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Thread: Singapore Also Can
08-26-2009, 12:49 AM #256
08-26-2009, 01:46 AM #257
08-26-2009, 11:20 PM #258
Singapore to stage Women's Rugby World Cup qualifiers
Channel News Asia
26 August 2009
By Patwant Singh
For the first time, Singapore will host the Women's Rugby World Cup qualifiers in November - where four teams will vie for a spot in the World Cup in England next year.
The Singapore qualifiers will be held in conjunction with the annual SCC 7s rugby which also promises more excitement.
The Singapore women's rugby team has been doing well recently.
The 7s team won a silver at the 2007 SEA Games, while the 15s squad is currently ranked third in Asia. And preparations are on track for the World Cup qualifiers - where Singapore will take on Japan.
"We have a bigger coaching team involved, and a more specific coaching team. The girls are hugely motivated... so the goal is to beat Japan in the first game and to qualify for a final here at the Padang, which would be a wonderful occasion for our girls," said Ian Bremner, CEO of Singapore Rugby Union.
Hong Kong and Kazakhstan will be the other teams competing in the qualifiers.
The World Cup matches will also act as a lead-up to more rugby action at the Padang in November. That's when the 62nd edition of the SCC 7s kicks off with a bigger bang, as organisers try to attract more fans.
"(We are) making it into more of a festival, introducing some things that are going to be interesting for families, so people can bring their families along. We will be having vendors who will be selling jewellery and fashions. We are having a concert. We've also got schools and colleges rugby," said Peter Hutton, chairman of the Organising Committee, Singapore Cricket Club 7s.
For the future, the Singapore Rugby Union hopes organisers of the SCC 7s could include a women's competition.
The Singapore Rugby Union will also be grooming a rugby 7s men's team for the 2013 SEA Games. And they are expected to gun for a medal.
08-28-2009, 01:38 AM #259
Untold story of PAP
The Straits Times
Aug 27, 2009
Men in White includes leftists' accounts of the battle for power.
By Zakir Hussain
THREE senior Straits Times journalists have written a book on the ruling People's Action Party, describing the conflicts and the power struggles of the PAP's early years.
The 692-page book also lifts the veil from some of the most dramatic events in the party's 55-year history, such as the first leftist plot to seize control in 1957 and how Mr Lee Kuan Yew's parliamentary secretary came to lead the challenge against the prime minister in 1961.
However, its most outstanding feature is the voices of leftists in the retelling of key events.
Many of them were giving their views for the first time. They had lost the struggle for control of the PAP, spent years in detention and exile, and their voices are largely absent from the Singapore story.
Said senior writer Sonny Yap, co-author of the book: 'Although many of them spent years in detention and suffered tremendous privations, they betrayed no bitterness and rancour while recounting their experiences.'
Mr Yap, 59, co-wrote the book with The Sunday Times features editor Richard Lim, 60, and senior writer Leong Weng Kam, 55.
Their final product - Men in White: The Untold Story of Singapore's Ruling Political Party - is published by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
To write it, the trio interviewed 300 party members, opponents and observers, 25 of whom have since died. Among those they spoke to were leftists banished from Singapore. The interviews with many of them were conducted where they now reside, in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China.
The authors also relied on 200 taped interviews with politicians deposited with the National Archives and 60 years of press reports in the local Chinese, Malay and English newspapers, as well as government and parliament records.
The book will be launched by SPH at The Arts House on Sept 8. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew will be the guest of honour and some 150 past and present PAP and non-PAP politicans will be present.
The book, which has a print run of 30,000, will be available at leading bookstores after the launch at $39.90 a copy before GST.
Last edited by Loh; 08-28-2009 at 01:46 AM.
08-30-2009, 01:12 AM #260
Pulls for sports industry
The Straits Times
Aug 28, 2009
By Leonard Lim
PURSUING a career as a physical education teacher is set to become more attractive.
Recognising sports' value in character-building and promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Ministry of Education intends to do more to develop a strong sporting culture among students - by strengthening the capabilities of PE teachers and giving them more opportunities for professional development.
To that end, MOE's director-general of education Ho Peng is leading a study to find ways to enhance sports, co-curricular activities (CCA) and aesthetics, Education Minister Ng Eng Hen announced on Friday.
'One clear need is to provide better career pathways for sports and aesthetic educators,' said Dr Ng.
'We've got to make it more attractive for people who feel they want to specialise in sports and aesthetics, to be able to see viable career paths for them toprogress.'
Greater specialisation would improve the delivery of sports and aesthetics programs, leading to a well-rounded education for students, he added.
Possible fields of specialisation include sports medicine, sports science and sports marketing.
Dr Ng added: 'A body of such professionals can also do much in promoting their craft as well as raise standards in schools, as they share best practices and engage with like-minded professionals overseas.'
Speaking at the Singapore Schools Sports Councils' 50th anniversary celebrations at Orchid Country Club on Friday, Dr Ng, the guest-of-honour, stressed that sports and aesthetics must be seen as integral parts of each school day and not of secondary importance.
08-30-2009, 01:39 AM #261
Singapore's new International Standard Skate Park
The Straits Times
Aug 29, 2009
Athletes praise new park
By Jeremy Au Yong
IT IS the first skate park in Singapore to meet international competition standards, but local and foreign athletes on Saturday were already tagging it as among the best in the world.
Japanese professional inline skater Takeshi Yatsutoko, a cult figure among extreme sports enthusiasts here, had nothing but praise for the $8 million Xtreme Skate Park in East Coast Park.
The 23-year-old, together with a host of other extreme sports stars, is in town for the opening of the park.
Australian Tim Wood, one of the best BMX riders in the world, was similarly enthused, adding that such a park was crucial if Singapore athletes wanted to be competitive overseas.
It was a sentiment echoed by local athletes who were thrilled to finally have a proper place to practise.
But more than just having a new place to skate, local extreme sportsmen were pleasantly surprised that three Cabinet Ministers were present for the launch. They took it as recognition that the sport was finally stepping out of the shadows of its more mainstream cousins.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the park. He was accompanied by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan and Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Dr Balakrishnan, speaking to reporters after the launch, acknowledged that extreme sports was starting to appear on the radar here.
'In the last five years, in fact more, we have certainly given extreme sports a place on our national sporting agenda,' he said.
And he added that the rise of extreme sports - where athletes often engage in risky stunts - was part of a larger change in society.
(The $8 million skate park opened in East Coast Park on Saturday is the first in Singapore to meet international competition standards. --PHOTO: ZAOBAO)
08-31-2009, 03:29 AM #262
Sports Hub delayed again
The Straits Times
Aug 28, 2009
2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013?
Sports Hub delays could mean it may not be fully ready for 2013 Games
By Leonard Lim
DELAYS continue to dog the Sports Hub, with the earliest completion date for the troubled $1.87 billion project at Kallang now understood to be 2013.
This has put Singapore's hosting of the 2013 South-east Asia Games in jeopardy.
Some senior sports officials have privately raised the possibility that Singapore may have to forgo hosting that year's SEA Games if there are further delays.
Should that happen, it would be a major blow to the Republic, which had hoped to use the biennial multi-sport extravaganza to showcase the world-class facility - the centrepiece of which will be a 55,000-seater dome-shaped National Stadium with a retractable roof.
The Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) hopes to sign the final contract with the Singapore Sports Council by year-end, said Mr Ludwig Reichhold, managing director of construction firm Dragages Singapore, on Thursday.
Dragages is the lead agency of the consortium that trumped bids from two other groups in January last year.
The contract was to have been inked in March last year but was delayed by financial and legal nitty-gritty.
The SSHC hopes to pull down the National Stadium by the first quarter of next year. The demolition will take about three months.
Construction of the hub can then begin and will take about three years to finish.
But a source said: 'Even with this timeline, a completion date of mid-2013 is still touch and go.'
(I just hope the signing will take place as scheduled and the world economy will improve to prevent further delays in construction.)
Last edited by Loh; 08-31-2009 at 03:33 AM.
09-01-2009, 12:21 AM #263
Singapore HDB Public Housing
Since independence 44 years ago, the Singapore government continues to provide affordable housing to citizens and PRs through the HDB (Housing & Development Board). The newer estates seem to enjoy the most benefit with all the attendant facilities, amenities and services within easy reach as one would expect from a satellite township. Now there is a BTO (Build-To-Order) scheme whereby owners can choose the type of furnishing, like floor tiles, etc, they wish to install in their flats before they are built.
However, older estates have also been upgraded and lifts and ramps have been added in places where there were none previously to enable the disabled and senior citizens to move about more easily.
Below is a recent article/advertisement on "Punggol Spectra", a new estate in hitherto outlying, out-of-reach and "faraway" Punggol, better known as rural farmland and an idle seaside location for seafood in the past. It is now being turned into an attractive residential location for family high-rise living.
The Straits Times
Aug 31, 2009
1,142 Punggol flats for sale
HDB is putting on sale 1,142 units of flats at Punggol Spectra under the Build-To-Order (BTO) system today, following strong interest in the recent BTO project, Punggol Residences.
The flats comprise 301 two-room units, 285 three-room units and 556 four-roomers. (A 2-room unit is actually one bedroom, one sitting room, one kitchen and one store/shelter room. A 3-room unit has 2 bedrooms and a 4-room unit has 3 bedrooms in addition.)
The prices range from $89,000 to $109,000 for the two-room flats, $151,000 to $179,000 for the three-room flats and $234,000 to $293,000 for the four-room flats.
These are priced below similar flats in the market and are affordable to first-time flat buyers, said HDB in a statement on Monday.
Situated along Punggol Central, Punggol Spectra is within walking distance to Oasis LRT station.
The Tampines Expressway is a short drive away, thus offering good connectivity to the rest of Singapore.
The precinct offers commercial facilities such as shops, eating house (restaurant and other eateries) and supermarket. The future Punggol Town Centre is just minutes away. Educational institutions such as Horizon Primary School and Punggol Secondary School are also located in the vicinity.
HDB said based on the income of flat applicants in the first half of this year, it is expected that first time flat buyers will only need to use between 20 to 26 per cent of their monthly household income to meet their housing loan commitments if they buy a flat at Punggol Spectra.
'This is well below the 30 per centinternational benchmark for affordable housing,' it said.
On top of a market subsidy on the selling price, eligible first-timers whose average monthly household income is $5,000 or less can also apply for an Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) of up to $40,000. The AHG can be used to offset the initial downpayment.
Including this exercise, HDB has offered about 4,800 flats under BTO and other sales exercises this year.
Flat buyers can look forward to more BTO projects ahead, said the board. These projects will be located in towns such as Punggol, Sengkang, and Sembawang.
More details will be provided when the projects are launched.
The total BTO supply for this year is expected to reach 8,000 units.
'HDB will continue to monitor the market situation closely, to ensure that there is adequate and affordable supply of public housing,' said the statement.
Applications for the BTO can be submitted online from Monday to Sept 14.
For enquiries, the public can e-mail email@example.com or call the Sales/Resale Customer Service Line at 1800-866 3066 on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm.
They can also visit the HDB Sales Office to speak with Customer Service Officers during office hours (Mon to Fri 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday 8 am to 1 pm).
HDB is putting on sale 1,142 units of flats at Punggol Spectra under the Build-To-Order (BTO) system today, following strong interest in the recent BTO project, Punggol Residences. --PHOTO: HDB
Last edited by Loh; 09-01-2009 at 12:25 AM.
09-01-2009, 01:09 AM #264
Punggol Waterway on course
(Another feather in its cap, Punggol Town's Waterway will be much sought-after for sports, recreation and relaxation by Punggol residents when completed end-2010.)
The Straits Times
Aug 31, 2009
The Housing Board on Monday awarded a $58.9 million contract for the construction of the second part - comprising 1.8km - of the 4.2 km waterway to Koh Brothers Building and Civil Engineering Contractor (Pte) Ltd.
The first part of the waterway, comprising 2.4km, was also awarded to Koh Brothers in January.
Since the groundbreaking in April, works on the waterway are progressing well, said the HDB in a statement on Monday.
'With the award of the construction works for Part 2 of the Waterway, HDB is committed to complete the Waterway, which is a key element to realise the Remarking Our Heartland plans for Punggol 21+, on schedule by end-2010,' said the board.
Besides engineering works on the remaining 1.8 km of the waterway, a key component of Part 2 of the Punggol Waterway works will see the construction of a 10m promenade on both sides of the Waterway, which will allow residents to take leisurely stroll and enjoy other activities along the waterway when works are completed.
Besides providing fun-filled and exciting recreational activities such as water sports in the heart of Punggol Town, the Waterway sets the stage for 21,000 homes that will eventually be built along it in an environment nestled by weaving water and lush greenery.
(The development of the Punggol Waterway is progressing smoothly into the next phase and is on track to be ready by end of next year. --PHOTO: HDB)
09-01-2009, 02:28 AM #265
Punggol Waterfront Town and Waterway Design Competition
The Business Times
22 May 2008
Following its announcement to develop Punggol into a modern waterfront town, HDB is also engaging with the private sector to design the landscaping of the Punggol waterway through a Landscape Masterplan Design Competition for the Waterway.
The competition aims to draw on fresh and innovative ideas for the landscaping of the 4.2 km waterway, and also includes the designing of the Punggol Town Park - a 10.6 ha land that will provide a range of water-based activities and facilities.
Besides proposing the landscape design development direction of the waterway, entrants to the competition can also actively participate in creating the communal and commercial spatial typologies along the waterway.
Proposals for the competition are expected to introduce new sustainable development concepts and features, in line with HDB’s concept of ‘green living by the waters’.
According to HDB, response to the competition has been good, with 17 firms registered as of yesterday.
Design Link Architects is one such company, and its director Mabel Goh said: ‘We feel that this project is quite innovative. So far, waterfront housing has been largely limited to the East Coast side, but this is an innovative attempt to integrate the water body with public housing.’
Another firm, Atelier Dreiseitl Asia, which has years of experience in landscape architecture and urban hydrology, is evaluating the competition brief and its director Leonard Ng has expressed interest in the project.
‘Right now, it’s a clean slate and it gives you the potential to work out a complete approach to design, being sensitive to all the aspects of an urban environment. If that’s taken into consideration, it can have a cutting edge design that integrates the urban fabric with the waterway.’
The winner of the competition will receive $300,000, which will form part of the professional fee to be paid to the appointed firm or team. The professional fee will be fixed at 3.68 per cent of the total construction costs of the landscape development. In addition, two merit prizes of $50,000 each will be awarded.
The competition is opened to urban planners, architects and landscape architects from May 17 to September 16 and registration closes on July 16
The Straits Times
Dec 12, 2008
New Punggol Waterway design
By Jessica Cheam
THINK water and you will have a good idea of the main theme running through the winning design for an ambitious $25 million makeover for Punggol.
The blueprint revealed on Friday aims to revive the coastal town's heritage as a fishing village by capitalising on its maritime setting.
There will be a 10km cycling trail in a rustic setting along the 4.2km waterway and a pedestrian 'kelong-like' bridge to recapture the old fishing days.
The waterway will also boast a coastal promenade and a host of water activities.
At the heart of the waterway in Punggol's town park will be a 'heartwave' wall boasting a mini waterfall.
Visuals on the wall will depict the history and development of Punggol from its early days to a 21st century town.
All this and more was unveiled on Friday by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan at the HDB Hub, where he announced the winner of the Punggol Waterway Landscape design contest launched in May.
Local firm Surbana International Consultants and its partner, Japanese firm Sen Inc, beat 10 local firms. Merit prizes were awarded to Arc Studio Architecture + Urbanism and Co-Design Architects.
Mr Johnny Wong, HDB's deputy director of building research, said the Housing Board was won over by Surbana's concept of incorporating Punggol's unique identity into the waterway's landscape.
Construction will be completed by 2010.
Mr Mah said the Punggol project is on schedule 'and has been progressing steadily even during this economic downturn'.
Since August last year, the HDB has launched more than 5,000 flats under its build-to-order (BTO) projects in Punggol. BTO developments are built only when a certain demand is met.
The HDB plans to offer about 3,000 flats for sale annually in Punggol, subject to demand. And by the end of 2011, there will be about 23,000 flats completed.
Mr Mah said that even with the slowdown, he expects 'sufficient take-up for these flats' as people are still getting married and young families are being formed.
The HDB is targeting the sale of the first site - a mixed commercial and residential development - to the private sector in mid-2010.
09-01-2009, 03:07 AM #266
For more information on Singapore's ambition of invigorating our HDB estates please refer to the following link on HDB's Corporate Newsletter September 2007 "Remaking our Heartland"
“No other city in the world can do this, public
housing that is attractive, that is affordable, that
is appealing, that gives a quality home for every
citizen and gives you an asset which will appreciate
in value and will also provide for your old age.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
at the National Day Rally, 19 August 2007
09-01-2009, 04:33 AM #267
HDB's 7 tallest 50-storey project - The Pinnacle@Duxton
The Duxton Plain site was historically significant as the site of the first two ten-storey HDB blocks in the Tanjong Pagar area; amongst the oldest built by HDB. The idea to redevelop Duxton Plain was put forward by Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew in August 2001. Design proposals were required to capture the memory of the previous blocks as well as re-site plaques commemorating the laying of the foundation stone on 15 March 1963, and the opening ceremony, on 10 April 1964 by the then Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew.
Located along Cantonment Road, it is built over what was then known as the Duxton Plain Public Housing - the site of the first two 10-storey HDB blocks in Singapore. Hence, this project carries a lot of historical significance - it marks the beginning of Singapore's wildly successful public housing policy and by year's end marks the 'pinnacle' of HDB's achievements.
From a humble pair of apartments built in 1964 to seven magnificent towers in 2009, this showpiece project is a great example of the 'Singapore Success Story'
Designed by local firm ARC Studio Architecture, the 1848 unit project when completed will be Singapore's tallest public housing project. The seven blocks will be linked by skybridges on the 26th and 50th floor, complete with a jogging track and sky garden at the very top. For publicly funded housing, this is truly one of a kind. And it is, HDB said that this is a one-off project, so don't expect anything of this sort in the near future.
There is a ton of talk when this was launched five years ago in 2004, there is still. We've got some pictures for you. The eager residents cannot wait to move in!
They're also sitting on a pot of gold too. The units at The Pinnacle@Duxton were sold in late 2004, so the most expensive unit then was a paltry S$451,500. By comparison, a 19th floor 5-room unit at The Peak@Toa Payoh (the recent DBSS) costs S$645,900. The resale value of the Pinnacle in five years time will surely break some sort of record.
The Pinnacle@Duxton will be ready by the end of 2009, I'm sure when it opens people will throng to the skybridges and take a jog around the sky gardens. It might even become a tourist attraction. It's slowly taking shape as the days go by, but for now we can only admire it from afar.
Those of you working in the Tanjong Pagar area would by now see these seven white 50-storey towers joining the already busy skyline of the Central Business District.
09-01-2009, 10:20 PM #268
Secret to youthful skin found
The Straits Times
Sep 1, 2009
By Diana Othman
SCIENTISTS from Singapore and Germany have made a new discovery that may unlock the secrets of youthful skin.
The international team of scientists led by Dr Bruno Reversade from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) (Singapore) discovered that mutations in the PYCR1 gene cause a rare genetic condition which results in premature skin ageing, known as 'wrinkly skin syndrome'.
These novel findings, published in the Sept 1 issue of prestigious journal Nature Genetics, provide insight into how some unexpected genes help maintain youthful skin and could lead to ways of reversing the effects of ageing and wrinkled skin.
The research project involved collaborations with over 15 hospitals and research centres in 13 countries, said A*Star in statement on Tuesday.
Using bioinformatics tools, Dr Reversade and his team analysed rare DNA samples collected from affected patients across the world who, at a young age, displayed signs of premature ageing.
They identified the PYCR1 gene on chromosome 17 of these patients to be defective and found specific mutations in the gene that led to conditions often seen in elderly people, such as loose skin, loss of bone density, hip dislocation and cataract.
They also determined that skin and bone were the two tissues most severely affected in patients. As skin and bone contain high levels of the PYCR1 protein under normal circumstances, developing therapies that could increase the activity of the protein could possibly reverse the process of ageing in affected individuals or slow it down in normal people.
'Our findings... highlight the importance of metabolism as PYCR1 is important in the synthesis of proline, a common amino acid involved in metabolism. Age-defying and anti-wrinkling treatments for common disorders related to ageing may also benefit from sustaining proline metabolism,' said Dr Reversade.
Added Professor Birgit Lane, a skin biologist and Executive Director of IMB: 'The study is a great example of scientific synergy - when clinicians and scientists from around the world come together to share their specialist skills and knowledge, they can discover new insights into complex medical conditions.'
'Rare genetic disorders often provide surprising revelations. Pooling resources and targeting research to find new ways of combating disease - and benefiting people faster - is exactly what we try to do.'
09-01-2009, 11:43 PM #269
No war threat over water
(Somehow I missed this news but am glad that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian PM, has cleared the air that Singapore never threatened to go to war over the water issue which current DPM Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying that Singapore's MM Lee Kuan Yew had said when he was PM.)
The Straits Times
Aug 27, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR - FORMER Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday admitted to having persuaded Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, during the latter's tenure as Johor Menteri Besar, to supply water to Singapore.
However, Tun Dr Mahathir denied that Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had threatened during a meeting to go to war if Malaysia did not do so, said news website Malaysiakini.
'If he had done that, I think I would have stopped any further supply,' the 84-year-old statesman said in his blog.
Last week, Tan Sri Muhyiddin touched on this issue when refuting an allegation that he had sold a piece of Johor land to Singapore when he was Menteri Besar.
The issue was brought up by the opposition during campaigning for the Permatang Pasir by-election, a state constituency on mainland Penang.
Speaking at a rally on Aug 19, Mr Muhyiddin said he had never sold 'even an inch of land to Singapore', reported Bernama. He said last week that the matter over the Johor land arose at a meeting between Dr Mahathir, then Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, and Mr Lee over gas pipeline and water supply issues.
Mr Muhyiddin, who did not say when the meeting took place, claimed that Mr Lee had pressed for adequate water supply from Johor. 'Lee said Singapore was ready to go to war if Malaysia did not want to supply enough water and expressed his regret over the stalled water supply project from Sungai Lingu,' Mr Muhyiddin was quoted as saying.
In the end, he said, Singapore agreed to finance the project but there was no sale of assets to the Republic, reported Bernama.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir also said in his blog yesterday that the Malaysian government at that time was trying to be friendly with Singapore in order to solve several problems.
He claimed that when the water supply agreement was concluded, Singapore raised a lot of issues regarding railway land, the CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) at Tanjong Pagar, training flights by Singapore warplanes over Malaysia, and the Central Provident Fund.
09-02-2009, 09:37 PM #270
The Terrex - Beefed-up battlefield 'taxi'
The Straits Times
Sep 2, 2009
By Jermyn Chow
BATTLEFIELD 'taxis' just got a lot faster, nimbler and smarter.
The Terrex, a designed- and made-in-Singapore armoured infantry carrier, even has its own firepower. Its remote-controlled machine guns can take down targets 800m away and spit out bullets at 350 rounds a minute.
Dubbed the King of the Terrain, the eight-wheeler can roar across rugged terrain at a top speed of 105 kmh.
Also at home in water, it weighs 26 tonnes and can carry 13 soldiers.
The Singapore Armed Forces will buy 45 of these for its three combined arms divisions, and troops will start training on them in February.
The vehicle is the result of a two-year partnership between the army, defence company Singapore Technologies Kinetics and the Defence Science & Technology Agency.
The Terrex takes foot soldiers away from being moved in lumbering, canvas-topped three-tonners, which are less mobile and still require troops to hotfoot it, sometimes for hours, to get to their destinations.
First Warrant Officer Kalai Selvan, a trainer at the Infantry Training Institute, knows first-hand the physical cost of getting the men to walk, in full battle kit, 12km in three hours: 'They will be tired and have to overcome fatigue, blisters and abrasions to take down the enemy - not their prime condition.'
Besides cutting down on travel time and delivering troops closer to their objective and in better shape, the Terrex's armour also protects the soldiers from enemy fire.
But it is more than just a 'taxi'. Its electronic brain shows troops what is up ahead: On secure touch-screens, soldiers are given updates on troop positions - friendly ones marked in blue and hostile ones in red - in near real-time.
09-02-2009, 10:05 PM #271
Abu Dhabi looks to S'pore on Education
The Straits Times
Sep 2, 2009
It is reviewing education system in bid to diversify economy
By Sandra Davie
ABU DHABI - IN 50 YEARS, Singapore has moved from Third World to First, building a modern economy with one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia. The key to that transformation has been its education system, which has developed in capacity and depth to support Singapore's economic growth.
And now, the petro-emirate of Abu Dhabi is keen to learn from Singapore's experience as it seeks to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil.
On Monday, the emirate's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al-Nahyan, invited former education minister Tony Tan to deliver the annual Ramadan lecture in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Tan, who served as education minister for seven years, is credited with playing a big part in shaping Singapore's university landscape. He now chairs the National Research Foundation and the International Academic Advisory Panel, which advises the Government on the university sector.
'Being a small country with limited natural resources, the training of human capital is of crucial importance for Singapore's evolving economic structure. More skilled workers, technicians and university graduates will be needed,' he said. He noted Singapore has to become a nation of innovators and designers as the country transits to a knowledge-based economy.
Abu Dhabi has embarked on a massive overhaul of its education system and is keen to learn from countries such as Singapore, which features regularly at the top of education ranking tables. The emiratis have already been building their own knowledge centres by bringing in top university names such as New York University and Sorbonne.
In the knowledge economy, Dr Tan said, talent will be the key to economic success: 'Global cities which are able to produce many skilled, well-trained and motivated graduates are very attractive to companies which tend to locate and invest in places with a high concentration of talent.'
Dr Mugheer Khamis Al-Khaili, director-general of Abu Dhabi Education Council - one of the key agencies heading the reform - said emiratis lag far behind Singaporean youngsters in maths and science skills, as well as English.
Abu Dhabi, he added, also seeks to emulate the quality of Singapore's teaching force, and is interested in getting Singapore's National Institute of Education to set up a campus in the emirate. 'Singapore has a model education system that everyone looks up to. We are hoping to get Singapore's help to accelerate our educational reforms,' he said.
This is something Singapore is more than willing to do, said Dr Tan. 'Singapore had much help from other countries when it was developing its own education system,' he said, and it is ready to share its best practices and ideas with others, like Abu Dhabi.
09-02-2009, 10:17 PM #272
New centre for foreign workers
The Straits Times
Sep 2, 2009
By Nicholas Yong
THE Migrant Workers Centre (MWC), a bipartite effort of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), now has a new office to call its home.
From Thursday, the MWC will occupy a 1,200 square foot unit at 62 Rangoon Road. The centre can also be converted into a temporary shelter for homeless migrant workers who cannot be housed in dormitories immediately.
Since its inception, the MWC has touched the lives of over 350 migrant workers from countries such as China, India and Bangladesh. These workers have sought advice from the MWC, received food and housing assistance, or join activities which help them to integrate more easily into the Singapore society.
MWC has also tied up with NTUC LearningHub (LHub) to develop a basic conversational English enrichment course for migrant workers so that they are able to speak a common language with those they interact with on a daily basis. The MWC is targeting to get at least 1,000 migrant workers to take up the course by March 2010.
Suitable candidates will only need to pay $30 to$40, with support from LHub, MWC and employers.
Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower, who officially opened the centre on Wednesday said: 'This is an important milestone, signalling the commitment by both employers and unions in reaching out to migrant workers here.
'The physical premises will allow MWC to truly be a one-stop point for foreign workers to seek advice and assistance."
In the coming months, MWC plans to organise more activities for migrant workers here. For example, there will be monthly lunch sessions with migrant workers. MWC will partner local restaurants to provide free meals.
Migrant workers seeking help can call the hotline 6536 2692.
MWC has also tied up with NTUC LearningHub (LHub) to develop a basic conversational English enrichment course for migrant workers so that they are able to speak a common language with those they interact with on a daily basis. --ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
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