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Thread: Singapore Also Can
01-16-2011, 08:33 PM #3758
SBA gives reasons for dissolving badminton team
The Straits Times
Jan 14, 2011
By Lin Xinyi
THE national Team 2 had its limitations, and a change was required to meet the future needs of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA).
Those were the reasons why the 16-member team were dissolved just two years after it was set up in 2009, said SBA president Lee Yi Shyan on Friday.
'Their ages are very close to those in Team 1, but for some shuttlers, the gap in standard is really wide ,' said the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Manpower, who was at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall to watch the national shuttlers take on the Jiangsu provincial team in a friendly match.
As a result, the SBA had to restructure by introducing a National Intermediate Squad (NIS) for shuttlers aged 12 to 17. 'We will take in shuttlers at a younger age so that when they get to 16, we won't get a product that is not quite ready,' he said.
Team 2 was dissolved last week - putting an end to the competitive career of eight shuttlers. However, five shuttlers Ngo Yi Chye, 17; Gerald Ong, 16; Mok Jing Qiong, 20; Chen Guo Rui, 20, and Thng Ting Ting, 19 have been promoted to Team 1.
The remaining former Team 2 shuttlers Toh Siew Fen, Aisyah Latib, and Cheong Hui Min, all 18, have been invited to join as the SBA believes they still have potential to progress further.
01-16-2011, 08:41 PM #3759
01-16-2011, 10:00 PM #3760
Goal 2020: One million to be proficient in CPR
The Straits Times
Jan 17, 2011
By Lim Yi Han and Ng Kai Ling
BY 2020, at least one million people in Singapore should be trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
The goal - of having one person in each Singapore household proficient in the life-saving technique - is not unrealistic, said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural National Life Saving Day event on Sunday, Mr Khaw cited the example of Seattle in the United States. It boasts a sudden cardiac arrest survival rate of about 30 per cent as CPR training is widespread there.
Currently, Singapore's survival rate in cardiac arrest cases away from hospital is between 2 and 3 per cent. Statistics also show that 70 per cent of sudden cardiac arrest victims collapse at home. The situation is even more serious in a city like Singapore, where the majority of the population live in high-rise buildings and it can take up to 20 minutes from the call for help before paramedics arrive.
Said Mr Khaw: 'If 2 per cent becomes 20, that would be a big achievement. To do so means to get everybody to learn CPR properly and get recertified every now and then.'
It is just what the National Resuscitation Council and the Singapore Heart Foundation, the agencies behind the event, aim to do. For a start, their effort at Singapore Expo on Sunday to get more than 7,000 people trained and certified as CPR providers at a single mass event was already a new Guinness World Record.
The goal - of having one person in each Singapore household proficient in the life-saving technique - is not unrealistic, said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan. -- ST PHOTO
01-16-2011, 10:08 PM #3761
Helping S'pore students to remain world-class
The Straits Times
Jan 17, 2011
By Cai Haoxiang
THE Government will continue to invest heavily in education to ensure Singaporean students are prepared to face stiff global competition, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng said on Sunday.
That investment has already reaped benefits as Singaporeans perform well in international rankings. But they cannot rest on their laurels.
'You must get used to this idea that while you are at the top or near the top, there will always be others who will compete with you,' he told 575 bursary recipients at an awards ceremony at the Toa Payoh Central Amphitheatre.
'The Government will continue to invest heavily in education and prepare our students for such competition in life. The competition will be tough, so let's get going.'
Mr Wong, who leads Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and was with fellow GRC MPs, said these investments include scholarships and bursaries given at the community level - such as the $126,400 worth of Citizens' Consultative Committee Bursary Awards given out on Sunday.
The cash awards range from $200 for primary school pupils to $400 for junior college, polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education students. Eligible students were from households with monthly incomes of $3,000 and below.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng distributes bursaries to 575 students from low- income families. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
01-16-2011, 10:13 PM #3762
400 community gardens taking root
The Straits Times
Jan 17, 2011
By Jessica Lim
JOIN the garden party.
Residents, students and company employees have been digging in to 'grow' 400 community gardens around the island, up from 100 in 2005 when the Community in Bloom (CIB) programme was launched by the National Parks Board (NParks).
These plots - 25sqm to 1,000sqm each - may look like small patches of shrubbery, but look closer and you may spot fruit trees, chilli padi plants and vegetables.
One such garden made the news last week, when a lorry ploughed into it, uprooting more than 10 trees. The garden, wrapped around a house in Sunset Heights, Clementi, runs beside 21m of pavement.
These gardens can sprout in common spaces in Housing Board estates, plots within a school and areas outside houses and condominiums.
The CIB programme takes root like this: Interested participants form a gardening group and meet NParks officials for gardening tips.
The community gardens are the result of the Community in Bloom (CIB) programme run by the National Parks Board to promote a gardening culture in Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
01-16-2011, 10:22 PM #3763
Sharp drop in PR passes granted in 2010
17 January 2011 1002 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore authorities have halved the number of permanent residence passes granted in 2010, compared to the year before.
Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng said 29,265 PR passes were issued last year - a sharp drop from the 59,460 in 2009 and some 79,000 granted in 2008.
He added there has also been an improvement in the quality of new PRs.
The number of new citizens remained relatively steady at 18,758 in 2010, compared to 19,928 for 2009.
Mr Wong, who heads the newly formed National Population and Talent Division, revealed the numbers as he laid out the country's long term strategy for managing population growth.
Speaking at the Singapore Perspectives 2011 conference, he said the function of the new division is to formulate, coordinate and review all of the government's policies related to population and talent.
In doing so, he said the focus is on achieving a "sustainable population profile".
Three principles will guide this effort - to preserve and uphold what is distinctive and unique about Singapore, to ensure growth and change benefit Singaporeans, and to remain nimble and prepared as well as make adjustments along the way.
Mr Wong said what is unique about Singapore is that its people "value hard work, thrift and honesty".
Singapore has also made multi-ethnic diversity work for it.
In managing the population, Mr Wong said the government will "always be guided by the need to preserve a strong citizen core" and to "maintain stability" in the ethnic mix.
To ensure that growth and change benefit Singaporeans, he reiterated that citizens' interests will always come first.
However, he stressed the government will need to tap on immigration to augment the population.
This is to ensure sufficient manpower for economic growth and to mitigate the impact of an ageing population.
As Singapore is still facing the problem of having not enough babies, Mr Wong said the government will continue to support couples' decision to get married and have children.
He added authorities will aim for a pro-family environment but he also acknowledged that boosting fertility will take time.
Preliminary estimates show that the country's total fertility rate fell further to 1.16 in 2010 - even lower than the 1.22 recorded in 2009.
"Singapore's population story is still evolving. Looking ahead, continual refinements will need to be made at appropriate junctures to ensure that Singaproe will remain our best home. Like other countries around the world, we must continue to welcome suitably qualified people to work and live in Singapore and contribute to our society," said Mr Wong.
01-16-2011, 10:35 PM #3764
Singapore aims for medals in sport climbing
16 January 2011 1853 hrs
By Patwant Singh
SINGAPORE : Singapore will host the World Youth Sport Climbing Championship for the first time in 2012.
And the local climbers can expect a busy schedule this year as they prepare for the major event.
Among the plans include taking part in a new ASEAN circuit ahead of the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, where the sport makes a debut.
A group of young climbers from the national team have been hard at work to scale new heights in the sport.
Such training is crucial as they prepare for the biggest competition in their lives - the World Youth Climbing Championship.
And according to the organisers, world class climbers will be taking part.
"We are expecting 500 climbers from all over the world. We expecting (participants from) about 50 or 60 countries to come down. There are like 80 member countries in the International Federation and for us to achieve 60 is going to be quite a major thing," said Rasip Isnin, secretary of the Singapore Mountaineering Federation.
Organisers said they won the bid in 2010, and are currently looking for an indoor venue for the week-long event in August 2012.
The Singapore Expo could be a likely venue, according to the organisers of the World Youth Sport Climbing championship, which will be staged in Asia for the second time.
To ensure that the Singaporean climbers have ample practice, the Singapore Mountaineering Federation (SMF) plans to host the Asian Youth Climbing Championship in July this year.
Some 20 climbers will also be flying the Republic's flag at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.
The federation is confident that the Singaporean athletes will return with medals from the SEA Games.
SMF added that a Southeast Asian circuit with four stops will be launched this March to give regional climbers the competitive edge ahead of the SEA Games.
But the climbers feel that they won't perform as well at the world championships.
"We Singaporeans must have a lot of exposure, must go overseas to train with other people and other countries like Korea, Japan, Thailand - all the countries (with some of the best climbers)," said Muhd Hafiz Latiff, a national sport climber.
The sport is growing at the recreational level too, with 150 schools having their own climbing walls.
"You get to clear your fears and when you reach the top, you have a sense of achievement and you (feel) very happy," said national sport climber Kimberlin Cheng Ting.
Challenges however remain for the federation, such as getting an 18-metre wall.
"What we have is the 15-metre wall. (For) the world cup circuit, the wall is built slightly differently. It's like in order to run the marathon, you need to run the entire 42 km, but we are stopping at 33 because we do not have the facility," said Aizan Asmoan, coach of the National Sport Climbing Team.
But the SMF said it plugs the gap by going overseas to Malaysia and Indonesia, which have such facilities.
The SMF is looking at bringing in a foreign coach as a consultant prior to the 2011 SEA Games, and sending a few youth climbers to the World Youth Climbing Championship in France this year.
01-16-2011, 10:42 PM #3765
Residents in Serangoon celebrate Pongal festival
16 January 2011 2001 hrs
By Sara Grosse
SINGAPORE : Residents in Serangoon got together to celebrate the Indian harvest festival Pongal on Sunday.
To commemorate the event, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and MP for Aljunied GRC, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua participated in a milk boiling ceremony.
The boiling over of milk in the clay pot represents material abundance for the household.
It is considered a good sign by the Indian community to watch the milk boil over as it symbolises good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
Meanwhile, visitors at the Campbell Lane located in the Little India district also witnessed other customs such as the honouring of the cattle for having worked hard throughout the year for a good harvest.
Cows brought to Campbell Lane as part of the celebrations, were washed and had their horns painted.
They also wore multi-colored beads, tinkling bells and flower garlands around their necks.
As cows provide milk and plough the land, they are seen as bearers of good fortune and thanked on this day.
Pongal, a four-day harvest festival, is celebrated by Tamils every January.
Mrs Lim Hwee Hua joins in at the Pongal festival
01-17-2011, 03:12 AM #3766
01-17-2011, 04:43 AM #3767
01-17-2011, 05:08 AM #3768
01-17-2011, 06:50 AM #3769
01-18-2011, 12:05 AM #3770
Singapore to develop new Air Cargo Express Hub
17 January 2011 1927 hrs
By Millet Enriquez
SINGAPORE : Changi Airport Group (CAG) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have announced the development of a new Air Cargo Express (ACE) Hub which is expected to strengthen Singapore's position as an air cargo hub in the region.
The new ACE Hub will have a gross floor area of 26,277 square metres and will be located within Changi Airport's free trade zone.
It will support the cargo and logistics needs of air express companies here, the announcement said.
CAG will manage the development and operations of the new facility, which is targeted to be operational in the first half of 2012.
To support the Hub, CAG will invest more than S$25 million to build a new airside infrastructure that will have two aircraft parking bays for the operator's ease of access.
The direct airside access will ensure the smooth flow of cargo to and from the aircraft, thus shortening the processing time for transporting cargo.
The facility will also allow access to Singapore's major expressways to enhance regional distribution activities and express courier services.
The new facility will also have a special on-site facilitation by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Singapore Customs for efficient cargo clearance, the announcement said.
CAG said it has signed a land lease agreement with HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) - the Trustee of Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (A-REIT).
A-REIT will build and develop the facility beside the Airport Logistics Park of Singapore.
A leading cargo carrier with major operations in Singapore will be operating the facility.
"The ACE Hub facility will enable our air cargo partner to cater for its future expansion in Singapore and capitalise on long-term growth opportunities from increasing intra-Asia trade growth," said CAG's chief executive officer, Lee Seow Hiang.
For the first eleven months of 2010, Singapore's airfreight movements grew 11.7 per cent to 1.66 million tonnes compared to the same period in 2009.
Changi Airport was ranked the seventh busiest airport globally for international freight traffic in the one year period ended September 2010.
01-18-2011, 12:14 AM #3771
Singapore eyes more investment in Indonesia
17 January 2011 1335 hrs
SINGAPORE: The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) wants to step up its investment in fast-growing Indonesia, particularly in infrastructure, a top executive said in remarks published Monday.
The state investment agency will work with its Indonesian partners to study the various infrastructure projects available, executive director and deputy chairman Tony Tan told the Straits Times newspaper.
"We would be interested in it because GIC has quite a lot of experience in investing in infrastructure (although) so far mainly in developed countries," Tan was quoted as saying.
"I think not only GIC but also, other companies would be very interested given Indonesia's good fundamentals and obvious need for infrastructure investment."
Tan did not refer to any particular projects but the newspaper report said potential areas of investment ranged from a cruise terminal in the popular resort island of Bali and a railway line to link Jakarta and the main airport.
Set up in 1981, GIC is one of Singapore's two sovereign wealth funds -- along with Temasek Holdings -- and invests the country's massive foreign reserves of well over $100 billion.
GIC does not publicly give a value on its massive holdings but the US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranks it as the seventh largest in the world with an asset portfolio valued at $247.5 billion.
It invests in a wide range of asset classes from public equities to real estate, fixed income, natural resources and infrastructure.
In the financial year ended March 2010, GIC said the average rate of return on its investments rose to 7.1 per cent in US dollar terms, up from 5.7 per cent the previous year.
Investments in the Americas made up 43 per cent of GIC's portfolio, Europe 30 per cent and Asia 24 per cent.
Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
01-18-2011, 01:22 AM #3772
Hong Kong giant to list port assets in Singapore
The Straits Times
Jan 18, 2011
HONG KONG - HONG Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, controlled by the city's richest man Li Ka-shing, said on Tuesday it would list its southern China port assets in Singapore.
The firm did not reveal how much it plans to raise, but Dow Jones Newswires cited unnamed sources as saying the initial public offering could raise between US$3 billion (S$3.86 billion) and US$6 billion, making it Singapore's biggest-ever IPO.
The listing of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust in late February or early March would surpass Global Logistic Properties' US$2.9 billion share sale in the city-state last year and be one of Asia's largest in 2011.
The new listing would include Hutchison's port assets in Hong Kong, the southern Chinese province of Guangdong and nearby Macau, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr Li's conglomerate would 'remain a significant unit-holder of (the trust) following the completion of the IPO,' it added.
'There is significant potential for economic and trade growth in the southern China region, which is already the largest trading hub in the world,' the company said. '(The new listing) will enable the group to take full advantage of such opportunities by creating a new funding platform to attract new investors.' -- AFP
01-18-2011, 09:49 PM #3773
6 copters to beef up naval defence
The Straits Times
Jan 19, 2011
Seahawks to operate off frigates and be 'forward sensor' to threats at sea
THE naval ships protecting the waters off Singapore are now joined by six new naval helicopters.
These helicopters are capable of detecting submerged vessels and, together with the Republic of Singapore Navy's stealth frigates, will spend most of their time at sea, strengthening the frigates' anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities. The S-70B Sikorsky Seahawks will now be part of the 123 Squadron, a unit with a history of providing air support to the army.
Dr Ng Eng Hen, Second Minister for Defence, officiated at on Tuesday's inauguration. He noted that the squadron was a 'path-finder' in integrating across different services in the armed forces, with its light attack helicopters introduced in 1992 to enhance the army's firepower.
'Today's inauguration of the S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter continues this same theme where the 123 Squadron provides interoperability between the air force and maritime operations,' he said.
The Seahawk can be deployed up to 400 nautical miles ahead of the frigate it operates off.
Using a sonar device that scans underwater using sound waves, it can detect submarines and neutralise them with a torpedo it carries before the enemy vessel becomes a threat to the warship. This makes the helicopters vital 'forward' assets, as a warship's radar can detect a threat only about 10 nautical miles away.
The S-70B Sikorsky Seahawks and their crew will be part of the 123 Squadron, a unit with a history of providing air support to the army. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
01-18-2011, 10:51 PM #3774
SMRT Buses to roll out full low-floor buses from March
18 January 2011 1255 hrs
By Mustafa Shafawi
SINGAPORE: SMRT Buses will introduce 10 new full low-floor buses from March as part of its fleet renewal programme.
This follows positive feedback on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus, which was put on a six-month trial in March last year.
The majority of passengers agreed that the full low floor of the bus made it a safer ride for them.
Meanwhile, SMRT Buses has also put on trial two environmentally-friendly buses.
One is the first diesel-electric hybrid bus made by Chinese company, Zhong Tong.
The bus uses up to 30 per cent less fuel and emits up to 30 per cent less greenhouse gases, making travel on public transport even greener.
It will be on a six month trial from tomorrow on Service 106, before being put on Service 945 from April.
Another full low-floor bus from German manufacturer, MAN, is undergoing a one year trial.
Interior of full low-floor SMRT buses
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