Friday, January 19, 2018

Ageing population to drag down S’pore’s annual GDP per capita growth for decades: IPS study

By Kelly Ng

18 January, 2018


SINGAPORE — If fertility rates in Singapore remain at current levels, the ageing population will cause a drag of 1.5 percentage points on per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth every year until 2060.

Delivering the finding in a study on Thursday (Jan 18), researchers from the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) estimated there will be 91 elderly citizens for every 100 working-age Singaporeans by 2080 — up 10-fold from 1980.

This was based on the assumption that total fertility rate stagnates at 1.3, with 20,000 immigrants adding to the population each year, said IPS senior research fellow Christopher Gee in a 20-page paper titled Harnessing Singapore’s longevity dividends: The Generational Economy, Society and Polity.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Who is attacking Russia’s bases in Syria? A new mystery emerges in the war.

Washington Post

By Liz Sly

January 9 2018

BEIRUT — A series of mysterious attacks against the main Russian military base in Syria, including one conducted by a swarm of armed miniature drones, has exposed Russia’s continued vulnerability in the country despite recent claims of victory by President Vladimir Putin.

The attacks have also spurred a flurry of questions over who may be responsible for what amounts to the biggest military challenge yet to Russia’s role in Syria, just when Moscow is seeking to wind its presence down.

In the most recent and unusual of the attacks, more than a dozen armed drones descended from an unknown location onto Russia’s vast Khmeimim air base in northwestern Latakia province, the headquarters of Russia’s military operations in Syria, and on the nearby Russian naval base at Tartus.

Russia said that it shot down seven of the 13 drones and used electronic countermeasures to safely bring down the other six. It said no serious damage was caused.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Oprah for POTUS - lessons or caveats for Democracy

[Here's the set up:]

Oprah for president in 2020? Here’s everything you need to know.

By Elahe Izadi

January 8 2018

It all got brought back up again, at first, because of a joke.

Golden Globes host Seth Meyers stood before Oprah Winfrey, who was set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille award Sunday night and was sitting in the very front of the room. As Meyers opened the awards show, he mentioned his 2011 White House correspondents’ dinner gig, the one where he joked about Donald Trump not being qualified for president.

“Some have said that night convinced him to run. So, if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes. And Hanks! Where’s Hanks? You will never be vice president. You are too mean and unrelatable. Now we just wait and see.”

Friday, January 5, 2018

Two dying memoirists wrote bestsellers about their final days. Then their spouses fell in love.

Washington Post
By Nora Krug 

January 3 2018

SAN MATEO, Calif. — The literary pairing was inevitable.

“When Breath Becomes Air,” Paul Kalanithi’s memoir of his final years as he faced lung cancer at age 37, was published posthumously, in 2016, to critical acclaim and commercial success. “The Bright Hour,” Nina Riggs’s memoir of her final years as she faced breast cancer at age 39, was published posthumously, in 2017, to critical acclaim and commercial success. The two books were mentioned together in numerous reviews, lists and conversations.

Perhaps less inevitable was that the late authors’ spouses would end up together, too.

“I’m still surprised,” said Lucy Kalanithi of her relationship with Nina Riggs’s widower, John Duberstein. “I’m surprised by how ridiculous it is and how natural it is at the same time.”

Sitting across the kitchen table from Lucy last week at her home, John agreed. “Everything seemed almost bizarrely to fit,” he said. “It was kind of stunning.”

The story of Lucy Kalanithi and John Duberstein is both unlikely and destined, the stuff of a rom-com. It begins, tragically, on a death bed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Japan considers refitting helicopter carrier for stealth fighters: government sources

27 December, 2017

TOKYO — Japan is considering refitting the Izumo helicopter carrier so that it can land US Marines F-35B stealth fighters, government sources said on Tuesday (Dec 26), as Tokyo faces China's maritime expansion and North Korea's missile and nuclear development.

Japan has not had fully fledged aircraft carriers since its World War Two defeat in 1945.

Any refit of the Izumo would be aimed at preparing for a scenario in which runways in Japan had been destroyed by missile attacks, and at bolstering defence around Japan's southwestern islands, where China's maritime activity has increased.

Three government sources close to the matter said the Japanese government was keeping in sight the possible future procurement of F-35B fighter jets, which can take off and land vertically, as it looks into the remodelling of the Izumo.

The 248-metre (814-feet) Izumo, Japan's largest warship equipped with a flat flight deck, was designed with an eye to hosting F-35B fighters. Its elevator connecting the deck with the hangar can carry the aircraft, the sources said.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sink Cities

[Two stories on "sinking cities" - Jakarta and Bangkok.

The challenges for either is considerable. But for Jakarta, "a city that can't deliver basic services is a failed city,... On top of conventional issues like flooding and urbanization [there's] climate change, tipping the scale. And at this rate, people will be fighting in the streets for increasingly limited resources like clean water and safe living spaces."

Bangkok has similar problems. Drawing of ground water has led to subsistence and "The wet places will become wetter, and the dry places will become drier,... What we used to call a one-in-a-hundred-year event is happening more frequently."]

Commentary: Of course we don’t read poetry. We’re Singaporean

Pooja Nansi

25 Dec 2017

SINGAPORE: We are learning about the life cycles caterpillars. Our textbooks tell us that caterpillars spin warm, little cozy cocoons for themselves and eventually emerge as pretty butterflies.

But Mrs Chang, our science teacher details to 38 of us horrified but enthralled 9-years-olds how caterpillars digest themselves into a soup and how their cells work to reform that body-soup into a butterfly.

That, I think, without realising it, is the moment I first understand my love for poetry.

In early 2016, a National Arts Council survey found that fewer than one in two Singaporeans had read at least one "literary book" a year - obviously, a pretty dismal result.

As a working poet now, the questions I most commonly get asked are “why don’t Singaporeans read poetry?” and “why do you think the number of students taking Literature is declining?”