Coronavirus

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.

-Analysis-

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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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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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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blog

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.

blog

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.

blog

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

JOHN KERRY CONCERNED BY CHINA LAND CLAIMS

Photo: Then Chih Wey/Xinhua/ZUMA

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blog

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

MERKEL MEETS TSIPRAS IN BERLIN
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.

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

DEFEAT FOR FRENCH SOCIALIST PARTY
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.

VERBATIM
"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.

U.S. TROOPS PULL OUT OF YEMEN
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.”

‘O LUNA MIA
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.

SINGAPORE MOURNS PATRIARCH’S DEATH
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.

205%
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.”

NUCLEAR DEAL IN SIGHT, ROUHANI SAYS
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.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
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.

TORTOISE CHASE
This is what happens when you interrupt mating tortoises.

food / travel
Xin Li

Singapore May Be Asia's Best Foodie Destination

SINGAPORE — As a popular tourist destination and a place with a high-income and multicultural local population, Singapore is a particularly fertile place for dining. The British magazine Restaurant recently published its list of “Asia’s 50 best restaurants,” and eight Singapore establishments made the list.

Singapore is a place where people are much more open-minded about diversity of food and taste, which means foreign chefs love to work here.

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Economy

Worldwide Trade Forecasts Slashed, Europe Blamed


REUTERS, AFP, DIE WELT
(Germany)

Worldcrunch

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Sources

Singapore Looks To Curb Deadly 'Falling Maids' Epidemic

THE STRAITS TIMES / CHANNEL NEWS ASIA (Singapore)

SINGAPORE – "Since January, there have been nine fatalities, compared to four cases in 2011 and eight in 2012," reports the Straits Times.

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Future
Nicolas Dufour

How The Ups And Downs Of Today's Mega Cities Will Shape Tomorrow's Urban Boom

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has just opened a new research center in Singapore dedicated to the study the world's biggest cities in order to better prepare for the urban explosion that is expected to take place by 2030.

SINGAPORE - It doesn't always happen, but today at least, the journalist perfectly understands the scientist. The journalist is staying in one of the designer hotels mushrooming in Singapore. The bed is on a mezzanine, and the room is at least four meters high. It's excessively air-conditioned. The scientist is Gerhard Schmitt, the director of the SEC, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's new Singapore lab, where research is focused on the future of cities.

And right now, Schmitt is talking about the huge amount of power wasted by air-conditioning in cities with tropical climates such as Singapore: not only do cooling systems guzzle energy, but they also eject hot air, which increases the ambient temperature. It's a vicious circle.

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Sources

Europe Gets A Lesson From Asia on Education

France sinking, China rising in results from the highly anticipated “Pisa” global education study.

Marie-Estelle Pech

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