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  1. #6750
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    Default NTU scientists discover way to halt muscle loss

    TODAY
    by Sara Grosse
    04:46 AM Dec 20, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Scientists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered a technique to prevent muscle loss.

    This could potentially pave the way for new treatments for ageing, obesity and diabetes.

    Muscle loss occurs with ageing and chronic conditions like diabetes, and rapid muscle deterioration is a major cause of death among patients suffering from diseases like cancer and chronic infection.

    Yesterday, NTU researchers said they have found a way to block a certain protein, myostatin, that is found in the human body, and which is responsible for initiating muscle loss.

    When myostatin is attached to a muscle cell, it causes the muscle cell to waste away.

    The scientists have developed small molecules that prevent the protein from attaching itself to the muscle cell.

    This keeps the body in a "fat-burning mode" and promotes muscle growth, which could target obesity.

    As obesity is one of the main causes of diabetes, inhibiting myostatin could also treat the condition.

    The team is now embarking on clinical research using human samples to further validate their findings, which have been effective in animal trials.

    Assoc Prof Ravi Kambadur from NTU's School of Biological Sciences said, "Our intention is to develop something that can be taken orally or given through injections, so that, for example, blood sugar levels can be controlled more efficiently, and obesity can be overcome."

    The research team is also hoping to find natural inhibitors of myostatin - such as those found in vegetables or fruits - which can supplement the diet.

    Associate Professor Kambadur added that the long-term effects of blocking myostatin need to be studied as the protein is also needed to regulate cell growth for normal body operations.

    SARA GROSSE

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    Default Last remaining Hakka Cemetery at Holland Close

    Published on Dec 21, 2012
    5:30 AM





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...s/rip2012e.jpg
    Picture of a man dwarfed by lines of tombstones at the Holland Close Hakka cemetery in the evening of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip22012e.jpg
    Picture of a 58-year-old grounds caretaker, "Ah Koon", cutting the grass at the Holland Close Hakka cemetery in the evening of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip32012e.jpg
    Picture of the general view of the cemetery on the morning of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip42012e.jpg
    Picture of a MRT train passsing by the Holland Close Hakka cemetery in the evening of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip52012e.jpg
    Picture of the general view of the cemetery on the morning of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip62012e.jpg
    Picture of the Hakka temple situated behind the cemetery having a pond in its front, a fixture common in other Hakka temples according to 82-year-old grounds supervisor, Loh Kwan Ling. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip72012e.jpg
    Picture of Mr Loh Guan Siong, 63, standing at his grandparent's grave at the Holland Close cemetery on Saturday, Dec 15, 2012. -- PHOTO: JANICE TAI



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...ripp82012e.jpg
    Picture of 70-year-old Commonwealth housing estate resident, Amy Chua, walking pass tombstones at the Holland Close Hakka cemetery on the morning of Dec 18, 2012. She has been living in Commonwealth for more than 50 years and often uses the cemetery path as a shortcut. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../rip92012e.jpg
    Picture of 82-year-old grounds supervisor, Loh Kwan Ling (left), and 58-year-old grounds caretaker, "Ah Koon", at the Holland Close Hakka cemetery on the morning of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...rip102012e.jpg
    Picture of 82-year-old grounds supervisor, Loh Kwan Ling, making customary prayers at the temple behind the Holland Close Hakka cemetery on the morning of Dec 18, 2012. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG




    Right smack in the middle of a housing estate, just a stone's throw away from the hip and bustling Holland Village, lies a cemetery with nearly 3,000 graves.

    The location of the last remaining Hakka cemetery, nestled on prime land in a residential area at Holland Close, bears testimony to how it once escaped the onslaught of development. But it may not be lucky a second time round.

    Committee members from the clan association have suggested clearing it out and building a multi-storey building there instead.

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    Default Singapore's start-ups struggle to woo investors

    09:39 AM Dec 21, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The Republic's decade-long push to become a hotbed for entrepreneurs is stuck at stage one.

    The city-state of 5.3 million people ranks No 1 in the world in ease of doing business and fourth in starting one, according to a World Bank study. It offers low taxes, easy-to-obtain seed money to start a business and a well-educated, English-speaking workforce in the gateway to Asia.

    It just takes one day and S$315 to register a business in Singapore. Yet, it has struggled to attract international investment money for its own start-ups.

    Venture capital firms are put off by the small size of the market, lack of big ideas that can be a global success and an uncertain exit strategy. Only 50 out of 301 venture capital firms based in Singapore are interested in local investment, according to the Asian Venture Capital Journal Research.

    Of the 70 high tech start-ups the government has invested in over the past two years, just 10 received follow-on private funding from investors locally and abroad, according to the National Research Foundation, the government arm responsible for research and development.

    "There is a real shortage of venture capital (VC) firms investing in Series A in Singapore," said Mr Leslie Loh, an entrepreneur-turned-investor, referring to the first round of funds raised by start-ups after seed capital.

    "VCs are looking at countries like India and China where there is a larger domestic market."

    Only 2 per cent of the total venture capital investment in Asia is aimed at Singapore, according to Asian Venture Capital Journal Research's data for this year. Japan, China and India topped the list of big VC investments in Asia.

    "In the early stage there is a big push (by the government). But if you look at the whole ecosystem for helping companies grow, there is a gap in the growth stage," said Prof Wong Poh Kam at National University of Singapore's business school.

    "For a Singapore company to be able to achieve global success, it needs to have sufficient follow-on venture capital funding."



    CHICKEN AND EGG PROBLEM



    Pampered by government funds at the early stage, when start-ups can tap up to S$500,000 in grants, companies are finding it hard when they go looking for millions of dollars from venture capital firms for Series A funds.

    Of the 374 venture capital investments in Asia this year, Singapore accounted for just 24, according to AVCJ Research.

    "If there are no success stories, VCs do not think there is a compelling reason to be here," said Prof Wong.

    But that success depends on big money from venture capital firms, leaving start-ups stuck in a vicious cycle.

    Mr Andrew Roth, co-founder of Perx, which makes a digital loyalty card application, said one of the first questions he heard from investors when he went looking for funding was: "What is your net operating income?"

    Mr Roth says he would not have been asked that question if he was in Silicon Valley, where investors care more about the functioning of the product and its ability to gain scale.

    "The mindset has to change," said Mr Roth, who is currently in the process of raising a second round of funds from individual investors and funds. "It is a younger ecosystem so investors are so much more risk averse."

    Singapore's start-ups are also forced to think globally right from day one as a product aimed at a small domestic audience is not going to bring them a lot of success.

    Mr Henn Tan, head of Trek 2000 International, the company that introduced the ThumbDrive USB flash drive in 2000 and ranks among the few globally known success stories of Singapore, said it is difficult for Singapore to produce entrepreneurs.

    "Because fellow Singaporeans are being subjected to regimented life from early years ... there are too many rules and regulations for the young generation to think out of the box without being reprimanded," he said.

    The problem of raising funds beyond the government-created cocoon raises the question of whether its involvement in the start-up scene is actually a good thing.

    Some think the government initiatives allow undeserving start-ups to get easy money, while others say the lack of private funds just proves that the government has to be active in providing a catalyst to start-ups and entrepreneurs.

    The government says it needs to support start-ups at the early stage because that's where the most risk exists.

    "When the landscape is one which sees the vibrancy that you see in California and where multitudes of VCs have taken root and are able to manage a portfolio from early stage to growth stage to pre-IPO, then we can take a step back," said Mr Low Teck Seng, CEO of the National Research Foundation.

    But he also warned against too much government involvement. "If the government funds what the industry thinks is not worth funding, then we will not be doing justice to public funds," he said.



    IDEAL ENVIRONMENT




    Other than state-run or state-backed companies such as Singapore Airlines and Keppel Corp, there are only a few big home-grown companies from Singapore.

    There was Creative Technologies, whose PC audio cards, speakers and MP3 players were a hit in the early 2000s, but it fell out of favour with increasing competition.

    The company has posted 21 straight quarters of losses and voluntarily delisted itself from the Nasdaq in 2007.

    For Mr Roth, who moved from New Jersey to Singapore to start his company, the attraction is the presence of global firms that set up an Asian base here, providing a steady stream of potential customers.

    The fact that Singapore is home to high-flying business executives also helps. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin invested in Perx early on. He sits on Perx's board and meets with Roth and his team once a month, Mr Roth said.

    "It's hard for Singapore to claim to be an entrepreneur hub for (the) whole of Asia," said Prof Wong. "A more realistic target would be for South-east Asia." REUTERS





    TODAY FILE PHOTO

  4. #6753
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    Default Poly students want 'stress-free' society

    Their vision for Singapore in 2030 at odds with increasingly competitive global environment

    by Amir Hussain
    04:46 AM Dec 21, 2012



    SINGAPORE - A more gracious and inclusive society with a slower pace of life, where Singaporeans are happier than they are today and not caught up in the rat race.

    This is the Singapore that 185 students from four polytechnics here hope to see in 2030.

    In particular, the students hoped for a "stress-free" society, less competition at the workplace and a four-day work week - wishes that are at odds with the increasingly competitive global environment that Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong tried to paint to them.

    The youths from Temasek Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) were participating in a two-hour dialogue yesterday with Mr Wong as part of the Our Singapore Conversation project.

    The participants' views prompted Mr Wong to explain at length the increasingly competitive global environment that Singapore will find itself in.

    Nevertheless, speaking to TODAY afterwards, Mr Wong said he was not worried and he could understand why the youths felt that way.

    "They grew up in a certainly more stressful environment, a more competitive environment, and so I think it's natural that there is that desire for them to want a better work-life balance, to have a better quality of life," Mr Wong said.

    Mr Wong added: "I think that what's important is, as I have tried to do, to help them understand that we have to make a living within a more competitive environment at the same time.

    "And so as we try to find our way in that competitive environment, I think then they will have to find their own balance."

    The dialogue was jointly organised by the People's Association Youth Movement (PAYM) and the SP's Youth Model ASEAN Conference committee.

    The participants were split into 10 groups to discuss five key themes: Education, family, jobs, society and people. They then presented their ideas to Mr Wong.

    SP student Daniel Chew, 19, suggested a four-day work week with a break on Wednesday, "so it gives you time to relax".

    He noted that most people usually feel burnt out by the fourth day of the week and have to drag themselves to work on Fridays.

    Another participant added: "We want Singaporeans to be more approachable and friendly, and have a more optimistic and carefree lifestyle, to be stress-free."

    Mr Wong said the idea of a four-day work week was enticing but he noted that businesses will be affected.

    On their ideal Singapore in 2030, the participants should take into account the Republic's broader environment then, Mr Wong said.

    By 2030, China would have overtaken the United States as the world's largest economy.


    The economies of Asia would also be larger than the combined economies of the US and Europe by then, he said.

    Other trends include the Republic's ageing population, the rise of Asia's middle class and the growing demand for resources such as food and energy, which will put pressures on commodity prices.

    "It's not to be taken for granted that Singapore will be where we are today, because other cities are growing much faster than us, and the drive to get ahead is very strong," said Mr Wong.

    "And we must keep in mind that we are a small city within this bigger world. And as we think about what we would like to have in the future we have to consider these factors as well," he added.

    "It's a question of choice and consequence ... all of us can choose but we must be mindful that there are consequences behind (a particular) choice," Mr Wong said.

    Apart from talking about the Singapore they would like to see in 2030, the participants voiced strong opinions on perennial issues affecting their daily lives now - the lack of concessionary travel on public transport and the availability of university places for Singaporeans.

    In response, Mr Wong said the issue of concessionary fare for public transport for polytechnic students is being reviewed by the Ministry of Transport.

    On university places, he reiterated that the percentage of each cohort entering university will be increased from the current 30 per cent to 40 per cent, while the percentage of international students has gone down from 18 per cent to 15 per cent.

  5. #6754
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    Default Lions make AFF Suzuki Cup history


    Thai football player Kirati Keawsombut (left) battles for the ball with Mohamad Shaiful Esah Nain (right) during their AFF Suzuki football Cup final second leg in Bangkok on Dec 22, 2012. Singapore lifted the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup for a record fourth time on Saturday, despite going down 0-1 to Thailand in the second leg in Bangkok. -- PHOTO: AFP


    Singapore lifted the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup for a record fourth time on Saturday, despite going down 0-1 to Thailand in the second leg in Bangkok.

    The Lions withstood heavy pressure from the home side throughout, but emerged 3-2 winners on aggregate.

    Hopes ran high for the Thais when Kirati Keawsombut headed in Theerathon Bunmathan's corner right at the end of the first half. But Singapore regrouped in the second half with a determined defensive display to hold off the hosts.
    After the match, the jubilant Lions paraded their new blue jersey with four gold stars - one each to represent the titles won in 1998, 2004, 2007 and now, in 2012.

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    Default Lions win AFF Suzuki Cup for the 4th time

    by Gerard Wong
    10:51 PM Dec 22, 2012

    BANGKOK - Singapore may have lost the battle at the Supachalasi Stadium tonight but their 1-0 loss to Thailand in the second-leg of the Asean Football Federation Championship was not enough to cause them to lose the war.

    Thanks to their 3-1 win over the Thais in the first-leg last Wednesday, tonight's defeat meant that Singapore still emerged 3-2 winners in the end, a result that not only crowned the Lions as the champions of South-east Asia for a record fourth time but also provided departing national coach Radojko Avramovic with the perfect send-off on his final game with Singapore.

    There was also double joy for the Lions as skipper Shahril Ishak was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and received a US$10,000 cheque for his efforts throughout the tournament.

    But the Lions were certainly made to work for the title tonight as the Thais, cheered on by the capacity 20,000-home crowd, went all out from the start and threw everything at them in search of the two goals that they needed to overturn the result.

    It was Singapore who nearly drew first blood in the ninth minute when attacking midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman found himself with a golden opportunity to score but Theerathon Bunmathan made a last-gasp challenge to rob the ball off him.

    However, it was Thailand all the way after that as they launched attack after attack, forcing Singapore to be pinned back in their own half for most of the game.

    Piyapol Bantao and Theeratorn were constant menaces down the flanks as they regularly sent pin-point crosses into the Singapore box, while bleached-haired teammate Jakkapal Pornsai tormented the Singapore defenders with his speed, dribbling skills and willingness to shoot from any distance.

    And even though influential midfielder Datasakorn Thonglao failed to stamp his mark on the game once again, his teammate Pichitphong Choeichu was a snarling pit-bull who battled Singapore's Fahrudin Mustafic and Isa Halim and orchestrated his team's forays.

    The Thais skied a few shots but as the missed opportunities mounted, the 350 Singapore fans who made their way to Bangkok to support the Lions, found themselves feeling increasingly anxious and sensing that something ominous was on the way.

    And then it finally happened - at the worst possible time.

    Just before half-time, the Singapore defensive wall was finally breached as Thai striker Kirati Keawsombut left Safuwan Baharudin in his wake as he sprinted, jumped and bullet-headed a corner past Izwan Mahbud.

    The timing of the goal was a huge psychological boost for the Thais who came out after the break looking clearly pumped up.

    But again it was Singapore who almost managed to score in the 57th minute when Khairul Amri capitalised on a mis-kick by Jakkapal, fed a defence-splitting pass to Shahril who then sent a square pass across the face of the Thai goal to an oncoming Aleksandar Duric. The 42-year-old striker would definitely have found the net if Piyapol had not made a perfect sliding tackle to rob him of the ball.

    A minute later, Kirati could have become a national hero when he rose in the box to meet Theerathon's perfect cross. But Safuwan made up for his defensive lapse in the first goal by sneaking in ahead of the Thai striker to head the ball away.

    Kirati then missed a golden opportunity in the 66th minute when Isa Halim's miskick enabled Thailand to chip a pass to the Thai striker. With Safuwan beaten for pace, the 25-year-old only needed to keep his cool and slot the ball past Izwan but he sent it over the bar.

    The Thais continued to pound away at the increasingly tiring Lions who held on for dear life as the minutes ticked away. But there was to be no eventual joy for Winfried Schafer and his men as the referee finally blew the whistle, and the exhausted and tearful Singapore players hugged one another in joy and relief.

    The Lions will now return to a hero's welcome at Changi Airport Terminal 2 at 1.15pm tomorrow (Sunday).

    They will then be taken on a victory parade via an open-top bus which will travel through Orchard Road before heading to Jalan Besar Stadium at 330pm for a victory reception. Football fans who want to celebrate with the team at Jalan Besar should gather at the stadium at 3pm.

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    Default Lions return to heroes' welcome


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM Dec 24, 2012



    SINGAPORE - They came armed with handmade cards, banners, drums and blaring horns, an 800-strong sea of red who gathered at Changi Airport Terminal 3 to give a heroes' welcome to Singapore's football team - the newly-crowned ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup champions.

    The fans had every reason to celebrate after the Lions' historic victory over rivals Thailand, whom they beat 3-2 on aggregate over two legs in Singapore and Bangkok to secure a record fourth ASEAN title.

    Among the army of football fans at the airport yesterday was Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who said: "My congratulations to the Lions and coach Raddy (Radojko Avramovic), I think they did a wonderful job.

    "It's even more special because they started out the tournament as underdogs and very few people gave them a chance to come this far to the finals or even to win and they exceeded all expectations.

    "They played with great spirit, and great heart. It's wonderful that the Lions have given to Singapore this very wonderful Christmas gift."

    Acknowledging that football held "a special place" among sports fans here, Mr Wong said that much needed to be done to bring football to the next level. He said: "We have had a successful Suzuki Cup, we have to build on this success to develop the next phase."

    The team's next major assignment begins in one-and-a-half months, when they kick off the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers against Jordan in Amman on Feb 6. But much uncertainty looms with veteran coach Avramovic - who guided Singapore to ASEAN titles in 2004, 2007 and this year - indicating that he will step down.

    Striker Aleksandar Duric, 42, has already announced his retirement from international football, and more senior players could follow.

    Celebrations of the Lions' momentous victory stretched for over three hours yesterday, with the footballers parading the Suzuki Cup trophy in an open-top bus along Orchard Road before pausing to greet some 500 fans gathered outside Ngee Ann City.

    The day's festivities ended with a party at Jalan Besar Stadium as over 3,000 supporters clad in red jerseys and scarves filled the grandstand seats to relive their favourite Suzuki Cup moments with their football idols.

    Said 32-year-old Suriani Abdul Wahid, a SingaMania fan club member whose entourage of 21 included her four daughters aged five to 10: "I was at the airport at 10am because I wanted to get a good spot. I couldn't go to Bangkok to support them because it was too last-minute and the air tickets were expensive, so I wanted to show my support here with my family."

    Lions captain Shahril Ishak - who has won three ASEAN championships - was visibly moved by the fan support yesterday. He said: "I'm proud to be a Singaporean. It's a great honour for me to stand here with the fans welcoming us. We've gone through a very tough journey in our tournament campaign when sometimes the results are not on our side, but we kept believing and the fans keep supporting us. This is the most special Suzuki Cup for me."









    The triumphant Lions. Photo: Don Wong

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    The previous posts on Singapore's quality of life for miliionaires and the contrast with the desires of the polytechnic students make for interesting reading.

    I came across this article. When I observed that Singaporeans complain a lot, some Singaporeans get pretty defensive. Perhaps this article shows the underlying reasons for my observation. Reading the comments was interesting. I went to Singapore a couple of years ago for a week. I think the nicest smile I received was on Sentosa at a food court. I think she was a girl in her 20's (probably from mainland China as she seemed only to understand putonghua) at the drinks stall (I was buying Cendol). Very at odds with the looks of exasperation I received when asking for directions at an information counter.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...motion-deficit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheung View Post
    The previous posts on Singapore's quality of life for miliionaires and the contrast with the desires of the polytechnic students make for interesting reading.

    I came across this article. When I observed that Singaporeans complain a lot, some Singaporeans get pretty defensive. Perhaps this article shows the underlying reasons for my observation. Reading the comments was interesting. I went to Singapore a couple of years ago for a week. I think the nicest smile I received was on Sentosa at a food court. I think she was a girl in her 20's (probably from mainland China as she seemed only to understand putonghua) at the drinks stall (I was buying Cendol). Very at odds with the looks of exasperation I received when asking for directions at an information counter.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...motion-deficit
    The well-to-do foreigners come to Singapore mainly for the safe environment, good infrastructure, the availability of a variety of goods and services plus entertainment. Something that the government has worked hard to achieve all these past 50 years.

    Our young people have also worked hard to get themselves a good education that enables them to work almost anywhere in the world.

    It is true that hitherto our education system did not encourage demonstrations of any kind that can disrupt our work and societal attitudes. The government has learned from past experience that strikes, stoppages, demonstrations, and other adverse actions can lead to chaos and civil unrest, apart from economic unproductivity. Therefore laws are set aside to handle such issues before they turn worse.

    It is a fact that the absence of unproductive mass actions and an increasingly better quality education in an efficient economy that have helped Singapore achieve distinction in many fields. Perhaps this climate and atmosphere of quiet endurance have influenced our young people into being less vocal in their demands.

    But it does not mean that they are less-thinking young adults. Our university students have won accolades in many spheres, including international debates in law and others. So keeping much to themselves as indicated in the surveys, does not mean they are generally unhappy. In fact, the government has upgraded numerous facilities and included new additions to keep pace with the aspirations of the young.

    It is true that imported inflation, particularly created by foreigners in the property market, especially in the private sector, and the luxury goods sector like cars, and the increased demand of basic facilities like transportation have caused much unhappiness and it is now left to the government to come up with reasonable solutions if they want to remain in power.
    Last edited by Loh; 12-24-2012 at 12:57 AM.

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    Default

    The Business Times

    Published December 26, 2012

    Public sector review report highlights key themes, challenges
    By
    Wong Wei Kong




    Published once every two years, SPOR provides a perspective on how the public sector and Singapore have fared in a broad range of areas of national interest - PHOTO: SPH



    The Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Wednesday released the second issue of the Singapore Public Sector Outcomes Review (SPOR), highlighting several key challenges facing Singapore.

    Published once every two years, SPOR provides a perspective on how the public sector and Singapore have fared in a broad range of areas of national interest.

    This issue of SPOR gives an update of progress across the whole-of-government in recent years, including the past year. "While we have done well in a number of areas such as improving healthcare outcomes, broadening educational pathways and strengthening international relations, there are also key challenges and concerns facing Singapore and Singaporeans. SPOR 2012 highlights how public agencies are working together to address these challenges," it said.

    These include efforts to expand the housing and transport infrastructure, as well as initiatives to address longer-term challenges such as sustaining real income growth.

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    This is one of the best places to visit. I think the Singapore can also have active participation in various aspects. Please more some more attachment links through a post for the more detailed view of the site and also about updates of the forum. Thanks in advance.





    everest base camp trekking in nepal
    adventure everest base camp trekking

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loh View Post
    The well-to-do foreigners come to Singapore mainly for the safe environment, good infrastructure, the availability of a variety of goods and services plus entertainment. Something that the government has worked hard to achieve all these past 50 years.




    It is true that imported inflation, particularly created by foreigners in the property market, especially in the private sector, and the luxury goods sector like cars, and the increased demand of basic facilities like transportation have caused much unhappiness and it is now left to the government to come up with reasonable solutions if they want to remain in power.
    The influx of 'hot money' brings more headaches. After the Asian crisis, HK had wage reductions but at least prices of basic commodities stayed the same. Housing became more affordable. Compared to 10 years ago, I think we have to pay double prices for food. At least badminton racquets haven't doubles in prices. Really it goes down to those Western economies who were so cynically quick to impose restrictions on Asian countries during the Asian crisis.

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    Default Delhi gangrape victim will be treated in Singapore

    Multiple organ transplants for 23-year-old woman will likely be carried out at Mount Elizabeth Hospital

    Updated 10:03 AM Dec 28, 2012

    NEW DELHI - The 23-year-old medical student, whose rape by six men on a bus in the Indian capital earlier this month sparked violent protests across the country, has been flown to Singapore for medical treatment.

    Sources quoted by New Delhi Television said the hope is to arrange for an organ transplant for the unidentified woman - who has been fighting for her life since the hour-long rape, which saw her struck by an iron bar and ended with her and a male companion being thrown off the moving bus - in Singapore, where she will be admitted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

    "The patient arrived at Mount Elizabeth Hospital's Intensive Care Unit this morning at 9:05am in an extremely critical condition," said a Mount Elizabeth Hospital spokesperson. "She is being examined and the hospital is working with the Indian High Commission. We request that the privacy of the patient and family be respected."

    Large parts of her intestines were removed as a result of the injuries from the attack, according to NDTV. Her condition worsened on Christmas day when she suffered a cardiac arrest and was revived by cardiac pulmonary resuscitation, her doctors said
    .

    An air ambulance equipped with intensive care facilities left Safdarjung Hospital at around 11.45pm last night (local time), and carried the victim, her family, and a team of doctors to the airport, according to the Press Trust of India.

    Sources quoted by Firstpost India said the girl was being flown to Singapore in a specially chartered plane. The flight took six hours, a relatively short journey which her doctors said factored into their decision to transfer her.

    "Based on the advice of a team of doctors, the government of India has made arrangements that the patient be shifted in a well-equipped air ambulance to a renowned hospital so that she can be provided state-of-art medical treatment that may stretch many weeks," said Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent B D Athani.


    He added that the victim has undergone three operations since the assault. "With fortitude and courage she has survived the after-effects of the injuries so far but her condition continues to be critical," he told reporters.

    The victim's family, including her mother and father, will accompany her to Mt Elizabeth Hospital, which was chosen for its "state-of-art multi-organ transplant facility", said Dr Ahtani.

    Sources quoted by the Financial Times said the Indian government will bear all expenses of the girl's treatment in Singapore. The government also stepped in to expedite the necessary visas and passports for the patient and her family earlier yesterday, NDTV reported. Sources quoted by Firstpost India said the Indian government has asked its High Commission in Singapore to render all necessary assistance to the victim.

    The Dec 16 rape of the woman, who is still in a critical condition, triggered widespread protests in New Delhi and other parts of the country. Demonstrations in the heart of New Delhi were frequently been quelled by police tear gas and water cannons, and one policeman died in clashes with the mobs.

    All six suspects in the case have been arrested. AGENCIES

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    Default iPhone app helps users cruise around Bay

    TODAY

    by Desiree Tay
    04:46 AM Dec 28, 2012

    SINGAPORE - It will be easier for iPhone users to navigate the Marina Bay area, with the launch yesterday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of a smartphone application, Marina Bay FUN Finder (picture).

    It allows users access to interactive maps, public transport suggestions, real-time updates of parking availabilities and rates, as well as suggestions on thematic walking tours.

    The application also features a calendar of events that allows happenings at Marina Bay to be sorted by date, interest and even distance from the user's location.

    The launch of the application came ahead of Monday's Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2013, as the application will also point users to vantage points to catch the fireworks.

    This year, fringe events will be starting earlier, the first being a special Countdown edition of Rhythms by the Bay featuring bands from ITE College West, Temasek Polytechnic and FM Pop Music School performing at the Waterfront Promenade from 5pm.

    Besides the night's highlight of an eight-minute-long fireworks display, the Countdown event will screen a four-part film on gratitude - the theme for this year's Countdown - at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, Waterfront Canopy and The Edge. An addition to this year's line-up of events is a light show of "skydancing" LED kites put up by crew of GoFlyKite.

    URA Place Management Conservation & Urban Design Group Acting Deputy Director Jason Chen said that while organisers expect a crowd of 300,000 this year - similar to last year - the addition of Gardens by the Bay as a new vantage point would mean that numbers might be bigger.

    To usher in the new year, MediaCorp is also organising a countdown party - Celebrate 2013 - at the Marina Bay Floating Platform, starring Korean band M.I.B. Tickets are available at S$25 each from SISTIC. Desiree Tay




    Marina Bay FunFinder iPhone app. Photo: URA

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    Default A grateful Li bids farewell

    Veteran table tennis star decides to call it a day after almost two decades


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM Dec 28, 2012



    SINGAPORE - In the course of her long career, Singapore table tennis star Li Jiawei became affectionately known as the "ice queen" of the national women's table tennis team.

    But the tears flowed freely yesterday as the 31-year-old announced her retirement after a successful competitive career that has raked in two Olympic medals, one World Team Championship winner's medal and numerous other titles.


    During the press conference at the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) headquarters in Toa Payoh, during which it was also revealed that pregnant team-mate Sun Beibei is retiring as well, the world No 21-ranked Li struggled to contain her emotions.

    "I have been here for about 18 years and I feel a lot of gratitude towards the STTA and Singapore," she said as tears streamed down her cheeks. "I may be leaving the STTA but I will always be a member of the association and I hope they can continue to groom the young talents."

    Once ranked as high as world No 3, the Beijing-born Li cited her knee injury as one of the reasons for her decision to quit. She could still be involved with the STTA though.

    She will now be based in Beijing with her businessman husband Li Chao and three-year-old son Tianrui. According to STTA President Lee Bee Wah, the STTA are trying to link Li up with potential employers, Singapore companies with offices in the Chinese capital, and her work is likely to involve young children.

    Li first arrived in Singapore under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme and began her competitive career in 1996. A graduate of Beijing's prestigious Shichahai Sports School, whose alumni includes former world No 1 Zhang Yining, Li was a key member of the 2008 Beijing Games team that clinched the women's team silver, Singapore's first Olympic medal in 48 years.

    In February 2009, she took a year-long break to prepare for the birth of Tianrui, who was born in October. A year later, she was part of the women's team that stunned China to claim a historic World Team Table Tennis Championships title for Singapore.

    But Li said: "For me, the most satisfying moment was at the 2012 Olympic Games because that was after I gave birth to my son. Competing in the final crucial match in London (against South Korea) and playing so well is the most proud and satisfying moment for me. Unlike the 2008 Games, this was a bronze medal but this one is the most significant and meaningful for me."

    The five-time Sportswoman of the Year added: "Whatever job I take on in future, I will be contributing to Singapore and that is my wish. I want to continue to repay Singapore for supporting and nurturing me all these 18 years."

    Also joining Li and former team-mate Wang Yuegu, who stepped down after the London Games, in retirement is Sun. The 28-year-old, who is expecting her first child in June, has been appointed coach of the youth players in the STTA's School Within a School programme at the Singapore Sports School. Yesterday, Sun said she would consider returning to compete professionally if her recovery goes well.

    Lee said the national women's team face a tough road ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. "Our immediate plan is to raise the standards of younger players like Isabelle Li and Yu Mengyu to reach that of the seniors. This is not an easy task but I have great faith in these young players and our new women's team head coach Jing Junhong."

    ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DEBORAH ONG





    Li Jiawei arriving at Changi Airport after winning the Table Tennis World Team Championships in 2010. The 'ice queen' announced her retirement from the sport today. TODAY file photo



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    Default Veteran table tennis player Li Jiawei retires

    The Straits Times

    Published on Dec 27, 2012






    Singapore's paddler Li Jiawei in action at the 2012 World Team Table Tennis Championships held in Dortmund on March 26, 2012. The 31-year-old is calling it a day on a career that included appearances at four Olympics. -- PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION / REMY GROS





    By May Chen


    Veteran table tennis player Li Jiawei is calling it a day on a career that included appearances at four Olympics.

    The Singapore Table Tennis Association made the announcement Thursday afternoon at its Toa Payoh headquarters.

    The 31-year-old, who has not played since being part of the bronze-winning team at the 2012 Olympics, had been battling injury since returning from London. She was also part of the team that won silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and also contributed to Singapore's victory over China at the World Team Championships in 2010 to become world champions.

    Team-mate Sun Beibei also announced her retirement as a player, but will continue to serve as a youth coach for the students in the School Within A School programme at the Singapore Sports School.

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    Default Jing believes void left by Li and Sun will be filled

    by Low Lin Fhoong

    Updated 10:55 PM Dec 27, 2012



    SINGAPORE - Former table tennis star Jing Junhong will not forget Christmas 2012 in a hurry.

    The 42-year-old jokingly "berated" her former charges Li Jiawei and Sun Beibei for their "good Christmas gifts", after the pair announced their retirements at a press conference at the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) yesterday.

    With Wang Yuegu, another member of the silver and bronze medal-winning sides at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games respectively, also in retirement, the national women's team will be led by world No 6 Feng Tianwei.

    She will link up with Yu Mengyu, Isabelle Li, and possibly Zhou Yihan and Lin Ye, and re-building the women's team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be a top priority.

    "Everyone can see that Tianwei and Mengyu are of a certain standard, with our No 3 player Isabelle and other young ones like Zhou Yihan and Lin Ye who are 17 or 18 years old," said Jing.


    "The whole squad is not that bad. The future will be a difficult and tough one, but we will persevere. Give them time, and the younger players will see the opportunity and hope and work hard for the next four years.

    "Next year's SEA Games will be their first test, and if we have a good plan, our team can do it."

    Jing will have her work cut out with a squad comprising youngsters like 18-year-old Republic Polytechnic student Isabelle - the 2010 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist is currently training full-time with the national team - Yihan and Li Ye, currently ranked 212th, 89th and 104th in the world respectively.

    "The situation today (retirement of the players) is not a surprise and we have been planning for it," said STTA President Lee Bee Wah, who did not rule out the possibility of recruiting foreign-born talents.

    "We may not be able to retain our results for the next one to two years but we have four years to groom these players.


    "I'm confident of our medal chances in 2016 provided the players are focused and hungry for success. They have the ability to do it." LOW LIN FHOONG

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