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Loh
04-11-2013, 02:48 AM
Published on Apr 11, 2013
2:00 PM

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Passengers at the transit area of the Changi Airport Terminal 3 (T3). Singapore Changi Airport has been named the World's Best Airport at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards held in Geneva, beating other world airports like Incheon International Airport in Korea and Hong Kong International Airport. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


By Joanna Lee


Singapore Changi Airport has been named the World's Best Airport at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards held in Geneva, beating other world airports like Incheon International Airport in Korea and Hong Kong International Airport.

It is the fourth time Changi Airport bagged this prize, with its last victory in 2010. This year, it also managed to secure awards for Best Airport in Asia and Best Airport for Leisure Amenities.

The 2013 Awards are based on The World Airport Survey, which included 395 airports worldwide this year. The survey evaluates key performance indicators in areas such as check-in, transfers, security and immigration, and shopping.

Chief executive officer of Changi Airport Group, Mr Lee Seow Hiang said: "Winning the Skytrax World's Best Airport award again is an immense honour for Changi Airport. It is as much a recognition of the passion of the 32,000-strong airport community that is the backbone of Changi's collaborative and well-oiled operational processes, as it is an affirmation of our mantra in putting our passengers at the heart of all that we do."

Loh
04-11-2013, 08:39 PM
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Joaquim Sagues, Worldwide Director of the CampusExperience, believes talented players from the proposed Real Madrid Training Academy in Singapore have a chance of being invited for a stint with the parent club in Spain. Photo: Ernest Chua SOURCE:MediaCorp Press Ltd

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From left: Worldwide Director of Fundación Realmadrid’s Clinic programme and Technical Academies Manuel Parreno, Raffles Institution Principal Lim Lai Cheng, Sergio Cervantes Martinez, Spain’s Ambassador to Singapore Federico Palomera, BBVA Director Gabriela Martinez de Aragon, and Joaquim Sagues mark the launch of the first Real Madrid CampusExperience in South-east Asia. Photo: Ernest Chua SOURCE:MediaCorp Press Ltd



Spanish giants may set up academy here, the best could head to Madrid



ByTan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)


5 hours 18 min ago

SINGAPORE — Spain could soon become a destination for young Singaporean footballers with dreams of playing top-flight professional football.

Representatives from 32-time Spanish Primera Division champions Real Madrid are studying the feasibility of setting up a training academy here, with the promise that any trainee who impresses will be recommended to the parent club in Spain.
Speaking at the launch of the Real Madrid CampusExperience —the club’s football-based programme for youths — at Raffles Institution (RI) yesterday, its Director Sergio Cervantes Martinez said it would also reflect well on the proposed academy if it manages to unearth talent for the club.

“We’ll be directly linked with (Real) Madrid, so if we have a talent here, a kid who is making a difference, we will report it immediately and not leave him just to play football in Singapore,” said Cervantes.

“We will advise the club and suggest testing him in Madrid. It would also reflect that something good is also happening (at the academy) in Singapore.”

Speaking via an translator, Real Madrid CampusExperience Worldwide Director Joaquim Sagues added: “Although the club has a scouting department, there are definitely opportunities as we’re within the same brand.”

Details of the academy, such as its management staff, fees and curriculum, are being worked out.

But if it materialises, the academy will be a long-term commitment and is likely to be based in an existing sports facility.

“The value is in the methodology and know-how that we can transfer,” said Cervantes.

In the meantime, Cervantes will head the Real Madrid CampusExperience which will make its South-east Asian debut in Singapore in June.

To be held at RI’s Bishan campus, it comprises three sessions from June 10-14, June 17-21 and June 24-28, and is open to boys and girls aged seven to 17.

Conducted by the club’s coaches from Madrid, each session consists of five full-day programmes from 8.20am to 5.45pm daily.

Participants will be exposed to Real Madrid’s club values, and will take part in tactical and technical training sessions.

As part of the tie-up, RI will also send about 19 of its students on a week-long trip to Madrid in September on an educational tour. The school is also planning another trip for its Year 5 and 6 students in November or December to study Real’s sports science methods.

Cervantes also announced yesterday that the Real Madrid
CampusExperience will be supporting SportCares — an initiative by the Singapore Sports Council to provide opportunities for underprivileged and at-risk youth — by sponsoring one such participant for every 20 people who sign up.

Fees for the Real Madrid CampusExperience are priced at S$1,088 each, which is higher than fees charged by some other programmes offered here, such as the Manchester United Soccer School (S$280) and last year’s Barcelona Camp (S$545).

Still, that has not stopped an estimated 100 participants from already signing up with the Real Madrid CampusExperience, while RI also plans to partially sponsor about 40 of its students for it.

While acknowledging the relatively pricier fee, Sagues believes the Real Madrid CampusExperience offers value for money.

“Unlike programmes run by many other clubs, our coaches and staff are all coming from Spain,” he said. “The kids will also receive training, education, meals and so much more. You can buy a Ford or a Ferrari, but there’s a big difference. This is the best value for money if you consider all these factors

Loh
04-11-2013, 08:59 PM
Singapore on Thursday called for a review of ASEAN's processes and institutions, in order to make them more efficient and effective.

By Saifulbahri Ismail
POSTED: 11 Apr 2013 8:01 PM

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Singapore on Thursday called for a review of ASEAN's processes and institutions, in order to make them more efficient and effective.

Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said he submitted a paper to the 10 ASEAN member countries, adding that the review was welcomed by all and that it will be taken up at the senior officials' level.

Mr Shanmugam was speaking to Singapore reporters at the end of the ASEAN meetings in Brunei on Thursday.

Foreign ministers from ASEAN member countries met for a 90-minute session on Thursday morning. The discussion focused on ASEAN's connectivity and community building efforts.

Mr Shanmugam said: "(Singapore) has been thinking for some time as to how we can make ASEAN even more effective, what we can contribute... Over the years we had more meetings, we've had more dialogue partners, more friends who have joined us in a variety of ways and we've got to make sure that all of this works for us and for them."

The ASEAN Charter, which was established in 2008 and currently under review, gives ASEAN a legal personality and expands its values on rule of law, democracy and good governance.

Singapore also suggested strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat, as it believes a strong and efficient Secretariat is needed to help in ASEAN's community integration.

ASEAN foreign ministers also discussed the South China Sea dispute during the meeting.

They reiterated the need for all parties to exercise self-restraint from activities that would complicate or escalate disputes.

Senior officials from ASEAN and China met in Beijing in early April where they discussed, among other issues, the South China Sea territorial dispute.

They agreed to work on a Code of Conduct (COC) on the basis of consensus. They also further agreed to continue exchanging views on the way forward.

Mr Shanmugam said: "That was a good meeting and we noted the importance of ASEAN unity and centrality. Also we need a positive narrative in the relationship between ASEAN and China which is multi-faceted, and not to be dominated by one topic. We also emphasised and discussed the importance of implementing the Declaration of Conduct and the importance of taking steps to initiate discussions on the COC quickly."

This is the first time ASEAN’s foreign ministers have met under Brunei's chairmanship.

The 2-day event aims to help gear up and prepare for the ASEAN Summit later this month.


- CNA/jc



Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam (AFP/File/Matt Rourke)

Loh
04-14-2013, 08:44 PM
The Straits Times

BY INVITATION

Trust in public institutions like the police is not a given and needs to be nurtured. Will the blogosphere choose cynicism, or seek common ground to protect public institutions?



Published on Apr 13, 2013
6:00 AM




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-- ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO



By Kishore Mahbubani, For The Straits Times


As Singapore undergoes its mighty, irresistible metamorphosis over this coming decade, it is vital for it to ensure that it does not lose some painfully acquired blessings in the process.

In my previous column For The Straits Times, I had asked readers to share their views on my thoughts about Singapore's metamorphosis. I had said the soul of Singapore is being redefined, and that Singaporean society can either emerge as a happy butterfly, flitting around in a garden city, or as a lonely frog, croaking away unhappily in a little well.

I am grateful for the over 50 readers who responded and for their comments. They have helped shape my thinking for this column, and provided food for thought for future ones.
One of the biggest blessings Singapore has is that it is one of the safest cities in the world.

The level of safety we enjoy is a true miracle. Switzerland enjoys the same level of public safety. But it is surrounded by Europe. When you cross the border out of Switzerland, you continue to experience the same level of safety. But when you cross out of the border of Singapore, you may not. In short, we have to work extremely hard to preserve this cocoon of extraordinary public safety.

Some of it is clearly due to the very successful Singapore Police Force (SPF) we have. But the SPF is only one unit within an ecosystem of excellent public institutions delivering this high level of safety. The social trust that Singaporeans and Singapore residents have in this ecosystem is one key reason why our city is safe.

Worrying cynicism

THIS is why I am extremely worried about the cynicism that the Singaporean blogosphere is developing towards these public institutions. Over time this cynicism could act like an acid that erodes the valuable social trust accumulated. Yes, let me concede that some of the online criticisms are justified. For example, the escape of Mas Salamat Kastari was a major failure.

Against this backdrop, I watched carefully the reaction of the blogosphere to the Shane Todd affair. Dr Todd, 31, an American researcher, was found hanged in his apartment here last June after he quit the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) which is part of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

We will have to await the outcome of the coroner's inquiry to find out what really happened.

This is why I was appalled that US Senator Max Baucus jumped the gun and tried to pressure Singapore by forcing Singapore to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) oversight of the case before the Coroner's Court had completed its inquiry.

This goes against all international laws and norms. The United States would never allow a foreign police force to oversee an FBI investigation. Nor would it allow any foreign intervention into its judicial inquiry process.

What makes this even more absurd is that any objective investigation will show that the SPF is at least as competent, if not more competent, than the FBI.

Why do I say this? Having lived in the US for over 10 years, I have observed that while Singapore has moved from Third World to First World in its public institutions, many of America's public institutions are going in the opposite direction.

The best minds in America do not go into lifetime public service careers. The best minds in Singapore do. This is why the trust and confidence in Singapore's public institutions remain high overall.

Kudos to blogosphere

I WAS therefore heartened to see that the Singapore blogosphere did not unthinkingly support the American position. Some of the more popular blogs were pretty hostile to the idea of the FBI interfering in a domestic investigation. This has given me some hope that we can try and find some middle ground between the mainstream media and the blogosphere.

In this middle ground, we should reach clear agreement that some of Singapore's painfully developed public institutions should be protected and strengthened, like the SPF.

If we don't develop this middle ground and if a significant percentage of Singaporeans begin to demonstrate a lack of trust in our public institutions, trouble may begin brewing around the corner. This lack of trust can suddenly manifest itself in different ways.

Let me suggest one hypothetical scenario.

We have had quite a few MRT breakdowns in recent years. Thousands of people were inconvenienced. Fortunately, each incident passed peacefully. The peaceful outcomes reflected the high level of trust that Singaporeans have in their public institutions. They saw each incident as an aberration - not indicating the emergence of a new pattern of decline. But this perception could well change if MRT disruptions persist.

Clearly, the public standing of train operator SMRT has been declining. When I served as Singapore's Ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1989, my American counterpart was the legendary Ambassador Vernon Walters. His hobby was to visit and investigate every MRT system in the world. He proudly told me that having done so, he could confidently say the Singapore MRT system was the best in the world.

I asked why. He said it was the only MRT system in the world that had been built ahead of schedule, below cost and functioned smoothly.

Clearly this is no longer the case. The big question is: what went wrong? Was it a mistake to emphasise the short-term private sector profits rather than the long-term public good that the SMRT is supposed to provide?

All this brings me to the hypothetical scenario. If we have another major MRT breakdown, combined with declining trust in public institutions, we may have the perfect combination for a riot or two. We have been free from riots for almost 40 years. The reasons were simple: rising living standards and rising trust in public institutions. But if this trust becomes a declining commodity and if a major public service performs badly, it would be unwise to expect the same level of social harmony.

In short, it would be a mistake to take our high level of public safety for granted. It is the result of a very complex ecosystem of public institutions that still enjoys a high level of trust among Singaporeans.

However, if the blogosphere and the mainstream media cannot agree on a core consensus of preserving and supporting key public institutions, we could end up with a messier Singapore, becoming an unhappy frog rather than a happy butterfly.


stopinion@sph.com.sg

To read Prof Mahbubani's previous column, click here. (http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/singapore-butterfly-or-frog-20130309)

The writer is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

By Invitation features expert views from opinion leaders in Singapore and the region.


SEE: The ups and downs of being S'porean (http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/opinion/story/the-ups-and-downs-being-sporean-20130413)

Loh
04-14-2013, 09:07 PM
Published on Apr 14, 2013
1:58 PM



By Melody Zaccheus


A trail taking visitors through the untold stories and historical gems of the 77-year-old Tiong Bahru estate was launched by the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Sunday morning.

Featuring 10 markers, spanning 2.5km, the 11th NHB trail includes stops at the Tiong Bahru Market with a history tracing back to 1945, philanthropist Tan Tock Seng's grave and Singapore's first Monkey God temple which was founded in 1920.

Grassroots advisor and Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Thurai Rajah said the heritage trail is a platform for members of the community to better understand and appreciate the estate's rich heritage.

"Whether you are a resident who has been living in the estate for decades, or someone who has moved in recently, this trail offers a greater insight into the history of Tiong Bahru, charting its milestones though the war and commemorating memorable sites that hold a significant place in the hearts of many."


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A trail taking visitors through the untold stories and historical gems of the 77-year-old Tiong Bahru estate was launched by the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

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Loh
04-14-2013, 09:25 PM
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http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/14659824_0.JPGThe Horse-Shoe Block. Photo: Don Wong



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Seng Poh Garden and Dancing Girl Sculpture. Photo: Don Wong


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Monkey God Temple. Photo: Don Wong
















Trail will offer insight into the area’s unique pre-war and post-war architecture





ByWong Wei Han (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/wong-wei-han)

6 hours 5 min ago

SINGAPORE — Like many places in Tiong Bahru, Block 78, which straddles Moh Guan Terrace and Guan Chuan Street, embodies a part of Singapore’s history.

Built between 1939 and 1940, it houses the first air raid shelter in a public housing project.

The “horseshoe block” — nicknamed after its unique U-shape — and its wartime shelter are now part of the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail, launched yesterday by the National Heritage Board (NHB).

Ten landmarks in the area — one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates dating back to the 1930s — have been selected as markers of the NHB’s 11th heritage trail, including the grave of Singapore pioneer Tan Tock Seng at Outram Road, the 93-year-old Monkey God Temple along Eng Hoon Street and Tiong Bahru Market, which dates back to 1945.

The trail will also offer insight into the area’s unique pre-war and post-war architecture.

Ms Thangamma Karthigesu, the NHB’s Director of Education and Outreach, said the research and selection process began at the end of the third quarter of last year.

Speaking at the trail’s launch ceremony, Senior Minister of State (Law and Education) and Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Rajah said: “The trail offers a unique insight into the history of this special neighbourhood, charting its milestones through the war and commemorating memorable sites that hold a significant place in the hearts of many.”

The new trail is also the first to have guided tours, offered once a month by volunteer Tiong Bahru residents. The tours cost S$2 per participant, with the proceeds going to the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Community Development Welfare Fund.

Residents and individuals familiar with the neighbourhood were all heartened by the trail’s launch.

Educator Wong Ching Yee, 45, who grew up in the area and was taking her children to visit the trail, said: “It’s a gift to Singaporeans, as it helps preserve the memories of our community.”

Mr Roney Tan, a representative of the Tan Tock Seng family and a former Tiong Bahru resident, believes the heritage trail can help create a sense of belonging. “It preserves the heritage of a place and serves as a reminder for the history that we all share. As such, I’m very honoured that Mr Tan Tock Seng’s grave is part of the heritage trail.”

Coming up later this year are trails for older estates like Toa Payoh and Tampines, and there are plans for trails in Woodlands, Tampines, Chinatown and Little India over the next five years.

“The plan is for NHB to eventually connect all these trails working with other agencies, communities and NGOs so that Singaporeans can walk from one area to the next and eventually learn more about Singapore’s various constituencies and communities through these trails,” Ms Thangamma said.

Existing heritage trails include areas such as Kampong Glam, Balestier, Jalan Besar, Bukit Timah, Queenstown and Ang Mo Kio.

Asked about suggestions to nominate Tiong Bahru as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Ms Indranee said: “I understand that in order to be a UNESCO heritage side, you have to meet 10 criteria which are quite stringent. I don’t know at the current time whether Tiong Bahru actually meets those criteria, so further research has to be done. But if it does, it’d be a wonderful nomination.”

Loh
04-14-2013, 09:46 PM
By Sara Grosse
POSTED: 12 Apr 2013 5:11 PM

In a world first, a Singapore scientist and his team have developed a chip which can detect up to 70,000 different viruses and bacteria in one test.








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SINGAPORE: In a world first, a local scientist and his team have developed a chip which can detect up to 70,000 different viruses and bacteria in one shot.

Currently, typical diagnostics test for less than 50 different viruses.

The idea to develop a device which can detect all viruses came about because of the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) 10 years ago.

During that time, there was no easy method for physicians to pinpoint the disease.

Patients were kept in isolation, with several tests performed before it was determined if they had the virus or not.

Dr Christopher Wong, chief scientific officer for translational technologies at the Genome Institute of Singapore, said: "Current diagnostics tend to be based only on a single pathogen. In other words, if you say, 'I want to test to find out whether you have dengue or not'. That is one test. Then, you say, 'oh, you don't have dengue but I'm also worried, do you have chikungunya?' That's a second test. Or, it could be, 'do you have flu?' So that's a third test."

Ten years later, scientists are hoping the chip will prove to be a big advantage during epidemics, with its ability to diagnose diseases fast.

A DNA sample from an infected patient is extracted and then put on the chip.

Within 24 hours, a report is generated, showing which viruses are detected.

The chip can also detect new viruses, such as the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus first found in humans last month.

Dr Edison Liu, president of Human Genome Organisation, said: "All the 70,000 pathogens are in one way or another related to each other, not closely but related enough, so that the probes were constructed and selected specifically to be generalised, if need be. So if you have a new SARS virus, a new coronavirus that is SARS-like and you've never seen it before, this (chip) will detect it."

Right now, the chip is just being used for research purposes but developers hope that once it gets FDA approval, it can be used in hospitals. They say it can potentially free up bed space.

That's because once the patient's disease is identified, they can be treated more quickly and discharged earlier.

And while only one chip can be used per patient, developers say it is still cost-effective, as the device costs less than S$600 and only needs one technician to operate.


- CNA/ir

Loh
04-18-2013, 09:59 PM
ASK DPM THARMAN SPECIAL
Call for a broader meritocracy where people recognise each other's strengths



Published on Apr 19, 2013
8:27 AM

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Mr Tharman (not pictured), a former education minister, says that Singapore is a meritocracy that is still a bit too much defined by what happened in one's school years or post-secondary years. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


By Robin Chan, Political Correspondent


HOW you did in school at age 18 should not define your life, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam firmly believes.

This is why his vision for Singapore in 20 years is for it to become a society where people treat each other as equals, regardless of their education or job.

What matters is not which school one went to, or how one did at 18. What should matter is whether everyone has the opportunity to continually improve and upgrade his lot in life, whatever his starting point.

As the country mulls over the kind of society it wants to be, it has to look beyond just raising wages, or what kind of tax policy to have. "It's about changing the way we think about responsibility to society... It's also recognising the role that everyone plays in keeping the society going."

Loh
04-18-2013, 10:08 PM
Published on Apr 18, 2013
6:12 PM

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Universal Studios Singapore welcomed its 10 millionth visitor on Thursday with much fanfare. -- FILE PHOTO: RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA


By Joanna Lee


Universal Studios Singapore welcomed its 10 millionth visitor on Thursday with much fanfare.

Singaporean Ms Joanne Tan was greeted by Marilyn Monroe and Woody Woodpecker among other staff dressed up as famous celebrities or cartoon characters. She also received gifts worth more than $1,000 including an exclusive tour of the amusement park, a fully-paid for dinner and theme park merchandise.

"The surprise welcome made us feel like superstars, it felt like we were in the movies," said Ms Tan, 40, housewife who was planning a day-out for the family. "This is actually the first time we are visiting Universal Studios Singapore, so I am really excited."

Universal Studios Singapore is a theme park that opened in March 2010 as an attraction at integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa. It offers 23 rides as well as shows and attractions.

Loh
04-18-2013, 10:57 PM
Published on Apr 18, 2013
11:49 AM




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The United States (US) Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday morning, to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia. It was welcomed by US Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman and the Republic of Singapore Navy's fleet commander Timothy Lo. -- ST PHOTO: JERMYN CHOW


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The USS Freedom arrives in Manila to join the Philippine and US military exercise dubbed Balikatan 2013 (Shoulder-to-Shoulder), on April 9, 2013. The US Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday, April 18, 2013, to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

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Tourists take souvenir photos of the USS Freedom as it docks at Manila South Harbour for its first ever visit to Manila, Philippines, on Monday, April 9, 2013. The US Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday, April 18, 2013, to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

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US Navy crewmen raise the US flag as the combat ship USS Freedom docks at Manila South Harbour for its first ever visit to Manila, Philippines, on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. The US Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday, April 18, 2013, to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia. -- FILE PHOTO: AP


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The littoral combat ship USS Freedom departs for a deployment to the Asia-Pacific region, in San Diego Bay, California, on March 1, 2013. The US Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday, April 18, 2013, to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS



By Jermyn Chow


The United States (US) Navy's first littoral combat ship USS Freedom arrived in Singapore on Thursday morning, to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia. It was welcomed by US Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman and the Republic of Singapore Navy's fleet commander Timothy Lo.


The warship with its 91 crew members arrived at Changi Naval Base afer a month-long sea journey from San Diego on March 1 . Also embarked on the 115m- long vessel is the MH-60 seahawk naval helicopter. "Freedom has met every milestone of this deployment on time and with the professionalism you would expect of US Navy Sailors," said Cmdr Timothy Wilke, commanding officer, USS Freedom. "I'm proud of Freedom's accomplishments to date, but I'm also looking forward to putting the ship through its paces over the next several months."

USS Freedom's arrival in Singapore comes two years after Singapore and the US announced the deployment to this part of the world at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Up to four littoral combat ships can be deployed here.

While in Singapore, it will refuel and restock before heading out to sea for training. Comprehensive maintenance checks will also be done after Freedom's longest period out at sea since it was commissioned in 2008.

Loh
04-18-2013, 11:14 PM
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TODAY

ByEugene Neubronner (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/eugene-neubronner)



7 hours 52 min ago

SINGAPORE — A United States Navy warship designed to fight in coastal areas arrived in Singapore yesterday morning to start its eight-month deployment in South-east Asia, in the midst of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and competing territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The USS Freedom, with 91 crew members on board, was welcomed by US Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman and Republic of Singapore Navy Fleet Commander Colonel Timothy Lo at the Changi Naval Base.

Mr Adelman, who felt the ship represented America’s commitment to security in the region, said: “(Freedom is) part of a historic mission, writing the next chapter in the long history of US-Singapore partnership promoting peace and prosperity throughout South-east Asia.”

Mr Adelman stressed that the Freedom’s deployment was planned before the heightened tensions in the region and serves as “a continuation” of the US Navy’s work in the region for the past 70 years.

“There’s no direct relationship between the deployment of the Freedom and North Korea, but generally, we stand with our friends and allies,” he said.

Last year, Singapore agreed in principle for up to four littoral combat ships to be deployed on a rotational basis. While the arrival of the next littoral ship “has not been formally announced”, Mr Adelman said it would likely arrive “within the next 20 months”.

The move is part of efforts to re-balance US Navy assets to the Asia-Pacific region. On completion by 2020, about 60 per cent of US navy assets are to be in this part of the world.

Commander Timothy Wilke, Freedom’s Commanding Officer, brushed aside concerns raised by reporters about the condition of the ship, which witnessed three blackouts and a short diesel generator failure en route to Singapore from Pearl Harbour.

He pointed out that the ship had both been deployed on time and arrived and left its previous stops on time as well.

The diesel failure, for instance, did not impact the ship’s operations, he said. Commander Wilke said standby generators started up, with propulsion restored “with no detriment to maintain(ing) our speed”. He added that the ship “has met every milestone of this deployment on time”, and he was “looking forward to putting the ship through its paces”.

Next month, the Freedom is expected to participate in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference held here.

It will also join vessels from regional navies and other units from the US Navy’s 7th Fleet in “select phases” of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercises to be held in South-east Asia.

Loh
04-19-2013, 12:00 AM
Dr Patrick Tan of Genome Institute of Singapore praised for work on cancer genomics



19 min 38 sec ago


SINGAPORE — For his research on the genomic profiles of Asian cancers, Dr Patrick Tan from A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) has received the 2013 Chen New Investigator Award from the international Human Genome Organisation (HUGO).

The Chen New Investigator award is given to scientists who make great contributions to human genetic and genomic research. It was established by Professor Yuan-Tsong (Y-T) Chen and Mrs Alice Der-Shan Chen, who have worked on biomedical research for over 30 years.

The Award Review Committee commended Dr Tan for his work on cancer genomics, which focuses on gastric cancer, and his education background and publication record.

Dr Tan received the Chen New Investigator Award at the annual meeting of HUGO, held on April 13–18 at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Dr Tan also received the Chen Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in Human Genetic and Genomic Research.

Dr Tan’s research focuses on developing methods of differentiating and grouping gastric cancer patients according to their molecular profiles so that treatment can be customised for each group. In addition to working at GIS, Dr Tan is also Professor in the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, and a Senior Principal Investigator at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore.

Dr Tan said, “I am deeply humbled and grateful to receive the Chen Award. This honour would not have been possible without the tireless support of my research team and our many collaborators throughout Singapore. We will redouble our efforts to translate our discoveries into applications that significantly improve health outcomes for patients in Singapore and the region.”

Loh
04-19-2013, 12:06 AM
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United States-based Singapore national bowler Jazreel Tan, pictured here with her IBMA Female Collegiate Bowler of the Year 2012-13 Award, believes her future remains back home. Photo: Jazreel Tan




ByTan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)


8 hours 57 min ago

SINGAPORE — Jazreel Tan ended her final year of university in the United States with a bang when she was named the International Bowling Media Association (IBMA) Female Collegiate Bowler of the Year 2012-13 at the Night of Champions Awards in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Wednesday night.

The 23-year-old Singapore national bowler, who will graduate from Wichita State University next month, edged out seven other nominees, to land her third successive title following her 2010 Rookie of the Year win.

But even though the signs indicate a possible bright future on the US professional circuit, Tan, who is pursuing a sports management degree at WSU, told TODAY that she has no plans to compete professionally in the US after graduation.

“Being in America has helped my game tremendously ... and I’m very thankful to the Wichita State Shocker Bowling (programme) for providing me the chance to experience all I’ve learnt,” said Tan, who also credited Singapore Bowling Federation Technical Director Mervyn Foo and coach Remy Ong for her success.

“(But) I’ve been away for four years and should be with family … Singapore is still my home, and that’s where all the opportunities I’ve had came from.”

Established in 1987, the IBMA Awards, formerly the Bowling Writers Association of America awards, honours top US collegiate bowlers.

Previous winners include two-time World Cup winner Shannon Pluhowsky and Kelly Kulick, a nine-time winner on the US Professional Bowlers Association circuit.

Now that her American journey is coming to an end, Tan wants to rediscover the form that helped her win the 2006 Singapore Open and a silver (masters) at the 2007 World Championship in time for this July’s World Championship in Las Vegas.

But she said: “It has been a hell of a four years (here), and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else.

“I have learnt a lot and it’s something I will never forget nor take for granted.”

redzahmd
04-19-2013, 02:53 AM
yeahh..Singapore grow rapidly in the global economy... we Malaysia can't catch them easily..

Loh
04-21-2013, 10:19 PM
Published on Apr 22, 2013
7:43 AM


By Terrence Voon, Assistant News Editor

As part of its latest strategy to woo travellers, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) wants to champion Singaporeans and the Singapore way of life.

"There is a misunderstanding that we only care about high-end brands, your Louis Vuittons and your Chanels," said STB chief executive Lionel Yeo.

"But we're also very proud of our local designers like Hansel and Ong Shunmugam," he added, naming two well-known local fashion labels.

The Republic is ready to showcase its "authentic" local offerings alongside its glitzy cosmopolitan attractions, he added. This is to appeal to more discerning tourists, and help strengthen Singaporeans' sense of civic pride.


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Tourists and visitors at Merlion Park. In the background is MBS. As part of its latest strategy to woo travellers, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) wants to champion Singaporeans and the Singapore way of life. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

Loh
04-22-2013, 03:02 AM
Published on Apr 22, 2013
2:38 PM




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Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (left) poses with his Singapore counterpart Tony Tan in Singapore on Monday, April 22, 2013. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Monday recognised Indonesian President Yudhoyono's outstanding leadership and public service in diverse areas, as well as his strong links to the university. -- PHOTO: AP



By Goh Chin Lian


Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Monday recognised Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's outstanding leadership and public service in diverse areas, as well as his strong links to the university.

At a ceremony to confer on him an honorary doctorate of letters, NTU President Bertil Andersson said these areas included his advocacy for peace, democracy, moderate Islam and human rights, and his firm commitment to the modernisation and transformation of Indonesia.

President Yudhoyono also encouraged close ties between NTU's S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and the Indonesian Defence University, as well as the Indonesian National Resilience Institute. His sons Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono are both NTU alumni, having graduated with postgraduate degrees from RSIS.

He is the first Indonesian Head of State to receive an honorary degree from a Singapore university, NTU said in a statement on Monday. Heads of state who received an honorary degree from NTU include former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2008.

Loh
04-22-2013, 03:14 AM
Published on Apr 22, 2013
2:55 PM



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Inmates wait to collect certificates from Education Minister Heng Swee Keat (far right) at the National Youth Achievement Award presentation ceremony at Tanah Merah Prison. For 62 prison inmates, Monday contained a proud moment - when each of them walked up the stage to receive the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) at a presentation ceremony held at Tanah Merah Prison. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN


By Bryna Singh


For 62 prison inmates, Monday contained a proud moment - when each of them walked up the stage to receive the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) at a presentation ceremony held at Tanah Merah Prison.

Many of their family members were present at the ceremony, where the guest of honour was Education Minister Heng Swee Keat. Addressing the award recipients in his speech, Mr Heng said: "I wish you the very best...Make good use of the support many in the community and your families are prepared to give you."

The NYAA is a nationwide youth development programme which aims to hone attributes such as self-reliance, perseverance, and a sense of responsibility in the community. This year's inmate awardees come from Tanah Merah Prison, Changi Women's Prison and Changi Prison Complex.

Award participants have to complete activities in four areas: community service, skills development, expedition and exploration, and physical recreation.

Loh
04-22-2013, 09:28 PM
Published on Apr 23, 2013
7:54 AM



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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and wife Ibu Ani, with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and wife Ho Ching. Dr Yudhoyono and PM Lee encouraged their private sectors to collaborate on projects under Indonesia's development masterplan. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


By Goh Chin Lian


Singapore and Indonesia yesterday vowed to deepen economic ties as their leaders kept up a tradition of meeting retreat- style each year, this time at the Shangri-La Hotel.

The strong personal ties at the highest levels between Asean's largest member state and its smallest were also celebrated at a ceremony at which the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) conferred on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono an honorary doctorate. He is the first Indonesian leader to receive such an honour.

Expressing satisfaction with the "excellent economic partnership" between their two countries, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Dr Yudhoyono also encouraged their private sectors to collaborate on projects under Indonesia's development masterplan, in a joint statement issued after their Leaders' Retreat.

These will build on the progress made by six working groups on the economy, that have already increased the flow of investments into special economic zones in Batam, Bintan and Karimun, and expanded air links

Loh
04-22-2013, 09:41 PM
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PM Lee Hsien Loong meets with Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Photo: Ernest Chua


Both countries also discuss how to strengthen efforts in tackling environmental issues

TODAY


ByTan Weizhen (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-weizhen)

6 hours 27 min ago

SINGAPORE — With Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono nearing the end of his second term next year, Singapore and Indonesia will be looking to institutionalise some of the cooperative efforts that the two countries have enjoyed during Mr Yudhoyono’s tenure so far, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after meetings held at the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat, Mr Lee said: “The President is thinking beyond 2014, because his term ends in 2014, and he expressed the importance of institutionalising our cooperation, so the good work we have done together will be carried forward and taken further by whoever succeeds him. I said I fully agree with that and we will work with him towards such an objective.”

Mr Yudhoyono, who is in his second five-year term, cannot stand for re-election under Indonesian law.

Both countries also discussed how to strengthen their cooperation in tackling current environment issues, such as trans-boundary haze.

Noting the haze that blanketed Singapore last Friday, Mr Lee said he asked Mr Yudhoyono to renew the lapsed agreements between Singapore and the Indonesian provinces of South Sumatra and Jambi, which would enable work on more sustainable farming practices, clearing of land and the avoidance of burning.

“Because the haze problem continues, for example, last week many of you would have noticed in fact there was a definite haze in the air, you could smell it, you could see it, I don’t think it is good for any of the countries in South-east Asia,” Mr Lee said.

The Prime Minister said that negotiations have been going well on the shared maritime boundary in the eastern part of the Strait of Singapore, with negotiators instructed to “press on and wrap this up soon”.

The next round of negotiations, which were first held in 2011, is due to take place in the middle of this year,

Other issues that Singapore and Indonesia will keep at include efforts at counter-terrorism which “remains a threat in South-east Asia”, as well as agricultural cooperation.

During the meeting, both leaders discussed developments in the Association of South-east Asian Nations region, in particular the South China Sea territorial dispute, which Mr Lee feared would threaten the advantages the region offers in terms of doing business.

He said: “It is not a problem which is going to go away soon, but if it is not handled well, and there’s mishap or some escalation which may not have been intended, and it changes the climate in South-east Asia, then we lose one of our great advantages ... not so many peaceful regions in the world where people can invest, where countries are at peace with one another and you can rely on an environment of security and tranquillity to do your business.”

At the retreat, foreign ministers of both countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which provides a framework for both sides to work closely together in the areas of diplomatic education and training.

Mr Yudhoyono was also conferred an hononary doctorate of letters from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) yesterday, in recognition of his outstanding leadership and public service in diverse areas such as democracy and human rights, as well as his instrumental role as a champion for the marine environment and forestry conservation.
He received the degree from Singapore President and NTU Chancellor Dr Tony Tan in a ceremony attended by several Singapore ministers and about 400 guests.

Loh
04-22-2013, 09:59 PM
Channel NewsAsia

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong held their leaders' retreat on Monday evening in Singapore.


By S Ramesh
POSTED: 22 Apr 2013 7:16 PM
UPDATED: 22 Apr 2013 11:03 PM



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SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that he had a good retreat with visiting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.



Speaking to the Singapore media after the meeting on Monday, Mr Lee said both sides reviewed their bilateral and economic cooperation.


He said these are going well in several areas, including civil aviation, which has made progress. Mr Lee noted there are now many more flights between Singapore and Indonesia



He said: "The Indonesian airlines have been extending their fleet and building their networks and the Singapore Airlines would also like to fly to Indonesia more, both the traditional destinations and new destinations. I think if we are able to accommodate that, both sides benefit."



Progress has also been made in the area of agri-cooperation, where Singapore is importing more fruit and vegetables from Indonesia, and Mr Lee sees potential to do more.



One area that the Mr Lee hopes to see greater progress is cooperation on environmental issues, in particular, trans-boundary haze
.
Mr Lee noted the haze problem was evident in Singapore last week and that this was not good for countries in the region.



He said Singapore has had cooperation with the province of Jambi, to work with the provincial government to mitigate the haze problem.

He said while the cooperation worked well, the agreement has lapsed.

Mr Lee said he has asked President Yudhoyono, if the agreement could be renewed and the work taken forward.

He said: "The president agreed with me and he will encourage the governors of South Sumatra and Jambi to continue working with us. The haze problem continues, for example last week you would have notice there was a definite haze in the air; you could smell it, you could see it. I don't think that is good for any of the countries in Southeast Asia."



Beyond bilateral ties, Singapore and Indonesia are also working closely towards the grouping's next milestone - the ASEAN Community due in 2015.

Both agreed on the importance of reaching the milestone "solidly".

The region's security and the South China Sea territorial dispute were of concern to both leaders.

Mr Lee said: “We agreed on the importance of encouraging all the participants to be restrained, the claimants to exercise restraint and to resolve this peacefully and in accordance with the international law including the UNCLOS, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is not a problem which is going to go away soon. But if it is not handled well and there is a mishap or escalation which may not have been intended, it changes the climate in Southeast Asia. "

Both leaders also agreed to institutionalise the cooperation that exists between both countries.

Earlier, the foreign ministers of both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of diplomatic education and training between the diplomatic academies of Singapore and Indonesia.



The signing ceremony was witnessed by the two leaders.

Both Mr Lee and President Yudhoyono will head to Brunei this week for the 22nd ASEAN Summit.


- CNA/xq

Loh
04-22-2013, 10:15 PM
At some farms in Singapore, chicken droppings are put to good use and are converted into biofuels.



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CNA

By Lim Wee Leng
POSTED: 22 Apr 2013 8:10 PM



SINGAPORE: Eggs are not the only cash cow for some farms in Singapore.

Chicken droppings are also being put to good use and are converted into biofuels.

At Chew’s Group's farm in Lim Chu Kang, about 700,000 chickens produce 60 tons of droppings a day.

It's building a plant, costing about S$5 million that can convert the waste.

It hopes to use this to replace the current practice of treating the fresh manure and selling it to vegetable farmers in Singapore and Malaysia as fertiliser, because the process is expensive and needs a lot of space and manpower.

The first phase of the new plant will be completed by the end of this year and can supply up to 70 per cent of energy needs.

If it succeeds, the farm hopes to scale up.

Executive chairman of Chew’s Group, Chew Chee Bin said: "We actually need to solve our chicken dung problem. Traditionally, we take 35 days to ferment the chicken dung and supply to local and Malaysia vegetable farmers. By using the biogas system, we can reduce almost 50 per cent of land use, reduce manpower use, and increase egg production.

“If we enter into the second phase, we will treat 80 tons of chicken dung, which in turn will produce almost one mega kilowatt hours, which is sufficient to supply the whole farm and supply to the power grid."



- CNA/ck

Loh
04-23-2013, 01:45 AM
Published on Apr 23, 2013
1:46 PM


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Picture taken on March 23, 2012 shows an employee fixing the logo of German BMW carmaker on a car at the end of the assembly line at the plant in Dingolfing, southern Germany. BMW Group and Nanyang Technological University have launched a joint research programme on future mobility - the first of its kind in the region and one of eight the German car-maker has worldwide. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP



By Christopher Tan

BMW Group and Nanyang Technological University have launched a joint research programme on future mobility - the first of its kind in the region and one of eight the German car-maker has worldwide.

The $5.5 million Future Mobility Research Lab is co-funded by the two parties, and will focus on three areas over the next five years.

The three areas are: next generation of batteries for electric vehicles and other applications; mobility research, which studies the commuting patterns of people in a mega-city; and human-machine interface, which works on systems that can detect as well as predict driver behaviour.

The lab will start with about a dozen people, including six PhD students. Both sides expect to have deliverables within four years.

Loh
04-23-2013, 09:29 PM
Published on Apr 23, 2013
6:22 PM
89



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More than 100 volunteers, including about 50 students from Temasek JC help to plant 20,000 tulips at the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay to create the largest tulip display in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

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Students from Temasek Junior College planting hyacinths (Blue Pearl) as part of the tulip display at the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay. -- MY PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN


By Sue-Ann Tan

More than 100 volunteers including students and staff from Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) spent Tuesday afternoon planting tulips in Gardens by the Bay.

From April 29 to May 20, the Flower Dome will be showcasing "Tulipmania", where 20,000 tulip bulbs in a myriad of colours will be on display. These bulbs have been flown in from the Netherlands.

Other activities that will be held in conjunction with the tulip event include cultural activities such as Dutch cheese-tasting and music. Gardens by the Bay changes it displays monthly.

Said Dr Kiat W. Tan, chief executive officer of Gardens by the Bay, Dr Kiat W. Tan: "Tulipmania takes visitors on a botanical journey into the world of tulips, right here in the tropics."

Loh
04-23-2013, 09:46 PM
Channel NewsAsia

By Alvina Soh
POSTED: 23 Apr 2013 8:39 PM



The ABC Waters Programme earned the title of the Utility Performance Initiative of the Year at the Global Water Summit in Seville, Spain.



SINGAPORE: National water agency PUB has won an award for its Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme at the Global Water Awards 2013.

The ABC Waters Programme earned the title of the Utility Performance Initiative of the Year at the Global Water Summit in Seville, Spain.

The award recognises PUB's efforts at improving the long-term performance of water services to the public.

The ABC Waters Programme aims to transform Singapore's utilitarian drains, canals and reservoirs into beautiful streams, rivers and lakes.


- CNA/ck


PUB wins global award for beautifying water spaces

The Straits Times

Published on Apr 23, 2013
2:49 PM



By Kash Cheong


The Public Utilities Board (PUB) was conferred the Utility Performance Initiative of the Year at the Global Water Awards 2013 for its long-term initiative to transform mundane water pathways into beautiful spaces. Global Water Awards 2013 was presented at the Global Water Summit, a major industry conference held in Spain.

PUB won the award for its Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme which aims to transform Singapore's utilitarian drains, canals and reservoirs into streams, rivers and lakes that are well-integrated into recreational spaces. The aim is for the community to enjoy these spaces and better appreciate this resource.

"Water sustainability cannot be achieved by increasing water supply alone - it is just as important that the community see themselves as joint stewards of water. This is especially so given that two thirds of Singapore is a water catchment and most people live, work and play near water catchments," said chief executive of PUB, Mr Chew Men Leong in a statement on Tuesday.

More than 100 potential sites have been identified for ABC Waters Implementation by 2030, with 27 projects implemented so far. Twenty new projects will start in the next five years.





Chew Men Leong, chief executive of PUB receiving the Global Water Award for Utility Performance Initiative of the Year from guest speaker Vicente Fox, President of Mexico (2000-2006) and former President of Coca-Cola Latin America. (Photo: PUB)

Loh
04-24-2013, 09:24 PM
Big spenders from Russia, the UAE among tourism board's target groups



Published on Apr 25, 2013
7:29 AM


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Visitors relaxing in the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands. The Singapore Tourism Board has come up with a 22-page action plan to attract tourists from new, growing and traditional markets. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG



By Jessica Lim, Consumer Correspondent

Transfer by private jet, suite bookings at a five-star hotel, reservations at celebrity chef restaurants and a chauffeur at their beck and call.

This is the kind of itinerary - costing up to $50,000 per person for a five-day trip - that inbound travel agency Hong Thai woos its well-heeled customers with.

Such niche offerings have proved a hit with tourists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia - two countries singled out for targeting in a new discussion paper from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Hong Thai's director, Mr Alex Chan, 55, started offering such packages in 2011 and saw the number of tourists from these places increase by 10 per cent in just a year.


Background story

TAKE 'LASER BEAM' APPROACH

Don't offer the broad-stroke standard products. Ask, what do your people want? I will package it for you, I will customise it for you.

- Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer in tourism Michael Chiam, on what travel agencies should do
TARGET MARKETS: BY THE NUMBERS

Japan
554,000 Japanese tourists visited Singapore from January to September last year and spent $0.7 billion. This is up 17 per cent and 20 per cent respectively from 2011.

Vietnam
The country accounted for 2.7 per cent (287,000) of the estimated 10.7 million visitors to Singapore from January to September last year.
This is up 11 per cent in the same period in 2011. They also spent 4 per cent more.

The United Arab Emirates
The largely untapped Gulf market accounted for only 62,736 visitors in the whole of 2011. This made up only 0.5 per cent for total tourist arrivals that year.

Russia
Singapore received 59,378 visitors from Russia in 2011. This made up only 0.5 per cent for total tourist arrivals that year

Loh
04-24-2013, 09:29 PM
Published on Apr 24, 2013
8:06 PM



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The World Wide Fund for Nature launches its International Environmental Certification programme for Singapore Schools, Eco-Schools, following the completion of the Little Green Dot research programme. Launch of the Eco-Schools programme by (centre) Elaine Tan (CEO, WWF-Singapore), (centre left) Matthew Teng (director, The Silent Foundation), (centre right) Marcus Tay (Sustainability Manager, Singapore, IKEA Tampines), with representatives from schools participating in the programme's pilot phase. From left: Mrs Tan Wei Sien (Nan Hua High School) and Mrs Annie Lim (Commonwealth Sec School). From right: Nur Amirah Auni (Shuqun Pri School), Madam Siti Nursyakila Masli (Anchor Green Pri School), Mr Su Xiang Qin (Yuhua Sec School). -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG


By David Ee

The World Wide Fund for Nature, or WWF for short, has welcomed Singapore schools into its global Eco-Schools programme.

The programme puts students at the heart of environmental education in schools. It gives them a central role in championing the environmental issues which concern them and their communities.

For example, students take on key roles on their own school eco-committee and are heavily involved in decision-making.

Participating schools will be expected to review their environmental performance, develop plans and monitor how they progress. In this way, they can integrate green learning into their own curriculum.

Loh
04-24-2013, 09:35 PM
Published on Apr 24, 2013
12:59 PM


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Travellers arrive at the Singapore Changi International airport on April 11, 2013. The task of designing the future Terminal 4 at Changi Airport has been given to a consortium led by Singapore's SAA Architects. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP


By Karamjit Kaur

The task of designing the future Terminal 4 at Changi Airport has been given to a consortium led by Singapore's SAA Architects.

The firm has done work locally and overseas on different projects including the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. Its partners in the T4 project include global firm Benoy, The Straits Times understands. Benoy was involved in the designing of ION Orchard and Plaza Singapura.

It took about a year for Changi Airport Group to assess the five proposals it received, sources said. Actual plans and designs will be unveiled later.

T4 with a handling capacity of 16 million passengers a year will be built where the Budget Terminal was located. It will open by 2017 to cater to growing traffic at Changi Airport. Changi Airport Group is expected to issue a release Wednesday evening.

Loh
04-24-2013, 09:43 PM
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A worker cleaning the Cenotaph after the reported vandalism. Photo: Amanda Lee


TODAY

ByAmanda Lee (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amanda-lee)

4 hours 11 min ago

SINGAPORE — The authorities are investigating a case of vandalism at the Cenotaph at Esplanade Park along Connaught Drive that was discovered yesterday — the second incident in four months, which was also more extensive than the first.

In December last year, the back of the war memorial was vandalised, but the National Heritage Board (NHB) did not make a police report as it was “not of such a large extent and (NHB) quickly cleaned it up”. Yesterday’s vandalism, however, was “really extensive”, the board said.

The Cenotaph, one of Singapore’s 64 national monuments, had been spray-painted with the word “democracy” in red, and the dates 1914 to 1918 had also been crossed out. At around noon yesterday, two cleaners were seen scrubbing the graffiti off, leaving faint red stains across the monument.

The Cenotaph honours those who died in World Wars I and II.

“Spraying and defacing a war memorial is a disrespectful and despicable act,” said Commander of Central Police Division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Daniel Tan. “The police will spare no resources to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The NHB said the Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB) received a call at 9am yesterday about the vandalism, and an officer was despatched to check. The National Parks Board (NParks) was then notified and activated to conduct a clean-up. Work is expected to be completed in the next two days, the NHB said.

Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said on his Facebook page yesterday: “This is a disrespectful and deplorable act...We hope the perpetrator(s) will be found and firmly dealt with soon.”

Loh
04-24-2013, 09:55 PM
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Dr Ng Eng Hen (second from right) being briefed on the conduct of the bilateral live-firing exercise. Photo: MINDEF

TODAY
4 hours 21 min ago

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) armour units will double their training time in Germany as they can now train in the country twice a year, under an agreement signed between the two countries.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said training opportunities in Germany have helped build up the professionalism and capabilities of SAF’s armour units.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen visited SAF troops participating in Exercise Panzer Strike at Germany’s NATO-Bergen Training Area, where he witnessed a successful bilateral live-firing involving the 2nd Company of the 48th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment and their German counterparts from the Bundeswehr’s 33rd Panzer Battalion.

Speaking to the SAF servicemen involved in the exercise, Dr Ng stressed the importance of overseas training, in providing realistic and challenging training opportunities for the SAF to hone its operational readiness. He also extended his appreciation to the servicemen for their professionalism and dedication.

Exercise Panzer Strike involved more than 1,300 armour personnel, 14 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks and 11 Bionix I Infantry Fighting Vehicles from the SAF.

Loh
04-25-2013, 09:28 PM
Published on Apr 26, 2013
7:28 AM

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Less than four months after its quiet opening, the open-air Satay by the Bay is catching on among locals. While it may be quiet on weekdays, the 1,000-seat eatery is reportedly packed on weekends. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

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Diners at Satay by the Bay get to enjoy the breath-taking skyline as well as a slice of history as the place tries to recreate the atmosphere of the old Satay Club near the Padang, which was demolished in 1995. Eight outdoor pushcarts sell satay, and low wooden tables and stools are provided for diners. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH

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Mr Abdul Karim, 52, who works at Sri Geylang Sate, with a plate of satay for customers. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH

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It is not just memories of the old Satay Club that the place is trying to revive. Another stall, Bayfront Steamboat Buffet, hopes to make it a double dose of nostalgia by bringing back the barbecue steamboats (above) of Marina South. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG



By Melissa Lin

Modernity, in the shape of the Marina Bay Financial Centre and iconic Marina Bay Sands, provides the waterfront backdrop for the open-air foodcourt in the Gardens by the Bay. But patrons also get to enjoy a slice of history.

The rustic Satay by the Bay, as the foodcourt is named, is noticeably less glitzy than its surroundings, with its bare floor and plants dangling from the roof.

But Satay by the Bay is an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the old Satay Club near the Padang, which was demolished for new developments in 1995.

A 10-minute walk from the two domed conservatories in the Gardens by the Bay, patrons can find eight outdoor pushcarts selling sticks of satay, with low wooden tables and stools for diners.

Loh
04-25-2013, 09:44 PM
Published on Apr 25, 2013
3:03 PM

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An artist’s impression of the new Chinatown Food Street after its revamp, which will be completed at the end of 2013. A section of the Chinatown Food Street will be closed for renovations on May 1 and reopen at the end of the year, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a statement on Thursday. -- FILE PHOTO: SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD



By Melissa Lin


A section of the Chinatown Food Street will be closed for renovations on May 1 and reopen at the end of the year, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a statement on Thursday. Shophouse units nine to 29 and 37 to 41 will be affected while the other units will operate as usual. Smith Street will continue to be open to traffic until further notice.

After the $4 million revamp, the stretch will be fully pedestrianised. Stalls will be expected to open from lunch, as opposed to the current late afternoon. It will seat 600 people with 400 seats under shelter and another 200 in an open-air seating area. The street can seat 400 patrons now.

The first-ever improvements to the 100m stretch on Smith Street, which was launched in November 2001, will be done by the Select Group.

"The revitalisation of CFS is part of STB and Chinatown Business Association's efforts to ensure that the precinct remains attractive and relevant in today's context," STB said in the statement.

Loh
04-26-2013, 03:32 AM
Published on Apr 26, 2013
12:29 PM
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The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) launched the ITE Academy, a new in-house centre to train more than 2,600 staff across the three colleges. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


By Amelia Teng

The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) launched the ITE Academy, a new in-house centre to train more than 2,600 staff across the three colleges.

Housed at the ITE headquarters and College Central at Ang Mo Kio, the centre, with a capacity of 340 people, has 10 training rooms, two computer labs and a Harvard-style lecture room, among other facilities.

The Academy aims to strengthen the institution's expertise in vocational and technical education, and enhance staff training in four areas - in leadership, pedagogy, professional and executive development and organisational sharing.

The centre which is already in use since January, is expected to draw 2,688 staff this year.

Loh
04-26-2013, 03:43 AM
Published on Apr 25, 2013
7:03 PM


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Education Minister Heng Swee Keat delivers a speech at the launch of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s 50th Anniversary celebrations on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Thursday kicked off its 10-day celebrations to commemorate its 50th anniversary as an institution. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG


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Education Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre) at the launch of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s 50th Anniversary celebrations on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Thursday kicked off its 10-day celebrations to commemorate its 50th anniversary as an institution. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG


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Education Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre left) at the launch of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s 50th Anniversary celebrations on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Thursday kicked off its 10-day celebrations to commemorate its 50th anniversary as an institution. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG


By Amelia Teng


Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Thursday kicked off its 10-day celebrations to commemorate its 50th anniversary as an institution.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was the guest of honour, unearthed a time capsule that was planted in the school grounds 25 years ago by the late Dr Tay Eng Soon, who was then Senior Minister of State for Education.

Mr Heng sealed a new time capsule containing 50 items, including a book that commemorates the polytechnic's journey that was also launched at the event. He also opened an exhibition that traces the school's history from its beginnings in 1963.

As part of the celebrations, the school has organised a slew of activities from now until May 4, including a two-night charity concert, a performance at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and an anniversary dinner.

Loh
04-29-2013, 12:57 AM
Published on Apr 29, 2013
11:57 AM


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New born babies in a nursery at the Thomson Medical Centre. Initiatives under the Government's enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package will take effect from Wednesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SAMUEL HE


By Lim Yi Han

Initiatives under the Government's enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package will take effect from Wednesday.

Working fathers will be entitled to one week of paternity leave, and can also share one week of the working mother's maternity leave entitlement.

From May 1, both married and unmarried parents receive six days of paid childcare leave a year for children aged seven and younger, and two days for those between seven and 12 years of age. Parents will also receive six days of unpaid infant-care leave a year if they have a child below the age of two.

Employers and self-employed parents can submit their claims for reimbursement for the leave schemes from May 1. More information is available at www.profamilyleave.gov.sg (http://www.profamilyleave.gov.sg/).

Loh
04-29-2013, 01:18 AM
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Transnational couples can now sign up for secular marriage preparation programmes conducted by 24 voluntary welfare groups that are supported by the MSF. TODAY FILE PHOTO


Resources include marriage preparation, but many transnational couples don’t want to be singled out



TODAY

ByNeo Chai Chin (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/neo-chai-chin)


9 hours 47 min ago

SINGAPORE — They may face difficulties securing long-term visit passes, permanent residence or Singapore citizenship, but the tribulations of foreign spouses go beyond immigration issues.

Some only speak their native language, while others have ventured into marriage ill-prepared. They end up socially isolated, hardly venturing out of their homes — either from lack of confidence or to abide by their husbands’ wishes — and their children may even look down on them.

Recognising the needs of this group, some voluntary welfare and non-government organisations are developing resources for foreign spouses here. The Government, too, has formed an inter-agency special interest group to look into integration challenges of foreign spouses, TODAY reported last week.

The Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) began English and Mandarin classes for foreign spouses in 2008 and piloted a marriage enrichment programme for four Vietnamese-Singaporean couples last September and October. Facilitated by a Vietnamese interpreter, the course equipped couples with skills for open communication and to cope with cultural differences and other issues.

ACMI plans to hold another marriage enrichment course for either Singaporean-Vietnamese or Singaporean-Thai couples in July, incorporating more hands-on activities like getting couples to take train rides together or tasking the wife to purchase a specific item from, say, Marks & Spencer.

Such programmes are part of ACMI’s efforts to tackle transnational marriage issues before conflict occurs, said its Executive Director, Mr Jeremy Khoo. “Once the marriage breaks down, issues are magnified.”

He hopes Family Service Centres (FSCs) — given their accessible heartland locations — will offer language courses for these spouses, as “language is most basic” in helping one integrate. It has shared its language syllabus with one FSC and is open to sharing it with more groups.

Meanwhile, Fei Yue, with three FSCs in Yew Tee, Bukit Batok and Choa Chu Kang, will organise a pilot support group in June for 15 Mandarin-speaking foreign wives and their families, said Mrs Elyse Wong, senior social worker and manager at Fei Yue FSC (Yew Tee).

The families belong to the Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) scheme conducted by Fei Yue’s FSCs. Fei Yue has over 800 families under the HOPE scheme. Mandarin-speaking wives — from China, Thailand and Indonesia — make up the biggest group among foreign spouses, numbering over 40, said Mrs Wong.

While some foreign wives are doing “very well”, others face issues like isolation, barriers to joining the workforce, and relationship problems with their families, said Mrs Wong.

Its social workers discovered some children who felt embarrassed by their mothers — they did not want their mothers to attend Meet-the-Parent sessions in school, insisting that only their fathers attend, for instance.

“Society has formed a negative view of foreign brides and the children pick up on the negative connotations,” said Mrs Wong.

Fei Yue’s support group will be organised over a weekend. Counsellors will address the self-confidence and self-care of the mothers, as well as their marital relationship. A children’s session will be held concurrently. The next day, the families will embark on an outing. Its staff will then follow-up twice with the mothers, and Fei Yue will provide a venue should the women wish to continue meeting up, said Mrs Wong.

The number of foreign spouses has increased with the rise of transnational marriages. There were about 9,000 marriages involving a citizen and a foreigner last year and they made up four in 10 marriages involving at least one citizen in 2011. That year, the Government piloted a transnational marriage preparation course but take-up was “low”, a Ministry of Social and Family Development spokesperson said without providing numbers.

Transnational couples may now sign up for any secular marriage preparation programme conducted by 24 voluntary welfare groups that are supported by the MSF. They are eligible for a S$70 rebate as long as one party is a citizen or permanent resident. Last year, 57 transnational couples attended MSF-supported marriage preparation programmes, the spokesperson said.

The MSF spokesperson added that from feedback, many transnational couples did not want to be singled out, and this is something organisations like Focus on the Family (FOTF) are mindful of.

FOTF launched a new coaching programme called Marriage Builders this year to couples wanting more personalised attention to unique circumstances such as age gap or intercultural issues. Counselling manager Tan Soh Hiang said the organisation is not looking at a “full-fledged programme” for transnational couples. “We may not want to single them out because the foundation for a good marriage is the same (for all couples),” she said.

Property agent Dennis Ng, who is married to Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Dieu Hien, agreed and said couples of the same nationality could also come from different backgrounds. Mr Ng, 39, and Ms Nguyen, 23, attended ACMI’s marriage enrichment course and found it useful despite having few adjustment issues in their marriage.

“I learnt about taking care of my family and my relationship with my husband,” said Ms Nguyen in halting Mandarin. “My husband and I don’t quarrel. When I first came here I missed my family, but my husband cares for me.”

Loh
04-29-2013, 01:32 AM
TODAY

27 April

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers has issued a statement on recent interest in the investigations into Mr Leslie Chew, an online cartoonist, for possible breach of the Sedition Act. The full statement is as follows:

The Attorney-General’s Chambers is aware of interest in the investigations into Mr Leslie Chew. Mr Leslie Chew is assisting the Police in investigations at this time, and it will not be appropriate to comment specifically on his matter.

There have also been queries on the general principles as to when investigations would be conducted, and action taken against persons.

Every day, there are hundreds of commentaries, if not more, on socio-political matters both in the mainstream media and online. Many of these do not contravene the law, and no legal action will be taken by the Attorney-General’s Chambers on behalf of the State, even though some may contain factual inaccuracies. Some of these statements may defame or otherwise cause damage to an individual; whether any action is to be taken is generally a matter for that individual.

However, racial and religious harmony is vital to our society and has enabled Singaporeans to live together in peace over the years. Words or deeds touching on race or religion have the potential to create fault lines within our society. Such bonds, once frayed, let alone sundered, cannot easily be repaired and we must therefore remain vigilant against any threats to racial and religious harmony.

Where statements are made, or actions are taken, which insult a particular religion or race, or seek to engender hatred amongst races or religious groups, or which suggest that the Government is using race or religion for its own purposes, then a response will follow. Where the statements or actions are heinous, a firm line will be taken. For example, the burning of the Koran or the Bible will not be allowed in Singapore under the cover of freedom of speech or expression. On the other hand where comments are made in the heat of the moment, or by relatively immature persons who did not know better, a more nuanced response may follow. Much will depend on what is uncovered by investigations.

Similarly, the rule of law is another fundamental tenet of our society and action will be taken in respect of any statement or action that seeks to impugn or undermine the independence of the Judiciary. Unwarranted allegations of bias or partiality strike at the heart of the judicial process, threatening the very institution that protects the rights of all Singaporeans.

Such unfounded statements cannot be left to stand unchallenged and unpunished.

Loh
04-29-2013, 01:48 AM
TODAY

ByEugene Neubronner (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/eugene-neubronner)


27 April
SINGAPORE — Looking to add a fifth “national tap” to Singapore’s existing four, national water agency PUB announced yesterday that it was looking to study the possibility of drawing on “ naturally occurring aquifers and groundwater” in the area of the Jurong Formation.

Aquifers are underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials, such as sand, from which groundwater can be extracted.

The PUB has called a three-year consultancy services tender to study the potential of tapping on aquifers and other underground water sources in the western and southern part of the island, which contain rock deposits called the Jurong Formation.

The study will look at the development of groundwater flow models, field investigation programmes and validation studies.

The tender will be awarded in July. PUB declined to review the budget for the study.

Singapore’s current four “taps” are the local catchment areas, imported water, desalinated water and reclaimed water, known as NEWater.

The PUB said that water demand here will nearly double by 2060 — from about 400 million gallons a day currently — of which about 70 per cent of demand will come from the non-domestic sector.

With “competing demands for land”, the PUB said, it would be “challenging” to build new reservoirs to meet Singapore’s water needs.

“Based on knowledge of other rock formations worldwide and from observations made during engineering work, it may be possible that the Jurong Formation could host a deep, confined aquifer which could be less prone to surface pollution or subsidence,” the PUB said.

The agency noted that advances in geophysical exploration methods over the last few decades make surveying today “more effective than in the past” and will help in the study.

PUB Chief Technology Officer Harry Seah said “extraction of groundwater will only be carried out if the risks of groundwater extraction can be adequately managed with no impact on existing buildings and infrastructure.”

This will be verified by the models that will be developed in the study, he added.
Academics TODAY spoke to said such aquifers would probably be at depths of 50 to 100 metres.

Earth Observatory of Singapore Director Kerry Sieh suggested three areas the study is likely to look at: Porosity, permeability and fracturing.

Porosity is the amount of space for water to flow in while permeability is how easily water can flow. Fracturing is when rocks are broken up with enough spaces in between for water to accumulate.

“The next question would then be, is there enough water to pump it out?” he said.
Assistant Professor Chew Soon Hoe from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore pointed out the challenges the study would have to address if they do indeed strike gold.

“How would you recharge the amount of water that goes back in?” he asked. “And how do you make the well pumping economical?”

Dr Sieh also echoed some of these concerns. He gave the example of India’s river Ganges, which has had so much water pulled out it is “measured in dropping meters per year”. Singapore, like elsewhere, will have to ensure that such sources are tapped “sustainably”.

The PUB has also embarked on a study to verify the feasibility of extracting groundwater from reclaimed land in Jurong Island. The project has been awarded and commenced earlier this month.

Additionally, the PUB is finalising the appointment of an international expert panel on hydrogeology to “give guidance and direction on its underground water exploration endeavours”.

Loh
04-30-2013, 04:15 AM
Published on Apr 30, 2013
2:14 PM

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Exterior of the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. -- FILE PHOTO: MBS MUSEUM

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The covered link bridge connects UTown to Kent Ridge campus and students can walk, bike, even roller-blade and skateboard between the campuses. University of Singapore’s new University Town – the 19-ha site of the former Warren golf course – opened its doors in Aug 2011. It is one of only a few sites to win the Building and Construction Authority’s coveted Green Mark GoldPlus District award for environmental sustainability. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SAM CHIN

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The Residences at W in Sentosa Cove. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

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The Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital (MNH). -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

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A view of the new Institute of Technical Education’s (ITE) College Central campus, located at 2 Ang Mo Kio Drive. The campus walls are filled with vertical-growing plants and the ceilings are imprinted with a specially designed leaf motif. Billed as the College of Creativity and Innovation, ITE College Central will also introduce new art-based courses. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA


By Charissa Yong

The Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum and National University of Singapore (NUS) link bridge were two of seven projects this year which won Building and Construction Authority (BCA) awards for their complex structural design and high safety standards on Tuesday.

First given out in 2008, the BCA Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award recognises engineers for their outstanding structural designs and high safety standards.

The team for the ArtScience Museum, which is shaped like a lotus flower on an outstretched palm, included engineers Brendon McNiven and Chia Wah Kam of Arup Singapore. They designed a way of balancing the non-symmetrical building while keeping it transparent.

The NUS link bridge, which connects its Kent Ridge campus to University Town, had to span ten traffic lanes of the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). Engineer Yong Fen Leong of T.Y.Lin International was recognised for coming up with its 'S' shape, which minimised the impact on the bridge's surroundings. The bridge's segments were assembled at the site during off-peak hours.

Loh
05-01-2013, 09:36 PM
Published on May 02, 2013
7:44 AM


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Priests and devotees walking in the procession at the consecration ceremony for the refurbished Darma Muneeswaran Temple on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO


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By Jessica Lim


A sea of about 12,000 devotees crowded around the Darma Muneeswaran Temple on Wednesday to witness its consecration.

All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years, and the temple and its deities have to be re-consecrated through a Maha Kumbhabishegam ceremony, which literally means the pouring of holy water.

The ceremony started at about 10.30am yesterday, when several priests, carrying vessels of holy water on their heads, walked towards the temple gates, flanked by temple volunteers with fire torches and musicians blowing conches and beating drums.
The vessels were tipped over the heads of the temple's nine deities, and the remaining water was used to bless devotees.

Loh
05-01-2013, 09:40 PM
Published on May 01, 2013
7:08 PM


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Over 11,800 people turned up at the Istana Open House on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performed at the event for the first time. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING


By Stacey Chia


Over 11,800 people turned up at the Istana Open House on Wednesday, as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performed at the event for the first time.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mrs Mary Tan were part of the festivities, mingling with visitors for about 90 minutes in the afternoon.

Dr Tan and his wife, along with the visitors, were also entertained by the SSO performance, which was sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings, and is part of the SPH Gift of Music series.

Speaking to reporters, Dr Tan said he was glad to see many families at the open house. He added that Labour Day should be a celebration for all, not just workers.

Loh
05-02-2013, 09:29 PM
Published on May 03, 2013
7:23 AM
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An upcoming integrated development right above Tanjong Pagar MRT station is set to include Singapore's tallest building. The 64-storey Tanjong Pagar Centre will stand at 290m, said Singapore-listed GuocoLand yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


By Melissa Tan

A skyscraper to be built on top of Tanjong Pagar MRT station will be Singapore's tallest building by the time it is finished in 2016.

The 64-storey Tanjong Pagar Centre will stand at 290m, said Singapore-listed GuocoLand yesterday.

This means the mixed-use development will narrowly edge out One Raffles Place, Republic Plaza and United Overseas Bank Plaza One, which are all 280m tall.

It will also trump Singapore's tallest residential skyscraper, the 245m Marina Bay Tower, which is part of The Sail @ Marina Bay and boasts 70 storeys.

Loh
05-04-2013, 12:29 AM
Published on May 03, 2013
5:10 PM


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Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, officially opened its regional headquarters at the Marina Bay Financial Centre on Friday. Carnival operates a fleet of 101 ships, and holds 50 per cent of the global cruise market share. -- FILE PHOTO: CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC/PRINCESS CRUISES


By Melissa Lin


Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, officially opened its regional headquarters at the Marina Bay Financial Centre on Friday. Carnival operates a fleet of 101 ships, and holds 50 per cent of the global cruise market share.

"Asia is one of the world's fastest growing cruise regions, and the establishment of our regional office in Singapore underscores Carnival corporation's significant step towards developing these markets," said Carnival Asia's chairman and chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi.

He estimates that the potential number of cruise passengers in Asia could hit 3.7 million in 2017 and this number may double to over seven million by 2020.

As part of Carnival's expansion plans, it plans to grown the operations of brands Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in the region. Cruise ship Costa Atlantica also made its maiden call to Singapore on Friday. The ship, which has a capacity of 2,680 passengers, is offering three- and four-night cruises to Thailand and Malaysia from May to June this year.

Loh
05-04-2013, 12:36 AM
Published on May 04, 2013
8:16 AM

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Complementing street-level cameras, the Hawk Eye Remote Observatory System cameras will be mounted on selected buildings in Marina Bay. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO


By Lim Yan Liang And Lim Min Zhang

NEW high-rise surveillance cameras that can zoom in up to 60 times will be installed on selected buildings in the city by the end of this year.

Two of these eyes-in-the-sky cameras will be deployed on each of three "strategic buildings" in Marina Bay for a start, said a police operations department spokesman at the annual Police Workplan Seminar and Exhibition yesterday.

They will complement street-level Public Camera Zone cameras installed in more than 150 locations across the island.

While the super-zoom Hawk Eye cameras will be able to resolve faces and number plates even from up high, police said there will be "active masking" on certain angles to ensure privacy.

Loh
05-04-2013, 12:50 AM
Published on May 03, 2013
2:20 PM

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Artist's impression of an aerial view of CleanTech Park, Singapore’s first eco-business park. It is located next to Nanyang Technological University (NTU). A major environment and water technology research centre in Singapore said it had secured another $132 million to fund its work in water management, membrane technology, waste and other applications. -- FILE PHOTO: JTC


By Grace Chua

A major environment and water technology research centre in Singapore said it had secured another $132 million to fund its work in water management, membrane technology, waste and other applications.

The Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, part of Nanyang Technological University, is to get the funding from industry, various public agencies and competitive research grants given out by funding bodies, said NTU president Bertil Andersson at the institute's official opening at JTC's CleanTech Park in Jurong on Friday morning.

The sum will bring its total funding to $400 million till the end of 2016.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan was guest of honour at the event.

The five-year-old institute, which was previously located at NTU's campus, has produced five start-ups such as Aquaporin Asia, which develops membranes that cut the energy needed to treat water.

Loh
05-05-2013, 11:35 PM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/14770642_0.JPG

The team behind the four-minute viral video (from left) Ho Wen Long, Freddy, Amos Chen, Dipshika Ghosh, Natalie Goh and Josephine Pang. Photo: Josephine Pang


TODAY

ByAmanda Lee (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amanda-lee)


8 hours 15 min ago

SINGAPORE — What started out as a university video project has gone viral, hitting more than 40,000 views in less than a month.

Titled What Makes You Happy?, the video was filmed by six undergraduates from the Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication as part of their first-year module.

In the four-minute-long video, posted on YouTube, one undergraduate holds a poster with the message “What makes you happy?” — as the team heads to different locations such as Orchard Road, Chinatown and Clarke Quay, asking passers-by for their response.

Over three days, the group interviewed close to 100 people from the age of five to 75. Some of the responses were — “love”, “my parents” and “being healthy is enough”.

The idea of the video was spurred by last year’s Gallup Poll which labelled Singaporeans as the world’s unhappiest people.

“We wanted to find out for ourselves whether Singaporeans are actually really unhappy,” said one of the students, Mr Ho Wen Long, 24.

“We chose the locations for specific reasons because we wanted to reach out to the different demographics of our society,” said another student, Mr Amos Chen, 22. “In Orchard, we have shoppers and then for Chinatown, we wanted to target older people.”
But not everyone responded to them. For instance, when the team was filming in Raffles Place, they were turned down by members of the public who walked away.

“I think they were put off by the sudden (question) … (and) it was kind of scary for them,” said Mr Ho.

Mr Chen added: “Initially when we had no response, it was quite disheartening … but we told ourselves, don’t worry we have a few more shoots to go”.

Another challenge was deciding the direction to take for their video.

Mr Chen said: “Usually for videos, people plan with storyboards but for us I guess we couldn’t. We didn’t know who we were going to meet and what they were going to say.”
“So the only way to work with it is to film it, and then go through the materials and see what you can work with to frame the story after filming,” he explained.

When asked how he felt about the project going viral — hitting 16,000 views in a day — Mr Ho said: “We weren’t expecting the responses … we were hoping that we would reach out to touch people because there is no point doing a video on a campaign just for a school project ... It’s (meant) to remind people to stop and think of what makes them happy.”

Said Mr Chen: “As the nature of the video (is) quite heart-warming, many people who are caught up with their work, who overlook the little things in life, will be able to relate to it.”

Loh
05-06-2013, 08:35 PM
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AsiaOne
Friday, May 3, 2013


Taxis in Singapore have a very colourful history. Back in the old days, you could negotiate with the cabbie on the taxi fare, unlike the current meter system, whose systematic calculation leaves no room for error.

And not just anyone can become a taxi driver back then. In 1971, Singapore's taxi drivers were picked out by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew during a ballot to select taxi drivers.

Taking a taxi from Bukit Panjang to Lim Chu Kang cost just 40 cents per person. Now, a similar journey will probably cost you at least $8 or more.

There were also 'pirate taxis' back then. Some people used their cars as unlicensed public-services vehicles to serve the public's tranportation needs. They used private houses as contact points and issued call cards to publicise their transport services.

Not forgetting these historical facts, local taxi drivers are pretty much an indelible part of the public transportation network, with their own views and colourful languages to entertain their passengers.


Singapore's taxis back in the old days (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/showroom/photos/story/singapores-taxis-back-old-days)


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Taxi drivers who did not purchase the Area Licence in 1975 plied along the fringes of the restricted area or spent hours of restriction in coffee-shops or petrol kiosks.








http://ride.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_popup/public/original_images/May2013/oldtaxis%285%29_0.jpg


Traffic at various parts of Singapore on the first day of the Area Licencing for taxis in 1975.

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Taxis at Bencoolen Street on the 1st day of Area Licencing for taxis in 1975.

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A policeman directs a commuter back into the queue after he jumped queue at at a taxi stand in Fullerton Square in 1974.



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The scheme allows haggling over fares - between 50 cents and $1.50 - and allows cabbies to pick up and drop passengers along the way.

http://ride.asiaone.com/sites/default/files/styles/gallery_popup/public/original_images/May2013/oldtaxis%2818%29_0.jpg



Taxis' roof-top ad boxes carried pictures of Miss Singapore Chinatown 1996, Ms Hannah Toh, in a pitch for women to take part in a beauty pageant.

Cheung
05-06-2013, 10:27 PM
Posted: 19 March 2013 1921 hrs


SINGAPORE: Singaporeans appear to be the happiest people in Asia, going by what they are saying on social media.

According to the Asia Happiness Index 2013 of Eden Strategy Institute, a social innovation player, Singapore is ranked first among five countries in the region.

It has an index score of 518, followed by Malaysia with 245.

The Philippines is third with a score of 90, followed by India 29, and Indonesia 11.

The index covers over 200 million social media accounts.

- CNA/al
Wonder if complaining makes people happy. Anyway, this is a flawed study with sampling problems. Poor methodology gives invalid results and adds little to knowledge. A waste of manpower/funding resources.

Loh
05-06-2013, 11:16 PM
Wonder if complaining makes people happy. Anyway, this is a flawed study with sampling problems. Poor methodology gives invalid results and adds little to knowledge. A waste of manpower/funding resources.

Some like to gossip as well and they seem happy.

Agree that such surveys may not be able to tell the whole truth, including the one that placed Singapore at the bottom of the Happiness Index that I read previously.

Cheung
05-07-2013, 03:00 AM
Some like to gossip as well and they seem happy.

Agree that such surveys may not be able to tell the whole truth, including the one that placed Singapore at the bottom of the Happiness Index that I read previously.
I actually went to read the methodology of the study that said Singapore were the happiest. That's why I criticised it harshly. Also a study that says Singaporeans are the happiest is at odds with general consensus and perception. Since the results were so much different from perception, I just had to be nosy and look more into the methodology ;). I am far more inclined to believe a study that rates Singaporeans unhappiness as high because it is consistent with a) general perception, b) other reports. Gallup studies are pretty much accepted even though I agree many studies are imperfect. Some are less imperfect than others. Gallup studies are more robust. There's no denying that Singaporeans complain, even on some trivial issues. Look at the newspaper. Singaporeans have a great standard of living and education. Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily translate into 'happiness'.

Good work by the university students to ask people what makes them happy. Funnily enough, even if you try to satisfy people and they get what they want, they still may not be happy.

Heck, even my Singaporean colleague here in HK says Singaporeans are unhappy.

Loh
05-07-2013, 09:48 PM
Why do we continue to seek happiness throughout all ages?

Is happiness achieveable? Will the concept of happiness change over time for the same person?

What in fact is Happiness to different people, from different social groups in different countries at different times?

Why do people from even poorer countries seem to be happier despite their "unhappy" condition seen through the eyes of their richer counterparts? Even within the same country, especially where the population and land area is huge, as in China and India for example, there are significant differences in the idea of happiness, resources and welfare.

What about the difference between rural and urban societies? Urbanites normally enjoy a higher level of services, amenities and facilities, greater access to healthy food, education, entertainment, better housing, etc and more convenient modes of transportation, yet these don't seem adequate enough and they want more to satisfy their insatiable needs and wants.

Even among urbanites living in the same region, they may differ in their requirements and one can judge the other as being "unhappy" as a result just because their perception of happiness is different.

Recently in Singapore a young undergraduate holding a scholarship committed suicide before his impending examinations. A bright young man being sponsored to study at a good university with seemingly a bright future before him should take his own life and leave our world altogether. What was happiness to him?

For me happiness is never-ending and it changes its form and colour at every unlikely juncture. It therefore seems that happiness is always evading me, but I could be happy depending on circumstances, albeit at short notices and in very brief moments.

I am happy when I can continue to play badminton and enjoy the company of agreeable friends, when I can still pay for my needs especially simple, but tasty local fare, when I still have the strength and interest to travel around with my camera at hand to capture colourful scenes of people, nature and buildings, all of man's creation!

But being happy also means one has to be content with what one has, what one can afford and not go beyond reasonable expectations! If not, the answer will be "I'm not happy"! :D

Loh
05-07-2013, 10:01 PM
Published on May 08, 2013
7:08 AM

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The National University of Singapore is now the world's eighth best university, according to annual global rankings released on Tuesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


By Amelia Teng

THE National University of Singapore is now the world's eighth best university, according to annual global rankings released on Tuesday.

It entered the top 10 of the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject for the first time - becoming the first in Asia to do so. Statistics showed the NUS has courses in 12 subjects that were ranked in the world's top 10.

The institution was ranked 14th when the rankings began in 2011, before rising to 11th last year. It was Asia's best performing university each time.

London-based educational consultancy QS also publishes the overall World University Rankings, in which NUS was placed 25th last year. This year's overall rankings have yet to be released.

Loh
05-07-2013, 10:11 PM
Published on May 07, 2013
6:21 PM


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Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen (above), who is in Brunei to attend the 7th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting, signed a joint declaration on Tuesday along with other Ministers in the region to reaffirm their commitment to enhance regional peace and security. -- MY FILE PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG



By Melody Zaccheus


Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is in Brunei to attend the 7th Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting, signed a joint declaration on Tuesday along with other Ministers in the region to reaffirm their commitment to enhance regional peace and security.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed regional security issues including measures to reduce tensions in the South China Sea.

They also reiterated the importance of keeping channels of communication open so as to avoid escalation and miscalculation in the South China Sea.

They noted as well the progress that has been made in enhancing practical cooperation in addressing non-traditional security challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Loh
05-07-2013, 11:12 PM
SINGAPORE: Singapore is the safest place to be born and the best place to be a mother in Asia, beating competitors Japan, South Korea and Malaysia -- according to children's aid agency Save the Children. Singapore has the lowest first-day mortality rate in Asia, making it the safest place in the region to be born.

The children's aid agency on Tuesday launched its 14th annual State of the World's Mothers report with the first-ever Birth Day Risk Index.

The index revealed that Singapore shares top spot with Sweden, Estonia, Cyprus, Iceland and Luxembourg, at less than 0.5 deaths in the first day per 1,000 live births.

Globally, 6.9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday with a million of those within the first day, making it the most dangerous day in any person's life.

The report also compares 176 countries around the globe, showing which are succeeding and which are failing in saving and improving the lives of mothers and their children.

Singapore is ranked 15th on the best places to be a mother, based on factors such as mother's health, education and economic status, as well as critical child indicators such as health and nutrition. Singapore came in ahead of all Asian counterparts, including Japan (tied for 31st), South Korea (tied for 31st) and Malaysia (70th).

Singapore also led New Zealand, UK and US, but trailed Australia by five spots.

Overall, Finland was declared the best place in the world to be a mother while Democratic Republic of Congo came in last.

Save the Children's Singapore-based regional director, Mike Novell, said: "Singapore is in many ways leading the way on child and maternal health, in Asia and beyond.

"Singapore has proven that recommendations in this report works -- Sufficient skilled health workers for antenatal care, delivery of babies and postnatal support can dramatically reduce child and maternal mortality.

"It can and should serve as a model for other countries still striving to prevent the deaths of millions of mothers and children who die needlessly each year."


- CNA/ac


A toddler in Singapore. (AFP - Roslan Rahman)

Loh
05-08-2013, 12:56 AM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/13951557_0.JPG TODAY File Photo



Development of third runway will also maintain S’pore’s edge as leading aviation hub



By Dylan Loh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/dylan-loh)

Woo Sian Boon (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/woo-sian-boon)


9 hours 29 min ago

SINGAPORE — With Terminal 4 at Changi Airport in sight, the Government has, after months of studies, decided to build Terminal 5. Singapore’s fifth airport passenger terminal will be ready in the next decade, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew at a dinner recognising Changi’s airline partners last night.

Details on the facility are expected at the end of this year, as more information on the air hub’s long-term masterplan will also be revealed.

Even though last year was a record-breaking one for Changi — it handled more than 50 million passengers for the first time in its 31-year history — Mr Lui urged Changi Airport to respond to “fundamental shifts” in the global aviation landscape to cement its status as a leading air hub.

He noted established full-service carriers are re-tailoring their product and service offerings to meet changing customer preferences and needs. Some are even entering the low-cost carrier market in order to protect their market share, said Mr Lui.

“Changi Airport needs to respond to these changes, and take advantage of them where we can, to capture our share of the growing pie and cement our position as a leading aviation hub,” he added.

Changi has traditionally increased its capacity in advance. For example, master-planning for Terminal 4, which is slated to be completed in 2017, began in 2008 — two months after Terminal 3 opened.

Plans are under way to convert Changi’s third runway from military use to one which can be utilised by the airport. This is expected to boost the air hub’s turnaround capabilities at existing terminals.

Future plans are also steadily taking flight, with a Changi 2036 Steering Committee masterminding the air hub’s development.

The addition of a fifth terminal, or T5, will bring Changi’s passenger handling capacity beyond the annual 85 million expected with four terminals.

Flightglobal Asia Managing Editor Siva Govindasamy felt the developments would be “very important” in maintaining Singapore’s competitive edge as a leading aviation hub. He noted how regional rivals, such as Hong Kong, are proceeding with plans for additional capacity.

“Not every country will have the connections that Singapore has, so the key to our success is to ensure that our country remains a hub, ensuring that it has extensive connections to all parts of the world, and especially Asia,” said Mr Govindasamy.

Dubai Airport’s extensive connectivity, with more air links than Changi, was a key reason Australia’s Qantas recently partnered Emirates and rerouted its Europe-bound flights via Dubai instead of Singapore.

Aviation consultant Prithpal Singh held a different view. With aircraft, such as the Airbus A-380s and the Boeing 737s, bypassing hubs and plying point-to-point routes, he felt there could be “lesser multi-tier services, which will then negate the need for having a major hub in the region”.

Instead of building more “hardware”, Mr Singh argued that the focus should be on improving efficiency at the current terminals here, allowing passengers to get in and out of them “as quickly as possible”, while upgrading air-traffic control systems so that aircraft are not left waiting for long periods on the ground and in the air.

Last night, Mr Lui said Changi’s edge in on-time departure must be upheld. Coordinated action by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the Changi Airport Group and the airlines have sharply reduced departure delays. In the 12 month period to March 2013, the percentage of departing flights that were delayed was about 40 per cent lower than in the preceding period.

“For Singapore aviation to continue to grow and thrive, all stakeholders must also work together and plan ahead together,” said Mr Lui.

“To benefit from our air hub’s potential, infrastructure planning and development is key. The strong growth in recent years makes it imperative for us to enhance Changi Airport’s capacity.”

Loh
05-08-2013, 01:50 AM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/9776649_0.JPG TODAY File Photo



Medisave contribution ceiling also revised in change from July


22 hours 57 min ago

SINGAPORE — The Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Ministry of Manpower today (Tuesday) announced adjustments to the CPF Minimum Sum, Medisave Minimum Sum and Medisave Contribution Ceiling effective from July 1.
CPF members who turn 55 years of age between July 1 and June 30 next year will need to set aside a Minimum Sum (MS) of S$148,000 in their Retirement Account (RA).
The MS, which was S$139,000 for last year, has been adjusted over the years to account for inflation, longer life expectancies and Singaporeans’ rising expectations of their quality of life postretirement, the CPF and manpower ministry said.

It is targeted to reach S$120,000 in 2015. The S$120,000 target in 2003 dollars is effectively S$120,000, adjusted for inflation between 2003 and the time the target is met, the announcement noted.
Also from July 1, the Medisave Minimum Sum (MMS) will be raised to S$40,500 from S$38,500. Members will be able to withdraw their Medisave savings in excess of the MMS at or after age 55.

The MMS is the amount that a person turning 55 needs to set aside in his old age for his own or his dependants’ healthcare expenses and basic MediShield and ElderShield premiums.

Regular MMS adjustments are necessary to help Singaporeans meet their long-term healthcare needs.

Finally, the maximum balance a member may have in his Medisave Account, known as the Medisave Contribution Ceiling (MCC), is set at S$5,000 above MMS and this would be increased correspondingly to S$45,500, up from S$43,500.

Any Medisave contribution in excess of the current MCC will be transferred to the member’s Special Account if he is below age 55 or to his RA if he is above age 55 and has a MS shortfall.

Loh
05-08-2013, 02:21 AM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/14918966_0.JPG PHOTO: REUTERS



Most prestigious event in women’s tennis to be staged here from 2014 to 2018 in ‘record-breaking’ deal



16 min 15 sec ago
SINGAPORE — Top-level women’s tennis action will be arriving on Singapore’s shores next year after Singapore successfully bid for the right to stage the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Championships for the next five years.

The championship is considered the most prestigious event in women’s tennis after the four Grand Slams.

At a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel today (May 8), the World Sport Group, Singapore Sports Council and Singapore Tourism Board announced that they have signed a five-year deal with the Women’s Tennis Association to host the WTA’s annual end-of-season tour championships from next year to 2018 at the Sports Hub’s Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The tournament, which was held in Istanbul at the end of this year, will feature the top eight singles players and top eight doubles pairs. They will vie for a record prize purse of S$6.5 million (S$8 million).
The other candidates to host the event from next year were Tianjin in China and Mexico’s Monterrey.

The last world-class tennis tournament that Singapore hosted was the men’s Heineken Open which was held from 1996-1999. That event featured the likes of Michael Chang of the US and Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt.

WTA Chief Executive Stacey Allaster said that the decision to go with Singapore is part of the association’s stated aim of expanding women’s tennis in the Asia-Pacific region.
“This is the largest and most significant WTA Championships partnership in our history. It’s a record-breaker,” said WTA chief executive Stacey Allaster.

Loh
05-08-2013, 02:45 AM
National Arts Council initiative aims to develop playwrights and drive growth of Singapore theatre


1 hour 18 min ago

SINGAPORE — The National Arts Council (NAC) has announced plans to build a new arts centre for Singapore’s theatre sector, focused primarily on the development of original text-based works.

The Centre for Text-Based Works aims to nurture and develop established and emerging playwrights in Singapore, as well as facilitate the growth of new and original text-based works that will enrich and enhance Singapore’s canon of theatre works.

“We hope this Centre for Text-Based Works will complement and bring greater focus to current efforts by providing an avenue for both aspiring and established playwrights and theatre practitioners to collaborate, create, critique and present new writing for the stage,” said NAC Deputy Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Tham.

The success of similar institutions in other countries has given the NAC confidence that such a centre could help “drive the growth of theatre in Singapore”, said Ms Tham.

The council is currently conducting an open call to find a suitable partner for the project.
“The NAC is not seeking an operator to just run this centre. We want a strong partner who shares our vision and will help expand the artistic capabilities of Singapore’s theatre scene.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
05-08-2013, 09:31 PM
Published on May 08, 2013
5:01 PM

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For going the extra mile in coming up with user-friendly features, private condominium Reflections at Keppel Bay bagged an inaugural Building and Construction Authority (BCA) award. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


By Charissa Yon

For going the extra mile in coming up with user-friendly features, private condominium Reflections at Keppel Bay bagged an inaugural Building and Construction Authority (BCA) award.

Wheelchair users in the condominium can move in and out of each residential block using a specially designed door. Residents and visitors also can find their way around by looking at detailed cube-shaped signs.

The Keppel Bay condominium is one of 26 buildings lauded by the BCA for their universal design features, which means including accessible and inclusive features to cater to all users.

Other winners include the United World College of South East Asia's East campus, the Pasir Ris Sports and Recreation Centre, and Changi Airport Terminal 1. The awards ceremony will be held on May 16 at Resorts World Sentosa.

Loh
05-08-2013, 09:50 PM
By Kok Xing Hui (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/kok-xing-hui)10 hours 41 min ago

SINGAPORE – A plate of char kway teow tastes better than the healthier fish soup, while it is difficult to force exercise upon oneself after a long, tiring day at work.

These were among the reasons given by Singaporeans on what holds them back from adopting a healthier lifestyle, during a Facebook chat with the Ministry of Health on Wednesday night.

The chat – chaired by Minister of State for Health Amy Khor and and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim – is part of an ongoing public consultation on the Healthy Living Master Plan to gather ideas from Singaporeans on how they can be provided with access to a healthy lifestyle.

More than 50 Singaporeans participated in the session, where concerns centered around the availability and affordability of healthy food, and a lack of time for exercise.

Suggestions made by participants during the wide-ranging 90-minute discussion include getting employers to organise exercise sessions, listing calorie counts of food choices at hawker centres and food courts, offering Passion card discounts for sports courses offered by the Singapore Sports Council, building more parks and community gyms, and having a mobile van that offers free or subsidised health screenings.

“I am very happy with the interaction that we had. (The chat) was an active and lively chat where participants gave very good ideas. What we had today seems to consistently converge on a few themes of place, price and people,” said Associate Professor Faishal, who chairs the taskforce behind the masterplan.

He said one suggestion that stood out was having the MOH work with other ministries and agencies to build more park connectors and walkways to encourage Singaporeans to exercise, from participant Jeffrey Tong.

“If we can connect all these efforts (across agencies) … we can have a more comprehensive effort,” he said.

The chat was the first public dialogue the taskforce has held since the six-week public consultation exercise on the master plan started on April 22.

Three face-to-face community dialogue sessions will be held in the next few weeks and the taskforce is also collecting feedback via a website

(http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/legislation/eConsultation.html).

To date, the MOH has received feedback from more than 100 people through the website.

Loh
05-08-2013, 09:57 PM
Tennis


WTA C’ships a coup for S’pore




http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/14922496_0.JPG
WSG’s Andrew Georgiou and WTA’s Stacey Allaster handing the Billie Jean King Trophy to future Singapore players. Photo: Felicia Quick



TODAY

By Philip Goh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/philip-goh) -

6 hours 31 min ago


SINGAPORE — A reputation for being able to deliver and a vision to innovate so as to elevate an already established event were what clinched Singapore the right to host the Women’s Tennis Association’s season-ending WTA Championship from 2014 to 2018.

Announcing the deal yesterday, Stacey Allaster, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the WTA praised Singapore’s bid which was led by sports marketing agency World Sport Group (WSG) in tandem with the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore Tourism Board.

“It was so inspiring that everyone could easily see what the future would hold for us to be here in the Singapore Sports Hub,” said Allaster, describing the Singapore bid’s hour-long presentation which outlined an expanded 10-day programme going beyond the tournament for the world’s top eight singles and doubles pairings.

Apart from enhancing the WTA’s Asia-Pacific growth strategy, Allaster also cites a common vision with the local organisers in “using sports to inspire the people of Singapore to live a better life through sports”.

The October event is the most prestigious women’s tennis tournament outside of the Grand Slams and Singapore headed off 42 other cities which expressed interest in hosting it, including Tianjin and Monterrey that made the final shortlist.

WSG CEO Andrew Georgiou said clinching the event was another sign that Singapore is streets ahead of other Asian cities as a premier sports events destination.

“It’s about Singapore having a strategic partnership with the WTA and the WTA using Singapore, like so many other sports are starting to, as a base for growing their business into Asia,” he said. “We’re working on delivering a 10-day festival of tennis that is ... also about lifestyle, entertainment and the industry.”

According to Georgiou, the WTA Championships is the one of many world-class events to be hosted at the S$1.33 billion Sports Hub which is due to open next April. “We’re trying to deliver a consistent and sustainable event schedule to the Sports Hub, to drive visitor-ship to the venue and engage the community. This event satisfies all those things.”

Loh
05-08-2013, 10:16 PM
Observers believe the new Terminal 5 at Changi Airport will most likely be the airport's biggest terminal, with the capacity to handle between 30 and 50 million passengers a year.




http://video4.channelnewsasia.com/cmsnews/pd/1384193120001/20130508/1384193120001_2365782787001_vs-518a62c3e4b0312b102e48c3-806787297001.jpg?pubId=1384193120001 (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/forums/#)


SINGAPORE: Observers believe the new Terminal 5 at Changi Airport will most likely be the airport's biggest terminal, with the capacity to handle between 30 and 50 million passengers a year.

And they expect the new terminal to contribute to a more seamless travel experience for passengers.

With four terminals by 2017, Changi Airport will be able to cater to more than 85 million passengers every year.

But another passenger terminal could be built at a site in Changi East to cater to more demand.

The area is located between the existing runway two and runway three which is being planned for co-civilian use from 2020. To make way for this, it's understood that the existing Changi Coast Road will have to go or be diverted.

Given the large space, observers believe Terminal 5, slated to be ready by next decade, could have about twice the handling capacity of the current Terminal 2, which can handle about 23 million passengers a year. The new terminal will also help boost Singapore's competitive edge.

Mr Gary Ho, senior lecturer of Aviation Management and Services at Temasek Polytechnic, said: "The trend now in the world is to have mega terminals. If you look at our airport, it's old fashioned - one small terminal. If you look at the new airports like Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong they all have big mega terminals now, so our new T5 will be a mega-terminal. It would make sense to finally have a mega-terminal and for Singapore Airlines to finally be in one terminal instead of across two terminals."

With the national carrier at Terminal 5, each alliance of airlines such as Sky Team or One World could also operate out of dedicated terminals.

If so, aviation experts say this will contribute to a more seamless travel experience.

Mr Leithen Francis, Asia editor of Aviation Week, said: "Going forward, I think if we got more terminals, we are going to see Sky Team at one terminal, One World at another and Star Alliance at another. We are not going to have a situation which we see at the moment where some Star Alliance carriers are at Terminal 2 and some at Terminal 1, and some at Terminal 3, and they kind of spread around.

"Because there are going to be so many terminals, it is conceivable that each alliance will be able to get their own terminals, in which case the members of that alliance will be able to have their gates near one another. They will be able to have their lounges near one another so that the passengers will have a much more seamless experience when you fly in on one airline and you transfer to another, which is part of the same alliance. It will be seamless, it will be quick and it will be easy."

Terminal 5 is also expected to have more self-service facilities and bigger lounges.

Mr Francis added: "One big trend of course is - terminals are becoming more lifestyle destinations. There's a lot more retail, dining options at airport terminals, so Terminal 5 will be able to take all those trends into account.

"It helps with Changi Airport's efforts to compete, because if people know that their experience at Changi Airport is going to be a better experience than in any other airports than if they want to transit, then they will prefer to transit through Changi."

Observers say it may also be necessary to have a Skytrain to transit passengers to and from Terminal 5.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has said that rising middle income groups in India and China mean that these countries will be markets of importance in the coming years.

And within Southeast Asia, the dynamic economies of Thailand and Indonesia are also driving sustained growth in travel demand, and he said Changi Airport should be well-poised to benefit from growth in these markets.

- CNA/de


Changi Airport (Photo by: Hester Tan, channelnewsasia.com)

Loh
05-08-2013, 10:36 PM
Singapore - Strobe lights are flashing, the music is pounding.

Tightly-packed bodies gyrate around the VIP table where the alcohol flows freely in one of Singapore's hottest clubs.

The table will rack up at least four figures on the drink bill tonight. Here, the hefty bills for champagne and branded vodka don't get signed off by corporate executives but, instead, by young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Welcome to the world of young, designer toting, VIP table-booking clubgoers. According to nightclubs these clubgoers frequent, they will drop anywhere between $1,500 to a staggering $25,000 on a single night of partying.

Last year's monthly median salary of a Singapore worker, according the Manpower Ministry, is just $3,480.

Says Mr Jeremy Matthew Bala, 34, marketing manager for upscale club Mink at the Pan Pacific Hotel: "It's a significant shift if you compare it to the mid-90s.

"No one would even consider spending $1,000 or $2,000 on a night back then.
"It's different today. They truly have spending power and they know their brands."

Click here to view the gallery. (http://www.plushasia.com/media_photo/21514)

On the Wednesday and Friday nights when TNPS visited, it's a scene straight out of a music video. Girls made up to look like K-pop starlets pepper the queue as guys in T-shirts, blazers and gelled-up hair display their best attempt at swagger.

VIP Host at Clarke Quay's Club Attica and Le Noir, Mr Nahid Ballou, says: "There's a mix of locals and expats, but mostly expats. Some are here for studies or their parents moved to Singapore with lots of money.

"And it's mostly the guys who spend the money.

"They have knowledge these days, not just about drinks but also about retail, about food. They know what's best - and they want it."

Zouk's marketing and events head Timothy Chia agrees that some of their youngest clubgoers have the most financial pull.

"One of our young regulars bought 12 bottles of Grey Goose vodka ($550 per bottle) and a bottle of Mumm Magnum ($1,985) on his birthday," he says.

"Another young big spender (who has yet to enlist for National Service) often spends about $1,200 - $1,500 per night and tips the waitresses $50 for every order he makes. He spent close to $10,000 for his birthday celebrations last year.

"Once, one of our young regulars ordered 300 shots of sour plum Vodka and stacked up the 15 trays of the shots. Another regular found out about it and ordered 1,500 shots of sour apple and sour plum shooters."

A 21-year-old clubgoer who is waiting to enter Nanyang Technological University next month, and who wants to be known only as Jay, says: "We usually buy a table and order a few bottles first just to enter.

Click here to view the gallery. (http://www.plushasia.com/media_photo/21514)

"For example, if there are 10 of us, we probably open four bottles, and after that, when we're all in, we'll open more bottles over the night.

"We drink champagne, so maybe after the original charge, we'll spend another $400-$500 more the rest of the night."

Jay parties four to six times a month, and spends about $1,000 each night. The most he has spent in a night is $7,000, on his birthday.

Full-time national serviceman Aaron, 21, parties almost every night and spends around $1,000 to $2,000 each night. The most he has spent in a night is $25,000, also on his birthday.

He says: "We drink champagne, like Dom Perignon. We also drink the new vodka with gold flakes in it, the Royal Dragon Vodka, which can cost up to $500 a bottle.

"$1,000 a night is not rare. More and more young people are willing to spend on clubbing.

"The older crowd still has the bulk of spending power, but people my age are increasingly willing and able to spend."

Both Jay and Aaron hold down part-time jobs, but they admit the jobs finance only a small fraction of their clubbing lifestyle. Out of the $4,000 or so Jay spends on clubbing a month, $1,000 comes from his part-time job.

Aaron, who invests in shares and whose family owns a Fortune 500 company, pays for a third of the $12,000 or so he spends on clubbing each month.

Most of the money for their nights out comes from their parents. Jay says: "My parents are in the investment and accounting industry, and they know that I club regularly.

Click here to view the gallery. (http://www.plushasia.com/media_photo/21514)

"But we have an understanding and they know that I know what I'm doing, so they do not have issues with it."

Mr Bala says: "Big-spending nights are usually to celebrate occasions like birthdays, an F1 weekend or a graduation from university. "Sometimes parents come in and pay in advance for their children.

"Then there are the regulars who spend but they don't drop a bomb every time. They'll maybe get a three-litre bottle of Belvedere for $1,280, they'll do a Dom for anywhere between $488 and $928.

"It's all about the theatrics. They want to be seen and they know their products and brands and go for what's fashionable."

Aaron disagrees: "I live within my means, it is not like I spend all my money on clubbing to show off and starve the rest of the week.

"I've actually toned down a lot. In the past, I would be the guy rolling up to the club in my father's Ferrari, and buying the big, showy drinks just to be the guy people talked about.

"I think it's all about growing up, now I party to relax and also to network."

Although the boys both admit that their spending may seem excessive to some, they say they're not about to stop.

Jay says, candidly: "It's a great way to relax with some friends, and a great way to make new ones. We like it, so why not?"

Click here to view the gallery. (http://www.plushasia.com/media_photo/21514)

Photos: TNP, ST, Butter Factory, Zouk Club Singapore, Le Noir, Pangaea, Instagram, Internet.
http://www.asiaone.com/static/home/logo_credits/tnp_logo.jpg (http://www.tnp.sg/)

http://static.plushasia.com/action/MediaImage/132489.jpg

Loh
05-08-2013, 10:53 PM
Red Sports

http://www.redsports.sg/2013/05/09/mens-national-4x100m-relay-record-athletics/

Posted by: Erwin Wong (http://www.redsports.sg/author/erwinwong/)
May 09, 2013


http://www.redsports.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/calvin-kang-pic1.jpg



The national 4x100m relay team consisting of (from left to right) Calvin Kang, Lim Yao Peng, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Elfi Mustapha. Muhd Amirudin, who is not pictured here, combined with Gary, Cheng Wei and Elfi to break the men’s national 4x100m relay record at the Asian Grand Prix Series in Chonburi, Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Joe Goh/Singapore Athletic Association)

Chonburi, Thailand, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — The sprint quartet of Muhd Elfi Bin Mustapa, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei and Muhd Amirudin Bin Jamal broke the men’s national 4×100 metres relay record of 39.58 seconds at the second leg of the Asian Grand Prix Series.

They clocked a time of 39.45s to finish first in their race, ahead of China, Oman, Thailand and Chinese Taipei, but were ranked second overall. The team from Hong Kong ran the fastest time with their 39.17s showing in the second race.

Coincidentally, the previous national record was also set in Thailand, and at the second leg of the Asian Grand Prix Series as well. Then, Calvin Kang had run instead of Muhd Elfi in that race in Kanchanaburi on 11 May 2012.

Calvin, who is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained at the Nippon Sports Science University Meet in Tokyo, Japan, late last month, said: “I’m elated and happy for the team. It’s a great start to the year breaking the national record! We were aiming to break it here at the Asian Grand Prix, and we managed to do it.”

“The team had a good push from the start, being in lane 2, with China and Thailand in lanes 3 and 4 respectively. Morale was high before the race, and our handovers were very quick during it. We won our race, beating China, Thailand and Chinese Taipei. This signifies a great breakthrough for us; that we can compete at the Asian level.”

Cheng Wei, 26, said the team had to come to terms with racing alongside continental powerhouses. “We had to deal with the pressure to perform and race with these teams, and not let it affect us negatively.”

This is the eighth time that Singapore has gone under the 40-second mark in this event, since its first instance in December 2009. The relay team, which is training full-time, is hoping to meet the Moscow World Championships qualifying mark of 39.20s. The biennial meet is in August this year, and the relay team is gunning for qualification.

“The record was great, but our performance wasn’t perfect,” cautioned Cheng Wei.

“There is still room for improvement to maximise our steppings, and we will definitely be working on that to further lower our time.”

The third and final leg of the Asian Grand Prix Series will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 12 May 2013.

Results
1st Hong Kong 39.17s
2nd Singapore 39.45
3rd China 39.79
4th Oman 39.82
5th Thailand 39.83
6th Chinese Taipei 39.90
7th Thailand 40.05
8th India 40.15
9th Indonesia 40.49
Disqualified Sri Lanka

List of sub-40 second times by the national 4x100m relay team
39.45s — Muhd Elfi, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand; May 2013
39.58s — Calvin Kang, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand; May 2012
39.73s — Calvin Kang, Muhd Elfi, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand, May 2012
39.82s — Gary Yeo, Muhd Elfi, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; SEA Games; Laos; December 2009
39.83s — Calvin Kang, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand; May 2012
39.91s — Calvin Kang, Muhd Amirudin, Lee Cheng Wei, Gary Yeo; SEA Games; Indonesia; November 2011
39.97s — Muhd Elfi, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Calvin Kang; Singapore Masters Open; Singapore; March 2013
39.98 sec — Muhd Elfi, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand; May 2013

Singapore Men’s national 4x100m relay record progression
39.45s — Muhd Elfi, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand, May 8 2013
39.58s — Calvin Kang, Gary Yeo, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; Asian Grand Prix; Thailand, May 11 2012
39.82s — Gary Yeo, Muhd Elfi, Lee Cheng Wei, Muhd Amirudin; SEA Games; Laos; December 17 2009
40.10s — Gary Yeo, Muhd Shameer, Calvin Kang, Poh Seng Song; SEA Games; Thailand; December 10 2007
40.32s — Muhd Hosni, Hamkah Afik, Muhd Yusof Alias, Hong Jinsheng; Thailand Open; Thailand, April 28 1994
40.34s — C. Kunalan, Ong Yoke Phee, Tan Say Leong, Yeo Kian Chai; Asian Games; Iran; September 9 1974

Loh
05-09-2013, 09:14 PM
But still no fixed start date as project awaits approval, permits after 3-year delay



Published on May 10, 2013
7:08 AM

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The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is in need of restoration as its bell tower is crooked, the walls have cracks and the building suffers from corrosion, water damage and crumbling plasterwork. -- ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI, MARK CHEONG



By Melody Zaccheus

SINGAPORE'S oldest Roman Catholic church could soon be getting its much-needed overhaul after being plagued by three years of delays.

Plans discussed in 2010 to embark on a two-year, $40 million project to rescue the cracked walls and crooked bell tower of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, built between 1843 and 1847, were put on hold due to a lack of funds, said the project's supervisor, Father Adrian Anthony.

The church also needed more time to decide on the design and restoration so that it would be cost-effective. "We really have to ensure that there is no display of extravagance, taking every measure to make sure we spend cautiously so that it remains accessible to everyone," said Father Anthony.

No official commencement date for the restoration project has been set but Father Anthony said he hopes repairs will begin soon now that the process of acquiring building and upgrading permits from Government agencies is drawing to a close.

Loh
05-09-2013, 09:38 PM
Published on May 09, 2013
1:34 PM
250


By Lim Yan Liang And David Ee


Every Singaporean has a story to share, and it is with these experiences that form the Singapore narrative.

That was the thinking behind this year's National Day Parade theme "Many Stories... One Singapore" that was unveiled on Thursday by the NDP 2013 executive committee, together with the NDP logo, a group of colourful rippling circles that together form the shape of the island.

"We think that the sharing of stories is a very compelling way of bringing people together. Most of us have our individual stories of growing up in Singapore, of going to school, to NS, making lifelong friends... Or even going to different places in Singapore to eat our favourite food," said committee chairman Brigadier-General Perry Lim, adding that these, along with Singapore's fight against Sars and it's "Garden City" journey, have "defined us as a nation".

To underscore the more personal nature of this year's parade, the National Day song will not be sung by celebrities but by a choir consisting of 10 groups of Singaporeans from all walks of life who were selected at auditions held earlier. These include groups of friends and family.



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Brigadier-General Perry Lim, (right), chairman NDP Exco and Ms Selena Tan, creative director of The National Day Parade 2013. Every Singaporean has a story to share, and it is with these experiences that form the Singapore narrative. That was the thinking behind this year's National Day Parade theme "Many Stories... One Singapore" that was unveiled on Thursday by the NDP 2013 executive committee, together with the NDP logo, a group of colourful rippling circles that together form the shape of the island. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Loh
05-09-2013, 09:41 PM
Published on May 10, 2013
7:06 AM

http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/ndp1005e.jpg (http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/ndp1005e.jpg)

(First row from left) Nicholas Chin, 20, April Kong Min Qi, 25, Syaiful Ariffin Bin Abdul Rahman, 22, Zainul Mustaqueen, 22. (Back row from left) Deborah Goh, 21, NDP 2013 Creative Director Selena Tan, Chairman NDP Exco BG Perry Lim, and Dania Darwisyan Bintu Aslam, 21. It will not be Kit Chan, Taufik Batisah or Stefanie Sun singing the theme song at this year's National Day Parade (NDP). A band of 68 singers will take the stage instead, including Syaiful Ariffin Abdul Rahman and Dania Darwisyan Aslam. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN



By David Ee


IT WILL not be Kit Chan, Taufik Batisah or Stefanie Sun singing the theme song at this year's National Day Parade (NDP).

A band of 68 singers will take the stage instead, including Syaiful Ariffin Abdul Rahman and Dania Darwisyan Aslam.

Don't recognise the names? That is because the parade wants ordinary Singaporeans to occupy centre stage, as part of its theme "Many Stories... One Singapore".

Mr Syaiful, 22, and Ms Dania, 21, met as students at ITE College East, and formed the vocal group Heartvox with four others. They will perform with other members of the public in a segment dubbed Sing A Nation during the parade.

Loh
05-10-2013, 02:54 AM
Published on May 10, 2013
11:45 AM



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The Botanic Gardens newly opened visitor centre and headquarters of the National Parks Board. The 154-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens on Friday unveiled plans for a heritage museum and separate gallery for green exhibits. -- FILE PHOTO: GEORGE GASCON



By Grace Chua


The 154-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens on Friday unveiled plans for a heritage museum and separate gallery for green exhibits.

The 240 sq m museum will contain artifacts such as the Gardens' oldest specimens and botanical artworks. The actual artifacts in the museum may be digital versions if things are particularly fragile or rare. The museum will be housed at Holttum Hall near the Gardens' Tanglin entrance. Built in 1921, the hall was the office and laboratory of Gardens' director Eric Holttum, who pioneered test-tube orchid breeding techniques.

In addition to the museum, a 314 sq m solar-powered gallery, the size of three to four HDB flats, will be built of concrete made from the hemp plant by developer City Developments Limited (CDL). Sited on Holttum Hall's lawn. it will first showcase a half-century of "greening" Singapore.

Together, the new additions will cost about $2 million in cash and kind from CDL, and are expected to be ready by the end of November. They will help the iconic gardens in its bid to be Singapore's first World Heritage Site by educating visitors about its history, said director Nigel Taylor.

Loh
05-10-2013, 03:13 AM
The Singapore Botanic Gardens announced plans on Friday for a heritage museum and a gallery for green exhibits. The new attractions will open their doors from end November 2013.

Channel NewsAsia
POSTED: 10 May 2013 3:06 PM



SINGAPORE: The Singapore Botanic Gardens announced plans on Friday for a heritage museum and a gallery for green exhibits. The new attractions, which cost about S$2 million in cash and kind from City Developments Limited, will open their doors from end November 2013.

The 240 square metre (sqm) heritage museum will house interactive and multimedia exhibits showcasing the gardens' rich heritage. These will include rare historical finds, such as books and paintings that date back to as early as the 19th century.

The museum will be located at Holttum Hall, near the garden's Tanglin entrance.
Members of the public can also look forward to a Green Gallery featuring more botanical exhibits. The 314 sqm gallery, which is an extension of the museum, will also be Singapore's first zero energy gallery.

The gallery, which runs on solar power, will be built using Hempcrete -- an eco-friendly building material.

It will showcase Singapore's "greening" journey as its first exhibition when it opens.

The director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Dr Nigel Taylor, said that the additions will be a "great help" in supporting the gardens' nomination bid as Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site.


- CNA/ac



The new SBG Heritage Museum at Holttum Hall at the Singapore Botanic Garden (photo: NParks)

CDL Green Gallery at SBG Heritage Museum, Singapore's First Zero Energy Green Gallery (photo: NParks)

Loh
05-12-2013, 09:08 PM
Published on May 13, 2013
8:37 AM

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The Marina Bay floating platform might be kept for recreation, sports and community use, even after the Sports Hub is completed. -- ST FILE PHOTO


By Derrick Ho

It was meant to be a temporary measure, but the Marina Bay floating platform will be staying put for at least a while longer.

The 120m by 83m structure was designed as a stop-gap until the Sports Hub could be built.

But the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) - which owns and manages the platform - told The Straits Times that it is "considering retaining the facility for recreation, sports and community use", even after the hub is completed next year.

The floating platform - touted as the world's largest - was built in 2007 as an interim venue for mass spectator events in place of the National Stadium, which was demolished so that the 50,000- seater Sports Hub in Kallang could be built.

Loh
05-12-2013, 09:25 PM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/photos/43_images/ezxtamp_1.jpg

11 May

SINGAPORE - Over 2,500 Tampines residents gathered at Tampines Stadium today (May 11) morning for Singapore’s largest groundbreaking ceremony, said the People’s Association (PA).

This morning’s ceremony marked the start of works on the country’s first integrated town hub.

Over the past year, more than 15,000 residents took part in focus group discussions, interviews and surveys to put together their vision for the hub.

The hub brings together public services such as the community clubs, regional library and sports facilities under one roof.

It will also adopt a sustainable model for its community spaces that harnesses solar energy and natural rainfall, and reduces heat absorption by external walls. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
05-12-2013, 09:35 PM
BY INVITATION

Trust in public institutions like the police is not a given and needs to be nurtured. Will the blogosphere choose cynicism, or seek common ground to protect public institutions?



Published on May 10, 2013
4:23 PM



http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/ST_20130413_STKISHOREJ3H2_3611679e.jpg (http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/ST_20130413_STKISHOREJ3H2_3611679e.jpg)

-- ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO



By Kishore Mahbubani, For The Straits Times

As Singapore undergoes its mighty, irresistible metamorphosis over this coming decade, it is vital for it to ensure that it does not lose some painfully acquired blessings in the process.

In my previous column For The Straits Times, I had asked readers to share their views on my thoughts about Singapore's metamorphosis. I had said the soul of Singapore is being redefined, and that Singaporean society can either emerge as a happy butterfly, flitting around in a garden city, or as a lonely frog, croaking away unhappily in a little well.

I am grateful for the over 50 readers who responded and for their comments. They have helped shape my thinking for this column, and provided food for thought for future ones.

One of the biggest blessings Singapore has is that it is one of the safest cities in the world.

The level of safety we enjoy is a true miracle. Switzerland enjoys the same level of public safety. But it is surrounded by Europe. When you cross the border out of Switzerland, you continue to experience the same level of safety. But when you cross out of the border of Singapore, you may not. In short, we have to work extremely hard to preserve this cocoon of extraordinary public safety.

Some of it is clearly due to the very successful Singapore Police Force (SPF) we have. But the SPF is only one unit within an ecosystem of excellent public institutions delivering this high level of safety. The social trust that Singaporeans and Singapore residents have in this ecosystem is one key reason why our city is safe.

Worrying cynicism

THIS is why I am extremely worried about the cynicism that the Singaporean blogosphere is developing towards these public institutions. Over time this cynicism could act like an acid that erodes the valuable social trust accumulated. Yes, let me concede that some of the online criticisms are justified. For example, the escape of Mas Salamat Kastari was a major failure.

Against this backdrop, I watched carefully the reaction of the blogosphere to the Shane Todd affair. Dr Todd, 31, an American researcher, was found hanged in his apartment here last June after he quit the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) which is part of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

We will have to await the outcome of the coroner's inquiry to find out what really happened.

This is why I was appalled that US Senator Max Baucus jumped the gun and tried to pressure Singapore by forcing Singapore to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) oversight of the case before the Coroner's Court had completed its inquiry.

This goes against all international laws and norms. The United States would never allow a foreign police force to oversee an FBI investigation. Nor would it allow any foreign intervention into its judicial inquiry process.

What makes this even more absurd is that any objective investigation will show that the SPF is at least as competent, if not more competent, than the FBI.

Why do I say this? Having lived in the US for over 10 years, I have observed that while Singapore has moved from Third World to First World in its public institutions, many of America's public institutions are going in the opposite direction.

The best minds in America do not go into lifetime public service careers. The best minds in Singapore do. This is why the trust and confidence in Singapore's public institutions remain high overall.


Kudos to blogosphere

I WAS therefore heartened to see that the Singapore blogosphere did not unthinkingly support the American position. Some of the more popular blogs were pretty hostile to the idea of the FBI interfering in a domestic investigation. This has given me some hope that we can try and find some middle ground between the mainstream media and the blogosphere.

In this middle ground, we should reach clear agreement that some of Singapore's painfully developed public institutions should be protected and strengthened, like the SPF.

If we don't develop this middle ground and if a significant percentage of Singaporeans begin to demonstrate a lack of trust in our public institutions, trouble may begin brewing around the corner. This lack of trust can suddenly manifest itself in different ways.

Let me suggest one hypothetical scenario.

We have had quite a few MRT breakdowns in recent years. Thousands of people were inconvenienced. Fortunately, each incident passed peacefully. The peaceful outcomes reflected the high level of trust that Singaporeans have in their public institutions. They saw each incident as an aberration - not indicating the emergence of a new pattern of decline. But this perception could well change if MRT disruptions persist.

Clearly, the public standing of train operator SMRT has been declining. When I served as Singapore's Ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1989, my American counterpart was the legendary Ambassador Vernon Walters. His hobby was to visit and investigate every MRT system in the world. He proudly told me that having done so, he could confidently say the Singapore MRT system was the best in the world.

I asked why. He said it was the only MRT system in the world that had been built ahead of schedule, below cost and functioned smoothly.

Clearly this is no longer the case. The big question is: what went wrong? Was it a mistake to emphasise the short-term private sector profits rather than the long-term public good that the SMRT is supposed to provide?

All this brings me to the hypothetical scenario. If we have another major MRT breakdown, combined with declining trust in public institutions, we may have the perfect combination for a riot or two. We have been free from riots for almost 40 years. The reasons were simple: rising living standards and rising trust in public institutions. But if this trust becomes a declining commodity and if a major public service performs badly, it would be unwise to expect the same level of social harmony.

In short, it would be a mistake to take our high level of public safety for granted. It is the result of a very complex ecosystem of public institutions that still enjoys a high level of trust among Singaporeans.

However, if the blogosphere and the mainstream media cannot agree on a core consensus of preserving and supporting key public institutions, we could end up with a messier Singapore, becoming an unhappy frog rather than a happy butterfly.


To read Prof Mahbubani's previous column, click here. (http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/singapore-butterfly-or-frog-20130309)

The writer is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

By Invitation features expert views from opinion leaders in Singapore and the region.

Loh
05-12-2013, 10:38 PM
Published on May 13, 2013
8:37 AM

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Among the attractions are a dynamic display by members of the Special Operation Task Force on preparing to board a ship in distress (above) and the chance to fire paintballs using real weapons. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

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Members of the Naval Diving Unit in action during the dynamic display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

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A chinook helicopter pictured during the dynamic display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

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The Remotely Operated Vehicle pictured at the Mission Zone at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

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The Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle pictured at the Mission Zone at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

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From (left to right), An Armoured Fast Craft Utility, the RSS Archer Submarine and the RSS Intrepid Frigate, pictured at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

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A S70-B Seahawk Naval Helicopter equipped with a dipping sonar passes by several vessels during the dynamic display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG


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The Republic of Singapore Navy's servicemen (foreground) and two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats surround an "intruder" during the Dynamic Display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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A visitor at the media preview of the Navy Open House 2013 strikes a pose with naval divers from the Republic of Singapore Navy, on May 9, 2013. The Navy Open House 2013 will be held at Changi Naval Base on May 18 and 19, 2013. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN


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Visitors to the Navy Open House 2013 will be able to see up-close some of the Republic of Singapore Navy's weapons, like the remotely operated underwater vehicle. The Navy Open House will be held on May 18 and 19, 2013, at Changi Naval Base. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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A member of the press shooting a rifle on May 9, 2013, during a media preview of the Navy Open House 2013. To be held on May 18 and 19, the open house will feature an Experience Zone, where visitors can try their hand at weapons used in the Republic of Singapore Navy. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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Visitors can walk through a mock-up of a submarine at the Experience Zone of the Navy Open House 2013, which will be held on May 18 and 19, 2013. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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Visitors to the Navy Open House 2013, to be held on May 18 and 19, can take a cruise onboard the Republic of Singapore Navy's missile corvette, patrol vessel and mine countermeasure vessel. Pictured here is a cruise onboard a mine countermeasure vessel. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN


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The United States' USS Freedom, a Littoral Combat Ship, seen at Changi Naval Base, on May 9, 2013, during a media preview of the Navy Open House 2013. For the first time, foreign warships will be berthed alongside the Republic of Singapore Navy's own vessels, and opened to visitors. The Navy Open House 2013 will be held at Changi Naval Base on May 18 and 19. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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Visitors to the Navy Open House 2013 will be able to see up-close some of the Republic of Singapore Navy's weapons, like the ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (pictured in background with serviceman). The Navy Open House will be held on May 18 and 19, 2013, at Changi Naval Base. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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An armoured Fast Craft Utility seen during the media preview of the Navy Open House, on May 9, 2013. To be held on May 18 and 19, the Navy Open House will feature a 15-min Dynamic Display, which will showcase the Republic of Singapore Navy's fighting capabilities and naval base defense operations. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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Naval divers jumping into the waters off Changi Naval Base, on May 9, 2013, during a media preview of the Navy Open House. To be held on May 18 and 19, the Navy Open House will feature a 15-min Dynamic Display, which will showcase the Republic of Singapore Navy's fighting capabilities and naval base defense operations. -- MY PAPER FILE PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

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A Submarine from the Challenger class pictured at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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The RSS Kallang (left)and RSS Punggol pictured at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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The Swift Rescue, a Submarine Rescue Vessel pictured at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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A member of the media fires a General-purpose Machine Gun at the Experience Zone during the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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A Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats manned by members of the Special Operation Task Force (left) and an Armoured Fast Craft Utility pictured during the dynamic display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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Members of the Special Operation Task Force board the Swift Rescue, a Submarine Rescue Vessel to capture terrorists during a dynamic display the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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A chinook helicopter passes the RSS Intrepid Frigate during the dynamic display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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Two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats manned by members of the Special Operation Task Force pictured during the dynamic display at the media preview of the Navy Open House on 9 May, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



By Eugene Chua

CRAMPED, narrow and dark - these are the conditions in which Navy submariners live every day.

At the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Open House this weekend, the public will be able to get a feel of life on a generic submarine. For the first time, a replica of the interior of a submarine - complete with periscope and sleeping quarters - will be on display.

It will be housed within the Experience Zone, which also serves as a hub for a whole range of naval activities that will allow the public to put themselves in the shoes of sailors.

Visitors can experience the life of navy medical personnel at a mock ship operating theatre - stitching wounds and performing emergency rescue procedures

Loh
05-12-2013, 11:46 PM
Published on May 11, 2013
6:28 PM



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Minister in Prime Minister's Office, Mr Lim Swee Say (above) signs a guestbook during a school tour, as part of National Junior College's 44th College Day on Saturday, 11 May, 2013. Students at National Junior College (NJC) can now have hands-on astronomy lessons with the official opening of the school's roof top observatory which boasts a $70,000 state-of-the-art telescope. -- ST PHOTO: : DESMOND LUI


By Melissa Lin


Students at National Junior College (NJC) can now have hands-on astronomy lessons with the official opening of the school's roof top observatory which boasts a $70,000 state-of-the-art telescope.

From this year onwards, students will also be able to opt for research electives such as astrophysics, astrochemistry and astrobiology.

These classes will be conducted in a classroom next to the observatory, which has a roll-off roof.

NJC is the first government school to have an observatory on its grounds.

Loh
05-12-2013, 11:59 PM
By Lim Say Heng
The New Paper
Monday, May 13, 2013


SINGAPORE - She showed tremendous fighting spirit in clawing back from a 0-3 deficit to draw level at 3-3 in the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships women's singles final in New Delhi yesterday.

But there was no fairy-tale ending for Singapore's world No. 27 Yu Mengyu (photo) as she eventually fell 4-3 (6-11, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8, 8-11) to Canada's Zhang Mo at the Thyagraj Indoor Stadium.

The loss prevented the Republic from clinching an unprecedented clean sweep of all seven titles at the championships.

Singapore also won all but one title - the men's doubles - at the last championships in Glasgow in 2009.

Women's national coach Jing Junhong said: "Mengyu (right) may be ranked higher than Zhang Mo in the world (Zhang Mo is 170th), but they met two years ago and the Canadian also won then.

"Zhang Mo's playing style was particularly effective against Mengyu, but Mengyu also became anxious and started playing cautiously when she led 8-6 in the rubber.

"However, the team have achieved their overall targets in this competition, so I am satisfied."

Rested

World No. 4 Feng Tianwei was rested for the singles in view of giving the younger paddlers more competitive experience.

In addition to golds in the men's and women's teams, as well as the mixed doubles in previous days, Singapore finished first in the men's singles, along with both the men's and women's doubles yesterday.

Zhan Jian beat compatriot Li Hu 13-11, 11-6, 11-1, 11-6 to clinch the men's singles before teaming up with Yang Zi to beat English pair Christopher Doran and Samuel Walker 13-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3 in the men's doubles final.

In the women's doubles final, Feng and Yu beat England's Joanna Parker and Kelly Sibley 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-3 to take the title.

The paddlers will fly straight from New Delhi to Paris, where they will compete at the week-long World Table Tennis Championships from Monday.

Loh
05-13-2013, 09:48 PM
Support for street art is on the rise, with youth cultural festivals offering graffiti-related events

Published on May 14, 2013
8:31 AM



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Zulkarnaen Othman, also known as Zero. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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Graffiti artists Shah Rizzal Wan Hussain (top), or Asno, and Syed Abdul Rahman, or S13, demonstrate their craft. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

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Full-time artist Muhammad Khairy Ishak, or Myow, hopes to turn the whole of Arab Street into a place for street art. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

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Adam Wang's mural, Smells Good, on the wall outside the Pasarbella marketplace. -- PHOTO: ADAM WANG



By Lisabel Ting


The spotlight has been trained on Singapore's low-profile street art scene over the past year, with two cases of illegal graffiti hitting the headlines.

In May last year, "Sticker Lady" Samantha Lo sparked off a debate about the role of street art with her proclamations of "My Grandfather " stencilled on public roads and her tongue-in-cheek stickers on traffic-light buttons.

Last month, Mohamad Khalid Mohamad Yusop, 32, attracted universal condemnation when he scrawled "Democracy"; in red paint across the Cenotaph war memorial in Esplanade Park.

Both Khalid and Lo, 26, broke the law but the reactions to both cases have been markedly different.


Background story

"His work is always of the highest quality andhe’s an artist who is committed to his career";

Gallery owner Benjamin Hampe on why he is holding the first solo painting exhibition of street artist Mohammed Zulkarnaen Othman, also known as Zero
SPEAK IT RIGHT

Tag: A graffiti artist's signature, usually a stylised rendering of his or her nickname. Tags are usually small, done in one colour and quick to execute.

Crew: A group of artists who often paint or work together.

Throw up: A throw up consists of text which is written in large, rounded letters instead of a single line. It usually comprises at least two colours – one for the outline and another to fill the letters.

Bomb: To illegally paint works in large numbers over many surfaces in an area, usually quickly.

Burn: To paint over a piece of work, whether your own or someone else. Graffiti artists have one unspoken rule: If you burn a piece of work, make sure it is with a better piece.

Buff: To remove a piece of graffiti, such as using chemicals or painting over it.

Piece: Short for "masterpiece". Pieces are large, elaborate works, usually using many colours and a variety of techniques.

Loh
05-13-2013, 10:14 PM
Published on May 14, 2013
9:01 AM


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Jessica Alba is set to star in upcoming action flicks like Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



By Eddino Abdul Hadi Music Correspondent


AMERICAN actress Jessica Alba is set to boost the glamour quotient at next week's inaugural Social Star Awards at MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands.

The 32-year-old star, who played Susan Storm, also known as Invisible Woman, in the Fantastic Four movies (2005 and 2007), will be hosting the event on May 23, dubbed the Oscars of the social media world.

She joins American rock icons Aerosmith, K-pop star Psy, soul-pop singer CeeLo Green, Canadian breakout pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, popular dance-pop act LMFAO's Sky Blu and Asian girl group Blush.

These acts will perform at the show and, with the exception of Sky Blu, will also stage full concerts at Gardens by the Bay after the awards on May 24 and 25.

Loh
05-13-2013, 10:23 PM
Published on May 14, 2013
8:31 AM

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Members of Re:Dance Theatre, including Dapheny Chen (above) and Rachel Lum (below), are relieved to have a place of their own. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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Nine Years Theatre’s Nelson Chia on the “village” feel of Aliwal Arts Centre (above). -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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Nine Years Theatre’s Nelson Chia (left, with wife Mia Chee) on the “village” feel of Aliwal Arts Centre. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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The centre’s location is perfect for Teater Ekamatra’s (from left) Shaza Ishak, Irfan Kasban and Zizi Azah as it is near the Malay Heritage Centre which the company collaborates with often. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



By Corrie Tan

A clutch of arts groups has found a home in the spanking new Aliwal Arts Centre.
Nestled in the buzzy heritage precinct of Kampong Glam, the former Chong Cheng School is now home to about 20 arts groups and individuals.

These include newly established companies such as Nine Years Theatre and Re:Dance Theatre, as well as groups which have been rehomed from their former premises in the now-defunct Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre, such as Odyssey Dance Theatre and Teater Ekamatra.

Most tenants are looking forward to working in close proximity with other arts practitioners. The space looks set to become an incubator for collaborations between groups, and tenant get-togethers have been organised by the place managers.

Loh
05-14-2013, 10:27 PM
Published on May 14, 2013
9:23 PM



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Singaporean Ng Ser Miang (above) is set to announce his candidacy for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN


By May Chen


Singaporean Ng Ser Miang is set to announce his candidacy for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week.

An official with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press that the 64-year-old will declare himself a candidate on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has yet to be made.

The Straits Times understands that Ng is scheduled to deliver remarks at an event in Paris on Thursday.

He is set to run against Thomas Bach from Germany, who is also a IOC vice-president. Bach announced his candidacy last week.

Loh
05-14-2013, 10:37 PM
ASIAONE
NEWS
SPORTS


By Chua U-gene
The Straits Times
Wednesday, May 15, 2013


SINGAPORE - Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling smashed two national records at the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte in the United States on Friday.

The 17-year-old's time of 52.33sec in the 100m butterfly rewrote his own national record of 53.18, set at the 2011 South-east Asia Games.

He also clocked 1min 49.47sec in the 200m freestyle, erasing Bryan Tay's record of 1:50.41 set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics wearing the now-banned supersuit.

Said Joseph: "I just decided to step up and race. I'm happy with my performance.

"I felt really confident before the race and I just focused on my own swim."

His timings were also good enough to clinch a gold (100 fly) and a bronze (200 free) at the USA Swimming circuit event.

The Singaporean, who lives in Florida, beat Americans Tyler McGill (52.47) and Jack Conger (53.23) to top spot in the fly event.

In the 200 free, he lost out to the US' 4x100m Olympic gold-winning team-mates Matt McLean (1:49.02) and Conor Dwyer (1:49.29).

Finishing sixth in the race with 1:49.81 was US celebrity swimmer and 11-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte.

Joseph's times also met the "A" qualifying time of 52.57 and "B" time of 1:52.21 for July's World Championships in Barcelona.

He said: "I'm right on track and this will give me a lot of momentum going into Barcelona."

The swimmer, who won the 50 and 200 fly golds at the 2011 SEA Games, also becomes the first Singaporean to stake his claim for a place at this December's Games in Myanmar.

Locally-based swimmers will need to qualify for the Games at next month's National Championships but overseas-based swimmers get to nominate one selected meet to clock their times.

If no other swimmer beats Joseph's times at the National Championships, the former Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student is guaranteed his slot.

Singapore Swimming Association technical director Ian Turner was delighted with Joseph's performance, adding that he was not surprised that the fly specialist had excelled in the 200 free.

He said: "The freestyle and butterfly are closely linked and Joseph is a natural swimming athlete who is able to transfer (his ability) across both styles."

The Briton added that he hopes Joseph can finally put his stamp on the international scene in Barcelona.

"Things could not be looking any better right now. He and his coach Sergio Lopez have stuck at it and things have come to fruition," he said.

ugenec@sph.com.sg

Loh
05-15-2013, 10:28 PM
Published on May 15, 2013
7:51 PM

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Bernd Stange (right), the German who was on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, appointed the new coach of the Singapore national football team, is confident he can lead the Lions to glory. -- ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH



By Wang Meng Meng

Bernd Stange, the German who was on Wednesday appointed the new coach of the Singapore national football team, is confident he can lead the Lions to glory.

At his unveiling at the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday evening, the 65-year-old, who signed a two-year contract with the option of a two-year extension, said: "The post of national team head coach is always a challenging one for any coach - more so in a country like Singapore where football is the No. 1 sport and whose national team are now champions of the region.

"I am deeply honoured to have been appointed from a pool of more than 100 qualified candidates. It was a rigorous process which enabled both FAS and I to have a clear understanding of each other's objectives and goals, and I am both impressed and motivated by the professionalism, vision and footballing goals of the FAS.

"While I recognise that the task ahead will not be easy, I am confident and I believe my experience at the international level and contacts in the game will be an asset to Singapore football.

Loh
05-16-2013, 12:59 AM
Lions' veteran German coach no big name but a whiz with tight resources



Published on May 16, 2013
11:30 AM

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FAS president Zainudin Nordin (left) presenting new national coach Bernd Stange with a Lions jersey. The German said No. 2 means the team is always more important than the coach. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI


By Wang Meng Meng

When Raddy Avramovic was appointed Singapore's national football coach in 2003, the first impression then was "Raddy, who?".

Similarly, the chatter on social media yesterday was one of bemusement when the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced that Bernd Stange would be the new Lion tamer.

But the FAS and regional coaches insist the 65-year-old is the right man for the job and a look at the German's colourful CV appears to suggest that too.

"Bernd clearly stands out among the candidates," said FAS president Zainudin Nordin.

"He is widely recognised for his work by the German football community. His track record convinced us."


Background story

5 facts about Bernd Stange

1. When he coached the national team of the former East Germany, the state police, Stasi, allegedly assigned him the code name "Kurt Wegner", to report on players. The FAS cleared him after background checks.

2. As coach of Iraq, from 2002 to 2004, players resisted his fitness training regimen. He convinced them to do so by showing them a picture of a muscular Michael Ballack.

3. In 2003, he received the Fifa Presidential Award for his contributions to Iraqi football, when he helped the national team into the world's top 50 and qualified for the Asian Cup and the Olympics.

4. After Britain's then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw presented Stange with 5,000 footballs to help develop the sport in Iraq, the coach's car was fired upon and his driver shot in the hand.

5. In 2000, as coach of Australian club Perth Glory, fans staged a demonstration urging the club not to sack Stange even though the team lost the grand final on penalties to Wollongong Wolves after leading 3-0 at half-time.

FACTFILE


Name: Bernd Walter Stange
Born: March 14, 1948 in Gnaschwitz, East Germany




Coaching career:




Carl Zeiss Jena (1976-1978, 1988-1991 and 1997-1998),
East Germany Under-21/Olympic/national team (1978-1988),
Hertha Berlin (1991-1992),
Lokomotive Leipzig (1993-1994),
Dnipro (1995-1996),
CSKA Kiev (1996-1997),
Perth Glory (1998-2001),
Oman (2001),
Iraq (2002-2004),
Apollon Limassol (2005-2007),
Belarus (2007-2011)

Loh
05-16-2013, 01:16 AM
Football



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FAS President Zainudin Nordin handing new national coach Bernd Stange his Lions jersey. Photo: Wee Teck Hian



By Gerard Wong (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/gerard-wong)


10 hours 2 min ago

Right off the bat, let me congratulate the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on snagging Bernd Stange as the new national head coach of the Lions.

Without a doubt, the 65-year-old German’s track record at both club and international level instantly makes him the best coach in South-east Asia by a mile, yes, even better than Radojko Avramovic.

It also establishes him as one of the best coaches currently in Asia.

That the FAS were able to get him on terms that were not far from what Avramovic was earning — believed to be about US$35,000 (S$44,000) monthly — suggests that they have indeed scored a massive coup in getting Stange on board.

Yet, that was not the reason why Stange’s appointment generated such a positive buzz among the Singapore media yesterday.

After the press conference at Jalan Besar Stadium, practically everyone had a similar response when asked what they thought of the new coach. “He sounds like a good catch” was one common refrain. “I think they’ve found the right guy for the job” was another.

Both were often accompanied by approving nods.

But how was it that we sports journalists, who are often a cynical and sceptical lot, all ended up being so impressed by Stange even before his first match in charge of the Lions?

It was certainly a marked contrast to the way we greeted names such as Peter Taylor, Brian Kerr and Arie Haan, which were initially bandied about as possible choices for the post in the weeks of frenzied media speculation before yesterday’s unveiling — with raised eyebrows and with the same immediate follow-up question: “Can he adapt to the realities of Singapore football and its constraints?”

And we know what these constraints are: National Service commitments, a small population to draw talent from, a lack of financial resources and training facilities.

So what was it that made Stange so different, and such a hit with the media yesterday?

Charisma aside (he was indeed very open and approachable), it was his clear enthusiasm for the job, and his quiet confident belief that Singapore football has so much potential to fulfil.

In his considered replies, Stange painted a vision of Singapore football that many of us have been wanting so much to see for so long.

For example, when asked whether he felt that Avramovic’s successful decade-long tenure had left him with boots that were too big to fill, Stange’s reply was uplifting.

“The boots are not too big to fill because I am looking forward to the future and I believe in the team’s potential,” he said.

“There are enough talented players to achieve the same results as the Singapore team did under Raddy, and to do it better.

“Raddy couldn’t do it better because the facilities and resources were not ready. But now, the facilities are improving and the Sports Hub is coming up, we have to make sure that we fill it every time we play.

“I do feel pressure because the expectations are higher now, but it is good to have this kind of pressure. Without it, you cannot do anything.

“I think the goals (that the FAS have set) are clear and we have to fulfil them. We want to move forward. Every year we will improve.”

He also came across as having a plan on how to take Singapore football forward, and also expressed a desire to work with local coaches to make it happen.

“It is not helpful to bring your own staff,” he said when asked if he planned to get any of his former assistants to join him here.

“It is good to work with local coaches, and that is what I want to do ... First, I have to convince the coaches and then the players: ‘Do you want to play this brand of football?’

“After that we will work as a team, and then, I think, I can deliver a lot.”

It was clear that his answers left everyone suitably impressed, and cheered. After all, they were in keeping with what he had achieved with Belarus.

And now, as we eagerly await to see him in action, I believe that many of us are also keeping our fingers tightly crossed that he will succeed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gerard Wong is TODAY’s Sports Editor.

Loh
05-16-2013, 01:24 AM
More growth in store with new homes, offices and shops: Analysts



Published on May 16, 2013
11:25 AM

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong looking at a model of the Marina Bay Financial Centre during its official opening yesterday. With him were (from left) Cheung Kong Holdings executive director Davy Chung, Keppel Land chief executive officer Ang Wee Gee, Keppel Corporation chairman Lee Boon Yang and Mr Warren Bishop, CEO of Raffles Quay Asset Management, which manages Marina Bay Financial Centre. -- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE

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Marina Bay Financial Centre. -- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND WEE



By Yasmine Yahya And Elgin Toh


MARINA Bay is already a flourishing neighbourhood, with hundreds of its own residents and many thousands more people streaming in each day to work and play.

But the area is still very much a work in progress, said analysts, with more homes, offices and shops set to be built there over the next few years.

Several empty plots are also yet to be developed. Analysts and major tenants were reflecting on the area's progress as the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) was officially launched on Wednesday.

At the launch, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hailed the latest addition to the Marina Bay skyline.

Loh
05-17-2013, 03:11 AM
By Tan Yo Hinn and Patwant Singh
POSTED: 16 May 2013 6:36 PM
UPDATED: 16 May 2013 11:54 PM


International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president Ng Ser Miang has officially declared his candidacy to become the next IOC president.



SINGAPORE - International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president Ng Ser Miang has officially declared his candidacy to become the next IOC president.

The 64-year-old Singaporean made the announcement in Paris on Thursday. He becomes the second IOC member after Germany’s Thomas Bach - also an IOC vice-president - made his in Frankfurt last week.

Speaking to Singapore media via a conference call, he said issues like the size and cost of future Olympic Games, education, doping and match-fixing will be addressed during his election campaign in the lead-up to the elections to choose a successor to Jacques Rogge at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 10.

Ng said: "I believe in the Olympic movement passionately, and I believe that over the years I've accumulated enough experience as a sport leader, as a diplomat and as a businessman.

"And having been on both sides of the public-private sector, I believe it is time for me to contribute more to the Olympic movement by running for president."

He added: "We have to put youth development as our focus as we move forwards, and we have to look at the size and scale of the programme of the games in order to make it relevant for all and for the future of the movement."

In response to Singapore being linked to the worldwide football match-fixing scandal, he reiterated the Republic's stance on the issue.

"As far as match-fixing is concerned, our police is taking very strong action against it, and I think based on real evidence, they will take action. And I'm not quite sure whether Singapore's in the eye of the storm, but for the whole Olympic movement, we are confronting this problem seriously," Ng said.

He added he believes he can be the “inclusive, universal” leader that the IOC needs. Ultimately, whoever the next IOC president is must be the best possible person for the job, said Ng, responding to a question from TODAY.

“The movement is more than a person, and I believe that for the presidency one has to give his total commitment if elected, and if all the best candidates come together to put forward their views, then I think we would have created a very strong platform for whoever is elected to work on, with all the different views and strengths,” said Ng.

At the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, the IOC’s 101 members will vote via a secret ballot to choose the Lausanne-based organisation’s next leader.

Others expected to declare their candidacy by the June 10 deadline for the IOC Presidency include Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrion, the IOC’s head of audit and finance commissions, International Association of Athletics Federation vice-president Sergey Bubka of the Ukraine, and International Boxing Association president Wu Ching-kuo of Taiwan.

If Ng is elected, he will become the 118-year-old IOC’s first Asian, and only its second non-European president after American Avery Brundage.

Ng, a former national sailor who won a silver medal at the 1969 South-east Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games, has been IOC member since 1998, and part of its policy-making Executive Board since 2005.

Ng, who is one of four vice-presidents at the IOC since 2009, has played a pivotal role in global sports administration.

Among his major achievements was overseeing the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 -- the biggest sporting event staged in Singapore so far.

Another feather in Ng's cap was being chairman of the Singapore Organising Committee for the 117th IOC Session.

Prior to that, the former national sailor served with distinction as Singapore Sports Council chairman from 1991 till 2002, during which he was instrumental in shaping the nation's sports policies.

He is also a vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, and the chairman of NTUC FairPrice, Singapore’s largest supermarket chain.


- CNA/TODAY/ir/

Loh
05-17-2013, 03:18 AM
By Tan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)

5 hours 19 min ago

After months, an open secret was finally confirmed when he announced his candidacy to become the next International Olympic Committee (IOC) President at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on Sept 10.

But beyond the fact that Ng Ser Miang is a 64-year-old Singaporean, why should this matter to Singapore that he has entered the contest to lead an organisation that, to many, is known mainly for staging the quadrennial summer Olympics? Why should we be as excited as him? Simply because his candidature, if successful, could be that much-needed catalyst to help inspire Singapore sports to another level.

Two months ago, the Government revealed that a minimum of S$1.5 billion will be invested over the next few years to make sports a bigger part of Singapore by providing better and more attractive sports programmes to provide more opportunities for people to partake in sports regularly. This includes at least S$292 million set aside to improving sports infrastructure in Singapore.

There is also the S$1.33 billion Sports Hub at Kallang, which opens in April next year and is being marketed as a premier one-stop destination for the best sporting, leisure and entertainment events and activities year-round.

In terms of global influence and profile, the IOC Presidency is possibly the most powerful position in sport, rivalled maybe only by the presidency at football’s world body FIFA, and having a front-row seat and a powerful voice at the main table of international sports can prove significant.

Of course, developing the sports scene in Singapore is the job of the Singapore Sports Council, National Sports Associations and other relevant agencies, not the next IOC President, whose job is to promote the Olympic movement, its ideals and programmes.

But the knowledge that a fellow-Singaporean is at the pinnacle of sports administration can filter down a “feel good” effect. And that will represent a significant boost in Singapore’s attempts at becoming a truly sporting nation.


Tan Yo-Hinn is Deputy Sports Editor at TODAY

Loh
05-17-2013, 03:29 AM
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IOC First Vice-President Ng Ser Miang (picture) in the historic Salle Octave Greard at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he announced his candidature for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee. It was in the Salle Octave Greard that Baron Pierre de Coubertin oversaw the founding of the IOC in June 1894. Photo: SNOC


Engage youth in their education through sport values: Singapore IOC Presidential candidate Ng



ByTan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)

12 hours 11 min ago


SINGAPORE — The size and cost of future Olympic Games, doping, match-fixing and education are issues that Ng Ser Miang is set to address in his bid to be the next International Olympic Committee (IOC) President.

Yesterday, the 64-year-old Singaporean became the second IOC member, after Germany’s Thomas Bach, to declare his candidacy to succeed current IOC President Jacques Rogge at the elections, which will be held at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sept 10.

In a conference call with Singapore media yesterday, Ng, who is currently an IOC Vice-President, emphasised the need to look at the legacy aspect of the Olympics and the movement beyond infrastructure, and to “engage” the youth.

“In these economically challenging times, we have to continue to look at the cost and way of bidding, the scale and size of the Games, the sports programmes at the Games, and continue to look at the legacy aspect of the Games and the movement beyond infrastructure, (and) what human legacies we should be looking at,” he said.

“Amongst all this, we should put youth at the heart of our movement. We co-created a wonderful (2010) Youth Olympic Games in Singapore ... and we must build on this and engage the youth of the world.

“I believe we have to engage the youth in their education through sport values, and this is one part we should be mobilising the resources of the IOC, IFs (International Federations), NOCs (National Olympic Committees), governments and all our partners towards this end.”

Ng, who added that the youth also need to be educated about the dangers of doping, match-fixing, betting, will be sending personal letters and his manifesto to IOC members. He also announced that he will remain a volunteer with no pay if elected.

Announcing his candidacy yesterday at the French capital’s Sorbonne University — where the IOC was founded in 1894 — Ng highlighted some of the IOC’s milestones, but stressed more must be done to improve the Olympic movement as he reiterated the need to focus on the youth, and to root out cheats.

The IOC’s 101 members will vote via secret ballot on Sept 10. If elected, Ng will become the Lausanne-based IOC’s first Asian President, and only the second non-European chief in its 118-year history.

Other likely candidates include International Boxing Association President Wu Ching-kuo of Taiwan; International Association of Athletics Federations Deputy President Sergey Bubka of the Ukraine; and Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrion, head of the IOC’s finance and audit commissions.

Ng decided to seek election about two months ago after year-long consultations with IOC colleagues and stakeholders.

“The Olympic Movement faces an increasingly interconnected world,” he said. “This will require a leader with an inclusive leadership style and world view, based on collective input and decision-making. And, this will require a leader who can empower the Olympic Movement behind a unifying vision.”

Likening the elections to an “Olympic competition”, Ng hopes his candidature can help highlight Singapore and inspire Singaporeans. He also believes that being an Asian contesting for the highest job in a mainly Eurocentric body will not be a hindrance.

“It is not so much a question of continent, but a question of the person, his vision, leadership style, and whether he is the leader for the times,” he said. “I’m very proud to be a Singaporean and Asian, but I’m also very proud to be a global citizen.”

Loh
05-17-2013, 03:41 AM
By May Chen
The Straits Times
Friday, May 17, 2013

THERE was triple joy for Singapore's paddlers at the World Individual Table Tennis Championships as women's singles player Isabelle Li and men's doubles pair Pang Xue Jie and Clarence Chew booked their places in the main draw.

Isabelle did not drop a single game en route to becoming one of 246 qualifiers to fill the 32 berths in the main draw.

The world No. 212, competing in her third individual world championships, topped her group in the first stage of qualifiers after posting two 4-0 victories, before taking down Iran's Neda Shahsavari 11-7, 11-3, 12-10, 11-5 in the knockout stages.

Said the 18-year-old, in a phone interview from Paris: "I performed up to my expectations, so I'm pretty happy with that.

"It didn't feel as easy as the scores suggest, but it was a good experience. My goal now is just to cherish every match and play as many as I can."

Pang, 20, and Clarence, 17, also put aside their disappointment in the singles qualifiers to earn their place in the men's doubles event.

The duo first beat Israel's Omri Ben Ari and Gregory Elensky 3-1, then Mexicans Marcos Madrid and Salvador Uribe 3-1.

They then staged a comeback to beat Lin Ju and Juan Vila Batista of Dominican Republic 13-15, 11-6, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6.

Loh
05-19-2013, 10:52 PM
Published on May 18, 2013
1:46 PM


Visitors exit the Peranakan Museum on Aug 7, 2012. ISingaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND LUI




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Visitors exit the Peranakan Museum on Aug 7, 2012. ISingaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND LUI

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The facade of National Museum of Singapore at night on Feb 17, 2010. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- MY FILE PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

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Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: RACHEL CHAN

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Malay Heritage Centre in Kampong Glam. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND LUI

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Figures of the various Jedis in the Star Wars movies will be on display at the exhibition, Light V Dark Exhibition: Stamps And Collectibles. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: EDWARD TEO

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Artists install an installation art piece seen under Ultra-violet lighting titled Stellar Cave II by French artist Julien Salaud on Monday, May 13, 2013 in Singapore which will host the Art Garden 2013 art festival for about 3-months at the Singapore Art Museum. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

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Asian Civilisation Museum, Singapore,3 January 2002. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH

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Visitors experience wind, water sprays, smoke and vibrations as they watch army troops in action on four big screens at the Army Museum of Singapore. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

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Memories at Old Ford Factory exhibition held at the old Ford motor company. Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH



By Sabrina Tiong

Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) here can start enjoying free admission to 11 museums and exhibition centres from today.

This includes three more places of interest - the Singapore Discovery Centre, Memories at Old Ford Factory and the Army Museum of Singapore - which were added to the list, said Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong.

The move to offer entry to museums year-round was announced by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in March this year. The original eight include: the the Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Reflections at Bukit Chandu, Peranakan Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Philatelic Museum, Malay Heritage Centre and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall .

"All of these heritage institutions together with our national museums, I think they collectively keep alive the Singapore story, provide links to our past and they help to strengthen a sense of common identity," said Mr Wong, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Children's Season at the National Museum of Singapore on Saturday.

Loh
05-19-2013, 11:13 PM
Patrons eat at a food court in Singapore (photo: Francine Lim, channelnewsasia.com) Tray Return Partnership



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Efforts to encourage food court patrons to embrace the tray return practice and culture are going big in Singapore -- 17 major food court and fast food operators have committed to rolling out "tray return" in their outlets at the launch of the Tray Return Partnership.

This is the first time that food court operators have teamed up with the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a coordinated effort to encourage Singaporeans to make tray return a part of their culture and social graciousness.

This initiative was piloted in nine hawker centres from November 2012, and has received support from patrons with tray return rates of about 60 to 70 per cent at the majority of the centres.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for the Environment, Ms Grace Fu, said: "The majority are returning their trays so we would like to find out why the 30 to 40 per cent are not doing it. Most importantly, it is to find out feedback from the patrons, cleaners and stall holders, how we can put through the processes better.

(I think a proper Tray Return Centre with enough space for returned trays and having attendants to man it, is essential as the first step.)

"Obviously, we are trying to put in some infrastructure to deal with this new initiative, and we are bound to need some time for the improvements."

Since March 2013, NEA has been engaging food court and fast food operators to roll out the tray return initiative in their outlets.

The 17 partners will place a "Tray Return Partner" decal at the storefront of their participating outlets. The decal also serves as a way for the public to identify tray-return ready outlets.
Managing director of MacDonald's Restaurants in Singapore, Phyllis Cheung, said: "All the restaurants -- 125 around the island -- will be participating in it. What we will do is to put up the message in the form of a door decal and around the restaurant to remind people that it is such a gracious thought for you to take care of the next customer who is going to use the table."

With regards to customers who refuse to return their trays, Yip Keng Soon, director of operations for the Kopitiam Group, said: "So far, we have not experienced that. It is up to them, to do or not to do. We have to get the message across as we go along."

A competition for a "Tray Return Icon" was also launched on Sunday to encourage community involvement in the initiative. The icon will be launched in July 2013.

Ms Fu added: "From the various feedback that we have received, we are happy to note that the public is supportive of the tray return initiative.
"By returning our own trays, we are doing a part for social graciousness through sparing a thought for the next diner who takes the seat that we clear. By doing what seems like a small act, we can together promote a cleaner dining experience and build a much kinder and gracious community spirit."
Together with the Tray Return Partnership, a working group was formed in March to plan and coordinate implementation of the tray return roll out schedule, and more details of this will be announced at a later date.
With the 17 partners coming on board to take part in the tray return programme, the NEA said that nearly 70 per cent of all food outlets and 90 per cent of fast food outlets all over Singapore would be covered under the programme. The aim is to go islandwide within the next one to two years.

Loh
05-20-2013, 12:37 AM
POSTED: 20 May 2013 1:21 AM


SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has won the "Geospatial World Excellence Award 2013 - Transportation Management" award for its innovative use of geospatial technology in the planning, development and management of land transport under its "GIS@LTA" project.

In a statement, LTA says it is the first government agency in Singapore to win the award, and the second in Asia, after Taipei City, who won it in 2011.

The Geospatial World Excellence Awards recognise excellence in best practices, innovations and policies that have helped shape the future of the geospatial industry and innovations in the global geospatial industry.

LTA Group Director for Innovation & InfoComm Technology, Mrs Rosina Howe-Teo, received the award from Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Ordnance Survey (UK) and Co-Chair of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geographic Information (UN-GGIM), at the Geospatial World Forum 2013 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on May 15 this year.


- CNA/de



Artist impression of Upper Serangoon Road, Woodsville Tunnel after upgrading (Image from LTA

Loh
05-20-2013, 12:54 AM
POSTED: 19 May 2013 8:20 PM




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Many people were at Yishun SAFRA over the weekend for a charity fun-shoot in support of former national shooter Aishah Samad.



SINGAPORE: A total of S$130,000 has been raised for former national shooter Aishah Samad, who lost all her limbs due to gangrene. The amount raised will go towards purchasing a pair of advanced prosthetic hands and legs for the mother of two.

A two-day charity fun-shoot held over the weekend aimed to raise S$100,000 for Aishah.

The event at Yishun SAFRA, attracted many supporters, including national athletes.

An anonymous donor even pledged S$12,000 to pay for her prosthetic legs.

The money raised is crucial as Aishah is still paying for her simple S$6,000 prosthetic legs, which need periodic replacing as the stumps shrink.

Aishah said: "(I am) very, very, very, very, surprised by the turnout of people, because this is four times the support yesterday.

"I did not expect that much support from the public, support from other events, people I do not know, or people who just got to know me from the news, or from Facebook. I'm very very surprised."


- CNA/ac

Loh
05-20-2013, 01:11 AM
Published on May 20, 2013
1:09 PM



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Block-It-Out, an innovative swivelling drain cover which allows water through but can block mosquitos from entering to breed.

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BikeSense, a rear proximity sensor system which would warn the cyclists and drivers when a car is too close to the bicycle.

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HEATS, a temperature alarm system which would light up when its wearer is starting to suffer from heat-related injuries.

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WiseWindow - this swivelling window allows you to clean both sides of the windows without leaning out.

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NTU student demonstrating how one can clean their WiseWindow easily.



By Sabrina Tiong


An auto-close drain cover that will block mosquitoes from entering the drain to breed, while allowing a large amount of water to flow through during heavy downpours.

A "near collision" alarm system fitted with an ultrasonic sensor and LED lights that will alert the cyclist via a beeping alarm when a vehicle gets too close.

These are just some of the devices students from the Nanyang Technological University have come up with. As part of the mechanical and aerospace engineering curriculum, second-year students are required to develop a prototype and a business plan to improve certain situations.

One example would be "BikeSense" - a device designed to alert cyclists and motorists when they are of too close a distance to each other. It won first prize in a Safety & Security category of the 15th Engineering, Innovation and Design Open House and Competition on May 18.

The 580 submissions in five categories were judged by industry professions, alumni and faculty members.

Loh
05-20-2013, 01:16 AM
Published on May 20, 2013
12:57 PM

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Riders come in to finish their race at The Pit Building. OCBC Cycle 201 on Sunday, April 28, 2013. For the first time, 2,500 members of the public will be able to experience walking through the Formula 1 pit lane where they can view the F1 garages up close, and enjoy live performances and interactive games at the F1 Village in Zone 1. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN



By Priscilla Kham


For the first time, 2,500 members of the public will be able to experience walking through the Formula 1 pit lane where they can view the F1 garages up close, and enjoy live performances and interactive games at the F1 Village in Zone 1.

The pit lane is usually accessible only to ticket holders of the Formula One Paddock Club, worth about $8,500. The public can sign up on the Singapore GP website and selection will be through balloting.

The tour, which will take place on Sept 19, is part of a slew of events leading up to the 2013 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. These include a motorsports carnival at ITE College Central on Aug 25 and 26, featuring race simulators and a photo exhibition.

Singapore GP also announced the extension of their MOU with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which began in 2009. Since then, more than 4,000 ITE students have gained work experience as ambassadors and customer service officers at the GP.

Loh
05-20-2013, 01:35 AM
Published on May 20, 2013
12:33 PM
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Yu Mengyu (left at rear) and Feng Tianwei of Singapore play against Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia of China in their women's doubles semifinals at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Paris May 19, 2013. Singapore's Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu were defeated by two-time world champions Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yue in the World Individual Table Tennis Championships women's doubles semi-finals early Monday morning. --PHOTO: REUTERS



By May Chen


Singapore's Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu were defeated by two-time world champions Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yue in the World Individual Table Tennis Championships women's doubles semi-finals early Monday morning.

The Singapore pair could only took two games out of their first-seeded opponents, going down 12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9, 8-11.

Still, the duo secured a bronze medal for the Republic as there are no playoffs for third place. This is Singapore's second ever medal at the event. The first was a women's doubles bronze won by Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu in 2007.

Their loss also ends the national table tennis team's campaign at the world championships, which draws to a close today in Paris.

Loh
05-20-2013, 10:41 PM
Channel NewsAsia

POSTED: 20 May 2013 11:02 PM



SINGAPORE: Parliamentarians from Myanmar are on a five-day visit to Singapore at the invitation of the chairman of the Singapore-Southeast Asia Regional Parliamentary Group, Cedric Foo.

The 25-member delegation is led by member of the Lower House of Parliament U Thein Tun Oo.

The visit marks the inauguration of parliamentary exchanges between Myanmar and Singapore.

Earlier on Monday, the Myanmar delegation called on Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob.

The delegates will call on and be hosted to lunch by Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday.
Their itinerary also includes a visit to Tampines West Community Centre, a chance to observe Meet-the-People sessions hosted by several MPs from different constituencies, and briefings by the Trade and Industry Ministry and the Housing and Development Board.

Through these interactions, the parliamentarians will have the opportunity to learn about Singapore's model of governance and exchange views on broadening linkages between Singapore and Myanmar.


- CNA/al


Parliament House (AFP/File - Roslan Rahman)

Loh
05-21-2013, 08:51 PM
Malaysian Foreign Minister in update says finer details need discussions



Published on May 22, 2013
8:01 AM

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The current relationship between Singapore and Malaysia is excellent, says Mr Anifah. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



By Lester Kong Malaysia Correspondent In Putrajaya

THE proposed high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is looking "very, very attractive", though further discussions on the finer details are needed, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said yesterday.

In his first major press conference since the elections to outline the ministry's priorities, Datuk Seri Anifah said preliminary studies for the rail link are complete but more studies are needed to move ahead.

"Generally, it is very, very attractive and in line with the Asean connectivity principle, that we connect Asean from Singapore right up to Kunming, China," he said when asked for an update on the project.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong jointly announced the high speed link between the two capitals back in February, with a 2020 completion deadline.


Background story

Comments relating to S'pore
On Malaysia's bilateral relationship with Singapore:

"We're very, very happy with the bilateral relationship we have now with Singapore. Being neighbours, it's important for us to have a good relationship and to have continuous engagement and dialogue. Being neighbours, we will not pretend that we do not have problems but the essence is in how we solve those problems together."

On the S'pore-KL high-speed rail link:

"Generally, it is very, very attractive and in line with the Asean connectivity principle, that we connect Asean from Singapore right up to Kunming, China."

On Malaysians arrested for protesting in Singapore:

"It's very simple. You break the country's laws, you have to face the penalties. If they (Singapore) do not allow such rallies to be held, then you should respect that. I want Malaysians to respect the laws of the countries they are in."

Loh
05-21-2013, 09:13 PM
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Prof Gerhard Gruber (left) and Prof Catharina Svanborg discussing the effects of HAMLET on a tumour cell (as shown on the computer screen). Photo: NTU



Molecule destroys cancer cells without affecting healthy ones



5 hours 54 min ago

SINGAPORE — A team of scientists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Sweden’s Lund University have bioengineered a molecule that can target and kill tumour cells without affecting healthy cells, unlike radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Already, tests on laboratory mice have proven successful in suppressing colon cancer cells and the scientists are studying a synthetic version of the molecule, with the chance of turning it into a cancer drug.

One of the scientists involved, Professor Gerhard Gruber, who is from NTU’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “By synthetically constructing the key components, this helps peptides (a form of amino acid) to be much more resilient and ‘survive’ in different environments, such as in the human body or in drinking water, which is an ideal delivery medium, before it reaches its tumour target.”

The molecule, which is based on a natural protein present in human breast milk, has been found to have tumour-killing properties when bound to certain lipids.

Lipids are organic molecules, such as amino acids and carbohydrates, that help store energy and form biological membranes.

The protein-lipid molecule complex is known as Human Alpha-lactabumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells (HAMLET), which was first discovered by Lund University’s Professor Catharina Svanborg and her research team.

Together with Dr Manoj Puthia, who is also from Lund University, they have successfully identified and isolated specific components of HAMLET called peptide-oleate bound forms, which have the tumour-killing effect. Peptides are short-chain amino acids commonly found in the human body.

Prof Svanborg said human trials in Sweden using HAMLET have produced promising results and added they were looking to trial the molecule complex in Singapore.

“We are now ready to test HAMLET as a therapeutic and preventive agent in colon cancer, especially in families with the genetic predisposition, where preventive options are limited,” she said.

“After completing the various clinical trials, we hope to develop a commercially available product for doctors’ use for cancer treatment in the next five to 10 years.”

Loh
05-21-2013, 11:50 PM
Published on May 22, 2013
11:54 AM

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Schoolchildren immersed in watching manatees swim inside the Amazon Flooded Forest at the River Safari on 3 April 2013. Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation will be marking its 10th anniversary this year by adopting the Amazon Flooded Forest, a key highlight at the River Safari, and by launching a series of programmes. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


By Natalie Kuan

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation will be marking its 10th anniversary this year by adopting the Amazon Flooded Forest, a key highlight at the River Safari, and by launching a series of programmes.

Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of SPH Foundation, will be officially launching the Amazon Flooded Forest on May 29. The exhibit, which is home to the world's largest freshwater aquarium, showcases the annual flooding of the South American rainforest created during the rainy season.

At the launch, Dr Lee will present $200,000 to 10 charities serving needy children and youth as part of SPH Foundation's annual charity cheque presentation. SPH will donate another $200,000 to 10 charities serving the elderly.

On the same day, the Foundation will also be launching the new home for Inuka - Singapore's well-loved polar bear - at the Singapore Zoo. The new home will be more than four times the size of Inuka's previous exhibit.

On top of that, the Foundation has also planned a series of activities to mark its 10th anniversary.

A keen supporter of arts and education, it had launched in March a nationwide creative writing competition called YOUth Write in collaboration with IN, a student publication by The Straits Times, to encourage secondary school students to excel in writing. Results of the competition, which attracted close to 1,000 entries, will be announced at an awards presentation ceremony on May 31 at SPH News Centre auditorium.

For the first time this year, the Lim Kim San Memorial Scholarship, named after the former executive chairman of SPH, will be extended to local undergraduates reading humanities. The scholarship is awarded to Singaporeans from low-income families studying languages in local universities. This year's scholarship recipients will be announced at a ceremony on July 19.

The Foundation has also been supporting other worthy causes such as the SPH Foundation Inter Primary School Tchoukball Championships in April and November, and the SPH Foundation National Para-Swimming Championship for the disabled in September.

Said Dr Lee: "Over the past 10 years, we have helped a variety of causes and served many needs. We are the trail blazers in a number of creative initiatives, such as the SPH Foundation Arts Fund that benefits both the arts and charity sectors, and the Special Projects to Understand Nature (SUN) Club visits to enable special needs students to get close to nature.

"SPH Foundation will continue to look out for opportunities to transform and improve lives in the next decade and beyond."

The SPH Foundation Arts Fund, which was launched in 2011, will treat over 1,000 beneficiaries from different charities to quality arts performances by six local arts groups this year. About 300 disabled and special needs students will also visit Singapore's parks with the help of National Parks Board, as part of the SUN Club programme throughout this year.

A registered charity and an Institution of Public Character, SPH Foundation was first set up as the Press Foundation of Singapore in January 2003 and renamed Singapore Press Holdings Foundation in May 2005. Since its inception, it has given more than $12 million to a wide variety of worthy causes in the areas of education, charity, arts and culture, nature and conservation, community and sports.

A full list of the Foundation's activities can be found on www.sphfoundation.org.sg (http://www.sphfoundation.org.sg/)

Loh
05-22-2013, 12:11 AM
By S Ramesh
POSTED: 21 May 2013 1:56 PM
UPDATED: 22 May 2013 12:31 AM

The Singapore Police Force will be piloting a new voluntary Victim Care Cadre Programme, where members of the public will be trained by police psychologists to provide care services to crime victims.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs, S Iswaran, at the Asian Conference of Criminal and Operations Psychology. (Photo: S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia)


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SINGAPORE: Singapore's police are piloting a new voluntary Victim Care Cadre Programme. Under it, volunteers will be trained by police psychologists to provide care services to victims.

Revealing this on Tuesday was Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran at the Asian Conference of Criminal and Operations Psychology, which is being held in Singapore.

Dr Gary Aumilar, executive director of Society for Police and Criminal Psychology, said: "If it's a real trauma, it's almost a lifetime experience. It's always going to be in their memory, something in the back of their minds.”

Police are paying attention to victims of crime, especially those of sexual or violent crimes who might be haunted by their traumatic experience.

The police are training a dedicated group of Victim Care Officers to provide direct moral support to help the victims return to normalcy.

The work of the Home Team's Behavioural Sciences Centre spans many areas. For example, the Police Psychological Services Division manages a team of 300 counsellors. These counsellors will swing into action during times of major incidents to provide the psychological support and also mitigate the impact of the incident. They will also provide care for the victims and families of the victims.

Mr Iswaran said this would then allow the police to focus their resources on investigations.

He said: "Many of our ground officers encounter stressful and even life-threatening situations in their course of duty. To help our officers execute their duties efficiently and effectively, we need to appreciate their differences and weave in the right programmes to shore up their mental resilience. This will help ensure that our officers are buffered against any adverse psychological effects encountered in the course of their work."

Some 300 local and foreign experts in criminal psychology are attending the three-day conference.

Meanwhile, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) said it has been approached by the Singapore police to come on board its new voluntary programme for crime victims.

The organisation said it is looking forward to being part of the team to help victims.

AWARE has been providing a helpline for sexual assault victims, called Sexual Assault Befrienders Service, since 2012.

The organisation hopes this new programme will provide further support to such victims.

Currently, AWARE said most of the victims it helps see them first before going to the police.

Corinna Lim, executive director of AWARE, said: "In future, it may be that when they go to the police station, then the police would also call AWARE and say, we have a victim here. And they need support.

"It is not just about a third party providing the support. I think it is also important that the whole investigation process is done in a way that understands and empathises with the victims."


- CNA/xq/ms


S. Iswaran

Loh
05-22-2013, 08:56 PM
Published on May 22, 2013
7:31 PM


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Avionics lecturer Wong Sin Kiat, 60,(standing) guides Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin as he tries out a flight simulator for a Boeing 737 at the opening ceremony of a new training complex at the Air Transport Training College on Wednesday afternoon. The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has certified the Air Transport Training College as a national continuing education and training centre. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN


By Toh Yong Chuan

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has certified an aerospace training school in Seletar as a national continuing education and training centre. The Air Transport Training College (ATTC), the training arm of the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers, is the fifth training school in Singapore to receive WDA's highest national grading for continuing education centres.

Previous certifications were given to industry training schools in the retail, tourism, food and beverage and childhood education sectors, said the WDA.

The certification was given to the school because it was able to provide high quality training, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin when he announced the new centre on Wednesday. He added that it is part of a broader Government effort to ensure that there are continuing education centres that train Singaporeans take up new jobs that require better skills.

WDA said that the new status of the school will make it eligible to tap on a $200,000 fund to boost its training courses, including sending its trainers for overseas stints. From July, the school will be starting a new diploma programme where N-level and Institute of Technical Education school leavers can be trained as apprentice aircraft maintenance technicians.

Loh
05-22-2013, 10:16 PM
Published on May 23, 2013
10:03 AM


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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers a keynote speech at the 19th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo, Thursday, May 23, 2013. Mr Lee has urged the world's two biggest powers, America and China, to take steps towards enhancing trust and preventing mishaps - as China's rise brings about significant change in the world's balance of power.



By Elgin Toh


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has urged the world's two biggest powers, America and China, to take steps towards enhancing trust and preventing mishaps - as China's rise brings about significant change in the world's balance of power.

This will involve the pair becoming more transparent and forming clearer rules of engagement in their relationship, as well as institutionalising exchanges with each other, he said.

In this vein, Mr Lee welcomed the announcement earlier this week that President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping would be meeting in California next month.

"Holding this retreat so early in their terms shows their desire to work together on common issues," he said.

Loh
05-22-2013, 10:40 PM
POSTED: 23 May 2013 2:16 AM


SINGAPORE: A Singaporean educator has been bestowed a Medal for Distinguished Service by Columbia University's Teachers College (TC) in the United States.

Professor Lee Sing Kong, director of the National Institute of Education (NIE) is the first Singaporean to receive this medal of honour, which is the highest from TC.

Professor Lee received the award at the College's Doctoral Hooding Ceremony at the Cathedral of St John in New York City.

Professor Lee is an alumnus of TC.

NIE said it has shared a long-standing relationship with TC in both research experience and academic resources.

It added that the two institutes will celebrate the inaugural cohort of 16 professionals from the NIE-TC Joint Master of Arts in Leadership and Educational Change (MALEC) programme at the end of this year.


- CNA/jc

Loh
05-23-2013, 12:28 AM
Published on May 23, 2013
11:35 AM


By Sandra Davie, Senior Education Correspondent


Singapore's newest medical school at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will be pioneering the use of plastinated bodies for medical education in Singapore.

These are real human bodies donated to science, preserved via the method of plastination, and will be used to teach anatomy. It will be ready for the first batch of 54 medical students this August.

The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, jointly set up by Imperial College London and NTU, had specially ordered the human bodies and various body parts from Germany, which were prepared to the school's specifications. With the use of plastinated bodies and body parts, traditionally preserved cadavers which are in short supply in Singapore, will no longer be needed by the school.

Plastination is the process of taking organic tissue - a human body in this case - and replacing the water in it with a liquid silicone polymer. The polymer hardens after the application of a catalyst, permanently preserving the body.

Loh
05-23-2013, 12:34 AM
Published on May 23, 2013
11:29 AM


By Joanna Lee

THREE 16-year-old students broke new ground for St Joseph's Institution International (SJII) this month by winning four Top in the World awards for last November's International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams.

Pham Minh Tue from Vietnam received the award for additional mathematics, while Singaporean Juan Ru Hoong won for international mathematics.

Joshua Fung from Malaysia won for additional mathematics and coordinated science, making him the first SJII student to win two Top in the World awards.

"It is a great honour and I am very, very pleased," said Joshua, who lives with his grandmother, whom he called "a solid rock of support". His father, a lawyer, and mother, a doctor, live in Malaysia. Joshua also thanked maths teacher Patrick Denousse, who taught all three award winners, for inspiring him

Loh
05-23-2013, 02:10 AM
Published on May 23, 2013


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Local singer Stefanie Sun. Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin are the most popular Singapore singers in social media world. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH



By Jan Lee

Singers Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin have been named Singapore's most popular musicians in the social media world.

They won Female and Male Singapore Musician respectively at the inaugural Social Star Awards, which its organisers call the "Oscars" of the social media world.

The Social Star Awards is a 24-hour online event recognising global stars in the social media world in fields such as music, movies, television, sports and games.

Since midnight yesterday, more than 60 awards have been announced. The winners were notified on social media platforms such as Twitter.

While Sun and Lin's wins were not too surprising, there were some rather unexpected results. For instance, Chelsea edged out Manchester United to bag both the 2013 United Kingdom Sports Team and Premier League Team.

So far, none of the winners or their spokesmen have acknowledged their wins.

But the fans have responded. Justin Bieber's win for 2013 Canada Musician has been retweeted by more than a hundred of his fans in congratulations.

Other winners such as Emma Watson (United Kingdom Actor) and Taylor Swift (United States Musician) have also had their wins retweeted and favourited, though to a lesser extent.

Chinese-language stars such as Jackie Chan and Ruby Lin were tweeted on their Weibo accounts to tell them of their wins for Chinese Actor and Taiwanese Actor, respectively.

The winners were decided by the activities of 1.7 billion Internet users around the world who use 11 major social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Sina and Weibo from China and VK from Russia.

The top awards will be presented at a three-hour ceremony at Marina Bay Sands tonight, which will be streamed live on YouTube from 9pm.

Loh
05-23-2013, 02:17 AM
Published on May 23, 2013

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Press conference on May 22 for the Social Star Awards at Marina Bay Sands on Thursday, May 23. American rockers Aerosmith and Korean pop sensation Psy will be opening and closing the Social Star Awards tonight at Marina Bay Sands. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


American rockers Aerosmith and Korean pop sensation Psy will be opening and closing the Social Star Awards tonight at Marina Bay Sands.

The two acts will anchor the inaugural awards ceremony, which aims to celebrate the best brands and personalities on social media.

The Social Star Awards - which is backed by the Singapore Tourism Board - has been dubbed the Oscars of the social media world by the organisers Starcount, a Singapore-based firm which tracks the activities of 1.7 billion Internet users on the world's top 11 social media sites.

Hollywood stars Jessica Alba and Jeremy Piven will host the three-hour show at MBS tonight, which will be streamed live on YouTube from 9pm.

Also performing tonight will be Canadian pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen, R&B crooner CeeLo Green, Sky Blu of electro pop duo LMFAO, and Asian girl group Blush.

The top awards to be given out tonight are, in chronological order: Music Solo Artist, Sports Person, Music Group, Game, Film, Sports Team, Brand, TV Star, Social Media Show, Actor and Almighty, which is given to the most popular celebrity or brand across all countries and categories.

Tomorrow, Psy, Green, Jepsen and Blush will stage a concert at Gardens by the Bay; on Saturday, Aerosmith will stage a full concert at the same venue.

This is tonight's programme:

9pm: The show opens
9.05pm: Music Solo Artist award is presented
9.09pm: Aerosmith perform
9.23pm: Sports Person award is presented
9.30pm: Music Group award is presented
9.33pm: Carly Rae Jepsen performs
9.42pm: Game award is presented
9.43pm: Wrecking Crew (dance group from Japan) performs
9.53pm: Film award is presented
9.55pm: Asian girl band Blush perform
9.58pm: Sports Team award is presented
10.05pm: Brand award is presented
10.08pm: Psy performs
10.13pm: TV Star award is presented
10.18pm: Sky Blu performs
10.22pm: Social Media Show award is presented
10.25pm: American R&B singer Eric Benet performs
10.35pm: CeeLo Green performs
10.40pm: Actor award is presented
10.44pm: Almighty award is presented
10.50pm: Psy performs again, closing the show

Loh
05-26-2013, 08:44 PM
Movies



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Singaporean director Anthony Chen, Camera d'Or award winner for the film Ilo Ilo, poses during a photocall after the closing ceremony of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 26, 2013. Photo: Reuters SOURCE:Reuters

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Singaporean director Anthony Chen poses with the Camera d'Or award for his film Ilo Ilo on stage during the closing ceremony of the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 26, 2013. Photo: Reuters SOURCE:Reuters

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Singaporean director and jury member Agnes Varda (left) and jury member and actress Zhang Ziyi present Anthony Chen the Camera d'Or award for his film Ilo Ilo during the closing ceremony of the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 26, 2013. Photo: AP SOURCE:AP

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Singaporean director Anthony Chen holds the Camera d'Or award for his film Ilo Ilo on stage with actress Zhang Ziyi and director Agnes Varda, president of the Camera d'Or Jury, at the closing ceremony of the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 26, 2013. Photo: Reuters SOURCE:Reuters



By Genevieve Sarah Loh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/genevieve-sarah-loh)

46 min 40 sec ago

SINGAPORE — Ilo Ilo has become the first Singaporean feature film to win at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, with director Anthony Chen taking home the coveted Camera d’Or prize for best feature film debut yesterday evening (this morning, Singapore time).

“It is a complete surprise and I’m still trying to take it in,” Mr Chen told TODAY from Cannes, the festival’s closing ceremony.

“This is not just an honour for me but for Singapore, since it is the first time a feature from Singapore has been awarded at Cannes.”

Some 18 films from the Official Selection, Director’s Fortnight and International Critics’ Week sections were eligible for the Camera d’Or at this year’s 66th Cannes Film Festival.

Mr Chen’s film was screened in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar programme, which was put together by the French Film Directors Association and is considered one of the world’s best showcases of promising new film-making talents.

The premier of Ilo Ilo was nearly marred by technical difficulties, including a power outage and the English and French subtitles disappearing and reappearing on the screen.
Despite the hiccups, the audiences not only stayed until the end, but they gave Mr Chen and his cast a 15-minute standing ovation.

“What really heartens me is that a story about an ordinary family in Singapore can touch the hearts of audiences miles away,” said Mr Chen.

He added: “The whole week has been filled with such wonderful experiences that it’s been surreal. It’s a dream for a first film to get this much support and encouragement!”

Ilo Ilo — which will be screened locally in August, with Golden Village having acquired the distribution rights — explores the relationship between a young boy and his family’s new Filipino maid during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The cast, which includes veteran Singaporean TV actor Chen Tianwen, Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann and award-winning Filipino actress Angeli Bayani, have received rave reviews in various international publications.

“This is a big step for Singapore film in general, one that will associate Singapore films with quality in the eyes of international audiences, media, investors and critics,” producer Yuni Hadi told TODAY.

“What we are excited about is showing our film back home later this year because, at the end of the day, Singapore films record the stories of Singaporeans.”

Ilo Ilo and Mr Chen also received a congratulatory note from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook this morning: “Congrats to Anthony! You are a great encouragement to our budding directors!”

Mr Chen became the first Singaporean film-maker to be awarded in Cannes in 2007, when his short film Ah Ma (Grandma) won a Special Mention in the Palme d’Or for Short Films competition.

Loh
05-26-2013, 08:50 PM
Women here can expect to live to 85 years old, and men to 80: WHO



Published on May 27, 2013
7:21 AM


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Elderly men react during a game of checkers at the void deck of Block 179 Toa Payoh Central on 26 May, 2013. Singapore has the fourth-best life expectancy rate in the world, latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures reveal. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG


By Salma Khalik Senior Health Correspondent


SINGAPORE has the fourth-best life expectancy rate in the world, latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures reveal.

Average life expectancy at birth stood at 82 years in 2011, making it a joint fourth with Italy.

Women here can expect to live to 85 and men to the age of 80.

The top three countries were Japan - which has a female life expectancy of 86 and a male life expectancy of 82 - Switzerland and San Marino.

Loh
05-26-2013, 08:57 PM
He is said to be first Singaporean to lead diocese abroad



Published on May 27, 2013
7:20 AM


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-- PHOTOS: BISHOP RAPHAEL SAMUEL


By Derrick Ho


IN WHAT is believed to be a historic first, a Singaporean missionary has been installed as head of the Anglican Church in the South American nation of Bolivia.

At a ceremony held recently, Archdeacon Raphael Samuel was consecrated as the Diocesan Bishop of Bolivia.

This makes him the first Asian missionary to take a seat among the highest echelons of leadership in the Spanish-speaking Anglican world. He is also believed to be the first Singaporean to head a diocese outside of Singapore.

During the over two-hour-long service held at a church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia's most populous city, Bishop Samuel was presented with a ring, a staff, vestments and a stole - symbols of the office of a bishop.


Background story

COMMITMENT AND HEART OF A SERVANT

Bishop Samuel's humility, heart of a servant and selfless commitment to the Bolivian church has commanded a certain measure of trust and respect.

- Singapore's Bishop Rennis Ponniah on Bishop Raphael Samuel, being consecrated through a declaration by the presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone of Americas, the Right Reverend Hector Zavala of Chile, in Santa Cruz city, Bolivia, on May 12

Loh
05-26-2013, 09:15 PM
By Woo Sian Boon (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/woo-sian-boon)


SINGAPORE — Some 30,000 marine specimens have been collected through surveys conducted on mudflats, seabeds and reef habitats since 2010, as part of a five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey to take stock of Singapore’s marine ecosystem.

The survey has so far recorded more than 80 new marine species — 14 of which, such as the “Lipstick” sea anemone, have been identified as possibly new to science. The survey has also rediscovered about 10 species in Singapore.

Last week, the National Parks Board (NParks) and the National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute began their second marine biodiversity expedition to survey reef habitats and the seabed in the Singapore Strait and southern islands of Singapore in the third leg of the entire survey.

The first marine expedition, held in October last year, surveyed the Johor Straits.

Loh
05-26-2013, 09:45 PM
By Sharon See (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/action/news/storiesby/storiesby/678458/storiesby.do?sortBy=latest&bylineId=8518&pageNum=0)
POSTED: 26 May 2013 10:56 PM


SINGAPORE: A young Singaporean's innovation will soon be turned into reality, thanks to a Chinese businessman.

Not only did he see the potential in her product, her entrepreneurial spirit also reminded him of his younger days.

Entrepreneur Serene Tan’s creation is an “intelligent walking frame”.

The invention, called GlydeSafe, was a school project which Ms Tan continued to refine after she left polytechnic.

The conventional walking frame has become a staple in many nursing homes, helping those with difficulty walking to move around. But the need to lift the frame means that each step is heavier than the last.

Ms Tan, a first-year business undergraduate at National University of Singapore, said attaching a set of wheels to the frame might be the solution.

She said: “All that is needed is a simple glide movement so the user can press on it as and when he or she needs to stop, so the suction acts as a support whenever he or she is going to advance another step.”

Ms Tan hit a wall when she tried to commercialise the product. She could not find a manufacturer in Singapore who could mass-produce it at a low cost.

She then found help through Youth Business Singapore, a network that links successful businessmen with young entrepreneurs.

Ms Tan’s mentor, Jie Yebing, runs a medical technology company in China, which has an expertise in making wheels.

Ms Tan said: “He mentored me in the technicality of the wheel, like how it was able to be fully rotational and how the back wheels can be only single directional, so this really helped me a lot in product development. I'm new to this arena, so he really helped me with giving me strategies by how I could work with distributors, and how I could work with the mass public, so both the product and selling strategy were very useful for me.”

Mr Jie is a volunteer mentor and his company has so far paid for all development costs.

Mr Jie, the chairman of Fujian Secure Medical Technology, said: “This product can help people who have difficulty moving. At the same time, I am impressed by her entrepreneurial spirit, and that's one of my motivations. When I was her age, I was also a budding entrepreneur, so I know how challenging it is. So if I can help her, I think she will be able to grow faster.”

For a start, 25 sets of GlydeSafe have been donated to Peacehaven Nursing Home, and Ms Tan is now looking for business opportunities with Singapore distributors.

Mr Jie also plans to launch GlydeSafe in China later this year.


- CNA/xq


The walking frame GlydeSafe, which was created by undergraduate Serene Tan

Loh
05-27-2013, 02:20 AM
Published on May 27, 2013
11:34 AM



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Students during a physical education class at Pathlight School. A new pilot programme for primary and secondary school physical education lessons was launched on Monday by the Singapore Sports Council. Known as the Character and Leadership through Sport framework, the programme aims to teach values such as graciousness through games and role-playing during physical eduation lessons. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


By Priscilla Kham

A new pilot programme for primary and secondary school physical education lessons was launched on Monday by the Singapore Sports Council. Known as the Character and Leadership through Sport framework, the programme aims to teach values such as graciousness through games and role-playing during physical education lessons.

From June last year, more than 450 teachers and students have taken part in the programme, in schools like Admiralty Primary and Evergreen Secondary. It is expected to be carried out in 120 more schools in the next two years.

The framework is part of the 'Game for Life' toolkit launched by the council on Monday at the inaugural leadership symposium at the Singapore Management University, where Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah was the guest of honour.

The toolkit includes a book called 'Game for Life: 25 Journeys', which chronicles the journey of 25 people whose lives have been changed through sports. Notable names include Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Loh
05-27-2013, 02:40 AM
Singaporeans’ love of steamboats is fuelling the growth of the scene, which has at least six new brands



Published on May 26, 2013
7:18 AM

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Fans of Shabu Sai's steamboat (above) now have a second outlet to check out its fare. -- PHOTO: SHABU SAI

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Salmon Fish Village owner Sham Hei (above) with the restaurant’s custom-made boat-shaped steamboat and sliced Norwegian salmon. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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Popular Thai steamboat chain MK Restaurants returns to Singapore with its roast meats (above) and wide variety of suki (steamboat) ingredients next month. -- PHOTO: MK RESTAURANTS


By Eunice Quek


The hotpot scene in Singapore is getting more steamy, with new restaurants popping up like the constant wave of new ramen shops.

Next month, popular Thai steamboat chain MK Restaurants opens in Singapore with an outlet at 313@Somerset, and a second will open at the end of this year.

The original MK menu from Thailand will feature here too, and a spokesman for the company notes that it has built a "staggering pool of Singaporean fans" over the years.

MK Restaurants opened here in 2003 at Parkway Parade and the Singapore Post Centre with a local franchisee that eventually had to "shift its focus back to its core business", says the MK spokesman.

Loh
05-27-2013, 03:03 AM
Published on May 24, 2013
7:24 PM



By Melissa Kok

The Singapore Social Concerts kicked off at 7.15pm on Friday with Asian girl band Blush blasting their girl power anthem, Miss Out.

Dressed in skin-tight neon pink and yellow outfits, they were, in fact, hard to miss as they performed at the Meadows in Gardens by the Bay to an audience that looked to be mostly in their teens and 20s.

The packed crowd screamed as the babelicious quintet executed their sexually charged dance moves in mini skirts along with their electro-pop tunes.

Before the concert started, the queue for parking spots looked to be about 1km long and the line of people filing into the venue stretched to hundreds of metres long.


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South Korean singer and rapper Psy performs during the Singapore Social Concerts held at Gardens by the Bay, on May 24, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

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The crowd cheers enthusiastically at the Singapore Social Concerts at the Meadows in Gardens by the Bay, on May 24, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN


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Asian girl band Blush performs at the Singapore Social Concerts at the Meadows in Gardens by the Bay, on May 24, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Loh
05-27-2013, 09:23 PM
Published on May 27, 2013
11:37 AM





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Zebra crab. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: ZAO BAO

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14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- ST PHOTO: GRACE CHUA


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Scientists gather in a temporary laboratory in Outward Bounds Singapore on Pulau Ubin to study specimens brought in from the field trips and dredging. Researchers have identified the "Lipstick" sea anemone in the mudflats of Pulau Ubin. Distinguishable by its distinctive red mouth, it is possibly a completely new species to be discovered in the world. Another species that may not have been recorded anywhere else in the world before, is the orange-clawed mangrove crab, found in coastal mangroves. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN



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Acting Minister for Manpower and Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin (left), picks up a Knobbly Sea Star while interacting with volunteers and scientists at the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

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Zee (An undetermined Mangrove Goby). 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

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Psolus sp. (Sea cucumber). 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

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Mensamaria intercedens (Sea cucumber). 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NPARKS

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Berthelinia sp. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Elysia slug. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Lipstick anemone. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Parasesarma. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Undescribed copepo. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Sacoglossa. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Labuanium politum. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS

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Lingula anatina. 14 species have been identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. -- PHOTO: NUS



By Fabian Koh

Researchers have identified the "Lipstick" sea anemone in the mudflats of Pulau Ubin. Distinguishable by its distinctive red mouth, it is possibly a completely new species to be discovered in the world. Another species that may not have been recorded anywhere else in the world before, is the orange-clawed mangrove crab, found in coastal mangroves.

The two are part of 14 species identified as possibly new to science, in the five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) conducted by NParks and the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute. Launched in 2010, it has collected some 30,000 specimens through surveys in mudflats, seabeds and reef habitats. Through this, 10 species have also been rediscovered, such as a species of large coastal catfish last seen in Singapore waters over 100 years ago.

Last Tuesday, a second marine biodiversity expedition began. The three-week expedition aims to carry out a biodiversity survey of marine life in the "Singapore Deeps" - waters exceeding 80 to 100 metres in depth - a habitat that is mostly unexplored. Local scientists will be aided by 25 internationally renowned scientists from 10 countries.

Mr Leong Chee Chiew, deputy chief executive of NParks said: "The survey reminds us of the significant progress we have made in conserving our natural heritage. It is very important that we continue working with the community to nurture healthy ecosystems and promote the appreciation of our rich biodiversity to future generations of Singaporeans."

Loh
05-27-2013, 09:44 PM
Published on May 27, 2013

10:49 PM



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The Housing Board's waterfront project, My Waterway@Punggol, bagged a gold award at a global award ceremony in Taiwan earlier today. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


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The Jewel Bridge during sunset overlooking the Punggol Reservoir. The Housing Board's waterfront project, My Waterway@Punggol, bagged a gold award at a global award ceremony in Taiwan earlier today. --ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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Cyclists along My Waterway@Punggol near the Jewel Bridge. The Housing Board's waterfront project, My Waterway@Punggol, bagged a gold award at a global award ceremony in Taiwan earlier today. --ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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Families walk towards My Waterway@Punggol near the Kelong bridge. The Housing Board's waterfront project, My Waterway@Punggol, bagged a gold award at a global award ceremony in Taiwan earlier today. --ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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Cyclists and joggers along My Waterway@Punggol in the direction towards Jewel Bridge. The Housing Board's waterfront project, My Waterway@Punggol, bagged a gold award at a global award ceremony in Taiwan earlier today. --ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI




By Charissa Yong


The Housing Board's waterfront project, My Waterway@Punggol, bagged a gold award at a global award ceremony in Taiwan earlier today.

The Housing Board (HDB) is the only public agency this year to clinch the global Prix d'Excellence award. The award is given out by the International Real Estate Federation, which has chapters in over 60 countries.

The 4.2km landscaped waterway was evaluated on its architecture and design, development and construction, benefit to the community and environmental impact. It competed under the public infrastructures and amenities category.

Said HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean: "My Waterway@Punggol is a testament of HDB's commitment to create vibrant and sustainable towns, housing active and cohesive communities."

Loh
05-27-2013, 09:52 PM
Published on May 27, 2013
12:39 PM

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A traveller walking past the self-service check-in kiosks at Changi Airport on Dec 12 2011. Changi Airport handled 4.24 million passengers last month, an increase of 0.8 per cent over the same period in 2012. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NURIA LING



By Melissa Lin


Changi Airport handled 4.24 million passengers last month, an increase of 0.8 per cent over the same period in 2012.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) said traffic was slightly impacted by the Good Friday holiday falling in March this year instead of in April, which was the case last year. This boosted traffic that month.

Aircraft movements also grew by 4.3 per cent to 27,500 flights, while cargo handled fell by 1.8 per cent to 145,600 tonnes compared to last April. In the first four months of this year, Changi handled 17.3 million passengers - an increase of 4.8 per cent over the same period last year.

Last month, Golden Myanmar Airlines started operating daily services connecting Singapore via Yangon to Mandalay, a new city link for Changi Airport. Sichuan Airlines also commenced twice-weekly services connecting Singapore to Nanning, China. CAG said the number of passenger movements in the coming months may be volatile.The near-term outlook for aviation remains cloudy due to high fuel prices, depressing cargo volumes and weak economic prospects for the global economy, it added.

Loh
05-27-2013, 10:00 PM
Published on May 27, 2013
11:41 AM

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President of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Professor Bertil Andersson received the Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the Hanyang University in South Korea at their Seoul campus on Monday morning. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND FOO



By Rachel Tan


President of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Professor Bertil Andersson received the Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the Hanyang University in South Korea at their Seoul campus on Monday morning.

The award from the Korean university recognises his research in biochemistry, his commitment to education and his contributions in forming closer relations between the two educational institutions.

Known for his work specifically in plant biochemistry, the professor is the author of more than 300 papers covering photosynthesis research and biological membranes, among others.

Prof Andersson now focuses his research on sustainability, how plants cope with light and heat stress and the process of photosynthesis under extreme conditions. This research will build on the concept of an artificial leaf that can be used as an inexpensive source of solar energy.

Loh
05-28-2013, 09:11 PM
Published on May 28, 2013
6:25 PM

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The National University of Singapore (Suzhou) Research Institute. The National University of Singapore (NUS) opened its first overseas research institute in Suzhou, China, on Wednesday. -- FILE PHOTO: NUS


By Debbie Lee


The National University of Singapore (NUS) will open its first overseas research institute in Suzhou, China, on Wednesday.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat will attend the opening ceremony of the NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute, or NUSRI, which was officially established three years ago.

Sited at the Suzhou Industrial Park, NUSRI will enable China to tap on Singapore's research expertise in areas such as biomedical science and environment technology.

The 21,000 sqm facility will also serve as a base for technology start-ups from NUS to grow in China. In addition, it will provide training programmes for Chinese officials in fields such as IP management and entrepreneurship. Students from NUS and its partner universities in China are eligible for internships or research stints there.

Loh
05-28-2013, 09:16 PM
Published on May 29, 2013
7:29 AM

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Plainclothes police officers speaking to a group of Malaysians who gathered at Merlion Park on 11 May 2013 to protest against the Malaysian election outcome. Foreigners who break the law in Singapore should be prepared to face the consequences, said the Ministry of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Ministry. -- LIANHE ZABAO PHOTO



Foreigners who break the law in Singapore should be prepared to face the consequences, said the Ministry of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

This includes having their visas or work passes revoked.

The two ministries were responding to media queries last night about the Malaysians who were demonstrating at Merlion Park on May 8 and 11, following the Malaysian general election earlier this month.

The two ministries said in a joint statement that the Government takes a strong stand against "the importation of foreign issues and politics into Singapore.

Loh
05-28-2013, 09:29 PM
Published on May 28, 2013
4:58 PM


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The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) awarded the MyTransport.sg mobile application as one of six category winners in its Grow with Public Transport International Award. -- SCREENGRAB: MYTRANSPORT.SG



By Royston Sim

The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) awarded the MyTransport.sg mobile application as one of six category winners in its Grow with Public Transport International Award. It announced this at the opening ceremony of the 60th UITP World Congress & Exhibition held in Geneva from May 26 to May 30.

The UITP awards recognise public transport stakeholders that have shown innovation in their efforts to boost the quality and quantity of public transport and thereby promoting its growth and usage.

The Land Transport Authority's MyTransport.sg application provides real-time updates to commuters, motorists and cyclists. It took the UITP award in the "Integrated Mobility" category. The awards attracted more than 240 applications from over 40 countries.

Said LTA chief executive Chew Hock Yong: "MyTransport.SG is the product of co-creation by the public and LTA, with LTA seeking ideas from public on what is useful to them and encouraging third- party developers to contribute innovative mobile applications by leveraging on the transport data that we share with them."

Loh
05-28-2013, 09:39 PM
Published on May 28, 2013
4:37 PM


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The Old Supreme Court is pictured in front of the current Supreme Court. A third law school that will cater to individuals interested in community law will be set up in Singapore, following recommendations from a committee formed to look into the supply of lawyers here. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TERENCE TAN


By Jalelah Abu Baker


A third law school that will cater to individuals interested in community law will be set up in Singapore, following recommendations from a committee formed to look into the supply of lawyers here.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam announced on Tuesday afternoon at a press conference that the school will focus on training those interested in practising family and criminal law to meet a shortage in the supply for such lawyers. The school will offer a part-time degree course and will take in mostly mature students, with limited spaces for GCE A-level graduates. It will take in 75 students for a start.

Mr Shanmugam said that the Ministry of Law is working with the Ministry of Education to find a suitable host institution, and has not decided on a timeline. The other two law schools in Singapore are hosted in the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University.

The new school was among six recommendations made by the 4th Committee on the Supply of Lawyers chaired by Justice V. K. Rajah. The other recommendations include increasing the intake of law students into the Singapore Management University from 120 to 180 over three years, regularly reviewing the list of approved overseas law schools, and improving work conditions to address the attrition in the legal industry here.

Loh
05-29-2013, 09:41 PM
Published on May 29, 2013
1:36 PM


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School Of The Arts Singapore (SOTA). Graduating O-level students interested in studying film now have another option open to them. Starting next year, the School of the Arts will be offering film as an international baccalaureate subject under the direct school admission -junior colleges exercise. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN



By Amelia Teng

Graduating O-level students interested in studying film now have another option open to them. Starting next year, the School of the Arts will be offering film as an international baccalaureate subject under the direct school admission -junior colleges exercise.

Currently, the school only allows its own students in its six-year programme to take film as a subject in their last two years. It has two cohorts of seven students each. Sota is the first national pre-tertiary institution to offer film in its diploma programme.

Application opened last week and interested students should submit their portfolios to the school by July 15.

Loh
05-29-2013, 10:48 PM
POSTED: 30 May 2013 11:22 AM

SINGAPORE: The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has launched 8,000 flats for sale under the joint Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise.

Three new housing measures to help first-timers, second-timers, divorcees, and the elderly will also take effect from this sales exercise.

To help more first-timers buy a flat earlier, HDB will extend the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) to married first-timers who are expecting a child.

For second-timers who are right-sizing, HDB will double the quota of two-room and three-room BTO flats for second-timers in non-mature estates from 15 per cent to 30 per cent.

Out of the 30 per cent quota, five per cent will be set aside for second-timer applicants who are divorced or widowed with children below 16 years old under the Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/Widowed Parents), also known as ASSIST.

HDB will reserve 50 per cent of the studio apartment (SA) supply in BTO and SBF exercises for eligible elderly applicants under the Studio Apartment Priority Scheme (SAPS). This will provide greater assurance of success for elderly who want to right-size to an SA near their current flat or private property, or near their married children.

HDB will offer 4,900 BTO flats over eight projects in five non-mature towns, namely Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong West, Sembawang, and Woodlands. The projects are EastBrook @ Canberra, EastWave @ Canberra, Golden Mint, Hougang Crimson, Keat Hong Crest, Spring Haven @ Jurong, and Woodlands Pasture I & II.

The Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS) for parents and married children to apply jointly for flats in the same BTO project will be available to those applying for flats at EastBrook @ Canberra and Spring Haven @ Jurong. 50 per cent of the SAs in Golden Mint will be set aside for eligible elderly flat applicants under the SAPS.

HDB will offer another 3,100 balance flats in 11 non-mature and 15 mature towns/estates under the SBF Exercise. The non-mature towns are Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang, Woodlands, and Yishun.

The mature towns are Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Bukit Timah, Central, Clementi, Geylang, Kallang Whampoa, Marine Parade, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, and Toa Payoh.

Applications for new flats launched in the May 2013 BTO and SBF Exercises can be submitted online from May 30 to June 5. Applicants can apply for only one flat type/category in one town under either the BTO or SBF Exercise.

In the next BTO launch in July 2013, HDB will offer about 3,800 BTO flats in Bukit Merah, Sengkang, and Yishun.


- CNA/ac



HDB flats (Photo: Hester Tan, channelnewsasia.com)

Loh
05-29-2013, 11:26 PM
By Patwant Singh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/action/news/storiesby/storiesby/678458/storiesby.do?sortBy=latest&bylineId=8446&pageNum=0) and Sok Hwee (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/action/news/storiesby/storiesby/678458/storiesby.do?sortBy=latest&bylineId=7332&pageNum=0)POSTED: 29 May 2013 2:39 PM


The 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore will be held from 5 to 16 June. The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) said the number and type of sports will be finalised at a later date.



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SINGAPORE: Come mid-2015, expect plenty of sporting action in Singapore.

That's when the 2015 South-East Asia Games will take place - from the 5th to the 16th of June.

The Singapore Sports Council said it picked the dates for several reasons - one of which is the mid-year school holidays.

The last two times that Singapore hosted the SEA Games - in 1983 and 1993 - it was also in the middle of the year.

According to the Singapore Sports Council, the favourable weather in June and the school holidays will make it easier for families and students to be part of the event.

The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) said the number and type of sports will be finalised at a later date.

SSC added that football will start its preliminary rounds a few days before the opening ceremony on 5 June 2015.

Mr Lim Teck Yim, CEO of Singapore Sports Council, said: "How can we get families to think about vacations in Singapore during the school holidays through working with different agencies and different parties to create staycation packages? So the SEA Games becomes more than the Games."

The dates for 2015 will also mean that the Games will end before the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Instead of an athletes' village, organisers are considering housing the athletes in hotels within the city to give them easier access to the main venue, the Singapore Sports Hub.

All in, some 7,000 athletes and officials will be in Singapore for the 12 days of competition and festivities.

And the Singapore Sports Council is optimistic that it will stay within budget.

Mr Lim said: "One of the strategies that we are trying to use to manage our budget is to come out with our procurement early enough so that if we need to look for alternatives which are more cost effective, we will be able to do so and have time to do so."

Due to the unique branding of the SEA Games, organisers feel that the corporate sector in Singapore too can play a bigger role.

Local businesses can contribute through partnerships and sponsorships to the success of the Games.

Meanwhile, response has been mixed over having the 2015 SEA Games during the June school holidays.

Some observers say doing so would enable more children to be involved in related activities, but others are concerned parents may already have other plans during this period.

But they believe the Games will help to get even more Singaporeans excited about sports, and on the whole stimulate the economy.

One sports equipment store has 31 branches islandwide.

It said sales have been brisk in the past whenever a major sports event is in town.

The outlet is planning to have in-store promotions once the dates draw near.

Teddy Lin Zhen Jiang, Deputy CEO of SportsLink, said he expected to see many Singaporeans making their plans for holidays. But he hopes Singaporeans will support their own country and make adjustments to their travelling plans.

Vincent Ng, founder of Wufang Singapore and former wushu athlete, said he hopes the Games will inspire more Singaporeans to take up sports.


- CNA/xq/de



Artist's impression of Singapore Sports Hub (photo: Singapore Sports Council). The 2015 SEA Games in Singapore will be centred at the Sports Hub.

Loh
05-30-2013, 09:32 PM
POSTED: 30 May 2013 5:50 PM

The Marina Bay Station, which won the Asia Pacific Level for the Design Innovation category, received recognition for its unique station design that blends with its surroundings.


SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has won another international award for the Circle Line Marina Bay Station design.

The UITP "Grow with Public Transport" award was announced at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) World Congress & Exhibition in Geneva this week.

The Marina Bay Station is the winner at the Asia Pacific Level for the Design Innovation category. The station received recognition for its unique station design that blends with its surroundings.

This is LTA's second win at the UITP award.

Its mobile application "MyTransport.SG - Your One-Stop Integrated Transport Companion" edged out two other finalists from Germany (Daimler AG) and the United Kingdom (Transport for London) to win the Integrated Mobility Innovation category.



- CNA/fa


The Marina Bay station received recognition for its unique station design that blends with its surroundings for the Design Innovation category. (Photo: Land Transport Authority

Loh
05-30-2013, 09:43 PM
By Christopher Toh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/christopher-toh)

6 hours 8 min ago

SINGAPORE — After 11 months of work, Rediffusion, the once-popular radio broadcaster now revamped as a digital-only service, made its official comeback yesterday.

The announcement culminates a roller-coaster year for the station, a staple for many families in the ’70s and ’80s, during which it closed down, was bought over and brought back to life.

At a press conference, Rediffusion Chairperson and CEO Eva Chang Mei Hsiang said there will be four main programmes delivered via its website and a mobile device app: An Internet radio programme called Radioffusion, an educational television channel called Teleffusion, a podcast channel called Rediffusion On Air featuring talk shows, interviews and playlists, and a mobile device app, Rediffusion Classic, that features Mandarin and Chinese dialect programmes.

Rediffusion, which shut down in April last year due to financial woes, was bought over by Ms Chang for an undisclosed sum, with financial backing from food tycoon Sam Goi, also known as the Popiah King.

Ms Chang, who was a Rediffusion DJ from 1985 to 1991, said the relaunch was the result of 11 months of brainstorming.

“All the things we want to do is quite new (for Rediffusion),” she said. “I tried to find the right business model … I studied other programmes every day. I also had to find a good team — the right people to do the right things.”

She also said that she faced a lot of pressure and had to deal with rumours about her financial situation as she kept postponing the relaunch. “There was a bit of a rush to push everything together, but there’s no point launching unless everything is ready.”

One of the people who helped her was Mr Dick Lee, who is Rediffusion’s Creative Director. “I never thought that I would be back in Rediffusion, where I started,” he said, relating how he joined a talent contest organised by Rediffusion 40 years ago. “The judge at the contest asked me to come back as a guest performer instead … and that’s how my career took off.”

Mr Lee said that it was Ms Chang’s enthusiasm to revive the brand that struck him.

“When she explained what she wanted … to revive Rediffusion in such a way, it blew my mind,” he said. “My job is to make sure it looks great and looks fresh.” CHRISTOPHER TOH


Rediffusion returns online



By Han Wei Chou (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/han-wei-chou) -

15 hours 16 min ago


SINGAPORE — Singapore cable radio broadcaster Rediffusion, which fell silent on April 30 last year amidst financial difficulties, was officially re-launched today (May 30).

The revamped Rediffusion, now a digital service, will deliver both new content as well as content from its archives to audiences via its website and mobile device app.

Former radio deejay Eva Chang, who had acquired the rights to the Rediffusion brand in Singapore, along with some of its assets last year, now heads the company as its Chief Executive and chairman, with veteran Singapore singer Dick Lee as its creative director.

Ms Chang, who also runs a chain of language schools, described the re-launch as “a big day” for Rediffusion.

“The past 11 months have been very difficult journey, and a roller-coaster ride,” she said, during the re-launch event.

“I hope Rediffusion can become a media outlet that carries the voice of everyday Singaporeans, and is a part of their lives.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
06-02-2013, 09:26 PM
Published on Jun 02, 2013
7:33 PM


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Singapore is supporting a call for claimant states to sign an agreement that forbids the first use of force in the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea, revealed Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at the closing session of the Shangri-La Dialogue on Sunday, June 2, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG


By Jermyn Chow

SINGAPORE is supporting a call for claimant states to sign an agreement that forbids the first use of force in the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen revealed this at the closing session of the Shangri-La Dialogue on Sunday, making him the first Asean defence minister to publicly back such a proposal.

This came on the back of Vietnamese Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh's suggestion at the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) on May 7 that nations in the 10-member Asean grouping should consider adopting the "no first use of force" agreement.

Addressing top defence officials from the region, Europe and the United States, Dr Ng said this was one "practical way" in which Asean countries and its dialogue partners can settle disputes peacefully.

Loh
06-02-2013, 09:40 PM
TODAY


Defence Minister Ng calls it ‘practical’ way to settle disputes peacefully


By Amir Hussain (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amir-hussain)
6 hours 24 min ago

SINGAPORE — With rising nationalism in Asia and as tensions run high over the recent shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard in the South China Sea, where there are various competing territorial claims, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday that mechanisms to prevent or mitigate the escalation of tensions need to be established quickly.

And one “practical way” to the peaceful settlement of disputes is Vietnam’s suggestion at the 7th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) last month for claimant states to enter into a “no first use of force” agreement, said Dr Ng as he laid out Singapore’s support for the idea.

He also noted Brunei’s proposal, raised at the same meeting, for the setting up of “hotlines to quickly defuse tensions at sea”.

“We welcome these ideas, and encourage regional militaries to see what more can be done on this front — for instance, increased information sharing, especially between regional navies, on their Standard Operating Procedures in the event of incidents at sea,” Dr Ng said.

He was speaking at the 12th Shangri-La Dialogue’s final plenary session titled Advancing Defence Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

Dr Ng also noted the importance of economic and social cooperation to regional security. Increasing security cooperation, while needed, cannot be the predominant focus of cooperative efforts, he said.

Existing regional and global networks play a “crucial role to help balance rising nationalism and keep, if not expand, our global common space”, he noted.

“While we must have security cooperation, we need to premise our terms of engagement on areas of common interests in vital economic and social domains,” Dr Ng said, as he cited Singapore’s push for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — comprising ASEAN’s 10 member states and its six Free Trade Agreement partners — and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Socio-cultural exchanges such as those that take place under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, must be enhanced to provide opportunities for stronger ties to be forged between countries,” he said.

He also called for practical cooperation, especially between militaries, to be stepped up and for defence communities to effectively tackle common security threats, “which are increasingly non-traditional in scope and transnational in reach”.

Dr Ng sketched out these frameworks for cooperation against a backdrop of rising nationalism within individual countries that could create “win-lose constructs”.

He noted that the sustained economic progress of many Asian nations have bolstered their confidence and provided the means to modernise their economies and militaries.

“The growing confidence and resulting assertiveness of Asian countries to project both soft and hard power is an inevitable consequence of their growth and is of itself not a win-lose formulation,” he added.

Speaking at the same plenary session, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh said he shared “concerns about the regional situation”.

He said: “Our region has not enjoyed absolute stability, not to mention the durable architecture stability.

“The increase of military engagement and the competition for influence of nations are driving the region to new challenges, of which the arms race is one example.”

He called on all parties in the South China Sea “to respect and protect the fishermen; absolutely avoid the use of force against the fishermen by all means, including military and non-military means”.

Loh
06-03-2013, 12:10 AM
Published on Jun 03, 2013
8:22 AM


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FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong was appointed deputy chairman of Fifa’s disciplinary committee. -- TNP FILE PHOTO


By Sanjay Nair

Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Lim Kia Tong has become the first Singaporean to assume a leadership role on a Fifa committee. The lawyer was appointed deputy chairman of the disciplinary committee at world football's governing body during its congress in Mauritius last Friday.

Mr Lim, 59, who has been a member of the 20-man committee since 2011, takes over from Venezuela's Rafael Esquivel.

He told The Straits Times last night: "I was extremely honoured and humbled when I learnt that I had been put up for a position on such a busy and important committee in world football. To have been endorsed by the majority of the member associations gives me a lot of pride."

Mr Lim, who was selected internally to stand as the deputy chairman, was voted in en-bloc by the 208 Fifa member associations along with the rest of the new committee on a four-year term.

Loh
06-03-2013, 01:07 AM
Published on Jun 03, 2013
1:31 PM


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Ms Indranee Rajah sits down with pupils of Admiralty Primary School to discuss their roles in the game of slap ball. Students today need to have critical and inventive thinking skills to thrive in a complex world, where jobs now require "non-routine analytical and interactive tasks", said Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah on Monday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JAMIE KOH


By Amelia Teng

Students today need to have critical and inventive thinking skills to thrive in a complex world, where jobs now require "non-routine analytical and interactive tasks", said Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah on Monday.

To develop students in this manner, "we need to rethink our beliefs, classroom practices and learning environments", she told participants at the opening ceremony of a global educational research conference, the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference.

Organised by the National Institute of Education (NIE), the conference, which takes place every two years, drew more than 1,700 participants. More than 100 overseas researchers from 17 countries including Australia, Denmark and Japan will also be presenting their findings. The three days of the conference will bring together educators, researchers and policy makers to learn more about new research and discuss policies and practices. More than 375 papers on topics such as early childhood education and curriculum development will be presented.

Loh
06-03-2013, 09:20 PM
Commentary



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Photo by Wee Teck Hian, 17 Jan 2013.


TODAY

By Donald Low (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/donald-low)

5 hours 21 min ago
Public housing policies in Singapore have been highly successful in enabling home ownership for the majority of Singaporeans and in giving citizens a stake in the country. The provision of affordable public housing is perhaps the clearest manifestation of Singapore’s “growth with equity” story.

But the social contract that has enabled this is now coming under stress. In recent years, house prices have risen at a much faster rate than median or average incomes. Most agree the explanation may lie in part with wider economic and policy factors — rapid economic growth, more liberal immigration policies and low interest rates.

One response would be a combination of well-timed policy interventions. On the demand side, this involves prudential or anti-speculative measures aimed at cooling the property market. On the supply side, the Government will release more residential land and ramp up the development of public housing flats.
While these policy interventions are useful, a more fundamental rethink of public housing policies is also necessary. This is because alongside the cyclical factors, there are significant changes to many of the socioeconomic and demographic assumptions that guided the formulation of public housing policies in the first 40 years of nationhood.

For instance, while Singapore’s population was young and growing rapidly up to the 1990s, the growth of the population is likely to be more moderate (if we exclude the impact of immigration).

Singapore is also ageing rapidly. This will have far-reaching implications not only on the rate of household formation, but also on the types of public housing we provide, the community-based services that have to be developed to help older Singaporeans age in place, and the ways in which older households are helped to monetise their housing assets.
QUESTIONABLE SECURITY

Beyond demographic changes, in the context of greater inequality, slower income growth for the lower and middle strata of society, and increased economic and employment volatility, it is by no means clear that home ownership is still the most appropriate way for the state to redistribute incomes or to provide a measure of retirement security to Singaporeans.

The primary way in which home ownership might contribute to retirement security is if house prices appreciate over time. The Government assumes that rising house prices represent an increasing store of wealth that can be unlocked by home owners to finance their retirement needs. But this assumption can be seriously questioned on at least two levels.

First, in view of how volatile house prices can be, it is by no means assured that the elderly who need to monetise their housing assets can do so at the right time in the housing cycle. As the population ages rapidly in the next two decades, a surge of elderly Singaporeans (the population above 65 is expected to more than triple in the next 20 years) seeking to monetise their housing assets might easily cause prices to fall sharply.

INEQUITABLE

A second and more fundamental objection to the use of housing as a form of retirement security is that it is highly regressive and inequitable. The people who benefit the most from housing as a form of social security are those who have the means to own more than a single property.

The Government has a general aversion to inter-generational transfers through the fiscal system (of taxing the young to pay for the benefits of the old); this is why Singapore does not have the tax-financed pensions found in most developed countries.
But the current approach of relying on house price appreciation to finance the retirement of the elderly is, de facto, a form of inter-generational transfers too, since it is always the next generation that has to bear the burden of rising house prices. It is by no means obvious that the current strategy of providing retirement security via housing is more sustainable or superior.

The collapse of the housing bubble in the United States in 2007-09 also provides a cautionary tale of how an unhealthy fetish for home ownership, combined with relatively weak social safety nets and low interest rates, can be a source of economic and financial instability.
The former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund, Mr Raghuram Rajan, argues that the main governmental response to rising inequality in the US was to expand lending to households, especially the low-income, to support the expansion of home ownership. He suggests that promoting home ownership became a convenient substitute for the policies that really address the problem of inequality. It fuelled increasing leverage and drove financial deregulation, setting the stage for the collapse of the housing bubble and the financial crisis.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

Policies to promote home ownership in Singapore are mostly still prudent and financially sustainable; Singaporean households are also not heavily leveraged in making their home purchases. Nonetheless, the US experience suggests that home ownership is not an unambiguously good thing that the Government should aim to maximise.

As the majority of Singaporeans became homeowners, policymakers may have also conflated the goal of home ownership with that of asset appreciation. This is mostly misguided.

While house price inflation provides a boost to consumption because of the wealth effect, this benefit has to be weighed against its costs. Not only do rising house prices cause anxiety for new households looking for a home, they also have socially corrosive effects.

For example, if house prices increase more rapidly than wages over a sustained period, people may begin to view financial speculation or investing in property as a more reliable way of securing income gains than through their own labour. This would erode society’s work ethic, increase status competition and envy, and divert society’s resources from productive activities to less productive and potentially destabilising ones.
The basic dilemma for our housing policymakers is that as a global city with liberal immigration policies for highly skilled individuals and open capital markets, high-end private property prices in Singapore will rise towards those in other global cities. These forces in turn exert upward pressure on mass market private home prices, and to some extent, Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale prices. The Government has to be a lot more deliberate and activist in managing both HDB and overall house price appreciation.

A NEW PARADIGM

These structural changes suggest that a new paradigm in public housing is needed, and it should include the following features.
First and foremost, the board should once again embrace affordable housing for the majority of Singaporeans as its primary mission. While improvements in the design of HDB flats are desirable, they should not come at the expense of affordability.

The Government should strive to keep the house affordability index (which is the ratio of house price to the buyer’s annual income) well below four, preferably around three. New entry-level three-room flats in non-mature estates should be affordable for the 21st-30th percentile of households with annual incomes of around S$40,000. This suggests a new flat price of around S$120,000, which was the price of such flats about a decade ago.

Given the real possibility of slow median wage growth relative to house prices, the first order of business for the HDB should be to restore and maintain the affordability of housing for the majority of citizens. Indeed, the prices of new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats and recent announcements by the Minister for National Development strongly suggest that this is the direction the Government is already taking.

Second, the Government should discard its implicit goal of asset appreciation and end its reliance on housing as a de facto form of retirement funding. Relying on such a volatile market to deliver retirement security — where one of the key goals of public policy must be to insulate citizens from the vagaries of the market — not only creates too much risk to citizens, but is also highly regressive and inequitable.

The proper goal of housing policy should be to maintain price stability. The lesson from Japan’s lost decade in the 1990s and 2000s is not that a country is destined to stagnate because of its ageing demographics — but that a real estate boom often has long-lasting, deleterious effects on the economy.

Third, public housing policy needs to be rethought in the context of significant demographic and economic changes. When the population was young and incomes were rising across the board, public housing was an efficient and incentive-compatible way of spreading the fruits of economic growth. It was also a good way of helping Singaporeans achieve social mobility and build up their assets for retirement. But the rapid ageing of the population suggests that focus of government policy has to shift from enabling asset accumulation to helping Singaporeans unlock and monetise their housing assets.

Just as importantly, slower income growth and relative wage stagnation for a sizeable segment of our workforce highlight the need for more social transfers and direct redistribution via the conventional route of taxes and social transfers. Public housing can no longer effectively serve as the de facto instrument of income redistribution.

RENTAL HOUSING

Fourth, the Government also needs to ensure an affordable rental market for a wider range of households (and not just lower income groups).

The undersupply of housing in recent years, combined with liberal immigration policies, has made rental housing in Singapore increasingly unaffordable. This risks making Singapore unattractive to the middle-skilled immigrants that it wants to attract. The relative dearth of affordable rental options also makes it harder for young Singaporean couples to settle down and raise families.
Given the country’s global city ambitions and its desire to encourage Singaporeans to marry and have children, the single-minded obsession with home ownership is becoming quite anachronistic. More than before, housing policies need to offer a greater variety of options to meet the increasingly diverse needs of its population.

All the changes proposed here require us to discard our old paradigms about housing, and recognise that the context Singapore faces today is quite different from the context it faced in the 1960s when the country’s policies and institutions in housing were first established.

While these worked remarkably well in the first 40 years, they are becoming increasingly ill-suited for the country in light of rapidly changing social, economic and demographic realities.

This gap between what the context requires and what policy delivers cannot be closed simply by the property cooling measures (there have been seven rounds in the last two years); nor are the laudable efforts by the Government to increase supply and maintain the prices of new BTO HDB flats likely to be sufficient.
Instead, what is required is quite a fundamental and thorough relook at the goals and principles that underpin housing policy in Singapore.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Donald Low is Senior Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and a vice president of the Economic Society of Singapore. This commentary is abridged from a longer article first posted on IPS Commons.

Loh
06-04-2013, 09:03 PM
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President Tony Tan (right) conferring the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the ceremony at the Istana. Photo: Don Wong

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The National University of Singapore (NUS) has conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on Singapore's first Prime Minister. The award is in recognition of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's (centre) achievements as a visionary statesman who transformed education in Singapore and led the nation to first-world status on the global stage. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Former Minister Mentor is the oldest person to be conferred the highest form of recognition from the university


TODAY

By Eugene Neubronner (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/eugene-neubronner)
5 hours 53 min ago

SINGAPORE — He has been conferred some 15 honorary degrees from foreign universities, but yesterday, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew received his first honorary degree from a Singapore university — the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Mr Lee, 89, who attended the special ceremony marking the occasion at the Istana yesterday evening, is the 24th person to be conferred a Doctor of Laws, which is the highest form of recognition from the university, and the oldest person to be conferred an honorary degree from NUS.

The Doctor of Laws is awarded to outstanding individuals who have rendered distinguished service, and had a great impact on the university and Singapore community. The previous recipient was former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong in 2010.

Presiding over the ceremony yesterday was President Tony Tan, the Chancellor of NUS, and NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan.

Present were Mr Lee’s family — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Professor Lee Wei Ling — as well as Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and business leaders, NUS trustees, professors, students and alumni.

In his speech, Prof Tan described Mr Lee as a “deep thinker” and an “immensely practical leader”, who could see the big picture and had the “boldness” to pursue an “unconventional course”.

“While always realistic about Singapore’s limitations and vulnerabilities, his leadership was always marked by hope and a sense of collective purpose, qualities that have continued to the present day and which energise all of us to do even better for Singapore for the future,” he said.

Mr Lee, who did not speak at the ceremony, made his way into the Istana Banquet Hall with a steady step to receive his 16th honorary degree. In a statement issued by NUS, he said: “Education has been critical to the growth and success of Singapore. I hope that Singaporeans will continue to seek out an education that nurtures them to think critically and innovatively to meet the diverse and complex challenges ahead. I thank NUS for conferring on me this honorary degree.”

NUS Law Faculty Dean Professor Simon Chesterman praised Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore, noting that dignitaries such as former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese President Xi Jinping regarded him with respect. “(Mr Lee’s) success launched a country, inspired a continent and earned admiration from around the world,” he said.

Loh
06-05-2013, 10:41 PM
POSTED: 05 Jun 2013 9:23 PM


Singapore retains position as most competitive city in Asia and third most competitive city globally, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

SINGAPORE: Singapore retains position as most competitive city in Asia and third most competitive city globally, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Commissioned by Citi, the report "Hot Spots 2025: Benchmarking the Future Competitiveness of Cities" forecasted the competitiveness of 120 cities in 2025 based on their projected ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists.

This year's report built on the inaugural EIU report released in 2012.

According to the report, Singapore ranked third overall in the index, coming just after New York and London.

Hong Kong came in fourth, while Tokyo took the fifth place.

The report said Singapore's strong showing in these categories is a result of its transport system, lean bureaucracy, safe and clean environment, and increasingly high international reputation.

Meanwhile, the report said São Paulo, Incheon and Mumbai will surge in global competitiveness between 2012 and 2025.

Ranked 36th, Brazil's commercial and financial capital, São Paulo, is also the most improved city in the index.

This can be attributed to the city's young and rapidly growing workforce, solid telecommunications infrastructure, well-established democratic institutions and financial maturity.



- CNA/xq

Loh
06-06-2013, 09:10 PM
Published on Jun 07, 2013
7:31 AM


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ST photographer Desmond Lim was the first runner-up for the Sopa award for Excellence in Feature Photography. He had moved into The Hiding Place, a halfway house, last year to capture daily life there before it made way for a road expansion. One of the pictures was of resident Caleb Tan tending to birds (above). -- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND LIM, NEO XIAOBIN


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ST photographer Desmond Lim (above) was the first runner-up for the Sopa award for Excellence in Feature Photography. He had moved into The Hiding Place, a halfway house, last year to capture daily life there before it made way for a road expansion. One of the pictures was of resident Caleb Tan tending to birds. -- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND LIM, NEO XIAOBIN



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Photojournalist Kelvin Chng from The New Paper was the first runner-up for Excellence in News Photography, for his image (above) of the LionsXII football team huddled in a dugout as Sarawak fans hurled abuse after a match. -- PHOTOS: TNP

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Photojournalist Kelvin Chng (above) from The New Paper was the first runner-up for Excellence in News Photography, for his image of the LionsXII football team huddled in a dugout as Sarawak fans hurled abuse after a match. -- PHOTOS: TNP


By Grace Chua


Three weeks before his wedding last year, Straits Times photographer Desmond Lim moved into a halfway house.

But Mr Lim, 31, was not at The Hiding Place as a delinquent or recovering drug addict.
He had got wind that the building at Jalan Kayu - a halfway house for 22 years - was going to make way for a road expansion and wanted to capture its daily life and final days there.

Last night, the package saw him finish in second place with an "honourable mention" in the annual Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) award for Excellence in Feature Photography at a ceremony in Hong Kong.

Loh
06-06-2013, 09:34 PM
Minister Heng quizzed on present, future education system during Q&A session

TODAY

By Eugene Neubronner (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/eugene-neubronner)

6 hours 10 min ago

SINGAPORE — Improving students’ understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing better educational and career guidance — perhaps by bringing in the private sector to expose them to the “range of possibilities” — are among various initiatives his ministry will be looking at, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.

He was responding to a question from Nanyang Polytechnic student Lim Wei Liang, 23, on whether more could be done to help students decide on their school path earlier. Mr Heng was speaking during a 40-minute question-and-answer session at the close of the Pre-University Seminar at the National University of Singapore.

Students quizzed the minister and two Our Singapore Conversation panellists, President of the Society of the Physically Disabled Chia Yong Yong and President of the Singapore Eurasian Association Benett Theseira, on a range of questions, mostly centred on the present education system in Singapore and that in the future.

Nanyang Polytechnic student Ng Aik Wei, 20, asked whether more places could go to polytechnic students for more “niche” courses, such as law or political science.

Mr Heng replied that one of the first things he did upon being appointed was to look into that possibility. But, he cautioned that any such move had to be done “very carefully”.
He noted how other countries had also expanded their number of university slots, but rather than creating more opportunities for youths, “it ended up creating problems … with high levels of youth unemployment”.

He added that the Government is aiming to have 40 per cent cohort participation rate, or four in 10 of every student year, headed to university by 2020, 50 per cent, he said, if one includes part-time courses.

Other participants questioned the current education system. Jurong Junior College (JJC) student Tay Yu Xuan, 17, asked if the current education system’s focus on exams was “killing passion for learning”, “hindering creativity” and “creating robots”.

The question was met with thunderous applause and cheers from students in the audience.

Mr Heng agreed that, while “too much emphasis” may have been placed on grades and exams, more could be done to encourage students to explore the range of possibilities. He noted schools are changing to “a more inquiring method” but there are challenges to overcome. Project work, he said, is intended to “provide that wider range of learning, stimulate team work and creativity”, but some students might have found it uninteresting.

Despite this, Mr Heng cautioned that “we should not throw the baby out with the bath water”, pointing out how other countries also “mugged” — or crammed — for exams. He cited China and Finland as among countries which focused on exams.

Mr Heng was also asked about the reasoning behind the subject social studies, which JJC student Tan Kok Xuan, 17, felt was “propagating their political agenda … (through) emphasis on the effectiveness of the Government”.

Mr Heng noted that every country teaches about its own history, founding and “sense of shared memories”. Singapore’s history is also “special”, he added, with several prominent figures shaping Singapore. While it is important for students to appreciate it, he added, it should not be done in an “uncritical way”, with broad-based questions that ask students to assess the reliability of sources.

Estelle Tai, 17, from River Valley High School, asked if the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools programme could be abolished as it limits interaction of such students with other races and its ideas of bilingualism could be replicated without the need for a specific school for it.

Mr Heng agreed that when creating specialised environments, such as SAP or the School of the Arts, “something gets lost”, such as students interacting more widely with those from different backgrounds.

The MOE is open to the idea of “mixing” students, as Mr Heng called an earlier student’s suggestion on inter-zonal meetings between schools as one such “interesting idea”.

More than 540 students from 29 pre-university schools, including junior colleges, the Millennia Institute and polytechnics, spent four days discussing the theme Singapore 2030: Our Future, Our Home.

The top action plan from each sub-theme as voted by participants was presented to Mr Heng at the close of the ceremony. All action plans, representing their contributions to Our Singapore Conversation, will also be forwarded to the relevant government agencies for their consideration.

Loh
06-06-2013, 09:45 PM
Football


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Irfan Fandi (right) and Adam Hakeem (left) are put through their paces during a rainy training session yesterday. (Ribiyanda not in picture)



Irfan, Adam and Ribiyanda have tough acts to follow


TODAY

By Amir Yusof (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amir-yusof)

06 June

SINGAPORE — When reminded that his father’s journey to stardom began in the 1978 Lion City Cup, Irfan Fandi seemed unfazed. The son of local football icon Fandi Ahmad aims to kick-start his own journey, beginning with the Singapore under-16s in the 2013 Canon Lion City Cup, which starts on Saturday.

“I try not to think too much of my Dad’s achievements and I just want to play my best,” said the forward, who recently spent two months in Spain attached to the youth side of second-tier team Hercules CF.

“This tournament is an opportunity for me to learn and develop myself as a footballer.”
Irfan’s teammates Adam Hakeem and Ribiyanda Saswadimata also have fathers who are former Singapore Internationals: Adam is the first-born of former Lions captain Nazri Nasir, while Ribiyanda is the son of defender Saswadimata Dasuki.

Adam is determined to emulate his father — Nazri is currently coach of the Singapore U-15s, also part of the Lion City Cup.

“Knowing that my Dad once played in this tournament is a morale booster as it shows that I am on track in my development as a footballer to one day be just as good or even better than him,” said Adam.

Ribiyanda, meanwhile, enjoys watching YouTube videos of his father in the 1994 Malaysia Cup.

He said: “It motivates me to one day represent the senior team. We have seen how players like Adam Swandi shone in the 2012 tournament and, a year later, get called up for the senior team.”

Commenting on the trio, Singapore U-16 coach Robin Chitrakar said the boys have been humble despite their well-known fathers.

“The three of them are calm, down to earth and train just as hard,” said Chitrakar, whose side will face Arsenal in their opening match on Saturday.

“We played three warm-up games in Japan, beaten twice by under-18 sides and won our only match against an under-16 side. The boys have only been together for five months but we are, after all, at home and we want to win the tournament.” AMIR YUSOF

Loh
06-10-2013, 01:10 AM
Published on Jun 10, 2013
1:32 PM

By Pearl Lee

The Nanyang Technological University hosted Asia's first international symposium on languages on Monday morning.

The four-day conference was attended by 600 experts, including sociologists, psychologists, linguists and educationists from more than 45 countries who will focus on bilingualism and multilingualism topics.

The conference will also feature a workshop on Early Childhood Bilingualism, sponsored by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

Led by a panel of experts, the workshop will discuss issues on language acquisition and literacy in the early years, focusing on Singapore's education environment.

Loh
06-10-2013, 09:04 PM
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Photo: Wee Teck Hian



Project 70 per cent complete, retailers set to move in after January



By Tan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)

5 hours 43 min ago

SINGAPORE — After nearly three years of construction, the Sports Hub is on track to open its doors to the public by April next year.

About 70 per cent of the S$1.33 billion facility has been completed, including the installation earlier this month of the highest truss at the new 55,000-seater National Stadium.

So far, several events have already been pencilled in, including next year’s ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup and the Women’s Tennis Association Championship.

“We’ve reached this critical milestone where we’ve completed the highest point of the (National Stadium) roof, and that’s the critical thing,” said Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, after a visit yesterday to the 35-hectare site in Kallang.

“I’m sure many would say ‘are you sure this is going to be completed by next year because it still looks quite raw’. But the key parts are in place, and now it is the final stretch. In fact, progressively from January next year, they will be taking TOP (Temporary Occupation Permit) ... and retailers will start to move in. We’re quite confident we’re on track and on schedule.”

The highest truss of the National Stadium will measure about 77.5m above pitch level, and will be part of the world’s largest free-spanning dome roof at 310m wide when completed — eclipsing the Dallas Cowboys Stadium (275m) — and its retractable roof will be installed by the fourth quarter of this year, with the project completion date set for March 25.

More top-class events may follow, including the 2017 World Youth Athletics Championship and the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup.

And boosting those plans is confirmation that the National Stadium’s pitch will be made of natural grass woven with synthetic fibre.

In March, TODAY reported that a fully synthetic pitch was being considered, raising concerns over the Sports Hub’s ability to attract top-draw events as many top teams like Real Madrid and the New Zealand All Blacks are reluctant to play on artificial surfaces, claiming the risk of injury is higher on such pitches, while cricket’s Indian Premier League prohibits its games to be conducted on artificial turf.

“We need a pitch that can accommodate many different events, which can be used for entertainment and a football or rugby game after that,” said Ludwig Reichhold, Managing Director of Dragages Singapore, a partner of SportsHub responsible for designing and constructing the facility.

“We want to avoid (the situation) where we cannot use the stadium because the pitch is not in a good condition. That would be the worst thing that can happen.”

Next year’s National Day Parade may also take place at the Sports Hub, but Wong said a key consideration is whether there is enough time as it normally takes a year to plan and prepare.

Wong also re-iterated that except for individual facilities, the entire Sports Hub and National Stadium will not be put up for naming rights — TODAY reported in November last year that OCBC Bank had put in a bid for the entire facility except its National Stadium.

“We want corporate involvement ... at the same time, the Sports Hub is not just a commercial project. It has to be a national icon and we want it to have that national identity and character, so we’ve to find some way to balance that,” said Wong.

Loh
06-10-2013, 09:17 PM
By Victoria Barker
My Paper
Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013

THE Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has climbed seven spots to break into the Top 10 list in the latest global ranking of Asian universities to be released today.

In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) University Rankings: Asia, the university takes 10th position, together with Japan's Kyoto University. It is the NTU's highest position since the first edition of the annual rankings was published in 2009.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) maintained its spot as the second-best university in Asia, sharing the position with the University of Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the top spot for the third year running went to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The ranking exercise by London-based education and career consultancy QS lists Asia's top 300 universities based on criteria such as academic reputation, number of papers per faculty and ratio of students to faculty.

QS head of research Ben Sowter said: "Singapore's universities are embracing the new possibilities of today's globalised higher-education landscape in innovative ways, and are now clearly established as international centres of excellence.

"The influx of international campuses, tech start-ups and multinational investor+s means Singapore is well placed to become Asia's Silicon Valley."

NTU president Bertil Andersson said in a statement: "NTU has become a talent magnet, attracting more top students and some of the world's best professors."

He said that the university saw an increase of 60 per cent of top A-level students enrolling this year, over 2011.

NTU also performed well in another QS ranking of international universities under 50 years old - it came in at No. 2, after Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, NUS also ranked first in Asia for employer reputation and second in Asia for academic reputation.

The provost and deputy president of academic affairs at NUS, Professor Tan Eng Chye, said: "This is firm recognition of the high-quality education and research work by our faculty, staff and students.

"We will continue our pursuit of transformative advances in education and research to bring about a lasting impact in Singapore, Asia and the world."

Loh
06-10-2013, 09:30 PM
By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid
POSTED: 10 Jun 2013 6:36 PM


SINGAPORE: Better quality and more affordable childcare services could come as early as next year, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development. The new initiatives are set to be announced later in June. Plans are also underway to build a childcare centre within each cluster of new flats, where possible.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing revealed this in an exclusive interview with Channel NewsAsia.

There are currently about 1,000 childcare centres across Singapore, and the government has said it plans to build 200 more by 2018 -- all to give parents the peace of mind that their little ones will be well taken care of while they are off at work.

However, it is not just about having more childcare centres. Parents want them accessible as well -- near their workplaces and within walking distance from their homes.

Currently, demand for childcare places exceeds supply, especially in newer towns.

Mr Chan said: "When it comes to accessibility, it's really about having the childcare centres at the correct place and this usually means near the parents' house or near the workplace, which is why we are encouraging the workplace owners to actually start up new childcare centres.

"At the same time, we want to design the new HDB estates to have an in-built childcare centre within each of the precinct. So that has to do with accessibility because that minimises the logistics challenge and at the same time, the transport requirements for the parents."

Besides accessibility, parents also want childcare services to be of good quality, and at a cost that is affordable -- something especially important for the lower and middle-income families in Singapore -- so that their children will not miss the chance to get a head-start in life.

To address parents' concerns, the government is unveiling a slew of initiatives in the coming weeks.

To keep childcare fees low, the Anchor Operator Scheme will be extended to more operators and tender details will be released end-June. Currently there are two anchor operators -- the PCF (PAP Community Foundation) and the National Trades Union Congress' My First Skool -- which receive government grants and charge fees below the industry median.

With more anchor operators offering more childcare places at affordable fees, the increased competition is expected to help raise quality and drive down the costs.

The median monthly fee for the industry stands at S$775 for a full-day child care programme. For the anchor operators, it is S$615.

Families with a household income of S$2,500 or less can pay a monthly fee of just S$3. That is because children attending centres by the anchor operators receive government subsidies, which have been further enhanced since April 2013.

Mr Chan added: "On the supply side, we want to make sure that the cost is kept low through our direct subsidies at the back-end through the operators, while they maintain affordable fees.

"On the other hand, we give tiered subsidies to the parents -- to those who have less, we give more -- so that we all achieve the aim that if you need to send your child to a childcare centre, it should not take up more than 10 per cent of household income and that will make us comfortably within the top end of the OECD countries' averages."

On calls for the government to nationalise the sector to standardise childcare services, Mr Chan said that may not benefit young children.

He said: "If you nationalise the childcare sector, then you will lose the desired diversity that we have in the sector... I think from the research done in other countries, the younger they are, the more diverse their learning style and learning habits, so it is very difficult to have a one-size-fits-all (solution).

"But as you grow older, then it is probably easier to have a national syllabus and I think that's the approach that we have taken so far."

The tender process however, will change to improve the quality of childcare.

Currently, sites are tendered out to the highest bidder. However, the ministry will soon reveal "quality factors" which operators must meet. The factors may include affordability of fees and programmes being offered.

- CNA/ac

Loh
06-11-2013, 11:04 PM
Local scientists trying to save a crab that's found nowhere else in the world



Published on Jun 12, 2013
7:40 AM

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The Singapore freshwater crab (Johora singaporensis) is one of three crab species is found only in Singapore's Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park. -- ST PHOTO: TAN HEOK HUI


By David Ee

MENTION crab, and Singaporeans will think of it on a plate smothered in chilli sauce.
But local scientists are now fighting to save a crab, barely larger than a 50-cent coin, found nowhere else in the world but here.

Numbers of the Singapore freshwater crab have declined drastically, they have found, though its exact population is unknown.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed it as critically endangered, and considers it one of the 100 most threatened species in the world. It is found only in several isolated forest streams in Bukit Timah, Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak.

Loh
06-11-2013, 11:10 PM
Published on Jun 11, 2013
5:55 PM

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Students from the Institute of Technical Education will be offered greater flexibility in terms of choosing their areas of study from next year, as related courses will be grouped into clusters. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



By Pearl Lee


Students from the Institute of Technical Education will be offered greater flexibility in terms of choosing their areas of study from next year, as related courses will be grouped into clusters.

Currently, students apply for a specific course when they enter the school, such as, hairdressing or aerospace avionics. They will then go on to complete a two-year programme under their chosen course.

Under the new system, related courses will be grouped into clusters. For example, courses such as hairdressing, beauty and wellness, and fitness and sports, will be grouped into a cluster under the Lifestyle theme. First-year students will take a range of foundation models which will prepare them for all the courses under a specific cluster of their choice. In their second year, the students will then choose to specialise in a specific course under the broad cluster.

This new framework was announced by Senior Minister of State for Education and Law, Ms Indranee Rajah, at the Institute's graduation ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. This year, some 12,447 students will graduate from ITE programmes.

Loh
06-12-2013, 09:20 PM
Published on Jun 13, 2013
7:38 AM
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It took a forklift and seven men to lift this 2m-long Queensland grouper, which was caught near Pedra Branca. Seafood restaurant owner Johnny Tan forked out more than $6,000 for the fish. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS



A 2M-LONG Queensland grouper weighing 270kg has been caught by fishermen off Singapore's eastern-most point.

It took a forklift and seven men to lift the beast into the kitchen, and more than 10 hours of cleaning before Mr Johnny Tan, 52, owner of seafood restaurant Grouper King, could serve the giant to customers yesterday.

Mr Tan told The Straits Times that he received a call from fishermen, who caught the fish near Pedra Branca, at about 1am on Tuesday and went down to the Senoko fishing port personally to witness their catch.

He said it was the biggest grouper he had seen in his 20 years in the business, adding: "I was shocked to hear that such a big fish could be caught so close to Singapore.

Loh
06-12-2013, 09:32 PM
Published on Jun 12, 2013
5:40 PM

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Mr Shamsudin Shadan, the then-Regimental Sergeant Major for the first National Day Parade (NDP). Participants of Singapore's first NDP in 1966 had less than 50 days to put together the event following the nation's split from Malaysia the year before. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

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(From left) Retired lieutenant-colonel Sardar Ali, retired colonel Lau Kee Siong, former regimental sergeant major Shamsudin Shadan, retired colonel John Morrice and retired lieutenant-colonel Swee Boon Chai. Participants of Singapore's first National Day Parade (NDP) in 1966 had less than 50 days to put together the event following the nation's split from Malaysia the year before. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
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Participants of Singapore's first National Day Parade (NDP) in 1966 had less than 50 days to put together the event following the nation's split from Malaysia the year before. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



By Melody Zaccheus

Participants of Singapore's first National Day Parade (NDP) in 1966 had less than 50 days to put together the event following the nation's split from Malaysia the year before.

While it was intensive, it was also memorable and significant, said the then-Regimental Sergeant Major Mr Shamsudin Shadan who features in the third episode of the National Heritage Board's documentary series - A Nation Remembers.

"My role was to help select and train Guards of Honour for our first parade and to make sure they could execute their drills perfectly to reflect Singapore's growing military strength," said the 80-year-old.

It was especially significant because there was an air of despair and despondency among new citizens following the announcement the year before that Singapore would be separating from Malaysia, said Mr Swee Boon Chai, 67, who marched in the parade as an officer cadet. The parade, which featured a total of 23,000 participants including 36 uniformed groups, served to foster a sense of social cohesion and optimism, said Mr Swee. The episode featuring these first-hand accounts alongside archival footage of the historical event will air on NHB's YouTube channel and website in August.

Loh
06-12-2013, 09:41 PM
Published on Jun 12, 2013
2:10 PM

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Singapore Post branch at Eunos Road. Singapore Post has won the World Mail Award 2013 in the people management category, beating other postal services from around the world. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING


By Janice Heng

Singapore Post has won the World Mail Award 2013 in the people management category, beating other postal services from around the world.

The awards, which are supported by the Universal Postal Union, were presented in Madrid on June 6. This is the second time SingPost has won, its first win was in 2007.

This year, it was also shortlisted in the top three in the Customer Service category.
SingPost's staff initiatives include the $10m SingPost Inclusivity Fund, launched this February, which give bigger salary increments and training support for lower-income staff.

It also has staff engagement programmes such as fortnightly futsal sessions between operations staff and management, and town halls and breakfasts with their group chief executive officer.

Loh
06-12-2013, 11:19 PM
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A shrimp is discovered after mud is rinsed out from a trawler haul during a dredging session out at sea.


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Dr Arthur Anker from NUS surveys the approaching storm at Pulau Hantu Besar during an intertidal walk.


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Dr Daisuke Uyeno from the University of the Ryukyus prepares to dive in a lagoon at St John's Island, headquarters of the expedition.


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From the lagoons off Pulau Hantu to the gleaming laboratories on St John’s Island, TODAY photojournalist Don Wong takes a closer look behind the scenes of one of Singapore’s most comprehensive scientific undertakings.



By Don Wong (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/don-wong)


15 hours 35 min ago

SINGAPORE — From scooping for living specimens with a simple nylon net in the mudflats off Singapore’s coasts to peering through a high-powered microscope to determine whether a rare species is thriving in our waters once again, international and local scientists, aided by enthusiastic volunteers and students, tirelessly surveyed marine flora and fauna in the Straits of Singapore and the Southern islands over three weeks.

The expedition, which concluded last week, is part of the ongoing five-year Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey by the National Parks Board and the National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute, which has identified 30,000 specimens of interest since 2010.

Data on marine fauna are collected through scuba diving, coral brushing, hand-collecting during low tide, using specialised equipment such as dredges and otter trawls. The specimens collected are then sorted and examined, and some are preserved for record.

Loh
06-12-2013, 11:32 PM
Motor Racing


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The Changi Motorsports Hub site will be handed back to the Singapore Land Authority after piles driven in during the early stages of construction are removed. Photo: Wee Teck Hian



By IAN DE COTTA (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/ian-de-cotta)

8 hours 12 min ago

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has scrapped the Changi Motorsports Hub project, after deciding that the concessions potential investors wanted to make it commercially successful did not justify the costs and benefits of reviving the stalled racetrack project.

SSC Chief Executive Lim Teck Yin added at a press conference yesterday that a permanent racetrack will no longer be considered here, crashing hopes that a facility could spin off much more for the tourism industry and other businesses.

The major stumbling blocks in the project included requests for free land to build it, doubling the lease of the 41-ha site at Aviation Park Road to 60 years, tax concessions and that SSC fund part or the entire project.

The requests were made, even though interested parties were told of the SSC’s three key requirements to move the project forward: It must be fully funded by the private sector, be commercially viable, and that there is no special tax-exempt status for the land.

But the potential investors, who were approached during a seven-month “market sounding and request for information (RFI) exercise”, said the project will not be financially viable unless a significant combination of the key concessions were in place. The SSC received seven proposals from six consortia, including one based overseas, in the exercise.

The RFI followed the SSC terminating its contract with SG Changi in December 2010 after the Japanese-led consortium failed to meet key construction milestones.

It had won a bid to build the Changi Motorsports Hub in March 2009, with plans for a 250-room hotel, retail and a racing academy on site. The group had also lined up MotoGP, the motorcycle equivalent of Formula One, as the star draw at the venue. SG Changi paid a total of S$40 million for the land but quickly ran into financial difficulties.

The decision to axe the project permanently came after more than four months of “whole-of-government deliberations” after the RFI ended in January this year.

“After careful consideration and consultation with other government agencies, we have decided not to proceed with the tender as these significant conditions for the project to be commercially viable are things that SSC cannot accede to,” said Mr Lim.

“The majority of the feedback we receive from the industry indicates that the project is not sustainable if undertaken solely by the private sector without SSC’s involvement.

“The amount of concessions, for example, through direct equity stakes, land pricing or tax concessions is not insignificant and not surprising due to the high barriers of entry into the project.”

He added that in balancing the costs and benefits, the land take and proposed use of it do not justify an operating model that involves significant government subsidy or concession.

The SSC chief said the plot of land, next to where the bi-biennial Singapore Air Show is held, will now be handed back to the Singapore Land Authority after piles driven in the early stages of construction by the previous consortium are removed.

The cost of clearing them, which will take almost a year, and those of conducting the RFI will be billed to SG Changi, before any refunds are considered in light of terminating their contract.

A permanent track would have given Singapore an opportunity to build an eco-system of high-technology industries, which the country excels in, around it.

It was one of the objectives of building the race track and such companies here and those planning to do so, will now have to look to a similar but bigger track just across the Causeway.

The RM3.5 billion Motorsports City complex in Johor’s Iskandar economic region is being built and will be managed by billionaire Peter Lim’s Singapore-based FASTrack when ready in 2016.

Chief executive of the facility Barry Kan told TODAY it is designed to attract research and technology companies, especially those based in the Republic, to test their products there.

“Our catchment area is principally Singapore and apart from motorsports enthusiasts, it is our plan to grow high-technology companies around Motorsports City,” said the Singaporean.

As to the growing interest in racing here, SSC’s Lim said the sporting authority will now help Singapore Motor Sports Association promote it through Johor’s Motorsports City.

“SSC stands ready to work with SMSA, if need be, to liaise closely with our counterparts in Malaysia, in Johor in particular, if there is any kind of facilitation that can be afforded in the future,” he said.

Loh
06-12-2013, 11:39 PM
Arts

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Peter Brook, Yukio Ninagawa and Simon McBurney works to be staged


34 min 16 sec ago

SINGAPORE — If next month’s The Phantom Of The Opera, Bolshoi Ballet’s Swan Lake in November, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s Taming Of The Shrew in October still aren’t enough for you, then here are three more productions to look forward to.

The Singapore Repertory Theatre, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and The Esplanade will be presenting the works of internationally acclaimed directors Peter Brook, Yukio Ninagawa and Simon McBurney under the 3 Titans Of Theatre series

McBurney’s Shun-kin will be on Aug 30 and 31. Inspired by the works of Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki, it centres on the story of a shamisen player and her servant lover. The cast includes celebrated actor Yoshi Oida (The Pillow Book) and movie actress Eri Fukatsu (Bayside Shakedown).

Ninagawa’s Musashi marks his return to Singapore after two decades, having previously staged Macbeth and Medea. The samurai comedy-drama will be staged on Nov 8 and 9 and features actors Tatsuya Fujiwara (Death Note) and Junpei Mizobata.

Peter Brook also returns to Singapore, wrapping up the series with the English language version of his French play The Suit on Nov 22 to 25. The play is about the brutality of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Tickets are available from June 13 onwards at Sistic.

Loh
06-13-2013, 09:44 PM
Republic moves up 7 places as the rest of the world grows more violent



Published on Jun 14, 2013
7:59 AM


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NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS: Peaceful countries need fewer police officers to maintain and enforce the rule of law, according to the Global Peace Index. -- ST FILE PHOTOS

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EDUCATION: Countries with high Global Peace Index scores tend to have better education outcomes, said Institute for Economics and Peace research director Daniel Hyslop in a press release on this year's index. -- ST FILE PHOTOS



By K.c. Vijayan And Natalie Kuan

SINGAPORE moved up seven places in this year's Global Peace Index (GPI) to be the 16th most peaceful out of 162 countries.

It is one of only three Asian nations in the top 20 - the others being Japan at No. 6 and Bhutan at No. 20 - and leads the South-east Asian nations in its scores.

The annual GPI, now in its seventh year, was released on Wednesday at the United Nations by the Institute for Economics and Peace, an independent, non-profit research group dedicated to shifting the global focus to peace as a measure of well-being and progress.

The GPI is used by many international organisations, governments and non-governmental organisations such as the World Bank and the UN to inform policy.


Background story

FUNDAMENTALS

(The GPI shows the) fundamentals of human development in Singapore are well in place: health care, education, support for families and the elderly.

- Diplomat and Singapore International Foundation governor K. Kesavapany
Top 20 most peaceful countries
1. Iceland
2. Denmark
3. New Zealand
4. Austria
5. Switzerland
6. Japan
7. Finland
8. Canada
9. Sweden
10. Belgium
11. Norway
12. Ireland
13. Slovenia
14. Czech Republic
15. Germany
16. Australia and Singapore
18. Portugal
19. Qatar
20. Bhutan

Asean countries
1. Singapore
2. Malaysia
3. Laos
4. Vietnam
5. Indonesia
6. Cambodia
7. Philippines
8. Thailand
9. Myanmar

(Brunei not included in index)

Loh
06-13-2013, 10:03 PM
Published on Jun 13, 2013
8:41 PM


By Kash Cheong


SPRING Singapore, an agency responsible for growing local enterprises, has inked a memorandum of understanding with Dutch medical institution Maastricht University Medical Centre Holding (MUMCH).

This will create further opportunities for the development of local healthcare, life sciences and medical industries, said Deputy Chief Executive of SPRING Singapore Mr Ted Tan.

MUMCH is the holding firm for the commercialisation of activites of Maastricht University Medical Centre. It has conducted clinical trials with major pharmaceutical companies and developed 3D-printed implants for patients amongst other things.

"Singapore med-tech and life sciences can leverage on the expertise of MUMC to penetrate the European market," Mr Tan said. "They can look forward to more research and development collaborations, joint product development projects, possible joint-ventures and investment opportunities with Dutch companies."

Loh
06-13-2013, 10:07 PM
Published on Jun 13, 2013
3:00 PM

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Senior Minister of State for National Development, Tan Chuan-Jin (centre), wraps up the session at the National Library on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. More can be done to better connect and communicate with the elderly to help them monetise their flats for their retirement needs or move closer to their children, said many of the 45 participants at the last public Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) session on housing matters on Wednesday night. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN


By Charissa Yong

More can be done to better connect and communicate with the elderly to help them monetise their flats for their retirement needs or move closer to their children, said many of the 45 participants at the last public Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) session on housing matters on Wednesday night.

Suggestions on how to better communicate with the elderly include setting up a centralised agency that could match elderly subletters to suitable tenants and airing television skits to explain the Housing Board's (HDB) monetisation schemes in Malay, Tamil and Chinese dialects.

Some also argued that current HDB policies could also be tweaked to get more senior citizens on board, such as extending the Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme to those who own four-room flats and bigger, or even building more dual-key units to house multiple generations under one room.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin wrapped up Wednesday night's session at the National Library and said that their views would be taken into consideration. He also asked participants to consider that Singaporeans all had different needs and cautioned that many of the requests put forward would have to be funded by taxpayer monies if they were to be adopted.

Loh
06-16-2013, 08:34 PM
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Singapore’s first liberal arts college will open in August with 157 students, seven more than the originally planned intake. -- FILE PHOTO: YALE-NUS



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The chance to pursue an ‘unprecedented’ education format here was what drew Ms Anthea Tjoa to Yale-NUS. Photo: Yale-NUS



First cohort picked from over 11,400 applications from more than 130 countries

TODAY
5 hours 18 min ago

SINGAPORE — The Republic’s first liberal arts college, Yale-NUS College, will matriculate 157 students from 26 countries for its inaugural cohort in August this year.

These “extremely accomplished students with diverse talents and backgrounds” were picked from over 11,400 applications from more than 130 countries, Yale-NUS said in a press release yesterday. Their SAT scores at the 75th-percentile is 760 for critical reading and 780 for maths, while the median score is 1,440 on the 1,600 scale.

Although academic grades were a “primary consideration” in its selection process, Yale-NUS said “significant weight” was also given to interviews, recommendations, essays and extracurricular accomplishments.

Among the first cohort, 97, or 62 per cent, are Singaporeans, including almost 10 per cent from polytechnics. The bulk of the rest are from Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, another 63 Singaporeans have committed to start at the college over the next two years after completing their National Service.

Yale-NUS founding President Pericles Lewis said: “We are writing a new chapter in the history of liberal arts and science education for an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Our inaugural class will experience a distinctive, international education in a community of learning that provides a microcosm of our globally networked society.”

Ms Samantha Yap, who graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma in Arts Business Management and aspires to become a curator, is among the inaugural batch.
The 19-year-old chose to apply to Yale-NUS because she “felt its wide breadth of subjects and topics would satiate my appetite for knowledge”.

Another student, Mr Theodore Lai, 21, said he chose a liberal arts education because it would expose him to topics from global affairs to comparative literature, thus allowing him to “gain a much wider knowledge of the world and how it functions”.

For Ms Anthea Tjoa, who was born in Singapore, of Peranakan and Indonesian-Chinese descent, but has lived in Myanmar for the past eight years, the chance to pursue an “unprecedented” education format here was what drew her to Yale-NUS.

The college is planning to grow its class size to 250 students over the next few years.

Loh
06-16-2013, 08:45 PM
Shanghai-based Toa Payoh girl is 36th on list of top 100 tech investors



Published on Jun 16, 2013
8:06 AM


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Ms Lee had her schooling in CHIJ St Nicholas and Hwa Chong JC. -- PHOTO: GGV CAPITAL


By Grace Chng Senior Correspondent

Singaporean venture capitalist Jenny Lee, 41, has the golden touch, and business magazine Forbes thinks so too.

On its 2013 Midas list of tech's top 100 investors, the partner in American venture capital firm GGV Capital is ranked 36th, the top woman investor globally.

(The list ranked two other women: Ms Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers at 47 and Ms Theresia Gouw of Accel Partners at 82, with her colleague, Mr Jim Breyer, topping the list.)

A Shanghai-based investor, Ms Lee has completed five major deals in the last three years. She listed four Chinese companies in her portfolio to raise US$500 million (S$626 million), three on the American stock exchange, Nasdaq, and one on the Chinese exchange, ChiNext.

Loh
06-16-2013, 09:04 PM
Published on Jun 15, 2013
7:15 AM



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Founder of Koenigsegg Automotive Christian von Koenigsegg (left) showing the Agera S to Mr Michael Lim, chief executive of distributor Motorway Group. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

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The Koenigsegg Agera S hypercar - boasting a 420kmh top speed and a $5.3 million price tag - was revealed to 200 VIPs and guests at a private launch event at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia hotel.. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA


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A Koenigsegg Agera S is seen at its launch in the Ritz Carton ballroom. The Koenigsegg Agera S hypercar - boasting a 420kmh top speed and a $5.3 million price tag - was revealed to 200 VIPs and guests at a private launch event at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia hotel. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOSEPH NAI



THE fastest and most expensive car in Singapore was unveiled yesterday.

The Koenigsegg Agera S hypercar - boasting a 420kmh top speed and a $5.3 million price tag - was revealed to 200 VIPs and guests at a private launch event at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia hotel.

Handcrafted in Sweden, the car, which runs on regular petrol, took around 4,000 hours to produce and and comes with a 1,040 horsepower twin turbo engine. There are only three other Agera S models in the world - one in America, and two in Hong Kong.

Its price tag here includes a $100,000 certificate of entitlement.

Loh
06-16-2013, 09:10 PM
Published on Jun 16, 2013
7:12 PM


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Former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (second right) plants a rain tree at Holland Village Park on Sunday, continuing an unbroken 50-year tradition. -- ST PHOTO: GOH CHIN LIAN

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Mr Lee Kuan Yew (centre), together with Mr Chan Chun Sing (left) and Mr Poon Hong Yuen (right), the National Parks Board CEO, plants a tree at Holland Village Park to mark 50 years of greening Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

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Mr Lee Kuan Yew (seated, second from left) takes a group photo after planting a tree to mark 50 years of greening Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM


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Mr Lee Kuan Yew (second left) takes a quick look at the exhibition at Holland Village Park after planting a tree to mark 50 years of greening Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM



By Goh Chin Lian

Former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew planted a rain tree at Holland Village Park on Sunday, continuing a what has become an unbroken 50-year tradition.

On the same day in 1963, Mr Lee planted a mempat tree at Farrer Circus, then a traffic roundabout, to signify the start of an island-wide tree-planting campaign.

The National Parks Board will mark 50 years of tree-planting and greening Singapore by setting aside 1,963 trees for members of the public to plant from now until November this year.

More than $470,000 raised will go to enhancing the biodiversity and heritage value of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Loh
06-17-2013, 01:32 AM
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TODAY

By Christopher Toh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/christopher-toh)

2 hours 10 min ago


SINGAPORE — Singaporean performer and composer Dick Lee will join the ranks of Diana Krall, Billy Joel and Harry Connick Jr on July 8, when he will be conferred as a Steinway Artist, according to a statement issued by Steinway Gallery Singapore, on behalf of renowned piano makers, Steinway & Sons.

Lee will be the first Asian Steinway Artist in the pop/contemporary genre. The Steinway Artist programme features musicians who choose to use Steinway pianos exclusively. Steinway & Sons only appoints one upon careful examination and reviews.

Celine Goh, general manager of Steinway Gallery Singapore, said Lee was chosen for “his musical talent not only in the country but across the globe with numerous awards to his name”.

“Having him to join the ranks with other esteemed Steinway Artists is a great celebration in the local music scene,” she added.

“I have always loved playing on a Steinway piano because of the instrument’s unparalleled sound quality,” said Lee. “Being part of the Steinway family is a dream come true and I hope this will inspire future generations of Singaporeans to realise their goals in music.”

To celebrate Lee’s conferment, Steinway Gallery Singapore will donate a Steinway-designed Essex 108 upright piano to the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA), a charity organisation funded by Community Chest Singapore.

“The donation of the Essex 108 is part of Steinway Gallery’s CSR program to assist AWWA particularly with regards to their children’s programmes,” said Goh. “We believe that music is a powerful tool that can enhance lives everywhere regardless of age and background.”

Loh
06-17-2013, 08:27 PM
TODAY

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Haze over Singapore, view from Upper Thomson Road on June 17, 2013. Photo: Ernest Chua.


PSI reading hits 155, air quality plunges to ‘unhealthy’ for first time in almost three years



By Alfred Chua (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/alfred-chua)

Low Jen Thye Kenneth (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/low-jen-thye-kenneth)

5 hours 13 min ago


SINGAPORE — After the haze had seemingly moderated over the weekend, it came back with a vengeance yesterday, shrouding the city throughout the day, affecting visibility and causing respiratory problems for some, as the air quality plunged to unhealthy levels for the first time in almost three years.

At 3pm, the three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading reached 105, which falls within the “unhealthy” range. The situation deteriorated rapidly and at 10pm, the three-hour PSI was 155 — the highest since September 1997 when it reached 226. The last time the haze hit such levels was in 2006, when the PSI peaked at 150. At press time, the reading was 145.

The poor air quality prompted the Ministry of Manpower to remind employers to minimise outdoor work involving strenuous activities and put in place a system that regularly updates their workers on the measures being taken to ensure their safety and well-being, and allow employees to report any adverse effects on their health.

Under existing guidelines, uniformed services such as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) are also to reduce physical and outdoor training.

Ministry of Defence Director of Public Affairs Kenneth Liow said: “The health and safety of our servicemen are of paramount importance to the SAF. We monitor air quality closely, and have in place a set of PSI-Activity Guidelines under the SAF Medical Directives and Training Safety Regulations to calibrate our outdoor activities and training according to the PSI reading.”

An SCDF spokesperson said that in addition to the guidelines, “officers will exercise discretion to suspend training when deemed necessary in view of the haze situation at their location”.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) attributed the haze to drier weather conditions, which led to “an escalation in hotspot activities” in parts of Sumatra in Indonesia, adding that the situation was expected to persist over the next few days.

On Saturday and Sunday, 101 and 138 hotspots were detected respectively. Yesterday, another 113 hotspots were detected.

Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said in a press statement that the Government was “deeply concerned” about the latest number of hotspots in Sumatra which have “led to such a bad haze” here. “We are in touch with the Indonesian authorities to register our concern, and renew our offer of assistance. I will also speak to the Indonesian Minister for the Environment personally to convey the seriousness of the situation,” he said.

NEA also said that it has alerted Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment “on the haze situation experienced in Singapore, and urged the Indonesian authorities to look into urgent measures to mitigate the transboundary haze occurrence”. It added that it will “continue to monitor the situation closely and provide further updates when necessary”.

Given the hazy conditions, the NEA has advised children, the elderly and those with heart or lung diseases, to “reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor activities. Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy outdoor activities”.

Daily routines affected, GPs seeing more patients

Barclays economist Wai Ho Leong noted that the economic cost for Singapore can be “significant” if the haze persists, particularly in the services sector. “It could cast a pall on the Great Singapore Sale and divert would-be visitors to other parts of the world,” he told Bloomberg. Nevertheless, the effect of the haze was already felt by many on the island.

Deliveryman Lim Keng Hua, 50, said that visibility inside the Chin Swee Tunnel - where he was driving through yesterday afternoon - was “poor”. “I could not even see the lane markers,” he added.

The haze was the talk of town yesterday as the topic trended on social media with many netizens lamenting its adverse effects and sharing pictures of the hazy skies on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While the haze disrupted some people’s daily routines - as they chose to stay indoors - there were others who carried on their activities. For instance, when TODAY visited MacRitchie reservoir yesterday afternoon, some students were spotted undergoing their Co-Curricular Activity trainings during the school holidays - despite the Ministry of Education’s existing guidelines that outdoor physical education, sports and games are to be cancelled once the PSI reading hits the unhealthy range. Nevertheless, the teachers overseeing the trainings said that the students would not be asked to do any strenuous activity. One of them noted that they would exercise their own judgement on whether the training should be cancelled.

Still, canoeist Lum Tze Tian, a 23-year-old Nanyang Technological Undergraduate, abandoned his plans to train because of the haze. “I also advised my juniors to stop training because the situation is quite bad,” he said.

Some general practitioners whom TODAY spoke to also reported seeing more patients with haze-related ailments.

Noting the difficulty of identifying patients who are suffering ailments caused solely by the haze, Dr Choong Sheau Peng said that he has recently been seeing “about six to eight more cases per day” of patients who have asthma and skin problems.

Another GP, Dr Victor Teo, noted that conditions such as eczema, asthma and eye irritations- including like conjunctivitis- have been made worse by the haze. The proportion of patients with such issues has increased over the past one week.”

Loh
06-17-2013, 08:47 PM
The Straits Times
Published on Jun 17, 2013




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Picture of Klang Lane taken at 9.20 pm. The SINGAPORE government has urged the Indonesian authorities to take urgent measures to halt transboundary haze, as the haze clouding Singapore's skies crossed into the unhealthy range on Monday. -- PHOTO: VICTOR TAN JUN YANG

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Picture taken from Esplanade bridge about 12.40pm on June 17, 2013. The haze clouding Singapore's skies crossed into the unhealthy range on Monday. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

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The haze at Botanic Gardens around 7pm on Monday, June 17, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

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Pedestrians wait at a traffic light along Orchard Road around 6pm on Monday, June 17, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

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The haze seen from Raffles City Tower at 6.09pm on Monday, June 7, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN

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The haze seen from Pinnacle @Duxton at 6pm on Monday, June 17, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

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The haze seen from Toa Payoh North at 7pm on Monday, June 17, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

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The haze seen from Raffles City Tower at 6pm on Monday, June 17, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

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Chinatown Point. Photo taken at 11am. -- PHOTO: CAROL HO

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Millenia Tower. Photo taken at about 3pm on Monday. -- PHOTO: VERON C

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Photo taken from Twin Regency condominium towards Tiong Bahru Plaza. -- PHOTO: JEAN PONG

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Photo taken from Tanjong Pagar Int'l Plaza at about 1pm. -- PHOTO: LOI MOOI LENG

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Bukit Batok. Photo taken at about 1.48pm on Monday. -- PHOTO: TWITTER USER VANNVANZ

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Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Photo taken at about 2pm on Monday. PHOTO: TWITTER USER fashioncancer



By Grace Chua

THE SINGAPORE government has urged the Indonesian authorities to take urgent measures to halt transboundary haze, as the haze clouding Singapore's skies crossed into the unhealthy range on Monday.

At 11pm, the PSI was 150 - the highest since 1997, when the index peaked at 226.
Any reading above 100 is considered unhealthy.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he is "deeply concerned that the 113 hotspots detected over Sumatra (on 17 June 2013) have led to such a bad haze in Singapore".

He said the Government has been in touch with the Indonesian authorities "to register our concern, and renew our offer of assistance".

He will also speak to the Indonesian Environment Minister personally "to convey the seriousness of the situation".

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide further updates when necessary.

The haze was visible across the island, shrouding landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer on Monday. NEA said hazy conditions are expected to persist for the next few days.

People with heart and lung disease; children and older adults are advised to reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

Smoke from forest fires in Indonesia's Sumatra island, some deliberately started to clear forests for planting, has been carried by winds from the west and south-west to Singapore this week and to Malaysia, where it reached unhealthy levels over the weekend.

The number of Sumatran hot spots has been rising: on June 15, there were 101 hot spots, while on Sunday there were 138.

Loh
06-18-2013, 09:06 PM
Published on Jun 18, 2013
3:28 PM


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The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has appointed a new dean for its business school. Professor Ravi Kumar, 61, former vice-dean for international programmes and graduate programmes at the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School, will take over as dean of Nanyang Business School. -- PHOTO: NTU


By Pearl Lee

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has appointed a new dean for its business school.

Professor Ravi Kumar, 61, former vice-dean for international programmes and graduate programmes at the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School, will take over as dean of Nanyang Business School.

His appointment came after a comprehensive review of international candidates by a six-member search committee, led by Insead professor Gabriel Hawawini.

Previously, Prof Kumar also served as the dean of the College of Business at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. In a statement to the media, NTU provost Freddy Boey said: "Prof Kumar has a strong record of global and cross-cultural business leadership spanning many continents."

Loh
06-18-2013, 09:36 PM
POSTED: 18 Jun 2013 11:58 PM



SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and train operators are gearing up for the free pre-peak MRT travel trial next monday. Some businesses too have jumped on the bandwagon to offer freebies and tap into the enlarged pool of early commuters.

While it might be a comfortable ride for train commuters at 7.15am, the number of commuters travelling after 7.45am doubles, according to the LTA.

To ease congestion, LTA wants to get some 10 to 15 per cent of commuters to start their ride earlier. From June 24, those who do so will get a free ride -- if they exit at any of the 16 stations in the city before 7.45am.

Besides posters, the LTA is also running TV advertisements to nudge commuters into making the move.

However, not everyone is waking up to the idea.

One member of the public said: "I'll try it, maybe try it a few times to see how it goes and if it is good maybe I will adopt it. Good as in, whether it's smoother traffic, whether it's worth waking up earlier."

Early birds will get more than just a free ride, at least for the first three days of the trial. They will be able to redeem a free cup of coffee from 15 selected McDonald's restaurants in the city between 7 am and 8.15am. The redemption coupon will be published in the TODAY newspaper on Monday, June 24.

Ms Phyllis Cheung, managing director of McDonald's Restaurants (Singapore), said: "We believe more Singaporeans would be starting their day earlier with the launch of the free pre-peak travel trial here in Singapore. And we know how difficult it can be to drag ourselves out of bed sometimes, so the coffee giveaway is McDonald's way of applauding and rewarding office workers who are making a conscious effort to become the early birds at work.

"It's all about making these early mornings brighter and better for this group of commuters, and helping to fuel them up to get up and go."

Some 250,000 cans of the energy drink Redbull will also be given out at Raffles Place MRT.

Mr Lam Pin Woon, director of Allswell Trading, Singapore's distributor for Red Bull, said:

"The free MRT rides initiative is commendable and those taking action deserve some recognition, because overcrowding is an issue many Singaporeans who take public transport face daily. In fast-paced Singapore, it takes a lot of energy to work towards improving the community together.

"As such, Red Bull wants to take the initiative and do our part too, and we hope that our giveaway of the new Red Bull Less Sugar will provide commuters who have made the effort to change their travel schedule to head earlier into the city, a much-needed morning boost and keep them energised throughout the day!"

Mr Lam will also be on the ground to personally hand out cans to commuters.

Smaller food outlets however, are not planning to cash in on the early crowds just yet.

Some of the food and beverage outlets in Raffles Place said they will wait and see if the free travel scheme takes off before making any adjustments to their opening hours or offering special promotions to the early birds. Others said they are already open as early as 7am and do not see the need to adjust.

Train operator SMRT said it will monitor any significant changes in passengers' travel patterns before making adjustments.

These include increasing train frequencies and deploying more staff, as well as setting more fare gates at city stations to "exit" mode to allow more passengers to exit at any one time.

- CNA/ac

Loh
06-18-2013, 09:41 PM
Published on Jun 19, 2013
8:07 AM


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HDB flats in construction. More than $1 billion in grants has been given out by the Government to help low-income households get on the property ladder by buying their first HDB flat. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG


By Daryl Chin Property Correspondent

MORE than $1 billion in grants has been given out by the Government to help low-income households get on the property ladder by buying their first HDB flat.

This has benefited close to 60,000 first-timer households since 2006, the Housing Board said in a statement to The Straits Times.

There are two types of HDB housing grants available to citizens who earn less and whose needs are seen as greater when it comes to securing a permanent roof over their heads.

For instance, the Additional Housing Grant (AHG), introduced in 2006, gives up to $40,000 if the applicant's household income is less than $1,500 a month.

Loh
06-19-2013, 09:38 PM
22-year-old university is No. 8 in Times list of varsities under 50 years


Published on Jun 20, 2013
7:59 AM


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NTU students studying in the Lee Wee Nam Library before their examinations. The university took the No. 2 position in a similar ranking by London-based educational consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds last week. -- ST FILE PHOTO



By Amelia Teng

The Nanyang Technological University has made the top 10 in a ranking released yesterday for universities under 50 years old.

It came in eighth, moving up from the 16th spot last year, in the rankings published by Times Higher Education.

Its rise in the ranks comes about a week after the 22-year- old Singapore university took the No. 2 position in a similar ranking by London-based educational consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

The QS study released last Tuesday also ranked universities worldwide aged less than 50.

Loh
06-19-2013, 09:45 PM
Published on Jun 20, 2013
7:53 AM


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A fire blazes on peatlands on the outskirt of Pekanbaru in Indonesia's Riau province on June 19, 2013. Palm oil companies listed here have denied that they are using slash-and-burn practices on their plantations in Indonesia. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS


By Jonathan Kwok And Feng Zengkun


Palm oil companies listed here have denied that they are using slash-and-burn practices on their plantations in Indonesia.

The land-clearing technique is seen as a key cause of the haze crisis now engulfing Singapore and Malaysia, but the companies say they opt for a mechanical approach that includes using excavators and bulldozers.

Some companies added that they monitor contractors and sub-contractors to ensure they comply with the no-burn policy as well.

Singapore-listed First Resources, which has over 158,000ha of oil palm plantations, said yesterday that it adopts a zero-burning policy for new plantings and uses mechanical methods to clear land.

Its plantations are mostly in Riau, as well as East and West Kalimantan. "We are supported by contractors who are contractually bound to comply with the group's zero-burning policy," said a spokesman.

Indofood Agri Resources, with more than 230,000ha of oil palm plantations, mostly in Sumatra, and over 20,000ha of rubber trees, said sustainable agriculture is at the core of all its operations.

"I can confirm that IndoAgri has a zero-burning policy," chief executive Mark Wakeford said yesterday.

Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources, the two largest palm oil companies listed here by market value, also emphasised their zero-burning policies in statements to The Straits Times on Tuesday. Wilmar's plantations are in Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.

Golden Agri, with a planted area of about 464,000ha across Indonesia, added yesterday that it monitors its processes stringently to ensure its contractors comply.

United States commodities giant Cargill, which is privately held, said it has a no-burn policy, and added that there are no hot spots or fires at its oil palm plantations in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan, which together cover close to 55,000ha.

It added that it uses heavy equipment like excavators to clear the land, with Cargill employees overseeing the entire process.

Environmental groups noted that while companies may have no-burn policies, they also buy palm oil from third-party suppliers. "What they need to do is check whether the third-party suppliers are involved in the burning or not," said Mr Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's forest campaign in Indonesia.

Dr John Payne, executive director of the Borneo Rhino Alliance, said palm oil companies and those in other sectors need to know how their raw material suppliers are behaving.

Loh
06-19-2013, 09:50 PM
Published on Jun 19, 2013
11:04 PM


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HDB flats in Toa Payoh shrouded in haze at 9.10pm on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Singapore's air is now "hazardous" as the Pollutant Standards Index soared to 321 at 10pm, the worst reading in its history. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN



By Feng Zengku

SINGAPORE'S air is now "hazardous" as the Pollutant Standards Index soared to 321 at 10pm, the worst reading in its history.

Air becomes "hazardous" when the index passes 300. The previous worst reading was 226, in 1997.

The Singapore Armed Forces has stopped all outfield training until further notice. Several other organisations such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force and Ministry of Home Affairs all reduced physical and outdoor training when the index crossed 100, while NTUC FairPrice has issued face masks to all of its pump attendants at its petrol stations.

Earlier on Wednesday, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan acknowledged that Singaporeans are "very frustrated, angry and distressed about the situation".

Both Dr Balakrishnan and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam spoke to their Indonesian counterparts on Tuesday to urge them to take tougher action against companies responsible for the illegal burning.

The National Environment Agency said on Tuesday night that haze is likely to last for the next few days, and is the result of fires in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Loh
06-19-2013, 09:53 PM
Published on Jun 19, 2013
7:49 PM


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An AirAsia Airbus A320 passenger jet lands at Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang on the outskirts of Jakarta on Jan 30, 2013. Low-cost carrier AirAsia has announced they will now fly direct from Singapore to two more Indonesian cities, Medan and Surabaya. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS



By Stacey Chia


Low-cost carrier AirAsia has announced they will now fly direct from Singapore to two more Indonesian cities, Medan and Surabaya.

There will be two flights every day to and from Medan, and one flight daily to and from Surabaya.

The AirAsia spokesman said the expansion into Indonesia is a result of the demand the airline has been witnessing so far, among both leisure and business travellers.

Chief executive of Indonesia AirAsia, Mr Dharmadi, said more routes to Indonesia can be expected in the years to come.

Loh
06-23-2013, 10:47 PM
Change in wind direction sends the worst of the pollution to Malaysia



Published on Jun 24, 2013
8:00 AM


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Generic shot of bluish- gray sky on Sunday afternoon, which saw the haze slowly dissipate. Singapore can expect to see clearer skies and healthier air for the next few days than it did last week, while Malaysia bears the brunt of the haze, as the wind is projected to blow the bulk of it there. -- ST PHOTO: EDWARD TEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES




By Feng Zengkun Environment Correspondent


SINGAPORE can expect to see clearer skies and healthier air for the next few days than it did last week, while Malaysia bears the brunt of the haze, as the wind is projected to blow the bulk of it there.

Weather services director Patricia Ee at Meteorological Service Singapore said air quality improved here yesterday because low-level winds over the Republic changed direction from southwesterly to southerly, and these conditions are expected to persist for the next few days.

Thus, air quality here is expected to remain "moderate" today, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) projected to be in the 51-100 range.
Even so, because the levels of small, toxic particles called PM2.5 are still quite high, the Government is sticking to a stricter health advisory.

Thus, pregnant women, the elderly and children are still advised to curtail outdoor activities that last several hours, while those with chronic lung and heart diseases should avoid all outdoor activities if possible.

Ms Ee said "very unhealthy" air was initially forecast for yesterday, but the projection had to be revised when the change in wind direction led to cleaner air.

She said Singapore is so small that even minor shifts in wind direction will result in the haze being blown over to Malaysia.

Ministers and experts here warned that Singapore was not out of the woods yet.

Speaking to reporters earlier yesterday, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin noted that Indonesia was only at the start of its dry season.

"The season extends all the way to September, and that's a few more months."

Nanyang Technological University's Professor Euston Quah, who has published groundbreaking studies on air pollution and transboundary haze, said: "Whenever you have an intense dry season, there is a fear that nature itself could spark a fire."

Dr Benjamin Grandey from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology was sceptical about Indonesia's attempt to artificially create rain.

"Deep convective clouds and clouds in general are very complicated. I do not believe cloud-seeding can be used with any degree of skill to influence the weather in the way people want."

Loh
06-23-2013, 10:53 PM
Japanese start-up's new technique uses little water and no soil



Published on Jun 24, 2013
8:00 AM




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A tomato farm in Isehara city which uses the Imec technique (above), where Mr Iimura grows sweet mini tomatoes. -- PHOTOS: GINZA NOEN, KWAN WENG KIN

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A tomato farm in Isehara city which uses the Imec technique, where Mr Iimura (above) grows sweet mini tomatoes. -- PHOTOS: GINZA NOEN, KWAN WENG KIN




By Kwan Weng Kin Japan Correspondent In Tokyo

Growing sweet mini tomatoes without soil or copious amounts of water?

That's what one Japanese agricultural start-up plans to do in Singapore.

"We have been growing tomatoes successfully on an experimental basis in Japan using a new farming technique," said Mr Kazuki Iimura, 38, who heads the start-up called Ginza Noen.

"So we figured we could do the same in Singapore."

Loh
06-23-2013, 11:06 PM
SINGAPORE: About 100 tertiary students got a chance on Sunday to feel what it's like to be a Member of Parliament.

The 2013 Singapore Model Parliament allows youths to gain an insight into the policy making process in simulated parliamentary settings.

Participants debated on various national issues such as transport, workplace productivity and the quality of pre-school education.

Chipping in with their experience were Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor.

The three-day event was organised by REACH Youth Ambassadors from NUS, the NUS Political Science Society, and the Pro Bono Office of the NUS Faculty of Law.

Dr Khor said: “Policy making goes way beyond parliament sittings. A lot of work is involved in preparing for the Bills before they are actually tabled, a lot of discussion, a lot of research, a lot of analysis and actually a lot of public consultations too… It is also useful, in terms of helping the public to better understand some of these issues and some of these concerns."


- CNA/jc

Loh
06-23-2013, 11:17 PM
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But SEA Games qualification eludes her this time


TODAY

ByAmir Yusof (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amir-yusof)

8 hours 44 sec ago

SINGAPORE — It was only her second competitive outing in the event, but that did not prevent Dipna Lim-Prasad from setting a national record in the women’s 400m hurdles.

The national hurdler yesterday clocked 60.58secs to win the final at the 75th Singapore Open Track and Field Championship at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. In the process, she bettered the previous mark of 61.69sec set by T Piriyah at the 2010 Asian Junior Vietnam Open.

Lim-Prasad told TODAY that her performance took her by surprise, considering she had only switched from the 100m recently.

“My focus for now is to qualify for the upcoming South-east Asian (SEA) Games at the end of the year,” said Lim-Prasad, 22, who competed at last year’s London Olympics.

The athlete, who edged out runner-up Airi Ito of Japan (61.41sec) and third-placed W P E R Dulakshi of Sri Lanka (62.17sec) to win the race, also owns the national women’s 100m hurdles record of 14.23sec set at the 2011 Taiwan Open.

But the Nanyang Technological University undergraduate missed out on qualifying for the event at this December’s SEA Games in Myanmar by 0.90sec, and will have another attempt at this week’s Hong Kong Inter-City Athletics Championship.

Her Russian coach Viatcheslav Vassiliev felt Lim-Prasad’s form was remarkable given the “unfavourable conditions” caused by the haze, which caused organisers to postpone Saturday’s programme to yesterday.

“The haze disrupted Dipna’s training over the past week and the uncertain scheduling of the Singapore Open brought unnecessary pressure on her,” said Vassiliev, 49. “I’m confident she can better her timing with a better frame of mind.”

Also missing out on SEA Games qualification yesterday was nine-time SEA Games men’s discus champion James Wong, whose best throw of 48.13m was short of the qualifying mark of 50.26m. “I just did not feel the intensity. The release just wasn’t there. But with better preparation, I will make the mark in time. The Vietnam Open in July is a good opportunity,” said Wong, 44.

Others who missed out were the national women’s 4x400m team of Wendy Enn, Shanti Pereira, Lim-Prasad and Piriyah and the national men’s 4x100m relay team of Muhd Elfi Mustapa, Calvin Kang, Lee Cheng Wei and Muhd Amiruddin Jamal.

Loh
06-24-2013, 10:32 PM
Published on Jun 24, 2013

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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has apologised for the haze that had blanketed Singapore and Malaysia in recent days and continues to remain a threat in coming days. -- FILE PHOTO: AP



By Zakir Hussain

JAKARTA - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has apologised for the haze that had blanketed Singapore and Malaysia in recent days and continues to remain a threat in coming days.

“For what has happened, as President, I say sorry and seek the understanding of our relatives in Singapore and Malaysia,” he said.

“Indonesia had no intention to cause this. And we will continue to bear responsibility to overcome what has happened,” he said in a televised press conference at his office on Monday evening.

Dr Yudhoyono’s comments came as Indonesia stepped up its response to the haze with forest fires in Riau continuing to spread, amid efforts to control them by cloud-seeding and water-bombing, and after some of his ministers had hit out at neighbouring countries’ reactions to the haze.

“There are statements from several office-holders that I feel need not be put across that way,” he said.

“Sometimes the facts have not been checked, and that becomes an issue. This has become a concern from Singapore and also Malaysia,” he added.

“There are statements that contradict one another. I have instructed officers that there is no need to give statements like these.”

“If there are companies at fault – whether they are from Indonesia, or foreign companies, there’s no need to say that,” he added.

“What is needed is to focus all efforts on overcoming the haze and burning. Enforcement action will continue – we leave that to police and the authorities. There is no need to discriminate.”

“Whether it is an Indonesian company or foreign company, the law will be applied firmly and fairly.

Loh
06-24-2013, 10:49 PM
Commentary


It’s time for MPs and grassroots leaders to be seen rallying and helping people. This is also a test for Singapore society - how much are we willing to do for each other?



By Devadas Krishnadas (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/devadas-krishnadas)

21 June

Singapore is facing a multi-dimensional crisis due to the haze. The crisis has an environmental origin but it is manifesting itself upon several planes – health is the most obvious.

However, given the acute and protracted nature of the phenomenon, we will soon see the effects on social, economic and political dimensions as well. How will we, as a nation, cope with the haze? What needs to be done?

First, the nature of the challenge must be recognised by the political, corporate and social leaders. The haze poses structural and persistent risks to Singaporeans and the Singaporean economy. It is likely to disrupt the economic, educational and social routines and for a protracted period of time, measured in months, not weeks or days.

Second, the Government must recognise that its responsibility is first and foremost to the well-being of its people and not the important but ultimately secondary consideration of maintaining good international relations.

If required, we can afford to tear and repair the bilateral relationship with Indonesia, but what we cannot expect is to tear and repair the relationship of trust between our leaders and Singaporeans. That has much more divisive and insidious consequences.

Singapore has to get tough with Indonesia to ensure that the effective action is taken at the origin of the problem. What good is a long working relationship if it is of little help when we need it most? Financial sanctions and diplomatic action at international forums such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations should be considered, should our entreaties to the Indonesian government be met with further recalcitrance or petulance as evident by comments by certain Indonesian politicians.

A TEST FOR SOCIETY AND LEADERS

Third, the Government needs to get ahead of the crisis and not play catch up. It should mechanise to deal with the anticipated economic and social fall-out from the haze. The economy, already performing only marginally, may need buttressing. Social cohesion will need reinforcing through active leadership at the ground level.

It is time for Members of Parliament and grassroots leaders to be seen and not hidden by the haze, in rallying the people and helping to make adjustments or provide assistance at the local level. In this respect, it is important for Government and opposition leaders alike to go beyond partisanship and be leaders not of party but of people – come together and work for the common good.

Fourth, this is a test for Singapore society. This crisis shows us that as much as we have differences, our lot is fundamentally a common one.

The haze does not recognise political or wealth boundaries. We are in this together and because of which, how we come out of it will be less a measure of our external actions as our internal ones. How do we empathise with each other? How much are we willing to do for each other?

Can we get along well enough so that at the person to person, family to family, neighbour to neighbour level, we make accommodations so we can adapt to survive? To put it bluntly, we cannot ‘wayang’ our way through this – it is going to require genuine and sincere social inclusiveness and cohesion from the individual level up for us to tough this out till clearer days.

We can use the haze crisis to leave Singapore better, but only if we want to be the best for Singapore.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Devadas Krishnadas is the Founder and Director of Future-Moves, and the Editor of IPS Commons. This article first appeared at future-moves.com.

Loh
06-24-2013, 11:06 PM
By Amanda Lee (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amanda-lee)

7 hours 52 min ago

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) will be urging its members against doing business with “culprit organisations” which are contributing to the haze situation, and called on the Indonesian government to investigate and reveal the identities of perpetrators of the haze. The federation — one of two local business associations to speak out about the haze yesterday — said it will encourage its members to purchase from organisations with “proven effective ‘no burn’ policies”.

“We strongly disapprove of the irresponsible burning in Sumatra that has caused the severe haze in Singapore and the region. The ramifications are not only on the manufacturing sector, but also on other industries in Singapore and regionally,” the SMF said.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) on its part called on companies to implement appropriate risk mitigation measures and put workers’ safety and welfare as the priority. It also urged companies to follow Ministry of Manpower guidelines on protecting employees against the effects of haze at the workplace.

It has also proposed a collaboration with its Indonesian counterpart to develop innovative solutions to the annual haze problem. SBF Chairman Tony Chew said the Indonesian association leader, Mr Suryo Sulisto, is supportive of the idea. The SBF has also sought the assistance of the association in a joint initiative to promote and institutionalise healthy and sustainable environmental practices in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Loh
06-24-2013, 11:17 PM
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Despite sovereignty issues, Govt’s duty is to safeguard citizens’ health and security, says minister


22 June

SINGAPORE — Noting that the raging forest fires in Sumatra have a “global environmental impact” - on top of the choking haze that has shrouded the Republic for the past week - Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam urged Indonesia to take “decisive action” and repeated Singapore’s commitment to offer assistance “at all levels” to address the situation.

Speaking at a press conference today held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Shanmugam also responded to criticisms that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been ineffective in fixing the longstanding haze issue.

He added that he has directed the Attorney General to look into what actions Singapore can take against errant companies that were proven to have “contributed in some way” to the problem. By this weekend, the authorities will have a clear idea of what is within their powers.

On the provocative remarks made by some Indonesian ministers towards Singapore’s reaction to the haze, Mr Shanmugam reiterated that it is “not so productive to be trading accusations”. “We are used to being called a little red dot,” he said. Referring to comments made during the 2006 haze episode by Indonesia’s then-Forestry Minister M S Kaban, Mr Shanmugam added: “Previously... another Indonesian minister said that we should be thankful for the oxygen that the Indonesia’s forests give us so why are we complaining about the haze. Those sorts of attitudes, I think people can see are not best designed to deal with the problem.”

“Likewise, comments to say we are childish because we are complaining when the haze reaches hazardous levels... people can judge for themselves. Our primary focus really is, solve the problem.”

Still, he pointed out that these comments - which do not carry “the same tone of cooperation” which Singapore has enjoyed with Indonesia over the years - do not “characterise all of our dealings with Indonesia”.

In response to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa’s latest remark that Indonesia will not apologise for the haze, Mr Shanmugam said that Singapore is not looking for an apology. “What we want is for the problem to be solved and that’s really the point,” he said.

Mr Shanmugam stressed that the haze was a transboundary problem and the Singapore Government’s “primary duty has to be safeguarding the health and security of Singaporeans. We cannot allow this situation to continue and do nothing and say nothing”.

Outlining all the steps that Singapore has taken over the past few days to engage the Indonesian government - including trips to Jakarta made by ministers and officials to attend meetings and speak with their counterparts - Mr Shanmugam noted that to date, the Republic’s offer of assistance such providing resources to put out the fires has not been taken up by Indonesia.

Nevertheless, Indonesia has agreed to bring forward a meeting of ASEAN environment ministers which was originally scheduled to be held in August.

Mr Shanmugam said that he will also be bringing up the haze issue at an ASEAN ministerial meeting held in Brunei next week. He will be accompanied by Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu.

Mr Shanmugam said: “Depending on what steps are taken - because we have to see concrete results in terms of the impact on us - we’ll have to decide what other fora this has to be discussed.”

‘DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND’ INDONESIA’S NON-RATIFICATION OF TREATY
When asked to comment on criticisms on the lack of concrete actions over the years and the perception of ASEAN as a “paper tiger” which is toothless to take member states to task, Mr Shanmugam said that he understood such sentiments and conceded that “there are limits to what regional bodies can do”.

“Nevertheless, ASEAN and international organisations prove a useful and important platform for issues to be raised and countries have to then account for their actions and that by itself has had in the past, effect (and) impact in the conduct of countries,” he pointed out.

He noted that Indonesia remains the ASEAN member state which has not ratified the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution that was inked in 2002.

“But for some reason which is difficult for us to understand, the Indonesian parliament has taken the view that this treaty is not in the interest of Indonesia. I say difficult to understand because it helps the Indonesian people as much as it helps anyone else because they are also suffering from the haze.”

On whether there was a need to bring up the haze problem to international bodies such as the United Nations, Mr Shanmugam said that the option was open and it has “not been ruled in or out”.

Turning his attention to the errant companies - the Indonesian government has identified eight firms, including Jakarta-based Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Asia Pacific Resources International which also have links to Singapore - Mr Shanmugam said the Singapore authorities will know “what we can or cannot do by this weekend”.

He added that first and foremost, he hoped to see “strong firm effective action” taken against errant companies in Indonesia as “that’s where the actions are taking place”.

“We would really like to see firm quick action, and any assistance we can render in that respect, we will do so, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

On the mitigation measures rolled out domestically, Mr Shanmugam assured Singaporeans that there will be enough N95 masks as they are being manufactured here. “Let’s not underestimate the problem, it has serious consequences, both economically and for the country as a whole. That’s why... we have been taking this seriously.

In response to criticisms made by some who questioned why the Singapore Government cannot do more about the situation, Mr Shanmugam said: “If it was within our control we will never allow this to happen. My point to Singaporeans is we will continue to do our best, please understand the limitations of international relationships and foreign policy and the fact that every country is sovereign and we have limited control over what happens in Indonesia.”

“The deep unhappiness of Singaporeans over what is happening is entirely understandable, and my own belief is that most Singaporeans also understand that Singapore is doing what it can and these are not being caused within Singapore.”

Loh
06-25-2013, 09:21 PM
The Straits Times

Published on Jun 26, 2013
8:22 AM


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Villagers sit on their motorcycles as they get ready to leave their homes as a fire burns a palm oil plantation in the Bangko Pusako district in Rokan Hilir, in Indonesia's Riau province June 22, 2013. The parent companies of the Indonesian firms included Malaysia-listed Sime Darby and Singapore's Wilmar Group. Singapore has warned the "haze" - which has fuelled fears about health problems and raised diplomatic tension in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia - could last for weeks, or even longer. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS


By Alvin Foo

Three firms accused of starting fires that led to the haze crisis are units of some of Malaysia's largest public companies, while another is linked to a fund that helps Malaysian Muslims save for pilgrimages.

Indonesia last week pinpointed eight firms as being responsible for setting fires to clear land.

Two of the slash-and-burn suspects are units of Sime Darby Plantation, which is part of Sime Darby, a conglomerate with a market value of RM56.7 billion (S$22.5 billion) and 100,000 staff in more than 20 countries.

Another company being investigated is a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK), a giant company with plantation, resource-based manufacturing and property interests. It has a market value of RM22.5 billion.

A fourth, PT Multi Gambut Industri, is a subsidiary of Malaysia's Lembaga Tabung Haji, the pilgrimage fund board that runs a scheme helping Malaysian Muslims save for their pilgrimage to Mecca.

CIMB regional economist Song Seng Wun said: "Sime Darby and KLK are very large Malaysian companies with a long history. Sime Darby is seen as a government-linked company, while KLK is a family-controlled Chinese business."

Sime Darby Plantation is one of the world's largest palm oil producers, accounting for 2.44 million tonnes, or about 5 per cent of global crude palm oil output yearly.

It has plantations in Malaysia, Liberia and Indonesia's Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi. In Singapore, the Sime Darby brand is known through Sime Darby Motors, which distributes BMW cars.

The conglomerate, whose roots go back to the 19th century, also has interests in industrial equipment, energy and utilities, and health care.

Similarly, KLK started as a plantation company over a century ago. It has a land bank of over 250,000ha across Malaysia and Indonesia's Belitung Island, Sumatra, and central and east Kalimantan.

KLK's chief executive is Malaysian tycoon Lee Oi Hian, who has been named with his brother Lee Hau Hian as one of Malaysia's 40 richest by Forbes, with a combined net worth of US$1.1 billion (S$1.2 billion).

The group has now diversified into property development. It also owned retailer of bath and body products Crabtree & Evelyn, which was sold last year for US$155 million.

Both Sime Darby Plantation and KLK have denied involvement in the fires, adding that they have strict no-burning policies.

Sime Darby Plantation said its units operate in areas where there are local communities and smallholders occupying parts of the concession area linked to the haze, and they are unable to control activities in areas occupied by others.

KLK said on Monday that the purported concession area under PT Adei Plantation is mainly planted with mature palms, with no land-clearing for new plantings.

PT Multi Gambut Industri is now known as PT TH Indo Plantations. Its parent, the Lembaga Tabung Haji, said it is not involved in any open burning activities.

Aside from Sime Darby's PT Bhumireksa Nusa Sejati and PT Tunggal Mitra Plantation, and KLK's PT Adei Plantation, the others named are PT Langgam Inti Hibrindo, PT Udaya Loh Dinawi, PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa, and PT Mustika Agro Lestari.

On Monday, the Association of Plantation Investors of Malaysia in Indonesia said Malaysian firms are not involved in clearing Indonesian land using fire. Its executive secretary, Mr Nor Hazlan Abdul Mutalib, told Bernama: "Plantation owners have to set aside 20 per cent of land to nurture smallholders in oil palm planting. It is a common practice for the smallholders to clear the land by fire."

alfoo@sph.com.sg
Additional reporting by Chia Yan Min


Background story

Wilmar, Golden Agri admit links

TWO of the world's biggest palm oil companies - Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources - have admitted that they do business with some of the eight named companies being investigated for starting haze-related fires in Indonesia.

Both Singapore-listed companies said they are in the midst of reviewing these dealings.

The eight firms are among the 14 being investigated so far by Indonesia for the fires.

Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil processor, said it conducts business "with some of these companies as they have assured (it) that they have a no-burn policy". It is checking with these firms to ascertain their involvement.

A Wilmar spokesman said: "However, should they be found to be involved in burning to clear land for cultivation, we will stop doing business with them."

A Golden Agri spokesman said: "We have some transactions with a few of the named companies, and the management is in the process of reviewing these."

Loh
06-25-2013, 09:27 PM
Published on Jun 25, 2013
5:47 PM

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The Singapore Botanic Gardens has been named the top park in Asia based on feedback by travellers on online travel site, TripAdvisor. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


By Melissa Lin

The Singapore Botanic Gardens has been named the top park in Asia based on feedback by travellers on online travel site, TripAdvisor.

The site announced the winners of its inaugural Travellers' Choice Attractions awards on Tuesday. These were determined based on the quality and quantity of travellers' reviews in each of the categories.

The awards honour 1,263 of the world's top landmarks, parks, museums and amusement and water parks, with winners found in 39 countries.

Universal Studios Singapore came in second in the list of top 10 amusement and water parks in Asia, losing out to Indonesia's Waterbom Bali. The Asian Civilisations Museum was named one of the top museums in the region, taking the twelfth spot, while the Singapore Flyer was named the top landmark in Singapore. TripAdvisor's chief marketing officer Barbara Messing said the top attractions were named based on feedback from millions worldwide and were meant to "inspire travellers setting out on summer trips".

Loh
06-25-2013, 09:32 PM
Published on Jun 25, 2013
4:54 PM


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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore "wholeheartedly" accepts Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's apology for the haze, and welcomed his promise to spare no efforts in tackling the serious problem. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA



By Rachel Chang

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore "wholeheartedly" accepts Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's apology for the haze, and welcomed his promise to spare no efforts in tackling the serious problem.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Lee said that Dr Yudhoyono's apology, made on Monday in a televised press conference, was gracious.

Referring to Dr Yudhoyono's pledge for the Indonesian police to take the necessary legal action against those responsible for the forest fires that have produced the haze, Mr Lee said that he hoped for "swift and sustained action."

He also reiterated Singapore's offer of assistance to Indonesia to put out the fires.

"Singapore stands ready to work closely with Indonesia, Malaysia and others in the region to bring to an end the haze-related problems which have plagued our region. We need to put in place a permanent solution to prevent this problem from recurring annually," he said.

Loh
06-25-2013, 09:38 PM
Published on Jun 25, 2013
12:16 PM


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Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Aloysius Joseph (left) training Afghan soldiers on the detection and identification of improvised explosive devices in Oruzgan. All Singaporean troops will be brought home from Afghanistan by June 2013, as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officially ends its six-year deployment there. -- PHOTO: MINDEF



By Fabian Koh

With the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the final stages of taking over full security responsibilities for their country, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) concluded its deployment there in a ceremony last Saturday at the Multinational Base Tarin Kowt located in Oruzgan.

It was attended by Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Ravinder Singh, Commander of Australian forces in the Middle East MG Michael Peter Crane, and Commander Regional Command South MG Robert B. Abrams.

The SAF has deployed close to 500 personnel to Afghanistan since May 2007 as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), contributing their expertise in areas such as humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts, as well as training the ANSF.

Describing this deployment as one of the longest and most wide-ranging overseas deployments for the SAF, MG Singh said, "Our soldiers have consistently demonstrated a high level of professionalism and commitment in carrying out their duties. We are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the global fight against terrorism and help the Afghan people."

Loh
06-25-2013, 10:11 PM
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TODAY

By Low Lin Fhoong (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/low-lin-fhoong)


13 hours 41 min ago

SINGAPORE – Former national paddler Sun Beibei and husband Xu Qiang welcomed a new addition to their family early this morning (June 25) with the birth of their baby girl, nicknamed An An, at the Thomson Medical Centre.

The 28-year-old went into labour at 5am on Tuesday morning, and her firstborn was delivered naturally some 90 minutes later. Despite arriving four days after her scheduled delivery date, An An weighed in at a healthy 3.2kg and measured 50 cm in height.

First-time parents Sun and Xu were happy to welcome their bundle of joy, as they said in a statement: “Our new baby has given us immense pleasure and happiness. We hope that our baby girl will grow up strong and healthy.”

A member of the women’s team that claimed a bronze at the London Games, Sun – along with teammates Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu – had announced her retirement from competitive table tennis after the 2012 London Olympic Games. She was then appointed coach of the youth players in the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s School Within a School programme with the Singapore Sports School.

Loh
06-25-2013, 10:18 PM
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Quah won the women’s 50m butterfly in 27.54 sec to meet the event’s ‘B’ qualifying time for next month’s World Championships in Barcelona. Photo: Wee Teck Hian



By Tan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)

7 hours 6 min ago

SINGAPORE — After a difficult past couple of years, national swimmer Quah Ting Wen is optimistic she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

The 20-year-old yesterday won the women’s 50m butterfly in 27.54 sec, the first event of the Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) at the Singapore Sports School. She met the event’s “B” qualifying time of 27.77 sec for next month’s World Championships in Barcelona, while Marina Chan and Mylene Ong were joint second in 27.96 sec.

United States-based Quah, who has one more year before she completes her four-year communications course at the University of Southern California, believes her performance is a good sign. “To do a personal best in an event I don’t normally race in was unexpected,” she said.

“Although I don’t expect to eventually get selected for this event for the World Championship, as Tao Li has posted a better time, it is a good start for me here, particularly after the past year or so, when I broke my arm, which affected my form. I missed the 2011 SEA Games and several other meets and it had a domino effect, as I also missed the London Olympics.”

The SNSC is the only local qualifier for the SEA Games and the last opportunity to make the cut for the World Championships (July 19-Aug 4).

Quah is also racing in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, the 100m and 200m fly and the 50m backstroke this week.

Having won five golds at the 2009 SEA Games, Quah wants another shot at the Dec 11-22 Games in Myanmar. But as the format of the SNSC could change depending on the haze — if the PSI rises to hazardous levels, the results of the heats could be used as the final times — she is focusing on what she can control. “Since I got back, training had been affected, with sessions shortened, postponed or cancelled,” she said. “We all have to deal with it and prepare as best as we can.”

Also meeting the “B” qualifying times for next month’s World Championships were Samantha Yeo in the women’s 50m breaststroke and Tao Li in the women’s 50m backstroke.

Samantha, 16, won her race in 33.01 sec, ahead of Phee Jing En (34.27) and Cheryl Lim (34.37), to go under the “B” benchmark of 33.12 sec, while Tao, 23, won her race in 29.13 sec, ahead of Lynette Ng (30.48) and Malaysia’s Caroline Chan (30.69), to meet the “B” timing of 29.85 sec. TAN YO-HINN

Loh
06-25-2013, 10:35 PM
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The former Bidadari Cemetary is almost as big as four-and-a-half National Stadiums and is home to tombstones of 21 notable Singapore pioneers. Photo: Don Wong



National Heritage Board calls for tender to conduct research on cemetery before redevelopment


By NG JING YNG (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/ng-jing-yng)

7 hours 14 min ago

SINGAPORE — The National Heritage Board (NHB) will be documenting the historical elements of the former Bidadari Cemetery and its surroundings, which have been slated to be turned into a housing estate.

According to a tender called by the NHB on June 5, it is seeking an agency to “conduct research and to prepare a detailed report on the heritage of the former Bidadari Cemetery and the wider Bidadari estate”. Among other things, the project due by August will include an account of the developments and events that have taken place as well as the origins and history of the place — one of Singapore’s oldest burial grounds. The NHB has also asked vendors to conduct interviews with relevant individuals.

In February, the Government announced Bidadari as one of three new housing estates, alongside Tampines North and Tengah. The authorities later assured that the development of Bidadari, which is set to offer 11,000 units over the next three years and is located at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Upper Aljunied Road, will incorporate its green landscape and historical elements.

The former cemetery includes the Bidadari Garden, which is home to tombstones of 21 notable Singapore pioneers. They include medical doctor and social reformer Lim Boon Keng and former Speaker of Parliament George Oehlers. Dr Lim and Song Ong Siang, a lawyer who was also buried at Bidadari, founded the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School in 1899.

The former Bidadari Cemetery, which is almost as big as four-and-a-half National Stadiums, is currently used by joggers. The graves were exhumed in 2001.

Responding to media queries, the NHB said: “This project is in preparation for the development of Bidadari estate.” Adding that the NHB and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be working closely on the project, the NHB spokesperson said:

“Bidadari’s history and heritage elements will be considered in the planning of the (Bidadari estate).”

Heritage and history experts TODAY spoke to applauded the NHB’s efforts to consider historical elements during the Bidadari development process, noting that the move signified an increased awareness in preserving Singapore’s heritage.

Last year, the Government’s decision to build a road through the Bukit Brown Cemetery drew flak from both conservation and nature groups. Some parties felt that there was a lack of consultation before plans were finalised, while others were up in arms over the loss of nature and heritage spaces in the country.

History academic Goh Geok Yian from Nanyang Technological University felt that the Bukit Brown episode could have been “instrumental” in alerting the NHB to the importance of documenting gravestones and other structures in Bidadari.

She suggested giving members of the public a chance to participate in the research process, including giving views on how they want historical places to be remembered.

“Places, like the Bidadari estate and cemetery, form parts of a history of Singapore which is multifaceted and longer,” said Dr Goh. “The obliteration of many of these places only serves to make our country’s history poorer and less interesting.”

Singapore Heritage Society Vice-President Chua Ai Lin said that it is important to provide urban planners with the research findings during the early stages of development, “so that the research can inform the planning in a meaningful way”.

“It is important not to look at Singapore as if it is a blank slate, but to incorporate a sense of continuity from the past in our future plans,” she added.

Loh
06-25-2013, 11:17 PM
SINGAPORE - The 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships kicked off on Tuesday.

And Singapore's queen Tao Li set a new record of 29.13 seconds in the 50-metre backstroke.

Tao Li's excellent time also meant that she qualified for the FINA World Championship in Barcelona, Spain, next month.

Tao edged out fellow Singaporean Lynette Ng, who clocked 30.48 seconds.

Malaysia's Caroline Chan was third in 30.69 seconds.


- CNA/de

Loh
06-26-2013, 11:17 PM
Published on Jun 27, 2013
10:02 AM




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Longest man-made waterway at Punggol Waterway. It was opened in October 2011 and is the focal point of the 12.3ha Waterway Park. Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

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Cyclists and joggers along Punggol Waterway in the direction towards Jewel Bridge during sunset on Aug 19, 2012. Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

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My Waterway @Punggol, a 4.2km man-made river that runs right through Punggol Town. Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI



By Kash Cheong


Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. It plans to ramp this up to about 6000sq m over the next three to five years. It is also looking at adding approximately another 500sq m of floating wetlands in the same period.

This was after successfully test-bedding it with an existing 50 sq m, said Senior Principal Architect Alan Tan.These two projects will cost $1.8 million and $850,000 respectively.

HDB's Punggol Waterway project was given the Minister for National Development R&D distinguished award for being a living laboratory for green innovation.

A project that turns waste concrete into high value construction material was given the merit award. This was jointly done by the Building and Construction Authority and construction firm SamWoh Corporation.

Loh
06-26-2013, 11:21 PM
Published on Jun 27, 2013
8:45 AM

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An artist’s impression of Northshore, which will be the first public housing district to be fully connected to an LRT station via a path one level above the ground. The walkway will also lead out to Punggol’s coastal promenade. -- PHOTO: HOUSING BOARD



By Charissa Yong

Residents in an upcoming Punggol district will have the most extensive second-storey walkway in Singapore, linking them block to block from LRT station to the sea.

Northshore will be the first public housing district to be fully connected to an LRT station via a path one level above the ground. The walkway, which will be lined with greenery, leads out to Punggol's coastal promenade.

Similar corridors which connect carparks to Housing Board blocks or malls to MRT stations already exist, but are not so extensive, said the Housing Board.

Ground-floor void decks will still be present but transformed into high-ceiling atriums with greenery and open spaces, revealed HDB Building Research Institute director Larry Cheng in an interview yesterday.

Loh
06-26-2013, 11:34 PM
Despite hard lessons along the way, zoo is now one of the world's best



Published on Jun 27, 2013
8:44 AM


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Assistant director of zoology Alagappasamy Chellaiyah feeding Bornean orang utans at the Singapore Zoo. -- PHOTO: DESMOND LUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

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Schoolchildren watch as "Inuka", a male polar bear, swims in its pool enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on May 29, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

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Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics swims in his new enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 in Singapore. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

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The white tiger is a star attraction at the Singapore Zoo. -- FILE PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK

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A zookeeper feeding the African striped deer in the Singapore Zoo. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

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With a little help from her flexible trunk, Gambir the elephant raises the national flag up a flagpole while her fellow elephants raise their trunks in a salute. -- ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

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People at the entrance of the Singapore Zoological Gardens, located in Mandai. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ZOO

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Zoo icon Ah Meng having ''tea'' with model Margaret Pye for a Canon camera advertisement photo shoot in 1981. With them were the ad agency’s creative director, Ms Catherina Ng, and Ms Ng’s daughter. At the end of the three-hour session, Ah Meng picked up a $500 ''modelling fee'' for the zoo. -- ST FILE PHOTO

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Children stroking lion cubs put on show for the first time at the zoo on Jan 4, 1974. They were among 1,000 visitors who spent the Hari Raya Haji holiday at the zoo. -- ST FILE PHOTO



By Melissa Lin


THE thought of a panther or bears escaping from the Singapore Zoo - regarded as one of the top zoos in the world today - and its staff keeping quiet about it may be hard to fathom now.

Yet that was exactly what happened 40 years ago, when its staff were still inexperienced, said one of the zoo's pioneer zookeepers, Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah.
But the iconic zoo, which celebrates its 40th birthday today, has come a long way, he added.

The 62-year-old, who joined the zoo in 1971 and is now the assistant director of zoology, recalled when two sun bears and a black panther escaped about four months before the zoo opened its doors to the public in June 1973.


Background story

Milestones in 40-year history

1968: Dr Ong Swee Law, chairman of Public Utilities Board, conceives the idea of a Singapore Zoo in the catchment forests around the Upper Seletar Reservoir.

June 27, 1973: Singapore Zoo officially opens with a collection of 272 animals from 72 species.

1974: Congo the hippopotamus escapes on Jan 14 and stays in Upper Seletar Reservoir for 52 days, until March 7.

1982: Breakfast with an orang utan programme begins.

Dec 26, 1990: Inuka becomes the first polar bear to be born in the tropics.

1998: The Fragile Forest, Singapore Zoo's first immersive exhibit, opens.

Feb 6, 2008: Zoo icon Ah Meng dies at the age of 48. More than 4,000 people attend the funeral. The orang utan becomes the first zoo resident buried on the park's grounds.

May 29, 2013: The new $8 million polar bear exhibit, Frozen Tundra, opens.

Loh
06-27-2013, 12:53 AM
Published on Jun 26, 2013
6:20 PM

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(From left) Lab technologist Zhang Heng Wei, research fellow Ren Qinyuan and graduating electrical engineering student Fan Lupeng pose with different versions of the Robot Carp, which can be used in research for underwater archaeology. A team of National University of Singapore researchers has created the Robot Carp - the first robotic fish in Asia that can dive, float, and use its fins like a real fish. It can also be programmed to perform specific functions on its own. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE


By Farah Mohd Ismail


A team of National University of Singapore researchers has created the Robot Carp - the first robotic fish in Asia that can dive, float, and use its fins like a real fish. It can also be programmed to perform specific functions on its own.

Unlike traditional underwater vehicles, it has the flexibility, shape and size of a fish, which enables it to access narrow spaces easily. This is particularly useful in research for underwater archaeology, where wreckage may be difficult for divers or machines to access, said researchers. Other potential applications include military activities or pipeline leakage detection, which may be too dangerous for humans to perform.

The team, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is made up of graduating electrical engineering student Fan Lupeng, Professor Xu Jianxin and research fellow Ren Qinyuan. The Robot Carp was part of Mr Fan's final year project and won the High Achievement Award at the Engineering Faculty's 27th Innovation and Research Awards.

Currently, most robot fish can perform only two-dimensional movements, which means they are unable to dive and are limited to swimming at the water surface. While it has not been tested in an actual marine environment, the team hopes to make its robot fish even smaller and more realistic. Mr Fan added: "We intend to equip it with more sensors like GPS (Global Positioning System) and a video camera to improve autonomous 3-D movement. We also intend to test out our fish with more challenging tasks such as object detection."

Loh
06-27-2013, 01:13 AM
By Alvina Soh (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/action/news/storiesby/storiesby/678458/storiesby.do?sortBy=latest&bylineId=8084&pageNum=0)
POSTED: 26 Jun 2013 10:40 PM

SINGAPORE: Members of the public will be able to catch a glimpse of one of the world's most important private art collections at the National Museum of Singapore.

The exhibition will run from June 27 to September 29.

The Crown Prince of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Prince Alois, officiated at the opening of the exhibition "Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein" at the museum on Wednesday evening.

It will be the first time 91 masterpieces from the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein, including rare and major works of European art acquired by Liechtenstein’s royal family, will be featured in the museum.

Visitors can look forward to some of the finest in European art spanning 500 years.

Also giving a local touch to the exhibition are 16 oil paintings depicting local pioneers, including Singapore's first president, Yusof Ishak.

Prince Alois is on an official visit to Singapore from Wednesday to Friday.

- CNA/fl

Loh
06-27-2013, 01:28 AM
POSTED: 26 Jun 2013 7:19 PM

SINGAPORE - World class events aside, the Sports Hub - set to open in April next year - will be a place for the ordinary man to enjoy too.

It will feature a sports promenade and other community facilities, most of which will be free of charge.

The sports promenade is an open space, and will link all the major facilities in the Hub.

There will also be community facilities like a rock-climbing wall, skate park, beach volleyball and a leisure water ride.

Other amenities like a jogging and cycling track will connect the Sports Hub to East Coast Park and MacRitchie.

The iconic facility also boasts quite a bit of technology, like self-cooling seats, which will be a welcome relief in Singapore's hot weather.

Mr Clive Lewis, Associate Director of Arup Associates - Sports Venue Design, said: "It provides local air to each seat within the stadium, so something new in terms of the scale we are doing, 55,000 seats, and also allowing it to be naturally ventilated as well as the stadium space. We can actually change the way the technology is being used for a night-time event to a day-time event."

Also confirmed are the colour of the seats - red and white.

The field for the facility will be created using natural turf, reinforced with artificial fibre. But a confirmed decision on that will be made later.

What is certain is that the Singapore Sports Hub is one of the only facilities in the world custom-made for four different sports - cricket, rugby, football and athletics.



- CNA/de

Loh
06-27-2013, 02:31 AM
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From left: 2004 Olympic fencing silver medallist (epee team) Claudia Bokel, 1992 Olympic windsurfing champion Barbara Kendall, Adecco Vice-President (IOC Athlete Career Programme) Patrick Glennon, Singapore Sports Institute Assistant Director Peggy Tng, retired Singapore national water polo player Yip Ren Kai, and AXA Insurance Financial Service Director Tan Eng Seng addressing about 50 Singapore athletes at the IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar at the Marina Bay Sands on June 26, 2013. Photo courtesy of Adecco.


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Barbara Kendall, 1992 Barcelona Olympics windsurfing gold medallist, shared tips with national sailor Renfred Tay and windsurfer Audrey Yong at the IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar. Photo: Adecco



Rogge’s successor must stay true to values, says windsurfing great Kendall



ByTan Yo-Hinn (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-yo-hinn)

11 hours 9 min ago

SINGAPORE — The six candidates seeking to become the next International Olympic Committee (IOC) President will present their manifestos to fellow members at next week’s IOC Extraordinary Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.

But for Barbara Kendall, one of the world’s greatest windsurfers and New Zealand’s IOC member, their bids alone are not enough.

Speaking yesterday at the IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the sailboard gold medallist from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics suggested the next IOC President must have integrity above all else.

The 42-year-old Kiwi, a five-time Olympian, is possibly the first among IOC members to publicly comment on the IOC presidential election.

“I’m waiting to hear the presentations when we go to Switzerland next week,” said Kendall, who won silver and bronze at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games, respectively.

But the most important thing, she said, was integrity. “Just integrity. The IOC is built on values, and if there are any gaps in their values, then that will be exposed very quickly, so they have to be very, very true to their values.”

A successor to current IOC President Jacques Rogge will be elected on Sept 10 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Germany’s Thomas Bach, an IOC Vice-President, is an early favourite, but Singapore’s Ng Ser Miang, also an IOC Vice-President, is regarded as a serious challenger.

The other candidates are Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, who heads the IOC’s Finance and Audit Committee, International Rowing Federation President Denis Oswald of Switzerland, International Boxing Association chief Wu Ching Kuo of Taiwan, and Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergey Bubka.

They, together with Rogge and retired Olympians like Kendall, are expected to attend the IOC Athletes Commission and Forum from today until Saturday at MBS.

Kendall was one of six speakers at yesterday’s IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar.

The other speakers were 2004 Athens Olympics fencing silver medallist Claudia Bokel of Germany, Adecco Senior Vice-President (IOC Athlete Career Programme) Patrick Glennon, Singapore Sports Institute Assistant Director Peggy Tng, retired national waterpolo player Yip Ren Kai and AXA Financial Service Director Tan Eng Seng, with Ng as the event’s guest-of-honour.

The day-long session saw them, as well as badminton player Pedro Yang and speed skater Yang Yang, interact with over 40 Singapore national athletes on planning for life after their competitive sports careers.

Launched in 2005, the IOC Athlete Career Programme has reached out to about 12,000 athletes.

“If you have the peace of mind that you have something after your sporting career, it makes it easier to train everyday,” said Bokel, 39, an IOC Executive Board member.

Former national sailor Xu Yuan Zhen, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, felt that more companies here needed to change their mindsets.

“Athletes spend a lot of their time training and competing, and tend to lose out when applying for a job,” he said.

“Employers generally tend to go for technical skills, and overlook the qualities and values an athlete brings.”

Loh
06-27-2013, 10:14 PM
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Photo: Don Wong


By Kenneth Low (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/kenneth-low-0)

6 hours 56 min ago

SINGAPORE — Mr Karthigayan Ramakrishnan barely escaped with his life when a Taiwanese fighter jet crashed into the storeroom that he was in during National Service training on that island six years ago. Burns covered 45 per cent of his body and he spent almost 60 days in hospital, “walking the line” between life and death.

Yesterday, in a clear testimony to how far he has recovered, the 29-year-old was among five Singaporeans awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship by the United Kingdom government. Known previously in Singapore as the Raffles Scholarships, the programme offers bond-free scholarships to promising young Singaporeans.

Mr Karthigayan, who will be the very first Chevening-British Alumni scholar, said the scholarship came as “a real boost”. “It will drive me to do even better,” he added.

The scholarship, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will help to pay for his master’s degree in public policy at Sheffield University.

Explaining his choice of study, Mr Karthigayan, a sociology graduate from UniSIM, said: “When I was doing sociology, I realised that it is public policy and governance that affects every part of daily life … If you want to be part of the change, you have to be part of (it).”

Mr Karthigayan, who is currently a senior executive of student affairs at NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has also been working actively to inspire other burn victims through the Singapore General Hospital’s burns support team.

“When you are a burn victim, your features change. Sometimes there is skin discolouration or celluloid, but when we meet each other, we reinforce to one another that life goes on. The kind of message we want to give is to accept it first. Coping happens later,” he said.

Indeed, Mr Karthigayan’s recovery from the May 2007 crash, which killed three Singaporean soldiers and two Taiwanese pilots, has been fraught with much pain and difficulty, although it has influenced the way he views life.

“The accident reinforced one thing for me, that life was fragile. There is only this limited time that I have to do what I want to do ... So that’s what I keep telling myself every day — to make the best out of everything,” said Mr Karthigayan, who got married earlier this year.

Loh
06-27-2013, 10:21 PM
Published on Jun 28, 2013
10:30 AM



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Those interested to work in the social service sector may now get help for training and job placement at a one-stop career centre - the first of its kind in the sector. This centre is part of the new Social Service Institute, which was officially launched on Friday morning by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The new institute at TripleOne Somerset replaces the Social Service Training Institute. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH


By Lim Yi Han

Those interested to work in the social service sector may now get help for training and job placement at a one-stop career centre - the first of its kind in the sector. This centre is part of the new Social Service Institute, which was officially launched on Friday morning by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

The Workforce Development Agency will fund the training and the operations of the career centre with a grant of up to $28 million over three years. The career centre aims to boost manpower in the sector by matching jobs for 2,000 individuals by 2016.

DPM Tharman, who is also Finance Minister said: "The solution to low incomes and inequality does not merely lie in supporting incomes through Government transfers or other police moves...It takes people with the passion and skills to help others. We must groom a larger pool of committed, qualified and skilled social service professionals."

The new institute at TripleOne Somerset replaces the Social Service Training Institute which already provides training courses and programmes for those in the social service sector.

Loh
06-27-2013, 10:25 PM
Published on Jun 28, 2013
10:02 AM

By Royston Sim


China-based aviation company Haite Group is pumping in $95.3 million to set up an aviation training centre in Singapore.

Located in Changi Business Park, the training centre will spread over almost 7,000 sq m and have simulators for Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

The six-storey centre, which will provide training facilities to pilots and crew in the Asia-Pacific region, is expected to begin operating in early 2015. It will cost $26.05 million to set up, and house up to six or seven simulators that will cost $60 million.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held on Friday morning. This will be the latest aviation training centre here. Existing ones include one run by Boeing subsidiary Alteon at Changi North Rise.

Loh
06-27-2013, 10:32 PM
TODAY


ByAlfred Chua (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/alfred-chua)


7 hours 17 min ago

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Zoo is hoping to expand its current site, amid plans previously announced by the Government to develop the surrounding Mandai area into an eco-tourism destination.

The zoo currently occupies 26ha of land and, with the growth in population, space might be an issue, said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which runs the zoo.

“At our peak of 14,000 visitors a day, we are nudging each other. We need space ... I hope there can be certain extensions and certain enhancements made,” she told reporters at the zoo’s 40th anniversary celebrations yesterday.

Last year, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran announced that the Government was looking to add more tourist developments in Mandai, such as hotels and more restaurants, to transform the area into a complete tourist destination.

Ms Chiang hoped the authorities “can keep this whole Mandai parcel intact for eco-tourism”.

“It has the opportunity to be a huge integrated reserve,” she added.

Former President SR Nathan attended the anniversary celebrations as guest of honour.
To thank visitors for their support, all Singaporeans and permanent residents visiting the zoo next month will enjoy 40 per cent off ticket prices, said WRS.

Sharing her hopes for the Singapore Zoo, Ms Chiang felt that zoos of the future should be “interactive, immersive and edu-taining”.

Commenting on its future, she said: “It’s not just to showcase animals, (but) to look at biodiversity and sustainability, and ... how animals, nature and men can exist in a way that can be a win-win (situation).”

Loh
06-30-2013, 10:18 PM
Published on Jun 30, 2013
2:13 PM


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Photo of the Supreme Court. Another 300,000 people will benefit when amendments to the Legal Aid and Advice Act take effect on Monday. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH



By Stacey Chia


Another 300,000 people will benefit when amendments to the Legal Aid and Advice Act take effect on Monday.

The amendments will extend legal aid to more Singaporeans and permanent residents, enabling greater access to justice to those who need, but cannot afford basic legal services, said the Ministry of Law in a press statement on Sunday.

Currently, those that apply for legal aid have to pass the means test and the merit test.

Tweaks have been made to the means test, which requires an applicant's annual income to be $10,000 or less. It will now be easier to meet this criterium.

Loh
06-30-2013, 10:26 PM
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TODAY file photo




By Amanda Lee (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amanda-lee)

7 hours 11 min ago

SINGAPORE — With hacking emerging as a global security threat, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has beefed up its defence against cyber attacks on its military networks by setting up a Cyber-Defence Operations Hub (CDOH).

Revealing this in a media interview on Saturday ahead of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day today, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said cyber attacks “are increasing everywhere and there’s a reason why big countries and big powers are very preoccupied with this”.

“This is actually a topic of much discussion in my visits with other defence chiefs,” said Dr Ng, noting that military and surveillance networks around the world are highly dependent on computer systems.

The CDOH draws on existing expertise from MINDEF, the SAF and the defence technology community to conduct day-to-day cyber defence operations. It has 24/7 capabilities to protect the systems, detect and respond to cyber threats and quickly recover the military networks if needed.

By enhancing the robustness and resilience of the Republic’s military networks, the CDOH also strengthens the third-generation SAF’s war-fighting capabilities.

Dr Ng said the CDOH will work with other agencies, including the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority. He said: “It allows us to have command and control structures, because when you want to respond, who responds? What is the response plan? It may cut across agencies ... across different forces, different services.”

He noted that, while people could understand the implications of cyber threat, it “isn’t as real as physical threat”. “We just have to manage it,” he said, adding that he recognised the “realities on the ground”.

Cyber security and surveillance came under the global spotlight in recent weeks, with the United States searching for former security contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details about US surveillance to the media. Among other revelations, leaked documents showed that in 2010, Brussels was subjected to a cyber attack at its offices in New York and Washington, which was later traced to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization building used by US officials.

Last Tuesday, on the anniversary of the start of the Korean War in 1950, South Korea was hit by cyber attacks which brought down the main websites of its presidential office and some local newspapers. The hackers secured and released publicly personal details of more than two million South Korean ruling party workers and 40,000 US troops, including those stationed in South Korea.

The US Defence Department also announced plans last Thursday to step up its cyber security operations. It plans to spend US$23 billion (S$29 billion) on cyber security and hire 4,000 recruits for the effort.

US Army General Martin Dempsey said at a conference in Washington that some nations have developed the capability to launch massive cyber attacks that could cripple an adversary. “I do think there are capabilities out there that are so destructive in nature and potential that it would be very difficult not to see them as acts of war,” he said.

Loh
06-30-2013, 10:46 PM
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A smouldering peatland that has been burnt in Sepahat in Riau province, Indonesia on 22 June 2013. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong



Singapore foreign minister K Shanmugam says a ‘good statement’ will likely be issued later today in Brunei


23 hours 42 min ago

SINGAPORE — The foreign ministers of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia had a “good and frank discussion” in Brunei and agreed on a way forward in dealing with the haze, Singapore’s Law and Foreign Minister K Shanmugan wrote in a Facebook post today (June 30).

Mr Shanmugam also said that it is “likely that a good statement” will be issued on the haze problem later today at the main ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM).

The informal meeting in Brunei yesterday afternoon was the suggestion of Mr Shanmugam with the aim of reaching a consensus between the three countries most affected by the haze on how to deal with the problem caused by forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

The hour-long meeting between Mr Shanmugam, Malaysia’s Anifah Aman and Indonesia’s Marty Natalegawa took place in a hotel lounge without any aides present.
“We agreed on a way forward in how to deal with the haze. It is likely that a good statement would be issued at the meeting of foreign ministers,” Mr Shanmugam wrote.

“It is good that we have taken this first step to agree that concrete steps need to be taken to prevent recurrence. Of course, hereafter, implementation is key — and that has its own set of challenges.”

Yesterday, Dr Natalegawa told reporters in Brunei that about 4,000 hectares are affected by the fires on Sumatra, down from the previous high of over 16,000 hectares.

Indonesia’s foreign minister, however, declined to go into details of his country’s action against Singaporean companies suspected of being involved in starting the fires, saying he would leave it to law enforcement agencies.

ASEAN foreign ministers are meeting at a half-day retreat today to discuss challenges facing the 10-nation South-east Asian bloc and to also address housekeeping issues, and to strengthening ties both within and outside the grouping with its dialogue partners.

Singapore is represented at the meeting by both Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Environment and Water Resources, Ms Grace Fu.

The ASEAN foreign ministers are also scheduled to meet their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea. A closely watched discussion will be the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting between the new Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Wang Yi, and his ASEAN counterparts with China’s approach in dealing with the disputes in the South China Sea is expected to be raised by both sides.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
06-30-2013, 10:55 PM
Published on Jun 30, 2013
6:32 PM


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This handout picture taken on June 23, 2013, shows smoke blanketing cleared forest land as fires rage in Riau province on Sumatra island. South-east Asian nations urged Indonesia on Sunday, June 30, 2013, quickly to ratify a treaty aimed at preventing fires in its giant rainforests that regularly inflict choking haze on its neighbours. -- PHOTO: AFP / ULET IFANSASTI / GREENPEACE



BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, (AFP) - South-east Asian nations urged Indonesia on Sunday quickly to ratify a treaty aimed at preventing fires in its giant rainforests that regularly inflict choking haze on its neighbours.

Thick grey smoke from the fires on Sumatra island sent air pollution to record levels in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia this month, forcing people to wear face masks and schools to close. The crisis prompted the two nations to raise the problem at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foreign ministers' meeting in Brunei on Sunday. Indonesia is the largest member of the 10-nation bloc.

"We... stressed the importance for regional countries to uphold their international obligations and work together to tackle the transboundary haze pollution problem," the foreign ministers said in a joint communique. They "called upon Asean member states that have not yet ratified and operationalised the (treaty) to do so expeditiously".

Indonesia is the only member which has still not ratified an Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution brokered in 2002. The treaty aims to stop cross-border haze pollution caused by forest fires by requiring parties to prevent burning, monitor prevention efforts, exchange information on the problem and provide mutual help. It also binds signatories to "respond promptly" to requests for information sought by another country affected by the smoke and to take steps to implement their obligations under the treaty.

Indonesia, a freewheeling democracy since the fall of strongman Suharto in 1998, has blamed its Parliament for the long delay. The government had sought legislators' approval to ratify the haze agreement but the proposal was rejected in 2008.

Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the treaty had been resubmitted to the current legislature, although no timeline for ratification was given.

Environmental group Greenpeace International, however, said Indonesia was reluctant to ratify the treaty because it would affect the expansion plans of palm oil companies in the country. The Sumatra fires have been largely blamed on palm oil firms using the illegal but cheap method of burning vast tracts of rainforests and peat lands to clear them for planting.

Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, which is used for many everyday items such as soap and biscuits.

Some of the world's most biodiverse rainforests cover vast areas of Sumatra and other parts of the sprawling Indonesian archipelago.

But environmental campaigners warn these forests are being cleared at a disastrous rate to make way for palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and logging.

Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam voiced satisfaction at progress on the haze issue at the talks.

The Asean statement "focuses on the importance of putting out the fires, it focuses on the importance of monitoring, verifying to prevent recurrence in the future", he told reporters. "It gives a framework for us to move ahead."

However, Greenpeace's chief Indonesia forest campaigner, Mr Bustar Maital, said Asean must widen its focus to prevent the rapid rate of deforestation in Indonesia and across the region, rather than simply focus on the fires.

"Deforestation is the main driver of the forest fires," he told AFP.

Loh
06-30-2013, 11:11 PM
Published on Jun 30, 2013
6:06 PM


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An aerial view of smoke rising from burnt trees in Indonesia's Riau province on Friday, June 28, 2013. Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) declared on Sunday its 10-day emergency efforts to counter the haze as successful. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



By Zubaidah Nazeer, Indonesia Correspondent In Pekanbaru (Riau Province)

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Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has declared its 10-day emergency efforts to counter the haze as successful.

"The haze problem in Riau has been overcome," BNPB spokesman Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a text message on Sunday.

He said that the number of hot spots have dropped from a peak of 265 on June 24 to one on Saturday.

Visibility has improved from a low of less than 100m just before the national effort began, to up to 10km now.

Air quality in Dumai, one of Riau's worst-hit regencies, have gone from a dangerous high of 1048 on the PSI to 78 on Saturday.

Still, the authorities are conducting water bombing and cloud-seeding operations as the dry season in Indonesia is expected to last till September, peaking in August, where fires on lands could recur.

Loh
07-01-2013, 01:24 AM
Asia



http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/15511667_0.JPG (http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image_lightbox/public/15511667_0.JPG) Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries hold hands together with ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh (R) during the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan June 30, 2013. Photo: Reuters


1 hour 35 min ago

BRUNEI — Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers kicked off their one-on-one dialogue sessions with countries in the Asia-Pacific region today (July 1), the second day of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

These are called the ASEAN Plus One dialogues where ASEAN and the dialogue partner country take stock of the state of relations with both sides and try to bring the ties to even greater heights.

Singapore is chairing ASEAN’s dialogue with Canada which has been on track for the past 36 years, according to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

The ASEAN-Canada cooperation is being implemented through the ASEAN-Canada Action Plan of Action to implement the enhanced partnership programme for the period 2010 to 2015.

During the Ministerial meeting in 2012, Canada announced a contribution of C$10 million (S$12.1 million) for the next three years towards the ASEAN connectivity and integration projects.

Also meeting his ASEAN counterparts will be the new US Secretary of State John Kerry who travels to Brunei amidst his busy schedule in brokering peace in the Middle East.

Mr Kerry is expected to update his ASEAN counterparts on his efforts in this area and also underscore the importance the US places on its ties with ASEAN and its involvement in the East Asia Summit process.

In 2012, leaders of ASEAN and the US agreed to institutionalise their meeting into an annual “summit” level. The meeting between the US President and his ASEAN leaders during the second ASEAN Summit was described as a “meeting”.

From 2013, this would be upgraded to a Summit and Brunei will host the 1st ASEAN-US Leaders’ Summit in October 2013. As for the European Union (EU), the grouping continues to be ASEAN’s second largest trading partner and the biggest source of investment flow.

Figures released by the ASEAN Secretariat indicate that both total trade and imports from the EU have gone up over the years.

Discussions will also be held with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India, New Zealand, and Australia which recently saw a change in its Prime Minister.

CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
07-01-2013, 01:32 AM
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The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index reading stayed within the ‘good’ range yesterday from noon onwards and reached a low of 17 at 2pm and 3pm. Photo: Ernest Chua


10 hours 12 min ago

SINGAPORE — Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday thanked Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for showing “will, graciousness and dignified statesmanship” in dealing with the haze problem.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Goh noted that the number of hot spots in Sumatra had dropped and the Pollutant Standards Index reading was in the moderate range.

He attributed the improvement in the haze situation to “rain, wind direction change and the Indonesian President’s directive to his ministers to put out the many fires”.

Mr Goh added that Mr Yudhoyono’s efforts were “appreciated, in contrast with the boorish remarks of some of his ministers”.

Going forward, Mr Goh reiterated that “prevention is better than cure”. “It may not be possible to totally stop poor farmers from their slash-and-burn practice but it should be easy to prevent commercial plantation owners from doing so,” he said.

“With satellite technology, new laws if necessary and political will, smoking guns can be identified, confiscated and made to pay if they are fired.”

Loh
07-01-2013, 01:53 AM
Commentary



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Volunteers handing out haze masks to residents in Ang Mo Kio. It is crucial how we nurture the sense of looking out for each other in times of crisis. TODAY file photo


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TODAY file photo





ByTan Wu Meng (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/tan-wu-meng)


10 hours 30 min ago

Even as we respond to the haze, it is useful to think about the lessons of this recent adversity. We cannot always predict the future, but we can put ourselves in a good position to respond.

In times of challenge, why do some countries fragment into the downward spiral of every man for himself, whereas others emerge stronger from fire (or smoke), with the steel of renewed resolve?

The key ingredient is social cohesion: A sense of common cause and common purpose, which yields the uncommon courage needed to face untoward odds.

Communities grow cohesive for many reasons. The older civilisations possess a sense of long history: The idea that people have survived great challenges before, that they can and will do so again. For some, it is shared experience: A defining time in history, binding a generation in shared memory. In others, it can be a common ancestry, a common language.

Singapore faces especial challenges in the forging of social cohesion. We are a nation of diverse colours, tongues and faiths. Being a young country, our shared history is short. Immigration continues to shape the face of our population: Whether the older migrants of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, or the newer faces arriving today.

HAWKER CENTRE VERSUS FOOD COURT

The financial bottom line is a long-standing principle of Singapore’s governance — it is only proper that taxpayers’ money is carefully stewarded to maximise value and avoid waste. To optimise revenue, market-based strategies have been deployed, such as competitive bidding and auctions. Public-private partnerships seek to attract private sector investment in support of public projects.

But not all fiscal optimums lead to a prime outcome. Some result in negative externalities and hidden costs, such as a weakening of social cohesion.

For example, a rent maximisation model might prioritise supermarkets and food courts over wet markets and hawker centres. Yet, the latter provide common spaces accessible to Singaporeans across a diverse income spectrum, while preserving aspects of local culture amid architectural change.

Elderly Singaporeans living alone can find a peer group at the local hawker centre — friends who will enquire if they drop out of peer gatherings. This can make the difference between early attention after a sudden illness (or an accident at home) and receiving help too late. When new hawker centres are built, it is not only about food but nourishment for society.

Public-private partnerships require careful handling, too. A flagship project such as the new National Stadium is more than the sum of bricks, mortar and design; it is a symbol.

Decisions on pricing and access can convey deep powerful signals. Premium memberships with special privileges may increase revenue, but send the wrong message about what kind of society Singapore should be.

SOCIAL COHESION AS KPI

Social mobility and progressive redistribution — both hallmarks of an inclusive society — are also integral to social cohesion. No society can survive unless each citizen feels a personal stake in the country, and that his or her children will have a fair start in life.

Social cohesion must therefore be an explicit consideration — or even a Key Performance Index (KPI) — in government policymaking. It need not be the be-all and end-all of every policy, but derogating from the social cohesion KPI should be a conscious, considered decision.

There is a great difference between considering an angle but carefully proceeding regardless, and not seeing the angle at all.

There is established precedent for viewing public policy through lenses other than the bottom line. To help safeguard Singapore’s security and sovereignty, investments have been made in the expensive NEWater project — even though it would have been cheaper in the short term to purchase water from external sources.

Singapore’s independence depends on many factors: A strong defence, coupled with water, energy and resource security — and the economic wherewithal to maintain them. Also crucial is how we bind ourselves and our fellow citizens together, how we nurture the sense of looking out for each other in times of crisis and how we become resilient people.

This is why social cohesion must be a core consideration in public policy-making — not an afterthought.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tan Wu Meng is a medical doctor working in a public sector hospital.

Loh
07-01-2013, 02:15 AM
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The LionsXII currently lead the Malaysian Super League standings but their final five games may prove to be a stumbling block. TODAY file photo


11 hours 7 min ago

SINGAPORE — There will be no looks of dismay or feelings of regret within the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) should the LionsXII win this season’s Malaysian Super League (MSL) title.

So said FAM Assistant Secretary-General Ahmad Fuad Daud on the eve of the LionsXII’s crucial home game against Felda United.

Currently top of the MSL with a four-point lead over closest rivals Selangor and Johor Darul Takzim, V Sundramoorthy’s team will clinch the championship at Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow if they beat relegation-threatened Felda in their penultimate league match.

They will get to hoist the trophy in front of their fans and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who will be at the game.

“And if they do so, we at the FAM will be happy for them,” said Ahmad Fuad in a telephone interview with TODAY.

“I am sure the LionsXII deserve the title. They have assembled a strong side for this year’s competition and have been very consistent.

“Indeed, the LionsXII have brought added value to our league and increased its popularity. Big crowds have followed the team wherever they played.

“We also feel that all the other teams have benefited from playing against the LionsXII this season.”

Ahmad Fuad also welcomes the possibility of the LionsXII capturing the league title as he feels it will be a huge reality check to the other powerhouses in the MSL.

Before the start of the season, several teams had signalled their ambitions by splashing out the cash on Malaysian internationals and big-name foreign signings.

T-Team signed former English Premier League duo George Boateng and Caleb Folan, but are now in 10th position and fighting against relegation.

Selangor and Johor, who are second and third respectively, and are hoping the LionsXII will trip up against Felda, also spent big in the pre-season.

Coached by Fandi Ahmad, Johor splurged on former Spain striker Daniel Guiza and Lazio midfielder Simone del Nero and Malaysian internationals Safiq Rahim, Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Aidil Zafuan, while Selangor signed ex-Australian international and Sydney FC midfielder Adam Griffiths, as well as Malaysian national players S Kunanlan, Sharbinee Allawee and Mahali Jasuli.

“I feel the other teams will do well to learn from the LionsXII who have done so well with no foreign players, a predominantly Under-23 team, and with just five players over the age of 23,” said Ahmad Fuad.

“What the LionsXII have done and achieved will definitely fire up and spur the other teams on not just for the Malaysia Cup, but also for next season, and that can only be good for our tournaments.”

Loh
07-01-2013, 02:35 AM
By Marc Lim

The Straits Times
Monday, Jul 01, 2013

It occupies but a small section of the Singapore Sports Council's Kallang headquarters.
Manned by a team of just five full-time staff, its operations are modest by most standards.

But that has not stopped the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) from dreaming big.

Barely three years after staging the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010, Singapore is again hosting the Olympic fraternity, this time for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission and Forum.

Over the next few days, more than 100 delegates, including IOC members and athletes, past and present, will tackle issues ranging from doping to athletes' role in the Olympic movement. They will also be engaging Singaporean youth, passing on life lessons as well as sharing inspirational stories of sporting excellence.

It is little wonder that SNOC vice-president Ng Ser Miang, one of six contenders to succeed Jacques Rogge as IOC president, has dubbed his Singapore office one of the world's busiest national Olympic committees (NOCs).

"There is hardly a dull moment," quipped the 64-year-old.

Indeed, since becoming the first Singaporean to join the IOC as a member in 1998, Ng has been instrumental in both introducing the sporting world to Singapore and Singapore to the Olympic movement.

The Republic's introduction to the big league of world sport started in 2001, when the heads of major international sports bodies gathered here for the General Association of International Sports Federations congress.

But it was only in 2005 that the world first took notice of Singapore's Olympic ambitions.

The staging of the 117th IOC Session - which brought a Who's Who to Singapore,

including then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US First Lady Hillary Clinton and football superstar David Beckham - did not just strengthen Singapore's image as an efficient organiser. It also altered a mindset within the country's psyche.

"For many years, we thought of the Olympic movement as just the Olympic Games. And if you are not an Olympian, you are not there," said Ng, who was chairman of the Singapore Sports Council from 1991-2002.

"But when we hosted the 2005 Session, had political leaders in town and the world watching as the 2012 host city was revealed, it hit us that Singapore was part of this bigger entity. "It broke down the perception that the Olympic movement was something high and mighty and out of reach."

The success of the 2005 Session went a long way to persuading the Singapore Government to bid for the 2010 inaugural YOG.

Although the budget for the Games ballooned from $104 million to $387 million, the Games brought about many positive spin-offs, including record tourism arrivals and the marketing of Singapore as an international brand.

But perhaps more importantly, the Games got the buy-in of the nation's youth.

Said Ng: "Till today, I have people telling me about the positive experience they had during the YOG.

"The Games mobilised the youth of Singapore, gave them a voice and created opportunities for them to be involved, as athletes, as young journalists, even as young ambassadors through the Games' Culture and Education Programme."

Incidentally, the YOG journey was what convinced Ng that there was more the Olympic movement could do for the youth of the world.

In fact, the youth will be at the centre of his plans should he beat Germany's Thomas Bach, Puerto Rico's Richard Carrion, Taiwan's Wu Ching-kuo, Switzerland's Denis Oswald and Ukraine's Sergey Bubka to lead the world's most powerful sporting body.

"There are seven billion people in the world, and when half of them are below the age of 25, you can't deny that this group are the Olympic movement's main constituents," said Ng.

"It's our responsibility to reach out and engage them, through the international sporting federations, NOCs and the governments of the world."

He has an ambitious plan to expand the IOC's Youth Sport Development Centre programme, which aim to build sports facilities in various parts of the world, giving young athletes and local communities access to quality sporting facilities.

Launched in 2010 with the opening of a multi-sport facility in Zambia, the IOC is set to open its second such centre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

But Ng is keen to ramp up the programme, and wants the IOC to commit to building 80 centres over five continents over the next eight years.

It is a goal which will require a lot of funding, but he believes the IOC's like-minded sponsors can help fulfil his vision.

He said: "We have, in the IOC, some of the best companies in the world as our partners. They have a global outreach, and their target is also the youth."

Yet in order to achieve his goal, he would have to do something that has never been done before - become the first Asian be elected to the office of the IOC president.

Of the IOC's eight presidents in its 119-year history, only American Avery Brundage (1952-1972) was not a European.

But Ng believes the IOC is ready for a change. He cites how the Olympic movement is increasingly becoming more global, with Asian countries hosting two of the last seven Summer Olympics and Rio de Janeiro set to become the first South American city to host the Games.

"I'm a Singaporean, I'm an Asian, but I'm also a global citizen," said Ng, who is Singapore's Ambassador to Norway.

"The movement has become much more universal. I've been an IOC member since 1998 and showed that there can be a first in the IOC. When Singapore won the bid to host the Youth Olympics, no European, no American, no African country had hosted it before. The IOC trusted Singapore and I think we earned their trust."

Ng has two months to persuade enough fellow members that he is the man to lead the IOC. He will find out in Buenos Aires in September if he is successful. But few will underestimate the man who put Singapore on the IOC map.

Loh
07-01-2013, 02:48 AM
Published on Jun 28, 2013
9:52 PM

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Quah Zheng Wen (above) rewrote his own national record in the 100m backstroke on Friday evening with a swim of 56.60sec at the Singapore National Swimming Championships. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE



By Fabius Chen


Quah Zheng Wen rewrote his own national record in the 100m backstroke on Friday evening with a swim of 56.60sec at the Singapore National Swimming Championships.

The 16-year-old finished behind China's Yan Jin (56.33) but still bettered his previous mark of 56.63, set last year.

It was a satisfying evening for the Republic's swim queen Tao Li as well, as she raced to victories in the 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly events.

Lynette Lim's time of 8min 57.16sec in the 800m freestyle, meanwhile, booked her a spot at December's SEA Games in Myanmar.

Loh
07-01-2013, 02:51 AM
Published on Jun 29, 2013
6:49 PM


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Swimmer Darren Lim (centre), 14, won the race to become Singapore's fastest man at the Singapore National Swimming Championships held at the Singapore Sports School. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



By Chan U-Gene

Swimmer Darren Lim, 14, won the race to become Singapore's fastest man at the Singapore National Swimming Championships held at the Singapore Sports School.

His time of 22.73sec clocked in the morning's heats also came close to the long-standing national record of 22.69 timed by Ang Peng Siong in 1982.

Darren did not improve on his time in the finals but his time of 22.87 was still good enough for gold. In second place was Russell Ong, 24, with 23.33 and third was China's Weiwen in 23.77.

Besides Darren and Ong, another four swimmers made the cut for December's SEA Games - Samantha Yeo and Cheryl Lim (200m breaststroke) and Quah Ting Wen and Lynette Lim (200m freestyle).

Loh
07-01-2013, 02:59 AM
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Tao Li finished second in the women’s 200m butterfly final. TODAY file photo

By Low Lin Fhoong (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/low-lin-fhoong)


11 hours 43 min ago

SINGAPORE — Butterfly queen Tao Li was upstaged at the Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) at the Singapore Sports School yesterday, when the 23-year-old was beaten by Quah Ting Wen in the women’s 200m butterfly final.

Tao could not find her way past Swimfast Aquatic Club (SAC) mate Ting Wen, 20, who claimed the lead before powering home in 2min 13.77sec to win and book her ticket to the Myanmar SEA Games.

Tao finished second in 2:16.33, while Lynette Lim, also from SAC, was third in 2:17.58.

Competing in her first high-level meet this year, Tao had hoped to bounce back from a disappointing London Olympics that saw her missing out on the 100m fly final.

Back here after a two-month training stint in Hubei, the two-time Asian Games champion was aiming to make the cut for the SEA Games in the 50m and 100m backstroke and 100m fly. But the swimmer — who won seven gold medals at the 2011 SEA Games — only qualified for the 100m fly at the SNSC, which is the only local qualifying meet for the Games.

She still can make it for the other two events though, as athletes can still qualify for places from now till September if spots are still available for a particular event after the SNSC.

“Training has not been ideal as I have been busy with school and my coach was sick,” said Tao, a first-year business management student at the Singapore Institute of Management. “I may skip my second semester to concentrate on training.”

She will head to the World Championships in Barcelona (July 19 to Aug 4) before aiming for SEA Games qualification at the Hong Kong International Open (Aug 23 to 25). She added: “I hope to compete in six events at the SEA Games and I want to win all of them.”

Singapore Swimming Association technical director and national head coach (swimming) Ian Turner said of Tao: “She’s taken her foot off the gas. She knows what needs to be done and it’s down to her. The national championships have been an eye-opener for her as there are some good swimmers who have beaten her.

“If she wants to duplicate the seven gold medals she won, she’s got to get down to some serious work in the next five months.”

Meanwhile, Quah Zheng Wen, Ting Wen’s younger brother, booked his ticket when he beat 2011 SEA Games champion Danny Yeo in the men’s 200m freestyle final in a new meet record time of 1:50.29.

Amanda Lim also met the SEA Games qualifying mark in the women’s 50m freestyle.

All in, 13 swimmers have qualified for 18 events at the SEA Games.

Loh
07-01-2013, 03:34 AM
Red Sports

Four national open and age-group records broken as six swimmers qualify for SEA Games at Singapore National Championships

Posted by: Erwin Wong (http://www.redsports.sg/author/erwinwong/)
Posted date: June 28, 2013


Singapore Sports School, Wednesday, June 27, 2013 – The third day of the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships saw four national open and age-group records broken, as well as six swimmers meeting the qualifying marks for December’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

23-year-old Danny Yeo sprinted to a national open record in the first final of the evening, when he beat a talented men’s 100 metres freestyle field to finish first. His time of 50.51 seconds improved his own mark by nine hundredths of a second, and also easily surpassed the Games qualifying mark of 51.36s, pegged to the bronze-medal winning time of the previous Games in Palembang.

It was also good enough to meet the ‘B’ qualifying mark of 50.64s for August’s World Championships.

While Danny qualified for his third consecutive SEA Games, it would be the first such outing for young Darren Lim, who has taken down a slew of national age-group records over the past 15 months. The 14-year-old Secondary Three student clocked a blistering 51.25s to take the second of two SEA Games spots for this event.

Darren’s pre-meet personal best and national under-17 record stood at 52.03s. His heat time of 51.88s was a new mark which lasted for less than 12 hours before he rewrote that in the final. Darren also met this year’s World Junior Championships qualifying mark of 51.49s.

Clement Lim, who set a national record in this event at the last Games during the 4x100m relay final, finished third in a time of 51.57s, while Russell Ong, a mainstay in the previous three 4x100m freestyle relay squads that have taken the gold medal at the SEA Games, was fourth in 51.71s. Quah Zheng Wen (52.10) and Zach Ong (52.26) also put themselves up for consideration to swim this relay in Myanmar.

Samantha Yeo, 16, qualified for the women’s 100m breaststroke in style as she smashed a long-standing age-group record en route to becoming the second fastest local swimmer ever in this event.

Samantha covered the first 50m in 33.21 seconds – the third quickest time she has ever swum – and touched home in 1 minute 10.49 seconds, 1.2 seconds faster than the 1:11.69 qualifying mark.

Joscelin Yeo’s national under-17 record of 1:11.37 was already under threat when Samantha swam a 1:11.57 in the heats, and the 17 and a half year-old mark finally fell in the final. Joscelin had registered that time in the 1995 SEA Games final when she won the gold medal, one of her 40 in the biennial Games.

Samantha also qualified for the 200m individual medley yesterday.

Samantha’s time met the ‘B’ qualifying mark for the World Championships, and also qualified her for the World Junior Championships in late August. In addition, registering a time in the 1:10+ territory placed her as a genuine contender for the SEA Games gold medal, and she could potentially usurp the dominance of the Malaysian duo of Siow Yi Ting and Christina Loh, who finished 1-2 at the last Games in 1:10.55 and 1:10.57. Siow clocked 1:10.73 at May’s Malaysia Open while the latter finished second in 1:12.06.

Lynette Lim qualified for her third 400m freestyle event in four SEA Games when she finished first in a time of 4:19.31. It was about two seconds off her fastest time of the year, a 4:17.19 which she clocked at the Santa Clara Grand Prix in May, but nevertheless well within the Games qualifying mark of 4:23.00.

Rachel Tseng, 15, improved her personal best by over two seconds to finish second in a time of 4:22.56, and that ensured her a place in her first SEA Games squad.

Quah Zheng Wen, who qualified for the 400m IM on Wednesday, will swim both individual medley events after meeting the 200m mark today. He won the final in a time of 2:05.96 to go quicker than the mark by a full second. Zheng Wen will join Joseph Schooling to represent Singapore in this event. The latter, who is based in America, qualified by virtue of his national record of 2:00.77 clocked last month in Charlotte.

A national under-14 record was broken in the final event of the night, the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. The Swimfast Aquatic Team quartet of Tan Jing-E, Hoong En Qi, Hannah Quek and Quah Jing Wen finished first in a time of 4:06.60 to break the existing record of 4:07.92.

The same four swimmers also took down the national under-14 record in the 4x200m freestyle relay on Wednesday.

The men’s 100m breaststroke was also contested. Christopher Ee had finished a close second behind Lionel Khoo at April’s National Schools meet, and this time he turned the tables on the national under-17 record holder by touching home 0.42 seconds ahead of the latter in 1:05.04. Both swimmers were well short of the SEA Games qualifying mark of 1:02.84, and it appears likely that the Singapore’s medal drought in this event at the Games will extend beyond the current 14 years.

Today’s events will feature the men’s 400m freestyle, the women’s 800m freestyle, the men’s and women’s 100m backstroke and butterfly, as well as the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

SEA Games qualifiers so far:

Men’s 100m freestyle: Danny Yeo; Darren Lim
Men’s 200m freestyle: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 100m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 200m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 200m IM: Joseph Schooling; Quah Zheng Wen
Men’s 400m IM: Quah Zheng Wen; Pang Sheng Jun
Women’s 100m freestyle: Quah Ting Wen; Amanda Lim
Women’s 400m freestyle: Lynette Lim; Rachel Tseng
Women’s 100m breaststroke: Samantha Yeo
Women’s 200m IM: Samantha Yeo

Loh
07-01-2013, 08:57 PM
Published on Jul 01, 2013
5:45 PM

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Second Lieutenant Kamalasivam Shanmuganathan (right), shakes Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen's hand after receiving the Singapore Armed Forces Medal for Distinguished Act during the annual SAF Day parade. He was recognised on Monday, July 1, 2013, for his selfless act of valour which saved at least two lives. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



By Lim Yan Liang

An army officer was recognised on Monday for his selfless act of valour which saved at least two lives. Second Lieutenant Kamalasivam Shanmuganathan, 25, became the eighth soldier to receive the Singapore Armed Forces Medal for Distinguished Act.

He was awarded the medal by Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen at the SAFTI military institute during the annual SAF Day parade on Monday. His award puts him in the ranks of officers who were deployed to conflict zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait and also showed exceptional courage over regard for their personal safety.

In 2LT Kamalasivam's case, he bravely handled a situation where a recruit accidentally released a hand grenade lever while pulling out the safety pin. He did not panic and told the recruit in a calm voice to throw the grenade, adding that he did not reach out to try and pull the live grenade from the recruit's hands as he could not risk dropping it.

Fortunately, the recruit managed to throw the grenade over the bay, where it detonated in mid-air.

"It's the nicest way to end it (my national service)," said 2LT Kamalasivam who is a Ngee Ann polytechnic diploma holder and aspiring teacher. He will be attending the National Institute of Education (NIE) when his two-year national service commitment ends in a fortnight's time and hopes to become a physical education teacher.

Loh
07-01-2013, 09:14 PM
Published on Jun 29, 2013
10:48 PM




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The Commandos form up outside the door of the enemy compound, getting ready to storm the building. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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The Commandos get ready to strike. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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The Commandos cut through barbed wire to infiltrate an enemy compound. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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The Commandos keep watch on the outside as their teammates storm the enemy compound. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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The Commandos storm an enemy compound. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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The RSS Intrepid, winner of the Best Ship award, berthed at its lot. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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Commanding Officer of the ship, LTC Vince Tan, takes the helm in the Combat Information Centre. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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(From left, standing in front of an F-15SG fighter jet) ME3 Saravanan, Fight Line Crew IC; MAJ Neo Aik Tiang, Senior Weapon Systems Operator (WSO); LTC David Lim, Pilot and Commanding Officer of 149 Squadron; CPT Max Ng, Pilot and Unit Safety Officer; and ME1 Wilfred Ying, Flight Line Crew. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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149 Squadron's Commanding Officer LTC David Lim salutes before the F-15SG fighter jet taxis to the runway. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

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An F-15SG fighter jet, flown by the 149 Squadron, races along the runway before take-off. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


By Royston Sim

The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win.

Also known as the Red Berets, the elite unit is among 13 active units in the SAF lauded as the top performers in their respective formations.

Meanwhile, stealth frigate RSS Intrepid clinched the Best Ship award. It is the first time the warship has nabbed the prize since its commissioning in 2008.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force's 149 Squadron, home of the F-15SG fighter jets, took home the Best Fighter Squadron award.

Loh
07-01-2013, 09:25 PM
Published on Jul 01, 2013
8:37 PM



By Feng Zengkun


Three experts helped to answer Singaporeans' questions about the haze at a special online forum organised by The Straits Times on Monday.

The questions ranged from health concerns to more technical ones, such as how the haze is measured.

The experts who gave their insights were: respiratory medicine specialist Dr Ong Kian Chung; research scientist at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, Dr Erik Velasco; and senior research scientist at the Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing & Processing (CRISP) at the National University of Singapore, Dr Santo Salinas.


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Office workers cover their mouths and noses while others wear masks as they cross a road on June 20, 2013. Three experts helped to answer Singaporeans' questions about the haze at a special online forum organised by The Straits Times on Monday, July 1, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AP


Here are some of the questions posed at the forum, and the experts' answers:

Why was the haze so bad this year?

Dr Salinas: In the Philippines and Taiwan, there were storms that pulled the moisture north and created an episode of dry-spell in our region. That was a unique event that happened that led to the burning becoming worse. It's not likely to be repeated in the next three, four months, but we are at the beginning of the dry season, so we are still likely to get smoke from biomass burning.

Why does Singapore use the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) and not the Air Quality Index, which other countries like the United States use?

Dr Velasco: The PSI includes five criteria pollutants - ozone, PM10, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. The standard index doesn't include fine aerosols. These were picked by the US in the late 70s and 80s. At the time, we didn't know much about fine aerosols and didn't have the instrumentation to monitor them.

Can the human body cleanse itself of small, toxic particles called PM2.5?

Dr Ong: Once those foreign bodies are in there, they will cause some kind of inflammation which would have taken place once those particles are in the body. Once they are in the bloodstream they can go anywhere in the body, and it will be very difficult for the body to cleanse them.

Are spot-readings of the pollution in the haze useful?

Dr Velasco: The National Environment Agency's data is very useful to make decisions about pollution in general; however for events like smoke haze, we need to act quickly, so we need hourly data. The 24-hour, 8-hour or 3-hour average data removes spikes which are also important in terms of health. In the international arena, the majority of monitoring networks report both hourly and 24-hourly data.

How can people protect themselves against the haze's pollution?

Dr Ong: Follow the Government's health advisory and wear face masks outdoors if the air is unhealthy. Having air purifiers indoors can also help. The NEA has a list of recommended air purifiers on its website.

For more, read Tuesday's print edition of The Straits Times. The forum's full exchange is also available at The Straits Times Facebook page.

Loh
07-01-2013, 09:29 PM
Access to medical care extending twilight years but quality of life is a worry for some



Published on Jun 30, 2013
10:21 AM


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Mr Wu Chung Chuan turned 100 this year and led an independent life until a stroke two years ago. Now, the widower uses a wheelchair to get around and spends most of his time in bed at a Econ Nursing Home. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO



By Theresa Tan

The centenarian club used to be really exclusive, but its membership has ballooned in the past two decades.

From just 71 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 100 and older in 1990, the country counted an estimated 900 centenarians as of June last year, according to latest data from the Department of Statistics.

In the past decade alone, their ranks almost quadrupled from 232 in 2000, the department's spokesman told The Sunday Times.

The surge comes as the World Health Organisation ranked Singapore as having the world's fourth longest life expectancy last month.


Background story

A good heart

"My health was excellent all along until recently. I have no worries and I have a good heart. Maybe that's why I can live so long."

MR WU CHUNG CHUAN, who turned 100 this year

Loh
07-01-2013, 10:37 PM
Commentary

TODAY


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By Joseph Stiglitz (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/joseph-stiglitz) -

20 March 2013



Inequality has been rising in most countries around the world, but it has played out in different ways across countries and regions. The United States, it is increasingly recognised, has the sad distinction of being the most unequal advanced country, though the income gap has also widened to a lesser extent in Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany. Of course, the situation is even worse in Russia and some developing countries in Latin America and Africa. But this is a club of which we should not be proud to be a member.

Some big countries — Brazil, Indonesia and Argentina — have become more equal in recent years, and other countries, like Spain, were on that trajectory until the economic crisis of 2007-2008.

Singapore has had the distinction of having prioritised social and economic equity while achieving very high rates of growth over the past 30 years — an example par excellence that inequality is not just a matter of social justice but of economic performance.

Societies with fewer economic disparities perform better — not just for those at the bottom or the middle, but overall.

It is hard to believe how far this city-state has come in the half-century since it attained independence from Britain in 1963. (A short-lived merger with Malaysia ended in 1965.) Around the time of independence, a quarter of Singapore’s workforce was unemployed or underemployed. Its per-capita income (adjusted for inflation) was less than a tenth of what it is today.

There were many things that Singapore did to become one of Asia’s economic “tigers”, and curbing inequalities was one of them. The government made sure that wages at the bottom were not beaten down to the exploitative levels they could have been.

The government mandated that individuals save into a “provident fund” — 36 per cent of the wages of young workers — to be used to pay for adequate healthcare, housing and retirement benefits. It provided universal education, sent some of its best students abroad, and did what it could to make sure they returned. (Some of my brightest students came from Singapore.)

There are at least four distinctive aspects of the Singaporean model, and they are more applicable to the US than a sceptical American observer might imagine.

First, individuals were compelled to take responsibility for their own needs. For example, through the savings in their provident fund, around 90 per cent of Singaporeans became homeowners, compared to about 65 per cent in the US since the housing bubble burst in 2007.

Second, Singaporean leaders realised they had to break the pernicious, self-sustaining cycle of inequality that has characterised so much of the West. Government programmes were universal but progressive: While everyone contributed, those who were well off contributed more to help those at the bottom, to make sure that everyone could live a decent life, as defined by what Singaporean society, at each stage of its development, could afford. Not only did those at the top pay their share of the public investments, they were asked to contribute even more to helping the neediest.

Third, the government intervened in the distribution of pre-tax income — to help those at the bottom, rather than, as in the US, those at the top. It weighed in, gently, on the bargaining between workers and firms, tilting the balance towards the group with less economic power — in sharp contrast to the US, where the rules of the game have shifted power away from labour and towards capital, especially during the past three decades.

Fourth, Singapore realised that the key to future success was heavy investment in education — and more recently, scientific research — and national advancement would mean all citizens — not just children of the rich — would need access to the best education for which they were qualified.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, who was in power for three decades, and his successors took a broader perspective on what makes for a successful economy than a single-minded focus on gross domestic product, though even by that imperfect measure of success, it did splendidly, growing 5.5 times faster than the US has since 1980.

More recently, the government has focused intensively on the environment, making sure that this packed city of 5.3 million retains its green spaces, even if that means putting them on the tops of buildings.

In an era when urbanisation and modernisation have weakened family ties, Singapore has realised the importance of maintaining them, especially across generations, and has instituted housing programmes to help its ageing population.

Singapore realised that an economy could not succeed if most of its citizens were not participating in its growth or if large segments lacked adequate housing, access to healthcare and retirement security. By insisting that individuals contribute significantly towards their own social welfare accounts, it avoided charges of being a nanny state. But by recognising the different capacities of individuals to meet these needs, it created a more cohesive society. By understanding that children cannot choose their parents — and that all children should have the right to develop their innate capacities — it created a more dynamic society.

Singapore’s success is reflected in other indicators as well. Life expectancy is 82 years, compared with 78 in the US. Student scores on maths, science and reading tests are among the highest in the world — well above the average for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, the world’s club of rich nations, and well ahead of the US.

The situation is not perfect: In the last decade, growing income inequality has posed a challenge for Singapore, as it has for many countries in the world. But Singaporeans have acknowledged the problem, and there is a lively conversation about the best ways to mitigate adverse global trends.

Some argue that all of this was possible only because Mr Lee, who left office in 1990, was not firmly committed to democratic processes. It is true that Singapore, a highly centralised state, has been ruled for decades by Mr Lee’s People’s Action Party. Critics say it has authoritarian aspects: Limitations on civil liberties, harsh criminal penalties, insufficient multiparty competition, and a judiciary that is not fully independent. But it is also true that Singapore is routinely rated one of the world’s least corrupt and most transparent governments, and that its leaders have taken steps towards expanding democratic participation.

Moreover, there are other countries committed to open, democratic processes that have been spectacularly successful in creating economics that are both dynamic and fair — with far less inequality and far greater equality of opportunity than in the US.

Each of the Nordic countries has taken a slightly different path, but each has impressive achievements of growth with equity. A standard measure of performance is the United Nations Development Programme’s inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, which is less a measure of economic output than it is of human well-being. For each country, it looks at citizens’ income, education and health, and makes an adjustment for how access to these are distributed among the population. The Northern European countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway) stand towards the top.

In comparison — and especially considering its No 3 ranking in the non-inequality-adjusted index — the US is further down the list, at No 16. And when other indicators of well-being are considered in isolation, the situation is even worse: The US ranks 33rd on the United Nations Development Programme’s inequality-adjusted life expectancy index, just behind Chile.

Economic forces are global; the fact that there are such differences in outcomes (both levels of inequality and opportunity) suggests that what matters is how local forces — most notably, politics — shape these global economic forces. Singapore and Scandinavia have shown that they can be shaped in ways to ensure growth with equity.

Democracy, we now recognise, involves more than periodic voting. Societies with a high level of economic inequality inevitably wind up with a high level of political inequality: The elites run the political system for their own interests, pursuing what economists call rent-seeking behaviour, rather than the general public interest. The result is a most imperfect democracy.

The Nordic democracies, in this sense, have achieved what most Americans aspire towards: A political system where the voice of ordinary citizens is fairly represented, where political traditions reinforce openness and transparency, where money does not dominate political decision-making, and where government activities are transparent.

I believe the economic achievements of the Nordic countries are in large measure a result of the strongly democratic nature of these societies. There is a positive nexus not just between growth and equality, but between these two and democracy. (The flip side is that greater inequality not only weakens our economy, it also weakens our democracy.)

A measure of the social justice of a society is the treatment of children. Many a conservative or libertarian in the US assert that poor adults are responsible for their own plight — having brought their situation on themselves by not working as hard as they could. (That assumes, of course, that there are jobs to be had — an increasingly dubious assumption.)

But the well-being of children is manifestly not a matter for which children can be blamed (or praised). Only 7.3 per cent of children in Sweden are poor, in contrast to the US, where a startling 23.1 per cent are in poverty. Not only is this a basic violation of social justice, but it does not bode well for the future: These children have diminished prospects for contributing to their country’s future.

Discussions of these alternative models, which seem to deliver more for more people, often end by some contrarian assertion or other about why these countries are different, and why their model has few lessons for the US. All of this is understandable. None of us likes to think badly of ourselves or of our economic system. We want to believe that we have the best economic system in the world.

Part of this self-satisfaction, though, comes from a failure to understand the realities of the US today. When Americans are asked what is the ideal distribution of income, they recognise that a capitalist system will always yield some inequality — without it, there would be no incentive for thrift, innovation and industry. And they realise that we do not live up to what they view as their “ideal”. The reality is that we have far more inequality than they believe we have, and that their view of the ideal is not too different from what the Nordic countries actually manage to achieve.

Among the American elite — that sliver of Americans who have seen historic gains in wealth and income since the mid-1970s even while most Americans’ real incomes have stagnated — many look for rationalisations and excuses. They talk, for instance, about these countries’ being homogeneous, with few immigrants. But Sweden has taken in large numbers of immigrants (roughly 14 per cent of the population is foreign-born, compared with 11 per cent in Britain and 13 per cent in the US). Singapore is a city-state with multiple races, languages and religions. What about size? Germany has 82 million people and has substantially greater equality of opportunity than the US, a nation of 314 million (although inequality has been rising there too, though not as much as in the US).

It is true that a legacy of discrimination — including, among many things, the scourge of slavery, America’s original sin — makes the task of achieving a society with more equality and more equality of opportunity, on a par with the best performing countries around the world, particularly tricky. But a recognition of this legacy should reinforce our resolve, not diminish our efforts, to achieve an ideal that is within our reach and is consistent with our best ideals.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in economics, a Columbia professor and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist for the World Bank.

Loh
07-02-2013, 08:49 PM
Published on Jul 02, 2013
10:34 PM

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LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy holds the Malaysian Super League trophy aloft after his side's 4-0 victory over Felda United on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. In the eyes of Sundramoorthy, the LionsXII have outshone even the Malaysian league and Cup-winning 'Dream Team' of 1994, a line-up that featured the likes of Fandi Ahmad. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


By May Chen


In the eyes of coach V. Sundramoorthy, the LionsXII have outshone even the Malaysian league and Cup-winning 'Dream Team' of 1994, a line-up that featured the likes of Fandi Ahmad.

He said in a post-match press conference, shortly after the LionsXII beat Felda United 4-0 to capture the Malaysian Super League title on Tuesday night: "This team has outshone the 1994 team. For rookies, they've done a great job.

"My boys tried their best from the start of the season. There were a lot of ups and downs but they pulled through."

Indeed, the LionsXII - a young side with 25 players aged 23 or below - were written off at the start of the season. :D

Loh
07-02-2013, 09:16 PM
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Sundram turned the LionsXII into players who, in rivals coaches’ words, are extremely disciplined in defending and deadly at set-pieces. Photo: Wee Teck Hian



TODAY

By Philip Goh
4 hours 45 min ago

The goals took a while to come, but when they did, the celebrations that followed harked back to what many Singaporeans still recall as the “glorious Malaysia Cup days”.

At the Jalan Besar Stadium last night, the LionsXII did not win the Malaysia Cup, but they did beat Felda United 4-0, sealing the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title to render Saturday’s final league match at Kota Bharu against Kelantan academic.

That Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong turned up to watch and present the medals and trophy to the LionsXII was testament to the significance of this achievement by the side coached by V Sundramoorthy.

This is the first trophy for the Singapore outfit that was put together for Malaysian competitions, following an agreement between the football associations of Singapore and Malaysia which saw teams from both sides competing in each other’s leagues.

In many ways, this triumph came in the most trying of circumstances.
Last season, with a team dominated by seniors, the LionsXII finished second in the league, was one penalty kick away from the Malaysia Cup final and reached the last eight of the Malaysian FA Cup.

With the focus on preparing players for the South-east Asian (SEA) Games this December, the decision was taken to turf out all but five players aged 23 and above, leaving Sundram to work essentially with a bunch of youngsters, many of whom would have to juggle National Service and team commitments.

It was a task Sundram carried out so proficiently and seamlessly that many would not notice the enforced changes he made for the season to proceed smoothly.

Winger Faris Ramli, whose dazzling skills in the last two home matches won him many fans, has never played an away match, although he was on the bench in Johor Baru when the team travelled to Johor Darul Takzim in February.

And so this is the LionsXII of 2013, the MSL champions whose victory has been built on a solid foundation, with a bunch of players who, in the words of rivals coaches, are extremely disciplined in defending and deadly at set-pieces.

These qualities were in display last night as they stayed cool under pressure in the first-half, when Felda — surprisingly unambitious for a side battling relegation — did their best to blunt the hosts’ attacking threat.

It seemed ironic that the opening goal for the LionsXII would come with a little help from Felda, with defender Azrul Ahmad turning in Shahril Ishak’s free-kick two minutes after the break.

The stadium would erupt again 11 minutes later when Faris’s cross evaded the last Felda defender and Shahril made no mistake from three-yards out. Three minutes later, a Felda defender conspired to chest Nazrul Nazari’s cross back in front of Shahril, who set up Fazrul Nawaz for the simplest of tap-ins.

By then, the fans were singing “Campeones, campeones ... ole ole ole”, and the LionsXII responded with a little showboating that included a free-kick by goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

The icing on the cake came after 84 minutes, when Shahfiq Ghani finished off Shahril’s through ball for the fourth goal.

The LionsXII won and lost twice on their travels this season, pulling off six draws away from home, scoring eight goals and conceding the same number.

The number would also tell that they won the league at Jalan Besar, where they were unbeaten in the league, with 10 wins from 11 matches here, and 24 goals scored — while conceding just five.

That they roared at home, again and again with the fans behind them, was how the league was won.


(BTW why is the team called LionXII or Lion 12? The last man is the fans.)

Loh
07-02-2013, 10:20 PM
Published on Jul 03, 2013
10:07 AM


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/goodiebag03e.jpg

The Funpack for this year's National Day Parade has gone high fashion with a durable, sail-shaped design, as organisers hope that people will use it as a bag even after the parade rather than toss it aside. -- ST PHOTO: DAVID EE



By David Ee


The Funpack for this year's National Day Parade has gone high fashion with a durable, sail-shaped design, as organisers hope that people will use it as a bag even after the parade rather than toss it aside.

The goodie bag for spectators at Singapore's 48th birthday bash features a flute, souvenir book and mini-banner, as well as familiar items such as a mini national flag, ponchos and snacks. It can be used as either a backpack or slingbag. The NDP executive committee 2013 unveiled the pack on Wednesday.

This year's parade aims to strike a more personal tone, with its theme "Many Stories... One Singapore".

The National Day song, sung by local artistes in previous years, will for the first time be sung by a choir made up of ordinary Singaporeans.

Loh
07-02-2013, 10:35 PM
By Monica Kotwani (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/action/news/storiesby/storiesby/678458/storiesby.do?sortBy=latest&bylineId=8756&pageNum=0)
POSTED: 02 Jul 2013 10:12 PM

SINGAPORE: More than 30 city leaders and senior government officials from the region were in Singapore recently to learn about the country's successful and not so successful experiences with urban development.

The programme 'Temasek Foundation Leaders in Urban Governance Programme' allows participants to interact with pioneers who transformed the city-state into what it is today.

As Myanmar's political changes open it to economic opportunities, urban development seems to be one of its priorities.

However, there is also the need to balance development with conservation, especially so for a city like Yangon, which has many colonial buildings and heritage sites.

Toe Aung, deputy head of department at Yangon City Planning & Land Administration, said: "The government is changing, our policies are changing so we have to take more public, community hearings and know what they want. They don't have much experience with heritage conservation so we have to give more public education, explanations and public outreach on how to maintain these buildings, why we should maintain and which ways we can maintain."

A common thread among participants today is the kind of challenges they are facing in terms of sustainable urban development in everything from flood management to rehousing slum dwellers into public housing.

This is where Singapore's experience in facing these challenges, as well as its expertise in overcoming them could come in handy.

For a first-hand insight, officials are taken to places such as Toa Payoh town and Marina Barrage over the five days and attend seminars.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Sri Lanka Defence and Urban Development Ministry, said:

"Singapore has experimented and practiced these things, and have come to a high standard and high level. We can learn from them and rather than starting from the bottom, we can start from a high level so that is a very useful thing."

The urban development programme, organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), is into its second year.

It has received almost S$700,000 in funding from the Temasek Foundation over the two years.

CLC's associate director Julian Goh, said: "We did research to try to capture knowledge of what we did right, also what we didn't do quite right, and we are very happy to share these experiences with the cities. We are also very happy to bring on board some of the urban pioneers. These are the people who were responsible for clearing the slums, and also cleaning up the Singapore River so that they can impart their experience first-hand to the participants and also give ideas to the current problems the cities are facing."

After attending the programme, the officials from 30 different countries in the region will develop a detailed plan for their various projects, and work closely with CLC over the year to implement these plans.



- CNA/fa



File photo: The Singapore skyline. (AFP/File - Roslan Rahman

Loh
07-02-2013, 10:47 PM
POSTED: 02 Jul 2013 11:25 PM



SINGAPORE: Foreign ministers at the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Brunei witnessed the launch of the 20th ARF Commemorative Publication on Tuesday.

They also reaffirmed the central role of ASEAN in the regional architecture and emphasised the importance of implementing the ARF Preventive Diplomacy Work Plan.

The 3rd East Asia Summit (EAS) foreign ministers also discussed ways to improve regional cooperation in the six priority areas and reaffirmed the importance of the EAS as a platform for constructive dialogue and cooperation.
A statement from the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry said that at the ARF and EAS meetings, the ministers also conducted in-depth discussions on international and regional issues, including developments in the East China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam attended the ARF and EAS meetings in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

He was accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu.


- CNA/ir


(L-R) Singapore's K Shanmugam, Vietnam's Pham Binh Minh, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Brunei's Mohammad Bolkiah pose for a group photo during the ASEAN Ministers Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan on July 2, 2013. (AFP/Pool/Jacquelyn Martin)

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:12 PM
Another 7 schools will return to upgraded facilities by end of 2014



Published on Jul 04, 2013


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/ST_20130704_AMSCHOOL03_3730239e.jpg (http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/ST_20130704_AMSCHOOL03_3730239e.jpg)

Seng Kang Primary 1 pupil Jared Ong standing on a small stage at the back of a classroom, while his schoolmates (from right) Izwan Dennis and Gladys Heng, all seven, look on. The stages aid in teaching and learning at the school, which has performing arts as its niche programme. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN



By Amelia Teng

At Seng Kang Primary, pupils used to play in converted corridors because of a lack of space. Now there is a small performance stage at the back of classrooms.

The school also has a performing arts studio, an indoor sports hall and outdoor learning spaces including a butterfly garden for pupils to explore biodiversity.

All these have been added after it moved back to its upgraded premises in March.

"Previously we had space constraints and had to convert corridors into play areas," said principal Rabia Shahul. Now, "learning is no longer limited by the four walls of the classrooms".


Background story

MORE ROOM TO LEARN

Previously we had space constraints and had to convert corridors into play areas. Now, learning is no longer limited by the four walls of the classrooms.

- Seng Kang Primary School principal Rabia Shahul
Upgrading for primary schools

SINCE 2009, primary schools have been undergoing upgrading in phases. The MOE plans to upgrade all 190 schools by 2016.


Completed and in-progress: 78 schools
Upgrading to start from November: 71 schools

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:17 PM
Published on Jul 03, 2013
5:02 PM

By Stacey Chia


The National University of Singapore (NUS) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) are launching a Joint Doctor of Philosophy degree programme in biomedical science in August this year.

The programme will help to train biomedical scientists who will have international research experience with a strong footing in Asia, said the NUS spokesman.

For the next four years, both NUS and the HUJ will each select about three students from their institutions for the programme. Students enrolled in the programme will divide their time between both campuses in Singapore and Jerusalem, spending a minimum of nine months at each institutions. Two NUS students have already been selected for the inaugural intake.

This is the second collaboration between the two universities. They previously collaborated in establishing the NUS-HUJ Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammation Research Programme in 2010.

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:21 PM
Published on Jul 03, 2013
3:18 PM
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Graduate business school Insead has received a donation of $5 million from one of its alumni, Mr Andre Hoffmann. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN



By Amelia Teng


Graduate business school Insead has received a donation of $5 million from one of its alumni, Mr André Hoffmann.

Mr Hoffman, who holds an MBA from Insead, is the vice-chairman of Swiss global health-care company F. Hoffmann-LaRoche. His gift to the school will support the expansion of the school's campus in Singapore, which is located at Ayer Rajah. In particular, it will go towards the construction of its new leadership development centre.

When completed in 2014, the six-storey centre will bring together business leaders from around the world.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr Hoffman said: "Insead provided me with a priceless asset: deep business insight and a global vision of management...Preparing for the future is a fundamental requirement of leadership and I consider it a moral obligation to contribute to the education of tomorrow's global leaders."

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:27 PM
Published on Jul 03, 2013
10:51 AM


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Shortlisted candidates queueing to start their interviews for the newest medical school at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up by NTU and Imperial College London. Singapore newest medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, has picked its inaugural batch of 54 students out of more than 800 A-list applicants. The school being set up by Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College London said it shortlisted 440 of them to attend a series of eight short interviews. -- PHOTO: NTU



By Sandra Davie

Singapore newest medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, has picked its inaugural batch of 54 students out of more than 800 A-list applicants. The school being set up by Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College London said it shortlisted 440 of them to attend a series of eight short interviews.

The final 54 chosen medical students - all Singaporeans - had almost perfect scores in the interviews and also aced their BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

Two out of three students are A-levels holders and 90 per cent of them are among the top students in their cohort. The remaining one-third has equally outstanding results, with qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate and the NUS High School diploma.

Besides boosting the number of doctors for Singapore, the school hopes to see more of their graduates becoming clinician scientists - doctors who do research and drive scientific discovery in medicine, on top of treating patients.

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:33 PM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/15535744_0.JPG (http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image_lightbox/public/15535744_0.JPG) Photo: Ernest Chua


By NG JING YNG (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/ng-jing-yng)

6 hours 17 min ago

Singapore — Inter-marriages between South-east Asians and Chinese immigrants have influenced the region’s history, including giving rise to a generation of prominent political leaders with Chinese ancestry, such as former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and ex-Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said one-time Singapore politician and diplomat Lee Khoon Choy.

This was among the observations the 89-year-old made in his new book, Golden Dragon and Purple Phoenix, which was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. The book launch was graced by some 250 people, including the author’s former parliamentary colleagues.

Mr Lee, who was a People’s Action Party Member of Parliament from 1959 to 1984, also wrote a chapter titled Westernised Singaporeans, which cited the Republic’s past political history.

A one-time Ambassador to Egypt and Japan, Mr Lee said the book was inspired by his lifelong interest in the topic of assimilation and how Chinese immigrants could lose touch with their roots after they settled in a new country.

He hopes his book will motivate more academics to conduct further research into assimilation of Chinese immigrants and inter-marriages between them and South-east Asian people.

The former Minister of State (Culture and Foreign Affairs) also expressed concerns that young people today are unaware of their heritage. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch, Mr Lee said: “Our younger generation don’t know their roots. I asked so many young people where they are from … they do not know.” Ng Jing Yng

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:42 PM
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Mr Stewart Retnam and Ms Huang Baoxian are among the inaugural cohort at LKCMedicine. Photo: NTU



By Amanda Lee (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/amanda-lee)

6 hours 29 min ago

SINGAPORE — When it came to selecting which medical school he hoped to enrol in to fulfil his dreams of becoming a doctor, Mr Stewart Retnam was especially drawn to one aspect of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) — its patient-centric approach.

“It offers earlier and more extensive exposure to patients and clinical environments and I really felt that would prepare students … for tackling actual clinical situations in the future,” said the 21-year-old, who is among the pioneer cohort of 54 students at Singapore’s newest medical school, a joint venture between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London.

He recounted how, during the three months before his International Baccalaureate examinations, he suffered frequent headaches and breathing difficulties, and was diagnosed with the flu. It was only when he consulted an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist that he learnt that he had sinusitis, the infection of the sinuses.

Mr Retnam, who is an LKCMedicine scholarship recipient, said the care his doctor showed him meant more to him than the medicine he took.

“I wanted to be in the position to be able to help people in my situation and bring them (patients) relief and comfort through good care,” he said.

LKCMedicine features a five-year programme that will teach students the scientific basis of medicine, how to handle a doctor-patient relationship and provide clinical experience.

The school received 817 applicants from among those who sat for the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), part of the school’s admissions requirements, which includes A-Level results or its equivalent.

Four hundred and forty candidates were shortlisted for Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), a series of eight interviews with interviewers from different professions, such as doctors and scientists, where the candidates were assessed based on whether they have the traits to become a patient-centric doctor.

The school also emphasises the use of technology to teach, with students having access to over 200 e-lectures recorded by professors, clinicians and scientists on their iPads, which are part of the teaching materials developed by Imperial College London.

The school will also be pioneering the use of plastinated specimens, or human bodies preserved through plastination, for medical education. Its students will be the first in South-east Asia to use the Anatomage Table for learning, which displays life-sized 3D images of full body anatomy.

Ms Huang Baoxian, 19, one of the pioneering cohort, is looking forward to using the table for learning.

“The body is not a 2D thing, it’s a 3D structure … to be able to see it in 3D … (allows me to) virtually dissect it (and) to be able to learn more and …give way for mistakes in case … we cut (it) wrongly,” said Ms Huang, who is a Nanyang Scholarship recipient.

Loh
07-03-2013, 09:51 PM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/15538438_0.JPG (http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image_lightbox/public/15538438_0.JPG) The Singapore Flyer. Photo: Ernest Chua

TODAY

By Conrad Maria Jayaraj (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/conrad-maria-jayaraj)

6 hours 29 min ago

SINGAPORE — Merlin Entertainments Group, the British company behind the wildly successful London Eye, is considering buying the Singapore Flyer, which was recently placed under receivership, as part of plans to expand further into Asia.

And if the deal is sealed, it could bring in a Madame Tussauds wax museum to boost the appeal of the Flyer.

“We have been talking, on and off, to the company for the past year or so because of our association with the London Eye and we think it is a very attractive product with a great view of the Singapore skyline,” Merlin’s Strategy Director David Bridgford said during a trip to Singapore.

The 165-metre-high Singapore Flyer, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, was placed in receivership at the end of May for failing to meet financial obligations to banks, just five years after it was launched to great fanfare.

Mr Bridgford said there was nothing wrong with the concept of the S$240-million Flyer, except that the company was probably undercapitalised. “Perhaps they compared themselves with London which is a much bigger market than Singapore and I think they got their capital structure wrong,” he added.

Mr Bridgford would not say how much Merlin would be willing to pay for the Flyer or if he had met with the company’s receivers during his trip. But he did say that if Merlin did purchase the Flyer, it would market it as part of a cluster of attractions here, which could also include a Madame Tussauds. The group already owns and operates 14 Madame Tussauds wax museums in a number of cities including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

“It all depends on whether we can get a suitable site (for the Madame Tussauds),” Mr Bridgford said.

He also pointed out that there was already a regular bus link between the Flyer and Merlin’s LEGOLAND Theme Park in Johor’s Iskandar complex, whose popularity has surprised even Merlin after achieving more than a million visitors in its first four months.

The Flyer’s receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, is said to have obtained interest from both local and overseas parties for the complex, which includes a number of retail outlets and several eateries.

Merlin, which describes itself as the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator after Disney with 54 million visitors worldwide last year, is keen on bringing other attractions to Singapore, including a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and The Dungeons.

While the United Kingdom and Europe currently account for the bulk of its business, Merlin would like to see Asia account for one-third of its business, and Europe and US also having a third each. Its Asian operations currently account for 14 per cent of its visitors, up from just 2 per cent three years ago.

Likewise, it will invest one-third of the roughly £50 million (S$97 million) it spends on new investments each year in Asia, especially in China, Japan and South Korea.

Loh
07-03-2013, 10:48 PM
Published on Jul 03, 2013
3:50 PM


By May Chen

Singapore's keglers have bagged a gold and a bronze at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Incheon, South Korea on Wednesday.

Daphne Tan and Bernice Lim posted 441 pinfalls in the women's doubles final, beating South Korea's Son Yun Hee and Hwang Yeon Ju's score of 393.

They had made the final after beating team-mates Geraldine Ng and New Huifen in the semi-finals. The losing semi-finalists are guaranteed a bronze.

The Republic had already won a gold earlier, a women's singles title courtesy of Tan. Keith Saw and Joel Tan had also clinched a bronze in the men's doubles event.

Loh
07-03-2013, 11:00 PM
Published on Jul 03, 2013
2:34 PM

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Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (back row, in white) takes a group picture with students from Crest Secondary School on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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(From left) Mr Peter Lim, Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and his girlfriend Ms Irina Shayk arrive at Crest Secondary School on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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(From left) Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, his girlfriend Ms Irina Shayk and Mr Peter Lim are seen in Crest Secondary School on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during his surprise visit in Crest Secondary School on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

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Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (right) demonstrates his skills with Crest Secondary School's football captain Muhd Haziq Isnin (centre) and vice-captain Oliver Lim in Crest Secondary School on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI.

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Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo demonstrates his skills in Crest Secondary School on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI.


By Sanjay Nair


Real Madrid football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo made a surprise visit to Crest Secondary on Wednesday, showing off his skills to 200 wide-eyed kids.

The Portuguese forward, 28, is in town for a brief stopover to support the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship, which supports needy young athletes.

Ronaldo had arrived from a private holiday in Bali with supermodel girlfriend Irina Shyak.

During the 30-minute session, he told youngsters how he turned into the world's most expensive footballer and even did his trademark stepovers on stage.

Loh
07-04-2013, 03:14 AM
Five noteworthy storylines

Red Sports
http://www.redsports.sg/2013/07/01/9th-singapore-national-swimming-championships-five-noteworthy-storylines/

Posted by: Erwin Wong (http://www.redsports.sg/author/erwinwong/)
Posted date: July 01, 2013



Swimmers who have met the 2013 Southeast Asian Games qualifying marks



Event

Qual Mark

Name

Age

Time

Remarks

2011 Gold

2011 Silver



Men’s 50m freestyle

23.33s

Darren Lim

14

22.87s


23.28s

23.32s



Men’s 50m freestyle

23.33s

Russell Ong

24

23.33s

Season’s best

23.28s

23.32s



Men’s 100m freestyle

51.36s

Danny Yeo

23

50.51s

Open Record

50.79s

50.98s



Men’s 100m freestyle

51.36s

Darren Lim

14

51.25s

U17 Record

50.79s

50.98s



Men’s 200m freestyle

1:52.36s

Joseph Schooling

18

1:49.47s

Open Record

1:51.07s

1:52.23s



Men’s 200m freestyle

1:52.36s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

1:50.29s

U17 Record

1:51.07s

1:52.23s



Men’s 100m backstroke

56.96s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

56.60s

Open, U17 Record

55.59s

56.52s



Men’s 100m butterfly

53.18s

Joseph Schooling

18

52.33s

Open Record

53.07s

53.17s



Men’s 200m butterfly

2:01.44s

Joseph Schooling

18

1:57.79s

Season’s best

1:56.67s

2:00.24s



Men’s 200m IM

2:06.96s

Joseph Schooling

18

2:00.77s

Open Record

2:02.90s

2:04.85s



Men’s 200m IM

2:06.96s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

2:05.96s


2:02.90s

2:04.85s



Men’s 400m IM

4:31.27s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

4:24.83s

Season’s best

4:24.33s

4:27.41s



Men’s 400m IM

4:31.27s

Pang Sheng Jun

20

4:30.29s

Season’s best

4:24.33s

4:27.41s



Women’s 50m freestyle

26.23s

Amanda Lim

20

25.86s

Season’s best

25.77s

25.89s



Women’s 100m freestyle

56.73s

Quah Ting Wen

20

56.14s

Season’s best

56.54s

56.71s



Women’s 100m freestyle

56.73s

Amanda Lim

20

56.63s

Season’s best

56.54s

56.71s



Women’s 200m freestyle

2:03.47s

Quah Ting Wen

20

2:01.13s

Season’s best

2:01.49s

2:03.02s



Women’s 200m freestyle

2:03.47s

Lynette Lim

21

2:02.86s


2:01.49s

2:03.02s



Women’s 400m freestyle

4:23.00s

Lynette Lim

21

4:19.31s


4:15.84s

4:16.54s



Women’s 400m freestyle

4:23.00s

Rachel Tseng

15

4:22.56s

Personal best

4:15.84s

4:16.54s



Women’s 800m freestyle

9:02.81s

Lynette Lim

21

8:53.74s

Season’s best

8:50.17s

8:55.51s



Women’s 100m breaststroke

1:11.69s

Samantha Yeo

16

1:10.49s

U17 Record

1:10.55s

1:10.57s



Women’s 200m breaststroke

2:37.12s

Samantha Yeo

16

2:32.34s

U17 Record

2:33.67s

2:35.53s



Women’s 200m breaststroke

2:37.12s

Cheryl Lim

18

2:35.55s

Season’s best

2:33.67s

2:35.53s



Women’s 100m butterfly

1:01.97s

Tao Li

23

59.07s

Season’s best

58.84s

1:01.92s



Women’s 100m butterfly

1:01.97s

Quah Ting Wen

20

59.92s

Personal best

58.84s

1:01.92s



Women’s 200m butterfly

2:15.70s

Quah Ting Wen

20

2:13.77s

Personal best

2:14.27s

2:15.43s



Women’s 200m IM

2:21.31s

Samantha Yeo

16

2:19.11s

Personal best

2:18.75s

2:20.11s





Swimmers who have met the 2013 FINA World Championships qualifying marks

SNSC – Singapore National Swimming Championships; SNAG – Singapore National Age Group Championships; Nat Schs – National Inter-School Championships



Event

Type

Qual Mark

Name

Age

Time

Meet



Men’s 50m freestyle

B

23.11s

Darren Lim

14

22.87s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Men’s 100m freestyle

B

50.64s

Danny Yeo

23

50.51s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Men’s 200m freestyle

B

1:52.21s

Joseph Schooling

18

1:49.47s

ARENA Grand Prix; May 2013



Men’s 200m freestyle

B

1:52.21s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

1:50.29s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Men’s 200m freestyle

B

1:52.21s

Danny Yeo

23

1:50.82s

44th SNAG; March 2013



Men’s 50m backstroke

B

26.32s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

26.15s

54th Nat Schs; April 2013



Men’s 50m breaststroke

B

28.98s

Lionel Khoo

18

28.90s

8th SNSC; August 2012



Men’s 50m butterfly

B

24.80s

Joseph Schooling

18

24.68s

ARENA Grand Prix; May 2013



Men’s 100m butterfly

A

52.57s

Joseph Schooling

18

52.33s

ARENA Grand Prix; May 2013



Men’s 200m butterfly

B

2:01.13s

Joseph Schooling

18

1:57.79s

ARENA Grand Prix; May 2013



Men’s 200m butterfly

B

2:01.13s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

1:59.46s

8th SNSC; August 2012



Men’s 200m IM

B

2:04.19s

Joseph Schooling

18

2:00.77s

ARENA Grand Prix; May 2013



Men’s 400m IM

B

4:28.05s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

4:24.83s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 50m freestyle

B

26.29s

Amanda Lim

20

25.86s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 50m freestyle

B

26.29s

Mylene Ong

21

26.10s

8th SNSC; August 2012



Women’s 100m freestyle

B

56.78s

Quah Ting Wen

20

56.14s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 100m freestyle

B

56.78s

Mylene Ong

21

56.33s

30th Olympics; August 2012



Women’s 100m freestyle

B

56.78s

Amanda Lim

20

56.63s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 200m freestyle

B

2:02.90s

Quah Ting Wen

20

2:01.13s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 200m freestyle

B

2:02.90s

Lynette Lim

21

2:01.21s

ARENA Grand Prix; June 2013



Women’s 400m freestyle

B

4:18.55s

Lynette Lim

21

4:17.19s

ARENA Grand Prix; May 2013



Women’s 50m backstroke

B

29.85s

Tao Li

23

29.13s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 50m backstroke

B

29.85s

Shana Lim

20

29.31s

8th SNSC; August 2012



Women’s 100m backstroke

B

1:03.54s

Tao Li

23

1:01.60s

30th Olympics; July 2012



Women’s 50m breaststroke

B

33.12s

Samantha Yeo

16

33.01s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 100m breaststroke

B

1:11.03s

Samantha Yeo

16

1:10.49s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 200m breaststroke

B

2:33.06s

Samantha Yeo

16

2:32.34s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 50m butterfly

B

27.77s

Tao Li

23

26.93s

9th Asian C’ships; November 2012



Women’s 50m butterfly

B

27.77s

Quah Ting Wen

20

27.54s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 50m butterfly

B

27.77s

Mylene Ong

21

27.71s

8th SNSC; August 2012



Women’s 100m butterfly

A

58.89s

Tao Li

23

58.18s

30th Olympics; July 2012



Women’s 100m butterfly

B

1:00.95s

Quah Ting Wen

20

59.92s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 200m butterfly

B

2:13.91s

Quah Ting Wen

20

2:13.77s

9th SNSC; June 2013



Women’s 200m IM

B

2:19.69s

Samantha Yeo

16

2:19.11s

9th SNSC; June 2013





Swimmers who have met the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships qualifying marks

Age eligibility: Boys must be born between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 1998, and girls between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 1999.



Event

Qual Mark

Name

Age

Time



Men’s 50m freestyle

23.31s

Darren Lim

14

22.73s



Men’s 100m freestyle

51.49s

Darren Lim

14

51.25s



Men’s 200m freestyle

1:52.55s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

1:50.29s



Men’s 50m backstroke

26.83s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

26.69s



Men’s 100m backstroke

56.65s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

56.60s



Men’s 200m butterfly

2:04.36s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

2:01.49s



Men’s 400m IM

4:27.87s

Quah Zheng Wen

16

4:24.83s



Women’s 50m breaststroke

33.33s

Samantha Yeo

16

33.01s



Women’s 100m breaststroke

1:11.35s

Samantha Yeo

16

1:10.49s



Women’s 200m breaststroke

2:32.69s

Samantha Yeo

16

2:32.34s





Singapore Sports School, Sunday, June 30, 2013 – The 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships came to an end yesterday, putting a close to the six-day meet which displayed the very best of local swimming.

Being a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games year, the championships served as the sole local qualifying meet for the biennial Games, breaking recent practice of having a qualifying window where swimmers could attempt to equal or better the previous Games’ bronze-medal winning time.

It was also the only meet where junior swimmers could make the cut for August’s FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai, and also the final opportunity for all swimmers to qualify for the FINA World Championships to be held at the end of this month in Barcelona.

With a looming deadline and limited places in team squads on offer, the swimmers rose to the challenge with several startling times and a plethora of records – 13 national open and age group marks – despite the unease and uncertainty of whether the meet would even take place at all, due to the hazardous air quality which plagued the country two weeks ago.

Here are five noteworthy storylines that emerged from the meet.

1. Darren Lim within touching distance of Ang Peng Siong’s 31-year-old national record

Darren twice lowered his national under-17 100m freestyle record, and with his 51.25s time in the final, he earned himself a place in his first ever SEA Games squad, behind national record holder Danny Yeo, but ahead of freestyle veterans such as Clement Lim and Russell Ong.

Two days later on June 29, as the Secondary Three student took off from his starting blocks in the 50m freestyle heats, it had already been 11,271 days since Ang Peng Siong set the national record of 22.69s at the United States Swimming Championships on August 20, 1982. Darren touched home just 0.04s slower than the oldest national swimming mark in the books.

Although Darren could not improve on it in the final, his 22.87s was still good enough for him to finish first and add another event to his SEA Games program, which looks likely to be the 50 and 100m freestyle along with the 4x100m freestyle relay.

To put into perspective how fast Darren is, he is a massive 0.74s quicker than the United States boys’ 13-14 years old record of 23.47s held by Michael Andrew, and just 0.01s off the 15-16 years old record of 22.72s set by Shayne Fleming.

Darren would have been ranked ninth fastest in a field of Olympic champions at the US National Championships that have just ended, and would have taken silver at last November’s Asian Swimming Championships. It would also have been good enough to win this event at every SEA Games save for 2009, when non-textile suits were not yet outlawed.

Before Darren gets a shot at the SEA Games gold in Myanmar, he will have ample opportunities to lower his time, and the national record, at the World Championships (July 28–August 4), the Asian Youth Games (Aug 16–24) and the World Junior Championships (Aug 26–31).

2. Quah Ting Wen’s return to the national fold

Ting Wen made her SEA Games debut way back in 2005 as a 13-year-old, and then had a heady year in 2009 when she won five gold medals at the SEA Games to add to her four at the Asian Youth Games. There were countless national open and age group records in between, as well as an appearance at the 2008 Olympic Games. However she failed to qualify for both the 2011 SEA Games as well as the London Olympics the following year.

Ting Wen recovered from a broken arm sustained in November 2011, and finished seventh in the women’s 100 yard butterfly final at the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Swimming championships in March. She swam encouraging times at the Santa Clara Grand Prix in May, and really hit form at the Nationals here.

She qualified for the Myanmar SEA Games in the 100 and 200m freestyle and won the two events with her fastest times since 2009 and 2010 respectively. Ting Wen also took over two seconds off her seven-year-old 200m butterfly personal best to win the final in 2 minutes 13.77 seconds, beating national record holder Tao Li in the process. This made Ting Wen the second fastest ever local swimmer in this event, and also qualified her for the Games.

Ting Wen’s fourth individual SEA Games event will be the 100m butterfly. She is one of only two swimmers who will take part in four events. She became just the third local swimmer to go below the one-minute mark, after Tao Li and Joscelin Yeo, when she finished second behind Tao Li in 59.92 seconds.

Ting Wen’s rise to prominence in the butterfly events also gives the medley relay team another possible permutation to work with.

3. Samantha Yeo’s emergence as a medal contender in the breaststroke

While the 16-year-old is peerless in the local scene, her startling times at these championships have put her firmly in medal contention at the SEA Games. Samantha, who owns all three national under-14 breaststroke records in the 50, 100 and 200m, finished the meet with two of the three under-17 equivalents.

She broke Joscelin Yeo’s 1995 100m breaststroke mark of 1:11.37 by slashing nearly 1.4 seconds off her pre-meet personal best, clocking a stunning 1:10.49, and putting Nicolette Teo’s national open mark of 1:10.15 under serious threat.

Samantha then proceeded to lower her 200m breaststroke PB and under-17 record of 2:34.07 by a huge 1.73-second improvement. Her new time of 2:32.34 is 0.38 seconds away from Nicolette’s national open mark.

The 100 and 200m breaststroke titles at the last SEA Games were won by Malaysia’s Siow Yi Ting in times of 1:10.55 and 2:33.67.

These timings, as well as her 2:19.11 PB in the 200m individual medley, place Samantha in a good stead to challenge for top honours in December against familiar foes in Malaysia’s Siow and Christina Loh, as well as Thailand’s Phiangkhwan Pawapotako.

4. SEA Games champions unable to defend their titles

Arren Quek, a surprise men’s 50m freestyle gold medalist at the previous Games in Palembang, will not be present on the starting blocks to defend his title. He finished third in the National Championships final behind Darren Lim (22.87s) and Russell Ong (23.33), with only a maximum of two spots on the squad per event if the qualifying time is met.

Danny Yeo suffered the same fate even though he finished second in the 200m freestyle final and met the qualifying time of 1:52.36. The Games champion clocked 1:50.85 to Quah Zheng Wen’s 1:50.29, and with overseas-based Joseph Schooling’s national record of 1:49.47 at the Charlotte Grand Prix, his nominated qualifying meet, that meant Danny could only be content with a place on the 4x200m freestyle relay squad.

Teo Zhen Ren (1500m freestyle) did not swim at this meet, while Tao Li did not meet the qualifying marks in the 100m backstroke and 200m butterfly, which had zero and one qualifier respectively.

However, according to the selection policy, all swimmers have until September 8 to submit times in events that do not have two qualifiers. The Selection Committee may also in its discretion fill any vacant slots in any event with swimmers who have already been selected.

Defending SEA Games winners Joseph (200m butterfly), Zheng Wen (400m IM), Amanda Lim (50m freestyle), Tao Li (100m butterfly) have all made the cut in their respective events.

5. Bright prospects for relay teams

Singapore took home five of the six relay golds on offer at the last Games. The odd one out was the men’s 4x100m medley relay which they were disqualified from after an erroneous changeover. With a dearth in breaststroke talent to match main medley rivals Indonesia, even the presence of the region’s top butterfly swimmer Joseph Schooling may not be sufficient to overhaul the SEA Games record holders, whose superior backstroke and breaststroke legs would probably prove to be too much for Singapore.

Other than that, the times clocked at the National Championships suggest that Team Singapore have the ability to win the remaining lot. The team began the 2011 Games with only Danny and Russell having sub-52 second times in the 100m freestyle during the year. This time, there are already five such swimmers: Danny (50.51), Darren (51.25), Joseph (51.47), Clement (51.57) and Russell (51.71). Danny, Clement (50.68) and Joseph (50.99) are the only local swimmers who have gone below 51 seconds, and Russell has the fastest relay split of all time (50.12).

The men’s 4x200m freestyle team also offer much promise. Joseph’s 1:49.47 national record, along with Zheng Wen’s under-17 mark of 1:50.29 and Danny’s 1:50.85 should ensure the trio will spearhead the task to defend the gold medal. Clement, with a 1:51 split and individual swim to his name, could also be called upon to beat back the challenge from the Malaysians, led by the probable quartet of Lim Ching Hwang, Daniel Bego, Kevin Yeap and Vernon Lee.

In the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, the first six finishers (Ting Wen, Amanda Lim, Mylene Ong, Lynette Lim, Koh Hui Yu and Tao Li) at the Nationals clocked 57.70s and faster, and therefore could prove too strong for perennial rivals Thailand. The core of this group, with the additions of Shan Teo and Marina Chan, should also be able to defend their gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

In the medley relay, Tao Li could be deployed to swim the backstroke leg if Shana Lim is unavailable for the Games. Ting Wen, with her sub-minute butterfly time at the Nationals, could then take Tao Li’s spot in the butterfly and safely leave the task of bringing the team back in the final 100m freestyle leg to one of the many talented 100m freestyle swimmers who have shone at the recent Nationals.

Loh
07-04-2013, 03:48 AM
By Dan Guen Chin (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/dan-guen-chin)


12 hours 29 min ago


SINGAPORE — Malaysia’s top football coaches have hailed the tactical discipline showed by the LionsXII this Malaysian Super League (MSL) season, highlighting it as one of the main reasons behind their capture the league title in only their second year in the tournament.

Ac cording to Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak, Selangor’s Irfan Bakri and Malaysian national coach K Rajagopal, what stood out for them was the LionsXII players’ ability to stick strictly to coach V Sundramoorthy’s game plans.

Said Hodak, whose side won the treble last season, the MSL crown, the FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup, but can only finish fourth in the table at best if they beat the LionsXII this weekend: “Their ability to defend well and keep their shape have been their keys to success.

“They may not have a prolific striker but the moment they score a goal, they can defend their lead staunchly and that comes with discipline. Likewise, no matter which formation Sundram uses, 4-3-2-1 or 4-4-1-1, his players always have the mental strength to see it through.”

Irfan, whose side will battle Johor Darul Takzim this weekend for the right to finish second this season, lauded the LionsXII’s fighting spirit. “You can see in their players’ eyes, especially the younger ones,” he said. “They are always fighting and chasing for every ball and looking out for one another, and now their hard work has been rewarded.”

Rajagopal said Singapore’s ASEAN Football Federation success last December had a knock-on effect on the LionsXII.

“The Lions were very disciplined in the Suzuki Cup and then experienced players like Shahril Ishak, Baihakki Khaizan, Hariss Harun, Izwan Mahbud and Safuwan Baharudin brought the confidence, and more importantly, the tightness into the LionsXII,” he observed.

“Discipline in defence and midfield makes the difference between winning and losing. And the LionsXII have bags of it.”

Hodak is now hoping that none of the LionsXII strikers will develop a rich scoring form in the Malaysia Cup. “Right now, the gap between them and other top teams is narrow because they don’t have a prolific scorer,” he said.

“I dread the day when they find a lethal finisher. Many teams will suffer.”

Loh
07-04-2013, 09:43 PM
Published on Jul 04, 2013
10:31 PM


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/cbdskyline04e.jpg (http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/cbdskyline04e.jpg)

People look at the skyline of the Central Business District in Singapore on April 25, 2013. Singapore will dethrone Switzerland in the next two years as the world's top centre for managing international funds, a study said on Thursday, July 4, 2013, as a global tax crackdown and tighter regulation weaken the Alpine nation's appeal to investors. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS


ZURICH (REUTERS) - Singapore will dethrone Switzerland in the next two years as the world's top centre for managing international funds, a study said on Thursday, as a global tax crackdown and tighter regulation weaken the Alpine nation's appeal to investors.

Switzerland, still the world's biggest offshore financial centre with US$2 trillion (S$2.5 trillion) in assets, came ahead of rivals Singapore, London, Hong Kong and New York in the 2013 ranking, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers as part of its Global Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey.

But respondents to the survey, which questioned 200 finance industry professionals from 51 countries, also said they expected Switzerland to lose ground, with Singapore taking the top spot in the next two years.

Switzerland's tradition of banking secrecy has helped its financial sector thrive but is under massive pressure from the United States and elsewhere, as cash-strapped governments seek to stop tax evasion and close loopholes.

Loh
07-04-2013, 09:47 PM
Published on Jul 05, 2013
8:39 AM


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/ST_20130705_JZKHAWKER_3732710e.jpg

The planned community club, which will be completed by early 2015, will be built on this plot of land in Hougang Avenue 9. Hougang is believed to be the first neighbourhood to house town facilities and a hawker centre within a single community club. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS


By Feng Zengkun


Hougang residents will soon be able to watch a play, see a doctor and tuck in at a hawker centre, all within the same community club.

The one-stop facility is believed to be the first in Singapore and will be completed by early 2015, according to Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Yeo Guat Kwang, who oversees the club's location in Hougang Avenue 9.

Asked whether the project would serve as a model for future community clubs, he replied that it had not been decided. "But if we make it a success, then definitely we may see more."

The Government had said in April that the new Tampines Town Hub to be ready in 2015 will have a football field, swimming pool, library and even a performing arts centre.

Loh
07-04-2013, 09:52 PM
Older MRT trains to get new motors from Japan


Published on Jul 05, 2013
7:40 AM



http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/mrt01e.jpg

An MRT train travelling along the tracks near Bishan MRT station on Oct 30, 2012. Local operator SMRT has ordered these motors by Toshiba for all 66 of its oldest trains. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



By Hoe Pei Shan


The high-efficiency motors used by trains on the Tokyo Metro, the world's busiest subway, will soon be driving Singapore's MRT trains.

Local operator SMRT has ordered these motors by Toshiba for all 66 of its oldest trains.

This is the first time the trains will have their drive systems upgraded since they started operating in 1987.

Almost all of the recent disruptions, however, did not involve motor issues.

Loh
07-04-2013, 09:58 PM
Published on Jul 04, 2013
2:46 PM


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/HariRayaLights0407e.jpg

The Hari Raya Light Up at Geylang Serai in 2012. To facilitate this year's Hari Raya Light Up at Geylang Serai, the following roads and lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic on Saturday, July 6, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG


By Farah Mohd Ismail

To facilitate this year's Hari Raya Light Up at Geylang Serai, the following roads and lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic on Saturday.

The slip road leading from Changi Road into Joo Chiat Road will be closed from 12 noon to 9 pm. The extreme left lane of Changi Road (between lamp post 46 and the junction of Joo Chiat Road), as well as Joo Chiat Road (between its junction with Changi Road and lamp post 2), will be closed between 5 pm and 8 pm.

During the road and lane closures, access into the above-mentioned roads and lane will only be granted to police and emergency vehicles. Parking restrictions along the peripheral roads will be strictly enforced. Vehicles found parking and causing obstruction will be towed away.

Loh
07-04-2013, 10:02 PM
Published on Jul 04, 2013
8:16 PM


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/LeeYuanTseh0407e.jpg (http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/LeeYuanTseh0407e.jpg)

Asia should be less concerned with growing its economies and more focused on sustainable development, said Nobel laureate Professor Lee Yuan Tseh (above). -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG


By Kash Cheong

Asia should be less concerned with growing its economies and more focused on sustainable development, said Nobel laureate Professor Lee Yuan Tseh .

"People in Asia always say they want to catch up with the United States, but if the world consumes like Americans, we would need 5.4 earths to sustain us," said the Taiwan-born professor who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1986.

Speaking at a five-day Singapore International Science Challenge organised by the National Junior College, which started on Monday, Prof Lee said although Asia has several encouraging projects like the Tianjin Eco-city, a massive population is also migrating from rural areas to cities. "I'm afraid at this rate, green energy may not be able to overcome more consumption by more people," he said.

Prof Lee is also the President of the International Council for Science. Together with other science institutes, the council is involved in the Future Earth Project, a decade-long research initiative which explores methods to cope with global environmental change.

Loh
07-04-2013, 10:19 PM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/15550302_0.JPG (http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image_lightbox/public/15550302_0.JPG)

TODAY file photo



By Alfred Chua (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/alfred-chua)

7 hours 9 sec ago

SINGAPORE — Residents’ Committees (RCs) — grassroots organisations ubiquitous in public housing estates — have been associated with block parties and karaoke sessions. Now, two RCs in Queenstown have evolved into resource pooling centres, replete with items residents can borrow — including tables, chairs and ladders.

Member of Parliament Chia Shi-Lu, who oversees the Queenstown ward in Tanjong Pagar GRC, told TODAY that residents’ response to the new scheme, barely weeks old, has been “uniformly positive”. The concept came about when many residents repeatedly approached the RCs “to borrow items”.

Dr Chia then met the founders of blockpooling.sg, a resource-sharing social enterprise started by local technology company Estatebuzz, as he thought it “would be a good idea to make the RCs a nexus for resource sharing”.

Estatebuzz Chief Executive Officer Moh Hon Meng said he had wanted to use blockpooling.sg to bring back the “kampung spirit” from the past, when residents would barter their items and services with one another.

With the website’s launch in May, Singaporeans can offer items for their neighbours to borrow or tap the existing inventory list online to loan items. In addition, users can offer their skills — such as first aid —in what Mr Moh called “effort-based offers”.

Common services offered by users include IT help. Most of the items residents can borrow were donated, though some were present at the RCs before the scheme started.

Highlighting the benefits of the programme, Dr Chia said: “Firstly, it’s environmentally friendly. Secondly, it helps with the high cost of living when you can borrow instead of buy; and lastly, it helps with social bonding when people living nearby learn to depend on each other for resources.”

Dr Chia said he has shared the idea of turning the RC into a resource centre with other constituencies.

He added: “While it is great that the RC is a one-stop centre (for residents to borrow), I think ultimately we want the residents to approach each other about loaning items.”

It is still too early to tell the success of the project, but Mr Moh is hopeful his website can help recreate the “kampung spirit”.

“I hope this website is an opportunity for Singaporeans to open their cyber-doors to their neighbours,” he said.

Loh
07-04-2013, 10:43 PM
http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image/public/15074141_0.JPG (http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image_lightbox/public/15074141_0.JPG)

Minister K. Shanmugam giving a media brief on Shane Todd case in Singapore. Photo: Ernest Chua


By Saifulbahri Ismail (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/saifulbahri-ismail)

14 hours 26 sec ago

SINGAPORE — Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said harmonising legal standards and strengthening legal frameworks are important components of ASEAN integration.

Speaking at a conference today (July 4), he stressed the regional group must continue its integration and community-building efforts in order to strengthen its resilience and competitiveness.

Some 160 participants from the region attended the conference.

One of the issues discussed was ASEAN’s external legal relations, as the regional group develops a range of agreements with other countries.

Mr Shanmugam said ASEAN’s senior law officials have also been working on various legal integration initiatives. These include harmonising the laws of various member states on arbitration and on the international sale of goods.

Mr Shanmugam said: “These efforts are important for ASEAN as the harmonisation of legal rules can help to remove uncertainty, reduce cost, generate greater business confidence, and ultimately advance ASEAN community-building goals.”

He added that a stronger, unified ASEAN will remain influential as it serves as a neutral platform for major powers to engage the region and each other in constructive ways.

He also lauded China for showing a serious intent to engage ASEAN.

Mr Shanmugam said: “China announced a whole slew of initiatives which sometimes doesn’t get as much attention as it should about putting in more money on platforms that would promote more physical integration and regional infrastructure development, working with ASEAN on maritime cooperation, working with ASEAN to fund the whole series of new projects, to upgrade the China-ASEAN FTA and so on.”

CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
07-07-2013, 08:50 PM
Published on Jul 07, 2013
5:30 PM


http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/story-gallery-featured/youthaward0707e.jpg (http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/youthaward0707e.jpg)

The Singapore Youth Award was given to six individuals for their contribution to the society on Sunday, July 7, 2013, at the Istana. The winners include (from left) non-profit group Halogen Foundation co-founder Martin Tan, scientist Juliana Maria Chan, arts and drama teacher Koh Hui Ling, musician Muhammad Riduan Zalani, paralympian Laurentia Tan and national netball player Jean Ng (not pictured). -- PHOTO: NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL



By Lim Yi Han

The Singapore Youth Award was given to six individuals for their contribution to the society on Sunday at the Istana.

The six recipients were selected from 107 nominees, the most number of nominations received in the past five years.

The winners include paralympian Laurentia Tan, 33; non-profit group Halogen Foundation co-founder Martin Tan, 35; scientist Juliana Maria Chan, 29; musician Muhammad Riduan, 27; national netball player Jean Ng, 34 and arts and drama teacher Koh Hui Ling, 33.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean was the guest of honour at the event. The award, which is in its 38th year, is administered by the National Youth Council.

Loh
07-07-2013, 08:55 PM
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the PAYM Loves Red launch yesterday. Photo: People’s Association

TODAY

By Ashley Chia (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/ashley-chia)

5 hours 38 min ago

SINGAPORE — Many countries are battling a high youth unemployment rate, but Singapore has been fortunate and the young should take advantage of what they have and build a “better” Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Addressing young volunteers on Youth Day as he launched a two-month long campaign, PAYM Loves Red, organised by the People’s Association’s Youth Movement, Mr Lee urged them to see the country’s achievements as a base from which to scale greater heights.

“We look at the difficulties that the Europeans have, taking care of the young people. One quarter of the young people are unemployed, and some countries like Spain or Greece, half the people are unemployed,” he said. “Fortunately in Singapore, we are not in that position. People graduate — whether it’s from ITE, polytechnic or university — the jobs are there.”

Mr Lee said that building a better Singapore would require a collective effort, where the successful contribute back to society while the Government does more to help the less fortunate by strengthening safety nets.

Referring to the S$100 million in the new National Youth Fund to help youths champion social causes, the Prime Minister urged the next generation to step forward to build a softer, more compassionate nation.

“We are building Singapore for the new generation, for the young. Take advantage of what you have, build on it and take it higher, stronger, brighter for many years to come,” he said.

Through PAYM Loves Red, some 6,000 youths from the organisation will be involved in an initiative to show love and loyalty to Singapore for its 48th birthday through over 100 different projectS, based on the themes of the arts, culture, sports, environment and community service.

The activities include singing National Day songs, doing a “bread run” for the needy and taking less fortunate children on a kite-flying excursion.

PAYM Loves Red will take place till Aug 31. The campaign, in its second year, is expected to reach out to 27,000 young people and residents islandwide.

Sengkang West Member of Parliament Lam Pin Min, who attended the launch yesterday, said young Singaporeans are facing increasing competition for jobs but there are still many opportunities available out there.

Nonetheless, noting that he has come across Singaporeans who are selective in what jobs they would like to do, Mr Lam said the young should bear in mind that every job provides a “learning opportunity”.

“It’s a stepping stone to more experiences and future opportunities,” he said.

Loh
07-08-2013, 08:35 PM
Top of agenda at Asean meet: Seeking accurate land concession maps



Published on Jul 09, 2013
7:28 AM


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A general view shows Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers (centre) and commercial buildings as haze clears in Kuala Lumpur on June 28, 2013. Singapore will seek several concrete outcomes at an Asean haze meeting in Kuala Lumpur next week, and topping the agenda is an urgent push for Indonesia to provide official and accurate land concession maps. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP


By Leonard Lim

SINGAPORE will seek several concrete outcomes at an Asean haze meeting in Kuala Lumpur next week, and topping the agenda is an urgent push for Indonesia to provide official and accurate land concession maps.

These maps, combined with satellite technology, will be instrumental in holding companies or individuals who clear land illegally to account, Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said yesterday.

"Without those maps, it's very difficult for me to point fingers... authoritatively, bearing in mind that these activities occur in another sovereign land."

Dr Balakrishnan, who was one of five ministers who addressed Parliament yesterday on the haze issue, will lead a delegation to Malaysia for the three-day meeting, which begins on Monday.

Loh
07-08-2013, 08:44 PM
Published on Jul 09, 2013
7:25 AM


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Posed photo of a girl sitting in front of a computer and surfing the internet. The new rules for online news sites mark a refinement and not a major shift in content standards, said Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN


By Tessa Wong

The new rules for online news sites mark a refinement and not a major shift in content standards, said Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim.

This was why the Government decided to hold consultations with the 10 news sites that would come under the regime rather than the wider Internet community. It does not believe that the new regulations will have an impact on the overwhelming majority of Internet content providers, he told Parliament yesterday.

It is now in talks with the 10 websites that will come under the new framework. The process started in May, and it will take two to three months more to work out the details of the licensing conditions.

Dr Yaacob added that the Government will nonetheless continue to engage stakeholders to allay any concerns they may have. He was responding to queries from members of both the opposition and the ruling party on the rolling out of the regulation, including its prior consultation process.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) and Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong felt that the rules, which came into effect on June 1 - three days after they were first announced - seemed to have been unveiled in a rush.

Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam, who filed an adjournment motion on the topic, said that they "were dropped like a bomb" on the public.

Dr Yaacob noted in his reply that since 1996, most websites have come under the class licence scheme which has rules spelling out prohibited content, such as content that infringes on public decency or public harmony.

Now, the Government wants news websites to have individual licences, so that they are placed on a "more consistent regulatory basis" with traditional news outlets such as newspapers, which must obtain individual licences too.

Websites with individual licences must comply with two additional requirements: a 24-hour window to take down offensive content when directed by the Government, and they must put up a $50,000 performance bond.

The new rules are needed, he noted, because of media convergence where news is now published online besides in print and broadcast. Furthermore, "eyeballs are shifting" as more Singaporeans get their information from the Internet.

Hence, as online sites become a more significant source of news, the Government felt that the regulatory framework has to evolve as well to keep pace, "rather than wait and react", he said.

"I think we need to put the framework in place, learn as we go along, because there may be a proliferation of sites in the future," said Dr Yaacob.

Loh
07-08-2013, 08:52 PM
Regulations targeted at news sites, says Yaacob



Published on Jul 09, 2013
7:23 AM


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Bloggers have been and will continue to be free to comment on government policies and do not need to feel curbed by the licensing regulations on news sites instituted last month. -- TNP FILE PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR



By Tessa Wong And Rachel Chang

Bloggers have been and will continue to be free to comment on government policies and do not need to feel curbed by the licensing regulations on news sites instituted last month.

The Government has not stopped any of them commenting on the ruling since it kicked in, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim told Parliament yesterday.

And despite accusations that the move would stifle Internet freedom, this has not occurred, he noted, even as several bloggers critical of the rules watched from the public gallery as he fielded questions on the regulations.

"Since we... announced the law on May 28, nothing has stopped the bloggers from commenting," he said, reiterating the Government's stance that the change does not target bloggers.

The new rules, which require news sites to post a $50,000 performance bond and take down offensive content within 24 hours, kicked in on June 1, three days after the announcement.

The idea that the rules would have a chilling effect on bloggers is "far-fetched". Said Dr Yaacob: "I don't think they are so easily 'chilled'."

If future operators cannot afford the bond, the Media Development Authority (MDA) would be willing to set a "reasonable" amount in line with the news site's finances.

"The intention is not to prevent the site from operating under a licence. On the contrary, the intent is to allow a qualifying site to continue to operate, under an individual licence," said Dr Yaacob.

The whole idea behind the framework is to hold news sites to a higher standard than other sites, he added in response to questions in Parliament.

To qualify as a news site, they must have at least one news story on Singapore a week and attract at least 50,000 unique visitors from here in a month.

Some members pointed out that the definition for news sites was broad, and Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam who filed an adjournment motion on the rules said this could lead Singaporeans to believe the rules had been "crafted to censor blogs, especially those that discuss politics".

Dr Yaacob said this was not the case, and that the regulations were squarely targeting news sites to hold them to "a higher level of responsibility". "We need to license you so that you know that whatever you do, you must do it well and do it accurately because you're reporting for the benefit of Singaporeans," he said.

He noted that bloggers, Internet commentators and niche websites provide their personal views and do not regularly report on news. Hence they do not fall within the scope of the new licensing.

"However, should these websites morph into online sites reporting on Singapore news, MDA will have to separately assess if they meet the two criteria for licensing," he said.

Mr Choo Zheng Xi, part of the Free My Internet movement which opposes the rules, said he was "gratified" to see Dr Yaacob challenged by all three parties in Parliament - the ruling People's Action Party and the opposition Workers' Party (WP) and Singapore People's Party.

"We feel vindicated that our concerns over the new regulations are shared across the political spectrum," said the co-founder of sociopolitical blog The Online Citizen.

Separately, in a written response to a question filed by WP MP Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) on the criteria for media accreditation, Dr Yaacob said factors include the reach and distribution of the news organisation, and its professional standing.

"The platform of the news organisation, whether traditional or online, is not a consideration. The licensing of online news websites is not related to accreditation and has no bearing on the criteria used to accredit the media organisations," he said.

The Government is discussing the licence details with the three companies which own the 10 news websites that come under the licensing framework - Singapore Press Holdings, MediaCorp and Yahoo Singapore.

Yahoo is the only one among the three that does not have press accreditation for its reporters.

Loh
07-08-2013, 09:02 PM
Published on Jul 08, 2013
4:33 PM



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President and NUS Chancellor Tony Tan Keng Yam presided over the NUS Commencement ceremony at NUS Commencement ceremony at NUS Cultural Centre on Monday, July 8. A total of 10,282 students will graduate from the National University of Singapore this year. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG


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Valedictorian Mr Ow Yeong Wai Kit, Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in English Literature and University Scholars Programme, gives his speech at the NUS Commencement ceremony at NUS Cultural Centre on Monday, July 8, 2013. A total of 10,282 students will graduate from the National University of Singapore this year. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG


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NUS Commencement ceremony at NUS Cultural Centre on Monday, July 8, 2013. A total of 10,282 students will graduate from the National University of Singapore this year. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG



By Stacey Chia

A total of 10,282 students will graduate from the National University of Singapore this year. This year's graduating class comprises 6,547 students receiving bachelor degrees and another 3,735 students receiving graduate degrees.

NUS Chancellor, President Tony Tan Keng Yam presided over the main commencement ceremony on Monday for 160 students from the University Scholars Programme.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, was also among guests present at the ceremony.

A total of 23 ceremonies will be held at the NUS University Cultural Centre over nine days.

The pioneer batch of students from the NUS-Imperial College Joint Doctor of Philosophy Programme, NUS-CMES Double Degree Programme, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: Master of Social Work, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science will graduate this year.

Loh
07-08-2013, 09:27 PM
Published on Jul 08, 2013
4:12 PM


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Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam (above) said the conspiracy theory of American researcher Shane Todd being murdered in Singapore over sensitive work at the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME), was based on "untruths, pure fantasy and pure imagination". -- PHOTO: AFP


By Rachel Chang


Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said the conspiracy theory of American researcher Shane Todd being murdered in Singapore over sensitive work at the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME), was based on "untruths, pure fantasy and pure imagination".

Speaking to the media on Monday afternoon after the State Coroner had delivered his finding of suicide on the case, Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said the inquiry was fair, open and "the world can see what we have done".

He said that the Financial Times (FT) - which published a report about the case in February that was largely based on the belief of Dr Todd's family that he was murdered - should "do the honourable thing" and correct the untruths that it had reported.

This was because journalist Raymond Bonner, who was writing for the FT at the time, did not verify the facts before the story was published.

On Dr Todd's parents, who still maintain that he was murdered and who said they would take the case up with United States President Barack Obama, Mr Shanmugam said that he understood their grief but there should be "strength to face the truth".

State Coroner Chay Yuen Fatt had ruled earlier in the day that Dr Todd committed suicide by hanging.

The US Embassy in Singapore said after the decision was announced that the coroner's inquiry into Dr Todd's death was "comprehensive, fair and transparent,"

In a statement, the embassy added that its officials attended the entire inquiry and were with the Todd family during their time in Singapore. The Todds quit the inquiry on May 21 and went home to the US two days later.

Loh
07-08-2013, 09:31 PM
Published on Jul 08, 2013
2:03 PM
53



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This undated file handout photo made available to AFP on May 18, 2013 and provided in Singapore by Mary Todd shows her son Shane Todd, a high-tech researcher who died in Singapore in June, 2012. The coroner's inquiry into American researcher Shane Todd's death was "comprehensive, fair and transparent," the United States Embassy in Singapore said on Monday. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP


By Feng Zengkun


The coroner's inquiry into American researcher Shane Todd's death was "comprehensive, fair and transparent," the United States Embassy in Singapore said on Monday.

Judge Chay Yuen Fatt had ruled earlier in the day that Dr Todd committed suicide by hanging.

In a statement, the embassy added that its officials attended the entire inquiry and were with the Todd family during their time in Singapore. The Todds quit the inquiry on May 21 and went home to the US two days later.

"The death of Dr. Shane Todd in June 2012 was a profound loss for his family, friends, and colleagues, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them," said an embassy spokesman.

Judge Chay delivering his finding on the case said the physical evidence pointed to the 31-year-old's death as a suicide as there was no foul play and no medical basis to find that it was a homicide.

"After considering all the evidence before me, I was also satisfied that there was no foul play involved in the deceased's death," he said in a 145-page decision.

The judge said there was no reason to doubt the authenticity of a suicide note found on Dr Todd's laptop at the scene of death, and there was also no evidence to suggest that the researcher had been involved with any sensitive research as part of his work at the Singapore Institute of Microelectronics (IME).

"The deceased was not in possession of confidential and valuable classified information in the course of his employment at the IME," he added.

Loh
07-09-2013, 09:44 PM
Residents submit list of Queenstown sites which they hope will be considered for preservation



Published on Jul 10, 2013
8:10 AM



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Block 45, Stirling Road (above), the Queenstown Sports Complex and the former Archipelago Brewery are sites on the list of the conversation paper that is backed by some 1,000 signatures from Queenstown residents. -- ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

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Block 45, Stirling Road, the Queenstown Sports Complex (above) and the former Archipelago Brewery are sites on the list of the conversation paper that is backed by some 1,000 signatures from Queenstown residents. -- ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

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Block 45, Stirling Road, the Queenstown Sports Complex and the former Archipelago Brewery (above) are sites on the list of the conversation paper that is backed by some 1,000 signatures from Queenstown residents. -- ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN



By Melody Zaccheus


A LIST of 18 sites in Queenstown - Singapore's oldest satellite town - has been submitted to the authorities in a conservation paper backed by around 1,000 signatures from its residents.
Civic group My Community and the estate's Citizens' Consultative Committee have launched a bid to preserve the buildings, which include several Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) and Housing Board blocks built in the 1950s and 1960s - said to show the evolution of public housing.

Other sites include the Masjid Mujahidin - the first mosque constructed by the HDB - and the former Queenstown Polyclinic.

They hope the buildings will be considered for protection by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for Singapore's Master Plan 2013 - a statutory plan on land use for the next 10 to 15 years.


Background story

Why they should be conserved



THE first HDB blocks in Singapore are still standing today.

The seven-storey buildings - Blocks 45, 48 and 49 at Stirling Road - were erected in 1960 as part of the HDB's efforts to increase the average residential density in the area.


Queenstown Sports Complex at 473 Stirling Road is Singapore's first neighbourhood sports complex. Constructed in 1970, it features a stadium and swimming complex. Many members of the national water polo team began playing at the club based there under the tutelage of coach Kenneth Kee.




The former Archipelago Brewery Company Brewmaster House at 368 Alexandra Road was established in the early 1930s by German businessmen and was one of the first commercial breweries in Singapore.


It was located next to the Malayan Railway, which made it convenient to export the beer it produced. A two-storey bungalow - which served as the brewmaster's office - is all that is left of the building today.

MELODY ZACCHEUS

Loh
07-09-2013, 09:57 PM
PARLIAMENT
Processes set up to avoid repeat of notice that upset residents in April



Published on Jul 10, 2013
8:06 AM



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Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman would prefer not to turn Pulau Ubin into a tourist attraction. “I don’t like to see it as a tourist destination, but as a destination for Singaporeans to experience what rustic life is about,” he says. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN



By Poon Chian Hui


PULAU Ubin, a popular weekend getaway for Singaporeans and home to families who have lived there for decades, will be kept in its current state for as long as possible.

There are currently no development plans for the island, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Mohamad Maliki Osman reassured the House.

"Our intention is to keep Pulau Ubin in its rustic state for as long as possible, and as an outdoor playground for Singaporeans," he said in his reply to Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) and Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam.

They had tabled questions after a scare in April, when 22 households on the north-eastern island received what they thought was an eviction notice.

Loh
07-09-2013, 10:18 PM
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The Singapore Sports Hub will be fully operational from the last week of March next year. ARTIST’S IMPRESSION: SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB




By IAN DE COTTA (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/ian-de-cotta)

6 hours 56 min ago

SINGAPORE — While the Singapore Sports Hub operators and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) are still in talks over holding next year’s National Day Parade (NDP) at the new venue, the operators revealed yesterday that they are obliged under their contract to offer the Government the use of the National Stadium for free for the NDP and rehearsals, as well as major multi-sports events, such as the South-east Asian, Asian and Commonwealth Games if these are staged here.

So far, at least 60 dates — from the middle of May next year to the end of the year — have been pencilled in for the National Stadium alone, one of several facilities housed in the Sports Hub. Out of these, 30 per cent are A-list crowd-pullers that could easily fill the 55,000-seat arena.

Sports Hub Managing Director Mark Collins declined to name any of the events. He said these and the date of the official opening of the new sports complex will be revealed by the Government. Nevertheless, it will be fully operational from the last week of March next year.

“Our client is the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) and we have an obligation to provide them the facilities at no charge for use as they see fit,” said Mr Collins. “The NDP is one of those obligations and they are responsible for the operating costs and the overheads.”

He added that the SSC has a set number of days over the course of a calendar year when it can utilise the Sports Hub for national and major sporting events and it has to “manage the utilisation of those days”.

The Managing Director was speaking to the media after the Sports Hub’s commercial partner World Sport Group launched the sale of memberships for 1,655 premium seats at the National Stadium at a cost of S$1,950 each per year.

TODAY reported in May that the operators were in talks with MINDEF on holding the NDP next year and Mr Collins said the negotiations were still ongoing.

He added that installation events will be staged to test the Sports Hub’s facilities and systems for five weeks until early May next year, before it starts hosting a slew of big-ticket sports and entertainment events.

“We’ll start with a major sporting event, followed the next week by a major concert, and then a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) event, then another concert and a sports event,” he said. The busy calendar will see a variety of events lined up “almost every other week”.

Being built at a cost of S$1.33 billion, the Sports Hub will consist of a 6,000-capacity indoor aquatic centre, a 3,000-capacity multi-purpose arena, a 41,000 sq m retail, restaurant and entertainment space, a water sports centre and the existing 13,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Loh
07-09-2013, 11:11 PM
Red Sports

Posted by: Les Tan (http://www.redsports.sg/author/les/)
Posted date: July 05, 2013



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Bernice Lim (left) and Daphne Tan of Singapore with their doubles gold after they beat the Koreans 441–393 in the final. (Photo 1 courtesy of SingaporeBowling)



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From left to right: Bernice Lim, Daphne Tan, New Hui Fen, Geraldine Ng. Hui Fen and Geraldine made it to the semi-finals where they met and lost to their teammates Bernice and Daphne. Bernice and Daphne went on to win the gold against a Korean pair. (Photo 2 courtesy of SingaporeBowling)

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Joel Tan (left) and Keith Saw beat a strong Hong Kong pair 404–281 to advance to the semi-finals but had to settle for bronze after they were beaten 468–397 by a Japanese pair. (Photo 3 courtesy of SingaporeBowling)


Incheon, South Korea, 3 July 2013 – Singapore’s Bernice Lim and Daphne Tan upset the Korean pair of Son Yun Hee and Hwang Yeon Ju 441–393 to win the doubles gold at the 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. This was the team’s second gold medal at the games after Daphne had won the singles gold (http://www.redsports.sg/2013/07/05/bowling-daphne-tan-singles-gold/).

27 pairs were vying for eight quarter-final spots in the quarter finals and Singapore eventually clinched two of those spots. Bernice and Daphne qualified as the sixth seed while the other Singapore pairing of Geraldine Ng and New Hui Fen qualified as the fourth seed. Their respective seedings meant they avoided each other in the quarter-finals.

In the quarter-finals, Geraldine and Hui Fen just edged out the Malaysian pair of Hee Kar Yen and Siti Safiyah by five pinfalls (367–362). Bernice and Daphne then ensured that Singapore would win two medals in the category when they beat Huang Chiung Yao and Tsai Hsin Yi of Taipei in a convincing 409–354 victory.

Both Singapore pairs now had to face each other in the semi-finals and Bernice and Daphne triumped 372–357.

While Geradline and Hui Fen settled for the bronze, Bernice and Daphne went on to face Korea’s Son Yun Hee and Hwang Yeon Ju. Bernice had a great game of 246 which made the difference as Singapore overcame the Koreans 441–393.

“[I'm] very happy to win a gold. This is the second time both of us have partnered together to win. It is just a great feeling winning for Singapore,” said Bernice.
In the men’s competition, Singapore’s Keith Saw and Joel Tan won a bronze in the men’s doubles (http://www.redsports.sg/2013/07/05/bowling-joel-tan-keith-saw-asian-indoor-games/).

Singapore’s Asian Indoor Games Medal Tally

Daphne Tan – Women’s Singles (Gold)
Bernice Lim and Daphne Tan – Women’s Doubles (Gold)
Keith Saw and Joel Tan – Men’s Doubles (Bronze)
Geraldine Ng and New Hui Fen – Women’s Doubles (Bronze)


Singapore’s Daphne Tan sees off Chen Dongdong of China to win singles gold at Asian Indoor Games

Posted by: Les Tan (http://www.redsports.sg/author/les/)
Posted date: July 05, 2013
Incheon, South Korea, Monday, July 1, 2013

Singapore’s Daphne Tan, 22, won the women’s singles gold medal at the 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to secure the country’s first medal at the games.

She overcame a field of 54 women from 20 nationalities to secure the gold.

At the last games in 2009, Singapore came away with just a bronze medal.

Daphne Tan secured second seed after bowling 1,336 pinfalls, 13 behind top seed Hwang Yeon-Ju of Korea. Daphne advanced to face Sharon Limansantoso of Indonesia in the quarter-finals where she won 212–203 to earn a spot in the semi-finals.

In the semi-final round, Daphne overcame Son Yun Hee of Korea, 255–223, to secure her place in the final. Her final opponent was Chen Dongdong of China who broke Korean hearts when she beat the top seeded Hwang Yeon-Ju 224–193.

In the final, both keglers found difficulty with the lanes before Daphne finally pulled away to win 182–167.

In the men’s competition, Mohammad Jaris Goh scraped into the quarter-finals the previous day but fell 226–257 to top seed, Kim Jun Yung of Korea.

Loh
07-11-2013, 01:23 AM
Tourist draws go for big revamps to claw back falling visitor numbers


Published on Jul 11, 2013
7:34 AM




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Skyline Luge Sentosa will erect four new buildings and two more tracks under a $5 million revamp that will be completed by 2015. -- ST FILE PHOTO

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The Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom will be changed completely. -- PHOTO: SENTOSA



By Jessica Lim Consumer Correspondent


Embattled attractions here are reinventing themselves in the face of dwindling visitors and a changing tourism landscape.

At least three - Sentosa 4D AdventureLand, Skyline Luge Sentosa and the Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom - have either undergone or will embark on massive revamps. One has set aside $6 million to do so.

A team has also been formed at Singapore Tourism Board to look at revitalising its Chinatown Heritage Centre, and the Singapore Philatelic Museum will discuss an overhaul this year.

Each attraction tells a similar story of why change is needed: fewer visitors, tour agencies no longer herding customers their way, competition with new attractions and the need to appeal to locals and repeat visitors.


Background story

FORCED TO CHANGE

Pain is a good motivator... They are all wondering if they should ship out, reinvest or change themes. Many are finally putting in the money to upgrade and are thinking out of the box.
- ASA chairman Kevin Cheong
SKYLINE LUGE SENTOSA

325,000 - Number of visitors in 2011
300,000 - Number of visitors today
BUTTERFLY PARK & INSECT KINGDOM

300,000 - Number of visitors in 2011
250,000 - Number of visitors today

Loh
07-11-2013, 01:32 AM
7 hours 48 min ago

http://ndp.org.sg/
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SINGAPORE — This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will be presented in a variety show format that features everyday Singaporeans with extraordinary stories.

The variety show will feature nine segments that showcase the diversity and uniqueness of Singaporeans, including the telling of traditional folk tales of Bukit Merah and Sang Nila Utama in the “Play” segment, and a mime performed by a hearing-impaired Singaporean in the “Aspire” segment.

The NDP theme song, called One Singapore, will be heard in the “Embrace” segment, performed by the Sing A Nation choir made up of 68 Singaporeans from all walks of life.

This will be followed by the “Love” segment, where Singaporeans partake in a sing-along of a medley of songs, the national anthem and a recitation of the pledge.

The final segment, “Party”, will be a dance party with DJ Aldrin spinning music to thank all participants of this year’s NDP.

Organisers say parade spectators can also expect to see a giant human LED screen formed by 800 people, as well as a multi-media display featuring the iconic Merlion as it moves across the bayfront from the Merlion Park.

Other highlights include a stunt show by extreme sportsmen, including BMX bikers, parkour runners, skate boarders and inline skaters.

This year’s NDP will also be 25 minutes longer than in previous years.

The Chairman of this year’s NDP show committee, Colonel David Chua, said:

“Singaporeans are at the heart of this year’s show. When Singaporeans watch their fellow citizens perform, we trust that they will see their own stories, hopes and dreams reflected within and realise that they too, just like the volunteers on stage, can play a part to help make Singapore a place we can all call home, from generation to generation, whatever our backgrounds, and wherever we come from. Everyone can make a difference.”

CHANNEL NEWSASIA

Loh
07-11-2013, 01:40 AM
Sports


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She also qualifies for World Youth semi-finals which will be held today


By Low Lin Fhoong (http://www.badmintoncentral.com/authors/low-lin-fhoong)

13 hours 15 min ago

SINGAPORE - After coming close on two occasions, Shanti Pereira finally became Singapore’s fastest woman ever this morning, when she set a new national women’s 100m record during her heat at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, in the Ukraine.

The 16-year-old Republic Polytechnic student clocked 11.89sec to finish second behind Russia’s Kristina Sivkova (11.78) and qualify for this evening’s semi-finals.

Shanti’s record-breaking effort comes just months after her previous two attempts at the SEA Youth Championships and Singapore Youth and Junior Athletics Championships, where she clocked 12.05 on both occasions.

The previous mark of 12.01 was set by former national sprinter Amanda Choo in 2010.

Pending ratification by the Singapore Athletic Association, Shanti’s time will set five new national marks. The national senior record aside, it is also a national U-23, junior, youth and U-19 mark.

"The race was really good. There was quite a bit of a head wind but the Russian girl was a big push for me to go faster and faster!

"I am very happy and just overjoyed! I honestly didn't expect anything. Since I did the 12.05, I've been wanting to improve and was hoping to do it during this competition. But I didn't expect anything of myself.

"I screamed seeing my time as I was so happy. I was thinking 'Yes! I've finally done it!'

"I'm hoping to better the time in the semis. I want to dedicate this to my family, awesome friends and of course my coach."

The former Singapore Sports School student will be on the hunt for another national mark in the 200m on Friday. She will be aiming to eclipse Prema Govindan’s 29-year-old record of 24.54, which was set in Hong Kong in 1984.