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Taiwan, US to sign trade deal in Washington amidst growing pressure from China

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The United States and Taiwan are set to sign a trade deal, sparking tensions with Beijing. The agreement aims to streamline customs, enhance regulatory procedures, and strengthen anticorruption measures. China strongly opposes any diplomatic relations involving Taiwan, which it considers its territory. Beijing's military drills and aggressive rhetoric towards Taiwan have escalated in recent years. Bipartisan support for Taiwan exists in the United States, with politicians from both parties publicly engaging with Taiwanese officials.

PAP Town Councils to implement phased hike in Service and Conservancy Charges due to...

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Amid escalating costs, Singapore's People's Action Party (PAP) town councils will raise Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) in two phases over the next two years. The increase will affect HDB residents, commercial properties, and market and food stalls. The first increment takes effect on July 1, 2023, with the next on July 1, 2024. Marine Parade Town Council stated that government funding support has helped to moderate the hikes, which are necessary to maintain estate upkeep and long-term maintenance funds.

Dramatic “daylight car robbery” in Penang shocks onlookers

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Dramatic daylight car robbery shocks road users in Penang, Malaysia. A young man was forcibly removed from his car in the middle of a busy junction in Butterworth, with the vehicle subsequently driven away. Video footage of the incident has rapidly spread online. Butterworth North police chief, ACP Mohd Asri Shafie, stated no relevant information has yet been received on the case. Rumours suggest the incident might involve a loan shark reclaiming a defaulted vehicle.

HDB addresses long waiting times for latest launch of BTO flats, yet applicants continue...

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Applicants faced frustrations during the HDB flat application process, citing long waiting times and technical issues. Some encountered difficulties with loading pages, reaching the hotline, and submitting feedback. Despite improvements, applicants continued to struggle, calling the application process "horrible" and challenging. They expressed hope that the Housing Development Board would swiftly address the bugs and provide a smoother experience in future launches

Singaporeans with dementia find their groove at silent disco

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Residents at a Singapore care home danced to golden oldies in a silent disco for people with dementia. The playlist, featuring songs from the 1940s to the 1980s, evoked happy memories and provided comfort. The initiative, inspired by similar ones in the UK and Australia, aims to help people with dementia through the power of music. The program, called "Return to the Tea Dance," has been adopted by multiple establishments in Singapore. As the residents sang along to Doris Day's "Que Sera Sera," their nostalgic journey continued.

US trial opens over alleged forced repatriation of Chinese abroad

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The first federal trial in the United States regarding China's alleged forced repatriation campaign, known as "Operation Fox Hunt," has commenced in New York. The trial involves three defendants accused of coercing US residents, who were wanted for alleged crimes in China, to return. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks, with the defendants facing up to ten years in prison if convicted. The US government has previously prosecuted Chinese nationals involved in surveillance and harassment activities within the country.

EU, US ready common code of conduct on artificial intelligence

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The European Union (EU) and the United States have announced their plans to soon release a voluntary code of conduct on artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to establish common standards among democracies. As China makes rapid strides in AI, both political and technology industry leaders have raised concerns about potential risks to privacy and civil liberties. The code of conduct aims to address these issues and invite like-minded countries to join the initiative. The EU and US also discussed cooperation on AI standards and tools, while emphasizing the need to mitigate risks associated with the transformative technology.

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