Singapore jumps 11 spots, surpasses Hong Kong in EIU liveability ranking for the first time ever

Singapore moves up the Global Liveability Ranking list to its highest-ever spot this year.
The Straits Times
The perks of living in Singapore are increasing, the results of a new global study shows. Singapore jumped 11 places on the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Global Liveability Ranking this year to take the 35th spot among 140 cities across the world. For the first time ever, the city-state rose above Hong Kong, which fell two spots into 45th place despite an unchanged score. Cities in EIU's list are given scores for their lifestyle challenges. According to EIU, improving educational attainment indicators boosted Singapore to its highest-ever position in the ranking. "Singapore's jump up the rankings can be attributed to consistent and impressive improvements in educational attainment, which has delivered a perfect score for education and pushed the overall score for the city-state above 90% for the first time since the survey began," Jon Copestake, editor of the survey said. [caption id="attachment_373043" align="alignnone" width="370"] EIU 2017 Liveability Index[/caption] "However it is worth remembering that, although ten ranking places now separate Hong Kong and Singapore the difference between them is marginal at just 1.6% and both comfortably sit in the top tier of liveability where there are few, if any, challenges to lifestyle," Copestake said. As expected, Melbourne in Australia topped the ranking for the seventh year running, while Damascus remained at the bottom. [caption id="attachment_373044" align="alignnone" width="822"] EIU 2017 Liveability Index[/caption] Globally, 12 cities saw liveability improve while six cities which recorded declines. Half of the cities which improved were in Asia and included Singapore, Shanghai, Bandar Seri Begawan, Phnom Penh, Colombo and Port Moresby. Most of these improvements were largely attributed to infrastructural improvements and broadening cultural availability. After a decade of consecutive declines, global liveability is finally showing an improvement, EIU said in its announcement of the list. "Although it is marginal, with an annual average improvement of just 0.06 percentage points across the overall scores of the 140 cities surveyed, it does represent a potential milestone for the ranking," the statement said. And while liveability appears to have stabilised, the study also noted that recent attacks in Manchester, London and Stockholm have highlighted the continued threat from global terrorism.

SE Asia Stocks-Singapore hits 1-month low as financials drag

Singapore shares hit a one-month low on Wednesday, dragged down by financials, while other Southeast Asian stock markets were subdued in line with Asia as tensions in the Korean peninsula simmered down a little. The Singapore index lost as much as 1.1%, with financial stocks accounting for more than half of the losses. Top lenders DBS Group Holdings fell as much as 1.4% and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) slipped 1.8%. "The interest rates have not really been rising as much as people are expecting, so that will definitely impact the interest margin going forward," said Joel Ng, an analyst with KGI Securities in Singapore. "Another reason has also been that many of the oil and gas companies are now having huge write downs on their assets. I think that is also affecting the banks somewhat." Singapore's offshore and marine industry has been hit by low oil prices, weak charter rates and delays to projects, forcing many firms to restructure debt and cut costs. Energy stocks also fell, with offshore rig builder Keppel Corp shares were down as much as 1.7% on Wednesday, while Sembcorp Industries was down 1.3%. In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, while the dollar rallied to its highest level against a basket of major currencies in nearly three weeks. Thai shares fell 0.1%, hurt by financials and energy stocks. Telecommunications company Samart Corp fell as much as 4.4%, on track for a fifth session of losses. Thailand's central bank on Wednesday is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged where it has been more than two years, a Reuters poll showed. Philippine shares were marginally higher, while Indonesia rose as much as 0.3%.

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An executive at one of Singapore’s largest IT retailers reveals the top 5 gadgets that get millennials excited

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1. Bluetooth devices Favoured by busy go-getters, wireless devices are well-liked because they solve the issue of having to deal with pesky cables. Additionally, they connect to multiple devices simultaneously, so users won't have to physically unplug from one device to connect to another. According to Ms Loo, some of the more popular brands include the sleek and simple Jaybird range and designer audio electronics brand Bang & Olufsen.
Freedom wireless buds
Jaybird product page
Beoplay M5 wireless speaker
Bang & Olufsen product page
2. Power banks  Ever rushed out of the home with only to be greeted with the dreaded "battery is low" alert on your phone? We've all been there. The need to charge one's phone (and other gadgets) while out and about is why high-capacity power banks have been Challenger's top selling products in recent years, Ms Loo says.
iWalk Extreme Trio 6000mAh Power Bank
Challenger product page
3. Touchscreen hybrids Millennials lead a fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle and their gadgets are reflecting their choices. "Flat, touchscreen hybrids like the Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga that toggle between being a workhorse and an entertainment tablet have become increasingly the norm," disclosed Ms Loo. These snazzy gadgets are portable devices that can function as either a laptop or tablet computer, with the added advantage of a touchscreen user interface.
Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft product page
Lenovo Yoga 900
Lenovo product page
4. Fitness trackers In this age, not much of our lives can escape the smart revolution. Even our workouts are smart these days. Being health-conscious means that millennials love having wearable fitness trackers tell them how healthy they've been. Some of the more popular brands you might have noticed at the gym include Fitbit and Garmin.
Alta HR
Fitbit product page
Vívosmart® HR+
Garmin product page
5. Drones Drones are so popular that they were the highlight of the National Day Parade this year. Considered one of the most resourceful and multipurpose innovations of this century, these devices are unmanned aircrafts controlled from the ground, or even pre-programmed to follow a certain route. Although it's primarily used in the military, commercial drones are available and they're quickly becoming one of the trendiest gadgets millennials want. That's why whenever new stock arrives, brands like DJI and Parrot often sell out quickly, says Ms Loo.  
Inspire 2
DJI product page
Parrot product page

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In fact, Singapore is in the bottom three regionally when in comes to employee engagement.
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[caption id="attachment_372136" align="alignnone" width="780"] Britons Michael Le (left), Khong Tam Thanh (right) were among the three men sentenced for aggravated molestation of a drunk woman at Carlton Hotel in 2016.[/caption] Three Britons have been sentenced to jail and caning in Singapore on Tuesday (Aug 15), a day after pleading guilty to reduced charges of aggravated molestation. The three men went on trial two weeks ago for the rape of a Malaysian woman who was drunk and fell asleep at Carlton Hotel in September 2016. According to The Straits Times, the trio took a week to consider the reduced charges and eventually pleaded guilty to outraging the woman's modesty by having sex with her while wrongfully restraining her. Among the trio, Vu Thai Son, 24, was given the longest jail sentence of 6½ years, in addition to eight strokes of the cane. Khong Tam Thanh, 22, was sentenced to six years' jail and also eight strokes of the cane. The third man, Michael Le, 24, was sentenced to 5½ years in jail and five strokes of the cane. Thanh and Son each also admitted to another charge of outrage of modesty. The Straits Times reported that this was for committing another sexual act on the woman, who was 22 years old at the time. During sentencing, Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng said the men took advantage of the woman's vulnerable state. "In doing so, they showed no respect for her dignity and autonomy, and no regard for any harm and hurt they might cause to her," the judge was quoted as saying. For more on the case, go to The Straits Times.