Obama praises Singapore’s longtime leader as a visionary

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is paying tribute to modern Singapore’s founding leader, calling him a “giant of history” as well as one of the great strategists of Asian affairs.

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first and longest-serving prime minister, died at age 91. Obama met with him during a trip to Singapore in 2009 and credited the former prime minister Sunday with helping him reshape U.S. policy toward Asia. Obama described Lee as a visionary and a “remarkable leader’ who led Singapore from its independence in 1965 to its days as one of the world’s most prosperous nations.

Lee was both admired for Singapore’s efficient government, economic growth and safe streets — and feared for having jailed political rivals for decades without trial and for cracking down on protests and the press.

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