Video – Jewel Changi Airport Open

Singapore

Four years after work started to transform an open-air carpark into a 10-storey complex with shops, restaurants, leisure attractions and facilities for travellers, Jewel Changi Airport is ready for its public unveiling.

Over the next six days, from 1pm on Thursday (April 11) to 10pm next Tuesday, about half a million people who had signed up for free preview tickets are expected to visit.

Jewel will open its doors to all from next Wednesday. Located next to Terminal 1, it is connected to T2 and T3 via air-conditioned travelators.

The $1.7 billion complex is an investment in Changi Airport’s future and Singapore’s continued success as an aviation and tourism hub in an increasingly competitive environment.

Mr Lee Seow Hiang, chairman of Jewel Changi Airport and Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) chief executive, said in a statement on Thursday: “Jewel Changi Airport is a valuable addition to Singapore’s world-class tourism attractions and aviation facilities.

“We look forward to welcoming the world to Jewel, whether they are travelling to or through Singapore.”

Jewel’s highlights include a 40m-tall indoor waterfall and a five-storey garden with 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs.

There are more than 280 shops and food and beverage outlets, including famous New York burger chain Shake Shack (to open next Wednesday) and American fast-food chain A&W, which will re-enter the Singapore market after more than 10 years.

The first Pokemon Centre outside of Japan is located at Jewel, a joint venture between CAG and CapitaLand.

The 135,700 sq m complex will also offer play attractions as well as a hotel and aviation facilities.

To be available from June 10, the attractions include a 50m-long suspended bridge, with a glass floor that will allow visitors to look down at the greenery below; a 250m-long bouncing net, which at its highest point will be suspended 8m or three storeys above the ground; and other highlights such as mazes and slides.

When Jewel opens, travellers will be able to access an early check-in lounge serving passengers of 26 airlines, including Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot.

This will cover 60 per cent of all traffic at the airport and will be open from 6am to midnight daily. There will also be facilities for all travellers to store their hand luggage round-the-clock.

This will allow travellers to have a worry-free experience while they shop, dine, relax and play to make the most of their time before flying out of Singapore, said Jewel Changi Airport.

Those flying through Singapore will have to exit the transit area to visit Jewel and check in again before their next flight.

They don’t need to check in their bags again if their airlines offer the early check-in service.

Otherwise, they can deposit their bags while they tour Jewel and pick them up when they are done.

Ms Hung Jean, chief executive of Jewel Changi Airport, said: “The unique proposition of world-class shopping and dining, seamlessly integrated with lush greenery, fulfils the needs of increasingly discerning travellers for a meaningful and experiential journey, even for brief layovers.”

Jewel will also house the first YotelAir property in Asia, with 130 cabins that can be booked for a minimum of four hours; for short daytime layovers or overnight stays.

Mr Lee Chee Koon, president and group chief executive officer of CapitaLand Group, said: “The combined catchment of residents and Changi Airport’s growing passenger traffic makes Jewel a compelling proposition to draw international brands to Singapore and empower homegrown retailers to connect with a global audience.”

Jewel is designed by a consortium led by Safdie Architects, helmed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who also came up with Marina Bay Sands.

Mr Safdie said: “Jewel Changi Airport juxtaposes the centre of being in nature and enjoying a vibrant marketplace, dramatically extending the concept of airport to serve as an urban centre, engaging travellers, visitors, and residents, echoing Singapore’s reputation as ‘The City in the Garden’.”

Advertisements

Deadly Super-fungus Candida auris kills in Spore

SINGAPORE

At least three people in Singapore were found to be infected with Candida auris, a deadly drug-resistant fungus that has been spreading worldwide.

bed in hospital ward

One patient recovered, another left Singapore against medical advice, and the last died.

Last July, Dr Tan Yen Ee and Associate Professor Tan Ai Ling from the Singapore General Hospital’s department of microbiology reported the cases in a letter to local medical journal Annals.

C. auris is resistant to major anti-fungal medications and is especially deadly for patients with compromised immune systems, the New York Times reported.

According to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, it kills about half of all patients who contract it within 90 days.

The first case in Singapore was detected in a 52-year-old Singapore-born woman who suffered several limb fractures following a traffic accident in India in 2012.

She was treated at an Indian hospital and later transferred to a hospital here for further treatment.

The fungus and other organisms were detected in her fractured right thigh bone, or femur. She was given several medications, including antibiotics and an antifungal medication called fluconazole.

The fungus was later found to be resistant to fluconazole, but the patient was not given other antifungal drugs as she was recovering well and was later discharged.

The second case involved a 24-year-old Bangladeshi man who came to Singapore for medical treatment in 2016. He had been admitted to three hospitals in Bangladesh for a metastatic carcinoma, a type of cancer. He was given chemotherapy in Singapore but was later found to have fluconazole-resistant C. auris in his bloodstream.

Another antifungal called anidulafungin, which was effective against the fungus, was prescribed. However, the man later returned to Bangladesh against medical advice after just 10 days of treatment here.

The last case involved a 69-year-old American man who suffered an infection that exacerbated his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung disease) while touring Bangladesh in late 2016.

The man was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Bangladesh, where he was treated with antibiotics, and was transferred to Singapore in early 2017. He suffered further complications, including cardiac arrest. C. auris was later found in his blood.

No anti fungal treatment was given following discussions with the patient’s family. He was given palliative care and eventually died.

According to another report on 9th by the straits times….

There were 11 isolated cases of Candida auris infections at public hospitals here since 2012 but no outbreak was reported, a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman said on Tuesday (April 9) in response to queries.

Two of the patients found to be infected with the antifungal-resistant germ died while the other nine recovered.

Three patients, including one of the two patients who died, were treated at the Singapore General Hospital between 2012 and 2017, it said on Monday.

The MOH spokesman said: “The cases were immediately isolated and contact tracing conducted by the hospitals had not identified any disease spread. The patients’ rooms were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to remove the fungus.”

Healthcare institutions here have measures in place to prevent and control healthcare-related infections, including C. auris, and are required to report any outbreaks, but no outbreak was reported, the spokesman said.

The spokesman added that public hospitals are also required to isolate infected patients when necessary and to adequately disinfect equipment and the environment of the infected patients.

Although C. auris infection is not a legally notifiable disease here, it has been included in an updated list of pathogens for the public health laboratory surveillance programme since last year.

This was done to “enable a coordinated and broad-based response to infectious threats of public health importance,” the spokesman said.

C. auris infects individuals who are severely ill, or have compromised immunity, said the spokesman.

“As such individuals are typically hospitalised, it is unsurprising that C. auris cases have been found in hospital settings.”

The spokesman added that the risk of infection among healthy individuals is “very low”.

The New York Times, in a front page report on Sunday on C. auris, quoted the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that nearly half of the patients who contract the infection die within 90 days.

The fungus can spread through direct contact with an infected person, or through contact with a contaminated environment, equipment or other surfaces.

While C. auris is resistant to some antifungal drugs, it is susceptible to others that can be used to treat it.

The cases seen at SGH were treated with a class of antifungal drugs known as echinocandin and the contaminated environments were disinfected with ultraviolet C rays and hydrogen peroxide vapour.

“Early detection of patients infected with C. auris, as well as good infection prevention and control practices, such as meticulous hand hygiene and environmental disinfection, can prevent its spread,” the spokesman said.

Initial reports were picked up on Asia One and you can find them here 

Oxygen masks ‘accidentally’ deployed on British Airways flight BA16 from Singapore just 2 hours after take-off | Asia One

Singapore – London

Passengers on board British Airways flight BA16 had the shock of their lives when oxygen masks deployed without warning on their way to London from Singapore.

According to The Sun, passengers were two hours into their flight on Monday (April 8) when the media screens and lights in the plane suddenly turned off, following which oxygen masks dropped from the panels overhead.

An automated announcement instructing passengers to put on their oxygen masks was also played, alarming passengers who didn’t have a clue what was going on.

It was only after two minutes that flight attendants came over to panicked passengers, telling them to ignore the message as it was a technical error and that a step-by-step reboot of systems was being conducted, reported The Sun.

Photos published showed oxygen masks hanging from the overhead panels of the business class section.

Although cabin crew tried to reassure the terrified passengers, there was no apology nor assurance from the pilot even as the plane started its descent, said passenger Mitchell Webb, 24.

He recounted his experience to the Evening Standard, recalling that the flight was referred to as “an old girl” by flight attendants. He noted that cabin crew had mentioned that not all oxygen masks were deployed, which made him wonder if the same would happen in an actual emergency.

But what disturbed Webb the most was the unusual silence from the captain, who only made an announcement 45 mins before touchdown, but did not address the incident at all.

Webb added that an email from British Airways was sent to passengers on BA16, apologizing for the incident and the ‘inadvertent’ deployment of oxygen masks during the flight.

In an email to AsiaOne, a spokesperson from British Airways said that their “flight and cabin crew reassured customers after ​oxygen masks were deployed accidentally”.

“We are sorry for the distress this may have caused, and are investigating how it happened.”

via Oxygen masks ‘accidentally’ deployed on British Airways flight from Singapore just 2 hours after take-off, Singapore News – AsiaOne

Dengue cases on the rise in Asia, More than 2,000 dengue cases in Singapore in first quarter 2019

SINGAPORE

According to an article over on The Straits Times 

More than 2,000 dengue fever cases were reported in the first three months of the year, or more than three times the number in same period last year when there were about 600 cases.

There have also been three dengue deaths in the first quarter 2019, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Sunday (April 7). There was one death in the same period last year.

Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are closely related to the viruses that cause West Nile infection and yellow fever.

Not the most enjoyable condition to get hit with either. Your sturdy editor has survived it twice. -Ed

Its estimated 390 million dengue infections occur worldwide each year, with about 96 million resulting in illness. Most cases occur in tropical areas of the world.

Diagnosing Dengue Fever can be done with a blood test to check for specific antibodies.

Medicine

There is no specific medicine to treat a dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you can use pain relievers with acetaminophen but need to avoid medicines with aspirin, which could make bleeding worse..

You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see a doctor If you start to feel worse during the first 24 hours after your fever goes down.

Article continued 

Mr Masagos was speaking at the launch of the National Dengue Prevention Campaign 2019, which usually takes place ahead of the peak dengue season from June to October. The campaign calls for a concerted effort to step up dengue prevention measures.

“In Singapore, dengue continues to be an ongoing threat,” Mr Masagos said at the Kampung Admiralty Community Plaza.

“The effects of climate change, where the temperature is expected to rise, is going to exacerbate the challenge,” he added.

The minister highlighted that countries in the region such as Indonesia and Malaysia have also experienced spikes in dengue cases this year.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement that it expects dengue cases to increase in the warmer months ahead, unless active steps are taken to keep the mosquito population in check.

Currently, mosquito traps which capture female Aedes mosquitoes and their eggs – called Gravitraps – are deployed in HDB estates, giving the NEA an overview of mosquito density in various parts of Singapore.

This has helped the agency remove 21 per cent more breeding habitats last year compared to 2017, when the traps were introduced.

Gravitraps will be deployed at new HDB blocks and landed housing estates in the second half of this year.

About 14,000 more traps will be set up this year, adding to the current 50,000 traps.

Phase Three of Project Wolbachia, which releases sterile male mosquitoes to control the mosquito population, has also started.

In earlier studies in Nee Soon East and Tampines West, the Aedes mosquito population decreased by 80 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

The NEA conducted close to one million inspections last year and uncovered about 18,000 mosquito breeding habitats, said Mr Masagos.

About 224,000 inspections have been carried out from January to March this year, according to the NEA.

“The most important thrust (of dengue prevention) is community vigilance,” said Mr Masagos. “To win the war on dengue, we need everyone to be vigilant.”

He encouraged residents to remove stagnant water in their homes and also to pay attention to common breeding spots such as pails, dish trays, flower pot plates and vases.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and can last for up to 10 days, may include

Very rapid high fever, Severe Headaches, Pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting,  bleeding from the nose or gums and a skin rash wich shows up about 2 to 3 days after the onset of fever.

In rich Singapore, why must migrant workers go hungry? Singapore News

SINGAPORE

Via South China Morning Post.

Whenever Mominul Hassan calls his wife and two children back home in Bangladesh, he makes it a point to disable the video call function on his phone so that they will not be able to see him.

 

This, he says, is the only way to ensure that they never find out how much weight he has lost since coming to work in Singapore as a construction worker eight years ago.

“If my wife sees me, she will worry and ask me to come home. I miss home but I also need to earn enough money before I can return,” he said.

Hassan, 32, weighed 65kg when he arrived here. Today, he is only 55kg – a dip caused by a lack of proper food and nutrition, he said.

Hassan is not alone. In one of Asia’s most developed countries, where food wastage is a national problem, migrant workers are going hungry because of low wages and a highly competitive food catering industry that capitalises on the willingness of workers to scrimp and save for a better life.

LOW WAGES, FEW OPTIONS

World-renowned for its meticulous planning and distinct skyline that featured in the Hollywood hit film Crazy Rich Asians, Singapore depends on a large pool of blue-collar migrant workers from countries like India, Bangladesh and Myanmar to power its building and construction sector, which was valued at nearly US$22.5 billion (S$30.5 billion) in 2018.

But in a country with no minimum wage, migrant workers take home just US$13-15 daily for back-breaking work that usually lasts from 10 to 12 hours a day, depending on the scale of the project.

As a result, most workers do not mind clocking in extra overtime hours to supplement their income.

With barely enough time and cash to spare, they turn to caterers as a no-frills and cheap solution for their daily meals.

On paper, it seems a good deal. For US$90-US$110 a month, they get three meals a day delivered straight to their dormitories and work sites.

But in reality, the food served is paltry, nutritionally insufficient and sometimes downright rotten.

A typical breakfast consists of two to three pieces of flat breads like paratha or chapatti with a side of dhal, or lentil, curry. For lunch and dinner, workers are served white rice and curry accompanied by one portion of meat and a side of vegetables.

Even though the food is prepared from scratch, it becomes unappetising or stale by the time it reaches workers because caterers often cut back on logistics to fatten profit margins.

While a typical work day for a migrant worker begins as early as 7am, it is common for caterers to deliver both breakfast and lunch parcels together by 6am to avoid making double trips.

This is despite the national food safety body requiring caterers to provide a time-stamp for pre-packed and catered meals indicating a recommended “consume by” time – typically four hours from the time a dish is cooked.

Caterers usually adhere to the rule, indicating the correct time stamp. But they know the workers are unable to eat until much later.

What this means is that by lunchtime, workers often end up having to eat food that was probably prepared six to eight hours ago.

Exposed to Singapore’s heat and humidity, the food often succumbs quickly in the open.

“The food always arrives fresh but by the time I eat it, it has already become bad. Usually, I will throw away about half of the rice because I cannot eat it any more,” said Hassan.

Ironically, the workers are also contributing to Singapore’s food waste problem.

LACK OF STORAGE

The food packages are usually left in boxes in the open, because there is a lack of proper food storage areas near dormitories and work sites.

As a result, workers told This Week in Asia it is not uncommon to find stray dogs and rats getting to the food packets before them. During months of monsoon rain, the food is soaked and inedible.

To get by, workers often forgo meals altogether. Others turn to caffeine-enhanced energy drinks to perk themselves up and to eliminate hunger pangs.

Indian national A. Rajah, who has lived in Singapore for seven years, says that even though he is well aware of the long-term side effects of energy drinks, such as increased blood pressure and diabetes, he has little choice.

“It’s cheap and the sweet aftertaste helps to keep me awake,” he said. “But I’m not the only one. If you wait outside worker dormitories in the morning, you will see piles of energy drink cans.”

For workers who live in dormitories equipped with adequate cooking facilities, the situation is only slightly better. While they can cook their own meals, the supermarkets in dormitories usually charge higher prices for their goods compared to those elsewhere.

“The nearest supermarket is very far away and by the time we all get back at the end of the day, we are all very tired,” said R. Velmurugan, from India.

“Every minute that we get to rest is important so we have no choice but to buy from the supermarket in the dorm even though it is expensive.”

CATERERS STRUGGLE, TOO

With 1.5 million foreign workers in Singapore, the food catering business that serves them is lucrative. To edge ahead, firms slash prices knowing the customers are very price sensitive. Quality invariably suffers.

“Similar to any other industry, the more you pay, the better the quality. It is not the fault of the caterers or the workers,” said Sukkur Maideen, 47, who manages a canteen and a supermarket at a dormitory.

Caterers do not have it easy either. To meet demand, kitchen operations run 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The labour intensive business chalks up heavy costs for logistics, fuel and manpower and Singapore is expensive. Margins are thin.

A seasoned industry player says caterers make just 30 cents per meal. To boost profits, corners are cut by using inferior ingredients and consolidating deliveries.

One caterer said workers could not expect more for the amount they paid. His company serves 4,000 workers three meals a day, charging each worker US$105 per month. This works out to around US$1.20 a meal.

“Where else in Singapore can you find a meal with one meat, one vegetable and rice for that amount?” he said. A similar meal in a hawker centre in Singapore would be twice as expensive. “Workers are put in a tough place because they cannot afford much. At the same time, we are running a business here so there are certain targets to meet,” he said.

But social worker Luke Tan said caterers were taking advantage.

“Low wages mean that workers have no choice but to spend as little amount as possible on their food if they want to send money back home. They are willing to forgo their rights and sacrifice their health for a better life so this makes them ripe for exploitation,” said the operations manager at the Home Organisation for Migration Economics.

“With 1.5 million migrant workers in Singapore, exploitation becomes a lucrative market.”

Migrant worker T. Kamalakannan, 26, suggested using weatherproof thermal food boxes could improve the situation.

“Proper storage boxes that can help to keep our food warm and safe will give us peace of mind because we can work knowing that we don’t have to go hungry or throw away our food afterwards,” he said.

The food issue, said migrant worker activist Debbie Fordyce, executive committee member at Transient Workers Count Too, was part of a wider picture of exploitation facing low wage transient migrant workers. After having to pay exorbitant recruitment fees to secure their – often dangerous and demeaning – jobs, workers were indebted to a point where coercion and exploitation was inevitable, said Fordyce.

She said employers had a responsibility to ensure their workers had access to reliable caterers or adequate kitchen facilities to prepare their own meals. “Migrant workers play a key role in driving our economy. We should treat foreign workers humanely, not as disposable and replaceable labour,” she said.

 

Singapore seizes record shipment of pangolin scales – SE Asia – The Jakarta Post

Singaporean authorities made a record seizure of nearly 13 tonnes of pangolin scales worth some $38.7 million, officials said Thursday, calling it the largest such haul globally in recent years.

Government agents found the shipment bound for Vietnam from Nigeria as they were checking a 40-foot container at a customs station on Wednesday, discovering the haul packed in 230 bags.

“This is the largest shipment of pangolin scales seized in a single haul globally in recent years,” a government press release read.

Local media reported that some 17,000 pangolins were killed to fill the bags, which were packed in a shipment declared as containing “frozen beef”.

The press release added that another 177 kgs (390 pounds) of cut and carved elephant ivory worth about $88,500 were also found alongside the scales.

Authorities across Southeast Asia have been trying to stop the rampant poaching and smuggling of pangolins, the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal.

The animals, also known as scaly anteaters, are highly sought after by traditional medicine traders in countries such as China and Vietnam. Their scales, similar in constitution to fingernails, provide zero scientifically proven medicinal benefit.

Under Singaporean law, those found guilty of the illegal import, export or re-export of wildlife can fined up to S$500,000 ($369,375) and jailed up to two years or both.

via Singapore seizes record shipment of pangolin scales – SE Asia – The Jakarta Post

Indonesia to invest $115m in Batam port – The Straits Times

Indonesia is further upgrading Batam port with a 1.2 trillion rupiah (S$115 million) injection from state port operator Pelindo I.

The investment, announced by Pelindo I president director Bambang Eka Cahyana on Tuesday (April 2), follows a visit by Vice President Jusuf Kalla to Batam earlier in the day.

News of the Pelindo I investment follows hot on the heels of Malaysia’s plan to develop a multi-million-dollar project off Johor’s Port of Tanjung Pelepas to enable ships to transfer their cargo to other vessels without having to dock at the berths, in a bid to enhance shipping flexibility and cut costs for shippers.

The Batam investment plan aims to enhance cargo handling at the port of Batu Ampar, in order to raise its competitiveness.

The port, located on the northern tip of Batam, and facing the Singapore Strait, will soon take delivery of three new mobile harbour cranes and 12 terminal tractors, paid for by part of the investment from Pelindo I, Mr Bambang told reporters.

Over the medium-term, Pelindo I will procure container cranes capable of loading and unloading goods for larger ships and he is optimistic that the additional equipment will increase productivity at the port as well as reduce operating costs.

“We are following shipping standards that demand efficiency at Batu Ampar port. This begins this April,” he added.

The move by Pelindo I comes hot on the heels of Malaysia’s plan to develop a multimillion-dollar project at Johor’s Tanjung Pelepas port to enable ships to transfer their cargo to other vessels without having to dock at the berths.

The new collaboration between Malaysia’s maritime services company KA Petra and Hong Kong-based port operator Hutchison Ports Holdings is aimed at enhancing shipping flexibility and cutting costs for shippers.

The project, which could cost up to US$180 million (S$244 million), will cover an area of 1,200ha, and will be built in the Strait of Johor near Tuas.

It is also poised to be the world’s biggest ship-to-ship transfer hub, able to accommodate up to 30 vessels at one time, as well as store 9 million tonnes of petroleum products, when completed in two years.

The Pelindo I announcement followed a meeting called by Vice-President Jusuf Kalla with Mr Bambang, Economic Affairs Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution, Riau Islands governor Nurdin Basirun, free trade zone agency BP Batam chief Edy Putra Irawady and Batam mayor Muhammad Rudi on Tuesday.

The Vice-President was visiting Batam earlier in the day for an event organised by the Association of Indonesian Entrepreneurs.

Mr Kalla, speaking to reporters that the meeting, which lasted more than an hour at BP Batam’s headquarters, was called to discuss how Batu Ampar port can improve its efficiency and that its operational costs are not higher than those at other ports in the region.

He added that the port currently incurs many unnecessary costs, including having to pay for container inspection fees carried out in Singapore, which adds to the high logistics costs in Batu Ampar.

Indonesia wants Batam as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore with a potential to draw US$60 billion in new investment, reported Bloomberg news in February this year.

Located less than 30km south of Singapore, Batam has attracted about US$20 billion of investment since Jakarta began promoting it as an industrial zone in the 1970s.

The Joko Widodo administration has plans to expand benefits to businesses by reclaiming about 8,000ha of idle or confiscated land to offer to exporters or producers of import substitutes.

Mr Joko, who is running for re-election without Mr Kalla on April 17, caused a stir last December when he ordered BP Batam to be placed under the control of the Batam city administration to fix its problem of “leadership dualism”.

Since then, BP Batam, the state agency overseeing free trade on the island, has proposed developing two special economic zones, offering bigger tax breaks for businesses including those from Singapore and income tax relief for workers.

Mr Edy told The Straits Times in an interview in February that the plans will be approved by Mr Joko as early as June, if the President wins a second term.

via Indonesia to invest $115m in Batam port , SE Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Title Photo by Lisanto 李奕良 on Unsplash

Integrated resorts to build new world-class attractions, allowed to expand casinos; levies to go up from Thursday, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – The operators of the two integrated resorts (IR) will pump in $9 billion to build world-class attractions, which will include a fourth tower to the iconic Marina Bay Sands (MBS) development, three new hotels, a 15,000-seat entertainment arena and extensions to Universal Studios Singapore (USS).

Meanwhile, MBS and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will be allowed to expand their casino operations, with their exclusive rights to run a casino here extended until the end of 2030. But their gambling revenue will be further taxed by the Government. In order to rein in problem gambling, casino levies on Singapore residents will be increased. The daily levy will go up from $100 to $150 from Thursday (April 4), while the annual levy is being increased from $2,000 to $3,000.

In a joint statement on Wednesday evening (April 3), the authorities, which include the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said that the $9 billion investment is almost two-thirds of the IRs’ initial investment of about $15 billion in 2006.

“In view of the substantial investment and to provide business certainty, the Government has agreed to extend the exclusivity period for the two casinos to end-2030,” they said.

They added that IR operators have been allowed to expand their casinos in order for the new attractions to remain commercially viable, but that any additions will be targeted at “higher-tier non-mass market players, who are mainly tourists”.

If the IRs do expand their casinos to the maximum allowed, it will increase the current gaming space from 30,000 sq m to 32,500 sq m. But with the even bigger expansion of the non-gaming areas, the space taken up by gambling operations at the IRs will fall from the existing 3.1 per cent to 2.3 per cent. RWS is planning to add two new immersive environments at USS – Minion Park and Super Nintendo World – and enlarge the S.E.A aquarium.

A new two-tiered tax system will also kick in from March 2022.

Under the new system, the first $2.4 billion of gross gaming revenue from premium gaming is taxed at 8 per cent, while the rest is taxed at 12 per cent. Similarly, the first $3.1 billion from mass gaming is taxed at 18 per cent, while anything over that is taxed at 22 per cent. If the IRs fail to meet their investment commitments, they will have to pay the higher tax rate on all gross gaming revenue.

On the concerns that the increase casino space may lead to more problem gambling, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that although the problem has not worsened, the Government is nevertheless wary of the dangers.

“While the IRs have been successful on the economic front, we have also been closely monitoring the potential social impact of the gaming segment,” he said.

According to a survey from the National Council on Problem Gambling, the probable problem and pathological gambling rate has decreased from 2.6 per cent when the IRs first opened in 2010 to 0.9 per cent in 2017.

Beyond the higher levies, the two IR operators have also agreed to work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development to study how to help gamblers make more informed decisions on how much to gamble.

IR employees will also be trained to spot gamblers at risk of developing a problem, and refer them to help.

via Integrated resorts to build new world-class attractions, allowed to expand casinos; levies to go up from Thursday, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Title Photo by Zhu Hongzhi on Unsplash

Singapore Airlines grounds two Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner jets due to engine issues – CNA

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) has removed two SIA 787-10 Dreamliner planes from service after routine inspections found issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines, the carrier said in a statement on Tuesday (Apr 2).

“During recent routine inspections of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines on Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10 fleet, premature blade deterioration was found on some engines,” SIA said.

“As safety is our top priority, the SIA Group, in consultation with Rolls-Royce, proactively identified other Trent 1000 TEN engines in the Group’s 787 fleet to undergo precautionary inspections.

The airline added that all engine inspections on its 787-10 fleet have since been completed, and a remaining check will be completed on a Scoot 787-9 by Apr 3.

“Pending engine replacements, two SIA 787-10 aircraft have been removed from service,” said SIA.

As a result, some flights to destinations served by the 787-10 fleet have been affected.

“SIA is operating other aircraft for these flights to minimise schedule disruption to customers,” said the airline.

“However, as capacity may be lower on replacement aircraft, some customers may be affected and they will be contacted accordingly.”

SIA declined to comment on the number of travelers affected, saying it is “actively getting in touch with customers” to re-accommodate them on various other flights.

The airline’s 787-10 aircraft are currently deployed to 11 destinations – Bangkok, Denpasar, Fukuoka, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Nagoya, New Delhi, Osaka, Perth, Taipei and Tokyo.

“We regret the inconvenience caused and sincerely apologize to customers whose travel plans are affected, and seek their understanding,” said SIA.

It added that it is working closely with Rolls-Royce, as well as relevant authorities for additional follow-up actions and precautionary measures that may be required going forward.

SIA first took delivery of the first of its 49 Boeing 787-10 aircraft in March 2018. The aircraft entered commercial service in April 2018, with SIA saying that it was investing S$458 million to introduce new cabin products for the first 20 aircraft.

In a statement on Tuesday, Rolls-Royce said that since the Trent 1000 TEN entered into service, it has communicated to operators that the high-pressure turbine blades in those engines would have a limited life cycle.

“Working with operators, we have been sampling a small population of the Trent 1000 TEN fleet that has flown in more arduous conditions.

“This work has shown that a small number of these engines need to have their blades replaced earlier than scheduled. In anticipation of limited turbine blade life, our engineers have already developed and are testing an enhanced version of this blade,” it said.

Rolls-Royce added that it will now work closely with any affected customers to deliver an “accelerated programme” to implement the enhanced blade, and to ensure that it can deliver on their Trent 1000 TEN future commitments.

“We regret any disruption this causes to airline operations,” it said.

via Singapore Airlines grounds two Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner jets due to engine issues – CNA

Boosting food security – from farm to fork, Singapore News – AsiaOne

The day may come when heat from local incineration plants is used to keep water at fish farms at optimum temperatures, so the tropical marine varieties bred for food can grow better.

 

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli yesterday said this is a possibility that can be explored. He was speaking at the launch of the new Singapore Food Agency (SFA), which will manage all things food-related, including the future of food production as well as research into local high-tech farming strategies.

The 815 employees at the SFA are experts drawn from food related departments at three agencies. The statutory board’s mission is to ensure and secure a supply of safe food locally.

 

They will be joined by 219 inspectors and other staff from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and 31 food scientists from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

Staff started work yesterday at the new agency’s premises at Jem in Jurong East and its other offices, including the SFA’s research, technology and veterinary public health centres and fishery ports.

The agency’s logo depicts fish and leaves entwined together, to represent progressiveness, and the collaboration and partnership between the SFA and various agencies and industry partners.

At the launch, Mr Masagos toured the agency’s premises and said that he is looking forward to working with it to “write the next chapter of the Singapore food story”.

lapis

He said that maintaining a secure supply of safe food is important, citing the challenges that Singapore now faces in navigating a rapidly changing global landscape.

“Vital resources, such as water and energy, will be increasingly scarce,” Mr Masagos said.

He added that while AVA and the other agencies have worked well together over the years to address food security and safety issues, Singapore must ensure it continues to stay well ahead of the curve.

“The formation of SFA will consolidate the NEA and AVA’s capability’s in licensing, compliance management and investigation, and HSA’s expertise in testing,” said Mr Masagos, adding that its formation signals the Government’s commitment to strengthen food security and safety, from farm to fork.

 

via Boosting food security – from farm to fork, Singapore News – AsiaOne

Ex-UOB banker jailed for cheating offences involving more than $200,000, Singapore News – AsiaOne

SINGAPORE – A senior personal banker was supposed to help her clients grow their savings but ended up cheating them of more than $200,000 in total.

Ng Wei Ling, who was working at United Overseas Bank (UOB), used the money to pay for items including her transportation and dining expenses

On Monday (April 1), District Judge Toh Yung Cheong said that Ng’s offences had the potential to affect public trust in Singapore’s financial sector, and sentenced her to one year and eight months’ jail

Ng, 26, pleaded guilty to five cheating charges involving $150,000. Another eight charges, mainly for similar offences and linked to the remaining amount, were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Ng joined UOB in April 2014 and was suspended in September 2017. At UOB, she was tasked to provide advisory services on investment products such as unit trusts and insurance policies.

On Feb 18, 2016, she asked a client, Ms Herawati Wongso Ong, to hand over $50,000 in cash to buy a Prudential Pru-Save Max policy for her daughter.

Ms Ong did as she was told, but it turned out that Ng had intended to use the money for her personal expenses.

Ng targeted a second client, Ms Paula Permatasari, in early 2017, asking her to take part in a bank promotion relating to a three-month fixed deposit that would yield an annual interest rate of 8.8 per cent.

Ms Permatasari agreed and transferred $40,000 to Ng’s bank account in February that year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Deborah Lee told Judge Toh that Ng made off with the money and did not use it for her client’s fixed deposit.

By using a similar method, Ng duped another client, Ms Baba Hideko, into transferring $60,000 to her bank account in May 2017.

Ng’s offences came to light on Sept 28 that year when the Commercial Affairs Department received information that she had fraudulently transferred a total of $50,000 from Ms Permatasari’s bank accounts to her own, according to court documents. Ng has since made restitution totalling $135,000.

On Monday, the DPP urged the court to sentence Ng to 19 months’ jail, stressing that she had abused her position as a senior personal banker.

Defence lawyer T. M. Sinnadurai, who pleaded for a 17-month jail term, said that this was his client’s first brush with the law. He also said that Ng was her family’s sole breadwinner.

Ng is now out on bail of $60,000 and was ordered to surrender herself at the State Courts on April 15 to begin serving her sentence.

For each count of cheating, she could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

via Ex-UOB banker jailed for cheating offences involving more than $200,000, Singapore News – AsiaOne

Small potatoes compared to whats happening in Malaysia right now with 1MDB. Perhaps once she has finished her time she can get a job with the Goldman Sachs bears…Ed

Title Image Photo by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash

5 teens arrested for trespassing in an Ikea in Singapore after hours. Singapore News – AsiaOne

thomas-litangen-92623-unsplash.jpg

As reported by The Straits Times 5 boys were apprehended by police for hiding out in the Tampines Ikea store in Singapore after hours.  At this stage its unclear what the actual motive was definitively, however rumors juan-encalada-1184384-unsplashcirculating on the internet lean towards enthusiasm for sweetish meatballs, cleaver flat pack design furniture and memes. The boys also face stiff fines of up to $1000 if convicted.

It actually reminds me of a strange case in the US where a Michael Townsend and Adriana Yoto who over a period of time setup their own hidden apartment within some unused space of a Rhode island shopping mall. It was furnished with artwork, furniture and even a play station.  The couple didn’t live in it full time however they managed to elude staff and authorities for 4 whole years before they got caught .  As to why they did it Michaels quote below.

“I felt this vacation-like euphoria that I’ve never felt till then or since then,” Townsend said. “It was better for me than any nature walk I’ve ever taken.”

kari-shea-99868-unsplash

Original IKEA story below,

SINGAPORE – Five teenagers aged between 16 and 18 have been arrested after they hid in Ikea Tampines beyond the store’s opening hours.

The police were alerted to a case of wilful trespassing at No. 60 Tampines North Drive 2, where Ikea Tampines is located, at 12.52am on Sunday (March 31).

In a release on Sunday, the police said officers from Bedok Police Division located the five boys and arrested them.

Preliminary investigations found that the teenagers were hiding in the Ikea building and stayed beyond the store’s operating hours.

If convicted of wilful trespass, they can be fined up to $1,000 each.

The police also reminded the public that anyone who wilfully trespasses without a satisfactory excuse will be investigated.

via 5 teens arrested for wilful trespass after hiding in Ikea Tampines beyond operating hours, Singapore News – AsiaOne

Meatballs Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

Photo 1 by Thomas Litangen on Unsplash

Photo 2 chair Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Singaporean man fails to declare $213,000 in cash at airport | The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – A 48-year-old man was fined $6,000 on Friday (March 29) for failing to declare that he was carrying more than $60,000 in cash when entering Singapore.

In a release on Friday, the police said Tan Wai Meng had failed to report the movement of currencies valued at more than $213,000 when entering the country.

They were alerted to the incident at the arrival hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2 on Nov 3 last year.

Tan is understood to be a Singapore citizen.

Investigations found that Tan, a watch enthusiast, was carrying various currencies worth more than $213,000 when he entered the country, and had failed to report the cash movement to an authorized officer.

He was fined $6,000 for the offence.

Those found guilty of failing to report movement of cash can be fined up to $50,000, jailed up to three years, or both.

Police also reminded the public that failure to declare movement of cash exceeding $20,000 is an offence.

via Singaporean fails to declare $213,000 in cash at airport, fined $6,000, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Grab to double Singapore staff to 3,000 in latest expansion – Business – The Jakarta Post

Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing company, plans to double its staff in Singapore to 3,000 by the time it moves into new headquarters next year.

Grab signed an 11-year lease for new offices in a development by Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust. The Singapore-based startup has a five-year renewal option and will occupy all of the building, which has an estimated floor area of 42,310 square meters and cost S$181.2 million ($133.7 million).

“The new building will allow us to put our growing team of up to 3,000 Grabbers under one roof,” Grab Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan said at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday. “It is an affirmation of our long-term investment in Singapore.”

Grab is flush with cash after raising $4.5 billion from investors including SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund to bankroll efforts to become a one-stop shop for on-demand services in Southeast Asia. Last year it acquired Uber Technologies Inc.’s business in the region.

Grab will also add 1,000 technology jobs across its research and development centers in Bangalore, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Seattle and Singapore. The jobs will include data scientists, artificial intelligence researchers and engineers, Tan said.

Seven-year-old Grab currently has 6,000 employees globally.

via Grab to double Singapore staff to 3,000 in latest expansion – Business – The Jakarta Post

Pervert jailed for taking videos of women in Tampines toilet, Singapore News – AsiaOne

A man who wished victims Merry Christmas after filming them in a toilet last year was jailed 12 weeks on Tuesday.

Bryan Fang Zhongquan, 30, who was still a financial adviser last year, had filmed a total of 14 women relieving themselves.

He had met a friend for a Christmas dinner last year at a bar in the NTUC Income Building at Tampines Junction.

They then had drinks, and after his friend took a bus home, Fang returned to the building. He entered a female toilet in the building just before midnight, hiding in an empty cubicle and locking the door.

When a woman wearing a red dress entered the cubicle next to his, he slipped his iPhone underneath the partition and took a video of her relieving herself.

He did this to six other women before leaving the toilet about 15 minutes later.

About half an hour later, Fang went back into the same toilet and recorded another seven women.

But his last victim, whose face he had captured on video, noticed the phone under the partition. She came out and told her friends.

A short while later, Fang came out of his cubicle and the woman asked for his phone.

He then ran out of the toilet, but was detained at the lift lobby by the victim’s male friend. Fang apologised and made the Christmas wishes.

LOST JOB, GIRLFRIEND

Deputy Public Prosecutor Theong Li Han said on Tuesday that Fang had committed the offences in two batches before being discovered.

She asked for 12 weeks’ jail.

In mitigation, defense lawyer Teo Choo Kee said Fang had lost his job and girlfriend after the incident.

He added that Fang was intoxicated when he committed the acts and that he was remorseful, and had suffered online abuse after being charged.

He asked for a sentence of nine weeks instead.

During sentencing, District Judge Adam Nakhoda noted that Fang’s case had a greater potential to cause embarrassment compared with other upskirt cases as the victims’ faces were captured in the videos.

He also said his attempt to run away after being found out was an aggravating factor.

Fang was convicted on four charges of intruding into a woman’s privacy and a charge of criminal trespass.

Another 11 similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

His iPhone X, which was seized by the police, will also be disposed of.

Flashed and stripped for parts perhaps??? We can only hope  Ed

For each charge of intruding into the privacy of a woman, Fang could have been jailed up to a year, or fined, or both.

For each charge of criminal trespass, he could have been jailed up to three months or fined up to $1,500.

via Man jailed for taking videos of women in Tampines toilet, Singapore News – AsiaOne

Title Photo by hongji li on Unsplash