Singapore's founding father said the ultramodern city-state he built is every bit a First World nation -- but still lacks the "graces of a civilized society," such as music, culture and the arts. \nLee Kuan Yew turned a resource-poor, malaria-infested backwater into a gleaming regional financial and manufacturing center with one of the world's highest living standards in less than 40 years. \nBut the government has been attempting to transform the city-state into a center for the arts, media and life sciences. In the past two years, it opened up a new 600 million Singapore dollar (US$352 million) arts center and is developing new areas that it hopes will become a hub for media and biotechnology firms. \n"We have not reached First World standards in the finer things in life, music, culture and the arts, the graces of a civilized society," Lee said on Friday. \n"The generation now in their 30s to 50s can take Singapore there in the next 15 to 20 years. The best is yet to be," Singapore's senior minister said at a Lunar New Year gathering. \nLee, 80, cautioned naysayers who have been saying the city-state's best years have passed, calling them "pessimists." \n"Singapore is like an aircraft flying at 30,000 feet. We have another 6,000 feet to rise to 36,000 feet, the height [that] top US and European Union airlines are flying," he said. \nAfter a bleak 2003 when Singapore was badly hit by SARS and the war in Iraq, Lee said the outlook this year was positive, and the economy is expected to grow between 3 and 5 percent on a good external outlook. \nLee stepped down as prime minister in 1990, a post he held since Singapore's independence in 1965, but still wields considerable influence as senior minister.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged