Singapore, China hold Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation meeting

Posted by admin on February 27, 2017 in Uncategorized |

BEIJING: Singapore and China on Monday (Feb 27) have started the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting in Beijing.

The meeting is the highest-level forum between the two countries.

It is co-chaired by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

At the high-level bilateral platform, ways are discussed to deepen and broaden Singapore and China cooperation. It has been held annually since 2004 except for a hiatus last year.

DPM Teo Chee Hean and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli co-chair their countries’ first JCBC meeting after a one-year hiatus. (Photo: Jeremy Koh)

Ahead of the meeting, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson had said that China sees Singapore as an important member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and that it wants to further strengthen trust and cooperation with Singapore.

This was a stance echoed by Vice Premier Zhang on Monday when he said that China and Singapore ties have grown from strength to strength.

Besides the JCBC, Mr Teo and Mr Zhang will also co-chair meetings on the three flagship government-to-government (G2G) projects between China and Singapore – the Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-city and Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.

The meeting of the steering council for the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative that aims to turn Chongqing into a logistics and services hub was expected to be the highlight of the day.

It is the first such meeting since the project was launched in November 2015.

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Anself Mini Semiconductor Dehumidifier Desiccant Moisture Absorbing Air Dryer with Peltier Technology Thermo-electric Cooling

Posted by admin on February 27, 2017 in Biotechnology |

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Nokia relaunches iconic 3310 mobile model

Posted by admin on February 26, 2017 in Uncategorized |

BARCELONA: Finnish brand Nokia, a former mobile star, on Sunday launched three new Android smartphones and unveiled a revamped version of its iconic 3310 model more than a decade after it was phased out.

Unlike the original, which was known for its sturdiness, the new Nokia 3310 will allow web browsing.

The new version will bring back its predecessor’s popular ‘Snake’ game and distinctive ringtones, said Arto Nummela, the head of Finnish start-up HMD Global which will produce the phone under a licensing agreement with Nokia.

“The telephone will allow you to talk for 22 hours, 10 times more than the original,” he said during a presentation in Barcelona on the eve of the start of the Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile phone show.

HMD global CEO Arto Nummela presents his company’s new phone “Nokia 3310” during a press conference on February 26, 2017 on the eve of the start of the Mobile World Congress. (Photo: AFP / Josep Lago)

Launched in 2000, Nokia’s original 3310 sold nearly 120 million units worldwide before it was discontinued in 2005, making it one of the world’s best-selling mobile phones.

Analysts said resurrecting the popular model was a clever way for HMD Global to relaunch Nokia’s brand.

“HMD launched three new smartphones and an iconic mobile. It is a way to create a halo effect around the other models by reviving talk about the Nokia brand,” said Thomas Husson, a mobile analyst at Forrester.

In addition to the new 3310, HMD presented three new smartphones, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 which will sell for different prices.

The Nokia 6 was already available in China and will now go on sale globally.

“We think (Nokia) could take five per cent of the global smartphone market by the end of 2019. But it needs to get big quick or it won’t work,” said CCS Insight’s device specialist and chief of research, Ben Wood.

Nokia was the world’s top mobile maker between 1998 and 2011 but was overtaken by South Korean rival Samsung after failing to respond to the rapid rise of smartphones.

Its telephone brand remains widely recognised, especially in developing markets.

Now a leading telecom equipment maker, Nokia sold its entire handset business to Microsoft Corp in 2014.

Last year HMD bought Microsoft Mobile’s handset business and the right to use the Nokia brand.

Under the agreement, Nokia will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of every Nokia branded mobile phone or tablet.

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Number of Hong Kong people emigrating to Taiwan hits 16-year high

Posted by admin on February 26, 2017 in Uncategorized |

TAIPEI: Martin Wan was born and bred in Hong Kong, but now calls Taiwan home. The 25-year-old emigrated there last year to realise his dream of starting his own business.

He is now an owner of an eyewear store in Taoyuan City in northern Taiwan – something that would not have been possible if he had stayed in Hong Kong, where operating costs are about three times that of Taiwan, he said.

“Compared to Taiwan, Hong Kong’s operating costs are too high. With the same amount of capital invested, you can take more time to build your business and brand in Taiwan,” he told Channel NewsAsia.

Hong Kong’s high cost of living and property prices have also made the lives of many young people like Martin very difficult. “Our generation of Hong Kongers can’t envision our future. Maybe our salary is higher, but after deducting rent and living expenses, we can’t save much money,” he said.

Hong Kong’s changing political climate in recent years is another factor behind Martin’s decision to leave the city to make Taiwan – one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies – his permanent home.

In Hong Kong, voters do not get to select the city’s leader through a direct poll. Instead, the post of Hong Kong Chief Executive is elected by a secret ballot of 1,200 election committee members.

The standoff between student leaders with Beijing-backed city officials, during mass protests over political reforms in 2014, left many young people in Hong Kong even more disillusioned, Martin pointed out.

“Taiwan has an electoral system. You can vote unsuitable politicians out of office. But in Hong Kong we can’t. So more Hong Kong residents want to come here or move somewhere else,” he said.

More and more Hong Kongers like Martin want to make Taiwan their new home, going by latest official data. According to Taiwan’s immigration agency, the number of Hong Kong residents moving to Taiwan permanently rose 40 per cent last year, reaching a 16-year high. And they account for 80 per cent of all the 1,273 foreigners who received the island’s permanent resident status last year.

A recent survey by the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows 40 per cent of respondents want to leave Hong Kong and most prefer to move to Taiwan. And it is not just people pouring in, but money as well: Investments from Hong Kong and Macau increased 60 per cent from 2015 to nearly US$600 million last year.

Heman Ko founded Hong Kong & Macau Association in Taipei to tap on the business opportunity from the growing number of immigrants from the two areas. (Photo: Victoria Jen) 

Heman Ko, who moved to Taiwan from Hong Kong nearly three decades ago is banking on the opportunity. He founded the Hong Kong & Macau Association half a year ago to provide services to new immigrants from the two areas.

“With the same amount of money, Hong Kongers can rent and live in a more comfortable environment. That’s why many prefer to move to Taiwan,” he said, echoing Martin.

The fact that Taiwan has a lower threshold of a minimum of NT$6 million (US$200,000) investment for immigration, compared to other developed countries makes the island more appealing, he said.

“For those from Hong Kong who choose to do investment immigration in Taiwan, they are mostly 44 to 55 years old. And each family invests about US$300,000.”

For now, it seems Hong Kong’s loss could be Taiwan’s gain. Observers told Channel NewsAsia the influx of Hong Kong immigrants would likely improve the island’s investment climate and talent pool.

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Koolspace koolR PLUS Wine Cellar Cooling Unit – 600 Cu. Ft.

Posted by admin on February 26, 2017 in Biotechnology |

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Duterte supporters, protesters rally in Manila

Posted by admin on February 25, 2017 in Uncategorized |

MANILA: Thousands of supporters and foes of President Rodrigo Duterte joined large rallies in Manila on Saturday, on the 31st anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The rival rallies highlight how Mr Duterte’s brutal drug war has polarised the Philippines.

His supporters held a prayer rally for his eight months-long anti-narcotics crackdown. It drew the biggest turnout, estimated by police at up to 200,000 although AFP reporters said it looked a lot less.

“Your presence here showcases the strong support that your president continues to enjoy,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told the crowd at the prayer rally, who lit candles and sang religious songs.

The 71-year-old president, who spent the weekend in his southern home city of Davao, won the election last year after promising during the campaign to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of people.

He launched the crackdown after taking office in June and police have reported killing 2,555 drug suspects since then, with about 4,000 other people murdered in unexplained circumstances.

Duterte critics including former president Benigno Aquino and Vice President Leni Robredo, who was elected separately from the president, joined one of the other rallies held near the national police headquarters in Manila.

This gathering marked the 31st anniversary of the victory of a pro-democracy movement that culminated in a bloodless “People Power” revolution that ended the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship.

Activists on their way to protest in front of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Manila on Feb 25, 2017. (Photo: Noel Celis/AFP)

Some at this rally criticised the drug killings, many of which have been described by international foreign monitors as state-sanctioned murder.

The protesters warned they foreshadowed another dictatorship. By nightfall some sections of the protesters were openly calling for Duterte’s removal from office, chanting “Down with Duterte”.

“We are warning our people about the threat of rising fascism,” protest leader Bonifacio Ilagan told AFP after leading more than 1,000 protesters at another rally earlier Saturday.

Ilagan, a playwright who was tortured over two years in a police prison under Marcos’ martial rule in the 1970s, cited the “culture of impunity” arising from Duterte’s crackdown.

Duterte, who ranks Marcos as one of the country’s best-ever presidents, has not ruled out using martial law himself to prevent what he describes as the country’s slide to narco-state status.


Last year, Duterte stoked large street protests when he allowed the Marcos family to bury the former leader’s remains at Manila’s Cemetery for Heroes.

Wearing a black shirt, Aquino marched alongside political allies and around 2,000 other protesters.

He denounced the government’s treatment of Senator Leila de Lima, the top critic of the Duterte drug war, who was arrested on Friday and faces life in prison if convicted of drugs charges.

De Lima, Aquino’s former justice minister, said the arrest was an act of revenge for her decade-long efforts to expose Duterte as the leader of death squads during his time as mayor of Davao.

“By arresting Senator Leila de Lima on politically motivated drug charges, President Duterte is effectively expanding his ‘drug war’,” Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said in a statement.

“Not only Congress, but other pillars of Philippine democracy should be deeply worried,” the official from the US-based rights monitor added.

At one point during the rally attended by Aquino, tempers rose as several protesters confronted a dozen young people who raised clenched fists while holding up a pro-Duterte banner nearby.

“Why did you sell your soul?” a white-haired man in a black shirt said, jabbing his finger at one of the Duterte supporters and telling him the president was “responsible” for drug-related murders.

“They (deaths) are still being investigated,” the young man replied calmly.

Television footage showed police hosing down a group of at least 100 people protesting the drug killings, though no one was seriously injured.

In a separate demonstration Saturday, around 150 anti-Marcos protesters chanting “Exhume him” marched on the cemetery where he is buried, but riot police stopped them near the gate, an AFP photographer saw.

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7-year-old boy taken to hospital after fire breaks out at Tampines flat

Posted by admin on February 25, 2017 in Uncategorized |

SINGAPORE: A fire broke out at a flat in Tampines on Saturday afternoon (Feb 25), and a seven-year-old boy had to be taken to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for smoke inhalation, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). 

The boy and two others, who were living in the 10th floor unit of Blk 492, Tampines Street 45, had evacuated the flat before firefighters arrived. 

The flat directly above the 10th floor unit was affected by the fire but no injures there were reported, said SCDF.

(Photo: Bernard Hoa) 

The SCDF said it was alerted to the incident at 12.45pm and dispatched two fire engines, one red rhino, two fire bikes, an ambulance and two support vehicles to the scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, it added.

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Royal Sovereign Home Products ARP-5008 3-In-1 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

Posted by admin on February 25, 2017 in Biotechnology |

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VX nerve agent: What is it and how does it work?

Posted by admin on February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized |

SINGAPORE: Malaysian authorities on Friday (Feb 24) said a chemical weapon, VX nerve agent, was used to kill a man believed to be the half-brother of Kim Jong Un at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

The substance is a chemical weapon classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations. 


VX is a tasteless and odourless amber-coloured oily liquid. It is outlawed under the Chemical Weapons Convention, except for “research, medical or pharmaceutical purposes”. 

VX is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. Just 10 milligrammes of the nerve agent or a single drop is enough to kill in minutes, according to experts.

“You can think of VX as being a pesticide on steroids, this is an extraordinarily toxic substance,” said Bruce Bennet, defence researcher at California-based RAND Corporation. “Roughly 1/100th of a gramme, a third of a drop, on someone’s skin, will kill them.”

According to The Guardian, it is 100 times more deadly than the nerve gas sarin, which was used by the Aum Shinrikyo cult during their fatal attack on a Tokyo subway train.

It was developed in the United Kingdom in the 1950s. 


The extent of poisoning depends on how much a victim is exposed to, how the exposure occurred and the length of time of the exposure.

Nerve agents operate by preventing an enzyme that acts as the body’s “off switch” for glands and muscles. Without this “off switch”, muscles and glands are constantly being stimulated – and after a while this will tire out the affected person, who would no longer be able to sustain a breathing function. 

Death is caused by asphyxiation or heart failure. 

Because it evaporates so slowly, VX can be a long-term threat as well as a short-term threat. Surfaces contaminated with VX should therefore be considered a long-term hazard, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

VX can last for days on objects in comes into contact with; in colder temperatures, it can last for months on surfaces. 


By contamination via skin or if they consume contaminated food or liquids. 

Clothing can also release VX after contact with VX vapour, which can lead to exposure of other people through contaminated articles.

VX is considered to be much more toxic by entry through the skin and somewhat more toxic by inhalation. Any visible VX liquid contact on the skin, unless washed off immediately, is believed to be lethal, according to the CDC. 


Symptoms after contact with VX in vapour form will appear within a few seconds, and within a few minutes to up to 18 hours after exposure to the liquid form. 

Low or moderate dose: Feeling weak, abnormally low or high blood pressure, drowsiness, blurred vision, chest tightness, confusion, cough, diarrhoea, drooling and excessive sweating, headache, increased urination, nausea, vomiting, and/or abdominal pain, rapid breathing, runny nose, slow or fast heart rate, small, pinpoint pupils, watery eyes.

Large dose: Paralysis, convulsions, loss of consciousness, respiratory failure.


Antidotes are available for VX, but because of how quickly this nerve agent works, those affected need to be treated immediately if they are to survive. 

Sources: Guardian, CDC, AFP, Reuters

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‘Life-changing' internships abroad offer new perspectives and added skills

Posted by admin on February 24, 2017 in Uncategorized |

SINGAPORE: During his summer holidays in 2013, Mr Low Wen Chun, then a second-year student at the business school of Singapore Management University (SMU), went on an internship in Mumbai.

The lure of working at Tata Capital – the financial services arm of India’s oldest and best-known conglomerate Tata Group – and the opportunity to spend nearly three months in one of Asia’s most culturally-rich countries was too good to pass up.

“I’d done several internships in Singapore so I wanted something different. Something that can give me more of an experience, beyond just skills for work,” the Singaporean said. “My parents were shocked but in the end, they told me to just go and enjoy myself. And I did.”

Apart from picking up the merger and acquisition (M&A) ropes during his internship, Mr Low threw himself into learning all about Indian culture. Despite being assigned a driver, he took the subway with his colleagues and ate local food. Inspired by the Bollywood film “3 Idiots”, he visited the Ladakh region in North India, and also travelled to New Delhi on sleeper trains where he met “unforgettable characters”, including a former army general who shared stories about his gun shot wounds.

Inspired by Bollywood movie “3 Idiots”, Mr Low Wen Chun travelled to Leh, the largest town in Ladakh, with his friends in 2013. (Photo: Low Wen Chun)

“It was an amazing cultural immersion. To learn all about the cultural nuances and build relationships in one of the world’s biggest countries felt almost like an adventure and I’m really glad I went.”

Last year, Mr Low had another call to do something new and the 27-year-old left his investment banking job at Standard Chartered to join local equity crowdfunding platform Fundnel. His knowledge of geographical and cultural nuances, skills to be independent and resourceful, as well as connections forged overseas have come in handy.

“I’m still in touch with my friends overseas. Sometimes they give me ideas when they tell me there is something similar to what Fundnel is doing in their countries, and I start learning about these other players,” he said.

Mr Low, 27, is now director of investments at local equity crowdfunding platform, Fundnel. (Photo: Tang See Kit)

With overseas opportunities and exposure being seen as an increasingly beneficial way to support Singapore’s economic future, the Global Innovation Alliance, outlined in the Committee on the Future Economy’s (CFE) report and the Budget, envisions more tertiary institutions and homegrown firms linking up with overseas partners in major innovation hubs and key markets.

Part of the initiative involves the setting up of an Innovator’s Academy, which will build on an existing programme in the National University of Singapore (NUS), to help more young Singaporeans to venture abroad for work. Launched in 2002, the NUS Overseas College (NOC) Programme has connected more than 2,100 students with start-ups overseas.

One of its graduates is Mr Foo Tiang Lim, who is now the operating partner of seed-stage venture capital firm SeedPlus.

In 2009, the second-year mechanical engineering major headed to Silicon Valley, where he spent a year attending entrepreneurship classes at Stanford University while interning for medical device manufacturer Second Source Medical.

The 31-year-old described his time in the United States as a “life-changing” experience that helped him develop Silicon Valley risk-taking values, as well as offering opportunities to attend lectures and rub shoulders with icons of entrepreneurship such as the founder of the “Lean Start-up” movement, Steve Blank.

“My most memorable class at Stanford is the E145 which has Steve Blank as the lecturer. He invited guest speakers like Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, who suddenly appeared at the back of the class when we were doing a case study on LinkedIn. You are literally at ground zero of entrepreneurship and that was super fascinating.”

“I was also interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures,” Mr Foo added. “One of my teaching assistants was Ann Miura-Ko – a very smart woman who later joined Mike Maples to form Floodgate and was voted by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in start-ups. Seeing the evolution of someone’s career is a ‘wow’ moment and it inspires me. Maybe one day, I can be like that too.”

Mr Foo Tiang Lim described the NOC Programme as a “life-changing” experience for him (photo: Tang See Kit).

A school trip to the corporate headquarters of Apple also meant seeing Steve Jobs.

“As an Apple fan boy, the trip was a pilgrimage for me – and then we saw Steve Jobs! The news around that time was that he was on his last legs but there he was – tall, really gaunt but still going to work at 9am sharp. Any normal human being would take time off but he showed up. That left a very deep impression on me in terms of how passionate he is.”

After graduation, Mr Foo plunged into the start-up world, joining mobile payment firm Stream Media and note-taking app Evernote. While both stints have been “wild rides”, in particular his time at Evernote which saw him starting up the company’s Singapore’s operations in 2012 before shuttering it in 2015, he viewed them as learning opportunities that have been enriching.

“It’s definitely been a wild ride and it all started with the NOC programme. It’s life-changing. I shudder to even think about what I may be doing now without that experience,” he told Channel NewsAsia. “Maybe I’d be in a safe engineering job for five years before doing a MBA and joining a consultancy firm. That could work but if I’m going to spend 80 per cent of my waking moments on work, why don’t I do something that I find meaning in?”

Apart from NUS, SMU has its own Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which it started in 2009. The institute takes in 40 students a year and sends them overseas for internships. It also helps start-ups raise funds through its Innovation Sandbox and networking sessions, and has helped to incubate start-ups such as e-commerce platform Reebonz.

Its director, Mr Hau Koh Foo, said the institute plans to increase the location of its overseas internships to Jakarta, New York and Copenhagen moving ahead. As the Innovator’s Academy is expanded to other local universities, students will be able to “reap the benefits of scale” in terms of cost and the opportunity to interact with more people.

“This overseas programme allows our students to know how businesses are connected overseas, build their networks and connectivity fast so as to seed collaboration opportunities down the road. We see many of them coming back feeling inspired … so all these peer-learning is very important on top of the network they acquired.”


Apart from the Innovators Academy, the Global Innovation Alliance also involves the establishing of Innovation Launchpads to foster cooperation between local and foreign start-ups, and Welcome Centres where Singapore firms can work with overseas partners.

The initiatives are “indicative of the need for an all-rounded approach to cultivate a vibrant start-up community”, noted Mr Lyon Poh, head of digital + innovation at KPMG in Singapore.

“The Global Innovation Alliance and Innovation Launchpads will provide co-located talent nodes in chosen locations, and allow the local start-up ecosystem to tap into the knowledge and resources of global start-up founders, investors and industry mentors,” he wrote in an emailed response to Channel NewsAsia, adding that these launchpads will likely spur a “more fluid exchange” of overseas mentors helping local start-ups with the discipline of running a business, as well as foreign start-ups choosing Singapore as the location for their Asian headquarters.

While the Innovation Launchpads will be useful for upcoming start-ups, Mr Prajit Nanu, co-founder and CEO of cross-border remittance start-up InstaReM, said the Welcome Centres are “the most exciting”.

“We are looking for partners who can help to not only expand the business, but also create a stronger ecosystem. To have access to a hub of other companies would cut down the time required to educate and raise the brand profile on a B2B (business-to-business) level.”

Mr Prajit added that the Innovators Academy will help to “groom the necessary skills of Singaporeans in the Infocomm and Technology fields”. This will benefit start-ups like InstaRem that have had challenges in finding the right talent.

Over at Fundnel where Mr Low is working as the director of investments, the crowdfunding platform has recently sent one of its interns on a work trip to Malaysia – an opportunity that the Singaporean said he was lucky to have when he was a student and hopes this can continue.

“As long as our interns show their capabilities, we are very happy to give them the opportunity to work overseas,” he said. “Many Singapore students are ingrained in grades and focused on finding a stable job – I fell into that hole once but going overseas to travel and work beyond what I was comfortable with, really opened up my mind.”

Follow See Kit on Twitter @SeeKitCNA 

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