Singapore digest news (26.09-01.10)

Photo by Anna Smirnova

Singapore and Laos to strengthen cooperation ahead of 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations

Singapore and Laos will strengthen cooperation in various areas including sustainability and environmental protection as well as urban planning and logistics, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (Sep 28).

The Laos prime minister's visit comes ahead of a key milestone in 2024, which will mark the 50th anniversary of Singapore and Laos diplomatic ties.

Mr Lee shared that the two countries have signed an agreement on energy cooperation and have also renewed an existing agreement on environmental protection, climate change, and water resource management.

This will facilitate mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise and create green growth opportunities for both countries' businesses, he said.


Singapore's SATS buying Worldwide Flight Services for S$1.65 billion to create global leader

Singapore-based ground handling services firm SATS is acquiring Paris-based Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) for S$1.65 billion cash, to create the world's biggest global air cargo handler, the companies said.

SATS is buying WFS from an affiliate of US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. The deal will be the biggest acquisition by SATS, which has a market value of S$4.35 billion and counts state investor Temasek Holdings as its single biggest shareholder, according to Refinitiv data.


Singapore could reduce Changi Airport's air-con carbon footprint, in bid to become sustainable air hub

Singapore will consider further reducing the air-conditioning carbon footprint at Changi Airport, and potentially install solar panels near the airport's runway in a concerted push to become a sustainable aviation hub.

The panel was formed in February to discuss how international aviation could be made more sustainable and accessible - and how Singapore could contribute to this effort, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a media release on Friday.

Over the past six months, the partners had four meetings and moderated six deep dive sessions with more than 120 local and international representatives from the aviation sector before coming up with the recommendations.


Replace regular salt with alternatives, says HPB in push to reduce sodium intake in Singapore

To reduce sodium intake in Singapore, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) is pushing people to switch from regular salt to lower-sodium alternatives. This is a major factor for cardiovascular disease and strokes, and the upward trend applies to all subgroups of age, gender and ethnicity, said HPB in a media briefing on Monday (Sep 28).

Singapore residents consume an average of 3,600mg of sodium, or more than one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt, a day. This is almost double that of the World Health Organization’s recommended daily limit of less than 2,000mg of sodium. And sodium intake is growing as people in Singapore eat out more often, said HPB.

About 75 per cent of Singapore residents’ sodium intake comes from added salt, which refers to salt, sauces or seasoning added to meals. The remaining 25 per cent is “hidden” sodium in processed food. This sets Singapore apart from Western countries where the main contributor of sodium in diets is processed food.

HPB aims to reduce Singapore’s sodium intake by about 15 per cent over the next five years, shaving off a quarter teaspoon of salt per person per day.


Workers must be open to training themselves, but employers must also reward workers adequately: Lawrence Wong

Workers must be open to training themselves and adopting new ways of doing things but employers must also reward workers adequately, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Wednesday (Sep 28).

Speaking at the National Wages Council (NWC) 50th anniversary dinner, Mr Wong said this applies especially in sectors where there is limited scope for productivity improvement for lower-wage workers.

“And as consumers, as taxpayers, we must be prepared to share the cost too, by paying a little more to help those who are less advantaged earn more and be valued for their work. And then together we can build a society where no one is left to fend for themselves and where every worker can secure fulfilling and dignified lives,” he said in his speech.

Singapore must never allow wages to stagnate and income gaps to widen, said Mr Wong.