Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Pair of new studies point to natural Covid origin

Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash

The researchers concluded it was unlikely that there was human circulation prior to November 2019.

July 27, 2022

WASHINGTON — An animal market in China's Wuhan really was the epicentre of the Covid pandemic, according to a pair of new studies in the journal Science published Tuesday (July 26) that claimed to have tipped the balance in the debate about the virus' origins.

Answering the question of whether the disease spilled over naturally from animals to humans, or was the result of a lab accident, is viewed as vital to averting the next pandemic and saving millions of lives.

The first paper analysed the geographic pattern of Covid cases in the outbreak's first month, December 2019, showing the first cases were tightly clustered around the Huanan Market.

The second examined genomic data from the earliest cases to study the virus' early evolution, concluding it was unlikely the coronavirus circulated widely in humans prior to November 2019.

Both were previously posted as "preprints" but have now been vetted by scientific peer review and appear in a prestigious journal.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

China censors strive to filter or erase details of mortgage protests

July 21, 2022

  • Homebuyers balk at paying mortgages on unfinished housing
  • Censors scramble to erase or filter details of boycotts
  • Protests come at a sensitive time for Chinese leader

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, July 20 (Reuters) - As China grapples to contain a mortgage boycott that has triggered rare protests, censors have gone into overdrive with social media messages blocked, videos of demonstrations wiped and key word searches coming up blank.

Censors are scrambling to filter or erase details of angry homebuyers threatening to stop paying mortgages on hundreds of unfinished housing projects, as regulators seek to reassure residents that everything will be taken care of.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

New SERS rehousing options for Ang Mo Kio flat owners will apply to similar projects in future: Desmond Lee

Blocks 562 to 565 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 have been picked for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).
(Photo: CNA/Cheryl Lin)

Tang See Kit
04 Jul 2022 

SINGAPORE: The new rehousing options made available to some flat owners in Ang Mo Kio as part of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) will apply to a similar exercise in Marsiling and future acquisitions under the scheme, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee on Monday (Jul 4).

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) over the weekend announced that eligible home owners under SERS will be able to purchase a new replacement unit on a shorter 50-year lease, instead of a fresh 99-year one. A second option allows residents who are seniors to take up the lease buyback scheme for their existing flat and buy a new replacement flat of the same flat type on a short lease.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Commentary: Overturning of Roe v Wade abortion decision has upended the US midterm elections

With the US Supreme Court overturning the right to abortion, will Roe v Wade unify Democrats or rally Republicans in the November midterm elections? Yale-NUS College’s Trisha Craig says domestic politics could affect America’s role as global leader in uncertain times.
A celebration outside the Supreme Court, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Washington. after its decision
to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Trisha Craig

08 Jul 2022

SINGAPORE: Abortion in the United States has been a highly partisan issue for decades. Politically, it is often summed up by where one stands on the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion.

So when the US Supreme Court – with a conservative majority of judges - overturned Roe v Wade on Jun 24 after a draft decision was leaked in May, it was expected but no less stunning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Hungry? These 67 Singapore eateries just made the Michelin Bib Gourmand 2022 list

New entries this year, include Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle, Kelantan Kway Chap Pig Organ Soup and Lixin Teochew Fishball Noodles.

Genevieve Sarah Loh

05 Jul 2022

The 2022 edition of the Bib Gourmand selection for the Michelin Guide Singapore has bestowed honours on a total of 67 eateries, nine of which are new entries.

Ayam Sate Madura (Photo: Cumi Bali)

The Bib Gourmand category was created in 1997 to recognise establishments that offer diners a value-for-money gourmet experience in Singapore, with a complete and high-quality menu priced at a maximum of S$45. All eateries are nominated by Michelin guide inspectors.

Monday, July 4, 2022

New Public Defenders Office will provide legal aid to those with per capita household income up to S$1,500: MinLaw

Bill introduced to set up Public Defender's Office that provides legal aid for people charged with non-capital crimes
Public defenders under the new office need not be called to the bar, the Ministry of Law said.

  • A proposed public defender's office will provide criminal legal aid to Singaporeans with a per capita monthly houshold income of up to S$1,500
  • The Ministry of Law tabled a Public Defenders Bill on Monday (July 4) in Parliament 
  • The public defender's office will work together with the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, which also provides legal aid to the needy
  • Public defenders in the new office need not be called to the Bar, but must have the necessary skills and education qualifications


July 4, 2022

Austere and ‘tight' approach to managing prison conditions has kept suicide, assault rates low: Shanmugam

Singapore’s prison capacity is currently at about 70 per cent, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said.

  • The "austere" regime and environment in Singapore's prisons were deliberately designed, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said
  • The Singapore Prison Service's "tight approach" has, among other things, kept suicides among prisoners low compared with other jurisdictions, he said
  • Mr Shanmugam was responding to increased interest in prison conditions following the airing of a CNA documentary 
  • Mr Shanmugam said that Singapore's approach in managing the prisons have also led to lower assault rates compared to some other jurisdictions, where gangs informally run the place
  • The minister also explained why certain race-based data relating to crime are not disclosed publicly, and how the Government arrives at this decision in consultation with various community groups


July 4, 2022

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Big Read in short: Where did it all go wrong with the Sports Hub?

Illustration: Anam Musta'ein

In separate interviews with TODAY, former staff of Sports Hub Pte Ltd spoke about deep lying issues that plagued the project from the get-go. But everything boiled down to this: A disconnect between the interests of the Government and the private firms, and a partnership only in name that was pulled in multiple directions by a long list of stakeholders with different objectives.

Each week, TODAY’s long-running Big Read series delves into the trends and issues that matter. This week, we examine where it all went wrong with the running of the Singapore Sports Hub, which led to the termination of the public-private partnership. This is a shortened version of the full feature,​ which can be found here.

  • Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced on June 10 that it will be taking over full ownership of the Sports Hub from its private partner, Sports Hub Private Limited (SHPL)
  • Former staff of SHPL largely agree with this decision, saying that the partnership between the Government and private sector was flawed from the start 
  • Several of them say that the partnership was akin to a vendor-client relationship, and that the Government had given the private sector too much leeway to call the shots 
  • SHPL had also found it challenging to manage its various private partners, who were all jostling to make their own profits out of the venture 
  • Moving forward, the Government will have to strike a balance between maintaining the prestige of a world-class venue, and making the Sports Hub accessible to the community

Sports Hub takeover: What is a public-private partnership and have they worked in Singapore?

The Singapore Sports Hub seen with the Kallang River in the foreground.

  • Sport Singapore announced that it will be taking over the Singapore Sports Hub
  • It is terminating its public-private partnership with a consortium of private partners
  • This form of partnership facilitates cross-sector collaboration between the public sector and private sector
  • Singapore has had success cases with such partnerships, such as ITE College West
  • However, the Government has taken back other facilities under these arrangements before, such as Tuaspring Desalination Plant

June 10, 2022

SINGAPORE — National sports governing body Sport Singapore (SportSG) announced on Friday (June 10) that it will be taking over the management and operations of the Singapore Sports Hub, ending its public-private partnership with a consortium 12 years ahead of time.

It explained that its decision to terminate the partnership was so that it could better integrate the hub with upcoming facilities in the surrounding Kallang precinct, such as the Kallang Football Hub, Kallang Tennis Centre and Youth Hub.

Friday, July 1, 2022


AUGUST 16, 2021

Recent months have seen much discussion of the “Davidson Window” — the idea, based on recent commentary by the then-commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Philip Davidson, that China could take military action against Taiwan in the next six to 10 years. Some within the defense commentariat accused Davidson of “sloppy exaggeration,” that he was “simply wrong as a matter of fact” (though perhaps some critics should consider that a combatant commander may have access to a different set of facts than they do). While others took his warning more seriously, there have been good reasons to question whether China could successfully subjugate Taiwan any time soon. Among these is that China has appeared to lack the amphibious transport capacity necessary to successfully conduct a cross-strait invasion. However, assessments of China’s amphibious sealift capability have typically focused on its navy’s dedicated amphibious assault ships, and have largely discounted the ability of China’s civilian merchant shipping to contribute to an invasion — especially in its initial stages. This approach does not take sufficient account of the emerging and ongoing integration of substantial portions of China’s merchant marine into its cross-strait assault forces. When civilian shipping is included in an assessment of China’s cross-strait sealift capability, Davidson’s warning gains added credibility.