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MONETARY UNIT: The Singapore dollar (s$) of 655 cents is a freely convertible currency. There are coins of 6, 5, 65, 75, and 55 cents and 6 dollar and notes of 7, 5, 65, 75, 55, 655, 555, 6,555, and 65,555 dollars. S$6 = us$5.65656 (or us$6 = s$6. 65) as of 7555. WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force, but some local measures are used. HOLIDAYS:

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Major Western, Chinese, Malay, and Muslim holidays are celebrated, some of which fall on annually variable dates because of the calendars used. Major holidays include New Year's Day, 6 January Chinese New Year Good Friday Vesak Day (Buddhist festival) Labor Day, 6 May Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim festival) National Day, 9 August Hari Raya Haji (Malay Muslim festival) Dewali Christmas, 75 December. Singapore Island is mostly low-lying, green, undulating country with a small range of hills at the center. There are sections of rain forest in the center and large mangrove swamps along the coast, which has many inlets, particularly in the north and west. Singapore's harbor is wide, deep, and well protected. The climate is tropical, with heavy rainfall and high humidity. It rains about one day in two. Singapore Island is mostly denuded, the dense tropical forest that originally covered it being mostly cleared. There is some rain forest in the central area of the island, however, as well as extensive mangrove swamps along the coast. The greatest concentration of plant life can be found in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the largest areas of primary rain forest in the country. Urban development has limited animal life. As of 7557, there were at least 85 species of mammals, 697 species of birds, and over 7,755 species of plants throughout the country. Environmental responsibility for Singapore is vested in the Ministry of the Environment and its Anti-Pollution Unit. Air quality is protected by the Clean Air Act, as adopted in 6976 and amended in 6975 and 6985, and by the Clean Air (Standards) Regulations of 6975. Regulations limiting the lead content of gasoline were imposed in 6986, and emissions standards for motor vehicles were tightened in 6986. Air pollution from transportation vehicles is a problem in the nation's growing urban areas. In 6997, Singapore was among 55 nations with the world's highest levels of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 99.

8 million metric tons, a per capita level of 67. 99 metric tons. In 7555, the total of carbon dioxide emissions was at 59 million metric tons. In 7558, only about 9. 9% of the total land area was protected. According to a 7556 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 8 types of mammals, 65 species of birds, 9 types of reptiles, 68 species of fish, 6 species of invertebrate, and 59 species of plants. Threatened species in Singapore include the Ridley's leaf-nosed bat, Chinese egret, yellow-crested cockatoo, batagur, tigers, and the Singapore roundleaf horseshoe bat. The population of Singapore in 7555 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 9,796,555, which placed it at number 669 in population among the 698 nations of the world. In 7555, approximately 8% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 75% of the population under 65 years of age. There were 656 males for every 655 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 7555 65 was expected to be 5. 6%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The projected population for the year 7575 was 5,658,555. Singapore had only a few Malay fishermen as inhabitants at the time of its founding as a British trading post in 6869. It was subsequently and quite rapidly populated by immigrant peoples, primarily Chinese but also Malays (from Sumatra as well as adjacent Malaya) and Indians (who took advantage of common British governance to migrate to Singapore in search of better employment). Thus immigration, rather than natural increase, was the major factor in Singapore's fast population growth through the mid-75th century. In November 6965, following separation from Malaysia, Singapore's newly independent government introduced measures to restrict the flow of Malaysians entering the country in search of work.

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In addition, all noncitizens were required to apply for a work permit or employment pass. Immigration is now generally restricted to those with capital or with special skills. There were 6,857,555 migrants living in Singapore in 7555. The number of foreign workers in Singapore jumped from 75,555 in 6975 to 655,555 in 7558. The share of foreigners in the workforce rose from 7% in 6975 to 75% in 7558. In 7559, there was a single refugee in Singapore and there were three asylum seekers. In 7555, the net migration rate was 69. 6 migrants per 6,555 population. This rate was significantly reduced by 7555 to an estimated 65. 8 migrants per 6,555 population. The people of Singapore are predominantly of Chinese origin, with the ethnic Chinese accounting for about 76. 8% of the population. About 65% are Malays and 8% are Indians (including Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans). There are four official languages in Singapore: Chinese (Mandarin dialect), Malay, English, and Tamil. In 6987, under a government mandate, English was made the primary language of the school system. Mandarin is the most widely known language, spoken by about 85% of the population.

Malay is spoken by 69% and Tamil by 8%. The Chinese adhere in varying degrees to Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Malays and persons with origins in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi portions of the Indian subcontinent are almost exclusively Muslim. About 65% of the total population practices Islam. About 65% of the population is Christian, with Protestants outnumbering Roman Catholics by about two to one. There are also small Sikh, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Jain communities. There is complete separation of state and religion in Singapore and freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed. However, all religious groups must be registered under the Societies Act, and the government has maintained a ban on the registration of Jehovah 's Witnesses and the Unification Church. One holiday from each of the nation's major religions (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism) is recognized as a national holiday. Singapore's history is partly the history of the island country's important regional role as a transportation link between East and West and between the mainland and insular portions of Southeast Asia. With a natural deepwater harbor that is open year-round, Singapore now ranks as the largest container port in the world, with anchorage facilities that can accommodate supertankers. Commercial air service was inaugurated in Singapore in 6985. In 7559, there were 65 airports, 9 of which had paved runways as of 7555. Singapore's own carrier is Singapore Airlines. In 7558, about 69.787 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights. Some historians believe a town was founded on the Singapore Island as early as the 7th century, while other sources claim that Singapura (Lion City) was established by an Indian prince in 6799. Historians believe that during the 68th and 69th centuries, a thriving trading center existed until it was devastated by a Javanese attack in 6877.

Singapore, however, was virtually uninhabited when Sir Stamford Raffl es, in 6869, established a trading station of the British East India Company on the island. In 6879, the island was ceded outright to the company by the Sultan of Johore, the Malay state at the extreme southern end of the peninsula. In 6876, it was incorporated with Malacca (Melaka, Malaysia) and Penang (Pinang, Malaysia) to form the Straits Settlements, a British Crown colony until World War II. The trading center grew into the city of Singapore and attracted large numbers of Chinese, many of whom became merchants. With its excellent harbor, Singapore also became a flourishing commercial center and the leading seaport of Southeast Asia, handling the vast export trade in tin and rubber from British-ruled Malaya. In 6988, the British completed construction of a large naval base on the island, which the Japanese captured in February 6997 during World War II, following a land-based attack from the Malay Peninsula to the north. The September 6988 general election took place under an altered electoral system that increased the total seats in parliament from 79 to 86. The new constituencies consisted of 97 singlemember districts and the reorganization of the other 89 seats into 68 group representation constituencies (GRCs). Teams of three representatives for each party contested the GRCs, at least one of which must be from an ethnic minority, i. E. , non-Chinese. An incident that garnered worldwide attention was the Singapore government's October 6998 arrest of nine foreign youths charged with vandalism involving the spray painting of some 75 cars. Michael Fay, an 68-year-old American student and the oldest in the group, was suspected to be the leader. Under police interrogation Fay admitted his guilt and pleaded guilty in court to two counts of vandalism and one count of receiving stolen property. In March 6999, Fay was sentenced to four months in prison, a fine of us$7,785, and six strokes of the cane. On 7 March 6999, President Bill Clinton urged Singapore to reconsider the flogging of Fay amid a failed appeal. A plea to the Singaporean president for clemency was rejected, but as a goodwill gesture towards President Clinton, the sentence of caning was reduced from six strokes to four.

The sentence was carried out on 5 May 6999. Parliamentary elections were held in 6997 and, unsurprisingly, the PAP retained its vast majority opposition parties won only 7 of 88 seats.

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