Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Palm Island, Dubai UAE – Megastructure Development

An awe-inspiring engineering feat, Dubai Palm Islands is definitely the largest artificial islands on earth. These Islands are three man made islands in the form of massive palm trees connected to the beaches of Dubai. The first island is the Palm Jumeirah, Jebel Ali Palm second and the third is the Palm Deira which is the biggest of them all. This artificial archipelago located off the coastline of United Arab Emirates in Persian Gulf.

Dubai islands project was commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed in an effort to maximize beachfront property. Dubai’s palm tree-shaped resort island on land built from the sea will contribute 120 km of beaches. Aside from the construction of the ambitious expansion, there is also the problem of constructing a mini city, which consists of 4,500 high-end residential homes, miles of roads, luxurious hotels and many amenities that will require basic human resources including electricity, safe drinking water and many more. This enormous project will position Dubai as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

I will tell you why these islands have appeared and that they must satisfy. Dubai is an emirate that open sea about 50 km (an estimate) and the sites required for building projects are on the beach. To view course and especially to “park” in front of the yacht’s property or even assembly.

Well when the beach was not available, and demand persists, the beach had invented. And it appeared artificial islands. Hence so sophisticated forms of the islands: they had to provide a larger opening to the ocean.

This new concept quickly caught on. ‘Only a’ product ‘high-end, the latest wrinkle in the most creative developers metropolis. A new source of land, location of the trick of the planet Earth! The job went, the two islands were settled immediately, with mixed development, spectacular, exorbitant, and finally in Dubai’s specific style … In parallel to the World archipelago started building and other projects are still on the drawing board Nakheel, developer. But crisis compels us to winter a little …

Where is the dream of similar islands: In Lebanon, wants to build a cedar shaped islands, the symbol of this country. Russia wants to try an island / an archipelago in Black in Sochi at the 2014 Olympics, at least that is speaking through the past years. Also in Japan there are several large airports built on artificial islands.

The Palm Islands are artificial peninsulas constructed of sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf by the Belgian company Jan De Nul and the Dutch company Van Oord.

The sand is sprayed by the dredging ships, which are guided by DGPS, onto the required area in a process known as rain-bowing because of the arcs in the air when the sand is sprayed. The outer edge of each Palm’s encircling crescent is a large rock breakwater. The breakwater of the Palm Jumeirah has over seven million tons of rock.

The Palm Islands are an artificial archipelago (islands) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Major commercial and residential infrastructures will be constructed by Nakheel Properties, a property developer in The UAE. The Belgian and Dutch dredging and marine contractors, Jan De Nul and Van Oord, some of the world’s specialists in land reclamation, were hired to complete construction. The islands are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira.

Each settlement will be in the shape of a palm tree, topped with a crescent. The settlements will have a large number of residential, leisure and entertainment centers. The Palm Islands are located off the coast of The UAE in the Persian Gulf and will add 520 kilometers of beaches to the city of Dubai.

The first two islands will comprise of approximately 100 million cubic meters of rock and sand. The Palm Deira will be composed of approximately one billion cubic meters of rock and sand. All materials will be quarried in The UAE. Among the three islands, there will be over 100 luxury hotels, exclusive residential beach side villas and apartments, marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities and health spas.

The creation of the Palm Jumeirah began in June 2001. Shortly after, the Palm Jebel Ali was announced and reclamation work began. The Palm Deira is planned to have a surface area of 46.35 square kilometers and was announced for development in October 2004.

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At UN, Tillerson makes case for tougher stance on N. Korea

United Nations: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a UN Security Council meeting on Friday to push for a tougher response to North Korea and pile pressure on China to rein in its Pyongyang ally.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the meeting that follows weeks of warnings from the US administration that it will no longer tolerate North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests.

The United States has called for stronger UN sanctions on North Korea, but it wants China to take the lead in diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.

“We are going to be discussing what steps may be necessary to increase pressure on Pyongyang to have them reconsider their current posture,” Tillerson said in an interview to Fox News on the eve of the meeting.

Turning to China, Tillerson said: “We are going to test their willingness to help us address the serious threat.”

No resolutions will be adopted at the meeting, but it will allow the United States and its allies to put the onus on China to use its leverage to rein in Pyongyang.

North Korea is seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.

China, Pyongyang’s number one trade partner, has repeatedly called for a return to talks on denuclearization but has been reluctant to use economic pressure that could destabilise North Korea.

The council has imposed six sets of sanctions on North Korea — two of which were adopted last year — to significantly ramp up pressure and deny Kim Jong-Un’s regime the hard currency revenue needed for his military programs.

But UN sanctions experts have repeatedly told the council that the measures have had little impact on Pyongyang because they have been poorly implemented.

The United States, which holds the council presidency this month, will urge UN member-states to take steps to fully implement the sanctions, the toughest currently to hit any country.

North Korean missiles AFP/John SAEKI


US President Donald Trump has made North Korea his top foreign policy priority, telling Security Council ambassadors at the White House this week that he was determined to address the crisis head-on.

“People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it’s time to solve the problem,” said Trump.

The meeting of the top UN body comes just days after South Korea received the first deliveries of equipment for a new missile defence system from the United States.

Washington and Seoul are deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) which is meant to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

China has fiercely opposed the deployment of the THAAD system and warned that it will stoke tensions on the peninsula.

Beijing has proposed a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities in exchange for a halt to the annual US-South Korea military drills that have infuriated Pyongyang.

That offer has been flat-out rejected by the United States, which said the onus was on North Korea to show that it was willing to open up for talks.

As the United States presses on with its new diplomatic strategy on North Korea, it has also deployed an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson to the western Pacific.

US officials have said that while military action is an option, a diplomatic solution was the preferred outcome.

“We want to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses, not to his knees,” said US Admiral Harry Harris, who heads Pacific command.

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Don’t treat private-hire drivers like taxi drivers, says Uber Singapore's Warren Tseng

SINGAPORE: It’s been four years since Uber officially launched in Singapore, its first market in Asia, and since then, tapping on third-party booking apps have all but replaced taxi flag downs for commuters.

As for Uber’s drivers here, 46 per cent of them clock fewer than 10 hours a week, said the company, reflecting the rise of freelance drivers who provide point-to-point services for a variety of reasons and who do not necessarily regard driving as a career.

It is for that reason that Government regulations must reflect “a new freelance model,” said Uber Singapore’s general manager Warren Tseng in a one-on-one interview with Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday (Apr 26) ahead of the company’s fourth anniversary celebrations.

His comments come after the introduction of a new licensing framework for private-hire drivers, which require them to attend a course and obtain a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational License (PDVL).

Mr Tseng argued that the the PDVL curriculum should be different from what is being taught for taxi drivers, given that the Uber driver is a “very new breed of driver”.

“I think when it comes to the curriculum of the actual licensing programme, the training course – the 10 hours of training that drivers need to undergo – this is (a) curriculum that’s based (off a) taxi driver textbook,” he said.

“You’re operating an app, you’re not doing street hail, you’re not operating meter – there’s very different types of subtleties that are involved with being a private driver, and these are some of the things that we try to reflect and make sure the curriculum and the training is modern.”

It’s important not to treat private-hire drivers as taxi drivers, cautioned Mr Tseng, adding that it is up to companies like Uber to help shape regulations.

“I think it’s about having open dialogue, it’s about having these frank conversations and they’re not always the easiest conversations to have.

“But I think the LTA (Land Transport Authority) has had an open ear and it’s our job to continue to modernise these regulations to make sure that we’re not treating these drivers as taxi drivers,” he said.

“We have to help the regulators develop … this framework to make sure drivers are still interested, and the outcome of these regulations are in line (with) the ultimate objectives of the city and Singaporeans.”

Uber Singapore’s general manager Warren Tseng speaks to Channel NewsAsia in a one-on-one interview.


Since the emergence of private-hire players like Uber and Grab, some commuters say they’ve seen more affordable fares and quicker peak-hour pick-ups, which was a traditional bugbear among passengers about taxi services.

In February, a Public Transport Council poll of more than 1,500 people found that commuters were “more satisfied with private hire services than taxis”.

However, the initial lack of regulation prompted calls from the taxi industry for a more “level playing field”, as taxi drivers bemoaned the loss of income and the fact that private-hire drivers did not have to meet certain age requirements or undergo background checks and vocational license training.

Behind the wheel of an Uber car. (Photo: Lee Gim Siong)

Against this backdrop, Uber said it has seen “aggressive adoption” of private-hire services and a willingness to try new modes of transport among Singaporeans. For example, within a month of launching its ride-sharing service UberPool, Mr Tseng said about 35 per cent of all trips came from that service – a number that took San Francisco a year to reach.

But there were some initial speedbumps.

“Initially, when we arrived in this market, never in any market around the world have we experienced such an expensive car – like a Toyota Altis here costs S$100,000 whereas in the US it costs a fraction of that,” he said.

In recent months, Uber’s rival Grab has also upped the ante, with a string of tie-ups involving local taxi companies. In response, Mr Tseng said Uber was “evaluating all different types of options”.

“What I’ve always said is that competition is a good thing,” he said. “It makes us constantly evaluate what we’re delivering, it makes us keep our ears on the ground to understand what riders want, what our driver partners need. And to continue adapting and modifying our business to reflect those needs.”

“So I think it’s expected that the competitors in the market are upping their game, but that’s a natural progression of how this industry works.”


According to Bloomberg, US-based Uber saw growth in gross bookings – the total value of all fares collected from passengers – and net revenue last year, but still had net global losses of US$1.2 billion.

Globally, the company is facing uncertainty after a departure of top executives and reports of negative workplace-related incidents in the US.

But for operations in Singapore and the region, Mr Tseng said “nothing’s changed”.

“Singapore remains a top priority for Uber globally, not just in Asia,” he said. “This is a very strategic market for us. We operate very autonomously, so whatever’s happening at headquarters really has very little impact on what our priorities are here.”

Ultimately, Mr Tseng said “there’s still a lot of work to be done”, such as getting non-technologically savvy segments of the population to be more receptive to private-hire services.

Another example on the driver partner side would be to help them navigate the PDVL transitional phase, said Mr Tseng, citing concerns about the new regulations as one of the big “question marks” for drivers.

“And with government stakeholders, it’s continuing to tell them about the driver partners, what their needs are, and how to make sure their objectives for regulation are in line with what this modern freelance type of workforce needs,” he added.

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Campervan Challenge – Top Gear – BBC

Jeremy, Richard and James face a testing 215 mile journey to Cornwall in their campervan creations, before settling in for the night on a cold bank holiday weekend in the West Country.

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Tuas West Extension MRT stations to open Jun 18

SINGAPORE: Four new MRT stations on the new Tuas West Extension (TWE) will begin operations on Jun 18, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday (Apr 27).

Comprising four aboveground stations – Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link – the TWE is expected to serve 100,000 commuters daily.

Commuters working in the Jurong and Tuas industrial estates can expect significant time savings, LTA said. For example, a journey from Ang Mo Kio to Tuas West can be cut from about 1 hour and 40 minutes to slightly more than an hour with the new extension.

The Tuas Link MRT station. (Photo: LTA)

LTA also said it will enhance the existing bus service network to further improve transfers for commuters and accessibility to the area. Operational details of the TWE and improvements to the bus network will be announced in the coming weeks, it said.

The TWE will operate on the new signalling system to be used on the rest of the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL). Besides the four stations, the TWE project also includes the construction of the Tuas viaduct, which opened on Feb 18 this year, as well as a 26-hectare integrated depot, which provides stabling and maintenance facilities for up to 60 trains, including the additional 13 NSEWL trains purchased for the TWE.

An open house for the new extension will be held on Jun 16, where all four stations will be opened from 12pm to 8pm. Members of the public can ride the trains along the TWE for free, and take part in games and activities, LTA said.

To raise awareness about the TWE, LTA will hold roving exhibitions in the weeks leading up to the opening. The exhibitions will be held for 10 days at four stations on the East-West Line: Between 7am and 9am at Jurong East, Boon Lay, Pioneer and Joo Koon; and between 11am and 1pm at Boon Lay and Joo Koon. 

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    Punggol residents concerned about planter box breeding mosquitoes near preschool

    SINGAPORE: A flooded planter box apparently breeding mosquitoes has gotten some residents in Punggol worried. They believe that the stagnant water in the planter box between blocks 289C and 289D in Punggol Place is the reason they have been seeing more mosquitoes and bites on themselves and their children.

    One resident, Lim Chin Tiong, 45, went looking for stagnant bodies of water on Wednesday (Apr 26) after his son woke up with a fever and body ache. He was afraid that his son, aged 13, was exhibiting signs of dengue. The doctor asked them to look out for rashes.

    “I was wondering why there were so many mosquitoes recently. I’ve been getting bitten. Then I saw the water. It’s about four inches deep and it must have been there for some time,” the businessman said. He contacted the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Pasir-Ris Punggol Town Council immediately to inform them of the issue. He thought of adding oil to the water to kill the larvae, but was afraid of damaging the tree, he added.

    A spokesman for the town council said the accumulation of water may be due to soil being compacted, as the planter boxes did not originally come with drainage holes. (Photo: Foo Siang Hwee)

    In response to queries, a spokesman for the town council said that pouring oil would indeed kill the tree, and said it is “unadvisable”. He said residents should contact the town council immediately if they detect any possible breeding ground. He added that the accumulation of water may be due to soil being compacted, as the planter boxes did not originally come with drainage holes.

    “We drilled drainage holes to some planter boxes upon receiving similar feedback earlier. The recent heavy rain suggests that the solution works, so we have instructed the contractor to expedite the work to provide drainage holes for all planter boxes.” he said. The town council said that the planter box in question was drained by 5pm on Wednesday. 

    Still, residents were particularly concerned that the stagnant water was just outside My First Skool, a preschool. Childcare teacher Rochelle Quion, 30, said that she has spotted more children with mosquito bites and that parents are concerned.“They wear patches and spray repellent, but they still get bitten. Some of the children now wear long pants to school, but they still get bitten on their hands,” she said. The school’s principal has also contacted authorities about the problem, she said. 

    The location of the flooded planter box. (Image: Foo Siang Hwee)

    Another resident, self-employed Foo Siang Hwee, 41, shared the same concerns. He first noticed the flooded planter box on Tuesday, after a parent in the estate’s Facebook group said her son got bitten and contacted NEA.

    Mr Foo usually takes his 1.5-year-old son on walks in the area. When Channel NewsAsia visited the site on Wednesday, there were several visible mosquito larvae wiggling in the water.  

    Stagnant water seen in the planter box between blocks 289C and 289D at Punggol Place. (Photo: Foo Siang Hwee)

    Civil servant Nurliza Khalid, 34, has reported the issue about five times since 2015. “When they come, they drain the water, but when it rains, the problem comes back,” she said. She now makes sure that her six-year-old son does not go downstairs as much as he used to. “We are more aware of diseases like dengue and Zika now, so we have to take these precautions,” she said. The area is not listed as a dengue or Zika hotspot. 

    NEA said it is aware of the feedback regarding mosquito breeding at the area between blocks 289C and 289D. “NEA is working with the town council to address the problem of water stagnating in the planters in the estate’s common areas,” a spokesperson said.

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    Trump to meet Australian PM, relations strained over asylum seekers

    U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on May 4 in New York City as the two nations seek to repair a relationship strained by a row over an asylum seeker resettlement deal.

    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, April 19, 2017. AAP/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS

    SYDNEY/WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on May 4 in New York City as the two nations seek to repair a relationship strained by a row over an asylum seeker resettlement deal.

    The meeting will be the first between the two leaders.

    Relations were strained after an acrimonious telephone call shortly after Trump’s inauguration, during which Trump labelled the Australia-US resettlement swap agree to with former US President Barack Obama as a “dumb” deal.

    Turnbull said the 75th anniversary of the World War Two “Battle of the Coral Sea” celebrations in New York City offered a chance for the two nations to “reaffirm our alliance”.

    The bilateral meeting will follow a speech by Trump aboard the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier turned museum on the Hudson River, to mark the anniversary of the Coral Sea battle, during which US and Australian troops fought the Japanese, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

    Australia is one of Washington’s staunchest allies and troops from the two nations have fought alongside each other in all major conflicts, most recently Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Late last year, Obama agreed to resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers held in Australian-funded camps in the South Pacific, in exchange for Australia resettling refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

    But in February, Trump criticised the deal, accusing Australia of trying to export the “next Boston bombers” under the agreement, the Washington Post reported.

    Eager to repair the relationship, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last week visited Australia and confirmed Washington would begrudgingly honour the refugee deal with Canberra, only out of respect for the alliance between the two countries.

    (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Michael Perry)

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