- Thousands questioned in widening crackdown after Singapore riot
Singapore police have questioned nearly 4,000 foreign workers in a widening crackdown following the city-state's first riot in more than 40 years, officials confirmed Wednesday. Three more Indian nationals have been detained and will be charged later Wednesday with rioting, in addition to 24 of their compatriots who were charged in court a day earlier with the same offence, which is punishable by up to seven years in jail and caning. The hour-long fracas on Sunday night, triggered when an Indian construction worker was struck and killed by a private bus in the Little India district, left 39 police and civil defence staff injured. 25 vehicles -- including 16 police cars -- were damaged or set aflame by the estimated 400 South Asian migrant workers involved in the rampage.
- Singapore charges 24 over riot
Police in Singapore charge 24 Indian nationals with rioting after violent protests on Sunday night over the death of a migrant worker.
- US-led Pacific trade zone talks end without deal
SINGAPORE (AP) — The United States and 11 other nations negotiating a free trade zone stretching from Chile to Japan failed to reach a final agreement at talks in Singapore, but indicated they were closing in on a landmark deal.
- No Pacific trade pact this year, ministers to try again next month
By Kevin Lim and Masayuki Kitano SINGAPORE (Reuters) - An ambitious trade pact between a dozen countries around the Pacific Rim will not be finalized this year as hoped, with no agreement on thorny issues like intellectual property, agricultural tariffs and state-owned enterprises. The U.S.-backed deal, which Washington wanted to conclude this year, aims to establish a free-trade bloc stretching from Vietnam to Chile and Japan, encompassing about 800 million people and almost 40 percent of the global economy. But differences over farm tariffs between the United States and Japan proved to be one of the major roadblocks. "None of us have agreed on anything," Tim Groser, New Zealand's trade minister, told a news conference in Singapore on Tuesday at the end of a four-day meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- Rare Singapore riot forces soul searching over foreign workers
By Rujun Shen and Rachel Armstrong SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's first major riot in four decades is forcing the wealthy island to confront a stubborn but vexing question: how to treat low-paid foreign workers whose muscle underpins much of the economy but whose presence increasingly riles its citizens. Images of rioters overturning police cars, throwing garbage bins and burning an ambulance in Singapore's Little India on Sunday night shocked the orderly Southeast Asian nation and stirred debate over whether foreign workers should be better integrated or see their numbers reduced. The government has urged people not to jump to conclusions but many Singaporeans blame an overabundance of migrant workers and could use the riots to intensify a push for tighter immigration curbs - a step that could hurt the economy. The dominant People's Action Party (PAP) that has ruled Singapore for more than half a century was already facing pressure over Singapore's high cost of living and its reliance on foreign workers on the island of nearly 5.4 million people.
- Brent holds above $109 ahead of China data
By Florence Tan SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude hovered above $109 a barrel on Tuesday ahead of data from China that may reaffirm signs of stabilising growth and fuel demand in the world's second largest oil consumer. Traders also sold Brent to unwind bets on its spread with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude as a new pipeline and year-end crude stock drawdowns could reduce supply at WTI's delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma. Brent crude for January edged up 14 cents to $109.53 a barrel by 0315 GMT. Recent Chinese data put to rest fears about a hard-landing for the economy, while government reforms are expected to support demand for commodities such as energy and metals, Mark Keenan, a commodity strategist at Societe Generale in Singapore said.
- Singapore to charge 24 Indian workers for rioting
Singapore prosecutors will charge 24 Indian workers for taking part in the city-state's first riot in more than 40 years, police said Tuesday. The men face jail terms of up to 10 years plus caning for charges of rioting with dangerous weapons in the hour-long fracas on Sunday night, triggered when an Indian construction worker was struck and killed by a private bus in the Little India district. They were among 400 people involved in the rampage that saw 39 police and civil defence staff injured, and 25 vehicles -- including 16 police cars -- damaged or torched. Two Bangladeshis, an Indian national and a Singapore permanent resident initially arrested were released after investigations showed they were not involved in the riot, police said.
- Singapore riot: PM urges restraint
Singapore leader Lee Hsien Loong urges the public not to "tarnish" their view of migrants after a rare riot sparked by the death of an Indian national.
- Gold clouded by US stimulus doubts; short-covering cushions losses
By A. Ananthalakshmi SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold was trading in a tight range on Monday as markets fretted over when the U.S. Federal Reserve would start to taper its economic stimulus and as stronger equities dented the metal's safe-haven appeal. Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed that hedge funds and money managers raised their bearish bets in U.S. gold futures and options close to a 7-1/2 year high in the week to December 3, another reason that short-covering rallies could emerge. "We could expect a short-term recovery in gold prices as, in our view, the mood of the market is exaggerated regarding the macroeconomic situation in the U.S.," said Alexis Garatti, an economist at Haitong International Research in Hong Kong. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,230.52 an ounce by 0734 GMT.
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