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  1. #3826
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A Singapore lesson for US politics

    New York Times
    Monday, January 31, 2011

    By Thomas L. Friedman

    I AM in the Gan Eng Seng Primary School in a middle-class neighbourhood of Singapore, and the principal, Aw Ai Ling, has me visiting a fifth-grade science class.

    All the 11-year-old boys and girls are wearing junior white lab coats with their names on them.

    Outside in the hall, yellow police tape has blocked off a 'crime scene' and lying on a floor, bloodied, is a fake body that has been murdered.

    The class is learning about DNA through the use of fingerprints, and their science teacher has turned the pupils into little Crime Scene Investigation detectives. They have to collect fingerprints from the scene and then break them down.

    I missed that DNA lesson when I was in fifth grade.

    When I asked the principal whether this was part of the national curriculum, she said 'no'.

    She just had a great science teacher, she said, and was aware that Singapore was making a big push to expand its biotech industries and thought it would be good to push her pupils in the same direction early.

    A couple of them checked my fingerprints. I was innocent - but impressed.

    This was just an average public school, but the principal had made her own connections between 'What world am I living in', 'Where is my country trying to go in that world' and, therefore, 'What should I teach in fifth-grade science'.

    I was struck because that kind of linkage is so often missing in United States politics today.

    Republicans favour deep cuts in government spending, while so far exempting Medicare, Social Security and the defence budget.

    Not only is that not realistic, but it basically says that our nation's priorities should be to fund retirement homes for older people rather than better schools for younger people and that we should build new schools in Afghanistan before Alabama.

    President Barack Obama just laid out a smart and compelling vision of where our priorities should be. But he did not spell out how and where we will have to both cut and invest - really intelligently and at a large scale - to deliver on his vision.

    Singapore is tiny and by no means a US-style democracy.

    Yet, like America, it has a multi-ethnic population - Chinese, Indian and Malay - with a big working class.

    It has no natural resources and even has to import sand for building.

    But today its per capita income is just below US levels, built with high-end manufacturing, services and exports.

    The country's economy grew last year at 14.7 per cent, led by biomedical exports.

    How?

    If Singapore has one thing to teach America, it is about taking governing seriously, relentlessly asking: What world are we living in and how do we adapt to thrive?

    'We're like someone living in a hut without any insulation,' explained Mr Tan Kong Yam, an economist. 'We feel every change in the wind or the temperature and have to adapt.

    'You Americans are still living in a brick house with central heating and don't have to be so responsive.'

    And we have not been.

    Singapore probably has the freest market in the world; it doesn't believe in import tariffs, minimum wages or unemployment insurance.

    But it believes regulators need to make sure markets work properly - because they can't on their own - and it subsidises home-ownership and education to give everyone a foundation to become self-reliant.

    Singapore copied the German model that strives to put everyone who graduates from high school on a track for higher education, but only about 40 per cent go to universities.

    Others are tracked to polytechnics or vocational institutes, so the vast majority graduate with the skills to get a job, whether it be as a plumber or a scientist.

    Explained Mr Ravi Menon, the Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry: 'The two 'isms' that perhaps best describe Singapore's approach are: pragmatism - an emphasis on what works in practice rather than abstract theory; and eclecticism - a willingness to adapt to the local context best practices from around the world.'

    It is a sophisticated mix of radical free market and nanny state that requires sophisticated policymakers to implement, which is why politics here is not treated as sports or entertainment.

    Top bureaucrats and Cabinet ministers have their pay linked to top private sector wages, so most make well over US$1 million (S$1.3 million) a year, and their bonuses are tied to the country's annual GDP growth rate. It means the Government can attract high-quality professionals and corruption is low.

    America never would or should copy Singapore's less-than-free politics. But Singapore has something to teach us about 'attitude' - about taking governing seriously and thinking strategically.

    We used to do that and must again because our little brick house with central heating is not going to be resistant to the storms much longer.

    'There is real puzzlement here about America today,' said Professor Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, 'because we learnt all about what it takes to build a well-functioning society from you.

    'Many of our top officials are graduates of the Kennedy School at Harvard. They just came back home and applied its lessons vigorously.'

    NEW YORK TIMES

  2. #3827
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Sungei Whampoa gets makeover

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Shaffiq Alkhatib | Posted: 30 January 2011 1602 hrs



    ABC Waters come to a 250m stretch of Sg Whampoa at St George's Lane (photo: PUB)


    SINGAPORE: Residents living near Sungei Whampoa can now enjoy new riverside facilities such as lookout decks and a landscaped garden.

    This is the result of a S$2.2 million facelift that's part of the Active, Beautiful and Clean or ABC Waters Programme which kicked off in 2006.

    The project, which included the greening of canal walls along a 250-metre stretch of Sungei Whampoa from the Central Expressway to the St George's Lane HDB estate, was completed in 16 months.

    The nationwide PUB initiative aims to transform places such as canals and reservoirs into community spaces.

    Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said 13 of such projects have already been completed around the island.

    They include the Kolam Ayer ABC Waterfront, Pandan Reservoir and Jurong Lake.
    Last edited by Loh; 01-30-2011 at 10:37 PM.

  3. #3828
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    Default Services sector accounts for bulk of employment gains

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 31 January 2011 1013 hrs


    Singapore service sector






    SINGAPORE : Singapore's total employment rose by 112,500 last year, three times higher than in 2009.

    That brought the total figure to 3.1 million jobs.

    The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the bulk of last year's employment gains came from the services sector, which added 109,500 workers, almost double the number in 2009.

    Construction employment saw modest gains of 2,300 due to completion of several large building projects and fewer projects coming on stream.

    While manufacturing employment declined by 2,700, MOM said this was much lower than the losses of 43,700 in 2009.

    The ministry said in the last quarter of 2010 alone, some 30,600 jobs were added overall, supported by hirings for the year-end festivities.

    Local employment grew by 54,200 last year, exceeding the 41,800 gains in 2009.

    But with the strong economic recovery and higher demand for manpower, foreign employment increased by 58,300 after declining in 2009.

    As at December 2010, there were almost 2 million locals forming 64.2 per cent of the 3.1 million persons employed in Singapore. The rest were foreigners.

    For the whole year of 2010, 9,800 workers were made redundant, down substantially from 23,430 in 2009.

    The overall unemployment rate rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 2.2 per cent in December 2010 from 2.1 per cent in September

    But with the strong economic recovery, the unemployment rate averaged 2.2 per cent.

  4. #3829
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    Default Singapore could become launch pad to space

    The Straits Times

    Jan 31, 2011

    By Amresh Gunasingham




    A French aerospace giant wants to make Singapore a launch pad for commercial space flights. -- PHOTO: AFP



    A FRENCH aerospace giant wants to make Singapore a launch pad for commercial space flights.

    European Aeronautic Defence and Space (Eads), a leading defence and military contractor, is working on the ambitious plan, which it hopes will eventually rival British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, which is to launch the world's first commercial space flight this year.

    Read the full story in Monday's edition of The Straits Times.

  5. #3830
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    Default Budget will be something good: Tharman

    The Straits Times

    Jan 31, 2011

    By Daryl Chin




    Asked what the public can expect from the Budget, Mr Tharman said: 'It will be something good for Singapore.' -- ST PHOTO



    THE upcoming Budget will be 'something good' for Singapore and is likely to benefit not just the low-income group, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Sunday.

    Measures to help Singaporeans, especially low-income families, cope with the higher cost of living are expected to be a dominant feature of the Budget, which will be unveiled on Feb 18.

    Asked what the public can expect from the Budget, Mr Tharman said: 'It will be something good for Singapore.'

    'But I think we don't shape Budgets just for the short term, the Budgets are very importantly about strengthening Singapore for the long term.'

    He was speaking to reporters at the launch of the 1.4km Taman Jurong Cycling Path which was attended by 300 grassroots members and students.

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said recently that the Government will look to ensure the low-income households can cope with the rising cost of living, which he singled out as a cause of worry for many Singaporeans.

  6. #3831
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    Default MediShield to include congenital illnesses next: Khaw

    The Straits Times

    Jan 31, 2011

    By Salma Khalik, Health Correspondent



    THE next time MediShield is revamped, it will likely take people with congenital or mental illnesses under its umbrella.

    Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday that extending coverage under the national health insurance scheme to these people would certainly mean higher premiums, although there are ways to minimise this, such as by capping the insurance payout, instituting a higher co-payment by such patients and having a higher initial amount to be borne by the patient before the insurance kicks in.

    Mr Khaw stressed that it was important that premiums stay affordable.

    He was addressing a slew of health concerns before more than 100 people, many of whom had given feedback on his Facebook page. They had turned up for a dialogue organised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Reach, the Government's feedback unit, and chaired by Reach chairman Amy Khor.

    Mr Khaw agreed with a request from the floor that MediShield raise its upper age limit; it now insures people up to 85 years old. However, he said, this will be possible only when there are enough older people to make it viable.

    He again urged the self-employed, such as taxi drivers, to buy health insurance to protect themselves against the rising cost of health care.

  7. #3832
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NUS' MBA course ranks 23rd worldwide

    Channel NewsAsia Posted: 31 January 2011 1556 hrs





    SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore Business School's Master of Business Administration programme has been ranked 23rd in the world, in the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2011.

    According to NUS Business School, this is the highest FT ranking ever achieved by any Singapore MBA programme.

    It added that in terms of employability, the school saw 93 per cent of its graduates employed within three months of graduation, while the average of the 22 higher-ranked schools was 88 per cent.

    It said the post-MBA salary increase of its graduates registered 140 per cent compared to the average of 125 per cent for the 22 higher-ranked schools.

    NUS Business School's Stephen Riady Distinguished Professor and Dean Bernard Yeung said: "While rankings are just indicators, we are greatly encouraged by this recognition of being 23rd in the world.

    "We are devoted to providing top quality teaching and memorable educational experience for our students, and undertaking rigorous research that benefits both practitioners and academics".

    Prof Yeung added that the ranking indicated that Singapore is indeed a hub for higher education and business and management.

    UK's London Business School was ranked top, followed by University of Pennsylvania: Wharton and Harvard Business School of the US.


  8. #3833
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    Default Bread-and-butter issues remain top concerns: REACH survey

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 31 January 2011 1604 hrs


    People on a street in Singapore


    SINGAPORE : A survey commissioned by government feedback portal, REACH, has found that Singaporeans were generally more satisfied with the quality of life.

    Over 90% of the survey respondents expressed great satisfaction with their overall quality and standard of living across factors such as their relationship with family members and friends, housing type, quality of the living environment, the standard of education system and how the government is promoting the family, arts and culture, volunteerism and charity.

    There is also a high level of satisfaction with the sense of community and nationhood (83% to 99%), and in matters relating to security and foreign relations (98% to 99%).

    They also have greater confidence in Singapore's future and economy, compared to 2009.

    Singaporeans also remain satisfied with the way that Singapore is being governed, as indicated by high levels of confidence in our public administration (93% to 97%), the quality of our public service (73% to 97%), and satisfaction with the way Singapore is run (96%).

    They also showed strong confidence in Singapore's economic future, with 98% of the respondents endorsing the strategy in maintaining and improving economic competitiveness, attracting foreign investments, investing in R&D and encouraging innovation.

    Most of these indicators under the various categories were also surveyed in 2009, and largely recorded statistically significant increases in satisfaction levels of between 1% and 12% in 2010.

    They have however expressed lower levels of satisfaction on bread-and-butter issues such as the cost of living and employment opportunities for older workers.

    The survey found that Singaporeans are least satisfied with "Keeping the cost of living affordable" (34%).

    They also display lower levels of satisfaction in the affordability of housing, adequacy of retirement savings (53%) and affordability of healthcare (55%).

    They are less happy with the provision of job opportunities for older workers and retrenched workers (46% and 57% respectively) and with transport issues, particularly the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system (55%) and provision of affordable public transport (63%).

    The satisfaction level of these attributes registered significant declines of between 4% for the implementation of the ERP system, and 27% for affordability of public housing for the needy, compared to those in the 2009 survey.

    Commenting on the findings, REACH Chairman, Dr Amy Khor said the relatively lower satisfaction level for bread-and-butter issues, and principally that of cost of living and affordability of housing, is not surprising.

    However, she pointed out that the survey was conducted in 2010, before the introduction of the most recent set of cooling measures for the property market.

    Anticipating the challenges that Singaporeans face in today's economic climate, she noted that the government is also zeroing in on low-income households to ensure they can cope with the rising cost of living and to bridge the income gap.

    A representative sample of some 2,000 Singapore citizens aged 17 and above was interviewed face-to-face between October and November last year.

  9. #3834
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Up to 300 scholarships to nurture sporting talent this year

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Patwant Singh | Posted: 31 January 2011 1724 hrs


    Ng Ser Miang (file picture)




    SINGAPORE : The Singapore Olympic Foundation (SOF) is looking at giving out about 100 to 300 scholarships this year.

    The foundation's chairman, Ng Ser Miang, said the scholarships aim to nurture young and aspiring sporting talent in Singapore.

    SOF received pledges for more than S$12 million, including S$10 million from billionaire Peter Lim. S$5.2 million has been collected so far.

    A committee is working on fine-tuning the selection criteria and holding discussions with different National Sports Associations and the Education Ministry.

    Mr Ng, who is also vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said: "We are looking at between S$2,000 and S$20,000 for the very top end. And again (it) will be (for) students or young athletes from primary school, secondary school, and tertiary education as well."

    The selection process will be in stages till August this year, right after the school championships for more new talent to be spotted.

    Mr Ng said a maximum of S$800,000 in scholarships will be disbursed each year over the next 10 years.

    He reiterated that the SOF is not duplicating the support given by the Singapore Sports Council or the Olympic Pathway Programme run by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

    That is because the Olympic fund is seeking out young athletes with the potential rather than those with a proven track record and also those who are not under such existing schemes. Meanwhile the SOF is also looking at raising more funds.

    Mr Ng also spoke on the recent joint bid by ASEAN for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

    He said: "IOC has discussed the possibility of joint bids before, it is not something that IOC has encouraged...unless there is a policy change, I think a joint bid of a number of cities would not be possible."

    Mr Ng gave the example of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan. The event, which involved just one sport, football, still posed many problems. The Olympics on the other hand, has 28 sports, so imagine the kind of challenges that will be encountered."
    Last edited by Loh; 01-31-2011 at 08:06 PM.

  10. #3835
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    Default Witty S'pore guide book to be launched

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Dylan Loh | Posted: 31 January 2011 2153 hrs


    "On a Street in Singapore"





    SINGAPORE: A new guide book looks set to give a tongue-in-cheek look at life in Singapore.

    "On a Street in Singapore" author James Suresh said: "There are six chapters, and we start off with (the) history of Singapore (including) the reasons for Singapore being called a 'Lion City'.

    "But we do it with humour, so (that readers will) remember the history of Singapore. Then we go on to places -- places to go, things to see".

    Mr Suresh added that the book also contains a chapter on ways to use "Singlish".

    The guide comes with illustrations by local artist Syed Ismail.

    "On a Street in Singapore" costs S$15 and will go on sale on Tuesday at major bookstores and souvenir shops.

  11. #3836
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    Default Growth of coaches a priority

    TODAY



    SAA will not recruit new technical director but will pay overseas experts to conduct clinics here



    by Low Lin Fhoong
    05:55 AM Jan 31, 2011

    SINGAPORE - A budget plan has been submitted to the Singapore Sports Council and a calendar of events has been drawn up for the year, as the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) management team get down to work for FY2011/2012.

    The development of local coaches has been deemed crucial by the National Sports Association (NSA) as the SAA look to build a stable of track and field talent to achieve success at the 2011 SEA Games and beyond.

    Moving away from the previous system of appointing a technical director and a panel of coaches, the SAA will instead rely on overseas experts to raise the standard of coaching here.

    Speaking to MediaCorp on the SAA's multi-year funding plan, vice-president (finance) William Wong revealed that more than $150,000 out of their proposed annual budget of over $1.5 million would be dedicated to coaches' development.

    Said Wong: "This will include overseas consultant fees, coaching clinics and IAAF courses to upgrade coaches."

    Added SAA general manager Ong Yeok Phee: "In the past we've gone through three technical directors and that didn't really work out. We're trying out this system because in the long term, Singapore's athletics growth must depend on local coaches. What they need is more exposure to different training methods, knowledge and documentation of athletes' performances."

    Over the past two decades, foreign experts Ralph Mouchbahani, Hans-Peter Thumm and Kerry Hill were hired as technical directors but there has been little headway made by athletes.

    According to the NSA, only four local coaches - SAA chief of high performance David Yeo, C Veeramani, Muhamad Hosni, and Tang Ngai Kin - have obtained Level V certification under the IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System.

    Rated as the highest level of certification, the Level V academy programme offers three courses (chief coach, elite coach, coaching development director) to provide coaches with professional knowledge and understanding and practical experience to deliver high levels of individual and team performances.

    The IAAF's system rates Level I to V in the following sequence - Level I (youth coach), II (club coach), III (coach), IV (senior coach) and V (academy coach).

    There are currently more than 200 coaches certified by world track and field body the IAAF in Singapore. From 2011 to 2014, the SAA aim to grow the number of coaches at every level, ranging from one at Level V to 40 for Level I every year.

    Track and field coaching workshops with IAAF consultant Gunter Lange have already been scheduled for next month, with the German expert to conduct three courses: modern sprints and jumps training (Feb 19 to 23), training planning (Feb 10, 11, 14 to 18), and a workshop for parents and athletes on "Early Specialisation vs Long Term Development".

    Lange is expected to travel to Singapore three times this year to conduct coaching workshops.

    Said SAA vice-president (training & selection) Canagasabai Kunalan: "We want to train as many Singaporeans who want to be coaches at the highest level. Aside from Lange, there are also MOUs (memorandum of understanding) with Korea and Japan which will allow for them to send coaches here. We are also tapping on our contacts in Guangzhou."











    SAA general manager Ong Yeok Phee believes that in the long run, Singapore's athletics growth must depend on local coaches. TODAY FILE PHOTO
    Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd

  12. #3837
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    Default FT ranks 2 S'pore MBA programmes among top 35

    The Straits Times

    Feb 1, 2011

    By Esther Teo




    The National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School's MBA programme achieved 23rd position in the latest ranking. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN


    TWO Singapore-based master of business administration (MBA) programmes have been placed among the top 35 in the world by the Financial Times (FT).

    The National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School's MBA programme achieved 23rd position in the latest ranking of the top 100 full-time global MBA programmes by the London-based business newspaper.

    This is the programme's highest-ever rating by a major agency and the highest FT ranking ever achieved by any Singapore MBA programme. The NUS MBA was ranked 35th in 2009 but was left out last year due to a technicality.

    The MBA programme of the Nanyang Business School (NBS) - part of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - also made the honour roll but fell six spots from last year's 27th place to the 33rd.

    Its MBA alumni, however, had the highest average salaries among those who attended programmes here.
    Measured three years after graduation, the NBS alumni have an average salary of US$104,952 (S$134,000), trumping by a slim margin the NUS Business School's US$100,456.

  13. #3838
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    Default Prosecution to appeal Ionescu travel decision

    The Straits Times

    Feb 1, 2011




    Ionescu - on trial for two Dec 2009 hit-and-run incidents in Singapore - faces charges of homicide, causing physical injuries and making false statements. -- PHOTO: REUTERS


    SINGAPORE'S Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon on the continuing trial of Dr Silviu Ionescu in Romania.

    The MFA statement read: 'The Ministry has been informed that the Prosecution Office of Romania has decided to appeal against the decision of the Court to allow Dr Silviu Ionescu to travel outside of Bucharest. The hearing for the appeal is scheduled for Feb 7 2011 (Monday).'

    Ionescu - on trial for two Dec 2009 hit-and-run incidents in Singapore - faces charges of homicide, causing physical injuries and making false statements.


    Last week, a Romanian court decided to allow Ionescu to travel out of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, after the former diplomat appealed.
    Ionescu had told the court that he needed to travel as he was now a business consultant, and that he needed money as he was the sole breadwinner in his family.

  14. #3839
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    Default Capitol site to undergo S$750m redevelopment

    Channel NewAsia
    By May Wong | Posted: 01 February 2011 1131 hrs




    Artist's impression of the new development at the Capitol site.


    SINGAPORE: The landmark Capitol site which comprises Capitol Theatre, Stamford House, Capitol Centre and Capitol Building will be transformed by the end of 2014 at a cost of S$750 million.

    This includes the land cost of S$250 million.

    It will feature developments like a new hotel and eight levels of residential apartments, each costing up to S$4 million.

    Construction for the 99-year leasehold site will begin in the third quarter of this year.

    The consortium comprising Perennial Real Estate, Chesham Properties and Top Global won the tender for the 1.43 hectare site on October 27 last year.

    The land parcel attracted a total of 14 bids and the consortium was among the three short-listed tenderers which eventually won with the highest bid price of S$250 million.

    The consortium and the Urban Redevelopment Authority signed the building agreement for the Capitol site on Tuesday.

    Sitting at the junction of Stamford and North Bridge Roads, the Capitol site will eventually feature developments like a new 200-room luxury hotel, and four levels of retail shops, with at least 40 per cent of the brands which are new to the market.

    The developers have also set aside about S$30 million to restore and conserve the Capitol Theatre. It will be the largest single screen cinema cum performance theatre with about 800 seats.

    The Capitol Theatre, which will be conserved, will dedicate half the season to hosting local in-house theatre and dance groups. A total of six dance and theatre companies have already been identified. Cinema operator Golden Village will make use of the theatre for the remaining half of the season to screen blockbuster movies.

    Pua Seck Guan, CEO, Perennial Real Estate, said: "The theatre will act as a catalyst to inject a lot of life, energy and I think we need to leverage a lot on that and also the cultural events to give this place a lot of identity and traffic.

    "How do we bring some of these memories back and do it in a very nice ambience so that when tourists come to Singapore, they'd say hey, it reminds them of Singapore culture. And that's our challenge."

    This street beside Capitol Centre will also be converted into a galleria, offering more retail shops and dining choices.

    The Capitol Centre will be transformed into a new 15-storey building. It will house eateries, retail shops and up to 70 residential units. The two- to four-bedroom apartments will cost over S$2,500 per square foot and it could be launched as early as the third quarter of this year.

    Industry watchers said the private apartments will have no shortage of buyers.

    Dr Chua Yang Liang, head of Research, Southeast Asia, Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "It's probably a good size in terms of market demand there. And being a large unit, again, it's pretty attractive.

    "So far, there're very few large units in the downtown (area). So such two- to four-bedrooms, if it's really sufficient size, may prove quite attractive.

    "Going by what we're seeing in the downtown area, transaction for the downtown properties like the Marina Residences and The Sail, depending on the stack and the level, it can range between S$2,000 to as high as about S$2,800 per square foot.

    "So for that project, estimated (at) S$2,500 to S$3,000, given this location - it's iconic, near the train station. I think that level is probably quite feasible. Overall, it's pretty impressive. It'd definitely help to rejuvenate the area."

    The building will also house about eight flagship stores, 30 F&B outlets. A new subterranean pedestrian mall will also link the entire development to the City Hall MRT Station, creating a network of sheltered public links.

    Some analysts said the new project may even prompt neighbouring properties to revamp themselves to add more life to the area.
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    Last edited by Loh; 02-01-2011 at 07:45 PM.

  15. #3840
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    Default Goh Keng Swee Command & Staff College unveiled

    Channel NewsAsia
    By S Ramesh | Posted: 01 February 2011 1959 hrs




    SINGAPORE : One of modern Singapore's founding fathers, the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, was honoured on Tuesday for the role he had played in the evolution of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

    Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said Dr Goh's emphasis on developing talent and a thinking SAF has also set a strong basis for today's Third Generation (3G) Singapore Armed Forces.

    Mr Teo was speaking at the inauguration of the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College at the SAFTI Military Institute in Jurong on Tuesday.

    The late Dr Goh served two terms as Singapore's Defence Minister - first from 1965 to 1967 and then again from 1970 to 1979.

    Mr Teo said: "Dr Goh himself read widely and critically. He was well versed in classics on military strategy such as Sun Tzu's Art of War, Clausewitz's On War and Liddell Hart's Strategy: The Indirect Approach.

    "He subscribed to military reviews to keep abreast with the latest developments in military technology and weaponry. He believed that 'only officers who achieved a mastery of principles and techniques be expected to take the right decisions at the right time'.

    "Dr Goh also valued innovation, and constantly challenged officers to 'strive to discover new and more practical methods of doing things', rather than blindly adopting military systems or doctrines from other countries.

    "Dr Goh's emphasis on developing talent and on a thinking SAF set a strong basis for the SAF's subsequent transformation into the Third Generation SAF."

    And he built up the SAF from scratch.

    The inauguration of the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College was an apt occasion for Defence Minister Teo to remind today's officers of the many contributions of Dr Goh towards the defence and security of Singapore.

    Besides evolving the Singapore army with the start of National Service in the country, Dr Goh was also responsible for the setting up of the air force and navy.

    Mr Teo recalled that for Dr Goh, the careers of his officers in the SAF were of personal interest to him.

    Mr Teo said: "Dr Goh also saw the importance of instilling the fighting spirit and a strong sense of purpose in our soldiers. In particular, Dr Goh believed that without steel in their soul, officers would falter when making hard decisions in the heat of war, endangering not only the lives of their men but the safety of the entire SAF and of Singapore itself."

    Mr Winston Choo, former Chief of Defence Force, Singapore, said: "He knew more things military than we, military professionals, can dream of. So it can be very intimidating when he puts questions to you when you know he knows the answers already."

    Among the highlights at the Staff College is a gallery featuring Dr Goh's involvement in the SAF and important messages about defence which have been passed down to Singaporeans by the country's leaders.

    The decision to honour the late First Deputy Prime Minister was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally speech in August last year.

    Dr Goh also made his mark in the field of education in Singapore and to recognise that, a new complex to be built by the Education Ministry will be called the Goh Keng Swee Centre for Education.

    It will house a new Academy of Singapore Teachers and specialist academies for English Language, Physical Education, Sports and the Arts.

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    Default Government pledges to help Singaporeans cope with rising costs

    Channel NewsAsia By Joanne Chan | Posted: 02 February 2011 0603 hrs



    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (file pic)
    SINGAPORE: The government has pledged to help Singaporeans, especially lower-income households, cope with rising costs.

    In his Lunar New Year message, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government has more scope to implement schemes after last year's strong economic performance.

    It was a roaring good year for Singapore's economy in the Year of the Tiger, with the economy growing at 14.7 per cent last year.

    While this meant better bonuses for workers, it also brought its own set of problems such as rising costs.


    Those aspiring to own cars found it more expensive, as fewer were made available in a bid to curb the car population and reduce congestion on the roads, even as demand rose amid rising incomes.

    Together with external factors such as higher oil prices and food shortages due to bad weather, prices of consumer goods shot up.

    Property prices also rose significantly in the past year, boosted by positive market sentiments, low interest rates and high liquidity.

    Prices of HDB resale flats and private homes rose 14.1 per cent and 17.6 per cent respectively in 2010, setting new records.

    In his message, Mr Lee said the government has acted to curb speculation and cool the property market. He added more will be done to stabilise the market if and when it becomes necessary.

    Mr Lee pledged that housing, especially public flats, will be kept affordable to Singaporeans.

    He added that in a prospering economy, home owners should see their properties appreciating in value over the long term.

    Mr Lee also acknowledged concerns among some Singaporeans about the rapid changes in society and the competition from new immigrants.

    He said the country needs immigrants to reinforce the ranks. But there must also be a clear majority of locally-born Singaporeans who set the tone of society and uphold core values.

    Mr Lee added that while many want to become permanent residents and new citizens, only those who can add value to Singapore will be selected.

    He also called on Singaporeans to produce more babies - a task that has proven to be extremely challenging.

    Singapore's total fertility rate fell to an all-time low of 1.16 last year. The decline was across all races, but it was sharpest among the Chinese, where the fertility rate fell to 1.02, far short of the needed replacement level of 2.1.

    On keeping Singapore's culture vibrant, Mr Lee said it is important to keep mother tongue languages alive. So the recent measures announced by the Ministry of Education will ensure that the teaching of the languages will be current and effective.

    As Singapore ushers in the Year of the Rabbit, Mr Lee said the country's essence must be preserved while adapting to changing times and circumstances.

    Mr Lee concluded his message by wishing all Singaporeans a very happy Year of the Rabbit.

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    Default Jurong Bird Park turns 40

    Channel News Asia

    By Dylan Loh | Posted: 01 February 2011 2051 hrs








    SINGAPORE : Singapore's Jurong Bird Park is four decades old, and it is investing some S$16 million into its operations and new features this year.

    One of the new features will allow visitors to see how baby birds are bred!

    The newest additions to the bird park are slightly over a month old, and they require lots of attention.

    The chicks are fed a commercially-available formula and special care has to be taken to make sure that the temperature of the feed is between 40 and 44 degrees Celcius.

    If it's too hot, the feed may burn the birds' throats. But if it's too cold, the hatchlings may not be able to digest the food properly.

    But even as the babies are nurtured, their elders are not forgotten. Two of the attraction's oldest birds are Mac and Herman.

    Dr Minerva Bongco-Nuqui, curator, Jurong Bird Park, said: "They need a little bit of extra loving care in comparison with other young birds.

    "We must make sure that they receive the correct diet. And, of course, we must supplement them with vitamins and minerals, and we must provide them enrichment, so they will not get bored."

    Both birds are 35 years old and they successfully mated last year, thanks to the park's breeding efforts.

    Plans are in place to let visitors witness first-hand how baby birds are nurtured.

    Fanny Lai, chief executive, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "Our breeding centre will focus on our research and conservation work. We will also open that up to the public to inspire them to be closer to bird life."

    The Bird Park says the centre is expected to be open to visitors in June.

    This Lunar New Year, the park has also brought in bunnies. Visitors can see the rabbits at the attraction till February 13.

    The Bird Park is also letting the flamingoes loose this festive season to strut their stuff as they would in their home land.

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