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  1. #4455
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    Default Sun bear off to new British home

    The Straits Times

    May 8, 2011



    By Heather Marie Lee




    Male sun bear cub Indera (left) and his mother peering at visitors at the Singapore Zoo. The cub was born on Feb 3 last year, and is the first birth in the zoo's sun bear family since 2002. -- PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


    ONE-YEAR-OLD Indera has never ventured beyond the Malayan sun bear enclosure at the Singapore Zoo.

    But come the end of the month, the male cub will leave sunny Singapore and take a 13-hour flight to Britain. Its new home will be the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Kent in south-east Britain.

    It is leaving behind its sister, mother and father, but Indera's relocation - under an animal exchange programme - is for the greater good of its species. 'The parting is bittersweet,' said Mr Subash Chandran, 59, curator of zoology at the zoo.

    'We are definitely sad to see him go as we've seen him grow over the year from just a tiny cub to what he is now,' he added of Indera's current weight of 28kg.

    However, he pointed out that Indera will have an important role to play in its new setting. Indera will help sustain the Malayan sun bear's population and create awareness of this shy and elusive animal that is native to South-east Asia.

    Captive breeding helps guarantee the survival of endangered animals in the event a disaster wipes out their numbers in the wild.

  2. #4456
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    Default Chinese varsities woo Singaporeans

    The Straits Times

    May 8, 2011



    Education exhibition aims to raise interest in studying at various institutions, including Beida

    By Leong Weng Kam, Senior Writer




    Top Chinese universities, including Peking, Tsinghua and Fudan universities, are represented at the China Education Exhibition which opened on Friday, and continues at the college hall of Hwa Chong Institution today. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO



    SOME 24 Chinese universities which want to get more Singaporeans interested in studying in China are taking part in an education fair here.

    Top names like Peking University (Beida), Tsinghua University and Fudan University are among the schools represented at the event, which opened at the University Hall of the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Friday.

    The fair continues today at the college hall of Hwa Chong Institution in Bukit Timah Road between 10am and 4pm.

    The China Education Exhibition, the first of its kind here, is organised by the Chinese Embassy, NUS and Hwa Chong Institution.

    The participants were brought here by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), a government-sponsored, non-profit organisation set up by China in 1996 to help Chinese students further their education overseas, and to assist foreigners wanting to study in China.

    Speaking at the opening of the fair, CSC's deputy secretary-general Li Jianmin said China hopes to attract more young Singaporean students to further strengthen the economic, social and academic ties between the two countries. More than 3,600 Singaporeans were studying in China last year.

  3. #4457
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    Default Malaysia expects to maintain POA with Singapore

    The Straits Times

    May 9, 2011






    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak waves to photographers as he arrives at the Jakarta Convention centre to attend the second day of the Asean Summit in Jakarta. -- PHOTO: REUTERS


    JAKARTA - MALAYSIA hopes the People's Action Party victory in Singapore will ensure the continuation of what both countries have agreed under the Points of Agreement (POA).

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the ruling party's victory was expected, although election results showed that its popular vote had been reduced.

    'However, looking at the number of seats won, it can be considered a big victory,' he said. Mr Najib said what was important for Malaysia was that it would still deal with the same government.

    'Now that the general election is over, Malaysia hopes that what both countries have agreed to under the POA like iconic development and connectivity between Johor and Singapore will be given focus and we can see the expected progress,' he added.

    Mr Najib also commented on the membership of Timor Leste into Asean, saying that the foreign ministers had been instructed to study Timor Leste's application.

    'Most of the leaders agreed, because from the point of geographical area, the young country certainly qualifies. However, we must look at the timing and its effect on the Asean community as we are trying to reach the target of an Asean Community by 2015,' he added. -- THE STAR/ANN

  4. #4458
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default ASEAN talks frank, substantive

    Channel NewsAsia

    Posted: 08 May 2011 1821 hrs


    The 10 leaders and representatives of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN). (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumbelaka)
    SINGAPORE: Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held frank and substantive discussions over the weekend, on a wide range of regional and international issues at the 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta.

    A spokesman from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to ASEAN's 2015 Community building targets.

    They also emphasised the need to continue making progress on the implementation of the three Community Blueprints and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.

    MFA said there was consensus on the importance of ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, in light of the expanded East Asia Summit (EAS).

    Senior Minister S Jayakumar represented Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the summit.

    The leaders heard from the prime ministers of Cambodia and Thailand on the recent border conflicts.

    MFA said they expressed deep concern and strongly supported Indonesia continuing its efforts, as the ASEAN Chair, to facilitate constructive dialogue between Cambodia and Thailand.

    Cambodia and Thailand were urged to resolve their differences peacefully, in the interests of ASEAN.

    MFA said the need for greater regional cooperation on safety and security in the development of civilian nuclear energy was also discussed.

    The leaders expressed their commitment to promote and uphold the highest international standards of nuclear safety and security, and pledged to support the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) efforts to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework.

    There was agreement to develop a co-ordinated ASEAN approach on this issue, in cooperation with the IAEA and relevant partners.

    MFA said Singapore's proposed concept of a "Community and Harmony in ASEAN through Tertiary Education Relations" (CHARTER) programme to enhance exchanges between universities and institutions of higher learning in ASEAN was endorsed by the leaders.

    This aims to develop a stronger sense of identity and belonging to ASEAN among youth through the promotion of cross-cultural understanding, to further strengthen ASEAN's community building efforts.

    The education ministers were tasked to discuss and flesh out the concept, and to try and implement it early.

    On Myanmar's intention to assume the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014, MFA said the leaders agreed that this should be considered carefully and thoroughly before a decision was made.

    MFA said no decision was taken on Timor Leste's application for ASEAN membership.

    The leaders agreed it was necessary to further consider the implications on ASEAN and ASEAN's goal of an ASEAN Community by 2015, as well as Timor-Leste's ability to fulfil the obligations of ASEAN membership.

    They agreed the EAS had become an integral part of the regional architecture and welcomed the participation of the US and Russia in the EAS from 2011.

    This would enrich the EAS' discussion on strategic issues, even as the EAS continued to focus on its five priority areas of cooperation, ASEAN Connectivity and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA).

  5. #4459
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NUH and SGH improving facilities

    The Straits Times

    May 9, 2011

    These include new heart, cancer centres and improved services

    By Salma Khalik , HEALTH CORRESPONDENT




    Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan (third from left) at the opening of NUH's Heart Centre last month. Beside him (extreme right) was centre director Tan Huay Cheem. The new centre will help ease the strain on the near-capacity National Heart Centre at Outram. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


    EVEN as new regional hospitals in Jurong and Sengkang are being planned and built, older hospitals here are being upgraded and expanded.

    The 1,500-bed Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and the 1,000-bed National University Hospital (NUH), known as tertiary hospitals because they treat the most complicated medical problems, will be expanded and their services souped up.

  6. #4460
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore MPs associated with Singapore badminton

    BC members, especially those from Singapore, may be interested to know that the following politicians who are from the People's Action Party and who have been associated with the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) have just been elected into the Singapore Parliament:

    Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister in Prime Minister's Office (immediate past-President)
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lim_Swee_Say)

    Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry & Manpower (current President)
    (http://www.globalentrepolis.com/inde...178&Itemid=162)

    Mr Ang Hin Kee, MP (General Manager for a short period)
    (http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+...02-271497.html)

    Congratulations to them and may they continue to help bring Singapore badminton to greater heights.

  7. #4461
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default PM Lee stresses the role reserves play during financial crisis

    Channel NewsAsia

    By S Ramesh | Posted: 09 May 2011 1943 hrs


    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong


    SINGAPORE : Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that during the financial crisis in 2009, the government had to use, in some cases, the entire quantum of the country's reserves, to back the Singapore dollar.

    In a speech at the 30th anniversary of the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC), Mr Lee said the moves helped to maintain confidence in Singapore's banking and financial system, which also helped Singapore pull out of the crisis.

    In his first official event after the General Election, Mr Lee stressed that it is necessary to continue slowly accumulating the country's reserves, which are mainly used to improve the lives of Singaporeans.

    PM Lee, who is also the GIC's deputy chairman, focused his message on how the government needed to get its politics right and to make sure there is political support for its policies.

    He emphasised to the audience of corporate honchos and fund managers that the government's aim is to benefit all Singaporeans.

    The recurrent theme of his message was that inclusive growth is needed and that there must be policies to help those affected by globalisation and those who are left behind.

    Mr Lee said: "We have many different forms of assistance for vulnerable groups, but it goes beyond specific items where you can calculate dollars and cents to a sense of reassurance, concern and empathy and a sense that we are in the same boat together - we will take care of one another and we are going to make this together, sink or swim."

    "It is not easy for citizens to cope with these changes even though overall standards of living are rising and the country has been making progress as has been the case in Singapore.

    "If you look at it over the last five years, it has been a real roller-coaster ride, we have had plus 14.5 per cent growth in 2010, we have had zero growth the two years before that and the mood of optimism and alarm has swung to extremes.

    "Overall, if you take the last five years, we have made five per cent growth on the average, incomes have gone up in real terms despite higher inflation, households have more people employed, our infrastructure has improved, our economy is more competitive."

    He added: "We have made progress, but Singaporeans expect more because the going is going to be more challenging and therefore my newly-elected PAP government has its work cut out for it."

    The prime minister also spoke of the need to buffer the economy against volatility and storms, and to do this, he said it was important to continue accumulating the reserves. In this regard, he said GIC has been playing an important role.

    Some opposition members had questioned the need to constantly focus on accumulating the reserves during the hustings and had suggested using the reserves to pay for various programmes.

    But Mr Lee emphasised the need to be prudent, giving the example of how the reserves had helped to maintain confidence in Singapore's banking system during the financial crisis.

    He said the government drew down S$4 billion to help Singaporeans - with programmes like Jobs Credit to keep workers employed - and also used the reserves to shore up the Singapore dollar. He said at times, this amounted to the entire quantum of reserves - hundreds of billions - and the move had worked.

    Mr Lee said: "We relied on them to give confidence and to back our guarantees and our support for the Singapore dollar and the banking system - not just with a few billion dollars but tens of billions of dollars or in some cases potentially with all the reserves that we had so that nobody would be tempted to give it a try and see whether we would run out of ammunition before they did.

    "We need to hold fast to these prudent policies and to maintain and continue gradually to build up these reserves for a rainy day. What reserves we have accumulated, we have to invest prudently and shrewdly with a long-term view - rationally, professionally and insulated from political pressures - so that we can make right investment decisions in the long-term interests of Singapore."

    Hence Mr Lee believes that professional management of the reserves is necessary as there will be long-term needs which have to be paid for.

    The prime minister said Singapore has bright prospects over the next 10 years, but added that global uncertainties will be the "new norm", and the country has to be cautious as there is no magic formula for success.

  8. #4462
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Classics in the Park after the Elections

    The day before was full of tension and excitement for many as the General Election 2011 results were released slowly and kept voters waiting at the numerous counting centres from 9 pm till well past mid-night.

    The heat was still on this late Sunday afternoon as the crowd braved the hot sun to nestle in this well-known Palm Valley of Botanic Gardens fame. Indeed the tall palms and the surrounding greenery provided a cooling and calming relief.

    I, too, quickly escaped from the sauna of our badminton hall and hurried to the Gardens to join the rest of the music lovers. It was another rare appearance by our SSO (Singapore Symphonic Orchestra) to enthral us once again with "Classics in the Park"! Quite aptly, they played "My Fair Lady" to celebrate Mothers' Day and popular waltzes from the world-renowned Johann Strauss Jnr.

    The place was like a beach party, with families, including their children and pet dogs, in very casual attire spreading out on colourful mats on the grounds. "If music be the food of love"... but please let us have the real food as well as the wines ... it was a big, big party for all!

    While the adults relaxed coolly on the extensively grounds under the full shade of the palm trees, the children were in their own elements, running about carefree and doing all sorts of things uninhibited! Unlike during the just-concluded election campaigning about Singaporeans being 'squeezed out' by foreigners, they now share the same space happily.

    How music can bring people together to de-stress!
    Attached Images Attached Images                                                        

  9. #4463
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NEA signs MOU with UK Met Office

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Monica Kotwani | Posted: 10 May 2011 1049 hrs



    SINGAPORE : The National Environment Agency (NEA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre to beef up its research into climate science.

    The three-year collaboration will provide NEA's Meteorological Services with climate models as well as an exchange of information and scientists.

    Torrential rains, floods, and rising temperatures are just some weather patterns in the region associated with climate change.

    But NEA's Meteorological Services hopes that with the collaboration, it will be able to produce more reliable projections of Singapore's rainfall, temperature, wind and sea levels for different time levels - up to the year 2100.

    The collaboration will also have an implication for policy making decisions in the area of climate change.

    The Meteorological Services said the projections could mean safeguarding Singapore against the impact of climate change.

    This is the first such collaboration for the Hadley Centre in the region.

    A centre for climate science research in Singapore is also in the works.

    John Hirst, chief executive of UK Met Office, said: "It is important for us to work internationally, just as it is important for Singapore to have access to the best science in the world, which I think we bring. Singapore has a fantastic science base, there are a lot of very good scientists here, and it has a genuine interest in the meteorological and climate sciences that we do together."

    NEA said the collaboration will also benefit the region, as it could provide a better understanding of Southeast Asia's climate, including better predicting the El Nino and El Nina phenomena, monsoons and tropical connective systems.

    NEA added that its Meteorological Services division will be renamed the Singapore Meteorological Services to reflect the wider demands as it caters to agencies within the government and private sectors.

  10. #4464
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Pang and Yu steal the show

    TODAY

    Young Singaporean mixed doubles pair upset seeded Romanians to make last 16



    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM May 11, 2011

    ROTTERDAM - Almost everyone in the Singapore cheerleading group, made up of players, coaches and officials, sat in the stands at the Ahoy Arena closest to Table 8 and 10. Veteran mixed doubles pairs Yang Zi and Wang Yuegu, and Gao Ning and Li Jiawei were set to do battle in their bid to make the last 16 here at the World Table Tennis Championships yesterday.

    Both pairs ensured their "fans" had plenty to cheer about.

    Yang Zi and Wang, seeded 7th, posted a 4-2 (6-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8) win over Russia's Fedor Kuzmin and Oxana Fedeeva, and two tables away, Gao Ning and Li, the ninth seeds, thrashed Wang Zeng Yi and Natalia Partyka of Poland 4-1.

    While the veteran Singapore pairs ensured they lived up to the form book, a row down at the far end of the arena, at Table 16, the Singapore pair of Pang Xuejie and Yu Mengyu were creating a stir.

    Up against 16th seeds Andrei Filimon and Elizabeth Samara of Romania, few thought the young Singaporean pair would cause an upset. But after a 45-minute battle, Pang and Yu stood tall, following a nail-biting 4-3 victory.

    Pang, 18, had been eliminated from the men's singles in the preliminary rounds on Monday, and the paddler was determined to make his fourth appearance at the world championships count.

    Paired with 21-year-old Yu for the first time since the Commonwealth Games last October, they bounced back from a 3-1 deficit to level the score at 3-3 (10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8) and force a deciding set.

    A pep talk by coach Zhou Shusen worked wonders for the duo, who sealed victory 11-8 in the rubber game after a fierce point-for-point battle.

    After the epic win, Pang told MediaCorp: "When we were down 3-1, coach Zhou told us to cut down on our mistakes and minimise high balls to our opponents. We got better later in the match ... we just told each other not to give up.

    "It feels good to still be in the competition and, as it's my only event left here, I'm really treasuring this."

    The reward for their win will be a date with the No 2 seeds from China, Zhang Chao and Cao Zhen (2), who brushed aside Carloa Machado and Shen Yanfei of Spain 4-0 yesterday.

    Yang Zi and Wang will take on Korean pair Lee Jung Woo and Lee Eun Hee for a spot in the quarter-finals, while Gao Ning and Li face Seiya Kishikawa and Ai Fukuhara (No 4) of Japan.

    Said Li: "I think we did quite well as this is the first time we have played together in the mixed doubles. We started off a little slow against the Russians but got into competition mode after that."

    Day 3 of action also saw the Republic's male and female paddlers kick off their singles campaign in the round of 128.

    Women's world No 23 Li advanced after a comprehensive 4-0 win over Hong Kong's Yu Kwok See. Things did not go well for team-mate Isabelle Li, though, who was on the receiving end of a similar 4-0 scoreline at the hands of North Korea's formidable Kim Jong.

    In the men's draw, Gao Ning earned a place in the next round with a 4-1 win over Portugal's Joao Monteiro.



    Other results

    Women's singles Sun Beibei bt Jana Tomazini (Slo) 4-1 (11-5, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9), Yu Mengyu bt Tian Yuan (Cro) 4-3 (8-11, 12-10, 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-8), Feng Tianwei bt Bernadette Szocs (Rom) 4-2 (9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4), Wang Yuegu bt Park Young Sook (Kor) 4-2 (9-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9)

    Men's singles Yang Zi bt Yaroslav Zhmudenko (Ukr) 4-2 (11-6, 11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5)










  11. #4465
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default It's not just Singapore's women

    TODAY



    China's world No 3 Ding Ning on course for rematch with Feng as coach Shi reveals other threats



    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:47 AM May 10, 2011

    ROTTERDAM - Ding Ning is only 20 but she is already world No 3 in the women's rankings and clearly has a shot at the singles title here at the World Table Tennis Championships.

    The Chinese youngster is on a collision course with Singapore star Feng Tianwei, the world No 6, in the quarter-finals, if both players successfully negotiate the early rounds.

    Intriguingly, Ding Ning lost to Feng when the Singapore women stunned China to become world team champions last year and she remembers the clash in Moscow almost 12 months to the day.

    Speaking to MediaCorp yesterday on the sidelines of a training session here, Ding Ning said: "We lost to Singapore before, so it's important to play at our best.

    "It's a pity that I lost to Tianwei then (2010 world championships), but that doesn't mean I'll just focus on her. I'll have to watch the others as well."

    The players from the world's pre-eminent table tennis nation made their first appearance at the Ahoy Arena's 24-table practice hall yesterday and predictably, drew a huge scrum of reporters.

    China's women occupy the top five spots in the world rankings, with world No 1 Li Xiaoxia leading the way, followed by Guo Yan, Ding Ning, Guo Yue and Liu Shiwen, respectively.

    The other two Chinese women that will do battle in the singles are Wu Yang, the world No 8, and Fan Ying (No 24).

    The seven-member group went through their paces yesterday under the watchful eyes of coach Shi Zhihao.

    China's 20-strong squad (men and women) spent a week at a training camp in Vienna's Werner Schlager Academy, ahead of the world championships, and were cloistered at Rotterdam Club upon arriving in this port city last Thursday.

    They are widely tipped to feature in all five finals on Sunday (men's and women's singles and doubles and mixed doubles), and are expected to win them all.

    The tournament switches format from a team event to an individual contest every year, and the last time players fought for individual medals, the Chinese swept all five golds in Yokohama in 2009.

    After the Singapore women wrested the team gold in one of the great sports stories of the year, most expect the Chinese to be at the top of their game against any of the Republic's paddlers.

    So concerned were the Chinese over the loss last year that they only retained Guo Yan for the Asian Games team event, and drafted in Li and Guo Yue.

    The Chinese duly took revenge on the Singaporeans, blanketing their rivals 3-0 to win gold in Guangzhou last November.

    Coach Shi, 52, insisted yesterday it was not only about Singapore's challenge. "All our opponents from Asia, not only Singapore, are threats. Singapore, South Korea and Japan are all our opponents," he said.

    "We will try our very best to get the best results. To the players, every match is like a final and I believe they will play well."

    "Their pre-competition mood and state of mind is much stronger now because they've had the chance to make some tactical changes and preparations after the draw when it became clearer who their opponents were," he added.

    World No 1 Li only has eyes on the singles gold, after she finished third in Yokohama.

    Said the 23-year-old: "I'm only focused on myself, and my game. Who I meet here doesn't matter to me, my focus is on winning every point, every match."



    Last edited by Loh; 05-10-2011 at 10:49 PM.

  12. #4466
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    Default Fifa to base anti-corruption wing in Singapore

    The Straits Times

    May 11, 2011






    Fifa President Sepp Blatter (right) shakes hands with Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble after they signed an agreement on May 9, 2011 at the headquarters of the world football's ruling body in Zurich. -- PHOTO: AFP


    ZURICH - WORLD football's governing body Fifa said on Monday that it would fund an Interpol training programme to help tackle match fixing and irregular betting thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Fifa will contribute eight million euros (S$14.1 million) to its Anti Corruption Training Wing at Interpol in Singapore over the first two years, followed by 12 million euros over the following eight years.

    'The threat of match-fixing in sport is a major one, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to tackle this threat,' said Fifa president Sepp Blatter in a statement after a meeting with Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble.

    Fifa also announced that it would add an investigation task force to its betting monitoring unit, bringing it close to practice at European football's governing body UEFA. 'Joint work with the authorities and with Interpol is crucial for success,' Blatter said, vowing zero tolerance and underlining the need for preventive measures.

    Senior sports officials have repeatedly warned that they cannot tackle illegal betting, which is often interwined with organised crime, and its consequences without the power of full court-backed investigations by law enforcement agencies.

    Interpol has estimated that illegal football gambling is worth up to hundreds of millions of dollars in Asia alone each year. 'Illicit betting and match-fixing rings have demonstrated their global reach to fundamentally undermine football from one continent to another by corrupting administrators, officials and players and they require a global response,' Noble said. -- AFP

  13. #4467
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    Default S'pore's OCBC ranked world's strongest bank by Bloomberg

    The Straits times

    By Stella Lee | Posted: 10 May 2011 1434 hrs


    Office workers walk past the OCBC headquarters in Singapore. (file pic)


    SINGAPORE : Singapore's OCBC Bank has been ranked as the world's strongest bank by Bloomberg.

    OCBC is one of three Singapore banks that made it to the top six in the first Bloomberg Markets ranking of its kind.

    DBS Group Holdings ranks fifth, while United Overseas Bank is number 6.

    Singapore's three biggest banks scored well on smart banking practices, according to an inaugural ranking by Bloomberg.

    This global ranking is for banks that hold at least US$100 billion in assets.

    The ranking weighs and combines five criteria, which include, among others, Tier 1 capital compared with risk-weighted assets and nonperforming assets compared with total assets.

    Tier 1 capital includes a bank's cash reserves, outstanding common stock and some classes of preferred stock, all of which combine to act as a shock absorber against losses when the economy hits a rough patch.

    Analysts said the strict supervision from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has also played a role.

    James Koh, investment analyst at Kim Eng Research, said: "MAS always had a more stringent standard for the banks above the international standards that's required. And the banks themselves, they give themselves an even bigger buffer on top of MAS requirements. So all three banks are very well capitalised. "

    While the achievements of the Singapore banks may reflect their capital strength and prudent risk management, analysts said that the metrics in the ranking may have favoured Singapore banks.

    The bulk of the weightage in the rankings comprised Tier 1 capital ratios against risk-weighted assets, which analysts said is the most useful indicator in analysing the safety of banks.

    And OCBC Bank also had a higher Tier 1 capital ratio, edging out its two other competitors.

    Kenneth Ng, head of Singapore research at CIMB, said: "...DBS bank had a problem with shipping loans, Middle Eastern loans which they had to grapple with. UOB had its port of investment securities which declined in value. But OCBC did not have anything that affected them."

    Analysts said that a drawback of the strength of the three banks is that they employ less leverage than foreign banks.

    This creates trade-offs in terms of generating higher returns.

    All three banks currently operate in the Asian region beyond Singapore.

    A DBS spokesperson said: "It is gratifying that the overall strength of Singapore banks is being recognised globally. Singapore banks are indeed strongly capitalised and well placed to meet Basel III standards, benefiting from the discipline of operating under a more stringent regulatory regime.

    "The study reaffirms the evaluation of the rating agencies, of which Standard and Poor's rates DBS as the only AA- bank in Singapore."

    David Conner, CEO of OCBC Bank, said in a press statement: "We are delighted to be recognised as the World's Strongest Bank by Bloomberg. It is an honour, not just for all of us in the OCBC Group, but also for Singapore as a leading financial centre."

  14. #4468
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Marina Bay Financial Centre

    Probably around the 70's, the financial district was located at Robinson Road/Shenton Way a street or two from Marina Bay, which was then hardly developed compared to the present.

    When nearby Raffles Place began to make a strong presence around the Singapore River about a decade or two later, the financial and commercial district followed to change its address to this new prime location.

    But now, Shenton Way and its vicinity is making a comeback largely due to the extensive development in the Marina Bay area brought about principally by the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (MBS). The Bay is almost fully built-up with iconic buildings like the Esplanade, Theatres-on-the-Bay, The Singapore Flyer, MBS, its ArtScience Museum and convention halls, and luxury condos like The Sail and now Marina Bay Suites and Marina Bay Residences, which are built close to the financial centre skyscrappers.

    Old buildings like Clifford Pier, the OUE Tower and Customs House which are fronting the Bay, have been upgraded and new ones like the Fullerton Bay Hotel are added to transform this place into a vibrant and exciting business, entertainment and recreation centre with luxury apartments.

    The dull and old images around Clifford Pier have vanished to be replaced by quite an exhilarating transformation. Even the overhead bridge linking Raffles Place and Clifford Pier is no longer cramped with eating stalls and smalls shops. It is now uncluttered with only a centre row of a few upmarket shops and two pleasant passageways on each side.

    The best is yet to come when the versatile Marina Bay Gardens, an extention of the Botanic Gardens into this vibrant business district, is expected to be completed in a year or two to provide respite and relaxation to hardworking office executives.
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    Last edited by Loh; 05-11-2011 at 03:58 AM.

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    Default Top Ngee Ann poly student gets blank cheque for studies

    The Straits Times

    May 12, 2011

    By Amelia Tan



    Ngee Ann Poly's top students Merissa Jane Lee Hui Yi. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


    NGEE Ann Polytechnic (NP) top student Merissa Jane Lee, 19, knew that it would be difficult for her parents to afford the $150,000 in tuition fees for a film-and-television degree in the United States (US).

    But now, the mass communication student does not have to worry as she has received a 'blank cheque' from the Ngee Ann Kongsi foundation which she can use to pay for tuition fees at any university of her choice.

    The bond-free scholarship comes with the Ngee Ann Kongsi Gold Medal which is given out each year to NP's top student, who will also get $10,000 in cash.

    Top students from the various NP schools are interviewed by a panel of judges made up of the polytechnic's senior management who decide whom will get the medal.

    Ms Lee, who has a Grade Point Average of 3.83 and who scored mostly As and Bs for her modules, said she aimed to get the medal since her first year at the polytechnic. She added that she was 'filled with a sense of relief' when she learnt that she got it two weeks ago.

    'Without a scholarship, my dreams of studying overseas would be dashed. So from my first year in poly, I've been working hard, staying back late at night in school, working on projects and studying hard to make sure that I gave my best for every assignment. It really feels like a dream come true,'said Ms Lee, who hopes to pursue a career in TV and film in the US.

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    Default Top Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduates balance studies and jobs

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Sabrina Chan | Posted: 11 May 2011 2059 hrs

    Photos 1 of 1
    Some of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's top graduates.


    SINGAPORE: The top crop of students at Ngee Ann Polytechnic this year did more than just study well. From being a part-time security guard to being an after-class stock-investor, they have managed to juggle their lessons and part-time jobs.

    One of them is Glenn Ong Ke Xian, who is a student by day, and a savvy investor by night.

    While in school, the banking and financial services major put his knowledge to good use and helped his mother and sister grow their funds by 40 per cent during the 2008 global financial crisis.

    Glenn said: "I wasn't sure initially but after reading more about it, I was very intrigued about all the different kinds of investment instruments in the world.

    "And then we saw the financial crisis of 2008 happening right before our very eyes, and I don't want to be another victim in the future of another such crisis. I want to be the one to spot the next crisis, and know how to find opportunities from such crises and not be a bystander and lose all my money."

    25-year-old Lourence Steven decided to take up a job as a security guard to help ease his parents' financial burden. He also wanted to understand what his father, who is also a security guard, goes through every day.

    Despite spending days being "roasted in the sun", he managed to ace his exams, bagging the Lee Kuan Yew award and Ngee Ann polytechnic outstanding achievement award.

    For some of these students, life is looking up. With their good scores, many of them qualify for scholarships to pursue master's degrees either locally or abroad.


    Among them is a Ngee Ann Kongsi Gold medallist, Merisa Jane Lee Hui Yi.

    She said: "I think what motivated me the most is that I want to make my parents proud, I didn't want to let them down because they've really supported me through every single step of my education...and I also wanted to get a scholarship at the end of my journey in Ngee Ann and I knew I had to work hard that's what pushed me to study harder."

    This group of graduates look set to excel even further when they steps out into the real world.

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    Default Singapore film makers vying for honours at Cannes Film Festival

    Channel NewsAsia

    By Monica Kotwani | Posted: 11 May 2011 1848 hrs





    SINGAPORE: Singapore film makers are vying for international recognition at this year's Cannes Film Festival and Market.

    Critically-acclaimed producer/director Eric Khoo will showcase his first animated feature on May 17. Called "Tatsumi", the feature is based on the life and works of manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi.

    It is competing in the Un Certain Regard section, a renowned film event known for highlighting cutting-edge original works.

    Singapore's Media Development Authority said the showcase of Tatsumi makes this the seventh consecutive year that Singapore productions have made the cut for the Cannes Film Festival Official Selection.

    Also selected for the Official Selection is an 11-minute film, "Suu and Uchikawa", by Nathanael Carton, a graduate student from Singapore's Tisch School of the Arts Asia.

    The film will compete in the Cinéfondation Selection, which is devoted to the search for new talents.

    MDA said Mr Carton's film was one of 16 selected from more than 1,500 entries, from 360 film schools.

    Gracing the red carpets of the Festival is Singaporean actor Chin Han, who plays a doctor in "Restless", the opening film of the Un Certain Regard section. The movie is directed by Gus Van Sant of Good Will Hunting and Milk fame.

    The event is also a platform for local film companies to promote their works to potential buyers at the Cannes Film Market. Films like MediaCorp Raintree's "It's a Great Great World", and Elixir Entertainment's "Gurushetram 24 Hours of Anger" will be screened at the Market.

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