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  1. #5118
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    Default S'pore to hold Asia-Pacific sports conference

    Posted: 19 September 2011 1720 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The inaugural Asia-Pacific Sports Conference 2011 is set to take place next week in Singapore.

    Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing will be at the event which brings together more than 150 sports industry professionals from 20 different countries to explore the economic potential of sporting events for the region.

    The conference, to be held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, will stretch from 27 to 28 September with pre-conference workshops on 26 September.

    The programme draws on expert presentations, panel discussions and case studies to highlight key trends in world sport, identifying opportunities for Asia-Pacific nations and regions.

    The event is supported by the Singapore Sports Council.

    Organisers said governments are now recognising the power of sports to create economic and other benefits for Asian countries which have become top bidders for hosting and staging major sports events.

    The conference aims to provide representatives attending the conference with practical advice on handling such events.

    -CNA/wk

  2. #5119
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    Default S'pore GP preparations on track

    By Joanne Chan | Posted: 19 September 2011 1747 hrs


    Overview of Singapore's Marina Bay street circuit


    SINGAPORE: With this year's F1 champion possibly crowned in Singapore, it is only fitting that organisers are planning to end the race with a bang. A three-minute fireworks display will light up the city skyline - a first for the night race.

    But before that can happen, workers are putting the finishing touches on the circuit. Machines called trackjets have been deployed to remove grit and dust from the roads, and to improve the surface grip.

    Driver names have also gone up on the Pit Building, and the race cars started arriving on Sunday. Virgin, Team Lotus and HRT (Hispania Racing Team) were the first to be unloaded. The equipment for all 12 teams will be unloaded on Monday evening.

    Aside from the track action, spectators will also be entertained by an impressive line-up of music stars.

    Sarah Martin, Operations Director of the Singapore GP, said: "We actually have a brand new programme, we're very heavy on the visuals. We also have musicals, we've got Broadway, we've got Bollywood Express, from the producers of Merchants of Bollywood. We have of course, a stellar line-up - we've got Shakira, Linkin Park, we've got Charice."

    They will be performing on two main stages - one near the Pit Building and the other at the Padang.

    Some 2,000 lucky fans will see Shakira shaking her famous hips or Linkin Park rocking it out on Sunday, up-close at the Padang's Fan Zone.

    For spectators who need a breather from the action at night, they can try a walk through the Milky Way. Ten planets based on NASA's imagery have been recreated near the F1 village, with the largest planet nearly five-metres tall.

    Another visual element that race goers can look forward to is a light display projected onto a wall of water. The Ocean Symphony, happening at the Bay area, also involves ballerinas twirling midair in bird cages.

    To date, over 95 per cent of the 82,500 tickets have been sold.

    -CNA/ac

  3. #5120
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore wins big at energy awards

    Eight local companies honoured at annual ASEAN energy awards


    by Esther Ng
    04:46 AM Sep 21, 2011

    SINGAPORE - For their efforts to be environmentally sustainable, eight organisations received the ASEAN Energy Awards, making it the largest number bagged by Singapore since the Awards started in 2000.

    The Galen, an eight-year-old building in Singapore Science Park II, won in the Retrofitted Category, while the 30-year-old Ministry of Manpower (MOM) building emerged first runner-up.

    Business space solutions provider, Ascendas, which owns The Galen, spent S$3.5 million replacing its air-cooled chillers with four 600 refrigeration ton water-cooled centrifugal chiller plants with an efficiency of 0.56 kilowatts per refrigeration ton.

    As a result, the building now only generates 1,300 tons of carbon emission annually, from 4,000 tons before retrofitting.

    In addition, the building enjoys energy savings of 5,500 megawatt hours per year, which translates to an annual net utilities cost savings of S$1 million per year and a life cycle cost savings of more than S$16 million over 20 years.

    "Given the current usage and tariff, we are estimating a payback period of less than four years," said an Ascendas spokesperson.

    Retrofitting the six-storey building, however, posed challenges.

    "We had to ensure that tenants' operations were not affected by the relocation of their exhaust fan, electrical and telecommunication cables to the rooftop," said Ascendas.

    For the Renewable Energy On-Grid Category, Phoenix Solar was the first runner-up.

    It installed 250 kilowatts peak of solar panels at Changi Airport's Budget Terminal, becoming South-east Asia's first commercial airport with a photovoltaic power plant.

    The solar panels generate clean energy for its own consumption and contribute to a reduction in air-conditioning load by shading the roof from direct sunlight.

    The other winners include City Square Mall and Bosch South-east Asia headquarters in the New and Existing Building Category, Natflow and Enhanced Air Quality in the Special Submission Category for energy efficiency and GlaxoSmithKline in the Industry (Large) Category for energy management.

    Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Home Affairs S Iswaran, who was at the 29th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting in Brunei last night, said: "The increasing number of Singapore companies receiving the awards is a testament to Singapore's role as a 'living laboratory' for clean energy.

    "We look forward to encouraging more of such companies to create and demonstrate their energy solutions in Singapore, before scaling up their commercial operations for the regional and global markets."
    Last edited by Loh; 09-20-2011 at 10:45 PM.

  4. #5121
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    Default Not just a Grand Prix, but also world-class theatre

    Organisers of the sport's only night race believe they have the right formula


    by Ian De Cotta
    04:46 AM Sep 21, 2011

    Formula 1

    2011 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix



    SINGAPORE - If the response for tickets for this year's SingTel Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix is the barometer, then any suggestion that the race is suffering from fan fatigue after three editions can be dismissed.

    As of yesterday, 98 per cent of tickets have been sold and more than 80,000 are expected for each of the three racing days, dotted along the 5.073km Marina Bay street circuit.

    By all accounts, a full house should be on hand for race day on Sunday night, eager to see if Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel can win his first Grand Prix in Singapore and make it back-to-back world championships.

    While there is no longer a rush for tickets, as was the case in the inaugural race in 2008, the continued strong support from local and overseas fans has been heartening for the race promoters and organisers of Formula 1's only night race.

    Meeting the expectations of fans and using social media like Facebook to understand what they want in and around the track were keys to delivering a successful event, according to Singapore GP director, Jonathan Hallett.

    "The way we try to ensure that those expectations are met is to 're-invent' the event each year," said Hallett yesterday.

    "Perhaps more importantly, the way social media has evolved means we can pay the closest possible attention to what our fans are telling us. On Facebook, for instance, we have over 70,000 members, which we believe is the highest of any Grand Prix, and that number is increasing rapidly."

    The Grand Prix is Singapore's biggest annual sporting event and Hallett knows Singapore GP cannot be complacent.

    The goal every year is to "redouble" their efforts to keep it relevant", and he added: "If we are humble enough to remember that the customers come first, we can reasonably hope that the event will not grow stale or repetitive, and make each spectator's experience of the race a personal and memorable one."

    Even the 12 teams and their drivers have become believers, after they voiced fears over safety ahead of the inaugural race.

    Ferrari's two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who won in 2008 and last year, describes it as his favourite track.

    The race has earned a reputation for its glamorous entertainment programme weaved into motorsport's premier event.

    The likes of Linkin Park, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, No Doubt and Chaka Khan, among others, have headlined previous races. This year, Linkin Park will return and Shakira will make her debut here.

    Hallett insists it is not this recipe alone that has hooked racing fans to the Singapore Grand Prix.

    He believes the night element is the event's most important draw-card - a time when people expect to relax, get excited and be entertained, at the right ticket price.

    Said Hallett: "The word has spread, both locally and internationally, and that's the main reason why we are so fortunate with the level of ticket sales.

    "This is not 'just' a motor race - even though it happens at the pinnacle of the sport - but also a musical and theatrical spectacular that includes world-class artistes like Linkin Park and Shakira, musicals, roving performers and a great deal more.

    "For tourists, our city itself is a major attraction, and having the Grand Prix at its heart only enhances its appeal. Local fans, I think, now trust us to create a weekend full of activities to complement the fun of watching F1 itself.

    "Being a street circuit with everything that Singapore has to offer - world-class accommodation, shopping, restaurants and art - gives us the perfect platform to build on."



    Workers putting the final touches to the Formula One Paddock Club, one of the big hospitality attractions of the Singapore Grand Prix. Photo by IAN DE COTTA


    Last edited by Loh; 09-21-2011 at 01:55 AM.

  5. #5122
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    Default Newly-crowned Miss Universe to appear at MBS for Grand Prix weekend

    Published on Sep 21, 2011


    Miss Angola 2011 Leila Lopes (left) will be making an appearance at Marina Bay Sands in one of her first public appearances as Miss Universe. -- PHOTO: AFP


    The Singapore Grand Prix is set to get an added dose of star power.

    Marina Bay Sands (MBS) announced on Wednesday morning that it will play host to newly-crowned Miss Universe 2011 - Leila Lopes from Angola - along with nine other beauties from the pageant.

    Miss Lopes' appearance at MBS will be one of her first public appearances as Miss Universe 2011, following her recent victory in Brazil last week. The 25-year-old will be joined by nine fellow and former Miss Universe contestants at MBS' Finish Line Bar, which is set up exclusively for the F1 period this weekend.

    The Finish Line Bar - a 'pop-up' themed lounge concept set up for Formula One aficionados - is located at Bay Level Promenade South Entrance of The Shoppes and is open to the public.

    The entire Miss Universe entourage will be making special appearances at meet-and-greet sessions at the Finish Line Bar, allowing fans to snap a quick shot with the ladies at these dates:

    Thursday, Sept 22, 6.30pm-7.30pm
    Friday, Sept 23, 2pm-3pm
    Saturday, Sept 24, 4pm-5pm
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1pm-2pm

    The nine Miss Universe participants accompanying Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes are first runner-up, Miss Ukraine 2011 (Olesia Stefanko), Miss Ireland 2010 (Rozanna Purcell), Miss Japan 2010 (Maiko Itai), Miss India 2010 (Ushoshi Sengupta), Miss Malaysia 2010 (Nadine Ann Thomas), Miss Mexico 2009, (Karla Maria Carrillo Gonzalez), Miss New Zealand 2009 (Katie Taylor), Miss China 2010 (Tang Wen) and Miss Singapore 2009 (Rachel Kum).

    Apart from the meet-and-greet session, punters will also be able to sip special F1 cocktails created by the bar team at The Moluccas Room, one of the newly opened waterfront restaurants. Live screenings of the races will also be broadcast.
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    Default NTU researches on biomarkers for heart diseases

    By Sara Grosse | Posted: 21 September 2011 1341 hrs


    A model of a heart


    SINGAPORE: A research team in Singapore is joining forces with a team in the Netherlands to pinpoint the risk of heart disease in a person.

    Using clinical samples from Singapore's multi-racial population, the team from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will analyse tissue and blood from patients with cardiovascular diseases to find the best predictive biomarkers.

    After the best predictive biomarkers have been identified, the team is hoping this will lead to the development of an innovative blood test kit that can be used in health screening purposes at local polyclinics and hospitals in four to five years.

    Biomarker prediction is considered more accurate than the current method of using a combination of factors such as age, body mass index and cholesterol level to predict risk of heart attacks.

    - CNA/fa
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  7. #5124
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default MFA envoy to attend Ionescu trial Wednesday

    Posted: 20 September 2011 1825 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The trial of former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu resumes in Bucharest on Wednesday.

    Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said special envoy to Romania, Mr Anil Kumar Nayar, will attend the hearing.

    He will be accompanied by a representative from the Attorney-General's Chambers.

    Ionescu is on trial for culpable manslaughter, fleeing the scene of an accident in Singapore, and giving false statements.

    Key witnesses have testified in the trial via video link from Singapore.

    - CNA/cc

  8. #5125
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Curtain up for S'pore Kallang Theatre

    By Evelyn Choo | Posted: 20 September 2011 1729 hrs


    Singapore's Kallang Theatre.


    SINGAPORE: It used to stage world-class musicals like Les Miserables and Miss Saigon - but closed in 2007 because it was under-used. Now, Singapore's Kallang Theatre is slated to re-open with an accompanying musical - after much delay.

    Expect a display of acrobatics, song and dance in the upcoming musical titled "Singapura, Lion City".

    It traces the history and success of Singapore, from the day it was founded as an island, to its evolution as a cosmopolitan city.

    The musical comes after repeated delays in the re-opening of the 25-year-old Kallang Theatre.

    "When we started renovating, we found that a lot of things needed to be replaced, especially the cables and wiring. This place was left for too long - for five years. When we repaired some of the areas, other problems cropped up," said Mr Steven Tham, chairman of Asia Arts and Culture

    The Kallang Theatre was closed in 2007 because it was under-utilised. But the management said it has spent about half a million dollars refurbishing the area, and another million on installing a state-of-the-art audio and lighting system.

    Final preparations are underway till the first musical, slated to stage on October 8.

    Most of the performers hail from the Yunnan Provincial Performing Arts Group in China,
    leading some to wonder if it would be a tough balancing act to preserve the local flavour of the show.

    "Initially, because of the shortage of time, most of the performers are from China. But in terms of costumes and music, I think it's all more local content. It's my intention to have as many locals as possible over a period," said Mr Tham.

    Over the coming months, Asia Arts and Culture producers said they will work with local arts groups to fine-tune the musical.

    - CNA/cc
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  9. #5126
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    Default

    A landmark study and a kit to predict heart-attack risk


    by Tan Weizhen
    04:46 AM Sep 22, 2011

    SINGAPORE - Hundreds of Singaporeans will be screened in a landmark study, aimed at developing a simple blood test that can predict if a person is at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

    The study, which is being carried out for the first time, will be conducted by a team of scientists from Singapore and the Netherlands. They had discovered that more than 10 types of unique proteins, or biomarkers, are present in the blood of people who recently had a stroke or heart attack.

    According to the team - a collaborative effort between Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University Hospital (NUH) and the Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of the Netherlands (ICIN) - blood and tissue samples have been collected from about 800 heart patients here in the past two years. This will be increased to more than 2,000 samples in the next few years.

    The scientists hope that by collecting such samples in Singapore, the best biomarkers to detect the diseases can be discovered, leading to a more predictive diagnostic test kit tailored to the population here. It also represents a unique opportunity to compare results among the different races in Singapore, the scientists said.

    The result of the comparison could lead to the test kit, being, for example, tailored to diagnose patients by race. The patient can key in his age and race, and the relevant biomarkers could be used to do a better job of diagnosis.

    Describing the need for such a test kit, NUH Professor Lee Chuen Neng said: "The current practice detects these conditions based on symptoms. But it is very dangerous (especially since) some high risk patients don't have symptoms." He added that conditions, or lifestyle habits - which may lead to a heart attack or stroke - such as age, high cholesterol, diabetes or smoking, are still not strong enough as predictive indicators.

    The samples will be collected from heart patients in their 60s and 70s - with their permission, said Prof Lee. He added that the larger the sample size, the higher their chances are of developing a highly predictive test kit.


    Prof Newman Sze, NTU's lead scientist, estimates that the blood test kit can be developed for use during health screenings at local polyclinics and hospitals in four to five years' time.




    Assistant Professor Sze Siu Kwan from the Division of Structural Biology & Biochemistry at NTU's School of Biological Sciences with auto-sampler tubes in the laboratory, which are part of NTU's first heart attack/stroke research project involving a multi-racial population. Photo by SYAFIQAH HAMID

    Last edited by Loh; 09-21-2011 at 09:43 PM.

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    Default UN Human Rights Council adopts S'pore report

    Posted: 21 September 2011 1921 hrs


    UN Human Rights Council


    SINGAPORE: The Working Group Report on Singapore's first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be adopted at the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland on September 22.

    The UPR is a mandatory process for all United Nations (UN) member states to review their human rights situation before the HRC.

    Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Wednesday that the adoption of the Working Group Report represents the completion of the country's first UPR.

    It said the report contains a summary of the proceedings from Singapore's participation in the 11th Session of the UPR Working Group in May 2011.

    It includes recommendations from other member states and Singapore's response to the recommendations.

    Singapore will be represented at the HRC by its Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ms Tan Yee Woan.

    MFA said Singapore's next UPR is scheduled to be held in five years' time.

    - CNA/cc
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  11. #5128
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    Default In love with S'pore's night race

    Vaglienti rates the Grand Prix in the Lion City as one of the top three on the calendar

    by Philip Goh Haw Hann
    04:47 AM Sep 22, 2011

    Formula 1

    2011 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix



    SINGAPORE - Breakfast for Bruno Vaglienti was at 1.30pm yesterday, but it was all part of the job in the Lion City.

    Vaglienti, the senior manager for sports marketing for Puma's motorsport division has been to every circuit that has hosted Formula 1 races for the past 19 years.

    Sunday will be race number 309 for the 57-year-old Italian, and he rates the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix as one of his three favourites, alongside Melbourne and Sao Paolo.

    The Republic has changed a great deal since Vaglienti's first trip here in 1978.

    "This night race is great commercial advertising for Singapore and it's fascinating the way the race is broadcast," said Vaglienti.

    "It's even nicer than Valencia, from a television point of view. They tried to do something similar for Abu Dhabi, with the Yas Marina circuit and its changing colours, but they cannot build an entire city, not yet anyway!

    "When you have the aerial view and you see the snaking lights, the buildings, the fountains, the Merlion ... it's unique!"

    Vaglienti enjoys the buzz in Singapore during the F1 week. He says that is what is missing at traditional races like Monza, Milan and Barcelona.

    "Singapore is very welcoming, and a bit like Melbourne, where you feel the atmosphere of the race when you go downtown ... just that in Australia, they have more of a motorsport culture."

    Vaglienti's adventure in motorsport started in 1990 when he wrote in for a job at Sparco, one of the pioneer race wear manufacturers. By the time he left the company in 2002, Sparco were providing F1-compliant fire-retardant gear - race suits, gloves and other items - for 16 Formula 1 drivers.

    Vaglienti has built up personal relationships with many of the drivers and their teams, making him the ultimate insider.

    Puma secured his services in September 2002 and he proceeded to roll out a new strategy for the German sportswear giants, beginning with the idea of the driver uniforms, before extending the range to items beyond specialist gear.

    Much of the business is done on the run. During race week, Vaglienti will be busy talking to teams about their future designs, while also incorporating new sponsors.

    "A lot of business is done on mutual trust and plenty of networking happens in the paddock," he said. "It is why I keep to European hours during the Singapore race, going to bed at 3am or 4am, and waking up at midday. Otherwise it will be hard to function properly during the evenings here."

    Up until two years ago, Puma were supplying race gear for five Formula 1 teams. Today, they are only in Ferrari's corner. They supply race suits for Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, and kit out the entire team.

    While the racing season officially starts in March, work for Vaglienti and his team is an all-year affair.

    "Ferrari have a winter event in early January, followed by the car launch, and testing in February," he explained. "As we supply their team uniform from shirts, T-shirt, winter jacket, bags, shoes and other items, we have to be ready before January or have contingencies in place."



    Photo by PHILIP GOH


    Last edited by Loh; 09-21-2011 at 09:55 PM.

  12. #5129
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    Default Parks for Everyone - Changi

    Recently our National Parks Board published a colourful brochure titled "Parks for Everyone" with the following message:

    Did you know that Singapore is home to more than 300 parks?
    This little island has a huge diversity of green spaces for all to enjoy.

    Whether you enjoy extreme sports, love nature, relish the arts and heritage, or fancy a good time at the playground, there is a park for you. You will not only find lush greenery and native biodiversity, but also activities ranging from gardening to adventure sports.

    For information on more parks and activities, please visit:
    www.nparks.gov.sg/eguides

    Last Saturday I made a late afternoon visit to one of the parks at Changi, near Changi Village and Changi Airport, situated at the eastern tip of our diamond-shaped island.

    This area is a popular place for those who seek to stay the week-end away from their homes for family bonding, recreation, sports like tennis, sailing or golf and other less physically demanding activities like a stroll on the boardwalks alongside the sea beach.

    Located in this area are Government bungalows for rental, Civil Service Club, Singapore Sailing Club, Changi Golf Club, Treehouse Villas, Changi Villa Resort, SAF Seaview Resort and other resorts.

    Here are some pictures of Changi:
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    Default APL named world's best ship operator

    The Business Times
    September 22, 2011


    APL, the shipping line arm of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), was named the world's best ship operator at the prestigious Lloyd's List global awards in London on Tuesday.

    A panel of nine judges chose APL as the most outstanding shipping line among the slew of finalists which included Maersk Line, Pacific Basin Shipping and Seaspan Ship Management.

    The Ship Operator Award will share mantelpiece space with other accolades APL won this year. In June, Seatrade Asia magazine acknowledged it as the Liner Owner/Operator of the Year. And in april, APL emerged as the best shipping line in the Trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe trades at the Asian Freight and Supply Chain Awards.

    "We're pleased to be recognised by industry peers for shipping excellence," said APL president Kenneth Glenn. "This is a tribute to everyone at APL, who devotes themselves to our customers anad the growth of global trade."

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    Default A student-centric education system in the pipeline

    By Sharon See | Posted: 22 September 2011 1313 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The next phase for Singapore's education system will be one that is student-centric and focused on values.

    Speaking at the Ministry of Education's work plan seminar on Thursday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said while the overall foundation of the system is strong, the ministry wants to sharpen its efforts in holistic education to better prepare Singaporeans for the 21st century.

    Mr Heng said: "We need personal values to enable each of us to have the confidence, self awareness, grit and determination to succeed. We need moral values, such as respect, responsibility, care and appreciation towards others to guide each of us to be a socially responsible person.

    "We need values of citizenship. As a young nation with a short history of independence, we must have informed, rugged and resilient citizens who can stay united to overcome crisis and adversities which we must expect to happen from time to time."

    He said the ministry will do this in three broad areas.

    One way is to introduce a new Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) module by 2013 which will focus on values and character development.

    The new CCE curriculum will bring together Civics and Moral Education, National Education, Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) among others
    .

    The CCE is expected to be infused into lessons, such as Mother Tongue and literature.

    And to place greater emphasis on holistic and balanced participation in CCA rather than just achievement, the ministry will also review LEAPS (Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation and Service), a grading scheme for CCA.

    In addition, Mr Heng said the ministry will review the School Excellence Model and Masterplan of Awards, which were introduced in 1998.

    This is to realign them to be more student-centric while reducing the amount of administrative work needed.

    Mr Heng also emphasised the importance of engaging parents and the community to achieve these outcomes.

    - CNA/fa

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    Default Shanmugam stresses to Romania importance of Ionescu case to S'poreans

    Posted: 22 September 2011 1200 hrs


    Foreign Minister K Shanmugam shakes hands with Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschir (Photo: MFA)


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam has stressed to his Romanian counterpart that Singapore takes the hit-and-run case of former diplomat Silviu Ionescu, currently taking place in Romania, seriously.

    Mr Shanmugam also told Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschir that the case had created a lot of interest and unhappiness in Singapore.

    Their meeting took place on the sidelines of the 66th UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Wednesday.

    The Singapore Foreign Ministry said Mr Baconschi "expressed understanding for the emotions arising from the hit-and-run incident and its impact on public opinion in Singapore".

    He assured Mr Shanmugam that Romania was transparent and honest in dealing with the case.

    The Ionescu trial resumed on Wednesday in Bucharest and the judge has estimated at least three more court dates to complete proceedings, possibly stretching into next year.

    - CNA /ls
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    Default S'pore students take top honours in critical thinking contest

    By Nurul Syuhaida | Posted: 21 September 2011 2201 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore students have proven that they have what it takes to solve a problem using critical thinking.

    Three teams from Singapore took top honours in the ThinkQuest International Competition 2011 on Wednesday
    .

    Organised by the Oracle Education Foundation, the competition challenges students to solve a problem using their critical thinking, communication and technology skills.

    More than 30,000 participants from 52 countries tested their abilities on a global stage.

    The teams that came in tops were from Republic Polytechnic, Dunman High School and Nanyang Girls' High School.

    The Republic Polytechnic team created a programme that encourages people to get involved with the Balang community - a commune in Cambodia that has been living under the poverty line.

    The programme provides information about Balang history, volunteer opportunities and a portal for collecting donations.

    The team from Dunman High developed an application to help users gain insights into their eating habits. It created a food diary to help them improve their eating habits and their health.

    Participants presented solutions by using a variety of technologies - including online applications, games, animations, and videos.

    Brad Saffer, vice president of Oracle Corporate Citizenship, said: "These students identified real-world problems and accepted the challenge to solve them through innovative, thought-provoking solutions.

    "Throughout the process, these students developed skills that will position them for success in the classroom and workplace."

    - CNA/cc
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    Default Ruling party's total dominance not sustainable: Lee Kuan Yew

    by Tanya Fong
    04:46 AM Sep 23, 2011

    SINGAPORE - The results of the last General Election (GE), in which an Opposition party defeated the ruling party in a Group Representation Constituency, was bound to happen, former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said at the close of the Singapore Global Dialogue yesterday.

    Responding to a question from a member of the audience on what Singapore's new message was after the GE and what he anticipated for Singapore, Mr Lee said: "Our total dominance was not sustainable. (The) younger generation wants to see competition and they voted in an Opposition party."

    Whether this would lead to a two-party system would depend on "the performance of the Opposition and the response of the Government" and the "mindset of succeeding younger generations that comes with every General Election every five years", he said.

    At a dialogue with Nanyang Technological University students two weeks ago, Mr Lee had said that a two-party system, such as those in Europe and America, is not a good development for Singapore and that he hoped the desire for competition remains only as a competitive Opposition, as he did not believe Singapore had enough talent to "produce two top-class teams", among other reasons.

    As for what Singapore should focus on in its development "as an astonishing city" in the next 10 years, Mr Lee pointed to the fundamentals of Singapore's success. "One, good governance, anti-corruption, meritocratic, pragmatic," he said. "Going forward, if you drop out any of the three factors, you will lose your momentum."

    He added: "This is a diverse society. If you have fast growth and the growth is confined only to one section of society, particularly the Chinese, and the Malays are left behind, I think it is not sustainable. So it is in our interest to maintain national solidarity to ensure that there is a spread of the wealth that comes with growth to the disadvantaged in the population."

    He noted the same issue of wealth distribution when asked for his views on the challenges China faces in its economic growth, noting that the widening income gap between the coastal and the inland provinces, and within the coastal provinces in the cities was "a problem in the making".

    Meanwhile, as to whether China's military spending against the backdrop of the United States scaling down its presence in the Pacific region will create difficulty for Japan and South Korea and other non-Chinese countries in the region, Mr Lee said the Association of South-east Asian Nations cannot act as a counterbalance to China and, without the US, "the balance is not maintainable".

    He did see the possibility of an Asian bloc against the rise of China - suggested by an audience member - and noted that China and India have more "preoccupations with each other than the rest of the world".

    Said Mr Lee: "I do not see a confluence of forces, how to make Asia act as a bloc. It's just not possible. It's as if you're asking Latin Americans or Africans to act as a bloc, which has not happened and will not happen."





    Mr Lee Kuan Yew and moderator DeAnne Julius, chairman of Chatham House, at the Sentosa Roundtable Singapore Global Dialogue last evening. Photo by OOI BOON KEONG


    Last edited by Loh; 09-22-2011 at 08:32 PM.

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