Friday, March 26, 2021

Commentary: Why the Suez Canal accident is a worst-case scenario for global trade

The narrow strip is a critical artery where goods make way across the globe and an incident like this exposes weaknesses in the global system, say maritime researchers from Plymouth University.

By Rory Hopcraft
By Kevin Jones
By Kimberly Tam

26 Mar 2021 

PLYMOUTH, England: It is estimated that 90 per cent of the world’s trade is transported by sea. As consumers, we rarely give much thought to how the things we buy make their way across the planet and into our homes.

That is, until an incident like the recent grounding of a huge container ship, the Ever Given, in the Suez Canal exposes the weaknesses in this global system.

High winds have been blamed for the container ship blocking the narrow strait, which serves as a trade artery that connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

But with shipping so heavily reliant on such narrow channels, the potential for these incidents is ever-present.

As researchers of maritime security, we often simulate incidents like the Ever Given grounding to understand the probable long and short-term consequences.

Cargo Ship Ever Given got stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal, blocking traffic in a crucial waterway for global shipping. (Photo: Instagram/fallenhearts17)

Suez Canal Ever Given cargo ship

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Commentary: Reducing household water consumption starts with the toilet bowl

Toilet bowl
Toilet bowl
Toilet bowlBy Ho Xiang Tian

22 Mar 2021 

SINGAPORE: Ask strangers on the street how much water they think a person uses per day at home, and the answers will range from 2 litres to 50 litres.

The answer that most people never got to: More than 140 litres per person, per day. This was something I used to do at outreach booths as part of my volunteer work with LepakInSG, a local environmental group.

We think we consume much less water because we only think about the water we drink, and severely underestimate the water used in other activities like showering, washing the dishes, and flushing.

According to PUB, households account for about 45 per cent of Singapore’s water use, which is significant compared to other metrics like waste generated (25 per cent) and carbon emissions (6 per cent).

Monday, March 22, 2021

Residents living near former Kallang Gasworks grow weary over odours, noise from soil treatment works


MARCH 21, 2021

  • Remediation works at the old Kallang Gasworks started last year and is expected to end in 2022
  • Some residents reported falling ill more often due to the fumes from the site
  • The authorities said the air released is treated and does not pose adverse health risks
  • They have also put in place mitigation measures in response to feedback from the public

Source: SLA

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Commentary: Keeping public housing in prime locations like Greater Southern Waterfront affordable and fair

To help low-income families afford those flats, while avoiding the lottery effect, consider awarding a housing grant tiered by income level, with levies to recovery subsidies depreciating over time.

By Sing Tien Foo

21 Mar 2021 

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s public housing model is changing.

During the early years of the country’s independence, the national goal was largely an operational one in ramping up construction to provide living spaces for growing numbers of families and resolve overcrowding.

Over the decades, a conscious belief that building a nation of homeowners would be the best strategy to give Singaporeans a stake in the nation and strengthen retirement adequacy took root.

And in the last 20 years, the national conversation has shifted towards how public housing goals can fulfil new aspirations while keeping homes affordable. New models like the Design Build and Sell Scheme and Executive Condominiums were rolled out.

More recently, public discussions have swirled around the subject of inclusiveness, with the announcement that spaces will be set aside for future public housing in the Greater Southern Waterfront, and how to keep such an exercise fair.

While many Singaporeans welcomed the redistributive aspects of this move so more Singapore families can afford housing in good locations, most have also cautioned against the lottery effect seen in past HDB projects.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

This mouse embryo grew in an artificial uterus

It was previously believed a fetus couldn't survive without a living womb.

March 17th, 2021

Hanna Embryo

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

China's military modernisation poses Taiwan threat: US officials

MARCH 16, 2021

TOKYO — China's accelerated military modernisation poses a clear and growing threat to Taiwan, and US intervention might only risk intensifying pressure from Beijing, US defence officials say.

Washington's top US military officer in Asia-Pacific Admiral Philip Davidson made waves last week by warning that Beijing could seek to invade Taiwan within six years.

And as Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin makes Asia the target of his first overseas trip, US defence officials have hammered home the threat they see posed by Beijing's rapid military build-up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Malaysia government appeals ruling on Christians using 'Allah'

15 Mar 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government on Monday (Mar 15) appealed a court's decision to overturn a decades-old official ban and allow Christians in the Muslim-majority country to use "Allah" to refer to God.

The word has long been divisive in multi-ethnic Malaysia, with Christians complaining that attempts to stop them using it highlight the growing influence of conservative Islam.

But some Muslims accuse the sizeable Christian minority of overstepping boundaries, and the subject has fuelled religious tensions and sparked violence over the years.

Last week the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Christians can use "Allah" in publications, siding with a member of the minority and striking down a ban that dated back to 1986. [See below.]

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A timeline of Singapore’s public housing policy for singles


MARCH 13, 2021

  • Singapore's policy on singles living in public housing has evolved over the years.
  • In the 1960s, singles were not able to have their own public housing flat
  • The arrival of the Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) in the 1970s meant singles could buy these flats. HUDC catered to a segment of S'poreans able to buy a place better than typical public housing yet unable to afford private housing
  • It was only in 1991 that singles above 35 years old were able to buy resale HDB flats, but limited to three-room flats at selected locations
  • Since 2000, there have been a series of policy moves to provide more HDB options for singles  

SINGAPORE — Compared with their married counterparts, singles in Singapore have generally faced greater hurdles in acquiring a flat from the Housing and Development Board (HDB), perhaps most notably in having to hit the minimum age of 35 years old before one can purchase a flat. 

However, earlier in the Republic’s history, singles were not even allowed to buy public housing flats at all as housing policies were focused on meeting the needs of families.

Former National Development Minister S Dhanabalan said in 1988 that allowing singles to buy their own flats and live alone would also be in direct conflict with the Government’s efforts to preserve the traditional family unit.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Schoolgirl admits to lying about beheaded French teacher

MARCH 09, 2021

PARIS — A schoolgirl who sparked a deadly online hate campaign against a French teacher after he showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to students has admitted to lying and spreading false claims about him, her lawyer said on Monday (March 8).

The girl had claimed the teacher, Samuel Paty, who was beheaded by an Islamic extremist in the street in October last year, had asked Muslims to leave the class when he showed the cartoons.

The girl's father later lodged a legal complaint and amplified the allegations online, leading an 18-year-old Chechen refugee to track down Paty in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Jamus Lim: Convert empty spaces of multi-storey carparks for commercial uses

As Singapore strives towards a lower-carbon future, the demand for private transportation may fall further.

Zhangxin Zheng

March 06, 2021

Sengkang GRC Member of Parliament Jamus Lim proposed that the under-utilised floors of the multi-storey carparks be converted into commercial uses during the Ministry of National Development's Committee of Supply Debates on Mar. 4.