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Thread: Singapore Also Can
11-28-2011, 08:27 PM #5424
S'pore scientists lead human embryonic stem cell study
Posted: 28 November 2011 1008 hrs
SINGAPORE: Researchers from A*STAR Singapore took lead roles in a study that identified a portion of the genome mutated during long-term culture of human embryonic stem cells.
The study was a worldwide collaboration led by Drs Peter Andrews of the University of Sheffield (UK), Paul Robson of the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), Steve Oh of Singapore's Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), and Barbara Knowles and others in the international stem cell community.
The GIS, IMB and BTI are research institutes under the umbrella of A*STAR Singapore.
Involving 125 ethnically diverse human embroyonic stem cell lines identified to represent multiple ethnic groups from different parts of the globe, the study is the largest to be conducted on the genetic stability of cultured stem cells.
The findings are published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
The research may lead to future cell therapy and regenerative medicine.
11-28-2011, 08:35 PM #5425
Gao loses in London but Lee is still happy
by Tan Yo-Hinn
07:10 AM Nov 29, 2011
SINGAPORE - Following the women's team silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the aim for Singapore's national table tennis team is another podium placing at next year's London Games.
Speaking after the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals, Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Lee Bee Wah believes the national side's preparations for the July 27 to Aug 12 London Olympics are on track.
"The players' achievements at the Pro Tour Finals has given a good ending for this year," she told Today from Brunei, where she is on a trip. "It shows our preparations are on track for the 2012 London Olympics."
Only the top 16 male and top 16 female paddlers from this season qualified for the Nov 24-27 ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals, a test event for the London Games.
Singapore reached the semi-finals in the men's and women's singles and doubles, with the most notable performance coming from the Republic's world No 18 Gao Ning (picture) in the men's singles. He beat South Korea's Ryu Seung Min and China's Ma Lin, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medallists, respectively, to reach the last four of the men's singles, where he lost to China's world No 3 Zhang Jike.
Zhang eventually lost to compatriot and world No 1 Ma Long.
"I am happy (with our performances). I know it was tough for our players, especially for those who have just competed in the SEA Games and had to rush for the Pro Tour Finals immediately," said Lee.
Noting that Singapore have also already secured two positions each in the men's and women's singles for the London Games, Lee was also heartened by the performances of youngsters Pang Xuejie and Isabelle Li at the recent SEA Games in Indonesia. Tan Yo-Hinn
Singapore's Gao Ning during the quarter final against Korea's Ryu Seung Min, during the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals at the Excel Arena, London, Saturday Nov. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Nick Potts, PA)
11-28-2011, 08:49 PM #5426
Kunalan upbeat on athletics future
After improved outing at recent SEA Games, SAA target to be among region's top three nations by 2015
by Low Lin Fhoong
07:10 AM Nov 29, 2011
SINGAPORE - It was two years ago that alarm bells sounded on the rapidly declining state of Singapore athletics after its representatives could only manage three out of the 135 medals on offer at the 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.
The paltry haul included golds from veteran throwers James Wong and Zhang Guirong in the men's discus and women's shot put respectively. The men's 4x100m relay team returned with a silver en route to a new national record of 39.82sec.
Although they ended sixth out of seven nations at the 26th edition of the Games in Indonesia this month, the mood this time is far better.
The 27-strong squad more than doubled their medal tally with a total of seven medals (two gold, three silver, two bronze), exceeding the Singapore Athletic Association's (SAA) target of six medals.
Under a new management helmed by Tang Weng Fei, who were elected in June last year, the country's track and field team seems to be on track to reviving the Republic's glory days after nearly four decades.
The SAA have set a target to become one of the top three nations in South-east Asia when Singapore hosts the biennial Games in 2015.
Delivering his report card on the team's performance, SAA vice-president (training and selection) Canagasabai Kunalan said yesterday: "I'm very pleased with the spirit among the athletes and coaches, and everyone gave their best shot.
"Performance-wise, they did up to expectation. In terms of grading, I would give them a seven out of 10. They were not a disgrace, but there is still much room for improvement.
"We have the athletes, they are well-built and young, with the average age at 23, and they definitely can do much better. The next SEA Games in 2013 will definitely see an improvement and we should have better results then."
But the four-time SEA Games gold medallist, who won a silver in the men's 100m at the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games, is also hoping to see improvements in events like the men's triple jump, and women's sprint events (4x400m, 400m).
"We could have done with a bit more personal bests," added the 69-year-old veteran.
"Unfortunately, triple jumper Stefan's (Tseng) training was really disrupted and we expected the women to post their personal bests. From the report, the coaches said some were running at this level for the first time, so it's about tweaking things like their strategy and race plan."
Work will also begin to give the men's relay team of Calvin Kang, Muhd Amirudin Jamal, Lee Cheng Wei and Gary Yeo - sprinter Muhammad Elfi Mustapa did not race in Indonesia due to a hamstring injury - a further boost.
The quartet had come within a whisker of winning the gold medal in Palembang after clocking 39.905, behind the Indonesians (39.909), in a photo-finish final.
Said relays coordinator Melvin Tan: "I'm meeting with the SAA in mid-December to discuss the plans for them and I hope they will continue to support them.
"Individually, they have to improve on their speed, and maybe they need more exposure to bigger races and faster teams. In the next four years, I think the team can be even faster if they focus their efforts. They're good for at least two more SEA Games."
Added men's 100m silver medallist Yeo, who is looking forward to the 2015 Games: "We want to run in front of our home crowd in 2015. But for now, 2013 is definitely on our minds and the logical thing to do is train harder and concentrate on bringing our timings down."
The men's 4x100m relay team clinched silver at the SEA Games earlier this month. Today File Photo
Last edited by Loh; 11-28-2011 at 08:51 PM.
11-28-2011, 09:52 PM #5427
United Nations, New York
I was at the UN for a visit on 22 October 2011 and came away with a general understanding of what the organisation is attempting to do to support Human Rights, to help the poor and needy in uplifting their lives and to encourage peace and progress among nations. The task is enormous but the good work must continue.
Here are some pictures I captured during my visit. There were peaceful demonstrations around the vicinity:
11-29-2011, 01:04 AM #5428
Wall Street, New York
A day earlier, I was at Wall Street which is within walking distance from our hotel on Washington Street which overlooks Ground Zero. Bowling Green and Broadway are also closeby.
Wall Street is of particular interest to me as I spend most of my adult working life in the finance industry and have been following the ups and downs of their securities market, the so-called "the Bulls and the Bears". Wall Street has always been the influential leader to the financial world and price-sensitive events there will be watched with keen interest.
Naturally I was very happy to take a picture with that famous Bull on the Street to remind me of my visit.
11-29-2011, 02:17 AM #5429
"Occupy Wall Street"
It was sheer coincidence that I witnessed a peaceful demonstration at the park on Wall Street.
The park was turned into something like a half-hearted camping ground with all sorts of activities, some akin to those of a fun fair. Loud music with a steady beat was provided by an impromptu group playing mostly on a variety of drums.
The issue seemed to be that Capitalism had benefitted the rich who became more greedy and ignored the plight of the workers, many of whom were unemployed. That was why the workers need to "Occupy Wall Street"- the heart of capitalism, to send the message to the world.
Last edited by Loh; 11-29-2011 at 02:20 AM.
11-29-2011, 08:18 PM #5430
MOU on sports medicine to boost treatment for servicemen
Published on Nov 30, 2011
Colonel (Dr) Chua (second from left) shaking hands with Changi General Hospital's medical board chairman Low Cheng Ooi after signing the MOU yesterday at Selarang Camp. With them are army chief Ravinder Singh and CGH chief executive T.K. Udairam. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN
Medical officers of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will now be better versed in sports medicine, as injuries of the joints and muscles are among the most commonly sustained during combat training.
One third of all consultations at SAF medical centres islandwide fall into this category, with heat injuries like heat exhaustion and cramps also a common problem.
Since June, medical officers have been going through half-day workshops on military sports medicine - new officers do it as part of their regular 12-week medical officer cadet course. The workshops are run by doctors from Changi Sports Medicine Centre and the SAF's Soldier Performance Centre. The collaboration was formalised with a memorandum of understanding signed between the SAF Medical Corps and Changi General Hospital (CGH) on Tuesday.
Sports medicine refers to the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries or illnesses resulting from physical activity. It was recognised as a sub-speciality here only last year. Changi Sports Medicine Centre is the only fully accredited centre for sports medicine training here.
11-29-2011, 08:47 PM #5431
How American investor Jim Rogers ended up in Singapore
Published on Nov 29, 2011
Mr Lee Kuan Yew's new book, My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey, includes a collection of essays from 22 people. One of them is Jim Rogers, an American investor who decided to settle in Singapore in 2007 because of its bilingual environment. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Mr Lee Kuan Yew's new book, My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey, includes a collection of essays from 22 people. One of them is Jim Rogers, an American investor who decided to settle in Singapore in 2007 because of its bilingual environment. This is an extract from his essay:
Most of the people in the small town in Alabama where I grew up were barely aware there was another language besides English. Boy, has the world changed!
My small high school offered two years of French since 'French is the international language - the language of diplomacy, business and culture.' Clearly news was slow reaching Demopolis, Alabama. So I excelled at French and went off to Yale University expecting to fulfil my language requirement. I sat in my French classes barely understanding everything the native French instructor was saying. I suppose I could read and write some French, but my Alabama teacher's French was nothing like this Frenchman's. One day we had a spot quiz, but I was not even aware we were having a test.
I have felt terribly inadequate about my inability to speak a foreign language ever since. My insecurity only worsened during my years as an international investor and as a worldwide adventure traveller. I knew I was always missing a lot. Plus it was always clear that the people who could speak the local language always had more of an audience even if they were uneducated con men than did a monolingual - even if he was a person of great accomplishment otherwise.
11-29-2011, 08:52 PM #5432
Women, older workers' employment rate hits new high
Posted: 30 November 2011 1014 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore's employment rate hit new highs in 2011 for women and older residents, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
MOM said the job rate for older residents made good progress.
A record 61.2 per cent of residents aged 55 to 64 were working in 2011, up from 59 per cent a year ago.
The employment rate for males in this age group climbed from 75 per cent to 76.4 per cent while the rate for females rose from 43.4 per cent to 46.3 per cent.
The employment rate for women in the prime-working ages of 25 to 54 also rose to another high -- from 71.7 per cent in 2010 to 73 per cent in 2011.
Reflecting both the stable high in labour force participation rate and a lower unemployment rate, 78 per cent of the resident population aged 25 to 64 were employed in 2011.
This surpasses the previous high of 77.1 per cent in 2010.
The resident unemployment rate decreased to a non-seasonally adjusted 3.9 per cent in June 2011, from 4.1 per cent in June 2010 and 5.9 per cent in June 2009.
The pool of economically active residents increased over the year by 1.6 per cent in June 2011.
It is lower than the growth of 3.1 per cent in 2010 and the average of 2.6 per cent per annum from 2001 to 2011.
MOM said amid a tighter labour market, the median income of residents in full-time employment rose faster than a year ago, even after taking inflation into account.
Growth in Singapore's resident labour force moderated in 2011, reflecting the absolute decline in number of permanent residents in the population.
There were 2.08 million residents in the labour force as at June 2011.
MOM says 66.1 per cent of the resident population aged 15 and over were either working or actively seeking work in 2011, similar to the record 66.2 per cent in 2010 and higher than 64.4 per cent in 2001.
Amid the tightened immigration framework, the number of permanent residents in the population fell by 1.7 per cent over the year in June 2011, after growing 1.5 per cent in 2010 and 11.5 per cent in 2009.
The resident labour force participation rate stabilised in 2011, after trending upwards gradually over time.
11-29-2011, 08:59 PM #5433
Singapore Coins and Notes Museum gets new home
Posted: 29 November 2011 1819 hrs
Singapore Coins and Notes Museum is now located at a shophouse at 40 Pagoda Street in Chinatown
SINGAPORE: Singapore's only museum dedicated to showcasing currency has a new home.
The Singapore Coins and Notes Museum is now located at a shophouse at No.40, Pagoda Street in Chinatown.
The museum, which was opened in 2009, was formerly located at No.2, Trengganu Street.
It has two levels of galleries where one level is dedicated to pre-Independence and post-Independence Singapore. Here, visitors can view exhibits ranging from the earliest objects used for barter trade to the latest polymer notes.
The other level is the interactive gallery where visitors can touch common metals used in the production of coins and even try their hand at making their own keepsakes.
Mr Yip Pak Ling, Mint Director at The Singapore Mint, said visitors to the museum can learn about Singapore history and appreciate how far Singapore has developed from a fishing village to what it is today.
11-30-2011, 07:45 PM #5434
Quality of living, safety place S'pore as top-ranked Asian city
by Sumita Sreedharan
04:45 AM Dec 01, 2011
SINGAPORE - The Republic has been ranked 25th on the Mercer's Quality of Living survey - beating cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong to be the highest-ranked Asian city in terms of quality of living and safety.
Vienna topped the list of 221 cities, while Baghdad came in last. Singapore rose in the rankings after coming in 28th last year.
The worldwide rankings are announced annually and are based on the Worldwide Quality of Living Survey done by human resource consultancy Mercer.
It ranks the cities in the world according to the living conditions in the countries - which include factors like public transport, housing, climate and schools.
Singapore's closest neighbours Johor Baru came in at 101th place while Kuala Lumpur was ranked 76th. Other major cities in Asia that were ranked in the top 100 include Tokyo (46th), Hong Kong (70th), Seoul (80th) and Taipei (85th).
This year, the survey also differentiated the countries in terms of safety - looking at internal stability, crime levels, the effectiveness of law enforcement and international relations of the country the city is in.
Luxembourg topped this list, while Singapore came in eighth - the only Asian country in the top 30. Five Japanese cities - Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya, Yokohama and Osaka - came in at 31st place.
Close on Singapore's heels are Auckland and Wellington, tied in ninth place.
Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru both came in 75th in the safety ranking.
The list is meant to help multinational companies decide where to open offices and make decisions on their employees' wages.
New York City is used as the baseline city from which the other cities are compared against.
Last edited by Loh; 11-30-2011 at 07:48 PM.
11-30-2011, 07:57 PM #5435
Drainage code updated to focus on floods
PUB's revised rules apply to new buildings, those to be redeveloped
Published on Dec 1, 2011
Workers closing the flood barrier in front of Liat Towers after it was raised during heavy rain in June. As part of the changes, buildings with basements need to have a minimum platform level of at least 60cm above ground level. Before, the minimum could be at ground level. -- TNP FILE PHOTO
By Daryl Chin
National water agency PUB on Wednesday announced details of an updated drainage code which new buildings have to abide by to better prepare for floods.
The changes include making the minimum height of platforms higher and increasing drainage capacities.
But the revised rules, which are mandatory, will apply only to new buildings and existing buildings slated for redevelopment.
These changes are a result of recommendations made by an inter-agency drainage review committee, as well as input from public and professional bodies.
11-30-2011, 09:31 PM #5436
SUTD students design Chinatown street light-up
Published on Dec 1, 2011
Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Lily Neo (right) viewing a model of the Chinatown street light-up design for the upcoming Chinese New Year. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
By Lim Yan Liang
The Chinatown street light-up for the upcoming Chinese New Year will, for the first time, be designed by six students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), instead of a contractor.
And in another effort to get more young Singaporeans to participate in the festivities, a bilingual website will be rolled out.
On Wednesday, in a media briefing in Chinatown, the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee gave details of the light-up. Its centrepiece is a 3-D, 108m-long water dragon on the central divider between Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road. The light-up will have nine dragons in all, symbolising harmony and continuity.
The school was approached by the Singapore Tourism Board to do the design earlier this year, and the three months of work included interviews with residents and tourists, as well as liaising with contractors on construction and fabrication.
11-30-2011, 09:44 PM #5437
Students to get exposure to marine life at RWS park
Programmes for schools will be offered by Marine Life Park
Published on Dec 1, 2011
Interactive exhibits similar to this one at the Mystic Aquarium in the United States, where visitors can interact with marine animals, will be found at the Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa when it opens next year. -- PHOTO: MYSTIC AQUARIUM
By Amelia Tan
About 250 science teachers and principals were at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) on Wednesday, not for theme-park rides, but to find out how their students can benefit from the Marine Life Park there.
The park will be rolling out education programmes targeting students from preschool to tertiary level when its opens next year. It will be home to about 150,000 marine animals, including 25 dolphins which animal activists have been lobbying to release back to their natural habitat.
Wednesday's talk at RWS introduced the educational offerings, which include internships and guided aquarium tours. RWS has inked a three-year partnership with Sea Research Foundation, a United States-based non-profit organisation, to work on a marine environmental curriculum for students.
Teachers interviewed said they were excited by the possibilities to expose students to a variety of marine life and research projects, and to get them to learn more about professions such as veterinarians and marine biologists through internships.
11-30-2011, 10:00 PM #5438
How should S'pore develop Rail Corridor?
Posted: 30 November 2011 1238 hrs
SINGAPORE: The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is drawing on strong public interest for bold and fresh ideas on ways to develop the Malayan railway land that was returned to Singapore in July 2011.
It has launched an Ideas Competition "Journey of Possibilities" to address the challenges and issues in turning the Rail Corridor into an extraordinary trail that can be enjoyed by all.
The URA said the challenge is to develop visionary and compelling ideas for the Rail Corridor, along five key issues identified after extensive engagement with the public.
These are bio-diversity and sensitive development; inclusiveness, accessibility and resolving conflicts; community ownership, pride and sense of well-being; heritage and great Ideas for a public space.
The URA said since the return of the former railway land, the Rail Corridor project has garnered widespread public interest.
It said feedback has shown there are many more people out there who would like to make tangible contribution.
The competition covers a 25.3km stretch from Kranji coastal mudflats in the north to Tanjong Pagar district in the south of Singapore, as well as a 1.9km stretch of former Jurong Line which spurs off from the main line near Bukit Timah Railway Station to Ulu Pandan Canal.
There are two categories: Open, which is for all interested participants and Youth Challenge, for secondary school students.
For the Open category, three cash prizes -- S$2,000, S$1,000 and S$500 -- will be awarded.
Three cash prizes -- S$1,000, S$500 and S$250 -- will be awarded for the Youth Challenge category.
An exhibition of selected entries, including all award-winners, will be held after the competition.
Those who're interested in the competition, which runs until 9 March 2012, can register via the Rail Corridor Ideas Competition site.
11-30-2011, 10:09 PM #5439
MOE to equip 360 schools with faster broadband connections
By Tan Weizhen, TODAY | Posted: 30 November 2011 0721 hrs
SINGAPORE: About 360 schools across the country will have their current information technology backbone overhauled, as they look set to tap into the new super fast broadband network in five months' time.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education (MOE) awarded a S$32.6 million contract to SingTel to outfit primary, secondary schools and junior colleges with the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN).
The network services "will benefit teaching, learning and assessment applications as these can be bandwidth intensive", said an MOE spokesperson in response to queries from Today.
As broadband speed at these schools gets ramped up drastically and capacities become standardised across the board, analysts felt this would level the playing field among schools in terms of technology adoption.
Mr Frank Levering, a research manager in research firm IDC, said that the effect, though not immediately obvious, would be the "catalyst" for innovative technologies - which often requires high speeds and much bandwidth - to change the educational landscape.
He said: "Many schools have selectively kept up with technology and a select few have embraced it fully to maximise the potential advantages of new technologies. Introducing nationwide enablers such as national broadband will narrow the gaps between them in any case, and assist the schools who desire to do so in leapfrogging to the front of the pack."
Principals Today spoke to said that there had been teachers who had wanted to explore new teaching tools, but were hampered by slower speeds.
Mr Zach Ong, principal of Tech Whye Secondary, said that, with 1,400 students in his school, the current bandwidth is not sufficient for even simple activities like viewing Youtube videos. "Currently, we do innovative teaching, such as gaming, in pockets. But after the rollout, we will explore it on a larger scale. It will revolutionise the way we teach, but it will take time."
In some schools here, this new broadband backbone will ease congestion, as often, having a thousand students in a single school session mean that not all are able to log on using the current network at the same time.
Schools also say that, with higher, more stable speeds, learning has the potential to become a lot more collaborative - in line with MOE's third master plan - and with more content creation.
Mr Adrian Lim, principal of Ngee Ann Secondary, said that NGNBN will provide an environment stable enough to support greater levels of collaboration between teachers and students and their peers overseas, using video conferencing. This will cut down on costs incurred by the many study trips that schools undertake now, teachers say.
According to analysts and educators, other possible, innovative educational tools include more stable virtual classroom conditions for e-learning - which are increasingly common in schools, as well as using games to learn.
Learning materials will go beyond mundane text. Mrs May Tang, principal of ChangKat Primary, said: "I'm thinking along the lines of using teacher prepared resources that may come with video, audio and picture files which require a faster Internet speed for smooth streaming. As these resources are teacher prepared, there is definitely greater customisation."
Overall, this project may possibly cut costs for schools. In the United Kingdom, a similar project undertaken by Virgin Media to provide over 2,000 schools with broadband, cut connectivity costs by two-thirds for schools.
12-01-2011, 01:35 AM #5440
Scoot to fly daily to Sydney
By Hetty Musfirah | Posted: 01 December 2011 1032 hrs
Scoot chief executive Campbell Wilson unveiled the new low-cost carrier in Singapore. (AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN)
SINGAPORE: Singapore Airline's (SIA) long-haul budget carrier Scoot has unveiled Sydney as its first destination for daily service.
Scoot, which will fly from Changi Airport's Terminal 2, has said it will offer airfares of up to 40 per cent cheaper than those of full-service carriers.
For a start, Scoot will operate just one flight to and from Sydney daily, when it begins operations in June next year.
This will make it the only long-haul budget carrier to fly direct to Sydney.
The announcement was made Thursday morning by the Premier of New South Wales Barry O'Farrell at a media conference in Sydney.
Other budget carriers such as Jetstar and Air Asia X -- which fly to other Australian destinations -- do not fly to Sydney at the moment.
Scoot will fly using Boeing 777 aircraft, so this means an extra 400 seats on the Sydney route each day.
Mr O'Farrell said Scoot's presence will inject AUD146 million into the New South Wales economy each year.
Given Changi Airport's position as an aviation hub, he said Scoot's presence will help Sydney reap benefits of budget travel in emerging markets like Singapore, China and India.
NSW Minister for Tourism George Souris said Scoot chose Sydney ahead of strong competition from Victoria and Queensland.
Singapore currently represents Australia's sixth-largest international tourism market.
Visitor arrivals from Singapore to New South Wales, in the year ending June 2011, hit 92,200 -- a rise of 16.8 per cent on 2010.
Scoot will be the first airline to fly to Sydney under a partnership agreement between Destination NSW and Sydney Airport to promote Sydney actively to new airlines and compete for new routes.
Scoot chief executive officer Campbell Wilson said he is "absolutely delighted" that Sydney will be Scoot's inaugural destination.
"As the first, true no-frills airline operating between Sydney and Asia, we can't wait to bring a whole new way to travel, even better airfares and our unique attitude -- our 'Scootitude' - to shake things up. Sydney, here we come," Mr Wilson said.
As part of the partnership, Destination NSW will be also be working with Scoot, Sydney Airport and Tourism Australia on a two-year joint marketing plan to promote the new service.
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