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  1. #5407
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Small step to a sporting nation

    National Games to bond community, develop S'poreans' passion for sports


    by Philip Goh Haw Hann
    04:45 AM Nov 27, 2011

    SINGAPORE - Organisers of the inaugural Singapore National Games 2012 aim to unite and ignite people's passion for the country.

    The goal is also to use the Games as a tool to build a sporting nation.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the official launch yesterday at the foyer of the UOB Building, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Major-General (NS) Chan Chun Sing, revealed that national athletes would be able to participate in the National Games.

    "National athletes are also part of the community and they inspire people to come forward and we also want the national athletes to go forth and bond with the community and that will help to bring in more people into sports overall," he said.

    "When you want our sports people to perform, it's not just about a few people performing, it's also about having the larger community support, and this larger community will also form the basis which you select and attract more people into the sports."

    Minister to the Prime Minister's Office and Deputy Chairman of the People's Association (PA), Lim Swee Say, officiated at the launch, which was held on the sidelines of the Singapore River Regatta 2011.

    To be jointly organised by the PA and the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), the first edition of the biennial multi-sports festival will see 10 sports on the programme - athletics, badminton, basketball, bowling, dragon boating, football, netball, sepaktakraw, swimming and table tennis.

    Seven of the sports (excluding athletics, dragon boating and swimming) will first be contested at constituency level.

    Called the Community Games, it will be held from March to July, and will culminate in the Singapore National Games, which will be held from Sept 1 to Sept 9 with a full programme of finals.

    Medals and trophies will be awarded to winning members and their teams both at the Community Games and the National Games. There are also plans to give out cash prizes although this will be contingent on sponsors being secured.

    To drive home the message of community bonding, the Games will be open to non-Singaporeans, from Permanent Residents and holders of various passes like the S-Pass, Worker's Permit and Employment Pass, with a cap of one such member per team or up to 20 per cent of the team size, whichever is higher.

    The 2012 games will be held at various venues around Singapore to bring the competitions to the heart of the community.

    These will include popular sites such like the Bedok Reservoir and various schools, including the Singapore Sports School.

    When asked if there is a danger Singaporeans would be turned off if the Games lack a competitive edge, Chan said: "In all sports it's a balance between the competitive spirit and bonding, these two are not mutually exclusive and I'm quite sure all teams participating in the Games in the coming year will exemplify this competitiveness and community bonding spirit."

    About the games ...
    by Philip Goh Haw Hann
    Community Games 2012

    - March to July 2012

    - Games organised at the cluster level, with top two teams from each of the 15 clusters moving on to the Singapore National Games

    - Seven sports: Badminton, basketball, bowling, football, netball, sepak takraw, table tennis



    Singapore National Games 2012

    - Sept 1 to 9

    - 10 sports (seven above), including athletics, dragon boating, swimming

    - Registration details including fees to be announced January 2012.

    For more details go to www.ssc.gov.sg and www.pacsc.org.sg.



    Prizes

    - Community Games 2012

    Medals for members of the winning teams from each cluster plus trophies for winning teams



    - Singapore Games 2012

    Medals for members of winning teams plus trophies for winning teams



    Eligibility

    - Open to all Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and non-citizens who hold the Student's Pass, Long Term Pass, Dependant's Pass, Work Permit, S Pass and Employment Pass

    - Note: Maximum of one non-Singapore citizen (including Permanent Residents), or up to 20 per cent of a team, whichever number is higher. Also maximum of one national athlete, or up to 20 per cent of a team, whichever number is higher. Age restriction for participants varies across all 10 sports.



    Mr Lim Swee Say (left) and Major-General (NS) Chan Chun Sing beating the drums in a friendly dragon boat race held along the Singapore River at the launch of Singapore National Games 2012 yesterday. Photo by Ooi Boon Keong
    Last edited by Loh; 11-27-2011 at 08:13 AM.

  2. #5408
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default More Australians choosing to move to Singapore

    Published on Nov 28, 2011


    Singaporean PR Peter Breitkreutz, 45, with his Shanghai-born wife and two sons, who were born here. The Queensland native, a vice-president at Citibank, recently bought a flat in Sengkang and says he has no intentions of returning to Australia. -- PHOTO: COURTESY OF PETER BREITKREUTZ


    By Jonathan Pearlman, For The Sunday Times

    SYDNEY - As the number of Australians moving abroad surged to record highs in recent years, Singapore has emerged as their fastest-rising destination.

    A so-called stampede from Australia saw more than 88,000 departures last year, nearly double the number a decade earlier. About half of those who left were Australian-born.

    At the same time, the number of people moving to Australia dropped 9 per cent to 127,458 in the past year, raising the ratio of departures to arrivals to a record level.

    Background story

    Aussie departures

    AUSTRALIAN long-term departures for Singapore over the past five years:
    • 2006: 4,135
    • 2007: 4,901
    • 2008: 5,431
    • 2009: 6,428
    • 2010: 6,952

    Top destinations
    Top five destinations for Australians moving abroad last year:
    • Britain: 15,119
    • New Zealand: 14,596
    • The United States: 8,046
    • Singapore: 6,952
    • Hong Kong: 6,635


    One of the most striking trends has been departures for Singapore, which overtook Hong Kong to become the fourth-biggest destination for Australians last year. Singapore was previously fifth.
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    Last edited by Loh; 11-27-2011 at 07:45 PM.

  3. #5409
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default PM Lee Hsien Loong pledges a new People's Action Party

    Need for 'good policies' that benefit the people and 'smart politics' to gain support for party

    Published on Nov 28, 2011


    The delegates at the ruling People's Action Party's convention at the University Cultural Centre on Sunday. Speakers, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and party chairman Khaw Boon Wan, laid out ways in which the PAP will change in response to new political realities, in the wake of a watershed general election. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


    By Li Xueying, Assistant Political Editor

    SIX months after an election that marked a shift in Singapore's political landscape, the People's Action Party (PAP) has laid out the ways in which it will change in response to new political realities.

    It will correct policy shortcomings, like in housing, and do more in taking care of not just the elderly and the needy, but the middle-income group too.

    It will overhaul its outreach strategy, and consult Singaporeans more actively.
    Its decision-making will be more decentralised. Activists and MPs will be more empowered to reflect people's views, while ministers must work harder to build political support for tough policies.
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  4. #5410
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Ban smoking at public parks? NEA wants you to have your say


    by Ng Jing Yng
    04:45 AM Nov 26, 2011

    SINGAPORE - With an uptick in calls to extend the smoking ban to more public areas, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is launching an online poll to seek public feedback before it reaches a decision on whether to do so.

    The consultation is part of an ongoing process to review the need to "better protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke", said NEA deputy chief executive (policy and planning) Khoo Seow Poh, announcing the e-poll at a media briefing yesterday.

    The NEA revealed that between 2009 and last year, the agency saw a 19 per cent jump in calls to extend the smoking ban to more public places. This year alone, 536 people have already made their views known as of end of last month.

    Common corridors, walkways and void decks in HDB estates are among the most-cited areas for a smoking ban.

    Leisure facilities like parks and beaches are also some places the public is keen to see smoke-free.

    Currently, 86 per cent of the Singapore adult population are non-smokers.

    The NEA will also hold focus groups and dialogue sessions with affected stakeholders like building management and smokers early next year. The entire consultation is targeted to be completed by next February.

    Said Mr Khoo: "All this will contribute towards our next phase of extension ... because extension of a smoking ban will only be successful if the public is supportive of having more smoke-free areas in the community."

    This is not the first time the NEA is conducting an online survey to gather public response on a smoking ban extension. The last one was done in 2006 before the ban was extended to include hawker centres.

    Nature Society president Shawn Lum said that while prohibiting smoking in green spaces like parks will be much welcomed, it should not be done just to discriminate smokers.

    He added that it should be weighed against the threat smoking has on nature and the greater public health, and suggested that there could be designated smoking areas in green spaces.

    The most recent extension of the smoking ban was in 2009, to include areas like multi-storey carparks and shopping centres.

    However, shopping malls are still considered "hot spots" for offenders, with the highest number of offenders caught - 1,300 - between January and October this year.

    Overall, more than 4,000 people have been caught yearly over the past three years for smoking in prohibited places - 4,646 last year, and 4,462 this year as of end-October.

    Long-time smoker Koh L Y said that he lights up in places like void decks or parks depending on social factors like whether there are young children nearby, rather than where the law permits.

    "Honestly, the government can extend to as many places but smokers don't really take note of it ... there should be a step up in enforcement or a stop in sale of cigarettes if they really want to protect the public," he added.

    The e-poll is available on the REACH website and via links on the NEA and Health Promotion Board's website from now until the end of the year.
    Last edited by Loh; 11-27-2011 at 07:57 PM.

  5. #5411
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Gao is Singapore's last man standing

    by Philip Goh Haw Hann
    04:45 AM Nov 28, 2011

    SINGAPORE - The Republic's women's doubles pairing of Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu came unstuck against China's top duo of Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia last night, losing their semi-final match 4-1 (11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7) at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals.

    On Saturday, the Singaporean pairing were dominant in their 4-1 victory over English duo Joanna Parker and Kelly Sibley to open their campaign at this tournament at London's ExCel Arena which is doubling up as a Text Event for the 2012 Olympic Games.

    But Guo and Li were an entirely different proposition as the Chinese duo have not been beaten in competition since the China Open in September 2008, a period stretching just over three years.

    And they gave Li and Wang hardly a sniff, motoring to a 3-0 lead in short order. Despite allowing the Singaporean duo to pull back a game, the Chinese duo closed out the match 11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 5-11 and 11-7 in 40 minutes.

    Defeat for Li and Wang left Gao Ning the sole Singaporean challenger on the final day of the four-day event featuring the world's top 16 men's and women's singles players who played on the ITTF Pro Tour and the top eight men's and women's doubles teams.

    Gao was due to meet world no 3 Zhang Jike this in the semi-final of the men's singles event for the right to meet Ma Long, who beat Wang Hao in the other final four match.

    Singapore has had a good outing at this event with Wang Yuegu making the women's singles semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Liu Shiwen.

    After her spirited victory over Wang, Liu went on to blank world no 1 Ding Ning 4-0 in the final.

    Yang Zi and Zhan Jian also made the final four in the men's doubles while 17-year-old Chen Feng lost the final of the men's under-21 singles to South Korean rising star Kim Min Seok.

  6. #5412
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 20th World Orchid Conference, Singapore 2011

    On Saturday, 19 Nov, I visited the World Orchid show at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

    It was a colourful sight and both the prize winning displays were exhibited among the rest of the participations from all over the world. There were tiny orchids and much bigger ones of varying shapes, sizes and colours - much to the delight of the visitors who were happily snapping away with their cameras.

    Some exhibits were specially decorated with a theme with indigenous items. There was also a competition for the best flower arrangements.

    Here are some pictures I've taken to share with you.
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  7. #5413
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 20th World Orchid Conference, Singapore 2011

    The next afternoon, I continued my visit to the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. It was drizzling a little but I chose to take the long walk to the Dome.

    I was not disappointed.

    The Dome is an engineering marvel. I think it can take 14 football fields, yet there are no pillars to obstruct the view. The entire structure is supported by specially constructed frames and brackets and enclosed in plate glass.

    A great variety of cactus plants is on display. Also there are giant trees called "Baobabs from Africa, Madagascar and Australia. In Africa these trees are know as "Tree of Life" as the leaves can be eaten and water can be extracted from some that look like fat bottles or "Drunken Tree".

    In Madagascar, they are known as "Mother of the forest". The seeds can be eaten and extracted for oil and the bark can be turned into ropes and for thatching of huts.

    "The Flower Dome is the larger of the two, at 1.2 hectares. It replicates cool dry conditions and will feature permanent displays of plants found in the Mediterranean and semi-arid tropical regions. A changing display field has also been incorporated to enable flower shows and displays to be held within the Conservatory".

    More details of Gardens by the Bay:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardens_by_the_Bay


    Sorry many of my files are too big to be posted.
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  8. #5414
    Regular Member nokh88's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    On Saturday, 19 Nov, I visited the World Orchid show at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

    It was a colourful sight and both the prize winning displays were exhibited among the rest of the participations from all over the world. There were tiny orchids and much bigger ones of varying shapes, sizes and colours - much to the delight of the visitors who were happily snapping away with their cameras.

    Some exhibits were specially decorated with a theme with indigenous items. There was also a competition for the best flower arrangements.

    Here are some pictures I've taken to share with you.
    Loh, who is the guy in Pic #6? Your son?

  9. #5415
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nokh88 View Post
    Loh, who is the guy in Pic #6? Your son?
    No he's another visitor. You mean he looks a little like me? Haha.

  10. #5416
    Regular Member nokh88's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    No he's another visitor. You mean he looks a little like me? Haha.
    Thought he was posing for you and that you know him. Btw, were you as handsome as this guy when you were at that age? Haha.

  11. #5417
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nokh88 View Post
    Thought he was posing for you and that you know him. Btw, were you as handsome as this guy when you were at that age? Haha.
    Actually all my boys are handsomer than me. I have a face only my mama loves.

  12. #5418
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore banks worth more than some European lenders

    Market capitalisation of Western banks hit hard by Europe debt crisis

    Published on Nov 29, 2011




    By Goh Eng Yeow, Senior Correspondent

    Singapore's three lenders are worth more than some of the world's biggest and best-known banks, as the debt crisis takes it toll on Europe's blue-chip financial services firms.

    As of last Friday, DBS Group Holdings, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB) were all more valuable in terms of market capitalisation than French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole, and Germany's No. 2 lender Commerzbank.

    Both DBS and OCBC are also worth about 75 per cent of German lender Deutsche Bank and Britain's Barclays, which run huge investment banking operations in the region.


    Related Links

    BANKING GIANTS HUMBLED

  13. #5419
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Academic in top 100 global thinkers list again

    Published on Nov 29, 2011



    Prof Kishore Mahbubani is Singapore's former ambassador to the UN.


    By Lin Zhaowei

    Professor Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished diplomat and dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, has again been recognised as one of the top 100 global thinkers of the year.

    This is the second consecutive year that Singapore's former ambassador to the United Nations has appeared in the annual list of people who have shaped the world by the United States- based Foreign Policy magazine.

    He is recognised 'for being the muse of the Asian Century'. The magazine lauded him for being among the first to argue that Asian powers are ascending while the influence of Western democracies is declining.

    'With the US mired in economic crisis and political dysfunction while China and India continue to grow at a healthy clip, this Singaporean diplomat turned academic is now taking a well-deserved victory lap on op-ed pages from Tokyo to New York,' Foreign Policy wrote.
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  14. #5420
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default NUS homecoming for President Tony Tan Keng Yam

    Once a student and teacher there, he is now its chancellor

    Published on Nov 29, 2011


    President Tony Tan Keng Yam (centre) at the lunch yesterday to welcome him as the ninth chancellor of the National University of Singapore. On his right is Mr Wong Ngit Liong, chairman of the NUS Board of Trustees. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG


    It was a homecoming of sorts for President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Monday, at a lunch to welcome him as the university's ninth chancellor.

    The post, traditionally held by the head of state here, is not entirely new ground to him, as he was the university's vice-chancellor from 1980 to 1981.

    The university is not unfamiliar either, as he once taught physics and mathematics there, and before that walked its halls as a student.

    At the lunch attended by close to 100 of the university's management, staff, students and alumni and Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat, NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan noted that Dr Tan has 'played every possible role' in the university - from that of a student to now, its chancellor.
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    Last edited by Loh; 11-28-2011 at 07:50 PM.

  15. #5421
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Bayfront, Marina Bay stations opening on Jan 14

    Published on Nov 29, 2011


    Pictures of the new Bayfront MRT station, slated to open in January 2012. --ST PHOTO: DESMOND LUI


    The Bayfront area will become more accessible from Jan 14, with the opening of two MRT stations there.

    The Bayfront and Marina Bay stations will add 2.4km of track to the Circle Line, and extend from the existing Promenade station.

    Marina Bay station, with two entrances, will be an interchange between the Circle Line and the North-South lines.


    Related Links

    COMPLETING THE CIRCLE

    Bayfront, with five entrances, will give commuters access to the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) integrated resort, the upcoming Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Financial Centre.
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  16. #5422
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Lee Kuan Yew proposes S$100m bilingualism fund

    By Joanne Chan | Posted: 28 November 2011 1906 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has proposed a S$100 million bilingualism fund to enhance the teaching of mother tongue languages to pre-schoolers.

    Speaking at the launch of his new book, "My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey", Mr Lee said the money will be used to expose pre-schoolers to both English and their mother tongue in the first few years of their life.

    The fund, to be named the Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund, may also be expanded later to cover pre-nursery pupils.

    Calling it his "lifelong challenge", Mr Lee spoke about the struggles he faced - both personally and politically - to transform Singapore into a bilingual nation.

    He reveals in his book why he did away with vernacular schools despite violent political resistance, why he closed Nanyang University, and why he later started Special Assistance Plan schools.

    Recalling a sit-in by pro-communist activists in 1956 after the arrest of student leaders and closure of Chinese High School and Chung Cheng High School, Mr Lee said he had high regard for the discipline and seriousness of purpose in life displayed by Chinese school students compared to English school students.

    Mr Lee said: "After watching this drama of the sit-in at Chinese High School, I passed by the University of Singapore's student hostels on Dunearn Road, just around the corner from Chinese High.

    "The contrast was stark. I could see the students - the English-educated students - enjoying themselves. They were laughing and blowing whistles, regarding the clash between the Chinese students and the police as a big joke.

    "I thought to myself that if Singapore students all turned out like those in the university hostel, Singapore would fail."

    But Singapore is now facing another changing tide.

    Mr Lee noted that Singaporeans are rapidly becoming English-speaking.

    In 1980, one in ten primary one students came from predominantly English-speaking homes.

    This proportion grew to nearly six in ten in 2010.

    And he's concerned that fluency in the mother tongue, especially Chinese, will decrease as a result of the growing dominance of the English language.

    That is why he has proposed a bilingualism fund targeted at pre-schoolers.

    Mr Lee said: "Several studies have shown that the best time for a child to learn another language is in the first few years of life, where it is the most absorptive period of the mind for learning languages. This begins to tail off progressively until the age of 10 or 12.

    "However difficult it is to learn the mother tongue, especially Chinese and English, if children start early enough from kindergarten one or even nursery, by Primary Six, they will be bilingual, with a strong foundation in the mother tongue for life. After Primary Six, at age 12, they can concentrate on their master language, which is English in Singapore."

    The Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund will supplement efforts by the Education Ministry.

    The government will match the fund dollar-for-dollar, up to a cap of S$50 million.

    Speaking to the media at the book launch, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said the ministry is currently reviewing guidelines on teaching mother tongue languages in pre-schools, which are expected to be released next year.

    And the bilingualism fund will go towards funding some of these initiatives.

    Mr Heng said: "We have some preliminary ideas of how the funds can be used effectively, for instance, in the production of materials that may be useful for the pre-school.

    "And particularly in that area, we want to make the learning of mother tongue languages interactive and fun. This is an important way of engaging students, especially in the pre-school years.

    "We're also looking at the possibility of using the funds for the training of teachers and to raise the standard of teaching mother tongue languages."

    A committee under the Education Ministry will be set up to administer the bilingualism fund.

    Mr Lee has expressed on many occasions that Singapore's bilingual education has allowed Singaporeans to connect to the world using English, and also take advantage of a rising China through Chinese.

    The thinking behind such policies is documented in his new book.

    So it's perhaps fitting that Mr Lee will be taking S$2 million from the book sales to kickstart the Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund.

    Mr Lee will autograph 200 special edition copies of his latest book which will be sold at a minimum of S$10,000.

    He will donate the proceeds of the signed copies - of at least S$2 million - to the new fund.

    He will also add another S$10 million of his own money.

    Others who have pledged funds include some of Singapore's top businessmen and Mr Lee's three children including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his brother Lee Hsien Yang and sister Lee Wei Ling.

    All three will donate S$200,000 collectively.

    Businessmen Philip Ng, Ong Beng Seng and Chua Thian Poh have donated S$5 million, S$2 million and S$1 million respectively.

    The Khoo Teck Puat Foundation has pledged S$1 million.

    Until the Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund is legally set up, expected to be in early 2012, all cheques for donations should be made out to "Singapore Press Holdings Limited" and mailed to the following address:

    Attn: Clara Wong/Jasmine Wee
    Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
    c/o Straits Times Press Pte Ltd
    English/Malay Newspaper Division
    Mezzanine Floor, Information Resource Centre
    Level 3, Podium Block
    1000 Toa Payoh North, News Centre
    Singapore 318994

    For enquiries, please call 6319-8347 or email: stpressbooks@sph.com.sg

    All donations made will qualify for tax deductions.

    - CNA/ck
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    Last edited by Loh; 11-28-2011 at 08:16 PM.

  17. #5423
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New flyovers along CTE, PIE to open in phases

    Posted: 28 November 2011 1304 hrs



    SINGAPORE: A newly-constructed flyover along the Central Expressway (CTE) towards the city will open from 3am this Saturday.

    The Land Transport Authority said another CTE flyover heading towards Seletar Expressway will open from 6am on December 17.

    LTA said the pair of flyovers will provide traffic travelling between Pan Island Expressway and CTE with a dedicated access.

    It is expected to improve traffic conditions on the CTE.

    The LTA also said that the widening of the CTE between Bukit Timah Road and Yio Chu Kang Road to four continuous lanes has been completed.

    It said with this, overall traffic capacity along the expressway has increased.

    Motorists can look forward to a smoother travel experience and a cut in expected travelling time to the city by up to 15 per cent.

    The widening project started in 2008 with the first stretch of CTE between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. Works to widen the other stretches started from early 2009.

    The widened portions of the CTE have been progressively opened to traffic.

    - CNA/ac
    Vehicles drive along an expressway in Singapore
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