• Bali airport expected to reopen Wednesday morning
  • MTDC To Get More Involved In Industry 4.0
  • Hong Leong provides advanced transaction banking solutions for SMEs
  • Local Young Talents Unearthed at MIF Runway 2017
  • Civil servants in Singapore to get year-end bonus of one month
  • Artificial muscles give superpowers to robots

Bali airport closure extended
The closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali has been extended by another 24 hours amid the ongoing eruption of Mount Agung. The resumption of operations at the airport is now scheduled for 7 a.m. on Wednesday. State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I (AP I) communications and legal division head Arie Ahsanurrohim said the decision was based on meteorological observation. “Volcanic ash from Mount Agung has spread to a height of 30,000 feet, and [the wind] is blowing in a south and south-westerly direction at a speed of about 5 to 10 knots, heading to I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport,” Arie said. The international airport has been closed since 7:15 a.m. on Monday due to volcanic ash from Mount Agung, which erupted on Saturday. The closure affected 445 flights and saw at least 59,000 passengers stranded on Monday. Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center has upgraded the alert status to the highest level. (Jakarta Post)

MTDC To Get More Involved in Industry 4.0
Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC) is looking to get more involved in (the fourth industrial revolution) Industry 4.0, green technology and accelerator programmes in the quest to produce technopreneurs among graduates within the next few years. Its Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Norhalim Yunus said in the face of global challenges, MTDC is thinking seriously on the need to prepare and equip technopreneurs with the right tools. “Over the last 25 years, MTDC has created numerous training opportunities for university graduates since it started its first Graduate Entrepreneurship Programme or Symbiosis with Forest Research Institute Malaysia in 2008. “The programme was to address the need for more technology companies to contribute to higher levels of commercialisation,” he told reporters at the MTDC’s 25th anniversary celebration here, today. Moving ahead into the future, Datuk Norhalim said MTDC has started to train graduates in its Symbiosis TVET (Technical & Vocational Education and Training) programme in preparation for Industry 4.0. (Bernama)

Hong Leong provides advanced transaction banking solutions for SMEs
The newly launched Hong Leong ConnectFirst (HL ConnectFirst) is set to offer single sign-on access to a comprehensive suite of advanced cash, trade and foreign exchange solutions for corporate, commercial and SME customers of Hong Leong Bank. HL ConnectFirst is in line with the bank’s aspirations to embed digital efficiency in business processes, and is infused with innovative features designed to assist business clients in managing their working capital requirements. This channel provides high levels of customisation on a comprehensive platform. It is able to cater for differing needs of a whole range of business clients while at the same time provides seamless customer experience.

Local Young Talents Unearthed at MIF Runway 2017
Twenty local fashion designers showed off their designs at the MARA In Fashion (MIF) Runway 2017 programme in a bid to sharpen their talents and to explore the fashion industry. MIF 2017 is a MARA initiative to develop the fashion industry ecosystem covering fashion design, pattern making, production and retail in seizing opportunities in the rapid pace of fashion development. Each participant presented three design creations which were assessed by professional judges to select three potential talents to attend a short-term course at Central Saint Martins, London. MARA chairman Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said MIF was a MARA initiative to support young local designers and as a platform to promote and market the participants’ creations to local and international markets. The MIF programme is an interconnected network covering design, pattern, production and sales to give exposure and prepare fashion design talents for the international scene. The fashion designers’ collections which were showcased in MIF 2016 programme have made way into the open markets such as Sogo, Isetan, Haute Elan in London and Fashion Valet.

Civil servants in Singapore to get year-end bonus of one month
Civil servants in Singapore will receive a one-month year-end Annual Variable Component (AVC), the highest end-of-year bonus received in four years. Lower-wage civil servants will get a minimum payment of S$1,800, the Public Service Division (PSD) said. The one-month year-end bonus is the highest since 2013, when civil servants received 1.1 months AVC. The year-end AVC has remained under one month since then.
Together with the 0.5-month mid-year AVC made in July this year, civil servants will receive a full-year AVC of 1.5 months for 2017. The PSD said, “The AVC payment is in line with the more optimistic economic outlook for 2017 compared with 2016.” The Ministry of Trade and Industry has forecast that the economy will grow by 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent for the whole of 2017”, PSD said.

Artificial muscles give ‘superpower’ to robots
Inspired by the folding technique of origami, U.S. researchers said they have crafted cheap, artificial muscles for robots that give them the power to lift up to 1,000 times their own weight. Researchers said the advance offers a leap forward in the field of soft robotics, which is fast replacing an older generation of robots that were jerky and rigid in their movements. The muscles, known as actuators, are built on a framework of metal coils or plastic sheets, and each muscle costs around $1 to make, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal. The artificial muscles “can generate about six times more force per unit area than mammalian skeletal muscle can, and are also incredibly lightweight,” it added. (Japan Today)