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  1. #5866
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    Default Reflections at Keppel Bay

    Talking about Keppel Land, Daniel Libeskind and his Reflections, I visited the site not too long ago and was quite impressed with the architecture, the waterfront concept and the marina that fronts both the Reflections and Carribean at Keppel Bay, situated near the popular holiday spot of Sentosa Island.

    Here are some pictures.
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  2. #5867
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    Default Gold medal repeat 'near impossible'

    Singapore table tennis chief Lee Bee Wah concedes China are stronger but pledges a good fight from her team


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM Mar 22, 2012

    SINGAPORE - It was a stunning victory in May 2010 when the Republic's women paddlers Feng Tianwei, Wang Yuegu and Sun Beibei downed 17-time world title-holders China in the final of the World Team Table Tennis Championships.

    Defeating the trio of Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Guo Yan 3-1 in Moscow, Singapore claimed the coveted Marcel Corbillon Cup, and broke China's dominance that stretched back to 1993.

    Last night, Singapore's women's team of Feng, Wang, Sun, veteran Li Jiawei and Yu Mengyu left for Dortmund, Germany, to defend their title at the 2012 championship (March 25 to April 1).

    However, Singapore Table Tennis Association president Lee Bee Wah conceded that it would be "near impossible" to beat the Chinese this time around.

    "We are the defending champions, of course, but I told the team not to give themselves unnecessary pressure," said Lee in an interview at Universal Studios Singapore on the sidelines of the "Team Singapore Supports" programme which saw the paddlers spending time with 15 children with mild intellectual disability or mild autism spectrum disorders from Grace Orchard School.

    "We know that to beat China the second time is near impossible but as long as there is a certain possibility they will just go all out and do their best," Lee added.

    "And for the men's team we are targeting to do better than their last outing - the last time we were 16th and this round we hope to do better."

    The men's team of Gao Ning, Yang Zi and youngsters Pang Xuejie and Clarence Chew will start against Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, Spain and Serbia in Group B.

    The women's team begin their campaign in Group B against Holland, Taiwan, Turkey, North Korea and Sweden
    .

    World No 5 Feng acknowledged her team face an uphill battle against China's vaunted line-up of Ding, Liu, Guo and Li Xiaoxia - the world's top four players - and Guo Yue (No 7). Moreover, China have beaten Singapore in all three encounters since Moscow.

    Looking a little fatigued from the tightly-packed competition and training schedule ahead of the London Olympic Games, Feng said yesterday the Chinese will be very motivated.

    "I feel at this point they are particularly formidable and strong so we have to make sure we approach this with the right psyche and attitude for our battle against them.

    "The pressure will definitely be there, not only from ourselves, but the public and media, but we want to put in our best performance and do well there. This is the second-biggest competition after the Olympic Games and it is important not only to me but also to the whole team."

    Despite early exits from three tournaments this season, 25-year-old Feng remains positive.

    "Maybe everyone feels I shouldn't be losing and perhaps I have lost more matches in recent months compared to the past but for me, this is a normal because when you have ups and downs it gives you space to improve."

    Lee, meanwhile, has every faith that her top paddler will deliver.

    "Looking at how she played against Japan at the Asian Championships, when it comes to crucial moments, I think Tianwei will fight. She's a ferocious player, she will give her best."


    PHOTO COURTESY SINGAPORE SPORTS COUNCIL






  3. #5868
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    Default Sepaktakraw: S'pore to host third leg of ISTAF Super Series in May

    By Patwant Singh | Posted: 22 March 2012 2054 hrs



    SINGAPORE: It will be Singapore's biggest sepaktakraw tournament to date. Costing S$500,000, the third leg of the inaugural International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series in May will boast 12 men's and 8 women's teams.

    The Super Series was launched in Thailand in September 2011, and then travelled to Malaysia in December.

    Singapore will now host the third leg, replacing Iran and Vietnam, who both pulled out three months ago.

    Iran was suppose to host the men's event, while Vietnam the women's competition. Singapore got the confirmation to replace the two countries as host of the third leg in late-January 2012.

    The competition boasts a US$100,000 purse and is set to bring the sport to new heights in Singapore, as well as globally, with the event being broadcast to a total of 67 countries.

    Abdul Halim Kader, president of the Singapore Sepaktakraw Federation, said: "Certainly, we look forward to working with our TV partners and broadcasting partners. The event will be broadcast all over the world, and more than 750 million viewers will (be able to) watch this sepaktakraw game."

    Powerhouses competing include Thailand and Vietnam, as well as the United States.

    A bigger venue at ITE Simei, would be used this time, unlike the 2002 World Cup which Singapore staged. Then, the 2002 World Cup was held at the Bedok Sepaktakraw Centre, which saw just 10 men's teams participating.

    The final leg of the ISTAF Super Series will return to Thailand in June 2012.

    Singapore is only fielding a men's team, currently ranked sixth in the world. The Super Series will provide good preparations for the team in upcoming competitions, like the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.

    The Singapore Sports Council's funding for the Singapore Sepaktakraw Federation has also been doubled to S$250,000.

    Besides the Super Series, the Singapore Sepaktakraw Federation also has a long-term three-year plan, with 12 new competitions to be introduced.

    Among them, a beach sepaktakraw tournament, and for the first time, a competition catering to Madrasahs (Islamic educational institutions) in Singapore.

    -CNA/ac
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    Default Pilot project on new way to process waste water

    by Sumita Sreedharan
    04:45 AM Mar 26, 2012

    SINGAPORE - A new way to process waste water in Singapore will be piloted this year, and it may produce more NEWater, use less energy in the process and make it cheaper.

    Today has learnt that Israeli-based water treatment company Desalitech is embarking on the project with national water agency PUB, and the test bed will be at the Kranji NEWater Factory.

    In reply to queries, a Desalitech spokesperson said the discussions started "early last summer" and came about because PUB's "existing reverse osmosis has historically had problems with fouling, and fouling resistance is an advantage our technology offers".

    Fouling happens when there is accumulation of unwanted material on the surfaces of the membranes that filter out material, such as wastewater or seawater, to make purified drinking water. This affects their function.

    Also in reply to queries, a PUB spokesperson told Today, "fouling is typical in any membrane system in water plants across the world, so through this test-bedding project, we're trying to see if we can do things more efficiently." She added: "The objective of this test-bedding project is to validate the merits of the Closed Circuit Desalination (CCD) technology."

    The project is based on the company's CCD technology, which is touted to be able to extract more usable water from waste water.

    The project will also use reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment, but PUB hopes that the technology will help to "increase the overall flow in the RO system so as to produce more NEWater from the treated used water".

    According to Desalitech, the project would affordably increase the overall recovery of an existing water reuse plant "from 75 per cent to 90 per cent or more and reduce operations costs".

    Another plus of the technology is that it requires lower energy consumption. The demonstration unit is under construction and is expected to be installed and fully operational in December. The pilot will take place over a period of 18 months.

    PUB said the project is part of the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office's efforts to grow Singapore into a water technologies and research hub.

    PUB offers opportunities for water companies to test-bed their new technologies and solutions at its facilities under actual site conditions, and there are currently more than 30 such ongoing projects with both local and international water companies.

    Desalitech chief executive officer Nadav Efraty said that his company was "proud to be working in Singapore, a nation that is a global leader in water reuse".

    "Highly efficient and reliable production of clean, useful water from wastewater is a matter great global interest," he added.

  5. #5870
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    Default MOE: S'poreans to get absolute priority in Pri 1 registration balloting

    by Amir Hussain
    04:45 AM Mar 26, 2012

    SINGAPORE - A major annual school exercise that often gets some Singaporean parents anxious will be tweaked this year to give them greater assurance of their children's admission into schools of their choice.

    The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday that there will be increased differentiation between citizens and permanent residents (PRs) for the Primary 1 registration.

    While PRs will remain eligible for the same phases as citizens in the registration exercise, Singaporean children will be given absolute priority over PRs in those phases where balloting is necessary.

    This means that priority will be given even before home-to-school distance is considered.

    If the number of applicants in a registration phase does not exceed the number of vacancies, all applicants will be admitted.

    When applications exceed vacancies, Singaporeans who live within 1 km of the primary school will be given priority for admission via ballot, followed by those who live between 1 and 2 km away and then to those who live further away.

    Once citizen applicants have been admitted, the same process of home-to-school distance balloting will apply to PRs.

    Non-resident students will remain eligible for registration after Singaporeans and PRs are placed, at the third phase of the exercise.

    In its press release, the MOE said: "By giving Singaporeans priority over PRs only when balloting is required, the MOE will retain the underlying principles of the Pri 1 registration framework, which reflect a careful balance of considerations, and provide for diversity in our schools, while according citizens a further privilege."

    Since 2010, Singaporean children had been given two ballot slips compared to one for a PR registrant during balloting.

    Ms Audra Chow, a parent of three primary school children, supported the revised measures as she felt that citizenship - just like a membership - should have its privileges,

    She added that while PRs may have some privileges, giving them the same privileges as citizens would not incentivise them to seek citizenship.

    A PR parent of two students at Temasek Primary School whom Today spoke to said that although she was uncomfortable with the revision, the measures were "not surprising" and "understandable".

    Government Parliamentary Committee (Education) chairman and Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan, who asked earlier this month in Parliament for the MOE to reconsider the Pri 1 registration framework, said he was glad that MOE will give priority to Singaporeans.

    "I think it signals that Singaporeans do matter" and "it is an important signal", said Mr Lim, who noted that Singaporean parents do feel frustrated when they lose out to PRs in placing their children in preferred schools during balloting phases.

    While PRs would "not be happy" about the MOE's decision, he said: "I suppose you can't help it. In most countries where you're not a citizen, you expect that priority is given to the citizen of that country."

    Primary school principals whom Today spoke to were unanimously supportive of the revised Pri 1 registration process.

    Anglo-Chinese Primary School principal Richard Lim, who said it was "a very good move", also thinks that "there shouldn't be too much of an impact", as parents are now better educated and would check school vacancies before registering their child for Pri 1.

    Yew Tee Primary School principal Janis Lee said that the composition of PRs in her school "varies from year to year" and that whether there would be a significant impact would depend on the cohort for the particular year.

    Her school does not see a very large number of PRs on a yearly basis, she added.

    Similarly, White Sands Primary School principal Daphne Leong said the move marked an improvement to the registration exercise.

    "The previous arrangement, where Singapore applicants get two balloting slips while PRs get one, I think still did not make a very pronounced difference," she said.

    While Mdm Leong felt that the new measures could alter the composition of a school's student population at the Pri 1 level as more Singaporeans get admitted first, she noted that PRs could join a school at other primary school levels, if there are vacancies.

    PRs would also now be spread out to other schools in the neighbourhoods, rather than being concentrated in certain popular schools, she added.

  6. #5871
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    Default Skills, not exam scores, will stay with students

    by Amir Hussain
    04:45 AM Mar 26, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The most important thing that students bring to the workplace are "deep skills" and attitudes, not paper qualifications, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday in a dialogue session with Ayer Rajah residents.

    The Ministry of Education (MOE) is improving courses over time at the universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education, to ensure that what students learn are relevant to the workplace.

    "It's very important for us to make sure that ... they learn something valuable, they learn something that they are interested in," said Mr Heng.

    "And the most important thing that we must teach our students is this love for lifelong learning. When they have that - when they have the foundation for it - they would be able to do well in future."

    Mr Heng was responding to a remark by grassroots leader Eric Ho who had said that it was not good enough to have a polytechnic diploma today.

    Responding to a question by another resident on school programmes which cut into family time, Mr Heng said that while many parents may feel co-curricular activities (CCAs) are a waste of time, CCAs are "a very important part of our holistic education".

    "Children learn many important life skills through CCA - they learn how to work together with each other, they learn how to develop themselves outside of books, they learn about teamwork, they learn social, emotional skills."

    Mr Heng cited sports as an example. Through it, students learn about sportsmanship, hard work, determination and discipline, while in science research projects, students learn about critical thinking.

    While these skills may not allow students to score better in examinations, the skills will remain with students for life, he said.

    In response to a comment that schools are too structured, Mr Heng said that while the MOE has a structured national syllabus and assessment, in recent years it has also adopted programmes to stimulate creativity and thinking skills.

    "The unstructured element allows us to learn a lot," said Mr Heng, who added that schools here are moving more towards inquiry-based learning, where students ask questions as part of the learning process.

    On students being overworked, he said the MOE has a policy to ensure homework is appropriate, that schools pace out assignments and that the homework is useful for reinforcing learning.

    He told residents of his meeting with a parents' association two weeks ago when he was in Canada, where he learnt that to enrol in a private school, every parent had to sign a form stating that their child would spend two hours on homework every day.

    Ultimately, good communication and better partnerships between parents and schools is important, Mr Heng said.

    The dialogue session at Ayer Rajah Community Centre was part of Mr Heng's ministerial community visit to the ward, where he also launched Wireless@Teban Gardens Market and Food Centre, the first hawker centre in Singapore to have free Wi-Fi.

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    Default Cheers to the cheerleaders

    04:45 AM Mar 26, 2012

    There were thrills and spills yesterday at the third annual National Cheerleading Championships, which had a record turnout of some 540 participants and 44 teams.

    It was the first time a community freestyle cheering segment was introduced, to encourage more from the community to take up the sport. Contestants ranged from four to 74 years old. The Albirex Cheerleading School team from Yuhua Constituency won the top prize for the category.

    Gusto Team A from Singapore Polytechnic won the coveted overall champion prize
    for the second year running and was also crowned champion in the Institute of Higher Learning category.


    Photo by WEE TECK HIAN


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    Default S'pore celebrates World Water Day

    by Monica Kotwani
    04:45 AM Mar 25, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Water security cannot be taken for granted, said President Tony Tan yesterday, even as the country launched its largest World Water Day celebrations at the Marina Barrage yesterday morning.

    Dr Tan, who arrived by boat to a drum fanfare by pupils of Fuhua Primary School, noted that demand for water is expected to double over the next 50 years. "Unfortunately, changing climate patterns have added to the uncertainty of our limited water supply," he said. "We will need the collective efforts of every individual, young and old, not just to conserve water in our daily activities, but to also keep our water resources clean for long-term sustainability."

    Across the island yesterday, more than 25,000 people turned up at 15 locations islandwide to mark World Water Day, with about 10,000 people at Marina Barrage.

    About 500 cyclists, kayakers and dragon boaters converged at Marina Barrage, after having meandered through key "Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters" sites islandwide.

    Over at Jurong Lake, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam joined more than 1,000 people to set the record for Singapore's biggest Mass Water Filtration Exercise.

    At the Lorong Halus Wetland, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and park-goers also helped raise awareness on the importance of conserving water by going on a walk that symbolised the distance many in other parts of the world journey for clean water.

    Mr Teo also spoke of the need to reduce water consumption. "Each person in Singapore uses 154 litres of water per day - that's quite a lot. What we're trying to do is, in 10 years' time, to reduce that amount to 147 litres per day," he said.

    This year's theme is "Singapore Celebrates World Water Day: Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters for All". World Water Day in Singapore is organised by national water agency PUB, along with its 125 community partners. It is Singapore's fourth time celebrating World Water Day.

    The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development designated March 22 as World Water Day to raise awareness on the importance of preserving global water resources.



    Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam participating in a record-breaking water filtration exercise. Photo courtesy PUB





    A kayaking expedition from Kolam Ayer to Marina Barrage yesterday. Photo courtesy PUB

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    Default Two health programmes for elderly to start


    by Cheow Xin Yi
    04:45 AM Mar 25, 2012

    Singapore - Elderly residents living in Marine Parade can soon look forward to two new programmes which will cater to their health needs.

    One of them, the Integrated Screening Programme, will allow residents to be screened for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as monitor their functional abilities in makeshift booths or vehicles in the Marine Parade area.

    Another programme will make health promotion materials and visual cues available at the community centres in Marine Parade, where elderly residents can use.

    Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong announced these new programmes during a visit to the area yesterday. The initiatives are part of nationwide programmes which will be piloted in Marine Parade starting next week.

    These programmes are in addition to a separate pilot, which aims to retrofit homes in the constituency with elderly-friendly features.

    Funded by the Tote Board, the Senior Fall Prevention Programme could benefit up to 500 elderly residents, as their homes will be installed with grab bars, ramps to negotiate steps in the flats, as well as slip-resistant coating in the bathrooms.

    Yesterday, Mr Goh visited two elderly residents whose homes had been retrofitted in the pre-pilot phase in January.

    The pilot has since been expanded to a S$260 million national programme, the Housing and Development Board's Enhancement for Active Seniors scheme, which would be launched in July.

    "We are piloting this in Marine Parade but the lessons learnt here will be replicated all over Singapore - so it's a national effort, not just a Marine Parade effort," he said.

    When asked for his thoughts on any potential improvements to the fall prevention programme, Mr Goh felt there is a need to customise the grab bars according to the individual's height.

    "Some may want more (grab bars), some want less. So HDB has to decide what is the standard package. If you really need it and you are poor, HDB can find a way to help you get it, but HDB has to prevent people from asking for more grab bars all over the place when they don't need so many," he said. Cheow Xinyi






    ESM Goh Chok Tong (left) viewing the elderly-friendly features in the toilet during his visit to Kong Shiu Moi's house. Photo by Wee Teck Hian

  10. #5875
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    Default Countries must work to defend against common threats, says Ban Ki Moon

    by Amir Hussain
    04:45 AM Mar 24, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Countries must explore regional and global collaboration to prevent "mass atrocity crimes", the same way they work together to tackle natural disasters, says United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki Moon.

    On his first official visit here, and speaking at the Fullerton Lecture yesterday, Mr Ban said the unified responses of Asian countries to the two tsunamis in 2004 and last year had provided lessons in "practical sovereignty at work".

    He noted that countries worked together on adopting early warning systems and evacuation plans, and that leaders of sovereign states chose to work together on a common plan rather than going it alone. Such early warning and assessment of man-made crises are needed too.

    "We need to feel earthquakes within fragile societies and see the social and political tsunamis they produce before they gain unstoppable momentum," said Mr Ban.

    In his wide-ranging lecture titled "Securing our Future: Singapore, the Region and Beyond", organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mr Ban said the global future rests on the decisions of Asia. He was "encouraged" by recent developments in Myanmar, but "very troubled and very deeply concerned" by North Korea's planned launch of an "application satellite" next month.

    Mr Ban praised the ASEAN Regional Forum and its Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, which recently produced a consensus report on implementing the "responsibility to protect", a United Nations initiative which took off in 2005.

    He also called "most promising" the recommendation to establish a Risk Reduction Centre in South-east Asia "that could work with the United Nations and our Joint Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect".

    In the 21st century, Mr Ban felt that sovereign states have to come together as partners, and people have to transcend "borders and narrow national identities to defend against common threats and to take hold of common opportunities".

    In the pursuit of sustainable peace, sustainable development is also required, he said. Thus, with less than 100 days from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Mr Ban also called on countries to "act together to build a sustainable future".

    He noted that the world needs at least 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy and 30 per cent more water in the next 20 years. To address the "inextricably linked" issues of food, water and energy security, Mr Ban asked governments to "think again, and act in an integrated way" and called for the "active involvement of civil society, the private sector and the scientific community".

    During a dialogue, a member of the audience noted that UN member countries often failed to agree on concrete proposals, and likened conferences and summits to be "a talkshop". In response, Mr Ban said that although the UN and its conferences are sometimes criticised the importance of achieving results depends on "critical leadership".

    Singapore, he felt, is an example of how a densely populated island has shown leadership on issues of climate change and sustainable development and water scarcity issues.

    As a nation that remains "at the leading edge of innovation and change", Mr Ban said Singapore is "at the frontier" of an era where there is a rise of new powers and technologies, as well as increasing engagement and empowerment.

    During his visit here, Mr Ban called on President Tony Tan and met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and visited the Newater Visitor Centre. Mr Ban and his wife, Mrs Ban Soon Taek, were hosted to a dinner by Mr Lee and his wife, Ms Ho Ching, at the Istana last night.


    Any satellite launch will 'undermine positive diplomatic progress'

    by Amir Hussain

    Any "application satellite" launch by North Korea will not only "undermine recent positive diplomatic progress" but also discourage international aid and worsen the country's humanitarian situation, said UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon yesterday.

    Mr Ban, who said he was "very troubled and very deeply concerned" about North Korea's plan to launch the satellite next month, noted that "Security Council resolutions clearly prohibit the launch of any satellite using ballistic missile technology".

    He also said that he had spoken to Chinese, American and Russian leaders to get them to exercise their influence to persuade North Korea to reconsider its decision, and will be raising the issue again at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul next week. The summit will be held on Monday and Tuesday.

    North Korea had last week announced that it will launch the rocket between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th birthday of its late founder Kim Il Sung.

    China, Russia, the United States and Japan had expressed concerns on the plan.



    Ban 'encouraged' by developments in Myanmar

    by Amir Hussain

    UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon said he is "encouraged" by recent developments in Myanmar under President Thein Sein, as he paid tribute to ASEAN's efforts to supporting reforms in the country.

    "The role of ASEAN nations - and ASEAN in particular - has been instrumental in supporting international engagement in Myanmar and political reform
    ," said Mr Ban.

    Mr Ban also said that the UN has been working alongside Myanmar, whether quietly or through more open diplomacy, and urged countries to continue supporting the country as it prepares to assume the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014.

    "Our collective work - the consolidated engagement of all partners - has helped lay the foundations for change in Myanmar," he added.

    Myanmar began transiting from years of military rule to a quasi-civillian government last year.

    Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi - who was released from house arrest in 2010 - is running for a seat in Parliament in the by-elections scheduled next month. The by-elections are not expected to significantly alter the composition of Parliament, which is dominated by those with links to the former military junta.

    Mr Ban has visited Myanmar twice as UN secretary-general - his last trip was in 2009 - and will "most probably" be visiting the country again next month.



    REUTERS

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    Default MRT stations likely to get common 'bus shuttle' signs

    Published on Mar 26, 2012


    Mock-up signs at City Hall station, with directions to bus stops where commuters can take bus bridging services to other stations during train disruptions. An SMRT spokesman said they were just 'preliminary designs' and nothing has been finalised. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIMBy Royston Sim


    Commuters could soon see standardised signs at all MRT stations across the rail network directing them to where they can board free shuttle buses during a train disruption.

    Those signs could also have information on regular bus services that commuters can board to get to other stations.

    The Straits Times understands that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is working with operators SMRT and SBS Transit to design new signs guiding commuters to bus bridging points.

    Sources say these signs, once finalised, will likely be put up at all stations and replace any existing signage.
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    Default Fitch affirms Singapore at AAA, outlook stable

    SINGAPORE - Fitch Ratings backed Singapore's triple-A rating, citing the South-east Asian country's fiscal and economic strength and strong investment climate as support for its top investment grade ranking.

    The ratings firm noted that Singapore's creditworthiness is supported by its strong external finances, while a favourable investment climate continues to attract foreign investors.

    Such strengths have helped protect Singapore's small, open economy from external shocks, said Ms Anna Thung, associate director of the Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings group at Fitch.

    The firm also noted that Singapore has run a general government budget surplus with a five-year average of 13 per cent of gross domestic product, making it the strongest among the firm's triple-A-rated sovereigns.

    Singapore, originally a centre for low-cost manufacturing in its early years of post-independence economic development, has in recent decades sought to advance its economy by expanding its services and research sector capabilities.

    The country also has emerged as a global financial centre, making it home to a proportionately large banking sector. Fitch warned an economic shock could have a negative effect on Singapore's credit rating, although the firm noted its success in weathering financial crises. DOW JONES



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    Default Music education at NAFA gets a boost

    by Amanda Lee Gui Ping
    04:45 AM Mar 27, 2012

    SINGAPORE - From August, top music degree students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) could see up to S$15,000 waived from their annual tuition fees under a new scholarship.

    The Leong Yoon Pin Scholarship is one of the two initiatives of the Leong Yoon Pin Music Fund, which was launched yesterday.

    Family and beneficiaries of the late composer Leong Yoon Pin have donated S$500,000 to establish the fund to boost the development of music education at NAFA.

    "Leong Yoon Pin had a long and close association with NAFA. We believe our donation is consistent with Leong Yoon Pin's wishes as a music educator, musician and composer," said Dr Lawrence Leong, the younger brother of Mr Leong Yoon Pin.

    The scholarship will be offered to one student this year and at least two students a year thereafter. It is renewable after one year subject to the recipient meeting the award criteria.

    The annual tuition fees for the two-year Bachelor of Music (Honours) programme at NAFA for Singaporeans and permanent residents (PR) who qualify for government funding are S$9,897.50 and S$12,519 respectively. International students pay S$29,960 each year.

    Hence, Singaporean and PR music students receiving tuition grants will not have to pay fees at all with the scholarship, while international students will have their fees substantially reduced.

    The other initiative under the Leong Yoon Pin Music Fund is an annual composition competition for students to encourage the development of music composition. Amanda Lee

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    Default 160 Sri Lankan specialist trainers graduate from NYP International

    Posted: 26 March 2012 1634 hrs



    SINGAPORE: Singapore's Nanyang Polytechnic International has trained 160 Sri Lankans to lead the country's technical and vocational education and training (TVET) reform.

    The courses, which vary in duration from one to six weeks, were designed to expose to Sri Lankan policy makers and leaders to the different aspects of managing and developing a modern TVET institution.

    The training programme was funded by a S$919,600 grant from Temasek Foundation.

    Two Training-Of-Trainers courses for Mechatronics and Electronics were conducted for specialist teachers.


    A joint statement from Nanyang Polytechnic International and Temasek Foundation said the effect of the programme will multiply manifold in Sri Lanka.

    Participants will share the knowledge and best practices learnt with their peers back home, and conduct training sessions for the rest of the Sri Lankan TVET community.

    - CNA/wm

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    Default

    National Art Gallery moves into next phase of development


    Updated 12:11 PM Mar 27, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The National Art Gallery, Singapore has moved into its next phase of development, with Singapore's largest permanent display of local art.

    It is working on exciting programmes in preparation for its grand opening in 2015, where it wil be the only art gallery in the world that reflects on the special qualities of Southeast Asian and Singapore art.

    It promises to offer new exhibitions that will tell innovative stories on Southeast Asia and Singapore art in the global context.

    The exhibitions also aim to give an insight into the diversity yet commonality of values, such as harmony and beauty that are embodied in Southeast Asia and Singapore art.

    This strategic concept will position the Gallery, housed at the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, as a regional visual arts hub with a strong focus on research and scholarship.

    Occupying 60,000 square metres of built area, the Gallery is anchored by two permanent core galleries - Singapore and Southeast Asia.

    Detailed work is well underway on the storylines, artworks and exhibition designs.

    Chairman of the Gallery Koh Seow Chuan said the Gallery has made significant progress since its incorporation in January 2009.

    "Our aim is to build a warm and welcoming space for the arts where we can narrate fresh stories on the beauty, diversity and harmony of Singapore and Southeast Asia, as well as to celebrate our region's unique artistic achievements in visual arts," he said.

    The Gallery also said progress on the design and construction is moving smoothly. Much progress has been made on the design and construction site works.

    Two new public civic spaces for Singaporeans to relax and enjoy art have been designed on the roof-tops of former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings.

    These will be for public programmes and changing environmental art exhibitions.

    Micropiling is being carried out to stabilise and strengthen the old buildings' existing facades, which are to be preserved as part of their status as National Monuments.

    Cleaning out of the interior has begun with the demolition of architectural elements. This will be followed by specific structural demolition in some areas of the buildings.

    "We are excited to see the original fabric of the buildings slowly becoming evident and we can now catch a glimpse of how these iconic buildings were constructed almost 80 years ago. We look forward to showcasing this slice of previously hidden history to the public when we open in 2015," said Mr Michael Koh, chief executive of the Gallery.

    The Gallery is also searching for a new full-time Director to provide professional and executive leadership.

    When the position is filled, Mr Koh will step down as CEO but will remain as a Member in the Gallery's Board to ensure continuity and a smooth transition. CHANNEL NEWSASIA



    An artist impression of the roof terrace at the former Supreme Court building, one of the two new public civic spaces for Singaporeans to relax and enjoy art (Image by National Art Gallery, Singapore)

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    Default New mall in Jurong on track to open next year

    Published on Mar 27, 2012


    Artist's impression of Jem, a shopping mall set to open in Jurong by the second quarter of 2013. Australian developer Lend Lease says that Jem will be the third-largest suburban mall here. -- PHOTO: LEND LEASE


    By Amanda Tan

    Singaporeans living in the west can expect a new shopping mall in Jurong to be ready in the second quarter of 2013.

    The 818,000 sq ft mall, called Jem, will house popular brands such as Swedish clothing giant H&M and Japanese casual-wear label Uniqlo. This is in addition to household names like Robinsons, FairPrice Xtra and Courts.

    At a media conference on Tuesday, Australian developers Lend Lease announced that it has already leased out 80 per cent of its retail area.

    Mr Paul Walker, Jem's project development director, said that people in the west are still under-supplied in terms of retail space per person, dismissing talk that there are too many shopping malls sprouting in the area, including the new JCube.
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    Default HDB to launch bumper crop of 8,000 flats: Khaw

    Published on Mar 27, 2012

    HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) apartment blocks under construction on Sept 15, 2011. The Housing Board will be launching a bumper crop of 8,000 flats on Wednesday through a joint Build-to-Order and Sale of Balance Flats exercise. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

    By Tay Suan Chiang

    The Housing Board will be launching a bumper crop of 8,000 flats on Wednesday through a joint Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats exercise. These flats are located in mature and non-mature estates, such as in Bukit Timah, Bedok and Clementi, and cover the full range of flat types.

    'With the wide range of flats offered, flat buyers will be able to apply for one that best meets their needs, and in an estate of their choice,' said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in his latest blog post.

    He expects strong demand for the completed/near completed flats and flats in mature estates. Those who want to have a better chance of success should widen their choice and consider applying for a BTO flat in the non-mature estates, he added.

    The results of the launch will help HDB calibrate the BTO rules for future launches, to ensure that the policy objectives are met. 'Our priority remains to help first-timers get their first HDB flat as quickly as possible, so that they can proceed to start their family,' said the minister.
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