Melania Trump Club

Sunday, May 29, 2011

SIA takes bold gamble with new budget carrier

Singapore Airlines is planning to establish a new no-frills, low-fare airline operating widebody aircraft on medium and long-haul routes.

“The new airline is being established following extensive review and analysis. It will enable the SIA Group to serve a largely untapped new market and cater to the growing demand among consumers for low-fare travel,” Singapore Airlines said.

Operations are expected to begin within one year. The airline will be wholly owned by Singapore Airlines, but will be operated independently and managed separately from SIA.

“We are very excited about what our new low-fare subsidiary will offer to consumers. We are seeing a new market segment being created and this will provide another growth opportunity for the SIA Group,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong.

SIA, one of the world's most profitable premium airlines, surprised the industry on Wednesday by announcing plans to tap into the region's growing appetite for budget air tickets on medium- to long-haul destinations.

The sector is currently dominated by neighbouring Malaysia's AirAsia X, which was was launched four years ago and flies to 14 cities including London, Tehran, Paris, Seoul and Tokyo as well as destinations in China, India and Australia.

SIA said it aims to launch its wholly-owned but independently managed low-cost operation within one year using wide body aircraft.

The announcement came amid intensifying competition in first and business class travel, with rivals such as Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific and Gulf carriers like Emirates and Etihad muscling into SIA's premium turf.

The company is yet to be named but they feel that it will help to stimulate demand for long haul flights in the budget travel market which is something which has happened in the short haul market in Asia recently. They feel it will provide a significant opportunity for growth for their company. They are not abandoning the rest of the company either, as this new branch will not compete against their current businesses. Further details including the name, management team and routes will be be announced later.
They will use Singapore Airline fleet to start with and then make further decisions with regards to long term fleet in the future. Their competition in AirAsia has reported on their Twitter site that he is not worried about the new business, in fact he says they should be worried as he feels they should not be trying to enter a market they know little about. It is unlikely that the company will be a failure though as SIA has done extensive research and are a well established company.

Laylo draws Torre, keeps zonal lead

Standings after round 6
5.0 points — GM Darwin Laylo (Philippines)
4.5 points — GM Eugene Torre (PH), GM Mark Paragua (PH), GM Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia), IM Goh Wei Ming (Singapore)
4.0 points — GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. (PH), FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia (PH), GM Zhang Zhong (Singapore), GM Dao Thien Hai (Vietnam)
FILIPINO Grandmaster (GM) Darwin Laylo settled for his second straight draw late Friday this time against compatriot GM Eugene Torre to retain his half-a-point lead after six rounds of the 2011 Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championships at the Tagaytay International Convention Center.
Laylo, a member of the Philippine Team who bagged the silver medal in last year’s Guangzhou Asian Games, raised his total to 5.0 points on four wins and two draws.
With the draw, the 59-year-old Torre, Asia’s first Grandmaster, padded his tally to 4.5 points, the same output of compatriot GM Mark Paragua, GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia and IM Go Wei Ming of Singapore.
Paragua, who held Laylo to a fighting draw in Friday’s fifth round, defeated GM Cao Sang of Vietnam, Megaranto toppled top seed GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore while Goh edged IM Richard Bitoon of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, 12-time National Open champion GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., and FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia of the Philippines, defeated their respective rivals to share 6th to 9th place in the company of Zhang and GM Dao Thien Hai, who beat fellow Vietnamese IM Nguyen Van Huy.
Antonio routed Vietnamese FM Nguyen Doc Hoa while Garcia stunned GM Nguyen Anh Dung of Vietnam.
In the seventh round, Laylo battles Goh, Paragua faces Megaranto, Torre plays Zhang while Antonio squares off against Dao.

aylo, seeded only seventh in the tough 48-player field with an Elo of 2516, kept his composure and reached a truce with the hard-fighting Torre by repetition of moves after 32 moves of the Trompovsky.

The draw enabled the 31-year-old campaigner, who is seeking his third appearance in the World Chess Cup, to keep the solo lead with five points on four wins and two draws in the nine-round competition. Laylo remains half a point ahead of Torre, GM Mark Paragua, GM Wei Meing Goh of Singapore and Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia in the chase for the two World Cup qualifiying berths at stake here.

Paragua, who is hoping to recapture the top spot in local chess hierarchy, outduelled GM Cao Sang of Vietnam to remain within striking distance with 4.5 points.

Goh, one of two Singaporeans in the field, continued his surprising run when he toppled IM Richard Bitoon.

Megaranto, on the other hand, shocked GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore to make it a four-way tie for second to fifth places with 4.5 points.

GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. trounced GM Nguyen Duc Hoa, whlile newly crowned Asian Youth under-16 gold medalist Jan Emmanuel Garcia stunned GM Nguyen Anh Dung I to vault into contention with four points.

Also making their presence felt on another big day for the Filipinos were reigning national junior champion Mari Joseph Turqueza, who toppled IM Taufik Halay of Indonesia; IM Oliver Dimakiling, who subdued Myagmarsuren Gunbayar of Mongolia; Alcon John Datu, who crushed FM Kahmiran of Indonesia; and FM Randy Segarra, who beat compatriot Reggie Edgar Olay.

The win improved Laylo’s record to 4.5 points after five rounds, half-a-point ahead of GM Eugene Torre and GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore.

Torre, 59, displayed vintage form to subdue GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam in 37 moves of the Reti and vault into a two-way tie for second with Zhang with four points.

“It was a complicated position, but somehow I found a winning line,” said Torre who now has won his last four matches following a shock defeat at the hands of FM Haridas Pascua in the opening round.

Zhang, the highest-rated player here with an ELO of 2592, outwitted IM Oliver Dimakiling and GM Nguyen.

Five players, led by Paragua and IM Richard Bitoon, shared fourth with 3.5 points.

Paragua drew with Nguyen and Laylo , while Bitoon outclassed compatriot Alcon John Datu and then drew with GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia.

GMs Rogelio Antonio Jr. and John Paul Gomez battled to a draw, as did IM Oliver Barbosa and IM Wei Ming Goh of Singapore to lead a big group of players with three points.

Also with the group is Asian Youth 16-under gold medalist IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, who trounced Surya Wahyudi of Indonesia. Garcia drew with Haikiki Kaisar.

India will have to wait for a movie studio theme park

SINGAPORE: Universal Studio Singapore, the second universal theme park in Asia after Osaka Japan, was thrown open officially to visitors on Saturday morning making it another big attraction of Resort World Sentosa.

The opening ceremony of the park was marked by presence of American Idol host fame, singer Paula Abdul, Hollywood actor Jet Li, Maggie Cheung and Vicki Zhao Wei. Paula Abdul became the star attraction after Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger opted out as he was embroiled in a love child controversy. Although sources maintain that the studio cancelled his invitation after the scandal.

Even before its official opening, Universal Studio Movie Theme Park has attracted about 2 million visitors already. Chairman of Resorts World Sentosa Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said, "This year Universal Studio aims at doubling the visitors with a promise to keep refreshing the theme park from time to time. We will soon be adding Transformers ride.''

The theme park of about 20 hectares has 21 rides and shows, including the world's first Madagascar-themed ride as well as the Battlestar Galactica duelling coasters. Other attractions include Jurassic Park, Shrek and the Mummy.

Universal Resorts and Parks has plans to build theme parks in Seoul, South Korea and Dubai but India and China don't feature on the list.

However Indian film studios are aspiring to build their own theme parks on the lines of the Universal Studios especially Film City Mumbai for which they have been in consultation with the studio. Tom Williams, CEO of Universal Theme Park said, "Discussions are on, but it will be a while before India is ready for a theme park. It is imminent though.


Universal Studios brings the magic of its movies to Singapore with a star-studded launch

Amidst the confetti, music and celebrations, Marilyn Monroe, dressed in the infamous white dress from The Seven-Year Itch, walked in. But she wasn't the most popular 'star' at the parade to mark the official launch of Universal Studios on Sentosa Island, Singapore on Saturday morning. Madagascar's Marty, Alex, Gloria, followed by Po of Kung Fu Panda and Shrek, were welcomed with louder applause as they waved, did a jig and blew kisses to the audience.

Speaking at the opening of Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa here today, he said the number of visitors to Sentosa grew by almost 200 per cent to 18 million guests last year from about six million guests in 2009.

In particular, Lim said Universal Studios Singapore has been a key addition to Sentosa, drawing many local and international visitors to the island.

"New attractions are constantly being developed while existing iconic attractions are regularly rejuvenated to ensure that the island continues to appeal to visitors," he said, adding that this was the government's strategy to keep Singapore's tourism landscape at the forefront of tourist destinations in Asia and the world.

In the coming years, he said, "We will continue to enhance Singapore's tourism landscape with a strong pipeline of developments like Gardens by the Bay, River Safari, the International Cruise Terminal and the National Art Gallery.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Keppel wins $772 mln orders for four rigs

SINGAPORE, May 15 (Reuters) – Singapore’s Keppel Corp said on Sunday its unit has got four repeat orders from Oslo-listed S.D. Standard Drilling Plc for jackup oil rigs worth $772 million.

(Read the full story on Reuters...)

Singapore patriarch Lee's departure signals reform

SINGAPORE, May 15, 2011 - Singapore independence leader Lee Kuan Yew's decision to step down after half a century in government could pave the way for reforms after the ruling party's worst election showing, analysts said Sunday.

The 87-year-old politician popularly known as "LKY" and his successor Goh Chok Tong, who turns 70 next week, announced Saturday that they would quit the cabinet of Lee's son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 59.

The catalyst was the May 7 parliamentary election, which revealed deep anger against the People's Action Party (PAP) and confirmed the desire of young Singaporeans for a more open political system with checks and balances.

"This decision reflects the first major steps toward serious reform of the PAP, a generational transformation," Bridget Welsh, a political science professor at the Singapore Management University.

Mr Lee and Mr Goh explained their decision to leave the Cabinet was to allow a completely younger team of ministers to engage a younger Singaporean generation.

They urge the interests of the older generation must always be kept in mind.

However, Madam Halimah admitted that ensuring the young remains connected with the older generation may not be easy.

"The young (are) very much influenced by the Internet (and) social media," said Mdm Halimah.

"We need to find a way to connect (with) the young," she added.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong didn't confirm that he would accept Mr Lee's and Mr Goh's resignation from the Government.

He said it's a "major event" and would like to take a couple of days to think before deciding.

PM Lee is expected to announce his new Cabinet line-up early next week.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Constituencies of Singapore

Constituencies in Singapore are electoral divisions which may be represented by single or multiple seats in the Parliament of Singapore. Constituencies are classified as either single member (SMC) or group representation constituencies (GRC). SMCs are single-seat constituencies but GRCs have several seats.

Boundaries of Electoral Constituencies
The boundaries of electoral constituencies in Singapore are decided by the Elections Department, which is under the control of the Prime Minister's Office. Electoral boundaries are generally announced close to elections, usually a few days before the election itself is announced. The have been accusations of gerrymandering regarding the redrawing of electoral boundaries and the dissolving of constituencies that return a high percentage of votes for parties other than the ruling PAP.
One of the cases that is often cited as evidence for gerrymandering is the case of the Cheng San Group Representation Constituency (GRC). In the 1997 Singaporean general election, the Cheng San GRC was contested by the PAP and the Workers' Party of Singapore (WP). The final result was very close, with the PAP winning by 53,553 votes to the WP's 44, 132 votes. By the time of 2001 general election the Cheng San GRC had been dissolved. Despite the disadvantages that has brought about for the opposition party in Singapore. The Workers' Party of Singapore has made history in 08/05/2011 with the first take over of Aljuined GRC during the General Election 2011

Group representation constituencies

Group representation constituencies (GRCs) are a type of electoral constituency that is unique to Singaporean politics. GRCs are multi-member constituencies which are contested by teams of candidates from different political parties. In each GRC, at least one candidate or Member of Parliament must be from a minority race: either a Malay, Indian or Other.
In 1988, the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) amended the Parliamentary Elections Act to create GRCs and to move away from the single member constituency system. The current act enables the President to create a GRC from three to six electoral wards. In creating GRCs the President is advised by the Elections Department. The initial maximum size for GRCs was three candidates, but this has subsequently been increased. In the 1991 Singaporean general election, the maximum number of candidates was raised from three to four. In 1997 the maximum number of candidates was further raised to six
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Manny Pacquiao

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao born December 17, 1978), also known as Manny Pacquiao, is a Filipino professional boxer and politician. He is an eight-division world champion, the first boxer in history to win ten world titles, the first to win in eight weight divisions, and the first to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes. He was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 2000's by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is also a three-time The Ring and BWAA "Fighter of the Year", winning the award in 2006, 2008, and 2009.
Currently, Pacquiao is the WBC Super Welterweight World Champion and WBO Welterweight World Champion (Super Champion). He is also currently rated as the "number one" pound-for-pound best boxer in the world by most sporting news and boxing websites, including The Ring, BoxRec.com, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports, Sporting Life and About.com.
Aside from boxing, Pacquiao has participated in acting, music recording, and politics. In May 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing the province of Sarangani. He is the only active boxer to become a congressman in the Philippines.

A film based on Pacquiao's life, Pacquiao: The Movie, was released on June 21, 2006, featuring Filipino actor Jericho Rosales as Manny Pacquiao and was directed by Joel Lamangan. The film flopped at the box office, grossing a total of only P4,812,191 (approximately US$99,322), as confirmed by Lamangan.
Pacquiao is featured in the boxing video games Fight Night Round 2, Fight Night Round 3, Fight Night Round 4 and Fight Night Champion. EA Sports released a limited edition demo of Fight Night Round 4, featuring Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton prior to their May 2 fight.
Pacquiao became the first Filipino athlete to appear on a postage stamp.
Pacquiao became the first Filipino Olympic non-participant to be Team Philippines’ flag-bearer during the August 8 opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics at the Beijing National Stadium. Swimmer Miguel Molina, 2005 Southeast Asian Games’ Best Male Athlete, yielded the honor to Pacquiao, upon the request of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the national sports officials on the Philippines at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Pacquiao plays basketball as a cross-training to keep himself in shape. He is playing in the semi-professional basketball league, Liga Pilipinas, with the team he owns, the MP-Gensan Warriors. He made his debut in the Smart-Liga Pilipinas Conference II in January 16, 2009. He wears jersey number 17.
Pacquiao became an honorary member of Boston Celtics. The honorary membership was bestowed on him in a brief ceremony and he was presented with a replica of a green and white Celtics jersey bearing his name and number 1. As a measure of gratitude, Pacquiao delivered a stockpile of red autographed boxing gloves to TD Garden. On March 10, 2010, prior to the night's game with Memphis Grizzlies, many of the Celtics had a special motivational gift waiting for them in their lockers.
With his popularity, various business sectors have solicited Manny Pacquiao's help in endorsing their products through commercial advertisements in print and in broadcast media. These include detergents, medicines, foods, beverage, garments, telecommunications, and even a political ad for politicians during the 2007 and 2010 Philippine elections. His most acclaimed commercials yet were for Nike's "Fast Forward" campaign (alongside Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Liu Xiang) and San Miguel Beer with Jet Li and Érik Morales.
Pacquiao has been included by Time Magazine as one of the world's most influential people for the year 2009, for his exploits in boxing and his influence among the Filipino people. Pacquiao was also included by Forbes Magazine in its annual Celebrity 100 list for the year 2009, joining Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and fellow athletes Tiger Woods and Bryant. Forbes also listed Pacquiao as the World's 6th Highest Paid Athlete, with a total of 40 Million Dollars ($40,000,000.00) or 2 Billion Pesos (₱2,000,000,000.00) from the second half of 2008 to the first half of 2009. Tied with him on the sixth spot was the NBA player LeBron James and golfer Phil Mickelson. Pacquiao was again included in Forbes' list of Highest Paid Athletes from the second half of 2009 to the first half of 2010; he was ranked 8th with an income of $42 million. Pacquiao had also won the 2009 ESPY Awards for the Best Fighter category, beating fellow boxer Shane Mosley and Brazilian mixed martial arts fighters Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva.
Pacquiao has also graced the cover of Time Magazine Asia for their November 16, 2009 issue. According to their five-page feature story, "(Pacquiao is) a fighter with enough charisma, intelligence and backstory to help rescue a sport lost in the labyrinth of pay-per-view. Global brands like Nike want him in their ads." They also added, "Pacquiao has a myth of origin equal to that of any Greek or Roman hero. He leaves the Philippines to make it even bigger, conquering the world again and again to bring back riches to his family and friends. He became the eighth Filipino to grace the cover of the prestigious magazine, after former Philippine presidents Manuel L. Quezon, Ramon Magsaysay, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III and Filipino actress and environmentalist Chin Chin Gutierrez. Pacquiao was also featured on the cover of Reader’s Digest Asia, where a seven-page story was written about the Filipino boxing superstar. The issue came out before Pacquiao’s epic match against De La Hoya on November 2008.
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Group Representation Constituency

Group Representation Constituency (GRC) is a type of electoral division or constituency in Singapore, the Members of Parliament (MPs) of which are voted into Parliament as a group. The Government stated that the GRC scheme was primarily implemented to enshrine minority representation in Parliament – at least one of the MPs in a GRC must be a member of the Malay, Indian or another minority community of Singapore. In addition, it was economical for town councils, which manage public housing estates, to handle larger constituencies.
The GRC scheme came into effect on 1 June 1988. Prior to that date, all constituencies were Single Member Constituencies (SMCs). At present, the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218, 2008 Rev. Ed.) ("PEA") states that there must be at least eight SMCs, and the number of MPs to be returned by all GRCs cannot be less than a quarter of the total number of MPs. Within those parameters the total number of SMCs and GRCs in Singapore and their boundaries are not fixed, but are decided by the Cabinet, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. According to the Constitution and the PEA, there must be between three and six MPs in a GRC. The precise number of MPs in each GRC is declared by the President at the Cabinet's direction prior to a general election. For the purposes of the 2006 general election, there were nine SMCs and 14 GRCs, and each GRC had either five or six MPs. In 2009, the Government announced that it would lower the number of GRCs by ensuring that there would be at least 12 SMCs, and reduce the number of MPs in some GRCs.
Critics disagree with the Government's justifications for introducing the GRC scheme, noting that the proportion of minority MPs per GRC has decreased with the advent of five- and six-member GRCs. By having teams of candidates standing for election for GRCs helmed by senior politicians, the ruling People's Action Party has also used GRCs as a means for bringing first-time candidates into Parliament. Moreover, the GRC scheme is also said to disadvantage opposition parties because it is more difficult for them to find enough candidates to contest GRCs. Furthermore, it is said that the GRC scheme means that electors have unequal voting power, weakens the relationship between electors and MPs, and entrenches racialism in Singapore politics.

Requirements of GRCs
All the candidates in a GRC must either be members of the same political party or independent candidates standing as a group, and at least one of the candidates must be a person belonging to the Malay, Indian or some other minority community. A person is regarded as belonging to the Malay community if, regardless of whether or not he or she is of the Malay race, considers himself or herself to be a member of the community and is generally accepted as such by the community. Similarly, a person will belong to the Indian community or some other minority community if he or she considers himself or herself a member and the community accepts him or her as such. The minority status of candidates is determined by two committees appointed by the President, the Malay Community Committee and the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee. Decisions of these committees are final and conclusive, and may not be appealed against or called into question in any court.

Modifications
In 1988, 39 SMCs were grouped into 13 three-member GRCs, making up 39 out of a total of 81 elected seats in Parliament. The Constitution and the Parliamentary Elections Act were changed in 1991 and again in 1996 to increase the maximum number of MPs in each GRC from three to four, and then to six. In the 2001 general election, three- and four-member GRCs were replaced by five- and six-member GRCs. There were nine five-member GRCs and five six-member GRCs, making up 75 out of the 84 elected seats in Parliament. This arrangement remained unchanged at the 2006 elections.

Introduction of the scheme
There are two types of electoral division or constituency in Singapore: the Single Member Constituency (SMC) and the Group Representation Constituency (GRC). In a GRC, a number of candidates comes together to stand for elections to Parliament as a group. Each voter of a GRC casts a ballot for a team of candidates, and not for individual candidates. The GRC scheme was brought into existence on 1 June 1988 by the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Act 1988 and the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 1988.
In 1988, First Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong (pictured here in June 2001) justified GRCs on the ground that they would ensure that Parliament always remained multiracial
The original stated purpose of GRCs was to guarantee a minimum representation of minorities in Parliament and ensure that there would always be a multiracial Parliament instead of one made up of a single race. Speaking in Parliament during the debate on whether GRCs should be introduced, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Goh Chok Tong said he had first discussed the necessity of ensuring the multiracial nature of Parliament with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in July 1982. Then, Lee had expressed concern about the voting patterns of younger Singaporeans, who appeared to be apathetic to the need of having a racially balanced slate of candidates. He was also worried about more Singaporeans voting along racial lines, which would lead to a lack of minority representation in Parliament. He had also proposed to twin constituencies and have Members of Parliament (MPs) contest as a pair, one of whom had to be from a minority community. However, Malay MPs were upset that this implied they were not electable on their own merits. Feeling that the twinning of constituencies would lead to Malay MPs losing confidence and self-respect, the Government dropped the proposal.

Enshrining of racialism
Even though the GRC scheme is intended to ensure minority representation in Parliament, it can be said that the scheme emphasizes racial consciousness, and hence widens the gap between races. It may undermine the esteem of minority candidates as they would not be sure if they are elected on their own merit, or due to the scheme and the merits of the rest of the team of MPs. This would result in minority candidates resenting that they are dependent on the majority to enter Parliament, and the majority candidates believing that minority candidates have insufficient ability. It has also been claimed that the GRC scheme demeans the majority of Singaporeans as it assumes that they are not able to see the value or merit of minority candidates, and only vote for candidates with whom they share a common race, culture and language.

Law of large numbers
Derek da Cunha has proposed that the law of large numbers favours the GRC system.According to the theory, the large number of voters from GRC wards generally, though not necessarily always, reflects the popular vote. This was evident at the 2006 elections, at which the PAP garnered an average of 67.04% of the votes in a contested GRC, while the average was 61.67% for a SMC ward. The national average for the 2006 elections was 66.6%. Similar trends can be seen from previous elections. In fact, the percentage difference in the PAP votes between SMCs and GRCs grew from 3% in 1991, and remained stable at around 5% in the 1997, 2001 and 2006 elections. This may be attributable to the enlargement of the size of GRCs in 1997 which gave greater effect to the law of large numbers.
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Singapore Tourism Board

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) 新加坡旅游局 is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, tasked to promote the country's tourism industry.

Growth
Singapore tourism industry has grown rapidly since STPB was set up. In 2004, there were 8 million visitors. On 11 January 2005, Minister for Trade and Industry unveiled the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) bold targets to doubling visitor arrivals to 17 million by 2015, see details here Tourism 2015.
In March 2010, the STB projected a 20-30% increase in visitor arrivals for the year. 2010 will see the much awaited opening of both the Marina Bay Sands and the Resorts World Sentosa. This will coincide with other key events such as the Singtel Singapore Formula One Grand Prix and the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. These offerings are expected to enhance Singapore’s status as a dynamic global city and increase visitor arrivals. However, the changes in Singapore's landscape will continue beyond 2010. New developments such as the International Cruise Terminal, Gardens by the Bay and Changi Motor Sports Hub are expected to be unveiled in the coming years.

Branding
The STB also announced that it will be adopting a new destination branding strategy. In line with the emphasis on redesigning the tourism experience, the STB launched the evolved destination brand, YourSingapore. YourSingapore is centered on the concentration of experiences available in Singapore and seeks to enable travellers to personalize their visit according to their preferences. The YourSingapore website is an "innovative and intelligent platform" that invites visitors to make their virtual experience in Singapore a reality. The user-friendly website allows users to easily conceptualize and plan their individual itineraries.

History
The board was first established in 1964 and was called the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (Abbreviation: STPB; Chinese: 新加坡旅游促进局). In that year, there were 91,000 visitors. The primary task of STPB was to coordinate the efforts of hotels, airlines and travel agents to develop the fledging tourism industry of the country.
Later, STPB began to initiate new marketing ideas to promote Singapore's image aboard. The board created the Merlion, a symbol based on a Singapore mythical legend, that became an icon of the Singapore destination. The board also has been providing travel agent licensing and tourist guide training.

Mission
The board now oversees all aspects of tourism, including resource allocation and long-term strategic planning. It establishes offices around the globe to actively market the Singapore destination.

Food Festival

Singapore Food Festival is an annual event that takes place every year from the end of June to the end of July. It is organised by the Singapore Tourism Board.
Comprising of weekly core events, themed celebrations, culinary workshops and competitions organised island-wide, this month-long festival celebrates the local perennial food favourites that have given Singapore an international reputation of a diverse food heaven.
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People's Action Party

People's Action Party(PAP), 人民行动党, 人民行動黨, Rénmín Xíngdòngdǎng, Parti Tindakan Rakyat;, மக்கள் செயல் கட்சி) is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959.
From the 1963 general elections, the PAP has dominated Singapore's parliamentary democracy and has been central to the city-state's rapid political, social, and economic development. However, it has been criticized for laws that suppress free speech and other civil liberties.
In the 2011 Singapore general election, the PAP won 81 of the 87 elected seats in the Parliament of Singapore while receiving 60.4% of total votes cast.

Leadership
For many years, the party was led by former PAP secretary-general Lee Kuan Yew, who was Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. Lee handed over the positions of secretary-general and prime minister to Goh Chok Tong in 1991. The current secretary general of the PAP and Prime Minister of Singapore is Lee Hsien Loong, son of Lee Kuan Yew, who succeeded Goh Chok Tong on 12 August 2004.
The chairperson of the PAP is Lim Boon Heng.

Ideology
Since the early years of the PAP's rule, the idea of survival has been a central theme of Singaporean politics. According to Diane Mauzy and R.S. Milne, most analysts of Singapore have discerned four major "ideologies" of the PAP: pragmatism, meritocracy, multiracialism, and Asian values or communitarianism. In January 1991 the PAP introduced the White Paper on Shared Values, which tried to create a national ideology and institutionalize Asian values. The party also says it has 'rejected' what it considers Western-style liberal democracy. Some contest this, pointing to the presence of many aspects of liberal democracy in Singapore's public policy, specifically the welfare state and recognition of democratic institutions. Professor Hussin Mutalib, however, opines that for Lee Kuan Yew "Singapore would be better off without liberal democracy.
The party economic ideology has always accepted the need for some welfare spending, pragmatic economic interventionism and general Keynesian economic policy. However, free-market policies have been popular since the 1980s as part of the wider implementation of a meritocracy in civil society, and Singapore frequently ranks extremely highly on indices of "economic freedom" published by economically liberal organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Lee Kuan Yew has also said in 1992: "Through Hong Kong watching, I concluded that state welfare and subsidies blunted the individual's drive to succeed. I watched with amazement the ease with which Hong Kong workers adjusted their salaries upwards in boom times and downwards in recessions. I resolved to reverse course on the welfare policies which my party had inherited or copied from British Labour Party policies.

Organization
Initially adopting a traditionalist Leninist party organization together with a vanguard cadre from its labour-leaning faction in 1958, the PAP Executive later expelled the leftist faction, bringing the ideological basis of the party into the centre, and later in the 1960s, moving further to the right. In the beginning, there were about 500 so-called "temporary cadre" appointed but the current number of cadres is unknown and the register of cadres is kept confidential. In 1988, Wong Kan Seng revealed that there were more than 1,000 cadres. Cadre members have the right to attend party conferences and to vote for and elect and to be elected to the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the pinnacle of party leaders. To become a cadre, a party member is first nominated by the MP in his or her branch. The candidate then undergoes three sessions of interviews, each with four or five ministers or MPs, and the appointment is then made by the CEC. About 100 candidates are nominated each year.
The next lower level committee is the HQ Executive Committee (HQ exco) which performs the party's administration and oversees twelve sub-committees. The sub-committees are:
Branch Appointments and Relations
Constituency Relations
Information and Feedback
New Media
Malay Affairs
Membership Recruitment and Cadre Selection
PAP Awards
Political Education
Publicity and Publication
Social and Recreational
Women's Wing
Young PAP

Political development
The party was formed in 1954 by English-educated middle-class professional men who had returned from their university education in the United Kingdom.
In 1954, Lim Chin Siong, along with his Chinese High senior, Fong Swee Suan, was introduced to Lee Kuan Yew. Despite their ideological differences, the three men knew that they shared one common goal: to bring about full independence for Singapore. Together with Lee and others, Lim and Fong became founder members of the PAP on 21 November 1954.
In April 1955, Lim Chin Siong was elected as Assemblyman for the Bukit Timah constituency. Then 22 years old, he was and remained the youngest Assemblyman ever to be elected to office. The following year, Lim and Lee represented the PAP at the London Constitutional Talks, which ended in failure:­ the British declined to grant Singapore internal self-government. On 7 June 1956, David Marshall, disappointed with the constitutional talks, stepped down as Chief Minister, and was replaced by Lim Yew Hock.
Lee Kuan Yew eventually accused Lim Chin Siong and his supporters of being Communists, even though according to the book Comet in Our Sky, quoting two British scholars, no evidence was ever found that Lim was a Communist as had been revealed by declassified British government documents. Lee Kuan Yew imprisoned Lim Chin Siong without trial for many years, preventing him from competing against Lee as leader of the banned break-away opposition party the Barisan Sosialis (Socialist Front).
The PAP first contested the 1955 elections, in which 25 of 32 seats in the legislature were up for election. The party won three seats, one by its leader Lee Kuan Yew, and one by co-founder of the PAP, Lim Chin Siong, the election going to the Workers Party's David Saul Marshall.
David Marshall was vocally anti-British and anti-colonialist, and the British found it difficult to come to an agreement or a compromise. Eventually after failing to reach any agreement about a definite plan for self-government he resigned in 1956, following a pledge that he would achieve self-government or resign. Lim Yew Hock, another Labour Front member, took his place. He pursued an aggressive anti-communist campaign and managed to convince the British to make a definite plan for self-government. The Constitution of Singapore was revised accordingly in 1958, replacing the Rendel Constitution with one that granted Singapore self-government and the ability for its own population to fully elect its Legislative Assembly.
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Singapore's 16th parliamentary general election

Singapore's 16th parliamentary general election was held on 7 May 2011. The Parliament of Singapore's maximum term is five years, within which it must be dissolved by the President of Singapore and elections held within three months, as stated in the Constitution of Singapore. Voting is mandatory in Singapore and is based on the first-past-the-post system. Elections are conducted by the Elections Department, which is under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office. On 19 April 2011, parliament was dissolved. Nomination day was held on 27 April 2011, and for the second election in a row, the PAP was not returned to power on nomination day. This election also marked the first and the only three-cornered fight since 2001 in Punggol East SMC.
The election was described as a "watershed election" in various forms by various parties. The ruling PAP reminded voters that the election will determine "Singapore's next generation of leaders. The Workers' Party called it a "watershed election" both for Singapore and the opposition, as it marked the first time in two decades that the only two incumbent opposition MPs moved out of their respective strongholds and contested in Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), risking a situation where there would be "no elected opposition MPs. This was despite the elections having the highest proportion of contested seats since independence, with 82 of 87 seats contested (or 94.3%). 2011 was the year that saw the highest number of seats contested since post-independence; with the second being in 1972 when 87.7% of seats were contested (or 57 out of 65 seats), It marked the first electoral contests in Bishan-Toa Payoh (since 1991) and Holland-Bukit Timah, and also marked Tanjong Pagar as the only constituency to remain uncontested since its formation in 1991.
The final results saw a 6.46% swing against the PAP from the 2006 elections to 60.14%, it's lowest since independence. While the PAP met most expectations to sweep into power and claim over two-thirds of parliamentary seats, it won 81 out of 87 seats, and lost Aljunied Group Representation Constituency to the Workers' Party of Singapore, the first time a GRC was won by an opposition party. Including the Hougang Single Member Constituency, the Workers' Party ended up with six seats in Parliament, the best opposition parliamentary result since independence. Conversely, the other opposition parties gained no seats despite earning much higher vote share percentages. The strong showing of the Workers' Party led to speculations that the elections may see the eventual emergence of a two-party political system in future elections.

Political parties
Main article: List of political parties in Singapore
The governing People's Action Party (PAP) has been in power since Singapore's independence in 1965, and is currently led by the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Besides the ruling PAP, the other major political parties that may contest the upcoming elections are the Workers' Party of Singapore (WP) led by Low Thia Khiang, the Reform Party (Singapore) led by Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) led by Chiam See Tong, which is composed of the Singapore Malay National Organization (PKMS) and the Singapore People's Party (SPP), the National Solidarity Party (NSP) which left the SDA in 2007, and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) led by Chee Soon Juan, who may run in 2011 after his conviction in 2002 expires. The Reform Party is the newest party and was created on 18 June 2008 and was then led by former Member of Parliament J.B. Jeyaretnam. He could have stood for election after he was discharged from bankruptcy and reinstated to the bar, however, Jeyaretnam died of heart failure on 30 September 2008 at the age of 82. His eldest son, Kenneth Jeyaretnam has since taken up leadership of the party and is now its secretary-general.

Televised forum
In the first pre-election forum of this nature in Singapore since the 1988 General Election, Channel NewsAsia invited the main parties to record an hour-long programme. The programme, in English entitled, “A political forum on Singapore’s future” brought together the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and four opposition parties to discuss long and short-term challenges for the country. The forum included
Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, Assistant Treasurer of the Singapore Democratic Party
Mrs Lina Chiam, 2nd Vice Chairwoman of the Singapore People's Party
Mr Gerald Giam, Assistant Webmaster of Workers' Party of Singapore
Mr Mohamed Nazem Suki, Assistant Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Alliance
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Finance Minister, and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Josephine Teo of the PAP

Background
The 2011 General Election was the 16th General Election in Singapore and the 11th since independence. The governing People's Action Party (PAP) sought to secure their 13th consecutive term in office since 1959. This was the second election since Lee Hsien Loong became its Secretary-General.
Parliamentary reform
On 11 March 2010, the Government tabled three bills in the parliament to amend the Constitution, the Presidential Elections Act and the Parliamentary Elections Act. These amendments reduced the number of Group representation constituencies (GRC), increased the number of Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) to a maximum of nine (inclusive of the number of elected opposition members of Parliament), and the number of Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) permanent also to nine. A one-day "cooling-off" day was implemented, during which campaigning was forbidden, with only party political broadcasts allowed. Internet campaigning was also formally legalized as a legitimate means of political campaigning. On 26 April 2010, the amendments to the Constitution were passed by a vote of 74–1 after a three-hour debate on the bill.
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Lee Hsien Loong

Lee Hsien Loong (simplified Chinese: 李显龙; traditional Chinese: 李顯龍; pinyin: Lǐ Xiǎnlóng; POJ: Li Hian-liong; born 10 February 1952) is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore. Lee Hsien Loong is married to Ho Ching, who is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the government-owned Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Foreign relations
Singapore has generally had a favourable relationship with the United States. The growth of bilateral trade improved commercial and diplomatic ties between the two countries after the implementation of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the growth in bilateral trade has been evident since the Free Trade Agreement became effective on 1 January 2004.
Lee made his inaugural visit to the United States, as Prime Minister of Singapore, between 6 July and 16 July 2005. Several other ministers, notably the defence minister Teo Chee Hean and foreign minister George Yeo, accompanied Lee.
On 12 July 2005, President George W. Bush and Lee signed the "Strategic Framework Agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Singapore for a Closer Cooperation Partnership in Defence and Security". The agreement was a natural step in the expansion of bilateral ties. President Bush and the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had first announced their intention to conclude this agreement in October 2003.
The intention of the agreement is to address common threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which called for even closer cooperation between the United States and Singapore.

Early political career
Lee entered politics at the age of 32 in 1984. He was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Defence in December 1984 by his father, Lee Kuan Yew, and was subsequently promoted to Acting Minister for Trade and Industry in 1986, and the Second Minister for Defence.

Deputy Prime Minister
When Goh Chok Tong became the Prime Minister of Singapore on 28 November 1990, Lee became the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore. He focused on economic and civil service matters and concurrently served as Minister for Trade and Industry until 1992.
Lee was appointed Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 1998, and Minister for Finance in 2001. During Lee's thirteen and a half years as Deputy Prime Minister, he exerted significant influence on Singapore's governance, especially in economic and social affairs.
To ease the growing budget deficit due to falling tax revenues from cuts in corporate and personal income taxes and other factors such as the Iraq War and Sars outbreak, Lee proposed on 29 August 2003 to raise the GST from three percent to five percent, a change that took place in January 2004.
Lee also initiated several relaxations of the requirements for Singapore citizenship, especially for foreign husbands of Singaporean women and foreign-born children of Singaporeans. The changes were made after repeated pleas from MPs and the Remaking Singapore Committee.

Defamation judgment
On 24 September 2008, High Court, in a summary judgment by Justice Woo Bih Li, ruled that the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) magazine-Hugo Restall, editor, defamed Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The court found the 2006 article "Singapore's 'Martyr': Chee Soon Juan" meant that Lee Kuan Yew "has been running and continues to run Singapore in the same corrupt manner as Durai operated NKF and he has been using libel actions to suppress those who would question to avoid exposure of his corruption." FEER has 30 days to appeal. The court sentenced FEER publisher and editor, owned by Dow Jones & Company (in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp), to pay damages to complainants.

Defamation lawsuit
In 2010, Lee Hsien Loong, together with the two former prime minister preceded him, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, threatened legal action against The New York Times Company which owns The International Herald Tribune regarding an Op-Ed piece titled ‘All in the Family’ of 15 February 2010 by Philip Bowring, a freelance columnist and former editor of The Far Eastern Economic Review. The Herald Tribute apologized in March that readers of the article may ‘infer that the younger Lee did not achieve his position through merit’. The Times and Bowring also agreed to pay SG$60,000 to Lee, SG$50,000 to Lee Kuan Yew and SG$50,000 to Goh (total amounted to about US$114,000 at the time), in addition to legal costs. The case stemmed from a 1994 settlement between the three Singaporean leaders and the paper about an article also by Bowring that referred to ‘dynastic politics’ in East Asian countries including Singapore. In that settlement, Bowring agreed not to say or imply that the younger Lee had attained his position through nepotism by his father Lee Kuan Yew. In response, media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders wrote an open letter to urge Lee and other top officials of the Singapore government to stop taking ‘libel actions’ against journalists.

Salary
Lee Hsien Loong currently earns an annual salary of S$3,870,000 (US$2,856,930), an increase of 25% from S$3,091,200 (US$2,037,168), making him the highest paid head of government in the world. In comparison, the President of the United States earns a salary of US$400,000. The new salary took effect in January 2008.
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