For the second year running, Singapore has been voted the top place for expats’ to live and work in 2016. The country topped the list of countries, in HSBC’s ninth annual Expat Explorer survey.
More than 60% of expats earnt more in Singapore, than they did in their own country. Nearly half, felt they were healthier living in Singapore. 84% of expats said the island was safer than their own country. 75% said the level of education was better than their original country. 58% of expats felt Singapore is a good place to start a business.
Switzerland offers the best wages, with annual incomes around US$188,000. In Singapore, the average expat salary is US$139,000. This is significantly higher than the global average of US$97,000.
Fancy a cuppa British grown tea? You might say they don’t have tea plantations in Britain. Surprisingly, yes they do. British tea is now grown in Scotland and Cornwall, and what’s more, it’s a rapidly growing business.
Climate change is one reason why this is happening. The cool, wet British climate is now ideal, as it is helping the plantations to thrive. British entrepreneurship and business is another reason. The result is, exports of British tea are now causing a stir in China and Japan.
At the Tregothnan tea plantation in Truro, Cornwall, yields are about 35% higher than in 2015. This is due to the very wet and mild winter and the perfect tea growing conditions this year.
It may surprise you but today there are thousands of people around the world stuck in modern day slavery. It is a scandal that many governments are failing to tackle.
You might be thinking slavery was abolished in the 19th century. It was, only today it is once again flourishing. It is a global issue that needs resolving. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently reported that 21 million people, five million of whom are children, are victims of forced labour.
Today, let’s talk about ‘The Green Wall of China’. This is a huge area of land that stretches right across the northern part of China where a great wall of trees has been planted to try to stop the expansion of the Gobi Desert.
Since 1978 the Chinese government has been planting these trees to try to reverse the widespread deforestation that previously took place in China. Recent studies have suggested the project, which is actually called ‘The Three-North Shelter Forest Programme’, has been a success. They found year-on-year the increased vegetation has helped lower the levels of dust storm intensity. By 2050, 100 billion trees will be planted across a tenth of the country.
Recently the last telegram was sent in India. The country’s State-run telegraph service shut down in mid July following decades of decline. Telegrams have been replaced by text messages and emails. Most young people today have never seen a telegram!
In the old days telegrams brought happy and sad news to millions of Indians every year. A knock at the door could bring a sense of foreboding when one heard the word “telegram”.
Category: Communication / Telegram / India
Have you seen it? Can you do it? What am I talking about? I’m talking about Gangnam Style. It’s daft, fun, and it’s caught people’s attention around the world. The song, sung by the Korean pop artist PSY, has become an international hit. More importantly, the dance that goes with it, has caught on – big time!
Category: Korean Music / PSY / Gangnam Style
Recently a fascinating story caught my eye. It’s about 20 Spitfires buried in Burma at the end of World War II that have suddenly been discovered! It’s like something out of a boy’s adventure book or an Indiana Jones story. A British farmer’s quest to find a squadron of legendary fighter planes lost in Burma during the war has finally paid off.
Lincolnshire farmer David Cundall, 62, has spent about US$207,000, travelled to Burma a dozen times and negotiated with the cagey Burmese government. All in the hope of finding a stash of iconic British Spitfires that are buried somewhere in the South Eastern Asian country.
Burying planes might sound a bit odd but was commonplace at the end of WWII as the conflict wound down and new jet aircraft replaced propeller-driven fighters. Many aircraft were scrapped, buried or sunk by Allies Forces in order to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.
Category: Discoveries / Aviation / Spitfires
Bangkok - Floodwater continues to pour into the Thai capital flooding outlying areas of the city, forcing many of its two million residents to evacuate. This has provoked intense anger from those living in the deluged districts. Residents in some suburbs feel their districts have been sacrificed to save the city centre.
The government says efforts to protect the centre from the rising floodwaters have been largely successful. The threat of disease now looms for those having to wade through these floodwaters. The water in the outlying areas now has sewage, rubbish and dead animals in it.
Charities working in the country warn about diarrhoea, dengue fever and malaria in the coming weeks. Immediate threats include mosquitoes that are breeding rapidly, and people are afraid of snakes and crocodiles in the waist high waters. Accumulated flood water caused by weeks of monsoon rain is still draining from the central provinces through channels in and around Bangkok to the sea. Officials are warning it will be many weeks before the situation stabilises.
Category: Thailand / Bangkok / Flooding
The Taj Mahal in India could collapse within five years unless urgent action is taken to shore up its wooden foundations, campaigners have warned. The 358-year-old marble mausoleum is India’s most famous tourist attraction, bringing four million visitors a year to the northern city of Agra. But the river crucial to its survival is being blighted by pollution, industry and deforestation.
Campaigners believe the foundations have become brittle and are disintegrating. Cracks appeared last year in parts of the tomb, and the four minarets which surround the monument are showing signs of tilting. The Taj Mahal was built by Mogul emperor Shah Jahan, who was griefstricken by the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in childbirth. A campaign by historians, environmentalists and politicians says time is running out to prevent ‘a looming crisis’.
Category: Places to Visit / India / Taj Mahal
Forest loss across the world has slowed, largely due to a switch from felling to planting in Asia. China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines have all seen their forested areas increase in size. There are also gains in North America and Europe, but forests are being lost in Latin America and Africa driven by rising demand for food and firewood. The findings come in the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) State of the World’s Forests report.
The FAO’s reports formal launch recently at the UN headquarters in New York co-insides with the start of the UN’s International Year of Forests. The initiative aims to raise awareness of conservation among governments and other stakeholders. The FAO is urging governments to explore ways of generating income from forests that do not depend on chopping trees down.
Forests now cover 40m sq km – just less than one third of the earth’s land surface. Although 52,000 sq km were lost between 2000 and 2010, that was a marked improvement on the 83,000 sq km annual figure seen during the previous decade. Europe traditionally has been the region with the biggest increase but now Asia has overtaken it. A net loss in Asia during the period 1990-2000 has been transformed into a net gain in the decade since.
Category: UN / Forests / Conservation