Week in Review – Feb 12

10 February

Phillipines hit by 6.5 magnitude earthquake leaving six dead and more than 120 injured

The earthquake occurred 18km from Surigao City on Friday 10 Feb at 10:03 pm while residents were asleep. Mr Renato Solidum from the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology said that the quake was set off by movement in the Philippine fault, which sits in the Pacific “Ring of Fire” – a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Schools were reopened for use as evacuation centres as village leaders urged residents to evacuate to a school building built on higher ground. The last major earthquake that struct Surigao was in the 1800s. Aftershocks are expected after such a strong earthquake.

Debris falls on a car after a strong earthquake hit Surigao city, southern Philippines February 11, 2017. (REUTERS/Stringer)


Eight countries sign up to counter Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy

The Mexico City policy instituted by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984 which prohibits US Federal funding of any foreign NGO that promotes abortion. Eight countries have joined an initiative to raise millions of dollars to help affected NGOs that refuse to abide by the policy.

The Netherlands announced in January that it will set up a global fund to help women around the world access abortion services. So far, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Luxemburg, Finland, Canada and Cape Verde have lent their support.

According to the World Health Organisation, 21.6 milion women around the world have unsafe abortions each year and 18.5 million of them come from developing countries. 13% of all maternal deaths are attributed to unsafe abortions.


7 February 2017

Half of job vacancies in 2016 were for PMETs

The latest report released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Tuesday showed that the number of vacancies for professionals, managers, executive sand technicians (PMETs) took up half of job vacancies in 2016, up 8 percent to 48 percent from 40 percent in 2013.

“Four in ten of job vacancies were for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (23,220 or 43% of total vacancies) such as teaching & training professionalsmanagement executives, commercial & marketing sales executives and software, web & multimedia developers.”according to the Ministry’s report

Job vacancies requiring university degree qualifications (13,150 or 24% of vacancies) were one of the most in demand.

Fewer job vacancies but more openings for PMET.  (Straits Times)

February 7 2017

Singapore has options despite US TPP withdrawal: Minister

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said in parliament that despite the United States withdrawal from the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), Singapore still has other options available.

He pointed out that the remaining 11 countries may choose to still ratify the TPP but exclude the United States. Singapore would also enhance trade linkages with its regional partners through the ASEAN Economic Community and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP is an Asia-Pacific trade liberalisation initiative led by China that includes Australia, the 10 ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, India and New Zealand.

The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a massive trade deal between 11 countries, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Brunei, Peru, New Zealand, The United States, Vietnam. This trade deal contains measures to establish an investor state dispute settlement mechanism and both tariff and tariff barriers to trade. However, the new United States President Donald Trump has formally scrapped the TPP.

February 8 2017

Surbana chided for publicly labelling laid-off workers as poor performers

The Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say has criticised Surbana Jurong, an infrastructure consultancy, for publicly labelling its employees as “poor performers” when firing these employees. 54 employees were fired by Surbana after being labelled as “poor performers”.

The manpower minister had criticised Surbana Jurong through a statement to the media and a strongly worded letter to the staff of Surbana.

It should also be noted that the management and unions of Surbana have reached a settlement. The affected workers will receive an ex gratia payment.

February 9 2017

Committee on the Future Economy outlines direction for Singapore economic development

The committee on the Future Economy (CFE) has released its report on this Thursday (9 February 2017).

The CFE report noted that in order for Singapore to survive, Singaporeans must have deep skills, embrace overseas assignments and be prepared to learn throughout their lives. Singapore businesses must embrace technology, innovate, improve their productivity and expand their operations overseas by taking advantage of trade initiatives like the ASEAN Economic Community and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Singapore must also boldly develop plans for city rejuvenation and create new spaces to ensure that Singapore is able to flourish in the global economy and is well-connected externally.

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