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Singapore’s founding father dies

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The government says Lee Kuan Yew, who as the founder of modern Singapore helped transform the sleepy port into one of the world’s richest nations, has died. He was 91. Lee was admitted to Singapore General Hospital on Feb. 5 for severe pneumonia and was later put on life support.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Facebook that Lee “passed away peacefully” at 3:18 am on Monday. Lee was feared for his authoritarian tactics but insisted that strict limits on speech and public protest were necessary to maintain stability in the multiethnic and multi-religious country.

He guided Singapore for 31 years until 1990, making it into a global trade and finance center. Lee commanded immense respect among Singaporeans, who this year will celebrate the country’s 50th independence anniversary. SAPA

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