Thursday, July 29, 2010

Singapore's 40 Wealthiest

Singapore's economic turnaround is gathering speed. The island-state, whose GDP shrank by 1.3% in 2009, is looking to surpass China to become Asia's fastest-growing economy. Its GDP, up 16% in the first quarter, is forecast to rise an impressive 13% to 15% this year. Though a slower revival elsewhere (notably in the U.S. and in China's lower than expected growth in the second quarter) have tempered the gains, the Straits Times Index has risen 12% since last year. The fortunes of the country's 40 richest reflect this resurgence: Their total net worth is $45.7 billion, up from last year's $39 billion.
The family of Ng Teng Fong, who was Singapore's richest individual last year and died in February, is at No. 1 with a combined net worth of $7.8 billion. While right now it isn't clear how the fortune is split among the family, it is one of the few that declined. Although Singapore's property sector overall has been performing well, their stake in Hong Kong developer Tsim Sha Tsui dropped on fears of a slowdown in China. Banker Wee Cho Yaw moved up two ranks to No. 3, as shares in his United Overseas Bank outperformed the market, gaining 17%.
Overall 26 on the list saw their wealth increase, including Malaysian citizen Ong Beng Seng and his wife, Christina Ong, who together are worth a billion for the first time thanks to the better performance of their hotel and retailing empire. Banker Lee Seng Wee also entered the billionaire ranks, in part because we've included the assets of all his siblings and children in his net worth. Another big gainer was chocolate king John Chuang, who is worth $295 million, up from last year's $190 million. Shares in his Petra Foods, which he founded with his brothers, surged nearly 50% since last year.
New to the list but probably not to Forbes Asia readers: New Zealand-born social entrepreneur Richard Chandler, who debuts at No. 5 with a $3.4 billion fortune. He established his Orient Global investment funds in Singapore in 2006, which he recently renamed R.F. Chandler. John Lim, who cofounded ARA Asset Management with Li Ka-Shing’s Cheung Kong Holdings, also makes his debut with a net worth of $202 million. Making a comeback after a two-year absence is retailer Ron Sim, whose company, OSIM, which sells massage chairs and health care products, climbed out of the red after writing off its loss-making investment in U.S. retailer Brookstone.
Only seven on the list are poorer than they were in 2009. Concerns about Beijing's interventions in the property market took a toll on real estate tycoon Zhong Sheng Jian, who made his fortune off China's property boom. His net worth of $1.8 billion was off 10% from last year. Vivian Chandran, who cashed out of her late husband's marine fuel company Chemoil earlier this year, took a hit by selling her 51% stake at a 21% discount to the market price.
A minimum net worth of $190 million was needed to make the cut, up from $135 million in 2009. Four of last year's top 40 failed to make the grade, including shipbuilder Brian Chang, who dropped off the list after four years. Wong Ngit Liong, who runs electronics maker Venture Corp., and Goh Lik Tuan also fell just short.
Public fortunes were calculated using share prices and exchange rates as of July 14. For privately held assets, we estimated what they would be worth if public. This ranking, unlike Forbes' list of the world's billionaires, includes numerous family fortunes shared by individuals with their children and grandchildren, or with their siblings. Where family fortunes are held by extended families, such as the Kwek cousins, we split them into separate entries.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Malaysia may close more dive sites hit by coral bleaching

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia may close three more popular dive sites in the South China Sea which have been hit by coral bleaching blamed on global warming, an official said Wednesday.

Last week authorities announced the closure of nine dive sites on the tropical islands of Tioman and Redang until the end of October in an attempt to relieve stress on the fragile marine ecosystems.

The two islands are located off the east coast of Malaysia in the South China Sea.

Marine authorities said they were studying a proposal to shut down three more sites on Redang island after resort operators said they detected coral bleaching and wanted the diving spots closed.

"We have received the proposal, we will study it and verify the matter," a marine park official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The dive sites will only be closed if more than 60 percent of the coral has been damaged, she added.

The closure would give the coral a chance to regenerate and would remove stress caused by tourism-related activities such as diving.

Coral bleaching, which can eventually kill corals, occurs when stresses such as rising sea temperatures disrupt the delicate, symbiotic relationship between the corals and their host organisms.

The marine department has said 60 to 90 percent of the coral in some areas of the closed sites has been damaged.

The reefs in Redang and Tioman island attract some 500,000 tourists annually.

- AFP/ir

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dropbox 0.8.90 - MS Office file support

Yet another bug fix release, we're still working on integrating selective sync into the tour so stay tuned!
- Allow syncing of files while they are open in Microsoft Office.
- Other small fixes.
Very important note for Windows users. Because of the changes in this build, we would love it if those of you who use Microsoft Office played around with this version. Open files, create new files, save files, small ones, large ones, word, excel, powerpoint. Go nuts! If you should get the dreaded "file in read-only mode" error please note the time when it happened and let us know on here.
Have fun!

For those of you who don't want to risk your Office documents with this build here's the link to the previous build:

Little big dreams

Little Big Dreams

Documentary about the young children at the infamous Li Xiaoshuang Gymnastic School in China, who go through the most rigorous training for at least five years in search of their Olympic dream. We hear from the parents, who are asked what has motivated them to sacrifice their children's childhood and to take them away from the heart of the family at such a tender age.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Direct Links to download Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (and 2 and 1)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a image and photo management software for Mac OS X and Windows which is designed to help professional photographers in managing thousands of digital images and doing post production work, with viewing, editing and publishing or showcasing capability.

Adobe has released a new version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which is version 3 on June 8, 2010, after releasing beta since October 2009. New features that been included in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 are:
  • Chroma and luminance noise reduction
  • Accelerated performance
  • Lens correction
  • Support for DSLR video files
  • Flickr integration
  • Image watermarking
  • Easy-to-share slide show videos with music
  • Easy image importing
  • Tethered shooting
  • Perspective correction
  • Film grain simulation
  • Flexible custom print packages
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3
Adobe is offering free download of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 trial evaluation version, which lasts for 30 days free usage. However, to download Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 trial demo from Adobe requires users to create or sign into Adobe account. To workaround Adobe account requirement, end-user can try to use the following direct download link to the genuine, authentic, and original setup installers of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. The download is the same which user will download from official Adobe website, and is hosted on Adobe servers. The download links also allow user to download Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 without Akamai Download Manager.
Note: The trial version can be converted to full production and fully licensed version by simply entering a genuine activation product serial key number from retail or volume licensing channel and activate the product and unlock all restrictions.
Important: For the direct download links of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 to work, downloader has to visit and click on “Try” link of at least one Adobe product in order to set the proper download cookies which permit direct download. For convenience, just click here, which is the link to download Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 trial. If the step above still does not allow direct download, register and/or login to Adobe account. Otherwise, an “Access Denied” error message will be displayed indicating you don’t have permission to access the file.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Direct Download Links
Language supported: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified)
Mac OS X:
As a bonus, below is the direct download to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (original first version) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
English Mac:
English Windows:
French Mac:
French Windows:
German Mac:
German Windows:
Japanese Mac:
Japanese Windows:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2
English Mac:
English Windows:
French Mac:
French Windows:
German Mac:
German Windows:
Japanese Mac:
Japanese Windows:
Both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) setup installers are contained inside the package.