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  1. #5798
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    Default Inmates receive youth achievement award

    04:46 AM Mar 08, 2012

    SINGAPORE - One group entertained 16 elderly patients from the Singapore Leprosy Relief Association through performance items such as a percussive "STOMP" item, a guitar performance and a paper-crane folding activity. Another group organised a New Year's celebration for 11 elderly from the Zion Home for the Aged, putting up stage performances including several song and dance items, interactive games as well as an art and craft session.

    For their community service as well as personal development, close to 100 inmates were recognised yesterday with the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA).

    They received their awards from Home Affairs Minister of State Masagos Zulkifli at a ceremony held at Tanah Merah Prison School.

    The Singapore Prison Service began to register young inmates for the NYAA programme in 2000. Since then, more than 1,200 inmates have benefitted from participating in the programme.

    While programmes like the NYAA are important milestones in the journey of remaking one's life, Mr Masagos felt they are not enough. Support and encouragement from family members is critical, especially for younger offenders, he said.

    He cited The Rekindle Programme, which was designed for inmates, as an example of a help option for youths. Piloted in June 2010, it aims to provide upstream intervention for inmates residing in the east of Singapore to aid their eventual return to the community.

    Inmates undergo counselling sessions with Fei Yue Family Service Centre, covering areas such as planning for their futures, making right choices and improving relationships with their families.

    Once the inmate is released on supervision, he or she will be placed on an individualised case management service plan that lasts for six months.

    This enables the inmates to receive support and guidance from Fei Yue counsellors and social workers during the reintegration process, said Mr Masagos.

    The programme has been extended to more inmates as part of the recommendations from the inter-ministry Working Group on Youth Gangs. While it is still in its infancy, he said encouraging results have been seen.

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    Default New grant launched to fund youth causes

    by Channel NewsAsia
    04:46 AM Mar 08, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Organisations with innovative plans to promote worthy youth causes can turn to a new grant, Pitch to SHINE, for funds.

    The grant was launched by the National Youth Council yesterday to foster a strong and vibrant youth sector by supporting new projects and connecting parties from the private, people and public sectors.

    Applicants stand to receive up to S$20,000 in funding or up to 80 per cent of total project expenditure.

    The grant is aimed at youth sector organisations, youth interest groups and corporate organisations with youth employees which are planning corporate social responsibility activities.

    Proposed projects should encapsulate the "Aspirations" theme and fall in line with the three key pillars of the SHINE Youth Festival in July.

    The first pillar, Youth Culture, intends to showcase the vibrancy of youth culture and growing interest groups in areas such as film-making, dance, culinary and martial arts.

    The second, Youth Action, aims to highlight youth activism and youth in action in areas such as community service, environmental conservation and social entrepreneurship, while the third, Youth Sports, hopes to promote youth resilience in areas such as team sports, fringe sports or extreme sports.

    Pitch to SHINE is open for application till April 11.

  3. #5800
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    Default A world-class rumble

    Integrated resort at Marina Bay to host two boxing world title fights in May


    by Tan Yo-Hinn
    04:46 AM Mar 08, 2012

    SINGAPORE - In 2006, South African Soloman Egbarime beat Filipino Dondon Sultan to clinch the World Boxing Foundation welterweight crown at the Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

    That world title fight came after the 1989 contest here between then-Indonesian world flyweight champion Alie Bikou and American challenger Mike Phelps.

    Singapore fans will not have to wait another 17 years for a taste of top class boxing action after the announcement yesterday that the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) will stage the inaugural Championship Boxing Event Night with two world titles on the line.

    The main event will see the unbeaten Indonesian Chris John defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight crown against Japan's Shoji Kimura.

    Filipino Lorenzo Villaneuva and Indonesia's Daud Jordan will also trade blows for the vacant International Boxing Organisation (IBO) featherweight title.

    The two fights are among six bouts across several divisions confirmed for the one-night extravaganza organised by event promoters Nitro Explosions and Mahkota Promotion.

    Speaking at the pre-event press conference yesterday at the MBS SkyPark, the hotel's senior vice-president for marketing, Mark Juliano, said: "We have done entertainment, world-class celebrity chefs, and the most fantastic MICE and exhibition halls in Asia, and now we're proud to have the best boxing card ever seen in this part of the world."

    Ticket details for the 4,000 seats at Hall E of the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, and the prize purse, will be announced soon.

    Nicknamed "The Dragon", John will be looking to extend his unbeaten record of 46 wins, which include 22 knock-outs and two draws, against Kimura.

    "He's a dangerous fighter, and I have to be careful," said the 32-year-old Perth-based Indonesian. "(But) this is the Year of the Dragon, and I will knock out all my opponents this year starting with this fight."

    His trainer Craig Christian, 47, added: "Chris has also promised all his fans he will KO every opponent from now till he retires."

    Not surprisingly, Kimura, who is ranked No 15 among boxers in his class, has upped the ante.

    Said the 34-year-old: "John is a great champion but I've a plan to beat him. It's a secret, of course!

    "Chris John's people want a war I will stand and fight Chris John. This fight will not go the distance. I will be the new champion."



    Championship Boxing Event Night

    May 5, 2012 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Hall E

    Tickets on sale from April 5 (details to be announced).




    Chris John (right) and Shoji Kimura are set to rumble at Marina Bay Sands. Photo by WEE TECK HIAN

  4. #5801
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    Default Elite Olympic programme under spotlight

    While majority of athletes struggle for Olympic qualification, OPP chief Teo says onus is on them and their NSAs to make it work


    by Tan Yo-Hinn
    04:46 AM Mar 08, 2012

    SINGAPORE - With less than five months to the Olympics, only three of the 11 national athletes supported by the multimillion dollar Olympic Pathway Programme (OPP) have qualified for the London Games.

    Launched in May 2009, the OPP is headed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and run by a joint-management committee from the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) and relevant National Sports Associations (NSA), and provides athletes deemed potential Olympic medal contenders with additional financial support.

    Currently, with S$6.5 million in the kitty, the lack of progress made by a majority of the athletes in the OPP could see a number of them drop out, particularly with more than 20 on the waiting list to be part of the programme's 2016 Olympics cycle.

    According to the OPP steering committee chairman Teo Ser Luck, the onus is on the athletes and their respective NSAs to make it work.

    "The OPP is (meant) to support the athletes. It is financial, not technical in nature, as that is for the athletes and their coaches (to deal with)," said Teo, the Minister of State (Trade and Industry), on Monday.

    "We provide the funding, and it is down to the athletes to perform and do their best. If they can't perform, then the NSAs and coaches must review it."

    Current OPP athletes are table tennis players Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu, Sun Beibei, Yu Mengyu and Li Jiawei, shooters Jasmine Ser, Poh Lip Meng and Nigel Lim, badminton players Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei, and swimmer Tao Li.

    So far, only paddlers Feng, Wang and Li have qualified for this year's Olympics, which will be held in London from July 27 to Aug 12.

    Those outside of the programme who have earned their tickets are male paddlers Gao Ning, Yang Zi and Zhan Jian, gymnast Lim Heem Wei, swimmer Joseph Schooling and a sailor each from the men's Laser Standard and women's Laser Radial, which SingaporeSailing will name later.

    Singapore Badminton Association director (team) Chew Keet Hou said Yao, 22, and Shinta, 23, still have five tournaments to at least maintain their world No 12 women's doubles ranking to secure qualification - only the top 16 qualify. The qualifying window closes at the end of next month
    .

    He said: "Of course, with all that additional support from the OPP, athletes and NSAs must also play their part. We believe that without the OPP's support, Yao Lei and Shinta may not be where they are now."

    Swim star Tao Li, 22, is almost certain to swim at the Olympics after she met the women's 100m butterfly "B" qualifying time of 1min 00.75sec, when she clocked 58.24 to win silver at the 2010 Asian Games.

    But she has been struggling to find any sort of form and her target of a medal in the event looks a distant dream.

    Last Saturday, she missed securing automatic qualification after clocking a pedestrian 59.14 - below the "A" benchmark of 58.70 - in the final for guest competitors at the British Olympic trials.

    She split with former coach Barry Prime last August and veteran British trainer Ian Turner took over in September and the question is whether there is enough time for her to catch up.

    Said Singapore Swimming Association president Jeffrey Leow: "Ian has worked her very hard in training, and she is probably feeling the effects. Once she gets a few weeks to rest and taper, she should do better.

    "What's the point if she peaks now instead of the London Olympics?"


    National paddlers Zena Sim, Feng Tianwei and Wang Yuegu during a photocall at the Singapore Sports Awards 2010. Feng and Yuegu are part of the Olympic Pathway Programme. TODAY FILE PHOTO

  5. #5802
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    Default Energy-saving method to treat water wins LKY prize

    Published on Mar 9, 2012


    Prof van Loosdrecht beat 61 others from 25 countries to win this year's Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. PUB is putting a variant of his technology through its paces at its Changi water reclamation plant. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

    By Kezia Toh

    An energy-efficient method of removing pollutants from urban wastewater has won a Dutch scientist this year's Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize.

    The process developed by Professor Mark van Loosdrecht, 52, uses less oxygen and carbon to get rid of pollutants.

    The professor, an environmental engineer at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, is the fifth recipient of the prize, having pipped 61 others from 25 countries to it.

    The award bearing the name of Singapore's first prime minister recognises outstanding contributions to solving global water problems through technology, policies and programmes.
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    Default Intra-school games and S$3b to improve school sports facilities

    04:46 AM Mar 09, 2012


    SINGAPORE - From 2014, intra-school games will have to be organised annually by all schools, the Education Ministry announced yesterday.

    The ministry is also in the process of improving school sports facilities - to the tune of S$3 billion. This includes constructing indoor sports halls and turning grass fields into synthetic turf.

    To date, 121 indoor sports halls have been completed, with another 86 under construction.


    In 73 schools, grass fields have been replaced with synthetic turf, with another seven replacements in the works.

    Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Education) Hawazi Daipi said: "We want more than just for our students to run faster, jump higher or become stronger. With the right programmes in place, sports serve as an important vehicle to nurture values of teamwork, sportsmanship, friendship and respect."

    Earlier, Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Edwin Tong reiterated that Singapore "should aim to nurture good sporting talent from a young age and provide the best resources and facilities to nurture and develop that talent".

    Said Mr Tong: "Sports offer options to those who excel at it, to make it their chosen pathway, or even a career option."

    According to the ministry, the Dual-Use Scheme - which allows the community to make use of school facilities - will be expanded to include another 15 indoor sports halls and five school fields, bringing the total number to 60 indoor sports halls and 90 school fields. CHANNELNEWSASIA

  7. #5804
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore needs specialisation areas

    And start training people for these niches: Economists


    by Esther Ng
    04:45 AM Mar 09, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The model - adopted by Singapore, Ireland and Finland - of investing in human capital and an open business environment is one which developing countries should emulate, instead of competing with the manufacturing prowess of China and India, according to two prominent economists.

    However, going forward, the three countries - which were cited in a book Some Small Countries Do It Better, authored by former World Bank economists Shahid Yusuf and Kaoru Nabeshima - will also need to make the step up by investing more in education, especially vocational training, Dr Yusuf and Dr Nabeshima said.

    Dr Yusuf is chief economist of The Growth Dialogue at the George Washington University School of Business and Dr Nabeshima is director of the Technological Innovation and Economic Growth Studies Group at the Institute of Developing Economies-Japan External Trade Organisation.

    According to the two economists, Singapore, Ireland and Finland also need to innovate and build competitive economic niches of products or services which can be traded. In particular, Singapore has to strike a balance between manufacturing and services.

    Speaking at the book launch yesterday, Dr Yusuf felt that the Republic's "almost desperate need" to diversify its economy has led it to explore sectors such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, bio-pharmaceutical. But he added: "The problem is you need large numbers of trained people to make a dent in these areas. Pharmaceutical is a tremendously difficult area to get behind that target."

    And while Singapore has shifted its economic strategy to services - such as the construction of the integrated resorts to boost tourism - this, too, is being done by other countries and thus, it will be hard for the Republic to maintain its edge in the sector. Also, over time, the services sector creates "a few high-end jobs with largely pedestrian ones", said Dr Yusuf.

    Dr Yusuf reiterated that Singapore needs to decide on areas of specialisation and start training people for areas it wants to grow.

    "The problem, and this is the case with Finland, is that if you end up with a Nokia, or a few companies like Nokia and hit a bad spell, you've had it, and will suffer for awhile. But I don't see an alternative," he said.

    For their book, Singapore, Ireland and Finland, were chosen for their "long industrial growth" and recovery from recessions, all of which formed "appropriate lessons for other small economies", Dr Nabeshima said. The book was based on research before Ireland, like most of Europe, became mired in debt crisis.


    Shahid Yusof. BLOOMBERG

  8. #5805
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    Default Poly software detects breast cancer in only 3 to 5 seconds

    04:45 AM Mar 09, 2012

    SINGAPORE - To enable earlier detection of breast cancer, students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic have developed software that accurately reads mammograms in only three to five seconds.

    Currently, a patient has to wait a few days for a radiologist to conduct a visual screening.

    The polytechnic yesterday said the team found its software to be a highly effective imaging method, reducing drastically the possibility of human error caused by misinterpretation of breast signs.

    Based on the differences in texture, the new technology is able to differentiate between normal, benign and cancerous breasts in mammogram images. It has an accuracy rate of 90.4 per cent.

    The polytechnic said the team tested its new software with more than 240 mammograms provided by the Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association, as well as mammograms of Caucasian women from the University of South Florida in the United States.

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore. According to the Health Promotion Board, 1,400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and 300 die from it. Early detection can improve a patient's survival rate.

    The software was among a host of projects showcased yesterday as part of the 15th Polytechnic Student Research Programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA



    Mammogram results traditionally take a few days. BLOOMBERG

  9. #5806
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    Default Preparing students for a world of unknowns

    MOE announces awards for students who display positive character traits


    by Ng Jing Yng
    Updated 09:33 AM Mar 09, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Taking further steps in its push towards a values-driven education - instead of an over-emphasis on academic achievements - the Ministry of Education (MOE) has revamped its Edusave Awards scheme and school-based voluntary programme.

    The aim: To further drive home the importance of character-building among pupils and, ultimately, prepare them for a world of unknowns.

    Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat noted that the future is "less about content knowledge, as content will have to be re-learnt and even un-learnt during one's lifetime".

    Mr Heng added: "It is more about how to process information, discern truths from untruths, connect seemingly disparate dots and create knowledge even as the context changes. It is about developing an enduring core of competencies, values and character to anchor our young and ensure they have the resilience to succeed."

    Among the changes: The Community Involvement Programme (CIP) will be renamed "Values in Action". More than just a name change, the programme will move away from the quantitative aspect of clocking mandatory hours.

    Instead, students will be asked to reflect on their experience, individually and in groups, during curriculum time. Schools will also be encouraged to develop four- to six-year development plans for sustainable community involvement.

    Said Mr Heng: "I hope that the introduction of 'Values in Action' will, over time, allow students to see themselves as part of the larger community, and for the community to adopt the school as one of their own."

    The Edusave scheme was started in 1993 and last reviewed in 2009. Mr Heng noted the existing scheme is "tilted towards academic achievements". But he added: "As we place more emphasis on holistic education and character development, it is timely to align our recognition framework."

    The new Edusave Character award will recognise up to 10,000 students each year who display traits such as resilience and civic responsibility.

    The number of Edusave Awards for Achievement, Good Leadership and Service will also be doubled from 17,000 to 34,000 and its monetary quantum will be raised. The new awards will be given out from early next year.



    Egalitarianism vs elitism

    Members of Parliament (MPs) also called on the MOE to ensure the education system remain, by and large, egalitarian.

    Urging the MOE to change people's perception of "neighbourhood schools", Minister of State (Trade and Industry) Teo Ser Luck said: "All schools are good schools and all schools are in the neighbourhood - so why should we have a connotation of 'neighbourhood school' and 'branded school'?"

    Others, including Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, were concerned about the lack of integration among pupils of different academic abilities. He cited the Gifted Education Programme and suggested decentralising the programme to more schools.

    Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua also objected to the setting up of two new specialised schools for normal technical students while Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng highlighted dwindling enrolment of some schools and asked for more resources to be given to these schools.

    In response, Mr Heng reiterated the MOE's aim to "make every school, a good school". Mr Heng added: "We should not be apologetic about neighbourhood schools. Indeed, they are called 'neighbourhood schools' as they draw students from the neighbourhood. Rather, we should work collectively to change perceptions and mindsets."

    Mr Heng stressed that Singapore's education system does not adopt a single pathway model but caters to students with varied learning abilities.

    He told Mr Yee that a centralised approach for Gifted Education Programme is needed for a critical mass and the programme develops students beyond academics. He also assured Ms Phua that the two new specialised schools simply provide additional options.

    Over the next few years, all schools will have more teachers including those in the arts and sports as well as allied educators. The MOE will also provide schools with a Parent Support Group fund of S$2,500 per school.

    While the MOE aims to provide a holistic education and resourcing schools with good teachers, parents always remain an integral part of the system, said Mr Heng.

    "No matter how caring the teachers are, they will not be able to substitute the role of parents and when the students graduate, the family remains the primary source of influence," he noted.


    The Changes

    - New Edusave Character Award to recognise students who exhibit values such as respect and resilience. Up to 10,000 awards - of between S$200 and S$500 - will be given out each year.

    - Doubling the number of Edusave Awards for Achievement, Good Leadership and Service (EAGLES) to benefit 34,000 students yearly. Monetary quantum of award will be raised by between S$100 and S$300.

    - Community Involvement Programme (CIP) to be renamed "Values in Action", with greater emphasis on reflections by students.



    The school's Project Service where students reach out to needy families in the neighbourhood and the school has been doing this for the past three years. Photo courtesy of Tanjong Katong Secondary School.

  10. #5807
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    Default Admissions requirements for Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

    Posted: 12 March 2012 1033 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Students vying for a place at the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will have to sit for an aptitude test and undergo a series of eight mini interviews.

    The school, a partnership between Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College London, announced the admissions requirements on Monday.

    The new medical school said it is looking for students who have the skills to be an outstanding doctor, as well as hold first class qualifications.

    The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will enrol its first 50 students in August next year.
    "

    We are looking for students who are caring and compassionate, and are committed to pursue medicine as a long-term career in the context of Singapore's ageing population," said Professor Stephen Smith, the founding dean of the school.

    Apart from possessing exceptional results in their pre-university qualifications, prospective students will have to sit for the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

    The BMAT is an aptitude test taken by students all over the world who apply to top medical universities in the United Kingdom, such as Imperial, Cambridge University, Oxford University and University College London.

    Shortlisted students will then take part in a series of eight mini interviews, each lasting five minutes, all in a single day.


    Conducted by professionals from various healthcare disciplines, these interviews are designed to assess whether students have the skills required to successfully complete the joint degree programme.

    - CNA/cc

  11. #5808
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    Default

    It seems of late we have some delinquent new members like the above who have nothing to do but to "cut and paste" from other posters or posting irrelvant posts just to satisfy their own desires.

    I hope they will be sieved out and prevented from continuing their misdeeds.

  12. #5809
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    Default RWS plays host to Transformers at Cybertron Con 2012

    Published on Mar 12, 2012


    Resorts World Sentosa holds South-east Asia's first Transformers Cybertron Con. The second bi-annual conference includes a series of panel discussions, competitions and an exhibition to showcase the 27-year-old brand's evolution. Undoubtedly the highlight of the Transformers Cybertron Con 2012 is this massive 22-foot tall, life sized Optimus Prime. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


    Visitors converged on Resorts World Sentosa on Sunday, not to try their luck at the casino but to meet the creators of their favourite toy franchise.

    Transformers fans filled the Compass Ballroom on the first day of the biannual Cybertron Con - the first time the show has come to Singapore.

    Treats in store for them included a 6.7m-tall steel-and-plexiglass robot that weighed a tonne, and a retrospective exhibition of 1,000 figurines tracing the 28-year history of the transforming toy line.

    Early birds also had a chance to meet the brand's founding father, Takara Tomy lead designer Hideaki Yoke, and get their figurines signed by him.
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    Default Harry Potter: The Exhibition coming to Singapore

    Updated 01:57 PM Mar 10, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Potter-heads here will be among the first in South-east Asia to step onto the set of the Harry Potter movie come June.

    The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands will be bringing authentic costumes and props from all eight Harry Potter films, and be transported to areas of Hogwarts such as the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid's Hut and the Great Hall the museum said on its Web site.

    Other experiences include pulling Mandrake (just rememeber to plug your ears) from its pot, and take pictures with centaurs, Buckbeak the Hippogriff and a giant Acromantula spider in the Forbidden Forest.

    Harry Potter: The Exhibition will run between June 2 and Sept 30, with ticket sales starting at the ArtScience Web site from May 1.

    Visit tdy.sg/expotter for more images from the official Harry Potter: The Exhibition Web site.

  14. #5811
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    Price water the Singapore way to curb waste: UN
    Report also holds up recycling of waste water in Republic as example

    Published on Mar 13, 2012

    A major UN report called for an overhaul in the use of water, especially by curbing waste. It said demand for food will increase by some 70 per cent by 2050, which will lead to a nearly 20 per cent increase in water usage for farming. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


    By Himaya Quasem

    A major United Nations (UN) report on global water supplies has called for more realistic pricing to discourage waste, a strategy for which it singles out Singapore for praise.

    The report, released on Tuesday, warned that water problems in many parts of the world are chronic and will worsen as demand for food soars and climate change intensifies.

    It called for an immediate crackdown on water waste, pointing to Singapore's water pricing strategy and practice of recycling waste water as examples of how the problem could be tackled.

    'While most cities would refrain from using treated waste water as a source of drinking water, this avenue is also available and has been implemented, for example, in water-scarce Singapore and the International Space Station, without ill effects.
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    Default Singapore ranked Asia's most competitive city, 3rd globally: Study

    Published on Mar 13, 2012


    Singapore is ranked as the third most competitive global city and the top ranked Asian city out of 120 global markets, behind New York and London, according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERNNEWSFLASH -


    Singapore is ranked as the third most competitive global city and the top ranked Asian city out of 120 global markets, behind New York and London, according to a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    Singapore ranked joint first in the categories of physical capital and financial maturity, was fourth in global appeal and sixth in institutional effectiveness.

    The Economist Intelligence Unit is the business information arm of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist.



    Singapore is Asia's most competitive city, says Economist report



    by Esther Ng
    Updated 02:41 PM Mar 13, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Singapore is Asia's most competitive city and third globally after New York and London, according to a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, the "Global City Competitiveness Index".

    Singapore, which ranked highest in financial maturity and physical capital, nudged out Hong Kong, which shared fourth spot with Paris.

    The inaugural index commissioned by banking firm Citi, measures cities across eight categories of competiveness and 31 individual indicators. The categories include economic strength, financial maturity, global appeal and physical capital.

    Singapore did well, beating pole sitter New York in terms of physical capital such infrastructure, environment and natural hazards, and global appeal.

    The Republic, however, did not do well in human capital such as an entrepreneurial and risk-taking mindset and social and cultural character.

    Said EIU Asian senior editor for industry and management research Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, the Republic is ranked fouth for global appeal because of the "frequency of international flights and international conferences" held here.

    The presence of leading tertiary institutions like Insead and Chicago School of Business are also "paying dividends", he added.


    Fundamental to its competitiveness has been its openness to the rest of the world, said Mr Khoo Teng Chye, executive director of Singapore's Centre for Liveable Cities.

    "We have always been a hub open to the flow of people, ideas, capital, goods and services," he said. In particular, he says, the city has always strived to attract both businesses and human capital. It has lured in businesses by, among other things, offering tax incentives and streamlining license approvals.




    BLOOMBERG
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  16. #5813
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Noise barriers to be installed at 3 stretches of elevated train tracks

    04:45 AM Mar 13, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will install noise barriers at three stretches of elevated train tracks along the East-West MRT Line as part of its trials to assess the effectiveness of noise barriers.

    The barriers will be installed at Tampines Street 21 (next to Block 296), Jurong East Street 13 (next to Block 110) and Toh Guan Road (next to Block 266).

    Work is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year and will take up to one-and-a-half years to complete.

    According to the LTA, the barriers at Tampines Street 21 and Jurong East Street 13 are expected to reduce noise levels from passing trains by at least 5 decibels. Current noise levels there are between 78 and 82 decibels, while a normal conversation typically measures about 60 decibels.

    The barrier at Toh Guan Road is expected to reduce noise levels by up to 10 decibels. As noise levels are higher when trains cross turnout locations such as the Toh Guan stretch, the noise level there from passing trains is currently between 80 and 85 decibels.

    A turnout location is where two pieces of track merge for trains to be diverted from one track to another.

    Meanwhile, the noise barriers at Bishan are also on schedule to be installed by the end of June this year, the LTA said.

    These trials, together with the results of the island-wide noise measurement study, will help it to develop an implementation plan to reduce railway noise at specific locations.

    The LTA aims to share its preliminary implementation plan at around the third quarter of this year. Channel NewsAsia


    A young resident at Toh Guan Road covering his ears as a train passes. Photo by DON WONG

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    Default Warm reception for PM Lee at historic palace

    STRAITS TIMES

    Published on Mar 14, 2012


    BOGOR (West Java) - Billboards with portraits of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stood at the entrance to this hilly resort, as the city saluted the strong ties between Singapore and Indonesia.

    Decked out in long-sleeved batik shirts, Mr Lee and six Singapore ministers made their way to the Istana Bogor, where some 20 Indonesian Cabinet ministers lined up to receive them.

    Dr Yudhoyono introduced them to Mr Lee, and both sides lingered at the steps of the former Dutch palace, built in 1744. The two leaders then posed for photographs at the top of the steps, and Mr Lee signed the guest book before having a private meeting with Dr Yudhoyono.

    Other ministers from both sides mingled for nearly an hour over refreshments on a palace porch overlooking the grounds where deer roam, then joined in a working meeting.


    S'pore, Indonesia to further ties

    Both countries note progress made, strive to work together for economic development

    TODAY
    04:46 AM Mar 14, 2012


    by S Ramesh

    BOGOR - Singapore and Indonesia have reaffirmed their commitment to deepen co-operation during a Leaders' Retreat.

    A statement by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed satisfaction with the positive state of bilateral relations.

    The MFA said Mr Lee and President Yudhoyono noted the good progress made by the working groups - including in the areas of investments, tourism and counter-terrorism cooperation - that were established at the May 2010 retreat to further cooperation in Batam, Bintan and Karimun and other special economic zones.

    The MFA said the leaders noted the strong investment links between Singapore and Indonesia and they agreed both countries should deepen economic cooperation.

    Mr Lee welcomed the relevant Indonesian agencies to engage Singapore's private sector on Indonesia's masterplan for economic development.

    The leaders also encouraged the working group on air connectivity to come to a win-win outcome on the expansion of air services between the two countries.

    Mr Lee said that air passengers are growing rapidly in volume but the capacity is not growing enough. "We need a more ambitious air services agreement so we can have more flights - regular flights as well as the low-cost carrier flights," Mr Lee told reporters.

    He added: "The officials have been talking. They have not reached an agreement and I made the point to the President and his ministers that if you want to promote tourism, this is the best way to do (it) ... eventually, we really should be aiming towards an open skies (agreement) between Singapore and Indonesia, which is ASEAN's ideal".

    On the outstanding Extradition Treaty (ET) and Defence Cooperation (DC) Agreement package, Mr Lee said the decision is to put it aside until Indonesia is ready to pursue the matter.

    He said: "The President mentioned it as one of those areas where there are misperceptions on both sides. He said there are misperceptions among the population which the government needs to work on to overcome and I said, yes, this was something we signed and then after that it was not possible to follow through and ratify it. So we have put it aside for the time being until it is a politically more convenient time and when Indonesia is ready to pursue the matter, Singapore is ready to listen."

    During the retreat, Mr Lee and Mr Yudhoyono also witnessed the signing of two new Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), including an MOU on Civil Service Training between the Singapore Civil Service College (CSC) and Indonesia's National Institute of Public Administration.


    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after a meeting at Bogor Palace yesterday. AP



    Dr Yudhoyono introducing the Indonesian ministers to Mr Lee at the entrance of the Istana Bogor. The President noted that Sir Stamford Raffles had once lived there. -- ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
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