report could have stopped the mass internment

Andrea Pitzer

In spring 1941, months before the bombing of Pearl Harbour, a team led by US naval intelligence officer Kenneth Ringle broke into the Japanese consulate in Los Angeles.

One man stayed downstairs to guard the elevator while the rest snuck upstairs using skeleton keys to make their way to the back rooms. They brought along a safecracker - a convicted felon sprung for one night to help them - as well as local policemen and FBI agents, who set up patrols outside during the operation. Once the safe was open, Ringle's crew photographed its contents item by item, putting everything back in place before leaving the building.

Though the United States had not yet entered the war, it had launched espionage efforts with an eye towards the possibility. The Navy had chosen Ringle to assess the Japanese threat in 1940 because he had previously lived and worked in Tokyo and was one of only a handful of US sailors who could speak Japanese. He had gone on to build a network of contacts on the West Coast, determining which cultural organisations were harmless and which might be dangerous.