With orderly Singapore turning 50, citizens may see a freer society

With orderly Singapore turning 50, citizens may see a freer society
News from Los Angeles Times:

This former British colony of 5.5 million people bustles in a uniquely orderly way. The banyan-shaded boulevards are teeming, but never too crowded. Street-food vendors are corralled into designated centers. The occasional flatbed truck, loaded with a dozen laborers, whizzes past omnipresent Mercedes-Benzes.

An economic miracle built on Southeast Asian marshland, Singapore boasts the world’s eighth-highest per capita income — $ 55,200, according to the International Monetary Fund. But politics are monopolized by one party, and surveys by human rights groups such as Freedom House say Singapore does not have a free press and even its Internet is only partly free.

This summer the strictly run city-state will mark its golden jubilee of independence. In Singaporeans’ characteristic penchant for corporate-style acronyms, the milestone is being called SG50: a tidy shorthand that masks the rumblings of discontent the government is facing — and fighting.

Some signs indicate that business may not carry on as usual at Singapore Inc. much longer.

Long-ailing founding father Lee Kuan Yew, 91, is hospitalized and on a ventilator, and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 63, recently battled a second bout of cancer and has signaled plans to step down after his next term. Some hope a changing of the guar…………… continues on Los Angeles Times

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Israel’s Moshe Kahlon emerges from election as key player
News from Chicago Tribune:

JERUSALEM — Moshe Kahlon, an economic populist running for the first time as a party leader, emerged from Israel’s elections as a likely key player in the next government.

Kahlon, 54, became a consumer champion as communications minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when he allowed new competitors into the cellular phone market, cutting the cost of mobile phone calls by 90 percent. He later broke with Likud over economic policy and last year founded his Kulanu party, which won 10 seats in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results.

Netanyahu’s Likud captured as many as 30 seats in Israel’s 120-member parliament, according to preliminary tallies, giving the premier a clear lead over opposition leader Isaac Herzog. The result still leaves Likud far short of the majority needed to form a government, putting Kahlon in a position to provide the premier with the needed margin to build a coalition.

“We never ha…………… continues on Chicago Tribune

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