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Chinas completion of an upgraded airstrip in the disputed Paracel Islands gives it another foothold in the South China Sea and risks sparking a renewed diplomatic rift with communist neighbor Vietnam.

Vietnam foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh yesterday called the two-kilometer-long runway on Woody Island, part of the Paracel group, a violation of Vietnams sovereignty after photos of the project appeared in Chinese media this week. In July, a Chinese company removed an oil rig it had placed in contested waters off Vietnams coast after skirmishes between boats of the two countries and deadly anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam.

Chinas presence on the island it calls Yongxing, which houses banks, post offices and government buildings, is likely to further strain ties with fellow claimants to the South China Sea, through which some of the worlds busiest shipping lanes run. The military facility could spur countries such as Vietnam to turn to the U.S. for sophisticated maritime aircraft to counter Chinas actions.

It has a huge significance for Chinese ability to exercise its sovereignty claims over the South China Sea, Collin Koh, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said by phone. Vietnam is not going to let this go easily. Its going to lead to more diplomatic tensions.

Chinas runway violates international law and damages ties, Vietnam News cited foreign ministry spokesman Binh as saying. The move contravenes an accord between Vietnam and China on settling sea disputes and a 2002 agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on conduct in the area, he said.

Clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese vessels near the oil rig during the summer highlighted Chinas limited maritime air surveillance in the region, according to Koh. An offer by Malaysia offer to host U.S. P-8 Poseidon surveillance airplanes in the country further unnerved China, he said.

The Woody Island outpost is set to become a military command and control network, he said.

Its not just about lengthening the runway, Koh said. Its about having shelters for small aircraft like jet fighters, underground bunkers for fuel and ammunition.

China considers much of the South China Sea its territory based on its nine-dash line map first published in the 1940s. The map covers an area that extends hundreds of miles south from Hainan Island and takes in the Paracels, which are claimed by Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands, some of which are claimed by the Philippines. China is creating artificial islands in the Spratly area.

China is sending a message to everyone in the world about its resolve to maintain what it perceives as its territorial integrity, Alexander Vuving, a security analyst at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, said by phone. China is hardening its position with all of these things.

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Chinas Airstrip in Paracel Islands Heightens Vietnam Tensions

Jon Stanhope: the outgoing administrator of Christmas Island. Photo: Tony McDonoough

As administrator of Christmas and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands I have confronted human rights and other issues that render those that Australians dwell on in Canberra and elsewhere on the mainland as mere frippery.

Christmas and the Cocos Islands are very different to the rest of Australia. Not only are they geographically part of Asia, their history culture and people are mainly Asian. People of Chinese and Malaysian heritage constitute about 70percent of the population. The main religions are Islam, Buddhism and Taoism. There areone Christian church, three mosques and 16 Chinese temples. Up to a third of the resident population do not speak English either at all or with fluency. The most common language on Christmas Island is Mandarin, and on Cocos Island, Malay. On Cocos Island, English is rarely spoken by people of Malay heritage (about80 percent of the Cocos population) in the home.

The territories are incorporated into the Northern Territory for federal electoral purposes but federal members play no part in the administration of the territories and rarely, if ever, visit. Most residents regard their incorporation into the Northern Territory as tokenistic.

There are no democratic arrangements in place for state type purposes. Most services are delivered by Western Australian agencies under contracts with the Commonwealth. There is no input into the content of the contracts by residents of the territories, nor are the service delivery agreements under which the services are made publicly available. There are no annual reports, , on any services delivered or monies spent in the territories.

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All policy and budget decisions are made by federal public servants based in Canberra and Perth. Residents are not consulted about expenditure priorities. No draft budget is prepared and there is noestimates process.

There are no effective consultative mechanisms in place engagement of the local communities in policy development or resource allocation. There are massive gaps in services in areas like aged care, mental health and public health. Land management, economic development, waste disposal, environmental protection and community and social infrastructure is poor.

Despite having lived on Christmas Island for two years, it still comes as a surprise to me that in the 21st century, there are still Australian citizens who are denied the most fundamental right the right to be involved in the civil and political life of their community.

The territories were administered from the colony of Singapore prior to its independence. At that time, the two territories were hived off from Singapore and accepted by Australia.Before1958, Christmas Island, along with the Cocos Islands,reported on by Britain to the United Nations. It was consistent with article 73 (e) of the United Nations Charter, on the basis that Britain accepted that the territories were non-self-governing territories (otherwise known as colonies) within the terms of chapter XI of the charter.

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Christmas and Cocos Islands Australian colonies in all but name

Australia’s top companies have been unswayed by a global crackdown on corporate tax avoidance, with almost 60 per cent of the top 200 listed companies holding subsidiaries in tax havens or low-tax jurisdictions.

Data also shows some companies that promised to get out of tax havens have actually added to their offshore subsidiaries.

Several big-name companies, such as 21st Century Fox, Westfield, Toll Holdings and Telstra, have more than 40 entities in well-known tax havens such asthe Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, a report by the Tax Justice Network shows.

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Fourteen in the 20 top companies, including two of the country’s big banks, also hold entities in these locations, according to the report.

The report also reveals nearly a third of the ASX 200 are now paying less than 10 per cent tax on profit compared to the statutory corporate tax rate of 30 per cent.

“Secrecy jurisdictions play a key role in multinational tax dodging and undermine the ability of democratically elected governments to levy taxes in a just and fair way,” the reports authors say. “Corporate tax avoidance must be addressed.”

While hubs in low-tax jurisdictions such as Singapore and Hong Kong are commonly used for legitimate business, the report highlights how Australian companies are relying on hubs in far more exotic locations.

Bermuda and Jersey, with tax rates of 0 per cent, are home to 119 entities belonging to top 200 Australian companies. The British Virgin Islands is home to 77.

Commonwealth Bank appears to have extended its network of haven companies.

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Global crackdown on tax havens fails to sway Australian companies

Sydney, Australia, Sep 23, 2014 – (ABN Newswire) – Regenerative medicine company, Regeneus Ltd (ASX:RGS.AX – News), today announced plans to open the HiQCell Regenerative Medicine Clinic in Singapore, and the appointment of leading specialist sports physician, Dr Patrick Goh, as Medical Director. Through the clinic, Dr Goh will provide patients in Singapore with access to Regeneus' HiQCell, an …

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Regeneus Ltd (ASX:RGS) HiQCell Regenerative Medicine Clinic to open in Singapore

Aug 312014

Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian) 4454 Posts 56 Topics Last post by kanggoroo in Re: [ASK] http://www.lke… on Today at 09:52:15 PM Espaol (Spanish) 92675 Posts 7538 Topics Last post by Roman1974 in Re: Vendo 6.6 Bitcoins on Today at 09:47:58 PM Child Boards: Mercado y Economa, Hardware y Minera, Esquina Libre, Mercadillo, Novatos, Altcoins (criptomonedas alternativas) (Chinese) 231472 Posts 12616 Topics Last post by soulsit in Re: [] [PXI] Prime-XI… on Today at 09:51:21 PM Child Boards: , , , Deutsch (German) 168371 Posts 10570 Topics Last post by 600watt in Re: SPD will ber Bitcoi… on Today at 09:49:57 PM Child Boards: Biete, Suche, Anfnger und Hilfe, Mining (Deutsch), Trading und Spekulation, Projektentwicklung, Off-Topic (Deutsch), Treffen, Presse , Auktionen, Altcoins (Deutsch) (Greek) 3435 Posts 333 Topics Last post by 111magic in … on Today at 08:53:17 PM Child Boards: , Altcoins () (Hebrew) 816 Posts 205 Topics Last post by 111magic in Re: Magicoi… on Today at 08:36:11 PM Franais Moderators: davout, kcud_dab 43370 Posts 2919 Topics Last post by JackCelere in Re: [Sondage] Nouveau no… on Today at 09:29:22 PM Child Boards: Actualit et News, Bases de Bitcoin, Mining et Hardware, conomie et spculation, Place de march, Le Bitcoin et la loi, Wiki, documentation et traduction, Dveloppement et technique, Vos sites et projets, Hors-sujet, Altcoins (Franais) India 17944 Posts 1832 Topics Last post by dashingriddler in Re: [ANN] New Bitcoin Ex… on Today at 06:44:23 PM Child Boards: Mining (India), Marketplace (India), Regional Languages (India), Press & News from India, Alt Coins (India), Buyer/ Seller Reputations (India), Off-Topic (India) Italiano (Italian) 89773 Posts 6027 Topics Last post by yuk in Re: [BURST] Un’altcoin d… on Today at 09:52:50 PM Child Boards: Guide (Italiano), Progetti, Trading, analisi e speculazione, Mercato, Accuse scam/truffe, Mining (Italiano), Alt-Currencies (Italiano), Raduni/Meeting (Italiano), Crittografia e decentralizzazione, Off-Topic (Italiano) Nederlands (Dutch) 18776 Posts 1887 Topics Last post by Bitsms in Re: Sms-en naar binnen- … on Today at 03:47:52 PM Child Boards: Markt, Gokken/lotterijen, Mining (Nederlands), Beurzen, Alt Coins (Nederlands), Off-topic (Nederlands), Meetings (Nederlands) (Korean) 536 Posts 196 Topics Last post by Coinclip in [2014/08/28 THU] … on August 29, 2014, 02:39:18 PM Child Boards: Alt Coins () Polski 2320 Posts 402 Topics Last post by Maciek in Namecoin – uywa kto z … on Today at 03:27:45 PM Child Boards: Tablica ogosze, Alternatywne kryptowaluty Portugus (Portuguese) 29895 Posts 3071 Topics Last post by Adriano in Re: Pesquisa sobre Bitco… on Today at 09:43:53 PM Child Boards: Economia & Mercado, Garimpo de Bitcoins, Novatos, Brasil, Portugal, Criptomoedas Alternativas (Russian) 262076 Posts 12403 Topics Last post by ZeroTheGreat in : … on Today at 09:46:45 PM Child Boards: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Romn (Romanian) 15453 Posts 1589 Topics Last post by vortexz in Re: Vand Antminer S3 14… on Today at 09:19:19 PM Child Boards: Anunturi importante, Offtopic, Market, Minat, Tutoriale, Bine ai venit!, Presa, Altcoins (Monede Alternative) Skandinavisk 4629 Posts 600 Topics Last post by Hanslo in Re: Bra och informativt … on August 29, 2014, 03:38:23 PM Trke (Turkish) 29090 Posts 2439 Topics Last post by canary in Re: Bahis Sezonu Alsn on Today at 09:39:11 PM Child Boards: Bitcoin Haberleri, Pazar Alan, Madencilik, Ekonomi, Servisler, Alternatif Kripto-Paralar, Konu D, Yeni Balayanlar & Yardm Other languages/locations 10728 Posts 159 Topics Last post by azrin619 in Re: Singapore on Today at 03:31:57 PM

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Published May 20. 2014 4:00AM

Top American companies including pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. are saving at least $550 billion in taxes by holding profits in overseas tax havens, according to a report Monday by the advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice.

The report said 28 U.S. corporations acknowledge paying less than 10 percent in taxes on foreign holdings totaling $409 billion. Pfizer, which the report said has subsidiaries in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Ireland, the Isle of Jersey, Luxembourg and Singapore, “does not disclose how much of its $69 billion in offshore profits are stashed in these tax havens.”

“Corporations exploit all manner of loopholes to avoid paying their fair share, and then they get their lobbyists and allies on Capitol Hill to say this tax dodging is justified because the U.S. corporate income tax rate is too high,” Robert McIntyre, director of the advocacy group, said in a statement.

But McIntyre said U.S. corporate tax rates are not much different from those in other developed countries, where these corporations make most of their profits.

In addition to New York-based Pfizer, the report looks into a variety of multinational corporations from all 50 states.

In Connecticut, General Electric, United Technologies, Praxair, Xerox, Priceline.com, Terex, Pitney Bowes and W.R. Berkley are among the companies placing money in foreign accounts to save on taxes.

The report said U.S.-based Fortune 500 corporations are holding profits of nearly $2 trillion in offshore accounts.

“While congressional hearings over the past few years have focused attention on the tax avoidance strategies of technology corporations like Apple and Microsoft … a diverse array of companies (is) using offshore tax havens,” the report said.

Among these are U.S. Steel, pharmaceutical marketer Eli Lilly, apparel maker Nike, financial powerhouse American Express, gaming empire Wynn Resorts and banking giant Bank of America.

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Pfizer, other companies accused of dodging taxes



Bitcoin or Gold? Squawk Walk Singapore feat. Chen Shien of Imaginary Markets
If given a choice, would people pick Bitcoin or gold? Given the same value of each, which one would people pick to walk away with? Keith Hilden of Squawkonom…

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Bitcoin or Gold? Squawk Walk Singapore feat. Chen Shien of Imaginary Markets – Video

Singapore (PRWEB) May 13, 2014

Reading about the illuminati and other secret societies sparked author Mohammed Rafayet Hossain Rimes curiosity as a young boy. Thus, after hearing a piece of news that an anonymous evil society has convinced tons of people to infiltrate the internet, Rime realized that he can write an adventure book about the topic. He now introduces Maniac In Blue (M.I.B.), a heroic adventure novel.

Maniac In Blue (M.I.B.) tells the story of Ban-Man, a humble maniac with many hopes and dreams. Ban-Man accidentally divulges a deep secret he is not supposed to share. Now, he has to stop the secret from reaching a wicked professor, Larvoger. After defeating Larvoger, the Demoncar let a spark out of him and affected Joney Loansoney. Now, its up to Ban-Man to save the day.

In his first novel, Rime weaves together fantasy and action into a captivating tale portraying a young hero determined to save the world at all costs. A book for both young and adult readers, Maniac In Blue (M.I.B.) emphasizes the importance of having dreams in life and doing everything to turn them into reality.

Displaying remarkable courage and strength, Ban-Man will win readers admiration as he fulfills his mission to society. Rime believes that like Ban-Man, everyone can do great things for the world. His novel serves to inspire a spirit of unity among people to work together and make the world a better place.

Author Rime wishes to donate some money to the Autism Society (http://www.autism-society.org) for each book that will be sold.

For more information on this book, interested parties can log on to http://www.Xlibris.com.au.

About the Author

Mohammed Rafayet Hossain Rime was born in Bangladesh in December 2003. He moved to Singapore in December 2007 with his family. He is a student of Primary 5 (Standard 5) of Unity Primary School in Singapore. He loves to play online games and watch cartoons when he has the time. He also loves to write stories in his diary when time permits. Rime started writing stories and drawing cartoons on paper since he was in Primary 1 (Standard 1).

Maniac In Blue (M.I.B.) * by Mohammed Rafayet Hossain Rime Publication Date: April 15, 2014 Trade Paperback; AU$19.99; 64 pages; 9781493135769 Trade Hardback; AU$39.99; 64 pages; 9781499000023 e-book; AU$4.25; 9781493135776

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Primary School Student Debuts With Science Fiction

Windfalls lost to artful dodgers.

Australian companies sent almost $60 billion to related parties in tax havens in 2012, with payments to Singapore and Ireland featuring high on the list, according to new data.

The data, never before released by the Australian Tax Office, provides an insight into how multinational groups shuffle money between countries and comes amid an international push to halt the use of tax havens by major corporations.

Due to their low tax rates, Singapore and Ireland are used by multinationals, especially technology companies such as Google and Apple, as locations for sales hubs or corporate headquarters.

In 2012 almost $40 billion was sent to Singapore, which led the payments table despite being only Australia’s fourth-largest import market that year, according to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data.

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At more than $7.5 billion, Ireland, which ranks 32nd among Australia’s trading partners, was sixth on the payments table.

Mark Zirnsak, a representative of the Tax Justice Network, said the data demonstrated the need for Australia to be aggressive in its pursuit of companies that shift profits offshore. He said it highlighted the need for greater transparency around corporate transactions to establish which transactions were legitimate and not simply tax dodging.

”There are some very concerning transfers here that need an explanation,” he said. ”If companies aren’t going to voluntarily disclose this information to the public, then there needs to be an explanation as to why money is ending up in these exotic places.”

The ATO data shows that Australia was also on the receiving end of flows from tax havens. Switzerland was the top source of revenue for Australian companies, at $35.6 billion in revenue, and Singapore came second at $12.3 billion.

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Singapore, Ireland top tax havens

Australian companies sent almost $60 billion to related parties in tax havens in 2012, with payments to Singapore and Ireland featuring high on the list, according to new data.

The data, never before released by the Australian Tax Office, provides an insight into how multinational groups shuffle money between countries and comes amid an international push to halt the use of tax havens by major corporations.

Due to their low tax rates, Singapore and Ireland are used by multinationals, especially technology companies such as Google and Apple, as locations for sales hubs or corporate headquarters.

In 2012 almost $40 billion was sent to Singapore, which led the payments table despite being only Australia’s fourth-largest import market that year, according to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data.

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At more than $7.5 billion, Ireland, which ranks 32nd among Australia’s trading partners, was sixth on the payments table.

Mark Zirnsak, a representative of the Tax Justice Network, said the data demonstrated the need for Australia to be aggressive in its pursuit of companies that shift profits offshore. He said it highlighted the need for greater transparency around corporate transactions to establish which transactions were legitimate and not simply tax dodging.

”There are some very concerning transfers here that need an explanation,” he said. ”If companies aren’t going to voluntarily disclose this information to the public, then there needs to be an explanation as to why money is ending up in these exotic places.”

The ATO data shows that Australia was also on the receiving end of flows from tax havens. Switzerland was the top source of revenue for Australian companies, at $35.6 billion in revenue, and Singapore came second at $12.3 billion.

However, a BusinessDay analysis of the ATO data shows Australian companies paid $1.22 billion more to 26 tax havens, including Singapore, Ireland and Luxembourg, than they received from the same countries.

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Aussie companies make the most of tax havens

Unless stronger forces prevail, the U.S. is set to relinquish authority of Internet domain naming and maintenance to an international multistakeholder group next year. The move will endanger First Amendment rights, national security and economic growth.

U.S. control of this space has been critical to protecting the freedom of expression throughout the globe.

But the new governing group includes the governments of Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes with abysmal track records on free speech.

Since the Internets inception, the U.S. has overseen the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which assigns and maintains domain names, ensuring individuals and organizations can act online without political interruption or harassment.

But the Obama administration recently agreed to hand ICANN over to a global community of businesses, public interest groups, academics, businesses and governments. Russia and China have postured for this for years.

ICANN head Fadi Chehade said all governments are welcome to be involved in the organizations new rules, and its diverse stakeholders deserve a voice in its governance.

But only countries with constitutional protections for free speech should be in charge of ensuring access to the Internet.

Authoritarian regimes and dictators will suppress human rights and breach international diplomacy with new power, just as they do in other areas of rule. In the past, Saudi Arabia tried to outlaw such domain names as .gay, .bible, .islam and .wine.

Under U.S. control these actions were stopped. But one can only imagine Vladimir Putins response to a website encouraging Ukrainians to protest his actions.

The new groups March meeting in Singapore was less than transparent. Few reports are public, and it is clear theres no plan to keep despots from engaging in censorship.

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Editorial: Global web governance threatens free speech

That's epic!

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Mar 302014

Mythological narratives are getting a major upgrade with science fiction and fantasy writers injecting them with strong doses of reinterpretation and realism, finds Daniel Pinto

Writers are ushering India’s myths into the realm ofspeculative fiction such as sci-fi and fantasy. One such writer isUS-based entrepreneur and IT professional Ravi V whose The ExiledPrince, the first in his Crystal Guardian trilogy, was releasedrecently. The series, told from Rama’s point of view, begins and endsin the British Raj and seeks to seamlessly connect magic, futuristictechnology and the mystical Crystal of Creation which is critical tomankind’s survival.”The series explains events that happen in Rama’slife and the reason why his name sounds in every corner of thiscountry,” says Ravi.However, the writer, who spent three years researchinglegends before embarking upon the series, maintains that he isn’tretelling folklore.

“My series is not the Ramayana; it just usesthe tale as a vehicle to deliver the plot. The book would be auniquely presented perspective with twists and turns in the sciencefiction format, and as one reads between the lines, the lateral plotwill present itself”.When one mentions the marriage of science-fiction andscripture, the seminal comic series Ramayan 3392 AD which wasenvisioned by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and self-help guru DeepakChopra comes to mind. The series, which started in the now defunctVirgin Comics in 2006 in the US, details the exploits of Prince Ramain a post-apocalyptic future where mankind is plagued by Ravan,depicted as a transhuman entity.Shamik Dasgupta, the writer of the series, reveals howthe characters in his universe differ from those in myth.

“Wemade them more realistic and instilled real modern human emotions inthem except Ravan, who is a synthetic being. Rama doesn’t havegreatness bestowed upon him.From the beginning he has to strive andfight for greatness, he has to prove himself in this postmodern,savage, dystopian world, and it is not easy, not by a long shot.”Dasgupta credits the series for revolutionising the artof graphic novels in India. “It is true that Ramayan 3392 AD isresponsible for the emergence of modern graphic novels and comicbooks in India, with high caliber art and intricate storytellingmeant for all ages and not just kids.”Another sci-fi work which is injected with a heavy doseof mythology is The Guardians of Karma. The novel, penned by MohanVizhakat, CTO & EVP of Manappuram Finance Ltd, fills the voidthat is India’s prehistoric past with a saga that sees two advancedcivilizations, the spiritually inclined Dev Lok and theall-conquering Daityan Empire, face off.

“The idea germinated few years back while readingabout the apparent disconnect between Indian mythology’s rich legacyand the lack of any tangible archaeological evidence to support it.This got me thinking that if the myths had any shred of truth, theymust have been long forgotten or misinterpreted, either because ithappened so far back in prehistory that no records have survived orpossibly because all such evidence must be deep under sea ever sincemuch of the habitable world during the ice-age became submerged,during the deluge following global ice-melt,” says Vizhakat.”The book also explores the age-old wisdom of thescriptures from the perspective of modern scientific analysis,especially considering latest advancements in the fields ofrelativity, quantum mechanics, dark energy and biocentrism,”says Vizhakat who added that he relied heavily on mythological themessuch as the destruction of the demonic realms of Tripura depicted ashi-tech, free-floating cities.What is it about the golden age of yore that makes itsuch a haven for anarchronistic technological advancement?

“Anythingrelative to ancient Vedic mythologies can be looked at from thescience fiction point of view. It is known that, the father ofnuclear bomb, RJ Oppenheimer had quoted the Gita and has mentionedthat he may not have been the first to know about these atomicweapons. Take the Brahmastra; it is said as a source that can destroyworlds, like a nuclear weapon. But then these legends used to firethem from a bow and arrow! Did that technology exist or was it purelyfiction? We can’t really say, but it does make a fantastic storyand that spawned imagination of several creative geniuses across theglobe,” says Ravi.The Aryavarta Chronicles, a series by KrishnaUdayasankar, a lecturer at at Nanyang Business School, Singapore, isanother example of a “genre-bending” fantasy books look at thepower tussles in the titular kingdom in India’s distant past. Thoughit reimagines the Mahabharata, there are supernatural elements.

But,that’s not to say there’s no sci-fi. “Utopia is supposed to be theultimate aim or achievement of humankind and science is the tool thatwill get us there. This is the premise of the story. An order ofscholars, the Firewrights, believe that their science and technologyis the means to peace and prosperity until things go wrong and theirweapons became a cause for terrible bloodshed,” she explains.She happily categorises her books as fantasy. “Fantasystories have a structure or flow that fascinates me most of themare stories of an age, that show, in their own way, revolution andchange. It is this element that fascinates me, as also the fact thatthere is a certain sense of dramatic growth and transformation thatcharacters go through as though the story is their journey. Ifeel quite thrilled when readers place The Aryavarta Chronicles asfantasy, the reason being that I think there is the same sense ofmythopoesy, the creation of a story-world distinct and complete initself, not unlike Tolkien’s Middle Earth,” she says

Elaborating on why she chose to keep things real, shesays “Both religion and mythology have been, and still are, usedto legitimise or justify social elements that range from irrelevantto downright reprehensible. So, the attempt to demystify ancientstories is like a quest for a more believable truth, an attempt tomake these amazing characters and stories more ‘real.’ I want tobelieve that things were not always the way they are now; thatequality, compassion and reason were things heroines and heroesfought for and that’s what makes my stories fantasy.”

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That's epic!

A trip sampling the diversity of Southeast Asian destinations can take you from the sleek modernity of Singapore to the ancient temples of Cambodias Angkor Wat. And then there are the beaches of Thailand: relaxing and beautiful with gorgeous stretches of sand, water sports, nearby outdoor activities and cheap food and drink.

Off the Andaman Sea are famed Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, which rose to international prominence after being featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, but the beaches along the Gulf of Thailand have an equally renowned trio of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Each of these has its own charms and attractions, and regular boat service makes it easy to travel among them. All three have vibrant party scenes, as well, drawing young people from around the world.

As for the recent political unrest in Thailand, tourist numbers at the beaches were down midwinter as some visitors canceled trips, but the islands have been unaffected and some hotels have been willing to negotiate room rates.

Heres a look at some of the Thai island destinations:

Koh Samui

This is the main transport center for the islands, with a fancy airport it even includes its own Park Avenue with designer shops and built-up infrastructure.

The island boasts gorgeous beaches all over its coasts. Chaweng Beach appeals to the young; its dotted with hotels for all budgets, open-air massage parlors where you can get an hourlong treatment for less than $10, and vendors peddling everything from corn on the cob and pineapple to beachwear and decorative wooden keepsakes.

Thats by day. By night, the main drag, a block away from the beach, buzzes with thumping music and busy restaurants. The laid-back daytime schedule means the venues dont become crowded until about 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.; penny-pinchers should head to Walking Street for cheap pint bottles of Chang beer, barbecued crocodile or fruit shakes, affordable swimwear and sarongs, and people-watching.

Koh Phangan

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From peacefulness to wild parties on three Thai islands

Mar 182014



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Illuminati Singapore Autumn Annie Trailer
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Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and UK’s University of Southampton (UOS) jointly announced Wednesday the official launch of a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D to develop innovative technological solutions through modelling and simulation using high performance comuting technology to solve technical issues facing the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

The joint laboratory (Joint Lab), operated by A*STARs Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and UOS’ Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), is located on A*STAR premises to promote engagement and more seamless scientific exchanges with researchers from other research fields, such as those from the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

“The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilized for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications,” the joint press release said.

The research areas seek to address two major challenges facing the maritime and offshore sector:

This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyze further R&D (research and development) activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector, Professor Alfred Huan, executive director of IHPC said.

The multidisciplinary research leverages the complementary expertise and skillsets possessed by the SMMI researchers, and IHPC research scientists from the Fluid Dynamics and Engineering Mechanics departments. The collaboration draws upon IHPC’s strength in computational modelling and simulation, and SMMIs strength in marine research. The Joint Lab projects will focus on developing solutions in the marine and offshore sector where the technical challenges are complex and often beyond the capabilities of a single organisation.

The Joint Lab will undertake projects in collaboration with partners in the maritime and offshore R&D community, including researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS) and the IHPC-Lloyds Register Joint Lab co-located within IHPC premises.

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Singapore, UK Researchers Launch Joint Lab for Marine, Offshore R&D

Topics: apple, editors picks, ireland, taxation, tax havens, tech

THE peak group for Australian taxpayers has called for a crackdown on international firms avoiding tax through offshore havens.

The call from Taxpayers Australia came after US tech giant Apple was accused of shifting $8.9 billion in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to Ireland over the past decade.

Taxpayers Australia’s Head of Tax, Mark Chapman, said: “Today’s disclosures about Apple highlight that there is no level playing field for Australian businesses when it comes to tax.

“Firms like Apple are able to set up complex structures which see all their profits siphoned into an Irish holding company which, astonishingly, pays no tax at all anywhere in the world, whilst its Australian operations are no more than low margin shop fronts fully taxable on tiny profits because they are loaded with costs charged by overseas Apple entities.”

Last tax year alone, Apple reported pre-tax earnings of a mere $88.5 million while it simultaneously sent an estimated $2 billion of income from Australian sales to Ireland via Singapore, where it had previously negotiated a tax deal.

“This is all legal but decidedly unfair,” Mr Chapman said.

Apple has not formally responded to the claims in the Australian Financial Review but made it clear it was meeting all of its obligations under Australian tax laws.

Apple says the figures used as the basis for the AFR article were from 2000 to 2009 with no more recent figures.

Apple has not confirmed the accuracy of the figures used by AFR.

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Call for crackdown after Apple shifts $9b profits offshore

1. Singapore, 5 March 2014 Building on the fruitful past decade of UK-Singapore cooperation in scientific research and development, A*STARs Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) officially launched a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D today, to develop innovative technological solutions through modelling and simulation using high performance computing technology, aimed at solving technical issues faced by the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

2. The opening of the joint laboratory symbolises both countries continued commitment to the fostering of greater synergy and cooperation in moving the frontiers of science. The Joint Lab opening was witnessed by UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, The Rt Hon David Willetts MP.

3. As a globally leading maritime hub that is home to many companies in the offshore sector, Singapore provides an excellent base for the development of innovative technological solutions. The long legacy of the UK as a global maritime powerhouse further ensures the synergy of complementary expertise from both organisations that will greatly enhance the maritime, energy and offshore sectors and bring about economic benefits to both countries.

4. The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilised for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications.

5. The research areas are aimed at addressing two major challenges faced by the maritime and offshore sector:

6. Prof. Alfred Huan, Executive Director of IHPC, said: This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyse further R&D activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector.

7. Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton, said: The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute is a world-leading hub for international collaboration which really has no parallel in terms of its scale and ambition. With Singapore being home to the worlds leading maritime economy and supporting major strengths in marine and maritime engineering we are very pleased and excited for the SMMI to be working in collaboration with A*STAR here to deliver a number of projects to develop safer, improved and more efficient offshore and marine structures and ships to deliver real and tangible economic and environmental benefits for the future.

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:: 05, Mar 2014 :: SINGAPORE AND UK RESEARCHERS TEAM UP TO TRANSFORM MARINE & OFFSHORE R&D THROUGH JOINT LAB



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