Friday, March 23, 2018

The scary truth that Cambridge Analytica understands

By Ishaan Tharoor

March 22 2018

Cambridge Analytica, a London-based data firm that sold its services to political campaigns, has been thrust into the spotlight this week thanks to a number of startling exposés. Undercover footage, along with testimony and evidence provided by a former employee-turned-whistleblower, offered a glimpse of the company's shadowy dealings around the world. It secretly harvested the data of tens of millions of Facebook users and may have engaged in all sorts of offline skulduggery, including bribes and sexual blackmail, to help clients win elections.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Avoiding GMOs isn’t just anti-science. It’s immoral.

It’s not that the legitimate scientific community doesn’t understand the seriousness of the problem or the distortions of the naysayers. But too many keep what they know to themselves or, when they engage, observe the Marquis of Queensbury rules in what is essentially a street brawl. One can understand their reticence, facing an aggressive, often self-interested anti-GMO lobby that is indifferent to the facts and quick with ad hominem attacks.
If you’re an academic, you can tell yourself that, sooner or later, the science will prevail. If you’re from the world of commerce, you justify your silence (or complicity) by saying that you aren’t in business to argue with customers. If you’re a regulatory bureaucrat, you worry that you will be drawn and quartered for any mistake, whereas no one is ever held accountable for the miracle that never makes it to the marketplace.
By Mitch Daniels

December 27, 2017

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Singapore tops quality-of-living ranking in Asia

20 March, 2018

SINGAPORE — Singapore has retained its position as Asia’s best city in offering the best quality of life, according to an annual survey by consulting firm Mercer. However, it came in at No. 25 in the world ranking.

Mercer's survey of 231 cities helps companies and organisations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. Its criteria include political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.

“The best livable cities, like Singapore, can attract executives in mulinational businesses," said Mr Mario Ferraro, Mercer’s Global Mobility Practice Leader – Asia, Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

"There are few success stories like Singapore, which went from third-world economy to first world within a single generation and is primed for the future of work."

Why some in South-east Asia still have reservations about China’s Belt and Road Initiative

By Gong Xue

20 March, 2018

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative is an ambitious one that can significantly transform the economic and geopolitical landscape of Eurasia in the coming decades.

China is expected to fund a significant proportion of the infrastructure and industrial investments in the countries involved. South-east Asia is a key region for the implementation of BRI, and almost all the countries in the region have welcomed the proposal.

But a recent three-month field research trip in which I spoke with government officials, scholars, activists and media professionals in the region suggests that some countries remain wary of co-operating with China under the scheme.

Next PM likely to retain status quo: Panel

By Wong Pei Ting

21 March, 2018

SINGAPORE — With the identity of Singapore’s next Prime Minister still up in the air, several past and present Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) – who were speaking on Tuesday (March 20) at a forum on the political succession – noted that there is no standout candidate from the fourth-generation leadership.

Nevertheless, regardless of who Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s successor will be, some of the speakers felt that in general, it will be more of the same, with the new leader unlikely to veer from the tried and tested ways.

“When we talk about the fourth-generation leadership, part of the difficulty (in identifying a successor) is that none of them have really left a deep enough impression,” said former NMP and Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan.

‘Grandma’s food’: How changing tastes are killing German restaurants

By Maura Judkis

March 19, 2018

When you think of the quintessential German restaurant in the United States, you’re thinking of a place like Karl Ratzsch. Ever since it was founded by German immigrants in 1904, it had a menu full of schnitzel, spaetzle and hearty Bavarian staples. The interior was dark wood, with German coats of arms, hand-painted beer steins, a beautiful Bavarian cuckoo clock and servers in dirndls. The place was a Milwaukee institution: Frank Lloyd Wright, Liberace and President Nixon dined there. Karl Ratzsch’s was handed down through generations, and reached such acclaim that in 1980, members of the Ratzsch family were invited to a state dinner with President Jimmy Carter and the chancellor of West Germany, Helmut Schmidt.

It didn’t last. In 1993, Karl Ratzsch III was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, with a suicide note left among the mounting bills. The restaurant stopped serving lunch for a period in 1995 because of dwindling customers. In 2003, the family sold it to employees. When it appeared the restaurant would close, those employees sold it to chef Thomas Hauck.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The political consequences of slower economic growth


By Robert J. Samuelson

February 25, 2018
Washington Post

The role of economic growth in advanced democracies is not mainly the accumulation of more material goods. By any historical norm, even today’s poor are staggeringly wealthy. Economic growth plays a more subtle role. It gives people a sense that they are getting ahead and are in control of their lives. It serves as the social glue that holds us together and counteracts — to some extent — the influences of race, class, religion, ethnicity and geography, which drive us apart.

But what if economic growth can no longer perform this vital function? What if the economy has entered a prolonged period of slow growth that frustrates millions of Americans? What if the glue no longer holds? These questions are already posed by rising economic inequality. Now the debate enters a new phase with the release of President Trump’s first annual economic report and the more scholarly report of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

North Korea - Ready for Peace?

Over wine and soju, N Korean leader Kim Jong Un joked about himself: S Korean officials 

09 March, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made light-hearted remarks about how he is viewed outside North Korea in international media and elsewhere, one Blue House official said. Photo: Korean Central News Agency via Reuters

SEOUL ― North Korean leader Kim Jong Un joked about his image in international media while serving South Korean officials local spirits and cold noodles during their unprecedented visit to Pyongyang this week, two South Korean government sources said.

During the meeting, Mr Kim committed to giving up his nuclear weapons and told the South Korea officials he would like to meet US President Donald Trump, delegation leader Chung Eui-yong told reporters at the White House on Thursday (March 8) – a potentially dramatic breakthrough in nuclear tensions with Pyongyang.

Friday, March 9, 2018

S’pore’s first Islamic college could have broad-based curriculum to equip students with employable skills

By Faris Mokhtar

The Republic’s first Islamic college could have a broad-based curriculum which teaches Islamic sciences as well as equips students with skills so that they can also be employed in the general workforce, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim

Commentary: Uber drivers’ earnings show some choices made more freely than others

Employers puzzled by pay gaps should be asking a different question, says one observer at the Financial Times.

By Sarah O'Connor
09 Mar 2018

LONDON: Is the gender pay gap caused by discrimination, or the different choices men and women make in the labour market?

Unless you are at either extreme end of this debate, you are unlikely to think it is wholly one thing or the other.

But the truth is that we are in the dark about where the balance lies. No wonder that policymakers across the world are reaching for their flashlights.

11 countries, including S’pore, sign landmark Asia Pacific trade pact

09 March, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

No plastic bag surcharge as ‘greener’ disposables not better for environment

By Siau Ming En

06 March, 2018

SINGAPORE — Often touted as “greener” alternatives to plastic bags, paper and degradable bags may not actually be better for the environment — at least not in Singapore’s case.

Compared to plastic bags, they may require as much resources to produce and have a similar environmental impact, as waste here is incinerated before going to the landfill and not left to decay.

Revealing the findings of a study commissioned by the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday (March 6), Senior Minister of State (Environment and Water Resources) Amy Khor said the authorities would thus not impose a charge on plastic bags.

“Imposing a charge or ban on disposable plastic bags and substituting them with other types of disposable bags is unlikely to improve environmental outcomes,” said Dr Khor.

Friday, March 2, 2018

AgNews (Aggregated News): The New Employment Scene

This is AgNews - aggregated news or articles from various sources on a topic.

The topic for this first AgNews:
Millennials and Employment

Excerpts from:

Millennial Careers 2020 Vision.
By 2020 Millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce.
That’s one reason so many reports about them exist. Some say they are
disloyal, self-absorbed and lazy, while others claim they’re a generation
of digital entrepreneurs and innovators.
Some aim to dispel the myths
others have created. Just type “Millennials are...” into a Google search
to see the stereotypes.
This report presented findings that were contrary to the above stereotypes of Millennials. They expect to work longer than their parents.