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Friday, October 28, 2011

From sexy to sweet

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 | The New Paper
By Kwok Kar Peng
While the men are going all out to up the sex factor, the women are ironically toning it down.

Over the last two decades, the Jeffrey Chung Models annual calendar has become synonymous with scantily-clad local female models striking suggestive poses that at times bordered on the sleazy.

In the 1998 calendar, the models were photographed covering their breasts with porcelain bowls and butterfly props.

The 2008 one, though relatively mild, saw the girls in bikinis and other types of swimwear.

But the 2012 calendar, featuring 10 female and three male models, is another story.

It is squeaky clean.

Done in an artistic manner with mini cupcakes and doughnuts adorning the girls, the only "cleavage" in sight came from their muscular male counterparts.

The raunchiest photo - a half-body shot - is of a girl wearing only a bra. Even then, her arms block her breasts and, to put it bluntly, there's nothing to see.

So why the cover-up?

Mr Jeffrey Chung, 44, owner of the local modelling agency, told The New Paper he wanted to break away from the norm.

He said: "I've made sexy calendars since 1992. It was a lingerie issue and I wanted to showcase the nice figures and faces my models had.

"Now, I want something new and different. I also want to show my models are versatile and can do all kinds of shoots."

Nevertheless, he anticipates his clients won't be too happy with the less-than-sexy photos.

He added: "My models were dressed in dresses and gowns in the 2009 calendar and my clients told me they preferred to see sexier photos.

"But this year, maybe my calendars will appeal to another market, like the family-oriented people."

Mr Chung distributes the calendars to his business clients every year because he wants them to be reminded of his models every day.

He sold the calendars to the public in 2004 and 2005, but stopped when his clients complained the calendars lacked exclusivity.

This year, he will distribute 1,000 calendars to his clients, while another 3,000 calendars will be given out by the patisserie House Of Mini which created the sweet treats in the photo shoot.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

- Ref:asia one;Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

Young working S'poreans not saving enough: Survey

04:47 AM Oct 28, 2011
SINGAPORE - Young working adults in Singapore are not saving enough. Indeed, nearly half may not be saving at all.

According to a survey by HSBC, about 48 per cent of over 1,000 respondents aged 30 to 39 in Singapore say they have no short-term savings. And only 30 per cent of those married or living together, aged 40 to 49, are protecting their assets. Of those aged 50 to 59, 34 per cent do not have retirement plans, while only 12 per cent undertake tax planning.

These findings are part of HSBC's The Future of Retirement programme, an independent study of global retirement trends.

In Singapore, HSBC found that 24 per cent of parents do not have any life insurance policy. About 53 per cent or more than half of all parents do not have individual term life insurance despite having dependent children. And eight in 10 parents here have not made a will either.

Among parents in Singapore who do have financial plans for their families, 24 per cent, or nearly a quarter, do not have any type of life insurance included in their plans.

Mr Walter de Oude, chief executive of HSBC Insurance in Singapore, said: "We are seeing a major protection gap where many Singapore families, especially those with dependent children, are failing to recognise the benefits of life insurance protection."

Still, maintaining a private retirement fund or life insurance does rank above investing in stocks and shares here, with around 20 per cent opting for the former, compared to 12 per cent for the latter.

"It is understandable that many people are cautious about having to make a trade-off between risk and long-term financial reward. Indeed, a preference for safer investment options is not an unexpected response given the investment market conditions since the financial crisis of 2008," added Mr de Oude.

The survey also found that Singaporean men are more proactive than women in making financial decisions concerning both retirement planning and household budgeting.

- Ref:itoday news
-Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Foreign escorts using blog to net clients

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 | The Star/Asia News Network
Foreign women are using a new method to provide escort services, Harian Metro reported.

The daily reported that one could select their choice of women via a blog and book them via SMS.

The "Pretty Women Club" has a range of women aged between 19 and 24 from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines who advertise their services on a blog with their photographs and names displayed.

One just have to choose from the photographs listed under eight different operation centres and send them an SMS without needing to go through a middleman.

Bukit Aman anti-vice, gaming and secret societies (D7) deputy director Senior Asst Comm Abdul Jalil Hassan was quoted as saying that the method used by the club was the latest tactic in human trafficking .

"Police are working very closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission as the syndicate is using a blog," he added.

- Ref:asiaone-
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

S'poreans' top worries: All about $ Tue, Oct 25, 2011 | my paper

By Sophie Hong
AS THE age-old adage goes, money is the root of all evil. But money - or the lack of it - is also the root of all unhappiness among Singaporeans.

The top three causes for unhappiness here: Insufficient personal savings, growing

expenditure in the last six months and the current state of the economy. In addition, the most unhappy group of citizens are young adults aged between 18 and 29 years old.

These are the findings of The Happiness Report, a study on the happiness quotient of Singaporeans released yesterday by integrated marketing-communications agency Grey Group Singapore. The study was conducted in June on 200 Singaporean respondents of all races aged 18 and above.

Happiness was also hotly debated in last week's parliamentary sessions, after Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim suggested that Singapore use an index of happiness and well-being to gauge the country's growth instead of relying on just gross domestic product.

In a separate study on the effect of material success on perceived quality of life, Dr Christie Scollon, associate professor of psychology, noted that material wealth is an important part of Singaporeans' conception of "the good life".

"There is a shared consensus that material wealth equates to the good life," said Prof Scollon, who teaches at the Singapore Management University's School of Social Sciences.

"Think of the 5Cs and how everybody knows what they are," she added.

Rising inflation may have also played a part in making Singaporeans unhappy.

The latest figures released by the Department of Statistics yesterday showed a 5.5 per cent increase in the consumer price index last month, compared to that one year ago, due to higher costs for housing, transport and food.

The Happiness Report also noted that a higher percentage of working women are unhappy as compared to their male colleagues.

Grey Group Singapore chief executive Subbaraju Alluri called this "the most revealing finding of the study".

He said that, with 57 per cent of women here in the work force, this points to the fact that a large number of them are juggling their roles and responsibilities at work and in their families.

"Roles for women in Singapore have become more stressful than ever before. The other potential reason could be the corporate glass ceiling that some women face, with the long hours they put in not being reflected in their career progression," said Mr Alluri.

Added Prof Scollon: "They may have so many roles and obligations to fulfil that they often feel guilty while doing one thing, because it means not being able to do something else.

"In short, the modern woman is overly burdened."

For more my paper stories click here.
- Ref:asiaone-Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

Self-exclusion: More foreigners than locals

The number of foreigners who have applied for self-exclusion orders to the casinos here continues to surpass the number of Singaporean applicants.

The figures, revealed by Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing in Parliament yesterday, showed that as of Sept 30, 22,700 of the 29,000 self-exclusion orders came from foreigners.

There were 750 family exclusion orders and 28,600 third-party exclusions - which include undischarged bankrupts and people receiving financial aid from the Government - in force up to Sept 30.

Singaporeans and permanent residents form the majority of family exclusion orders and third-party exclusions.

Mr Chan, who is also Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts, was responding to Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Christopher de Souza's questions on whether the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and voluntary welfare organisations have seen a rise in the number of people seeking help for casino-related cases.

When contacted later, Mr Charles Lee, who is in charge of problem gambling counselling at Tanjong Pagar Family Service Centre, said that there could be many reasons that there were more foreigners than Singaporeans applying for the self-exclusion orders.

"Foreigners may not have their families here with them so they have to apply for self-exclusion," he said.

Another reason could be because employers have asked their foreign workers to apply for self-exclusion as a condition for their employment.

Earlier this year, NCPG sent letters to employers of domestic workers and foreign workers detailing how they could help their workers apply for self-exclusion online or via snail mail.

This was to raise awareness among the two groups of workers that they, too, can sign up for self-exclusion.

Media reports suggest that many of these applications were made only after employers insisted that the workers do so.

It is understood that most of the applications for foreign worker self-exclusion came from the construction, recruitment, engineering, manufacturing and distribution industries.

Mr de Souza also noted that applying for self-exclusion requires a sense of discipline on the part of a person to say he or she does not want to gamble any more.

He said: "Some addicts do not have that discipline. Nor do people who are attracted to the lure of gambling."

He then asked what could be done to deter or reduce the lure of gambling rather than be over-reliant on self-exclusions.

In his reply, Mr Chan said that it was important for those with gambling problems to get support, especially from friends and family members.

If anyone showed signs of being troubled by gambling-related issues, people close to the person should encourage him or her to seek help as soon as possible.

Mr Chan added that his ministry is looking into ways to educate the public on how to detect signs of problem-gambling among their family members, friends or colleagues.

But it may not be possible to eradicate gambling completely.

Mr Chan said that two gambling participation surveys in 2005 and 2008 indicated that both probable pathological and problem gambling rates among Singapore residents are between 1 and 2 per cent.

Nonetheless, NCPG will continue to strengthen gambling counselling and help services.

It is also looking into providing a wider range of services in terms of integrated credit, legal and financial advisory services.

Said Mr Chan: "The integrated services will better equip families to minimise the harm - especially financial harm - from heavy gambling as well as problem gambling.

"My ministry will continue to closely monitor to ensure the efficacy of the existing social safeguards.

"We are prepared to strengthen the safeguards if necessary, especially to protect the vulnerable groups in our society."

Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) also wanted to know whether the opening of the two casinos in Singapore last year led to a rise in the number of people turning to loan sharks or illegal moneylenders.

No, replied Mr S Iswaran, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

Mr Iswaran, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, said that there were 10,439 police reports made in relation to unlicensed moneylending and harassment in the first nine months of this year.

This is a drop of about 3,200 cases or 24 per cent compared to the same period last year.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

- Ref:asiaone-Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lipstick danger: the redder the colour, the more lead it has?

Posted on 22 Oct 2011

STOMPer Yu Qing raised the concern that the trace amounts of lead found in lipsticks may be harmful to health. Apparently, the redder the lipstick colour, the more lead it contains.

However, according to various reports, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted tests in 2009 and 'does not consider the lead levels that it found in lipsticks to be a safety concern'.

The STOMPer shared:

"Lipstick is one of the most favoured cosmetic of any woman.

"But this must-have personal cosmetic has been in the news for the wrong reasons. Lead has been found in lipsticks, not just cheap quality ones, but also in those made by giant cosmetic brands.

"These brands also confirm the use of lead in their lipsticks ,but also say that they are relatively safe to use as it is a small quantity.

"It is not illegal for a lipstick manufacturer to use lead,any amount, in his products. And it is not mandatory for him to subject it to safety testing before launching the product.

"Many studies show that out of the total number of the lipsticks toxicology reports, around one-third are safe to use.These contain no lead.

"That means I have to look for a lipstick that contains no lead. It is not mandatory for the manufacturer to list lead as one of the ingredients being used.

"You should look for the natural lipsticks or herbal lipsticks that are safer.

"The toxicologists also give us a clue.The redder the lipstick colour,the more lead it contains. So,stick to colours away from red while shopping at the cosmetic store."

STOMP understands that concerns over lead in lipsticks have surfaced since 2003. The FDA has been reassuring consumers that the lead levels it found in red lipsticks are very small and not a health threat.

- Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

Why is woman walking man on leash on Orchard Road?

Posted on 21 Oct 2011

STOMPer SP saw a curious sight on Orchard Road -- a woman was walking a man on a leash.

Wrote the STOMPer:

"Walking the human.

"Spotted a weird couple, a leashed man was seen walking around the Orchard Road area...what the!

"I was walking around doing some shopping when I chanced upon them.

"They were walking from Takashimaya towards Somerset MRT.

"What was amazing is they were very much in their own world.

"They stopped at the smoking bin nearby. The lady started smoking and the guy just stood there while she finished.

"I just thought it was interesting. Haha unusual sight in Orchard Road."

This could well be another one of those silly PR stunts that agencies in Singapore are so fond of doing these days.

-Ref:stomp- Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

iPhone cover in the shape of boobs: Too 'disgusting' for children?

Posted on 22 Oct 2011

STOMPer Erika came across an iPhone cover in the shape of breasts and thought it was inappropriate for children.

The STOMPer wrote:

"This is disgusting!

"What kind of ppl will sell this kind of nonsensical things?

"Young children might see it!"


Friday, October 21, 2011

The power of money:

Just touching and thinking about it can make us feel better, research finds

People who handled money felt less social distress during a psychological experiment, one study found. (Waters/News)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Next time you're hurting, try opening your wallet and counting your cash. Research shows that handling and thinking about money can actually lessen pain and ease the sting brought on by social rejection.
In a paper published in the journal Psychological Science and reported on msnbc.com, researchers described a variety of moneycentric experiments. One involved 84 volunteers divided into two groups and asked to participate in a "finger dexterity test." As one group counted out eighty $100 bills from a stack, the rest counted paper. Next, they played a computer game called Cyberball in which four players passed a ball back and forth, according to msnbc.com. The volunteers thought they were playing with three humans, but a computer actually simulated the other players. In half the games, all the players got the ball an equal number of times while the other games were rigged and excluded the players after 10 passes.

Another link- http://www.abacusformoney.com/articles/Power_of_Money.pdf

- Posted using BlogPress from my 4GiPhone

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Plans on the agenda to establish hotel zone in Yangon

Reported by Phyu Nu Translated and Edited by Win Htut + MYA

Plans are being made for the establishment of a hotel zone in Yangon, it was learnt.
The world tourist arrival to Myanmar increased by 27 percent in 2010. The number of world tourist arrivals to Yangon International Airport was 300,000. The increased tourist arrivals caused insufficient accommodation at the hotels in Yangon
and Bagan. Preparations are needed to address this situation of insufficient rooms at the hotels due to the possibility of increasing tourist arrivals. Therefore, the hotel industry has become important in this circumstance, it was learnt.
“It is required to make huge investment in the hotel related businesses. Arrangements are being made to launch market promotion program in the country,” said Dr. Khin Shwe, Chairman of Myanmar Travel Association.
“When permissions to construct hotels are granted, the hoteliers just look residential area in Yangon. Therefore, plans are underway to separately establish a hotel zone in Yangon. Botahtaung area is the best location for the establishment of the exclusive hotel zone. It is necessary to take into consideration of traffic congestion,” added Dr. Khin Shwe.
The figures showed that there are more than 600 hotels and motels with 19,900 rooms in Myanmar in 2009. Most of the hotels and accommodations are located in Yangon, followed by Mandalay and Bagan.
It is not enough to accommodate 300,000 tourists in Yangon. There are almost 1 million tourist arrivals including the border areas in Myanmar. For that reason, it is required to create basic infrastructure for the convenience of the increased tourist arrivals,” said U Thet Lwin Toe,Vice-Chairman of Myanmar Travel Association.
Sign of progress is being witnessed in the travel industry of Myanmar becoming a country in which the world tourists take great interest at the present.

Despite lower salary tax, some Burmese are receiving less


New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Burmese government has reduced the income tax levied on foreign currency paid as a salary to Burmese citizens living in Burma and foreign countries from 10 percent to two percent.

Burmese who receive salaries in some foreign currencies are getting less now, in spite of the government lowering the salary tax rate from 10 to two per cent. Photo: Mizzima
Burmese who receive salaries in some foreign currencies are getting less now, in spite of the government lowering the salary tax rate from 10 to two per cent. Photo: Mizzima
It sounds good, but Burmese paid in US dollars and some other currencies are unhappy about the lower exchange rate versus the Burmese kyat.

The Ministry of Finance and Revenue said the new tax rate would be in effect for a period of six months from August 19 to February 18, 2012. The exchange rate on August 19 was 720 kyat per one US dollar; 680 kyat per one Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC); and 596 kyat per one Singapore dollar.

In fact, many Burmese citizens who receive their salaries in foreign currencies say they are now being short-changed.

An employee of a technology company in Burma, who receives his salary in foreign currency, said: “At first, I was happy with the reduction of the income tax. Later, my calculations showed that my salary [earnings equivalent to Burmese kyat] had become lower than when I had to pay 10 percent in income tax.”

A Burmese man who works in Internet technology in Singapore said, “In Singapore, before we had to pay 10 percent of our income [to the Burmese government]. If I don’t pay the tax, the date of expiration on my passport cannot be extended. Now, the tax rate has been decreased to two percent. But, the foreign currency exchange rate is lower so we’ve encountered difficulties.”

However, some observers said that the new government was gradually making some positive changes.

“Although the reduction of the tax rate is good, the government should fix the exchange rate quickly. Lowering the tax rate was not a good cure [in the case of some foreign currencies],” said one observer in Rangoon.

Recently, it was announced that experts from the International Monetary Fund would probably come to Burma in October to discuss the country’s foreign exchange rate policy. The government’s official currency exchange rate is six kyat per one US dollar.
Ref:mizzima news

Car permits for swapping old cars for a new car jolts Burmese market

Rangoon (Mizzima) – With news of the imminent issuing of car import permits in Burma to owners of old cars that will allow them to swap for new cars for no more than US$ 3,500 for models later than 1995, the price of old cars has risen sharply.

Under the program, cars that have been in service for 40 years or more must be surrendered to the Road Transport Department in Rangoon for smelting along with handing over a vehicle registration book. After surrendering the old car, the owner will be given a car import permit. If owners of old cars do not wish to swap their car for a newer car, they can retain their old car.

Forty-year-old cars are a common sight on Rangoon streets. Under a car-swap deal, the government is allowing owners of older model cars to turn them in, and they will be issued a permit to by a newer car. Photo: Mizzima
Forty-year-old cars are a common sight on Rangoon streets. Under a car-swap deal, the government is allowing owners of older model cars to turn them in, and they will be issued a permit to by a newer car. Photo: Mizzima

At a press conference in Naypyitaw on Sunday on cancelling registrations for old cars and importing new cars, ministers from the Rail Ministry, Transport Ministry and Ministry of Industry No. 2 briefed media representatives.

The ministers said cars would be imported from Thailand, Japan, South Korea, China, India and Malaysia. Moreover, the Ministry of Industry No. 2 has a plan to sell more Myanmar-made mini saloon cars at a price of 5.5 million kyat (US$ 7,432).

The first phase of the program will be to swap cars that are more than 40 years old followed by a second phase for cars between 30 and 40 years, and a third phase for cars between 20 and 30 years old.

On the same day of the news conference, prices of old passenger cars more than 40 years old rose sharply on the used car market, said a car owner close to car brokers.

“The people will likely buy old cars in the market to get a new car import permit. At the same time, the car owners of old cars will sell their cars at a premium price. People who bought the car import permit could sell their imported car at good prices. Then the car market in Burma will be in chaos,” said a car broker.

Issuing of car import permits have been tightened since 2000 and prices of cars on the Burmese market are artificially high in comparison to prices in foreign countries. In the Burmese car market, used cars dominate over new cars.

The prices of car import permits have risen during the years. The price of an import permit for a truck was about 20 million kyat in 2008-09; the price of an import permit for a bus was about 30 million kyat; a sports utility vehicle (SUV) such as a Toyota Land Cruiser was about 150 million kyat.

In swapping old cars with new cars, old cars that meet all requirements must be sent to the designated department along with the vehicle registration book. The owner will then be issued an import permit for a new car.

Export businesses, hotel and tourism businesses, investment enterprises, people who work in a foreign country and sailors can get a car import permit from the Economic and Commerce Ministry if they have a legal savings account at a state-owned bank with sufficient funds in foreign exchange.
Ref:mizzima news

Myanmar Insurance to offer protection for low-income bank deposits

Monday, 03 October 2011 22:18 Nyi Thit
A Burmese flag flies on the top of a branch of the Yoma Bank. Photo: Mizzima

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Burma’s state-owned Myanmar Insurance will offer an insurance plan to protect people’s money deposited in private and government banks should they fail.

A Burmese flag flies on the top of a branch of the Yoma Bank. Photo: Mizzima
The insurance will cover people who deposit between 100,000 kyat (about US$ 125) and 500,000 kyat in their bank accounts, and will not cover people who deposit more than 500,000 kyat, said sources close to the banking business.

The insurance plan is intended to make banking more systematic and ensure lower-income depositors that they can trust depositing their money in banks.

Myanmar Insurance has already informed all banks about the new plan, according to a senior official at a bank that is a joint venture with the Burmese government.

The insurance plan went into effect on Saturday. If a bank offers the service to its customers, a one-year insurance premium is 0.25 kyat per 100 kyat. If a bank fails within the one-year period, Myanmar Insurance will compensate customers who are insured.

“Although the insurance is not a must-buy, if a bank wants to provide better service to its customers, it can offer the insurance,” said a senior bank official.

Observers said the goal of the insurance coverage is to provide a service for lower income and middle class depositors to reassure them about the safety of putting their money in banks. The insurance premium compares to similar insurance in regional countries.

Bank insurance is among a number of Burmese banking reforms. Last week, Mizzima reported that the Central Bank has given a green light for banks to begin offering installment loans under a “hire-purchase system” to private citizens in cooperation with commercial companies and banks.

An official from the Central Bank in Naypyitaw told Mizzima: “The central bank has informed all state-owned banks and private banks that they can now do hire-purchase loans if they wish to do so.” The advisory was sent to all state-owned and private banks on September 15.

The banks will be provided a guarantee for the loan repayment by either an employer of the buyer or the sales company.

Ref:mizzima news

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weird Form of Carbon Acts as "Reversible" Diamond—A First

Glassy spheres go from squishy to hard and back again, study shows.
Dave Mosher
for National Geographic News
Published October 13, 2011

Diamonds are forever, and so is their extreme hardness.

But unlike diamond, a bizarre form of carbon can change its properties, going from squishy to hard and back again, if pressure on the material increases and then decreases, researchers have discovered.

Natural diamond is an allotrope, or form, of carbon crafted deep in the Earth. Other carbon allotropes include graphite, which is relatively soft, and fullerenes such as buckyballs and carbon nanotubes, which are exceptionally stable.

(See "Legendary Swords' Sharpness, Strength From Nanotubes, Study Says.")

The newly analyzed carbon material is a glass-like substance that factories have made for about 30 years for use in chemistry, electronics, and other purposes.

Until now, however, no one had studied what would happen to the material when placed under high pressure.

"Graphite is always soft, and diamonds are always hard," said Ho-Kwang "David" Mao, a high-pressure scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and co-author of a new study on the glassy carbon, led by Stanford University graduate student Yu Lin.

"We were looking for something reversible for the kind of work we do"—studying materials at high pressure in the lab.

(Related pictures: "Life-Changing Nobel Chemistry Breakthroughs.")

How to Reverse a Diamond

The secret to a diamond's hardness is its atomic arrangement. The carbon atoms in a diamond form "3-D" bonds with their neighbors, resulting in a sturdy, pyramidlike, repeating crystalline structure.

(Related: "'Diamond' Planet Found; May Be Stripped Star.")

By contrast, graphite is soft and slippery because its carbon atoms form "flat" bonds, resulting in sandwiched sheets of atoms that weakly attract one another.

The glassy sphere allotrope used by Mao and his colleagues is also made almost entirely of flat bonds.

But when squeezed between two small diamond "anvils" to pressures similar to those hundreds of miles below Earth's crust, the bonds morphed into 3-D, diamond-like configurations—and the material rivaled the hardness of crystalline diamond.

When the pressure was released, the flat bonds returned, and the odd carbon turned back to its pliable, glassy form.

Speeding Up the Pressure

Mao said it's too soon to know of any commercial uses that might rely on the reversible carbon, because the material was studied only in experiments in which pressure was applied slowly.

In the future, Mao said, he'd like to study how the material's hardness changes under rapid pressurization—like that created by the impact of a speeding bullet, for instance, which could lead to new types of bullet-proof vests.

(Related: "Animals Inspire Next Generation of Body Armor.")

In the meantime, high-pressure scientists may find clever uses for the glassy carbon in the lab, including perhaps a new way to apply extreme pressure to a material from many sides instead of sandwiching samples between two diamond anvils.

"This may help push the boundaries of what we can study," Mao said.

The reversible-diamond study will be published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

- Ref:nationalgreographic-
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Timbaland ft. One Republic - Apologize (MV+LYRICS)

Myanmar Tax Rates!

myanmar-tax-rateMyanmar / Burma
Income Tax Rate    30%
Myanmar / Burma  
Corporate Tax Rate  30%

Myanmar / Burma
Sales Tax / VAT Rate5-30%

Last Update: Nov 2010
(This page may show previous year's tax rates. Always check last update time)

Myanmar / BURMA personal Income Tax
Income from salaries is taxed at progressive rates between 3% - 30% in Myanmar. Income from other sources are taxed between 5% - 40% in Myanmar, as shown below:

- Salary: Progressive rates ranging from 3% - 30% (30% on income exceeding Kyat 500,001)
- Professional income, business income, property income, income from other sources and income from undisclosed sources of Individual: Progressive rates ranging from 5% - 35% (35% on income exceeding Kyat 2,000,001)
- Individual foreigners engaged under special permission in a State sponsored project, enterprise or any undertaking: 20%
- Income earned abroad by non-resident citizen (On gross income): 10%
- Income earned by resident foreigner: 15%
- Capital gain (Resident): 10%
- Capital gain (Non-resident Foreigner): 40%
- Non-resident foreigners (Individual and bodies of individuals such as a branch of a foreign company): Flat 35% or the progressive rates mentioned above, whichever is greater
- Cooperative Societies: Progressive rates ranging from 3% - 30% (30% on income exceeding Kyat 500,001)

Tax Allowances
There is a basic allowance of 20% up to a maximum of Kyat 12,000, and a family allowance for wife and children. There also is an allowance for insurance premiums paid on the taxpayer's own life or the life of his or her spouse. Also payment contributions towards saving funds as prescribed by the rules are deductible. The child allowance is applicable if the child is unmarried and under 18 years of age or if the child is over age 18 and is receiving full-time education.

Family allowance for wife and children is as follows:
- Wife allowance (having no taxable income): Kyat 5,000
- For each child under 5 years: Kyat 1,000
- For each child above 5 but under 10 years: Kyat 1,200
- For each child above 10 but under 15 years: Kyat 1,600
- For each child above 15 years: Kyat 2,000

Salary income also includes perquisites and any benefits; for instance, the rental value of free accommodations is usually calculated at 10% of the employee's gross salary or at 12.5% if the accommodation is furnished. If the employer pays the employee's tax, a tax on tax basis of assessment is adopted. Income tax is withheld monthly and paid within seven days to tax office.

Income from Salaries
Income to be show under the head Salaries shall include salary, wages, pension, bonus, fees, commissions received or receivable by the assessee, and in addition shall include perquisites or profits such as the annual value of rent-free accommodation provided to the assessee by his employer, any sum of money paid on behalf of the assessee by his employer, any sum contributed on his behalf by an employer into the provident fund recognized for income tax purpose and interest thereon, but does not include any interest received from his own contribution to the Government Provident Fund.

Income from Business
A Statement of accounts including the Manufacturing Account, the Trading Account, the Profit and Loss Account, and the Balance Sheet for the relevant year concerning the business of the assessee shall be attached to this return of income. As depreciation allowance may be claimed in respect of capital assets owned and used by the assessee in the business, particulars of the capital assets are to be furnished in the prescribed form.

Myanmar Tax Year
Income of tax payer is computed on the basis of one fiscal year (April 1 to March 31 of the following year). The fiscal year in which income is received is expressed as "income year" and the year following as "assessment year".

Tax Rates for Expatriate Employees
The progressive tax rates applicable to salary range from 3% to 30%. However, non-resident foreigners that derive a salary from Myanmar are subject to a flat rate of 35%.

Furthermore, when a resident foreigner receives salary in any foreign currency, this is subject to tax at a flat rate of 15% on such gross salary. By the same token, if a resident foreigner derives income from employment for a project with special permission of the government in any government owned project or a project that is sponsored by the government, a flat rate of 20% is levied on the gross salary in kyats while a 15% rate applies to the gross salary paid in a foreign currency. Foreign invested companies may apply a final tax of 10% to salary paid to expatriate employees which are resident foreigners, provided the salary is paid in a foreign currency. The same does not apply for salary paid in local currency. The latter triggers tax at progressive tax rates from 3% to 30%.

A resident foreigner or a resident citizen is subject to tax on all income derived from sources within the Union of Myanmar and on income from sources outside the Union of Myanmar. In the case of an enterprise operating under the Union of Myanmar Foreign Investment Law, the tax is payable only on income derived from sources within the Union of Myanmar.

A non-resident foreigner is subject to tax on all income from sources in Myanmar.

A resident foreigner is:
(a) a foreigner who lives in Myanmar for not less than 183 days during the income year,
(b) a company formed under the Myanmar Companies Act or any other existing Myanmar Law wholly or partly with foreign share holders.
(c) an Association of persons other than a company formed wholly or partly with foreigners and where control, management and decision making of its affairs are situated and exercised wholly in the Union of Myanmar.

A foreigner or a foreign organization who is not a resident in Myanmar is classified as a non resident. A branch company is treated as a non-resident. However, this classification is irrelevant to an enterprise operating under the Union of Myanmar Foreign Investment Law.

Social Security Contributions
Myanmar has a compulsory system of social security contributions. Only employers with more than 5 employees are within the scope of the system. The contribution is calculated as 1.5% of the total salary (including benefits). It is actually the employer who must deduct the contribution from the employee's salary and remit the amount to the authorities.

Tax Compliance Obligations
All persons deriving income from Myanmar must file tax returns and comply with monthly payment and declaration requirements. This applies to foreigners that are non-residents, resident foreigners and national employees. The employer must also provide an annual finalization statement of salaries paid to employees.

Myanmar / BURMA Corporate Taxataion

Myanmar corporate income tax rate is 30%.

The flat corporate tax rate of 30% is charged on the income of companies formed in Myanmar under the Myanmar Companies Act or any other existing Myanmar Law, enterprises operating under the Union of Myanmar Foreign Investment Law, and foreign organizations engaged under special permission in a State-sponsored project, enterprise or any undertaking. A branch of a foreign company in Myanmar is liable to pay income tax at the rate of 35% on the total income or at a progressive rate of 5% to 40% whichever is greater. There is no withholding tax on dividends.

Corporate tax rate in Myanmar is same for all kind of corporations regardless of their size.

- Companies formed in Myanmar under the Myanmar Companies Act or any other existing Myanmar Law: 30%
- Enterprise operating under the UMFIL: 30%
- Foreign organization engaged under special permission in a State sponsored project, enterprise or any undertaking: 30%

The capital gains tax rate is a flat 10% on the profit derived by residents form the sale of immovable property, fixed assets and motor vehicles if the sale price exceeds Kyat 50,000. But for non-resident foreigners, the tax rate is 40% on capital gains. Payment on income such as interests, royalties and on contracts are subject ot withholding tax at various rates ranging from 2.5% to 20%.

There are exemptions form income tax. Dividends received are exempted from income tax, and such income is not treated as part of the total income of the recipient. There are also provisions for the exemption of income tax, particularly as incentives for newly established enterprises.

Carry Forward of Loss

A loss not being a capital loss or a share of loss from a source of income can be set off against profits from the remaining sources of income in the same year Unabsorbed loss can be carried forward and set off against profits in the following there consecutive years.

Customs Duties

With a few exceptions, all imported goods are liable to customs duties.

As for exports, tax is levied on export of a few commodities namely: rice and rice flour, rice bran, rice dust, oil cakes, pulses and cereals, bamboo and raw hides and skins.

Myanmar / BURMA commercial tax Rates


Myanmar has a Commercial Tax payable on goods, imported or produced in Myanmar, trading sales, and services ranging from 0% - 200%. Excluding the tax on luxury items, the general rates of Commercial Tax in Myanmar is between 5% - 30%.

The Commercial Tax Law will be replaced by a more advanced and sophisticated value added tax (VAT) in the future.

Commercial Tax is turnover tax levied on goods either domestically produced or imported. It is also levied on services such as transport of passengers, entertainment, trading, operation of hotels, lodging and enterprises engaged in sale of foods and drinks.

For goods and services supplied in Myanmar, commercial tax is imposed at the time of supply. For the import of goods, commercial tax is collected by the Customs Department at the point of importation in the same manner that customs duties are collected.

Commercial tax is levied according to the Schedules appended to the said Law. Briefly, the schedules are as follows:

1. Schedule I details tax free items which comprises 65 essential and basic commodities
2. Schedule II to V specify tax rates ranging from 5% to 25% depending on the nature of the goods produced within Myanmar
3. Schedule VI is for specific types of commodities such as cigarettes, fuel oil, liquor, jade and gems on which tax is chargeable at rates ranging from 30% to 200%
4. Schedule VII is applicable to services including trade services.

The commercial tax rates for services are as follows:
- 5% on trading;
- 8% on passenger transport fares,
- 10% on hotel, lodging and reataurant services;
- 15% on other forms of public entertainment; and
- 30% on movie or cinema shows.


How Much Life Insurance Should You Carry?


Very few people enjoy thinking about the inevitability of death. Fewer yet take pleasure in the possibility of an accidental death. If there are people who depend on you and your income, however, it is one of those unpleasant things that you have to consider. In this article, we'll approach the topic of life insurance in two ways: first, we will point out some of the misconceptions about life insurance and then we'll look at how to evaluate how much and what type of life insurance you need.

Does Everyone Need Life Insurance?Buying life insurance doesn't make sense for everyone. If you have no dependents and enough assets to cover your debts and the cost of dying (funeral, estate lawyer's fees, etc.), then insurance is an unnecessary cost for you. If you do have dependents and you have enough assets to provide for them after your death (investments, trusts, etc.), then you do not need life insurance.

However, if you have dependents (especially if you are the primary provider) or significant debts that outweigh your assets, then you likely will need insurance to ensure that your dependents are looked after if something happens to you.(To learn about insurance basics, see Understand Your Insurance Contract and Exploring Advanced Insurance Contract Fundamentals.)

Insurance and AgeOne of the biggest myths that aggressive life insurance agents perpetuate is that, "insurance is harder to qualify for as you age, so you better get it while you are young." To put it bluntly, insurance companies make money by betting on how long you will live. When you are young, your premiums will be relatively cheap. If you die suddenly and the company has to pay out, you were a bad bet. Fortunately, many young people survive to old age, paying higher and higher premiums as they age (the increased risk of them dying makes the odds less attractive).

Insurance is cheaper when you are young, but it is no easier to qualify for. The simple fact is that insurance companies will want higher premiums to cover the odds on older people - it is a very rare that an insurance company will refuse coverage to someone who is willing to pay the premiums for their risk category. That said, get insurance if you need it and when you need it. Do not get insurance because you are scared of not qualifying later in life.

Is Life Insurance an Investment?Many people see life insurance as an investment, but when compared to other investment vehicles, referring to insurance as an investment simply doesn't make sense. Certain types of life insurance are touted as vehicles for saving or investing money for retirement, commonly called cash-value policies. These are insurance policies in which you build up a pool of capital that gains interest. This interest accrues because the insurance company is investing that money for their benefit, much like banks, and are paying you a percentage for the use of your money.

Watch: Life Insurance
However, if you were to take the money from the forced savings program and invest it in an index fund, you would likely see much better returns. For people who lack the discipline to invest regularly, a cash-value insurance policy may be beneficial. A disciplined investor, on the other hand, has no need for scraps from an insurance company's table.

Cash Value vs. TermInsurance companies love cash-value policies and promote them heavily by giving commissions to agents who sell these policies. If you try to surrender the policy (demand your savings portion back and cancel the insurance), an insurance company will often suggest that you take a loan from your own savings to continue paying the premiums. Although this may seem like a simple solution, this loan will cost you, as you will have to pay interest to the insurance company for borrowing your own money.

Term insurance is insurance pure and simple. You buy a policy that pays out a set amount if you die during the period to which the policy applies. If you don't die, you get nothing (don't be disappointed, you are alive after all). The purpose of this insurance is to hold you over until you can become self-insured by your assets. Unfortunately, not all term insurance is equally desirable. Regardless of the specifics of a person's situation (lifestyle, income, debts), most people are best served by renewable and convertible term insurance policies. They offer just as much coverage and are cheaper than cash-value, and, with the advent of internet comparisons driving down premiums for comparable policies, you can purchase them at competitive rates.

The renewable clause in a term life insurance policy means that the insuring company will allow you to renew your policy at a set rate without undergoing a medical. This means that if an insured person is diagnosed with a fatal disease just as the term runs out, he or she will be able to renew the policy at a competitive rate despite the fact that the insurance company is certain to have to pay out.

The convertible insurance policy provides the option to change the face value of the policy into a cash-value policy offered by the insurer in case you reach 65 years of age and are not financially secure enough to go without insurance. Even though you will be planning in the hope of not having to use this option, it is better to be safe and the premium is usually quite inexpensive. (To learn more about life insurance types, see Buying Life Insurance: Term Versus Permanent, A Look At Single-Premium Life Insurance and What is the difference between term and universal life insurance?)

Evaluating Your Insurance Needs
A large part of choosing a life insurance policy is determining how much money your dependents will need. Choosing the face value (the amount your policy pays if you die) depends on:
  • How much debt you have: All of your debts must be paid off in full, including car loans, mortgages, credit cards, loans, etc. If you have a $200,000 mortgage and a $4,000 car loan, you need at least $204,000 in your policy to cover you debts (and possibly a little more to take care of the interest as well).
  • Income Replacement: One of the biggest factors for life insurance is for income replacement, which will be a major determinant of the size of your policy. If you are the only provider for your dependents and you bring in $40,000 a year, you will need a policy payout that is large enough to replace your income plus a little extra to guard against inflation. To err on the safe side, assume that the lump sum payout of your policy is invested at 8% (if you do not trust your dependents to invest, you can appoint trustees or chose a financial planner and calculate his or her cost as part of the payout). Just to replace your income, you will need a $500,000 policy. This is not a set rule, but adding your yearly income back into the policy (500,000 + 40,000 = 540,000 in this case) is a fairly good guard against inflation. Remember, you have to add this $540,000 to whatever your total debts add up to.
  • Future Obligations: If you want to pay for your child's college tuition or have your spouse move to Hawaii when you are gone, you will have to estimate the costs of those obligations and add them to the amount of coverage you want. So, if a person has a yearly income of $40,000, a mortgage of $200,000, and wants to send his or her child to university (let's say this will cost $80,000), this person would probably want an $820,000 policy ($540,000 to replace yearly income + $200,000 for the mortgage expense + $80,000 university expense). Once you determine the required face value of your insurance company, you can start shopping around for the right policy (and a good deal). (To find your estimate of insurance needs, see this MSN Money Needs Estimator.)
  • Insuring Others: Obviously there are other people in your life who are important to you and you may wonder if you should insure them. As a rule, you should only insure people whose death would mean a financial loss to you. The death of a child, while emotionally devastating, does not constitute a financial loss because children cost money to raise. The death of an income-earning spouse, however, does create a situation with both emotional and financial losses. In that case, follow the income replacement trick we went through earlier (your spouse's income/8% + inflation = how much you'll need to insure your spouse for). This also goes for any business partners with which you have a financial relationship (for example, shared responsibility for mortgage payments on a co-owned property).
Alternatives to Life InsuranceIf you are getting life insurance purely to cover debts and have no dependents, there is another way to go about it. Lending institutions have seen the profits of insurance companies and are getting in to the act. Credit card companies and banks offer insurance deductibles on your outstanding balances. Often this amounts to a few dollars a month and in the case of your death, the policy will pay that particular debt in full. If you opt for this coverage from a lending institution, make sure to subtract that debt from any calculations you are making for life insurance - being doubly insured is a needless cost.

SummaryIf you need life insurance, it is important to know how much and what kind you need. Although generally renewable term insurance is sufficient for most people, you have to look at your own situation. If you choose to buy insurance through an agent, decide on what you'll need beforehand to avoid getting stuck with inadequate coverage or expensive coverage that you don't need. As with investing, educating yourself is essential to making the right choice.

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/06/insureneeds.asp#ixzz1aJARAZHt

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Singapore Tax Rates and Income Tax System

Investors turn to Singapore for establishing their operations for several reasons. The ease of setting up and operating businesses is a prime motivator. Another central determinant is Singapore’s tax regime – well-known for its attractive corporate and personal tax rates, tax relief measures, absence of capital gains tax, one-tier tax system, and extensive double tax treaties.
Persons, including corporations, partnerships, trustees and bodies of persons carrying on any trade, profession or business in Singapore are chargeable to tax on all profits (excluding profits arising from the sale of capital assets) arising in or derived from Singapore and certain foreign-sourced income from such trade, profession or business.

The purpose of this guide is to provide a general overview of Singapore’s tax system and tax rates. We also have a very useful online tax calculator that you can use to to estimate your Singapore taxes and to compare how they stack up against those in your home country.

Corporate Tax Rates
Income Tax Rate
Tax rate on corporate profits for up to 300,000 SGD 8.5%
Tax rate on corporate profits above 300,000 SGD 17%
Tax rate on capital gains accrued by the company 0%
Tax rate on post-tax profits (i.e. dividends) distribution to shareholder 0%
Tax rate on foreign-sourced income not brought into Singapore 0%
Tax rate on foreign-sourced income brought into Singapore 0 – 17% subject to conditions
Personal Tax Rates
Income Tax Rate
Tax rate on first 20,000 0%
Tax rate on next 10,000 3.5%
Tax rate on next 10,000 5.5%
Tax rate on next 40,000 8.5%
Tax rate on next 80,000 14%
Tax rate on next 160,000 17%
Tax rate on above 320,000 20%
Tax rate on capital gains 0%
Tax rate on income earned overseas 0%
Tax rate on dividends received from Singapore company 0%
Singapore follows a territorial basis of taxation. In other words, companies and individuals are taxed mainly on Singapore sourced income. Foreign sourced income (branch profits, dividends, service income, etc.) will be taxed when it is remitted or deemed remitted into Singapore unless the income was already subjected to taxes in a jurisdiction with headline tax rates of at least 15%. Although the concept of locality of the source of income seems simple, in realty its application often can be complex and contentious. No universal rule can apply to every scenario. Whether profits arise in or are derived from Singapore depends on the nature of the profits and of the transactions which give rise to such profits.
Singapore corporate tax rate is capped at 17%. By keeping corporate rates competitive, Singapore continues to attract a good share of foreign investment. Singapore follows a single-tier corporate tax system, where tax paid by a company on its profits is not imputed to the shareholders (i.e. dividends are tax free).
Singapore personal tax rates start at 0% and are capped at 20% (above S$320,000) for residents and a flat rate of 15% for non-residents. As an example, if you are tax resident in Singapore and your personal income for the year was S$160,000, your income tax liability will be approximately S$15,5000.
To increase the resilience of taxes as a source of government revenue, Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in 1994. The current GST rate is 7%. The balanced mix of tax on consumption and income reduces the vulnerability of revenue intake to adverse changes in economic conditions and strengthens the resilience of Singapore’s fiscal position.
Interest, royalties, rentals from movable properties, management and technical fees, and director’s fees paid to non-residents (individuals or companies) are subject to withholding tax in Singapore.
For personal taxes, the tax year is the normal calendar year i.e. January 1 – December 31. Deadline for filing personal tax return is April 15, 2009. For corporate taxes, a company is free to to decide on its financial year. Deadline for filing corporate tax return is November 30. Taxes are paid on a preceding year basis.
Singapore has no capital gains tax. Capital loss expenses are correspondingly not allowed as deductions.
Singapore has concluded more than 50 bilateral comprehensive tax treaties to help Singapore companies minimize their tax burden.
Income Tax is chargeable on income of individuals and companies.
Property Tax is imposed on owners of properties based on the expected rental values of the properties.
Estate Duty has been abolished since February 15, 2008.
Motor Vehicle Taxes are taxes, other than import duties, that are imposed on motor vehicles. These taxes are imposed to curb car ownership and road congestion.
Customs & Excise Duties – Singapore is a free port and has relatively few excise and import duties. Excise duties are imposed principally on tobacco, petroleum products and liquors. Also, very few products are subject to import duties. The duties are mainly on motor vehicles, tobacco, liquor and petroleum products.
Goods & Services Tax (GST) is a tax on consumption. The tax is paid when money is spent on goods or services, including imports. This kind of indirect tax is also known as Value Added Tax (VAT) in many other countries.
Betting Taxes are duties on private lottery, betting & sweep-stake.
Stamp Duty is imposed on commercial and legal documents relating to stock & shares and immovable property.
Others – The two main taxes are the foreign worker levy and the airport passenger service charge. The foreign worker levy is imposed to regulate the employment of foreign workers in Singapore.
The Income Tax Act of Singapore is the governing statute regarding corporate and individual taxation matters.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), was formed in 1960 and was formerly known as the Inland Revenue Department. It integrated all the key revenue collection agencies into one body, enabling the administration and collection processes to become more streamlined and better managed. IRAS has also made its mark as an efficient tax administrator and a service-friendly tax collector.

The IRAS is responsible for collecting income tax, property tax, goods & services tax, estate duty (abolished since 15 Feb, 2008), betting taxes and stamp duties. As the main tax administrator for the Ministry of Finance, IRAS plays a role in tax policy formulation by providing policy inputs, as well as the technical and administrative implications of each policy. IRAS also actively monitors developments in external economic and tax environment to identify areas for policy review and changes. It aims to foster a competitive tax environment that encourages enterprise and growth. The other non-revenue functions performed by IRAS include representing the government in tax treaty negotiations, providing advice on property valuation and drafting of tax legislation.

Early beginnings

Debated since before World War I, income tax had been introduced briefly during World War I and II to raise revenue for the war effort. But the tax was unpopular, and with many opposing the need for it, income tax stayed off the agenda.

The end of World War II highlighted the need for new infrastructure and fresh sources of revenue, giving renewed impetus to the introduction of income tax.

In 1947 Income Tax was introduced in Singapore under the British colonial government. In 1948 the Income Tax Act was imposed. The Act was based on the Model Colonial Territories Income Tax Ordinance 1922, which was devised for British colonies at that time. Therefore, Singapore’s tax laws share common historical roots with those of Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.


With Independence in 1965, Singapore promoted a policy of rapid industrialisation and building an export oriented industrial base, to stimulate growth and employment. Hence in the 1960s labour-intensive industries were encouraged by tax incentives. The Economic Expansion Incentives Act was introduced in 1967. Companies which managed to grow their exports enjoyed as much as a 90% tax exemption on the increased export income. Interest paid on foreign loans granted to a local industrial company was tax exempt.


In the 1970s growth of the service sector was high on the government’s agenda. Tax policy played its part in the financial sector with the exemption of interest on Asian dollar bonds from 1973. Shipping was also actively promoted. Income from the operation and charter of Singapore ships drew tax exemptions. Tax measures to support urban redevelopment were also introduced. Different property taxes were also phased out. Tax policies in the 1970s were also influenced by social needs. Contributions to the Central Provident Fund were tax deductible and other tax relief measures were introduced.


As Singapore became more developed, it became a more expensive place for businesses in the 1980s. Measures to revamp the economy, with the aim of making it more competitive was introduced. Changes to government policies, incentives and taxes were considered. The late 1980s marked a significant shift towards lowering both corporate and individual taxes. In 1987 corporate tax rates were lowered from 40% to 33%.


This period witnessed major changes in tax policies. There was a shift towards lower direct taxes and the focus was on indirect taxes. The trend towards indirect taxation resulted in the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 1994. It is a tax on domestic consumption and applies to all goods and services supplied in Singapore except for financial services and residential properties. It was in this period that the trend of lowering corporate and individual tax rates accelerated.

2000 and beyond

This has been the phase of innovation and entrepreneurship. A number of measures were, and are being introduced to attract foreign talent and investment. Tax rates were further lowered and currently capped at 18% (17% from 2010) for companies and 20% for individuals. This period witnessed the introduction of group relief and the one-tier corporate tax system.

- Ref:guidemesingpore
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Why Manulife?

Why Manulife Financial?

Manulife Financial Corporation

Last Trade:12.59
Trade Time:Oct 12
Change: 0.00 (0.00%)
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Bid:12.05 x 100
Ask:14.00 x 100
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Market Cap:22.51B
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Quotes delayed, except where indicated otherwise. Currency in USD.
Video- http://www.manulife.com/public/careers/index/0,,lang=en&navId=660002,00.htm Click here to watch a three-minute video that articulates Manulife's vision to be the most professional life insurance company in the world and the exciting opportunities it offers staff. Please ensure that you have the latest version of Windows Media Player. The professionalism and talent of our employees is what makes Manulife Financial a successful organization. As a leading provider of financial protection products and investment management services, we depend upon the performance, service, and support of many different business units. Here you can learn about some of the departments that exist within our organization, including: Industry Leadership/Innovation Exciting Challenges Advancement and Growth Strong Performance Geographic Diversity Employee Benefits Rewards and Recognition Industry Leadership/Innovation Manulife Financial prides itself on being a leader in the financial services industry. Manulife is the largest life insurance company in Canada, second largest in North America and fifth largest in the world. Every one of the Company's operating units aim to provide flexible, creative and intelligent solutions backed by unmatched industry experience and financial strength. Exciting Challenges Our success in facing challenges in the future as the financial services industry undergoes a significant transformation will depend largely on the commitment and success of our employees and their dedication to quality and professionalism. These challenges offer you an opportunity to demonstrate initiative and engage in projects and activities that will have a direct affect on Manulife's future performance. Advancement and Growth In order to attract and retain the best and most capable employees, Manulife Financial invests in the development of our people and rewards superior performance. As a large multinational Company, Manulife offers many exciting challenges in all of its operating divisions around the world, operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily through John Hancock in the United States. Manulife's employees can grow by taking on new and exciting assignments within one business unit, or look to new opportunities to gain exposure to different parts of the business. Strong Performance Over the past ten years, Manulife Financial has achieved new levels of growth and demonstrated sustained financial success, placing us among the most profitable life insurance companies in North America. Manulife Financial's strong performance provides a base for developing a global leader in financial services where talented employees can thrive. Geographic Diversity Entry into new markets is a key component of Manulife's growth strategy. Manulife pursues strategic growth in business areas where it has core strengths, and in markets where Manulife has experience and expertise. With operations in 19 countries and territories worldwide offering a unique mix of products and services, Manulife Financial is the place to be to develop your career. Employee Benefits Manulife Financial is committed to continuing its leadership role in providing comprehensive employee benefits, assistance and services. Canadian Benefits US Benefits Canadian Benefits Benefits for regular full-time and part-time employees include: Global Share Ownership Program - Allows employees to share in the success of our Company. VIP (Variable Incentive Plan) - A yearly bonus structure is available for all regular full-time employees. Flexible benefits plan - Employees have the option to customize benefits. Choices are based on different categories, including: - Extended Health Care (EHC): Provides coverage for prescription drugs, hospital care, professional services, vision care, medical supplies, etc. EHC is in addition to your provincial coverage. Dental: Covers services of a dentist or denturist. Four dental options are available, so you can choose the coverage that fits your needs best. Long Term Disability: With Long Term Disability (LTD) coverage, you are assured a continued income if you are disabled and unable to work after your sick leave and Extended Illnesses have ended. Life Insurance: In addition to the company provided Basic Life Insurance, you have the option to purchase up to four times your Benefits Base Rate in Optional Life Insurance. You may also choose spousal and dependent Life insurances. Staff Group RRSP - The Group RRSP plan is available with more than 25 investment options to choose from. Staff Pension Plan - A generous staff pension plan is provided. Financial Planning - Free on-site access to financial planning advice is available from qualified financial planners. Educational Assistance Programs - 100 per cent upfront assistance on approved career related courses is provided. U.S. Benefits Benefits for regular full-time and part-time employees include: Global Share Ownership Program - Allows employees to share in the success of our Company. VIP (Variable Incentive Plan) - A yearly bonus structure is available for all regular full-time employees. Comprehensive Health Insurance (POS and HMO) Dental Insurance Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) - Manulife Financial offers two flexible spending accounts: Healthcare FSA and Dependent Care FSA. Life Insurance - Manulife Financial provides employees, at no cost, insurance equal to one times their annual salary. Additional coverage may be purchased. Dependent Life Insurance - Two options of spouse and dependent life insurance are available for employees to purchase. Short-Term Disability Insurance - Provides salary continuation for eligible employees in the event of an illness or injury lasting longer than five consecutive work days to a maximum of 25 weeks. Long-Term Disability Insurance - Two options are available: 1) Company provided basic coverage and 2) Optional benefit for employee purchase. Benefits begin after 180 days of continuous disability. 401(k) Savings Plan - The plan allows employees to save for retirement through pre-tax payroll deductions and Company matching contributions Cash Balance Plan - The 100 per cent Company funded plan provides an additional means of saving for retirement. Education Assistance - Contingent upon management approval, regular employees are eligible to request reimbursement of 100 per cent of the cost of tuition for approved courses. Industry Education Programs - Manulife sponsors various industry education programs designed to enrich the employee's career. Company Training Programs - A variety of exciting programs are available to continue professional development. Rewards and Recognition At Manulife, we are constantly evaluating our compensation levels, ensuring that we are competitive. Employees in North America participate in a Variable Incentive Program that recognizes and rewards an individual’s contributions to achieving our business goals, as well as overall Company performance. Our recognition programs exist at many levels. Business units and divisions have initiatives geared towards specific criteria, such as teamwork and customer service. At the corporate level, each year Manulife recognizes a select group of employees and distribution partners from every division for their outstanding contributions. These individuals are named “Manulife STARs of Excellence.” These individuals embody the values and core competencies of Manulife. The STARs of Excellence program takes its name from the qualities that are exemplified by the nomination criteria:
Superior Knowledge and Skill
Trust and Integrity

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