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Thread: Singapore Also Can
09-23-2012, 10:40 PM #6546
Vettel wins Singapore Grand Prix for 2nd consecutive year
Published on Sep 23, 2012
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore on Sept 23, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
By May Chen
Sebastian Vettel won one of the most thrilling editions of the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday night, the world champion making the most of Lewis Hamilton's early retirement to enhance his own championship chances.
The German, whose win at the Marina Bay street circuit was his second of the season, benefited from pole sitter Hamilton's gearbox failure at the start of Lap 23.
Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button was second for McLaren, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third.
The result meant a reshuffle of the front runners in the drivers' championship. Alonso remains in the lead on 194 points while Vettel has moved up to second, 29 points behind the Spaniard.
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who was sixth, remains in third place on 149 while Hamilton has dropped down to fourth on 142.
The championship now moves to Japan.
Vettel reigns again in incident-filled S'pore GP
04:45 AM Sep 24, 2012
SINGAPORE - Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel took advantage of a gearbox failure by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to clinch his second consecutive SingTel Singapore Grand Prix last night and climb to second in the Formula 1 drivers' world championship standings.
Vettel, who led after Hamilton was forced to retire with gearbox failure on lap 22, took the chequered flag ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, who finished second, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third.
The incident-packed race around the 61-lap, 23-turn, 5.073km Marina Bay street circuit - of which 59 laps were completed - also saw Mercedes' Michael Schumacher in a spectacular crash with Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso.
The result sees Vettel move into second place in the drivers' championship standings with 165 points, 29 behind leader Alonso (194), with Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen third (149). Hamilton dropped two places to fourth (142).
On Saturday, race promoter Singapore GP renewed its contract with rights holder Formula One Administration to stage the only night race on the annual Formula 1 calendar until 2017. Since the inaugural edition in 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix has helped rake in up to S$150 million in incremental tourism receipts annually and attract more than 150,000 overseas visitors.
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher crashing into the back of Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne yesterday. GETTY IMAGES
Hamilton fed up with wretched luck
by Low Lin Fhoong
04:45 AM Sep 24, 2012
A groan rippled through the crowd at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix last night, with many watching in disbelief as then-race leader Lewis Hamilton's McLaren MP4-27 stalled just before Turn 5 at the Marina Bay street circuit.
Despite starting from pole, the Briton's hopes of a second Singapore Grand Prix title were dashed with gearbox failure on lap 23.
But crucially, his failure to finish the race has put a major dent in his championship hopes.
The 27-year-old dropped from second to fourth in the drivers' championship standings as he remained on 142 points. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, McLaren team-mate Jenson Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished in the top three.
Alonso leads the drivers' championship with 194 points, with Vettel (165) and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen (149) second and third respectively.
Hamilton was obviously in no mood to chat yesterday, storming to the McLaren hospitality suite before re-emerging more than an hour later to take questions.
"We definitely had the car to win this weekend, and to perhaps have a one-two but I don't know, at some stage the fortune will be on our side and we'll get there," said the 2008 world champion.
"It's just heart crushing when you know you've got 25 points easily if you don't have any problems. The car's obviously in a good position and if we can pick up our reliability we can attack these next two races.
"I know it's going to be hard to close the gap when Sebastian and Fernando and even Kimi just keep finishing race after race, but I hope this is hopefully the end of our bad luck for the year."
While Hamilton was left to rue his luck, Alonso was happy despite seeing his lead reduced to 29 points with six races remaining.
"It's very positive because going against four to five contenders, we lost points only to one and gained points with the others," said the two-time world champion.
Added Vettel: "It looks better than before. Fernando finished third today and is 10 points better. We have a lot of races left, it's difficult to predict what's going to happen." LOW LIN FHOONG
Hamilton rues losing crucial points after crashing out on lap 23. REUTERS
Vettel wins thriller
Two-time world champ ends 9-race barren streak, trails Alonso by 29 points
by Ian De Cotta
04:45 AM Sep 24, 2012
SINGAPORE - It has been a season where he played chaser for the most part and the chequered flag was hard to come by.
But at the Marina Bay last night, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel found that extra energy within to end a nine-race winless streak and successfully defend the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix title that he won last year.
Playing the dominant role that had bagged him two straight world titles in 2010 and 2011, the 25-year-old fended off a fierce challenge from McLaren's Jenson Button to finish a race that for the first time breached the two-hour mark.
Under FIA rules, the race had to be completed and it ended two shy of the scheduled 61 laps.
Vettel now heads to the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka in two weeks' time as championship leader Fernando Alonso's biggest threat.
On a night when the Ferrari ace was incapable of fighting for podium, Alonso's lead was shaved and he now leads Red Bull star Vettel by 29 points, after securing third place.
With six races left on the calendar, victory at Marina Bay was crucial for Vettel and he must keep up the pressure if he is to pip the Spaniard to a third world title.
"This is a bit of a different race, it is very tactical but the car's pace was there throughout. We also had an answer every time Jenson was going quick," said Vettel.
"It was a good finish to the Grand Prix, obviously it is a long race, a lot of laps, but this what makes this circuit so special. It is not just racing at night, this is also a circuit with a lot of corners and bumps, making it extremely difficult."
Hamilton had been closing the gap to Alonso after wins in Belgium and Italy, but is now 52 points adrift after last night's retirement.
His misfortune is Alonso's gain and despite his result last night, all the Ferrari driver needs to do to bag the title is to keep pace with his rivals in the remaining six races.
"It has been a difficult weekend and it was a fantastic result in terms of points," said the 31-year-old.
"It was a positive weekend. There are four or five contenders who lost points and we won ... so we need more points against three of our opponents."
Last night's Singapore Grand Prix capped the first chapter of five Formula 1 races held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit since 2008.
With a new five-year contract, the night race has also evolved on its own merit as a venue of importance and in the words of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, it has become a classic on the world championship calendar.
That has also been the sentiment echoed by Alonso, Hamilton, Michael Schumacher and their fellow drivers all week. Conquering the 23 corners around the Marina Bay circuit is a test of skill and it is a badge of honour that is worn with prestige in Formula 1 drivers. Doing twice in a row requires a special talent.
"This is one of the best races to win, in terms of atmosphere it is a little bit special," said Vettel.
"It was great (to win) last year but to repeat it, is even greater ... We did not have the fastest package this weekend, still we won the race."
Vettel's win in Singapore puts him right back in the race for the drivers' championship. Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
Last edited by Loh; 09-23-2012 at 10:49 PM.
09-23-2012, 11:05 PM #6547
Singapore could accommodate six million people in future
Updated 07:54 PM Sep 22, 2012
SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore could accommodate six million people in time to come.
The country's total population stood at 5.26 million as of December last year.
Mr Lee was speaking to Singaporeans at a Mandarin forum hosted by MediaCorp on Singapore's future.
Thirty Singaporeans took part in the forum. Among them are educators, young parents, seniors and new citizens.
They raised issues ranging from pre-school education to Singapore's low birth rate and population.
The host, veteran presenter Chun Guek Lay, asked what Singapore's ideal population target is if it is to continue its economic progress.
"It's very hard to give a concrete figure, because the situation is evolving. We're gradually increasing our land area, and if we rebuild our older towns, then we can accommodate more people. Today our population is over 5 million. In the future, 6 million or so should not be a problem. Beyond that, we'll have to think more carefully," said Mr Lee.
Participants were polled on whether they think Singaporeans are accepting of foreigners. 77 per cent said "yes".
Another poll asked if Singapore should continue welcoming immigrants to boost the country's low birth rate. 67 per cent agreed.
The cultural impact of immigration was a key issue at the forum. Some participants said newcomers do not just bring new skills and business networks, they also enrich Singapore's culture and language.
"In the lift, when I hear my neighbours and their children speak perfect Mandarin, it makes my day!" said Chew Chong Kheng, producer-presenter from MediaCorp YES 93.3FM.
But not all agreed.
"Immigrants are not local people, after all. They are here because there are benefits. If this changes one day, they can migrate once again," said financial consultant Vincent Chua.
"Every individual's motivations and attitudes are different. Immigrants are not the only ones who can leave Singapore, because they are not rooted here. Many overseas Singaporeans, they may come home, or they may stay overseas for many years and take up foreign citizenship. We all know this happens. If new immigrants are willing to take root here and be loyal to Singapore, we should treat them graciously," said PM Lee.
Singapore granted some 16,000 citizenships to foreigners in 2011. Between 2008 and 2010, the figure was between 18,000 and 20,000.
You can catch the programme "A Conversation with PM Lee" on Sunday, Sept 23 at 9pm on Channel 8. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
A Conversation with PM Lee Hsien Loong in Mandarin at Mediacorp..Photo:Ernest Chua.20 September 2012.
09-23-2012, 11:14 PM #6548
F1 fans look forward to more night racing in Singapore
By Saifulbahri Ismail, Olivia Siong | Posted: 24 September 2012 0017 hrs
SINGAPORE: Spectators at the fifth Singapore Grand Prix said they look forward to another exciting five years of night racing at the Marina Bay street circuit.
They also would like to see that the race continues to be held in the city.
While the fifth Singapore Grand Prix has come to a close, many spectators gave the thumbs up for this year's event - both on the track and off the track.
Before the race began, British rock band The Pretenders entertained and warmed up the crowd. These performances have been a key of the Singapore Grand Prix over the last four years.
Mohammad Syahdu declared the entertainment as being "much better than last year".
Others like Malaysian tourist Ahmad Nezam described the race as "special", being the only night race on the whole F1 calendar.
"In general, there's a great atmosphere here" added a tourist from Australia.
"The organisation was great, the race was very exciting and lots of events happening."
However, some spectators said they hope to see better acts such as U2 and Journey coming to Singapore in the next five years.
"I like the races, but the entertainment is a big part of it because it's good to know you can wander around and see a variety of acts" said Lyndsey Igesund from Scotland.
"There have been good names this year and people whom I'm interested in seeing. I've seen Maroon 5 and I'm hoping to dash across to see Katy Perry later," she added.
But some die-hard F1 fans are not really bothered about the entertainment.
Twenty-six-year-old Jasmon Koh said he was there just for the race.
"It's an event I look forward to every year. I've been following the season and when it comes to Singapore it becomes a night race and we get to experience it close up, rather than watching it on TV."
The Marina Bay street circuit has been an iconic venue in the F1 calendar.
Many like 52-year-old Jon Thornes from the UK said the race would lose its appeal if the circuit were different.
"If the circuit is outside the city, we probably wouldn't come. We came here because it's a special place to come. It's in the city, and the cars are racing between the buildings. You can see the beautiful scenery," said Thornes.
With negotiations for a new F1 deal out of the way, organisers now have the challenge of ensuring the Singapore night race doesn't lose its shine.
Already, some spectators have some suggestions for improvement.
"Maybe more exits, because it's really congested. But all in all, they're doing a really good job" said Singaporean Genevieve Seah.
Another spectator Arnab Sen said: "Probably a little more on the entertainment quotient.
"We just have one or two top stars performing. If we can have one or two more performing, that would be more fun."
Alan Doherty from Scotland believes spectators can be better guided around the circuit.
"For us to just walk from the other side of Marina Bay to get here, it was a lot unclear at times, where we were meant to go. You ask for people's advice, some would tell you one way, and it's a dead end! And it was one of their officials, so come on!" said Doherty.
But one local fan thinks it's going to be tough for more improvement.
"Not a lot. This is as good as it gets. This and Monaco, in my opinion," said Remy Koh.
09-24-2012, 01:13 AM #6549
2 new flyovers to be constructed on PIE between Bukit Batok, Clementi
Published on Sep 24, 2012
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build two new flyovers to improve traffic flow along the stretch of the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) between Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 and Clementi Avenue 6. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build two new flyovers to improve traffic flow along the stretch of the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) between Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 and Clementi Avenue 6.
The projects, worth just over $35 million, are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.
A LTA spokesman said that the new flyovers will eliminate motorists having to criss-cross traffic at the slip roads during peak hours. This will help to smooth traffic on the expressway.
In additional to the new flyovers, LTA will also widen Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 between Bukit Batok Street 23 and PIE from two lanes to three lanes in both directions to improve traffic flow.
09-24-2012, 08:35 PM #6550
RWS to unveil oceanarium
World's largest such facility to welcome visitors before resort's grand opening on Dec 7
by Woo Sian Boon
04:45 AM Sep 25, 2012
SINGAPORE - Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will be unveiling the world's largest oceanarium ahead of the resort's grand opening on Dec 7, but stopped short of providing an official date.
Housing more than 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species in more than 60 million litres of water, the Marine Life Park will comprise of two ticketed attractions: The Adventure Cove Waterpark featuring a hydro-magnetic coaster and the South East Asia Aquarium.
In a media preview yesterday, Marine Life Park Director Biswajit Guha also promised that the 25 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins it acquired - which have provoked much controversy - will be part of "interactive programmes" which will be "progressively introduced" next year.
Animal activists were up in arms when some of the wild-caught dolphins died in their holding area in Malaysia in 2010, and animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) has petitioned for RWS to release and rehabilitate the mammals.
However, Mr Guha said that the dolphins, which are now in the Philippines, "are doing very well" but did not say when they will be arriving at the park.
He reiterated that the dolphins will be "given the best care possible" when they arrive.
"To ensure that, we adhere and even go beyond the guidelines stipulated by the American Zoo and Aquariums Association as well as the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks Aquariums.
"We also have a full team on board comprising veterinarians, marine mammal specialists, a life systems support specialist - all these will holistically ensure that the dolphins are given the best care," he added.
Mr Guha said that the dolphins will be "ambassadors" for the park's three pillars of conservation, research and education.
However, ACRES Executive Director Louis Ng maintained that the park does not need live dolphins to engage in educational outreach.
Citing the example of Switzerland, where its government recently banned any further import of dolphins, Mr Ng questioned why Singapore is "starting something which other countries are stopping".
He said: "How will Resorts World tell the kids, look, these dolphins are here, but the biggest threat they face is because we are capturing them? How can this be education?"
Mr Ng said ACRES will support the park if focuses on ethical acquisition polices.
Questioning how many of the park's animals were captured from the wild or obtained sustainably, he said: "You can't educate people when you don't practice what you preach."
A diver emerges from the pool at the Rainbow Reef at Adventure Cove Waterpark, Resorts World Sentosa. Photo by DON WONG
Shipwreck Exhibit at the South East Asia Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa. Photo by DON WONG
09-24-2012, 08:58 PM #6551
F1 will bring S$1b worth of "additional value-add" for economy: Iswaran
by Sharon See
Updated 10:15 PM Sep 24, 2012
SINGAPORE - Staging the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix will bring S$1 billion worth of "additional value-add" for Singapore's economy over a 10-year period, says Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran.
In an interview with Channel NewsAsia after sealing a new five-year deal for the Formula One race, Mr Iswaran said the cost of organising the event has squared off against the tourist receipts the country gets over the race weekend.
The Singapore F1 is the only night race in the world. It costs S$150 million to organise, with the Singapore government footing 60 per cent of the bill.
And with tourist receipts of about S$150 million for each race weekend, Mr Iswaran said the cost of the race squares off for Singapore.
Mr Iswaran said: "So if you just do those numbers at the very basic level, then it squares off at the national level, we think there's a significant benefit. But there are wider spin-offs, and if you look at it from a value-added point of view, we used some consultants to do some estimations, and their own estimation is in terms of a broader economic value, over a 10-year period, at least a S$1 billion worth of additional value-add can be created for the economy. So we used a bunch of this data to triangulate our own position."
Mr Iswaran acknowledged there has been a discount in franchise fees for the new contract, but he declined to reveal the amount due to "commercial confidentiality".
With Singapore's success in hosting the night race, observers say it could be a matter of time before others emulate it.
Mr Iswaran agreed this is a key challenge, and that is why organisers are looking at innovations to keep the Singapore race unique.
Mr Iswaran said: "We have innovated in different ways, we have brought all kinds of lifestyle and entertainment options which were not common in the F1 circuit, prior to the advent in Singapore. Similarly, we've had a very strong corporate component as well. And I think one of the reasons why we wanted to settle this discussion early with the Formula One management team was so that we can get started on the next cycle on some of the innovations that we want to work on together with the race promoter and with the Formula One management to see how we can take it to another level.
"It can be on the entertainment side, it can be in terms of how you bring a different dimension to the fan experience because that's an important part of it. Also, how we can draw in other elements into the Formula One - not just in the weekend itself, but around the weekend - because there's a lot of corporate interest from not only within the motor sports industry, but beyond as well. And I think these are some of the areas we want to look at deeper to see what we can do to bring them in."
Mr Iswaran said organisers also hope to involve more Singaporeans to make the F1 a truly Singaporean event.
Nico Hulkenberg of Force India. PHOTO WEE TECK HIAN
09-24-2012, 09:18 PM #6552
Budget Terminal closes its doors
Published on Sep 25, 2012
The deserted facade of the Budget Terminal after the last flight landed. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
By Karamjit Kaur
- Six years after it opened, Changi Airport's Budget Terminal handled its last flight early on Tuesday morning.
Tiger Airways' TR2727 from Manila landed at about 2am with more than 100 passengers and crew on board. With that, the shutters came down on the facility which launched its operations in March 2006 to cater to the needs of the region's fast-growing budget carriers.
It will be demolished to make way for a new and bigger Terminal 4, which will be ready by 2017.
From Tuesday, access will be restricted to workers helping with the removal of stock and equipment, as well as security personnel. In a few weeks, hoardings will be put up. Airlines that were housed at the Budget Terminal - Tiger Airways, Mandala Airlines, Berjaya Air, Cebu Pacific, Firefly and South East Asian Airlines - have moved to Terminal 2.
At T2, passengers will have more shopping and dining options, as well as direct access to the MRT network and an internal rail system that links the three main terminals. Before, they had to take a shuttle service to get from the Budget Terminal to the main terminals.
The better facilities mean they pay a departure tax of $28, compared to $18 at the Budget Terminal. Over at T2, the budget carriers were nicely settled at check-in rows 10-12 when reporters visited late on Monday night.
But there was some confusion at the Budget Terminal when some travellers on the Cebu Pacific flight to Manila - the last outbound flight from the terminal - ended up at T2. The airline had wrongly listed T2 as the departure terminal.
With the move, T2, which handled 13 million passengers last year, will see total traffic swell to more than 18 million. To make room for extra passengers, more automatic passport lanes have been built. The taxi waiting area at the arrival hall has also been expanded and more taxi bays built - there are now 15, up from 12.
This will mean shorter queues, said Changi Airport Group spokesman Ivan Tan.
Mr Chesterwin Ibarra (left), 32, and his wife, Ms Coleen Muhi (centre), 28, were the last passengers to check in at the Budget Terminal on the Cebu Pacific Flight 5J804 to Manila. They arrived seconds before the counter closed and were assisted by the a member of the Changi Airport staff (right). -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
- Six years after it opened, Changi Airport's Budget Terminal handled its last flight early on Tuesday morning.
09-24-2012, 09:27 PM #6553
Russia-S'pore dialogue to promote broad-based cooperation
by S Ramesh
Updated 09:15 PM Sep 24, 2012
SINGAPORE - The high-level dialogue between Russia and Singapore, which starts tomorrow, aims to explore and promote broad-based cooperation between the two countries in various fields, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) today.
These include trade and investment, information and communications technology, transportation, health, education, people-to-people ties, culture and other areas of mutual interest.
The High-Level Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) will meet in Singapore tomorrow and will be co-chaired by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Mr Igor Shuvalov.
Mr Tharman and Mr Shuvalov will also participate in the Ministerial Dialogue Session at the Seventh Russia-Singapore Business Forum (RSBF) at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre tomorrow afternoon.
The two leaders will discuss the outcome of their meetings with business leaders and exchange views on global developments.
Mr Shuvalov will call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and former Minister Mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He will also visit National University Hospital and Jurong Secondary School.
Meanwhile, the seventh Russia-Singapore Business Forum kicked off at the Marina Bay Sands today.
The forum's executive director and Singapore's former envoy to Russia, Mr Michael Tay, said this year's forum will look ahead to anticipate the coming years, an era which will see cities taking on new meaning as they become the focal points of development.
The forum will continue to look at real estate as investment vehicles, industrial parks as models of development and technology as ways of collaboration between companies.
Among the highlights of the event is an 'In Conversation' session with former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on Wednesday.
09-24-2012, 09:33 PM #6554
Singapore bids to host top-notch badminton event
Published on Sep 21, 2012
By May Chen
The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) has submitted a bid to the Badminton World Federation for hosting rights to the next cycle (2014 to 2017) of Superseries Premier events.
If successful, the Republic's tournament would be one of just five such events in the world. The current five are the Korea Open, All-England Championships, Indonesia Open, Denmark Open and the China Open.
The world's top 10 shuttlers are required to play in Superseries Premier events, which will offer a prize purse of at least US$500,000 (S$628,000) starting 2014.
The Singapore Open, which the Republic currently hosts, is a Superseries-level event, a tier below Premier events. It will feature a prize purse of US$250,000 from the 2014-2017 cycle.
09-24-2012, 11:34 PM #6555
SBA in bid to host Super Series premier
Event will cost up to US$1m but participation of top-10 players almost assured
by Dan Guen Chin
04:45 AM Sep 25, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) has launched a bid to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to host a Super Series Premier event for three years, from 2014 to 2017.
The bid means that the national sports association wants to upgrade its four-star Singapore Open tournament, which offers a US$200,000 (S$246,000) prize purse, to a five-star event offering a minimum purse of US$500,000.
The upgrade also means the SBA has to foot the cost of broadcasting the event live for three days starting from the quarter-final stages. This means that the total cost is estimated to be about US$1 million.
However, the national body thinks that it will all be worth it as the new five-star status will almost guarantee the appearance of the world's top 10 players as it will be mandatory for them to take part in at least nine out of the 12 Super Series events. They will be fined if they fail to do so.
This year's Li-Ning Singapore Open was hit by the withdrawal of top players such as Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei and China's Lin Dan and Chen Long in the men's competition, and Wang Xin, Li Xuerui and Wang Shixian from the women's event.
No reason was given for the withdrawals but it is believed that the shuttlers skipped the June 19-24 competition to focus on the London Olympics last month.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed, hoping that the BWF will accept our bid," said SBA Chief Executive Officer Bobby Lee.
"Our board members feel that making the Singapore Open a Premier event means we are guaranteed the participation of the top 10 players in all the five categories which will add prestige to our tournament.
The SBF's bid makes it the latest sports group to attempt to host a top-tier world sporting event in Singapore. Other world-class events staged here include the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore Triathlon, the World Netball Championships and the F1 Powerboat Nations Cup.
However, the SBA will be facing two major obstacles.
Firstly, TODAY has learnt that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Badminton Australia are also bidding to stage a Super Series Premier event.
Secondly, it is understood that the BWF may be reluctant to hold a fourth Super Series Premier event in Asia, preferring to break new ground in countries where the sport is not as popular. Likewise, TODAY understands that the world body may not want to add more Premier events for the fear of burning out the players with too many competitions.
There are currently five BWF Super Series Premier events - the South Korean Open, which offers the highest prize purse of US$1 million, the Indonesian Open (US$600,000), as well as the All-England Championships and the China and Denmark Opens which feature a purse of US$350,000 each. This means Australia's bid - which features a US$700,000 purse - could be more favoured by the BWF.
As BAM General Manager Kenny Goh said: "I don't think both Singapore and Malaysia are front runners for a Premier Series slot. We will be happy just to be a Super Series event holder."
The BWF will announce the results of the bids in two to three months' time.
Singapore shuttlers Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari at this year's Li-Ning Singapore Open, which was hit by the withdrawal of top international players. TODAY FILE PHOTO
09-24-2012, 11:58 PM #6556
National Cancer Centre rolls out new treatment for breast cancer
Published on Sep 25, 2012
By Melissa Pang
National Cancer Centre Singapore has rolled out a new radiation technique that reduces treatments - from 30 sessions to just one - for breast cancer patients.
The new treatment called Intra-operative radiotherapy, involves delivering a single shot of radiotherapy at the time of the lump removal surgery.
It takes 30 minutes compared to conventional radiotherapy treatment, which is delivered five days a week over a six-week period.
The reduced treatment time is significant given some women choose a mastectomy over the inconvenience of prolonged radiotherapy.
09-25-2012, 08:52 PM #6557
Russia, Singapore to work together, share expertise
Moscow keen to learn about CPF system, says DPM Tharman
Published on Sep 26, 2012
Mr Tharman (left) and Mr Shuvalov (centre) participating in a ministerial dialogue at the 7th Russia-Singapore Business Forum moderated by the forum's executive director Michael Tay at Marina Bay Sands on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
By Yasmine Yahya
Russia dwarfs Singapore in terms of size and population but the country's leaders think there is much to learn here in areas from public housing to infocomm technology.
The Russian government is keen to learn more about the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday.
"They are trying to move away from a system of assistance across the board," Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister, said on the sidelines of the Russia-Singapore Business Forum.
"So (they are interested in) a system of targeted assistance for those in need, especially in health care and other areas, as well as our system of allowing people to own homes through the CPF."
09-25-2012, 09:10 PM #6558
Russia willing to fund S'poreans for higher education in Russian universities
by S Ramesh
Updated 11:01 PM Sep 25, 2012
SINGAPORE - Russia is willing to fund a number of Singaporeans for higher education in Russian universities, said Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shulakov and his delegation.
The topic was raised at the third meeting of the Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission today.
The meeting was jointly co-chaired with Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
A joint statement issued by both the Singapore and Russian co-chairs said Singapore has expressed support for the initiative and agreed to encourage Singaporean students to take up the opportunity.
Russia also informed Singapore about its new programme Global Education in which Russian students and faculty members pursue Masters and PhD programs in the world's best universities, including those based in Singapore.
Both countries agreed to explore the possibility of cooperation for the successful implementation of this programme.
Turning to bilateral ties, both Russia and Singapore reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing relations which have grown stronger and become more multi-faceted in recent years.
Russia and Singapore share many common interests and cooperate well in various fields and platforms and work closely at regional forums, including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which Russia had hosted this year, the East Asia Summit and the Asia-Europe Meeting.
Both Deputy Prime Ministers and their delegations expressed confidence that Russia and Singapore will continue to deepen bilateral cooperation, to facilitate closer links and bring about greater cooperation across diverse fields for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples.
The fourth session of the high-level Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission will be held in Russia next year.
09-25-2012, 09:27 PM #6559
Olympians feted at ceremony, medallists get cash
Published on Sep 26, 2012
Singapore paddlers (from left, in red) Wang Yuegu, Feng Tianwei and Li Jiawei receiving a cheque for their women's team bronze at the London Olympics. With them are Team Singapore's chef de mission Jessie Phua (far left); Acting MCYS Minister Chan Chun Sing (second from left), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (second from right); and Tote Board chairman Bobby Chin. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Singapore athletics icon C.Kunalan acknowledging the cheers of the 200-strong crowd at Tuesday's function. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
By May Chen
It was a dinner to honour the athletes who represented Singapore at the Olympics last month. But the 23 members of the London contingent got more than they bargained for last night - entry into an exclusive "club" called Olympians Singapore.
And on hand to welcome them were some of the nation's most fabled sporting names: Footballer Chia Boon Leong (1948 London), athlete C. Kunalan (1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico City) and weightlifter Tan Howe Liang (1960 Rome).
Olympians Singapore is an organisation set up in 2009 that aims to promote the Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship.
Each of the 23 members of the London contingent received an Olympians Singapore medal - personalised with their names and sport engraved on it - and a lapel pin given by the International Olympic Committee to participants of the 30th modern Summer Games.
S'pore Olympic medallists awarded S$625k
by Tan Yo-Hinn
Updated 08:01 PM Sep 25, 2012
SINGAPORE - A total of S$625,000 was handed out under the Multi-million dollar Awards Programme (MAP) for the two bronze medals won by Team Singapore at the recent London Olympics.
The medals were won by table tennis star Feng Tianwei, who picked up S$250,000 for her bronze in the women's singles, and by the women's table tennis team of Feng, Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu, who each picked up S$125,000 for the women's team bronze.
But they will plough 20 per cent of their respective prize money back to the Singapore Table Tennis Association's training and development programmes.
Presenting the awards at an appreciation dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel earlier this evening was Deputy Prime Minister and Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean, and Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing.
Also present were several of Team Singapore's 23-strong athlete delegation for the London Olympics, including sprinter Gary Yeo, swimmer Mylene Ong and weightlifter Helena Wong.
They were presented with exclusive International Olympic Committee pins and Olympian Singapore medallions.
Past Olympians, including boxer Syed Abdul Kadir, sprinter C Kunalan and footballer Chia Boon Leong, also attended the dinner.
Said Feng: "The Olympic Games ended our year on a high note, and I also hope our performance will encourage more Singaporeans to come forward to take up table tennis and bring more glory to our nation."
09-25-2012, 09:33 PM #6560
S'pore, Russia discuss expanding ties in social infrastructure
By S Ramesh | Posted: 25 September 2012 1840 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore and Russia are taking their cooperation to a new level by expanding it into more areas and deepening the scope of cooperation.
Among the areas being explored include sharing Singapore's experiences in social security like the Central Provident Fund, housing, and expanding ties between the universities of both countries.
These were some key outcomes of the Russia-Singapore Inter-Governmental Commission meeting chaired by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and Mr Igor Shvalov, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister.
Trade and investment between the two sides are growing rapidly and Singapore companies are taking Russia seriously.
Mr Tharman said: "Agriculture is a new area and Russia is keen to develop the sector and some of our companies are already actively engaged in Russia and are keen to expand presence.
"On a global scale, Russia is of some strategic significance when it comes to agriculture because it offers the most significant potential to increase the amount of land under productive cultivation.
"Some of our companies are taking a very active interest in overseas investments both for the Singapore market and the respective market they are investing in, but also for third markets and Olam is a good example where it is entering into wheat production and diary production in Russia."
According to the Singapore Business Federation, the number of Russian companies registered in Singapore as at the end of 2011 stood at some 330 companies.
Close to 38,000 tourists arrived from Russia between January and June this year while close to 60,000 Russian tourists visited Singapore for the whole of last year. Total bilateral trade between Russia and Singapore in 2011 stood at S$4.68 billion.
And Mr Tharman said Singapore's very keen to see a revision of the air services agreement before the end of the year.
"We are happy that we are reaching agreement to expand the number of cities that we can fly to and from between Russia and Singapore. This is very important if we want to foster stronger business linkages and stronger people to people linkages and I think it is in the interest of both countries," Mr Tharman said.
For Russia, it is keen to see more exchanges between the universities of both countries, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said, who spoke through a translator, in particular with the Far Eastern University in Russia.
"Very soon, we will receive a delegation from a Singapore university in Vladivostock. We will present the opportunities in that region of Russia and we will be prepared to provide any mutual advantages, possibilities for such cooperation. We will make no restrictions for cooperation. We believe that the major scientific schools in our country would be prepared to cooperate in any area of interest to Singapore," Mr Igor Shuvalov said through a translator.
Mr Tharman said the Education Ministry's keen to encourage these ties and will see what can be done.
During his visit, the Russian First Deputy Prime Minister also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and participated in the seventh Russia-Singapore business forum.
09-25-2012, 09:45 PM #6561
by Lin Yanqin and Wong Wei Han
04:45 AM Sep 26, 2012
SINGAPORE - If Singapore does not continue to allow for a "calibrated" inflow of immigrants and foreign workers, Singaporeans have to be prepared for little economic growth, limited real increases in wages, and insufficient manpower in the health and social services sectors to serve the Republic's ageing population, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry's (MTI) Occasional Paper on Population and the Economy released yesterday.
At a press conference, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang reiterated that, as the economic growth trajectory slows and the workforce ages and shrinks, Singapore has to complement the resident workforce with a calibrated rate of immigration and foreign worker inflow, even as it seeks to raise the productivity of businesses and encourage more residents to enter and stay in the workforce.
Without these three measures in tandem, the Republic would struggle to reach the economic growth target of 3 to 5 per cent in the years ahead, and keep the real wages of Singaporeans growing, he noted.
The National Population and Talent Division is putting together a White Paper on population policies, due out early next year. The MTI's Occasional Paper seeks to provide Singaporeans with a clearer understanding of the trade-offs involved, when it comes to foreign manpower.
Mr Lim said: "In the end, this is a national conversation. If Singaporeans say 'no, we are no longer interested in 3 to 5 per cent (growth), we want 1 per cent (growth)', well, that's the outcome of the exercise. We just have to be sure that everyone goes into it with a clear mind, that we understand the trade-off, and we are taking that trajectory."
Observers TODAY spoke to noted that, while Singaporeans may see the rationale behind the economic arguments, other considerations could come into play.
For example, some Singaporeans may reject the necessity of having more foreign labour or immigrants because "they don't necessarily enjoy the benefit of maintaining foreign workers, which can create wealth and help develop our economy," said SIM University economist Randolph Tan.
"Instead they are penalised by the presence of foreigners due to increased property prices or job market competition," he said.
National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Straughan noted that it can be hard for individuals to "look beyond their personal unhappiness for the well-being for the nation".
"The macro economic scenario is not easy for everyone to understand," said Associate Professor Straughan. "So the way forward is about trust in the Government in that what they say is true, and they have to come down and woo the public."
In the Occasional Paper, the MTI described the importance of the foreign workforce, pointing out that foreign manpower has helped Singapore restructure its economy to tap into emerging sectors where the necessary skills are not immediately available. It has also given Singapore the flexibility to respond quickly to economic opportunities when they come along.
Foreign manpower also help to "cushion Singaporeans from unemployment during downturns", the paper added.
Moreover, given the improving educational profile and rising aspirations of Singaporeans, fewer Singaporeans will be willing to take up less-skilled jobs, and foreign workers can help meet the demand for labour in these sectors.
While there have been concerns about the presence of foreigners depressing wages, taking away jobs and even encroaching on space, Mr Lim noted that "it depends which sector you are talking about". "What this paper tries to address is, instead of this generality that I am unhappy with foreign workers, well, talk about your sector. Which sector are you in, are you in the healthcare sector? Are you receiving services from the healthcare sector? Well, if you've got no foreign workers, be prepared to pay higher cost," Mr Lim said.
The MTI paper also pointed out that a foreign workforce could help check consumer inflation in domestically-oriented sectors like retail and F&B, which economist Tan Khee Giap agreed was valid.
But the co-director of Asia Competitiveness Institute at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy also noted that, on the other hand, the cost of things like housing could go up as a result of a larger population in Singapore - partly fuelled by immigrants - driving up demand. "It comes back again to the question of coordination between ministries and stat boards to meet the needs of an expanded population, and whether policies are in place," he said.
09-25-2012, 09:55 PM #6562
Myanmar's Speaker of Lower House meets Singapore leaders
By Hanna Begam | Posted: 25 September 2012 2159 hrs
SINGAPORE : Myanmar's Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament has reaffirmed the positive bilateral relations between Singapore and Myanmar.
Thura U Shwe Mann also expressed appreciation for Singapore's consistent support of Myanmar in its reforms and economic development.
Mr Shwe Mann met Acting President J Y Pillay and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday. He had met Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Monday.
During the meetings, Mr Shwe Mann gave updates on developments in his country, in particular the role of the Union Parliament in Myanmar's reform process, and the progress on Myanmar's Foreign Investment Law.
Singapore leaders also offered to continue sharing Singapore's experiences in areas which Myanmar might find useful in its development.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Shwe Mann was also scheduled to observe a Meet-the-People Session hosted by Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, Hri Kumar Nair.
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