Ahad, 6 April 2014

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

AFP honoured at Asia human rights media awards

Posted: 06 Apr 2014 06:28 AM PDT

Hong Kong (AFP) - Agence France-Presse received three honours at the Human Rights Press Awards held in Hong Kong Sunday for articles and photography covering South Asia that judges praised for their depth of quality and ambition.

The 18th annual edition of the pan-Asian awards was held jointly by the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Foreign Correspondents' Club, and the Hong Kong chapter of Amnesty International.

Ammu Kannampilly, AFP's bureau chief in Nepal who was formerly a reporter in the New Delhi office, received first prize in the English-language online category for her story "The Children Who Work in India's Rat-Hole Coal Mines"

"Ammu's work in telling the story of child labour behind the boom in commodities and renascent economies of Asia was thorough, compelling and powerful," commented journalist Douglas Wong, a member of the judging panel.

"At a time when news organisations struggle to allocate resources to the human -- let alone human rights -- stories that matter, the judges were delighted to see work of this calibre," he said.

Charlotte Turner of the New Delhi bureau won a merit prize for a story about the rape and abuse of war widows in the former Tamil battlefields of Sri Lanka's north.

Sri Lankan Tamil school children ride bicycles in Jaffna on November 18, 2013. - AFP

Dhaka photographer Munir uz Zaman was commended in the feature photography category for a heart-rending series of images taken after the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in April 2013, which killed more than 1,100 people.

"These three commendations pay tribute to AFP's commitment to high-quality, original reporting, informing the world of the stories that lie beneath the surface at a time of breakneck change in Asia," said AFP's Asia-Pacific regional director, Gilles Campion. - AFP


Sri Lankan Tamil school children ride bicycles in Jaffna on November 18, 2013

Singaporeans prefer to retire at 55

Posted: 05 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

FOUR out of 10 Singaporeans would choose to retire at the age of 55, a survey revealed.

However, two in three are realistic, and know that they will have to work until at least 60, international recruitment firm Randstad found.

The desire to retire early could worsen the labour crunch, Randstad's country director for Singapore Michael Smith warned.

"Singapore is already facing a talent crisis, with many organisations finding it difficult to meet the demand for skills," he said.

"If a situation arises where a large group of the talent pool are unwilling to work to the retirement age, this will make the talent shortage challenge even more acute for organisations here."

Randstad said that firms can take steps to coax their staff to work longer.

Incentives could include offering older workers a more relaxed schedule, cutting the number of work hours and creating a friendlier work place.

The official retirement age in Singapore is 62, although bosses must offer healthy workers, who have performed satisfactorily, re-employment from ages 62 to 65 – or give them a one-off payment.

The Government is also looking at extending the re-employment age to 67, and more details are expected later this year.

More than 6,500 workers in Singapore aged 18 to 65 took part in the Randstad online poll between November and December last year.

The survey did not go into the workers' financial details, such as how they expect to support themselves in their retirement years.

But it found that three in five workers rank salary and benefits as most important when choosing a job.

The same proportion of workers also said they expect their bosses to be reliable, honest and sincere when handling staff.

Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, said: "It is part of the progress of society, where workers want to slow down as they grow older. But these workers can still be productive, so the onus is on bosses to try to retain them."

Former zookeeper Francis Lim, 59, retired four years ago, but said that the move was not without its trade-offs.

"I rely mostly on my savings and live frugally," he said, adding: "(But I get to) enjoy a slow pace of life and can find time for spiritual development." — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Parents’ expectations of children higher now

Posted: 05 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PARENTS' aspirations for their children to achieve have become more intense and that has led to couples thinking twice before having kids, said Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing.

"Expectations have clearly changed. In the past, it was first have the kid and then figure out how to bring up the kid. Now it's the other way around," said Chan, who was speaking at at a family empowerment lecture at the Singapore Expo organised by Jamiyah Singapore.

Speaking to 3,000 parents at the event, Chan recounted how an elderly couple he had met were proud of their six children, who are graduates and own their own homes now. Their children had shared food and beds while growing up in a one-room flat.

But when asked if the couple had any grandchildren, they sternly told Chan that their children were concerned about the cost of having kids, even though they are better off today.

Chan also pointed out other challenges Singapore families face today. As a small country, he said that Singapore's cultural values will be affected by new value systems across the globe. Family sizes are also getting smaller over the years.

To help keep families intact, Jamiyah's president Mohd Hasbi Abu Bakar said its recently renovated Jamiyah Counselling Centre is one avenue in which the organisation is reaching out to couples with relationship issues.

One in two of the 120 marital counselling cases handled by the centre monthly has resulted in a couple reconciling. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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