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today Monday April 26, 2010

World

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Nearly 100,000 protesters attended a rally on Okinawa yesterday to demonstrate against a United States air base in a row dominating Japan’s national politics and souring ties with Washington. ‘We will not allow the base to stay here,’ Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima told the cheering crowd. ‘We want the Hatoyama government to keep its promise.’ Tokyo and Washington agreed in 2006 to move the sprawling Futenma Marine Corps airfield to a less crowded part of Okinawa and to move 8,000 of its Marines to Guam. The agreement has been frozen, and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has repeatedly delayed a decision in the face of rejection by potential relocation sites. Agencies

Ban the base

Staying ahead with MBAs

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Defence Minister says other possibilities are also under review

They chose to broaden their career horizons at MDIS

For G Abhilash and Serene Sim, the route to staying at the top of their careers is to upgrade their qualifications. And they have chosen to accelerate their learning through two Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes — instead of a bachelor’s degree programme — at the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). The High Flyer As an operations manager at Delta Airlines, G Abhilash has a diverse portfolio spanning human resource, training, events, security, facilities management, clientele management and call centres — operations that involved approximately 300 employees in the company. Abhilash, who is in his late 30s, was retrenched while working in the call centre industry in 1998. The experience made him realise the need to manage his own career. On his decision to further his studies last year, he said: “I chose to upgrade my qualifications because there were many changes in the workplace — oil prices were rising and airline mergers were taking place. I knew I would not go far enough with a diploma.” Abhilash had intended to study for a degree, however his regional director convinced him that his extensive work experience would qualify him for an MBA. In 2009, he enrolled in the part-time Edith Cowan University Master of Business Administration (International) programme at MDIS.

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On the programme, he attended modules such as Business Economics, Cultural Framework of Business and Accounting for Managerial Decision Making. Abhilash, who graduated earlier this year, said: “Now I have a sound understanding of accounting, sales, economics and a better grasp of intercultural issues, which is useful as I have to work with international departments. My MBA has also provided me with a wider perspective of the business beyond operations.” The Career Climber Although she is only in her late 20s, Serene Sim has already accumulated a wealth of work experience. Before joining her present company Innotel Solutions, which offers telecommunications and surveillance products and services, Serene had been based in the human resource industry. She joined Innotel Solutions in 2005 as a business development manager. Today, she is a business director and is primarily responsible for sales

Torpedo probably sank warship: South Korea

and product marketing, but she also takes on operations, human resource and customer service duties. As Innotel grows, she is also involved in looking at new markets overseas for expansion opportunities. To broaden her career horizons, she decided to study for an MBA. “An MBA would help advance my career. And I wanted a university that would recognise my work experience as part of the entry requirements.” Last year, Serene embarked on the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at MDIS, offered by Southern Cross University. She will graduate in December. “The most useful module so far has been marketing management. I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learnt, such as analysis techniques, while planning our company’s marketing strategies. “Being in a directorial role, I need to have an overview of the company’s operations and all its departments. Having an MBA will allow me to plan and manage much more efficiently.” Melody Tan

For more information on the programmes, call 6372 1000 or email pg@mdis.edu.sg

SEOUL — An explosion from a torpedo likely sank a South Korean warship that went down near the tense border with North Korea last month, the South’s defence minister said yesterday, amid growing speculation Pyongyang may be behind the blast. Defence Minister Kim Tae Young said the most likely cause of the disaster was a torpedo exploding near the ship, with the force of the underwater blast ripping the vessel apart. “A bubble jet caused by a heavy torpedo (attack) is thought to be one of the most likely things to be blamed, but various other possibilities are also under review,” Mr Kim said yesterday. Shortly after the vessel sank, Mr Kim said a mine or a torpedo could have been to blame, but Seoul subsequently rowed back and has since been careful to avoid pointing a finger at Pyongyang. The 12,000-tonne corvette Cheonan sank after being split in half in a mystery blast in the Yellow Sea on March 26, leaving 40 sailors dead and six still unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, a preliminary investigation of the front part of the ship — retrieved the day before — pointed to a closerange, external explosion. “In conclusion, after the initial visual inspection of the severed surface and the inside and outside of the hull, we assume the case is underwater explosion,” chief investigator Yoon Duk Yong told reporters. “And looking at the form of the deformation, it is highly likely that a non-contact explosion was the case rather than a contact explosion.” But he said it’s still too early to determine what caused the explosion. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper last week quoted defectors as saying that North Korea had formed suicide attack squads known as “human torpedoes” in its navy. It said the North’s navy operates a brigade of suicide attack squads, which have many mini-submarines capable of carrying torpedoes or floating mines. South Korean Prime Minister Chung Un Chan yesterday declared a five-day “national mourning period” for the 46 sailors until Thursday, with public shrines set up in Seoul and other cities nationwide for citizens to pay tribute. Agencies

Relatives of the sailors killed in the sinking of the warship Cheonan paying their respects at a naval base in Pyeongtaek yesterday. AFP

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