Three NMPs propose amendments to Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill in joint statement

Three Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) – namely Ms Anthea Ong, Ms Irene Quay, and Associate Professor Walter Theseira – have issued a Notice of Amendment to the controversial Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill which was was introduced early last month.

Among the NMPs’ suggested amendments to the Bill, listed in a joint statement yesterday (30 Apr), are the following:

  • A clause that sets out key principles (“Principles of the Act”) that guide the exercise of powers under the Act, including codifying the aim that the Act is targeted at statements that are ​materially false and ​not opinions, comments, critiques, satire, parody, generalisations or statements of experiences);
  • Requirements that any Directions issued are publicly justified;
  • Requirements that the appeals process is expedited; and
  • The creation of an independent Council (“ICOF”) to monitor online falsehoods and provide routine oversight on the use of executive powers under the Act, and whose members shall be appointed by a Select Committee of Parliament.

“The Principles of Act”, according to the NMPs, suggest that “well-informed, free, and critical speech is necessary for a well-functioning democracy, so the Act should be applied carefully to avoid chilling such speech”.

“It sets out that the Act should be used in a proportionate way, so the least restrictive tools (such as Corrections) are used first, with the most restrictive (“Take-downs”) used only if necessary,” they suggested.

The Principles of Act, the NMPs argued, will also guard the role of research in society, as “research often contests established facts or ideas in order to advance knowledge, by stating that differences in facts established by an authority and a researcher do not imply falsehood just by that difference alone”.

The NMPs also stated that while they “agree with the legislative intent of” the Bill, given how online falsehoods “can harm the public interest, even when there is no malevolent intent”, they were also of the opinion that the Bill is “far-reaching” in its scope in controlling “online communications”, as it may be “used by the Executive and future governments to suppress or chill debate and expression for political purposes”.

Despite the Government’s assurance that the Bill will not be used to muzzle legitimate discourse and criticism, the three NMPs observed that the proposed Act “does not contain such assurances that limit how the Bill’s powers can be used”, in addition to having “broadly worded clauses defining what is a false statement and what constitutes public interest”.

“We are concerned that these broadly worded clauses give the Executive considerable discretion to take action against online communications, without protection in the primary legislation that codifies the assurances given by the Government in explaining the Bill to the public,” said the NMPs.

Read the full joint statement of the three NMPs below:

Fullscreen Mode

The post Three NMPs propose amendments to Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill in joint statement appeared first on The Online Citizen.

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Crawling to extinction: Singapore turtle haven fights for life

PICTURES AND VIDEO BY THEODORE LIM

Hundreds of turtles and tortoises, including rare and endangered species, face an uncertain future after their Singapore sanctuary — a Guinness World Record holder — was forced to relocate due to government redevelopment plans.

At its peak, around 1,000 of the creatures were housed at The Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum, which opened in 2001 at popular tourist spot Chinese Gardens. It also showcased specimens and memorabilia such as figurines and stuffed toys.

While the venture built up a loyal following, there had been criticism online of the conditions the reptiles were kept in. Authorities decided to repurpose the area and evicted them —  leaving owner Connie Tan scrambling to find and finance a new location.

“I gave up quite a lot for this, and it’s tough. My son’s university education fees have gone into keeping this place alive,” explains Tan, whose father created the original museum, securing the Guinness World Record for the “largest collection of tortoise and turtle items”.

She spent Sg$250,000 ($185,000) on the new venue but was only able to secure a short two-year lease and conceded the venture is running low on funds — a situation that has raised concerns about the long-term future for the turtles and tortoises.

Tan has battled hard to keep the museum going, even seeking out help from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on social media when she needed more time to find a suitable location.

– Endangered species –

During the move, she closed her event management business to house the turtles and tortoises at her office, leaving her temporarily without an income.

Today there are around 700 turtles at the new site in Yishun, a residential area far from Singapore’s main leisure and tourism hotspots.

The collection of animals has been amassed by the Tan family for more than 40 years. Many of the reptiles were pets that were rescued after the owners abandoned them.

“Tortoises may not react to you as much as how dogs can do, but they do have the ability to communicate with you if you pay attention to them. So, those people who’d like to buy turtles and tortoises, you must be ready to accept them for who they are,” she explains.

Tan says there are around 50 different species including some that are facing extinction such as the Reeves’ Turtle, which is used in Chinese Traditional Medicine and has been overhunted in the wild.

It is classed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species”.

The museum also houses African spurred tortoises and Indian star tortoises — often taken from the wild for the exotic pet trade — both are classed by the IUCN as “vulnerable”.

Despite the challenges, Tan hopes visitor support will ensure her project’s survival.

The 48-year-old says: “Friends of the museum have been generous with their donations, and I’ve started receiving visitors from places as far away as Russia, Poland, and even Israel.”

She adds: “It does give me hope for the future.” – AFP

 

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The Nuclear Option: This Canadian Metals Stock Could Be a Millionaire Maker

Man holding magnifying glass over a document

The Fukushima incident still looms large over the nuclear power industry, with uranium prices still nowhere near what they could be. But that could be about to change, with the general sentiment towards nuclear energy enjoying something of a renaissance.

Indeed, with Bill Gates, along with other high-profile commentators, chiming in to promote nuclear power as a critical, low-cost energy source amid new U.S. initiatives to boost development of nuclear reactor technologies, the sector could rise, and with it the price of uranium.

Let’s take a look at two core stocks to invest in to get in on a potential nuclear gold rush.

Cameco (TSX:CCO)(NYSE:CCJ)

Split into two segments, uranium and fuel services, this worldwide producer of the radioactive metal is based in Canada and offers a geographically diversified investment with a large market share. It’s certainly well placed for a resurgence in nuclear energy and is currently good value for money.

Down 3.99% in the last five days, investors have a slight value opportunity here. Value investors may have been waiting for this moment ever since the stock jumped in September (and stayed up, for the most part) after Cameco announced that the Tax Court of Canada had ruled in its favour in a historic tax dispute.

Indeed, this stock has returned 14.4% in the last 12 months, and with a fairly healthy balance sheet denoted by debt 30% of net worth, it’s got all the hallmarks of a quality investment. A dividend yield of 0.53% is a welcome sweetener, while a 15.9% expected annual growth in earnings suggests a positive future performance.

Cameco is intrinsically undervalued, too, and if you compare its current price with its future cash flow value you’ll see a 39% difference; meanwhile, the market ratios show a somewhat different picture, with a P/E of 36 times earnings that’s more than double the TSX index itself.

Uranium Participation (TSX:U)

Stacking shares in any uranium stock with decent stats could be a route to riches in a resurgent industry. With returns of 11.9% over the last year, Uranium Participation fits the bill. Indeed, with a five-year average past earnings growth of 11.7% and past-year ROE of 26% (which is significantly high for the TSX index), this debt-free stock with a solid balance sheet is a solid buy.

Look to a P/E of 3.5 times earnings and P/B of 0.9 times book for confirmation of attractive valuation (in fact, this stock is a straight-up steal at the moment). While no dividends are on offer, and conservative estimates peg Uranium Participation for a negative expected annual growth in earnings, shareholders who buy in now and stay invested could potentially see some significant capital gains down the road.

The bottom line

Going for a pure-play uranium producer is one of the best ways to play a seismic shift in uranium sentiment. Cameco’s all-round good mix of market performance stats makes for a solid buy in this space, while its competitor listed above may be healthier but has seen lower year-on-year returns and has a negative projected earnings outlook. The real question long term, however, may be whether worldwide supplies will remain pinched enough to ensure sizable profits.

Forget Apple! Buy This TSX Stock Instead…

There’s something crucial you need to know about Apple’s stock today, especially if you already own it, know someone who does, or have even thought about buying it.

This revolutionary new technology involved in “Project Titan” should make any investor’s ears perk up.

But you may want to consider investing in a TSX-traded company that’s poised to have a drastically larger role in this new tech, and yet is less than 1% the size of Apple.

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Fool contributor Victoria Hetherington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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Brad Bowyer questions Ong Ye Kung about the concerns he has on POFMA after the Minister welcomed queries from the public

Brad Bowyer, a recently-well-known political activist, took to his Facebook on Monday (29 April) to question Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on a number of different concerns he has about the newly proposed Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

It was reported by The Straits Times that the Minister said that the proposed fake news bill is only targeted to those who create fake news, and not to the individuals who disseminate them.

He assured that the fake news laws does not target opinions, criticism, satire or parody, hence, “everyone need not be overly worried” about it.

While speaking at the Singapore Buddhist Federation’s Vesak Day celebration event at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, Mr Ong also explained that it’s crucial to have strict laws to stop speech and actions that try to bring apart people of different religions and races.

“We are not immune to hate speech and falsehoods that are deliberately created and spread with malicious intent to sow discord among the different communities. What we enjoy today is because of, and not despite of, all the efforts we invested to maintain social and racial harmony. We shall not take it for granted,” the Minister said.

Ever since the Bill was proposed in the Parliament on 1 April, it raised a lot of concerns and criticisms among the public, saying that it could lead to self-censorship and limit free speech. As such, Mr Ong said that the Government will address the people’s worries on the new laws, and provide them with detailed explanations.

“You ask, and we will answer, and we will solve these problems together,” he said.

However, combating fake news will take more than just the law, and it is important for the people to stand together to fight the spread of fake news. “I hope everyone will be on alert at all times, and verify news before spreading it to your friends and families,” said Mr Ong.

Since Mr Ong has given the green light to ask him questions regarding POFMA, Mr Bowyer wrote in his Facebook post a few concerns that he would like the Minister to answer.

If your POFMA bill is all about protecting social cohesion and stopping hate speech and terrorism, as this article and your speech suggests then why are so many of its clauses around Elections?

And why is every ministry involved in determining what’s “Fake or Misleading”? and not just Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)?

Under POFMA, ministers will be allowed to have the power to issue a correction direction or stop communication direction – basically to compel an individual or company/website to issue a correction of the ‘falsehood’ or remove the content entirely, if they say a certain content is fake.

However, there is no definition in the Bill to state what determines if a statement is false or who or what entity(ies) will determine the authenticity of the statement. This would mean the Minister can simply point at a statement of fact or any report, and say that it is fake.

On top of that, based on the reasons why the Education Minister thinks POFMA was proposed, the political activist then asked why he thinks the current “existing religious harmony laws or anti sedition laws, or the new proposed hate speech and doxing laws are not adequate” compared to the fake news laws that is “open to abuse is being rushed through”.

If that’s not all, Mr Bowyer also highlighted a bigger concern of why POFMA is not applied to everyone equally? This is because the proposed Bill puts any minister above the law as they are not only given the “power to choose what is fake or not but also allows him to determine who must obey it including themselves”.

In addition, he queried if the Minister is “not concern that the separation of powers is not only being blurred but being removed”. He explained that is because the ministers are being made the judge and jury with this Bill, and the authority of the courts are being overthrown. Besides that, the Government is also limiting the public’s recourse to the courts and the subject on what the courts can judge.

In his post, Mr Bowyer also went on to wonder if the Government knows that the fake news law will affect the country’s position in the “modern knowledge economy” as well as make Singapore an isolate island when companies and institute start to withdraw and pick another country to move to.

You are making this extraterritorial and wish to prosecute any person or any company anywhere in the world. Do you not think this egregious overreach of wanting to be the global internet policeman applying the law according to PAP is not only going to seriously effect our standing and place in the modern knowledge economy but also turn us in to an isolated island when all the tech companies and institutions that you target start withdrawing and leave us to stew in our own self-imposed censorship?

Finally, both domestically and internationally the warnings and ramifications are being shouted at you loudly and clearly and yet you refuse to listen. Why the stubborn drive to implement these laws against so much opposition and with so little faith in the people that you believe that they cannot judge for themselves what is right or wrong or in their interest or not?

TOC has written to Mr Ong for his comments on Mr Bowyer’s questions.

The post Brad Bowyer questions Ong Ye Kung about the concerns he has on POFMA after the Minister welcomed queries from the public appeared first on The Online Citizen.

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Synchrony Bank Review: Best Account For You

Synchrony Bank ReviewWhen opening a checking or savings account, what are the features and benefits that you expect the most? While you won’t find the best interest rates, you’ll experience terrific customer service and get a wide variety of benefits when opening an account. See if First Tennessee is right for you.

If you’re in the market for a new bank, be sure to check out Synchrony Bank! Throughout the years, it has slowly been gaining popularity as an online-based bank. Keep in mind that this is not a full service bank! They offer CDs, Savings, and IRA accounts. Synchrony Bank claims to have some of the highest APYs and lowest fees in the industry, but there are some downsides. If you’re interested in what Synchrony Bank has to offer, continue reading to learn more!

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Savings Account Options

High Yield Savings Account

This account has no initial deposit requirements nor does it have a monthly maintenance fee.

This savings account comes with a huge perk that any other banks don’t offer. This account comes with an ATM card can use any ATM banks with the Plus or Accel logo without fees. And if you do go out of network, Synchrony will reimburse ATM fees up to $5 per statement cycle. This flexibility allows you to get cash fast.

Federal regulations limit transfers/withdrawals to just 6 per statement cycle. Usually, banks will charge a fee if you exceed it. However, Synchrony does not charge for excessive withdrawals.

Money Market Account

The Money Market account is kind of a combination of a checking and savings account. You get the ability of check writing. The first order of checks is free. The APY isn’t as high as the Savings account, but you do get more flexibility in how you can use and access your money.

This account is some what of a combination of a checking and savings account. You get to write checks and the first order of checks is free. The APY isn’t as high as the savings account, but you do get more flexibility.

CDs

Synchrony Bank offers CDs from 3-month to 5-year terms with higher-than-normal loan fees. The APY for a year CD is higher than what numerous contenders offer.

There is a base store of $2,000 to open a CD with Synchrony. What’s more, you should leave your cash in there for the entire length of the term, or you may be charged an extra fee. If you don’t need the money for a whole year, you can earn higher rates for depositing your money for an entire 12 months.

IRA Money Market

You can rollover existing IRA contributions to a Synchrony IRA Money Market account. The interest rate isn’t the highest, but it will provide a secure place to park your retirement savings. You don’t need to worry about the fluctuations of the stock market. And there are tax benefits.

You can make additional deposits at any time, subject to IRS contribution limits

Huntington Asterisk Free Checking Bonus Huntington Asterisk-Free Checking: Earn a $150 bonus when opening a Huntington Asterisk-Free Checking account by June 30, 2019 and make total deposits of at least $1,000 within 60 days of account opening. $150 will be deposited into your Huntington Asterisk-Free Checking account after all requirements are met and your account is open for 90 days. Apply NowHuntington Asterisk-Free Checking Review
Chase Sapphire Checking Bonus Chase SapphireSMChecking: Enjoy 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points when you join SapphireSM Banking. Within 45 days, transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts, and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.
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Chase Savings Bonus Chase Private Client: Enjoy a $1,250 bonus when you join Chase Private Client. Within 45 days, transfer a total of $250,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts, and maintain the balance for at least 90 days. Apply NowChase Private Client Review
Chase Savings Bonus Chase SavingsSM: Earn $150 bonus when you open a new Chase SavingsSM account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 20 business days & maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. You can link this account to your Chase checking account for Overdraft Protection. You’ll have access to over 16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches. Apply NowChase Savings Review

Reasons to Bank with Synchrony Bank

  • Earn high competitive rates compared to other banks.
  • No minimum balance requirements for Savings or Money Market accounts. There are no minimum deposits or balance requirements for Synchrony’s Savings or Money Market accounts.
  • No service fees that need to be paid any month.
  • ATM card for Savings. It’s very rare for savings accounts to have ATM access. Synchrony’s High Yield Savings Account comes with an optional ATM card so you can withdraw savings quickly.
  • Earn Loyalty Perks with Synchrony Bank. You’re automatically enrolled in Synchrony Bank Perks when you open an account. You reach different status tiers based on your balance OR the length of time you’ve been a customer.

Reasons Not to Bank with Synchrony Bank

  • There’s only one physical branch. So if you prefer to bank in person, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • They don’t offer any checking accounts.
  • Their mobile options leave a lot to be desired. Synchrony doesn’t have a mobile app for its banking products. However, it does have a full mobile website.

Synchrony Bank Routing Number

To find find this routing number, you can simply check the bottom left corner of your checks – check to see if this number differs.

Contact Customer Service

Reach Synchrony Bank Customer Service at 1 (877)-295-2080.

In addition, you’re able to fill out an online Customer Service Request, but a response can to take between one and two business days.

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Huntington 5 Checking Bonus Huntington 5 Checking: Earn $200 bonus when you open a Huntington 5 Checking account and make total deposits of at least $1,000 within 60 days of account opening. The $200 bonus will be deposited into your Huntington 5 Checking account after all requirements are met and your account is open for 90 days.
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Chase Total Checking Savings Bonus Chase Total Checking® + Chase SavingsSM: Earn $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit. Additionally you can earn a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase SavingsSM account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 20 business days & maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days. Apply NowChase Checking & Savings Review

How First Tennessee Compares

  • Bank of America: As one of the larger banks in the U.S. Many may choose BoA for the convenience of locations through out 35 states. However, BoA offers limited account options.
  • Regions Bank: While the checking options are similar, there is a wider variety of savings, CDs, & IRA options to help you save. The cash back rewards program is also very similar. The advantage Regions has is that you can find Regions Bank across 15 states.
  • SunTrust Bank: As a Southeastern bank, SunTrust prides themselves in top-tier customer service. SunTrust offers a comparable selection of checking & savings accounts in comparison. However, you’ll need $100 to open an account at SunTrust. The bank also offers a cash back rewards program & a small number of checks come free with each checking account.

Bottom Line

Choosing a bank that best suits your needs is a crucial decision. You’ll be investing time and money into these institutions and will need to make the right choice and be sure the bank/credit union will offer you what you need. It’s very important to keep in mind the potential fees that may incur and how to avoid them if possible. If Synchrony Bank has the variety and options you’re looking for, apply today!

For more options from a variety of banks, see our list of the best bank promotions!

HSBC Premier Checking Bonus HSBC Premier checking account: Get a $750 Welcome Deposit for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier Checking Account with qualifying activities. To earn the bonus, open your new HSBC Premier checking account online, deposit a minimum qualifying balance of $100,000 or more in new money, & maintain at least the minimum qualifying balance for 90 calendar days. Member FDIC Terms
TD Bank Checking Bonus TD Bank Checking Bonus: Earn $300 with the Beyond Checking account when you receive direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days of opening your account. Earn $150 with the Convenience Checking account when you receive direct deposits of $500 or more within 60 days of opening your account.
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Chase Student Checking Chase College CheckingSM: Get $100 as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase College CheckingSM account, enroll in paperless statements and complete 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days of account opening. The account comes with free Chase Debit Card, Mobile Check Deposit, Banker guidance, Text banking and QuickPay with Zelle. Get CouponChase College Checking Review
Chase Premier Checking Bonus Chase Premier Plus CheckingSM – Earn $300 bonus when you open a new Chase Premier Plus CheckingSM account and set up direct deposit. The Chase Premier Checking account comes with free Chase Debit Card, free Online Banking and Online Bill Pay, free Mobile Banking, free Account Alerts, and free access to 16,000 Chase ATMs & nearly 5,000 branches. Apply NowChase Premier Plus Checking Review

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