Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trump won’t allow you to use iPads or laptops on certain airlines. Here’s why.

By Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman

March 21

Britain joined the U.S. in creating new restrictions for passengers traveling on flights from airports in several Muslim-majority countries. Here's what you need to know. (Monica Akhtar, Dani Player/The Washington Post)

From Tuesday on, passengers traveling to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will not be allowed to have iPads, laptops or any communications device larger than a smartphone in the cabin of the plane. If you are traveling from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or the UAE on Egypt Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Turkish Airlines, and you want to use your laptop on the flight, you are probably out of luck.

US Politics: The balance of power between POTUS, SCOTUS, and Congress

["Check and Balance" is a philosophy of US Democracy. Their inherent and historic ambivalence and distrust of government led to the separation of powers and the ability of each branch of government to check on the other so that there can never be a dictator. Hence, the President of the United States (POTUS) may make executive orders, but the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) can check that, and stay the order. Congress can make the laws, but POTUS need to assent, and SCOTUS needs to uphold or rule on cases brought before them.

All well and good and it seems to be fine. Every 4 years, POTUS faces an election, and need the mandate of the people. Every 2 years, 1/3 of the Senators and some Representatives face elections to be affirmed, re-affirmed, or rejected by the people.

But appointment to SCOTUS is for life. And in that "longevity" lies the means to influence the lives of US citizens.

Gorsuch’s big fat lie

By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Opinion writer

March 22 2017

With a shrewdly calculated innocence, Judge Neil Gorsuch told a big fat lie at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Because it was a lie everyone expected, nobody called it that.

“There’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch, the amiable veteran of many Republican campaigns, is well-placed to know how serious a fib that was. As Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) noted, President Trump’s nominee for Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat actually received a citation for helping win confirmation for Republican-appointed judges.

We now have an ideological judiciary. To pretend otherwise is naive and also recklessly irresponsible because it tries to wish away the real stakes in confirmation battles.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creating an ecosystem to win a non-conventional war


MARCH 22, 2017

The concept of battle is changing. The recent announcements by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen during the Committee of Supply debates represent important acknowledgements that the Ministry of Defence’s (Mindef) thinking on cyber issues and information warfare, as well as the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) doctrine, are moving in step with global developments.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

World War II started in 1937 in Asia, not 1939 in Europe, says Oxford historian

Professor Rana Mitter tells Conversation With why the war began with Japan’s conflict with China, not when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the date most history books use. 
By Lin Xueling

16 Mar 2017

OXFORD - Many history texts use 1939 as the date marking the start of the Second World War. More America-centric accounts use 1941, the year Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

However, using recently-released documentation, Oxford University professor of history Rana Mitter argues that the real start of the global conflict was 1937 - when Japan attacked China in what has been called the Marco Polo Bridge incident, outside of Beijing.

Prof Mitter’s book, The Forgotten Ally, points out that the terrible eight-year-long conflict took a massive toll on China, with more than 14 million Chinese dead.

By comparison, military and civilian casualties for the US and United Kingdom combined totaled around 900,000.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kim Jong-nam killing spawns intriguing conspiracy theories

MARCH 2, 2017

BEIJING — The sensational assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother in a Kuala Lumpur airport two weeks ago is incomprehensible to most people.

To begin to understand this apparent act of fratricide, one needs to recognise that North Korea is essentially a medieval absolute monarchy ruled by an insecure and tyrannical 33-year-old.

For all its modern twists — the use of VX nerve agent, the suspected assassins’ professed belief they were part of a reality TV show, the “LOL” (“laugh out loud”) acronym across a T-shirt worn by one of the accused women — this was murder in the mode of a Plantagenet or Ottoman Sultan.

The “young marshal”, as Kim Jong-un insists on being called, was fearful that his 46-year-old half-brother Jong-nam had a better claim to the throne and that he might one day usurp him with the help of China or the West.

Time for Singapore to embrace a freelance, contract workforce


Miranda Lee

February 15, 2017

Contingent labour is on the rise. According to the Manpower Ministry’s 2015 Labour Force Report, there were 202,400 contract employees in Singapore, forming 11.3 per cent of the resident workforce.

The rising numbers of contract workers and self-employed persons are forcing employers and regulators to refocus their efforts on work reorganisation.

In 2016, a total of 19,000 people were retrenched or had their contracts terminated, up from 15,580 the year before.

Last week, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say announced that annual job growth had stabilised, and is expected to range between 25,000 and 40,000, down from 100,000 to 120,000 in times of robust economic growth.

Why paying people for not having jobs is a bad idea

Jonathan Eyal
Europe Correspondent

Mar 13 2017

Support for a universal basic income is growing but the idea is as ill-conceived as communism

LONDON • Would you like to live in a country where the government pays you a salary from the moment you're born and continues to transfer into your bank account each month a sum of money sufficient to cover all your necessary expenses for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you work or not?

Some would no doubt view such an arrangement as the nearest thing to paradise, while others would recoil with horror, dismissing such a vision as a classic example of the welfare state gone mad. But the idea of providing everyone with a "universal basic income" (or UBI as it is now known) has already gone beyond utopia, and is now all the rage among politicians.

It is touted by Mr Benoit Hamon, the Socialist candidate in France's presidential elections. It is also a central plank in the electoral campaign of Mr Lee Jae Myung, one of South Korea's three leading presidential candidates.