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Play And Pay: Why Singapore's Education System Is Top Of The Class

For years, Singapore has topped education rankings and inspired other school systems. Among the keys to its success is a playful approach to education and highly paid teachers. But many worry about the pressure the system places on children.

SINGAPORE — Every year in mid-October, social networks are set ablaze in Singapore. Upset parents attack the Ministry of Education on Facebook, Twitter and other forums, accusing it of having organized tests that were too complicated for their children. They say their children came home from the math section of the PSLE – the Primary School Leaving Examination – in tears. The results come in late November.

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LGBTQ+ International: Good And Bad News From Singapore, Great Gatsby Makeover — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

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Putin’s “Invincible” Missile, Pelosi’s Asian Plans, K-pop Special Treatment

👋 Kumusta!*

Welcome to Monday, where the first Ukrainian grain ship leaves Odessa since the start of Russia’s invasion, while Putin previews a new “hypersonic” missile. Also, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi starts her high-profile Asian tour in Singapore as the K-pop band BTS gets special attention from South Korea’s defense minister. Meanwhile, even as much of the world loosens its pandemic-related restrictions, we have a warning about the growing risks of long COVID.

[*Cebuano, Philippines]

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Sustainable Hunting? How To Fix Environmental Targets For Hunters

Facing biodiversity loss, hunting can be seen as not only cruel but also damaging to natural ecosystems. Yet hunters argue that their activity is a natural way to “replace” animal predators and a tradition that should be preserved. Can there be a happy hunting medium?

Gazing through binoculars, hunters and environmental activists might appear to be natural enemies.

Particularly as the world is facing challenges that include biodiversity loss and species extinction, hunting can be viewed in ecological terms as not only unnecessary but also cruel, barbaric and damaging to natural ecosystems. In March, for example, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg banned a traditional French bird-hunting practice that consisted of using “glue traps.”

Still, hunters argue that their activity is a natural way to “replace” animal predators by culling herds of prey species and re-establishing a balance in the ecosystem. Hunting is also seen by some as a tradition that should be preserved, having been embedded in natural human culture for thousands of years.

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Meike Eijsberg

COVID-19 Lessons From Singapore, Facing Its First Crisis So Late In The Pandemic

Its Zero-COVID strategy has mostly worked, and vaccinations are going well. Now a breakout spread is raising multiple questions for the Asian nation and global financial hub.


When it came to COVID-19, Singapore had seemed to do everything right. Back in March 2020, the wealthy Asian city-state didn't hesitate to impose a strict lockdown. Indeed, Singapore officials took the risk so seriously, that they opted for a Zero-COVID strategy similar to the one countries like China and New Zealand used to stop the spread at virtually all costs.

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Han Liying

In Singapore, Facebook Offers No Refuge For Freedom Of Speech

The city-state's leadership has never tolerated too much political dissent; and now when it comes in the Facebook variety, officials are using the courts to silence critics.

SINGAPORE — About two years ago, Leong Sze Hian, a sixty-five-year-old financial advisor in Singapore, did what countless others do every day: He shared an article on his Facebook page.

What he didn't know, was that by doing so he'd soon find himself in a protracted legal battle with none other than the city-state's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who chose to sue Mr. Leong for defamation.

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Anne Sophie Goninet

Yoga, Solar And Eye Scans: A Video Tour Of World's Most Innovative Airports

Airline passenger traffic is not slowing down, registering worldwide growth of 6.8% in 2015. The growing demand means more opportunity but also more competition, and airports need to be innovative to attract both business and pleasure air travelers.

Long layovers can be tiresome, but not necessarily in Changi, Singapore. With free video games, film screenings, a swimming pool and multiple green spaces, the airport has become a bonafide place to relax, part of which helped it get voted the best airport in the world last year.

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Pick Your Poison

A saiga antelope's head, dried seahorses, horn powder and God knows what else was in those jars ... Much like La Paz, Singapore was a great place to buy exotic souvenirs.


Buddhist Incense

The only thing missing from this picture of a Buddhist temple on the island city-state of Singapore is the intense scent of incense these worshippers were burning.


Kerry Chides China, Puerto Rico Risks, Kermit/Miss Piggy Split


Photo: Then Chih Wey/Xinhua/ZUMA

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Merkel And Tsipras Meet, U.S. Leaves Yemen, Tortoise Romance

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Berlin today, starting a week that Bloomberg characterizes as “decisive for Greece’s future in the euro area.” According to the Financial Times, Tsipras told Merkel in a letter last week that without the European Union’s continued support, it would be “impossible” for Greece to service its debt.
As tensions rise, the cover of this week’s issue of the German weekly Der Spiegel shows a smiling Angela Merkel spliced into a photograph of Nazi officers standing by Athens’ Parthenon during the German World War II occupation of Greece.

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On March 23, 1919, Italy’s Fascist movement was founded. Time for your 57-second shot of history.

France’s governing Socialist Party suffered an important setback in local elections yesterday, coming third behind the victorious center-right UMP party of Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen’s National Front, though the defeat was not as stinging as expected, Le Monde reports. Speaking on RTL, Prime Minister Manuel Valls, however, congratulated himself for the fact that National Front didn’t finish first and called on all parties to vote against such candidates that qualified for next Sunday’s second round. Le Pen branded the Socialist Party’s defeat “historic” and called on Valls to resign.

"For the Ebola outbreak to spiral this far out of control required many institutions to fail. And they did, with tragic and avoidable consequences," said Doctors Without Borders Director Christopher Stokes, as the organization published a scathing report one year after it was alerted about the outbreak. The organization also accused the governments of Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as the U.S. biotech firm Metabiota of obstructing early efforts against the outbreak.

Washington has withdrawn its last military personnel from Yemen because of the deteriorating security situation, CNN reports. The decision comes as attacks intensify between Sunni Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, and the Shia Houthi rebels, who have been in control of the capital Sanaa and its surroundings since September. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings of two mosques where Shia worshippers were gathered for Friday prayers, killing at least 137 people. The UN’s special envoy for Yemen warned that the country was on the “edge of civil war.”

Spring has finally sprung here in the northern hemisphere and will be bringing Cancer some confidence. As for Capricorn, it’s a wonderful time for couples to plan a major event. What does this week have in store for you? Check out the Roman Horoscope here.

Photo above: Then Chih Wey/Xinhua/ZUMA
Thousands paid tribute to Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died today at age 91. Lee, the first and longest serving prime minister of the city-state, helped transform Singapore into one of Asia’s most prosperous countries.

Myanmar is expected to be the country with the highest increase of antibiotic use in animals with scientists forecasting a 205% increase by 2030. A study from Princeton University warns that antibiotic use in livestock could rise by two-thirds globally, increasing the risk of drug-resistant “superbugs.”

With the last round of nuclear talks beginning on Wednesday ahead of a March 31 deadline, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope that an agreement could be reached between Tehran and six world powers, news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also acknowledged that “substantial progress had been made in key areas, although there are still important issues on which no agreement has yet been possible.” According to Haaretz, an Israeli delegation is currently in Paris to meet French officials today and attempt to “influence” a potential deal. But even if an agreement is reached, The New York Times reported that it would likely increase U.S. spying on Tehran.

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As El Espectador’s Danila Arbilla writes, Brazilian President Lula da Silva spent liberally when the Brazilian economy was booming, leaving Dilma Rousseff to face the deferred impact of the global recession. His personal popularity aside, the country's current woes are largely his fault. “His tenure was marked by prosperity and easy money, neither of which describe today's Brazil,” Arbilla writes. “Lula’s strategy was to give fish to the poor, without bothering to teach them how to catch their own. The annual cost of this subsidy is around $11.5 billion.”
Read the full article, What About Lula? Why Brazil's Economic Mess Isn't All Dilma's Fault.

This is what happens when you interrupt mating tortoises.