New paradigm needed to ensure global job creation and economic progress – UN officials

17 May 2012 –

United Nations senior officials today stressed the importance of establishing a new paradigm for growth that ensures social inclusiveness, job opportunities for all, and more accountability from the financial sector to tackle the ongoing global economic crisis. “It is time to recognize that human capital and natural capital are every bit as important as financial capital,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his remarks to the General Assembly’s high-level thematic debate on The State of the World Economy and Finance and its Impact on Development, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Let us face the facts: the old model is broken. We need to create a new one – a new model for dynamic growth,” Mr. Ban, one of the meeting’s co-chairs, said. “A new paradigm based on stable economies and decent jobs and opportunities for all.”
Noting that since the financial economic crisis began, millions of people have lost jobs and income, Mr. Ban stressed that governments must not only address this job loss but also actively seek to create new income sources over the next years.
“Worldwide, more than 400 million new jobs will be needed over the next decade. That means that policy-makers must get serious, now, about generating decent employment,” he said.
Mr. Ban emphasized the key role that the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) can play in brining countries together to come up with a coordinated approach to set up goals for the future regarding the economy.
“Growth that is equitable, growth that can be sustained within planetary boundaries, growth that will benefit current and future generations – this is the focus of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development next month in Rio de Janeiro,” he said.
He added that, “At Rio, we need to agree on a process to establish Sustainable Development Goals that build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 – sustainable development goals that will lay the foundation for dynamic economic growth, respect for the planet and social equity.”
There are a total of eight MDGs, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. They form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions and have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
In his remarks to the meeting, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the debate’s other co-chair, said that a coordinated approach would need to give developing countries a greater role in decision-making and give priority to helping the most vulnerable sectors of society, who are also the ones that have been hit the hardest by the economic crisis.
“Our overarching priority must be to implement an effective and globally coordinated policy that serves to place the world economy on the path of sustained growth and development,” Mr. Al-Nasser said. “Today’s conference provides a timely opportunity to address these issues in an inclusive, candid and responsible manner.”
Following the opening of the event, attendees of Thursday’s debate will break out into four thematic roundtable discussions focusing on various issues, such as youth unemployment, social protection, debt sustainability, trade and investment, and accountability of the financial system.
Among the keynote speakers at the event are the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; the Nobel Prize Laureate and President of Columbia University, Joseph Stiglitz; and Paul Volcker, the former head of the United States Federal Reserve.

A Module for Risk Management?

Lynette Khoo | The Business Times | Mon May 21 2012
The proposed framework for a new post-graduate accountancy programme will be “nothing short of transformational”.
The Pro-Tem Singapore Accountancy Council (SAC) said this of the Singapore Qualification Programme (SQP) yesterday, when the details were released in a public consultation paper.
The framework is designed to be comparable to those of major professional accountancy bodies in the world, but with a unique “Asian market value factor”.
Under the proposed SQP, candidates will take modules in a Professional Programme and concurrently go through a minimum three years of training commitment in an approved audit firm, corporate or public sector institution under the supervision of an approved mentor.
Non-accounting graduates have to first go through a Gateway Programme of six to 12 months before taking the Professional Programme.
This Singapore-branded qualification, touted as key to altering the very DNA of the accountancy sector, is among 10 proposals by the Committee to Develop the Accountancy Sector (CDAS) to transform Singapore into a global accountancy hub.
The pro-tem SAC chief executive Uantchern Loh said the SQP, to be rolled out in June next year, seeks to be “robust and practical”.
“CDAS report’s objective is to make Singapore a global accountancy hub in Asia-Pacific and the SQP will be our flagship programme that will showcase our abilities and capabilities and a chance for us to say that we are not just on par with the world but we are beyond what the rest of the world have,” Mr Loh said.
He noted that the pipeline of potential candidates for the SQP is strong, given the ready pool of accountancy graduates who have not done a CPA Singapore or CPA Australia, as well as the non-accounting graduates who want to use this window to enter the accounting profession.
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) now has close to 25,000 members, though there could be 60,000 to 70,000 accountancy graduates in Singapore from the three local universities.
Under the current regime, an accountancy graduate can qualify for CPA Singapore after three years of relevant work experience, a five-day pre-admission course and passing a test. CPA Singapore has mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with CPA Australia and ACCA.
While the new SQP framework is designed to be globally recognised and internationally portable, MRAs are not likely to be achieved until the SQP has been in operation for at least three years, the pro-tem SAC said. In the case of Hong Kong, its new qualification programme was launched in June 1999 before its first MRAs were signed in 2002.
The SQP is still a work-in- progress, the pro-tem SAC said. In the next four weeks of public consultation ending June 15, stakeholders will have a say in fine-tuning of the programme such as the modules to be offered, its new title and what to do with the CPA Singapore title.

Ernest Kan, president of ICPAS, told BT that ICPAS started to prepare to administer the SQP two years ago by roping in a veteran from Hong Kong, Georgina Chan, to be ICPAS’ head of exams and qualifications. Ms Chan was executive director (qualification and education) at the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and was instrumental in launching Hong Kong’s accountancy qualification programme.
While there has been some apprehension among ICPAS members about the impact on their existing CPA Singapore title, Dr Kan noted that the SQP “will raise the bar for new members to join ICPAS”, which will only benefit existing members.
Tham Sai Choy, managing partner of KPMG in Singapore, noted that a globally recognised and Asian-focused accounting qualification “will only help enhance the value of existing CPA Singapore qualified accountants as they transition to the new qualification”.
“It will allow their qualification to be regarded as world- class and attuned to Asia’s requirements,” he said. But various details of the SQP still need sorting out, other industry players say.
While the SQP could alleviate the shortage of accountants, there is the question of who will be funding the fees of the programme – whether it be the employers or the candidates themselves, said Max Loh, country managing partner of Ernst & Young.
“What is not clear is the plight of stakeholders especially those currently undergoing accountancy programme in accredited universities,” added Henry Tan, Asia-Pacific chairman of mid-tier audit firm Nexia International. “Clarity should be given on the transitional provisions,” he said. “Any student who applied to enter these universities before June 2013 should be provided with the benefit of following the old regime.”
The pro-tem SAC said it is studying how professional accountancy bodies around the world handle such transitions to “determine an approach that is most appropriate for the Singapore context”.
This article was first published in The Business Times.
Not only Accountants, Underwriters and those in the financial and investment industry should take a module based on Risk Management, to help companies identify risks and investments scenerios.
– Contributed by Oogle.

There will be a Cure for Cancer

The University of Sydney   
Monday, 21 May 2012

A new class of anti-cancer drugs which control the growth and spread of cancers and do so with minimal side effects is being developed by researchers at the University of Sydney.
“These new agents attack a fundamental characteristic of cancer cells while leaving normal cells alone,” said Professor Des Richardson, from the Bosch Institute in Sydney Medical School.
“They work by binding the iron in tumour cells, preventing them from growing. We believe they have the potential to be an effective new strategy, to be ‘next generation’ drugs, for a range of cancers including highly aggressive pancreatic cancer.
Because they do not act on non-cancerous cells these new agents dramatically reduce a range of distressing side effects familiar to people undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Professor Richardson is the head of the Iron Metabolism and Chelation Program at the University and has been conducting research in this area since the early 1990s.
The latest research on the chelators is led by post-doctoral researcher and NHMRC Early Career Fellow, Dr Zaklina Kovacevic.
In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the researchers outline how these new agents increase the levels of a molecule (NDRG1) which inhibits the spread of cancer, including prostate and colon cancers.
“Together with a recent article in the journal, Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, these studies advance our knowledge of cancer cell biology and how we can target specific molecules to stop cancer progressing,” Dr Kovacevic said.
Professor Richardson is currently in advanced discussions on a licensing deal with an American company for developing the compound to the stage of clinical trials.
“This will present a significant step forward in the fight against cancer and provide cancer sufferers new hope for a better outcome,” Professor Richardson said.
“It is a difficult step to go from the often quoted bench to bedside, but it has been greatly helped by the Bosch Institute’s Translational Grants program, and by an NHMRC Development Grant.”
The Executive Director of the Bosch Institute, Professor Jonathan Stone stated: “For anyone who has been through, or cared for a cancer sufferer through, the purgatory of chemotherapy, the prospect of anti-cancer drugs which are broadly effective but with few side effects is immensely welcome.”

Nato's Missile Shield over Europe is a waste of money, it is only a false security assurance

Russia plans to spend around $968 billion in the next decade on modernising its armed forces and defence industry. -AFP

Mon, Feb 20, 2012

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks as he meets university and college rectors in the government headquarters in Moscow, on February 14, 2012. Putin vowed Monday that Russia would strengthen its military might.

MOSCOW – Russian strongman Vladimir Putin vowed Monday that Russia would strengthen its military might and offer an “asymmetrical and effective” response to the deployment of a NATO missile shield.
“We must not tempt anyone with our weakness,” Putin wrote in a fiercely worded article on national security in the state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, ahead of his bid for a third Kremlin term in March 4 presidential polls.
“Therefore we will never in any circumstances give away our potential of strategic deterrence and will strengthen it,” he said in his sixth campaign article laying out his political beliefs.
Drawing historic parallels with World War II, he cited Marshal Georgy Zhukov and warned against repeating the Soviet Union’s disastrous entry to the war, taken by surprise by the Nazi invasion.
Russia must implement strong countermeasures to respond to NATO’s planned deployment of a missile shield in Europe, he said, continuing a debate that has simmered for nearly a decade.
The mix of European radar and interceptors – a key part of a global shield being studied by the United States – are designed to protect against potential attacks from Iran amid worries about the Islamic state’s nuclear programme.
But Russia fears the system could one day make its own shrinking nuclear arsenal ineffective and has outlined a series of retaliatory steps it may take should NATO ignore its concerns.
“The time demands decisive steps to strengthen a single system of air and space defence of our country.
We are being pushed towards these actions by the policy of the United States and NATO on the question of deploying a missile shield,” Putin wrote.
He said Russia should not try to create a “costly” rival shield but that its strategic nuclear forces and air and space defence forces should aim to “overcome any system of missile defence.”
“In this question there cannot be too much patriotism,” Putin said.
“Russia’s military and technical response to a global American missile shield and its segment in Europe will be effective and asymmetrical.”
“And it will fully correspond to the United States’ steps on the missile shield.”
He said that Russia plans to spend around 23 trillion rubles (S$968 billion) in the next decade on modernising its armed forces and defence industry, which he said must make up for its technical backwardness in the next decade.
“In the next decade we must fully make up for our lagging behind,” he said.

  | Last Updated: Mar 12, 2012 12:36 PM ET

JERUSALEM — Israel says its unique “Iron Dome” short-range air defence system is performing well, intercepting the vast majority of rockets fired at southern cities in the latest barrage by Gaza militants.
So far three experimental batteries have been deployed since March 2011 — around Ashkelon, Ashdod and the Negev desert capital of Beersheva, which have a combined population of more than half a million.
Experts say that a total of 13 batteries are needed to give a full nationwide umbrella.
By Monday afternoon, Palestinians had fired more than 200 rockets and mortar rounds from Gaza into southern Israel since a latest round of fighting erupted on Friday, the military said.
Gaza emergency services said that at least 23 Palestinians had been killed and 73 wounded since Friday as Israeli launched 36 air strikes against the territory.
On Monday, 31 rockets headed for urban centres were targeted by Iron Dome, which scored 23 hits, the military said, a 75 percent success rate.
“The system is working very well,” Brigadier General Doron Gavish briefed reporters at one of the batteries in the vicinity of Ashdod, 25 kilometres from the Gaza border.
“Rockets shot at the cities of Israel are being intercepted by the warriors who are operating the system,” said Gavish head of Israel’s national air defences.
Visiting a battery on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the system’s “impressive achievements.”
“You are doing exceptional work,” he told its crew. “I take the Israeli people’s hat off to you.”
The system, the first of its kind in the world, was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with the help of US funding. It is designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells fired from a range of between four and 70 kilometres.
Each battery comprises detection and tracking radar, state-of-the-art fire control software and three launchers, each with 20 interceptor missiles, military sources said.
Militants in Gaza and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia have fired thousands of rockets at Israel in the past.
The first batteries were deployed facing the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, from where militants have repeatedly fired improvised rockets, prompting Israel to launch a devastating 22-day offensive into the territory in December 2008.
It is later to be deployed along the Lebanese border, from where Hezbollah militants fired some 4,000 rockets into northern Israel during a 2006 war. It was that experience which prompted the development of Iron Dome.
Israel believes Hezbollah now has an arsenal of some 40,000 rockets.
But a complete deployment is expected to take several years.
Iron Dome joins the Arrow missile defence system in an ambitious multi-layered programme to protect Israeli cities from rockets fired from Gaza or Lebanon, or missiles fired from Iran or Syria.
“It is a new tool being brought into the basket of tools… a tool we didn’t have before,” Gavish said.
“We have something new in the arena that obviously plays in our favour.”
The defence ministry says a third system, known as David’s Sling, is currently being developed with the aim of countering medium-range missiles.
Agence France-Presse

The mix of European radar and interceptors – a key part of a global shield being studied by the United States – are designed to protect against potential attacks from Iran amid worries about the Islamic state’s nuclear programme.”
You need a very powerful radar and a portable Air Defence System, and the Iron Drome II can be modified with MPAR capabilities with short range & medium range, you need a battle tested and ready system, not a Full Scale Missile Shield Air Defence system which is very costly to implement and will be a sitting duck due to technological advances, it will not only start a Cold War, it will also start an arm race that will definitely end up in space, where is the log
ic of everything, unless you want to make money from selling your defence capabilities, but you are building from scratch.

Russia has a valid concern when Nato’s Missile Shield could be redirect against it’s defences due to it’s long range capabilities, if we do not trigger this sensitivity, we could effectively kill two birds with one stone.
– Contributed by Oogle. 

Total Control over your Windows 7 Desktop

Total Control over your Windows 7 Desktop

Everything in Windows 7 is hidden, and you need to know how to activate all services;

1) Task Manager – Press . Then Start

2) Click . Then enter the following into the search box; Then press

a) Msconfig
b) Services
c) Logs
d) Cmd. Then or
e) Regedit

My advice is not to meddle with your Registry or your OS will becomes unstable and crash, unless you are an expert and knows exactly what you are doing.
With these access unravelled, you will now have total control over your Desktop.
What is more important is to learn all the new applications that Microsoft has embedded into Windows 7 so that you may upgrade your skills to be ready for my intelligent OS.
– Contributed by Oogle.

25 predictions for 2012 that will never happen

Wednesday, January 04, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of

#1 – The European Union breaks apart – the financial strain will not be bearable, and even though both the ECB and the Federal Reserve will try to bail out the debt of major banks, they will be unable to cover the tens of trillions in bad debt, and several global banks will fail, followed by the partial or complete breakup of the EU itself. Germany, tired of carrying the debt of nations like Greece, will lead the way back to national sovereignty and away from the EU.

#2 – Israel attacks Iran, then blames Iran – This event will almost certainly be justified based on fabricated intel or false flag events that drag the USA and much of the western world into this conflict. Expect this to happen as early as October, 2012, just in time to prop up Obama for the U.S. Presidential election. Expect tactical, low-yield nuclear weapons to be used in this war.

#3 – Oil prices briefly surpass $200 a barrel – Due to the war on Iran, oil prices will briefly spike above $200 / barrel, sending shockwaves across the U.S. economy and causing food prices to rapidly rise.

#4 – Social unrest spreads across America – expect a record increase in mall riots, street fights, city protests and general thuggishness across America as the out-of-work masses become increasingly perturbed.

#5 – A new crime wave sweeps across western nations as unemployed, desperate men turn to stealing and looting to put food on the table. Expect to see record thefts of metals such as copper, and watch as the attacks increasingly target previously unthinkable targets such as churches, hospitals and nursing homes.

#6 – Gun sales beat all previous records – Sales of firearms were already sky-high in 2011, thanks to Obama’s clever attacks on the Second Amendment (Operation Fast & Furious, pulled off by Eric Holder). In one day alone, Black Friday, a whopping 129,000 firearms were sold across America. Daily gun sales will continue to escalate all through 2012, and I predict that we will see a whopping 20 million guns sold across America in calendar 2012. Most of these sales will be to “preppers” — people who realize something’s coming down and want to protect themselves and their families against the inevitable rise of armed looters. Remember, these are gun sales to legal owners who are going through proper background checks and legally acquiring firearms for self defense.

#7 – Gold prices break through $2500 / ounce – At first, gold prices will likely fall in 2012. This will happen as the EU financial system implodes, causing a rush into dollars and a corresponding fall in gold prices. But this will be short-lived, and gold will then trend all the way to $2500 / ounce (or beyond). Once the U.S. dollar starts getting hammered in a global debt breakdown (which might still take several years to occur), expect gold to head into the stratosphere, possibly $5,000 / ounce or more.

#8 – Real unemployment exceeds Great Depression era levels – Expect real unemployment in America to hit 25% or even higher. It’s already at 22% if you count unemployment the old-fashioned way (i.e. what percentage of adults are out of work) instead of playing statistical smoke and mirrors like the paperwork weasels in Washington. I think we’ll actually see unemployment hitting 30% or higher following the global debt collapse (which may still take several years more to fully unravel).

#9 – The collapse of food pollinators continues – The collapse of both honeybee and bat populations will continue to decline as the world is poisoned with cell phone towers, chemical pesticides and GMOs. This, in turn, will decrease food production capacity and cause food prices to rise even further. Scientists will continue to study the issue, but political pressure from chemical pesticide manufacturers will suppress the real science and try to deflect blame away from pesticides.

#10 – Major bank failures rock the world – Expect to see a major bank such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, or Wells Fargo to go belly-up as its debt burden becomes unbearable. The Fed, of course, will try to bail out these banks with new money creation, but some of these banks have tens of trillions of dollars in debt. That’s too large for the Fed to just print up.

#11 – FDIC goes bankrupt – Following the failure of a major FDIC-insured bank (see above), the FDIC will be immediately bankrupt, requiring a huge bailout effort from Washington. This could quickly cascade into bank run fears that cause the government to order bank holidays until the panic eases. A bank holiday is a fancy way for the government to stage bank closings so that you can’t get your money out. By the time they reopen the banks, most of your money will be history.

#12 – The rise of the real media (alternative media) – The real media (i.e. the alternative media) will explode in popularity in 2012 and beyond as more and more people wake up to the reality that mainstream media is purely fabricated news served up for the sole purpose of keeping people brainwashed, hypnotized, and buying more stuff that will kill them (sodas, prescription medications, toxic personal care products, etc.)., which is heading toward 4 million unique visitors a month, will surge to 5 or 6 million.

#13 – Local Sheriffs and police rage against the machine – Led by patriots such as Sheriff Richard Mack, more local sheriffs and police are going to assert their Constitutional rights against federal tyranny. This may result in clashes or even armed standoffs between the feds and local law enforcement.

#14 – US troops refuse to fire on Americans – Thanks to Obama’s signing of the NDAA, you can eventually expect US troops to operate on American soil ( Many of those troops, however, will refuse to arrest or fire upon American citizens.

#15 – There is a small chance of a military coup in America as the U.S. military gets totally fed up with the criminals in Washington who lie to them, send them into battle and then deny them health care benefits when they return as veterans. Although this is a relatively small chance right now, it would increase substantially if the President orders U.S. troops to arrest and fire upon American citizens on the streets of America. This is more of a 5-10 year prediction, actually.

#16 – Mainstream media desperately tries to smear Ron Paul – This prediction is a no-brainer, of course. Ron Paul will be viciously and repeatedly attacked through the use of completely fabricated mainstream media lies. This is all part of the last-ditch effort to keep Ron Paul out of the White House, where he would start dismantling Big Government, the military industrial complex, and even the FDA.

#17 – The TSA will stage a terror event in order to justify its own existence – Under fire for molesting travelers and strip-searching elderly women in wheelchairs, the TSA is looking hard for some way to justify its own existence (and expand its budget, of course). This will culminate in a TSA-run false flag attack on U.S. soil, involving numerous fatalities. As the TSA wants to expand its authority to train stations, bus stations and stadiums, you can fully expect such an attach to prioritize those targets.

The most likely place to stage an attack is either a bus station or a stadium, and the likely mode of attack will be a chemical weapon (poison gas, like happened in Japan’s subway attacks) or an explosive device. While overall th
e FBI is staffed with honorable men and women, certain rogue elements of the FBI may also be involved in plotting these attacks, as they have already plotted numerous “terrorism” attacks and even supplies the weapons to the terrorists! (

#18 – The next pandemic will be spread by scientists working for the vaccine manufacturers – This sounds like a bold prediction, I realize, but there is significant evidence pointing in this direction. For example, Baxter got caught shipping vaccines containing live viruses (, and the IOM has now openly admitted that measles vaccines actually cause the measles ( Vaccines, it turns out, are the perfect way to infect the population with a pandemic resulting in the fearful masses seek out more vaccines! (Gee, talk about repeat business…)

And, of course, there is a long, long history of vaccine manufacturers using human beings as guinea pigs for medical experiments (, so have no illusions about their total lack of ethics and human compassion. They will murder a child with a smile on their face if it makes them an extra dollar in profits.

#19 – Fukushima will produce another massive radiation release as the reactor buildings suffer structural failures. This could easily be initiated by another earthquake, tidal wave or hurricane. It could also happen just by wind, rain and gravity. Once it happens, the media will try to downplay the incident, claiming the radiation release is inconsequential. Even now, recently released scientific data says that 14,000 deaths in America can be attributed to Fukushima radiation.

#20 – (Wildcard) Ron Paul drops the Republican party and runs as a libertarian, where he ends up splitting the vote among those on the right, and ultimately putting Obama back in the White House for another four years.

#21 – The U.S. government will stage an online hacking attack against a hospital or other critical institution such as a nuclear power plant or air traffic control system. The point of all this will be to blame it on “internet terrorists” and crack down on internet freedom. It’s just like 9/11 and the Patriot Act, but this time they’re targeting the internet.

#22 – Martial Law will be declared in America – Regardless of who gets elected President in 2012, expect Martial Law to be eventually declared in America as the economic downturn really hits home and waves of disgruntled masses take to the streets, wondering why all their money disappeared (the bankster crooks at the Fed and Goldman Sachs stole it, they will discover). This will lead to prediction #22…

#23 – Economic collapse will lead to FEMA camps cranking up – As the economic unraveling of the world reaches the shores of the USA (which technically may take beyond 2015 to fully unravel), the FEMA camps will transition to full operation. Masses of the “new homeless” will be rounded up under martial law and relocated to those camps, which will be advertised as “refugee camps.” At first, these camps may focus on providing food, shelter and medical care to the new class of economic refugees in America. But before long, they may be twisted by tyrants into something more like concentration camps.

#24 – A false flag terror attack will attempt to place blame on veterans or farmers – This is all part of the effort to turn farmers into suspected criminals because they are too self-reliant according to those who demand centralized control over the masses. Veterans are also a threat to the controllers because veterans know how to use rifles and they know the difference between fighting for freedom vs. fighting for the political interests a bunch of self-serving tyrants and politicians.

#25 – The rise of ANONYMOUS as a global force to be reckoned with. Anonymous, which is really a network of online activists who despise government censorship and the military industrial complex, recently hacked STRATFOR, a military intelligence hub, and released tens of thousands of documents, passwords and credit card numbers onto the ‘net. This is just one small example of what Anonymous is truly capable of doing, and in 2012 – 2015, you can expect Anonymous to carry out many more such acts of “hactivism” against the dishonest corporations, war-mongering industries and any institution that tries to enslave the masses while threatening liberty.
12 predictions for 2012 that will definitely happen

1) China will embrace democracy after the parliament convenes.

2) North Korea will accept food aid without conditions, setting the stage for N.Korea towards democracy.

3) Iran will finalised a deal with IAEA to renounce nuclear weapons.

4) UN will be independent, setting the stage for it to be internally funded.

5) Obama will be re-elected in November 2012.

6) There will be a huge increase in research in diseases and it’s prevention/control.

7) Technology and innovations will head off a recession to the global recovery, creating jobs for everyone.

8) Greece, France and Germany will change the cohesion of the EU, causing member states to question the viability of the EU, eventually moving towards the UN. Will EU breaks up?

9) Greece will not face bankruptcy.

10) Isreal and Palestinians will co-exist side by side peacefully.

11) There will be earthquakes, freak weather but no major loss of lives.

12) The world will not end in 2012.

– Contributed by Oogle.

The ground will tell you everything is a Big Mess

Mr.Yeoh Lam Keong’s interview by ST’s Susan Long was published yesterday. You should read this “long” interview for yourself but if you don’t have the time. Here are the extracts with some comments from me. His interview together with a what a growing number of prominent members from the establishment have expressed shows a very clear shift away from the thinking and policy approaches laid out by the PAP. – the PAP is clinging on what will be or already is be the minority view. Mr. Yeoh was the chief economist at GIC.

“Singapore’s social policies are not future-ready” – Mr. Yeoh
I think they are not even suitable for the present. Okay lets go on to see what Mr. Yeoh has to say.
We end up killing the environment and stressing each other out. Perhaps as Lord Robert Skidelski, professor emeritus of political economy at Warwick University said, mass consumption capitalism has outlived its usefulness
Mr. Yeoh walks the talk. This ex-chief economist of GIC stays in HDB flat at Marine Terrace and like me, he uses public transport. He also avoids holiday resorts with air-conditioning.
His social awakening happened five years ago, when he was roped in to help analyse Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports data on poverty. As he examined the grim figures, he realised serious structural problems were creating a growing underbelly of poverty in Singapore
This is growing underclass problem that has spun out from our growing income gap and exacerbated by the lack of social safety nets is probably much bigger now since Mr. Yeoh looked at the data. The income gap has grown and cost of living as escalated while the income of the lowest 20-30% has remained stagnant.
While watching football with his son at a coffeeshop, he chatted with a neighbor from a nearby rental block and found out the later, after working as a cleaner for 10 years, earned $700 a month
Today on my way to the coffeeshop I saw the cleaner for my estate. She is aged, hunched back and can only walk slowly. We are all heart broken. It is a constant reminder that something is wrong with the way the PAP govt does things.
Before long father and son had added to to their coterie of coffee shop companions, an odd-job laborer, who had been unemployed for 10 years because of a history of mental illness. The man had not eaten properly……Mr. Yeoh offered to go with him to see the MP. But the refused, fearing social workers “will bother my brother and sister”
Mr. Yeoh feels the safety net is undignified and insufficient. The poor man didn’t want to be shamed before family or for govt officials to “bug his family to look after him”. Last week a retiree by the name of Paul Tan wrote to the ST Forum to urge the govt to do more for the aged like himself because the number of suicides among the elderly has been increasing. Paul Tan explained that policies such as the Parents Maintenance Act designed to push responsibility of care for the elderly from the govt to children has strained many poor families who find it hard to take up this burden. Mr. Yeoh cited a Lien Foundation report that showed that the top-death related fear of Singaporeans is being a burden to their family.
We have extremely low taxes, such that we can afford to raise them somewhat and still remain very tax competitive
Lets not forget the last 2 GST hikes were accompanied by corporate tax cuts and income tax cuts for those in the highest brackets. At a time when the income gap was growing, the PAP govt was shifting the tax burden from the rich to the poor. The PAP govt also eliminated inheritance tax – I have not heard a single person rich or poor publicly asking for this tax to be eliminated yet the PAP govt did it when nobody else was pushing for this. The question is not whether we are able to raise taxes but whether the PAP is willing to raise taxes to bring about greater social equity – this is goes too much against the ideological grain of the PAP.
…..Minister Gan Kim Yong to double health-care expediture from $4B to $8B in 2017, which will raise it from 1.5% to 2.5% of GDP. However, he points out that Taiwan was already spending 3.5% to 4% of GDP on health care in 2001…..Gan to his credit has assured Singaporeans that no Singaporean will be denied medical care if he or she needs it. “But rather than say it, why not design policy for someone to afford it, rather than have him deplete his own savings and his family’s Medisave account first? The most important reform needed is still missing is that we still do not have universal financial access to medical care for all citizens, which is politically unacceptable in most democratic developed countries”
Taiwan has a universal heath-care system that delivers care to every single citizen so that nobody needs to worry about medical bills and can focus on recovery when they get sick. Singaporeans shoulders the highest healthcare burden as a % of total expenditure vs the govt compared with all developed countries. This system amplify the effects of the income gap because this burden becomes disproportinately heavy for those in the lower middle income and below. The fear of high medical cost have spread to the middle income group as cost has risen sharply in recent years. Singaporeans have to shoulder the medical cost of their children, siblings and parents because a large number of Singaporeans are underinsured due to low wages or uninsured due to pre-existing conditions or too expensive to insure due to age.
He thinks that HDB needs to abandon its “market fundamentalist” pricing formula and revert to its original mission of meeting “social needs”.
Mr. Mah under intense pressure in 2011 let the cat out of the bag. The high prices help to fill the govt coffers at the GIC and unlinking the HDB pricing from the market will be like “raiding our reserves”[Link]. Mr. Yeoh suggests the same thing as the WP – link HDB flats to a multiple of median income.
He worries that the if the govt continues with piecemeal tweaks but do not restructure sufficiently to meet the future.
Even before we talk about the future, the govt is falling way behind the current needs and aspirations of ordinary citizens for quality healthcare, transport, housing and retirement. The problems with our public transport became apparent and well known because many Singaporeans take the public transport every day. The problems with healthcare are less apparent because a small % get seriously ill every year and have to go through the system…but over time people will realise there is something not right here. Retirement and housing have become linked as CPF funds are drained for the purchase of expensive homes causing a large number of Singaporeans not to have sufficient money for retirement unless they monetize their homes – basically you work your whole life to pay for your home, give it back when you die ….and where did all the wealth you created go? ….Straight into the GIC’s coffers.
Now here’s an ex-GIC economist with a conscience to tell you things don’t have to be the way they are today and there are more equitable models that will still work for Singapore. The problem is we have to find people willing to lead this change and we see none of them in the PAP.
Lucky Tan
*The writer blogs at http://singaporemin