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Singapore (/ˈsɪŋ(ɡ)əpɔːr/ (About this soundlisten)), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bordering the Straits of Malacca to the west, the Riau Islands to the south, and the South China Sea to the east. The country's territory is composed of one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet, the combined area of which has increased by 25% since the country's independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects. It has the second greatest population density in the world. The country has almost 5.7 million residents, 61% (3.4 million) of whom are Singaporean citizens. There are four official languages of Singapore: English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil; with English being the lingua franca. Multiracialism is enshrined in the constitution, and continues to shape national policies in education, housing, and politics.

Although its history stretches back millennia, modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles as a trading post of the British Empire. In 1867, the colonies in East Asia were reorganised and Singapore came under the direct control of Britain as part of the Straits Settlements. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan in 1942, but returned to British control as a separate crown colony following Japan's surrender in 1945. Singapore gained self-governance in 1959, and in 1963 became part of the new federation of Malaysia, alongside Malaya, North Borneo, and Sarawak. Ideological differences led to Singapore being expelled from the federation two years later, thereby becoming an independent country.

After early years of turbulence and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation rapidly developed to become one of the Four Asian Tigers based on external trade, becoming a highly developed country; it is ranked ninth on the UN Human Development Index, and has the second-highest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world. Singapore is the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies. It is a major financial and shipping hub, consistently ranked the most expensive city to live in since 2013, and has been identified as a tax haven. Singapore is placed highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 91%. Singaporeans enjoy one of the world's longest life expectancies, fastest Internet connection speeds and one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

Singapore is a unitary parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. While elections are considered generally free, the government exercises significant control over politics and society, and the People's Action Party has ruled continuously since independence. One of the five founding members of ASEAN, Singapore is also the headquarters of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Secretariat, as well as many international conferences and events. Singapore is also a member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth of Nations. (Full article...)

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The Internal Security Act (ISA) of Singapore (Cap. 143, 1985 Rev. Ed.) is a statute that grants the executive power to enforce preventive detention, prevent subversion, suppress organized violence against persons and property, and do other things incidental to the internal security of Singapore. The present Act was originally enacted by the Parliament of Malaysia as the Internal Security Act 1960 (No. 18 of 1960), and extended to Singapore on 16 September 1963 when Singapore was a state of the Federation of Malaysia.

Before a person can be detained under the ISA by the Minister for Home Affairs, the President must be satisfied that such detention is necessary for the purposes of national security or public order. In the landmark case of Chng Suan Tze v. Minister for Home Affairs (1988), the Court of Appeal sought to impose legal limits on the power of preventive detention by requiring the Government to adduce objective facts which justified the President's satisfaction. Two months after the decision, a series of legislative and constitutional amendments was enacted that effectively reversed the Chng Suan Tze decision. These amendments were subsequently confirmed to be valid by the High Court and Court of Appeal in Teo Soh Lung v. Minister for Home Affairs (1989–1990), which held it is sufficient for the President to be subjectively satisfied that a detainee is a threat to national security in order for a detention order to be issued under the ISA. Notable ISA cases include Operation Coldstore in 1963 which led to the arrest of some 100 left-wing politicians and trade unionists, including members of the socialist opposition party, the Barisan Sosialis. Chia Thye Poh, an alleged Communist, was detained and subject to other restrictions on his liberty under the ISA from 1966 to 1998. The Chng Suan Tze and Teo Soh Lung cases resulted from a 1987 security operation called Operation Spectrum in which 22 Roman Catholic church and social activists and professionals accused of being members of a Marxist conspiracy were detained under the ISA. (Full article...)
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Dowtown Core
Credit: Majush (10 December 2007)

The Downtown Core is a 266-hectare urban planning area in the south of the city-state of Singapore. The Downtown Core surrounds the mouth of the Singapore River and southeastern portion of its watershed, and is an integral part of the Central Area. Read more...

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Feng in 2008

Feng Tianwei PJG (simplified Chinese: 冯天薇; traditional Chinese: 馮天薇; pinyin: Féng Tiānwēi, pronounced [fə̌ŋ tjɛ́nwéi]) is a Singapore table tennis player. She moved to Singapore under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme in March 2007 and commenced her international career in competitive table tennis the following month.

Feng represented Singapore for the first time in the Olympic Games at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. On 15 August 2008, the Singapore team comprising Feng and her teammates Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu defeated South Korea 3–2 in the semifinals. The team lost to China in the final, obtaining the silver medal. This was Singapore's first Olympic medal in 48 years and its first as an independent nation. (Full article...)

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Supreme Court Building, Singapore
  • ... that the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act of Singapore allows restrictions to be placed on religious leaders who promote political causes under the guise of religious activity?

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The National Stadium, Singapore
Credit: Sengkang (May 2007)

The National Stadium (Chinese: 国家体育场; Malay: Stadium Nasional Singapura) is located in Kallang. Opened in July 1973, the National Stadium was officially closed on June 30, 2007 and will be demolished in late 2008 to make way for the Singapore Sports Hub which is expected to open in 2011.

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