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  1. #7175
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    Default Sime Darby, KLK units among firms blamed for fires

    The Straits Times

    Published on Jun 26, 2013
    8:22 AM




    Villagers sit on their motorcycles as they get ready to leave their homes as a fire burns a palm oil plantation in the Bangko Pusako district in Rokan Hilir, in Indonesia's Riau province June 22, 2013. The parent companies of the Indonesian firms included Malaysia-listed Sime Darby and Singapore's Wilmar Group. Singapore has warned the "haze" - which has fuelled fears about health problems and raised diplomatic tension in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia - could last for weeks, or even longer. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS


    By Alvin Foo

    Three firms accused of starting fires that led to the haze crisis are units of some of Malaysia's largest public companies, while another is linked to a fund that helps Malaysian Muslims save for pilgrimages.

    Indonesia last week pinpointed eight firms as being responsible for setting fires to clear land.

    Two of the slash-and-burn suspects are units of Sime Darby Plantation, which is part of Sime Darby, a conglomerate with a market value of RM56.7 billion (S$22.5 billion) and 100,000 staff in more than 20 countries.

    Another company being investigated is a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK), a giant company with plantation, resource-based manufacturing and property interests. It has a market value of RM22.5 billion.

    A fourth, PT Multi Gambut Industri, is a subsidiary of Malaysia's Lembaga Tabung Haji, the pilgrimage fund board that runs a scheme helping Malaysian Muslims save for their pilgrimage to Mecca.

    CIMB regional economist Song Seng Wun said: "Sime Darby and KLK are very large Malaysian companies with a long history. Sime Darby is seen as a government-linked company, while KLK is a family-controlled Chinese business."

    Sime Darby Plantation is one of the world's largest palm oil producers, accounting for 2.44 million tonnes, or about 5 per cent of global crude palm oil output yearly.

    It has plantations in Malaysia, Liberia and Indonesia's Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi. In Singapore, the Sime Darby brand is known through Sime Darby Motors, which distributes BMW cars.

    The conglomerate, whose roots go back to the 19th century, also has interests in industrial equipment, energy and utilities, and health care.

    Similarly, KLK started as a plantation company over a century ago. It has a land bank of over 250,000ha across Malaysia and Indonesia's Belitung Island, Sumatra, and central and east Kalimantan.

    KLK's chief executive is Malaysian tycoon Lee Oi Hian, who has been named with his brother Lee Hau Hian as one of Malaysia's 40 richest by Forbes, with a combined net worth of US$1.1 billion (S$1.2 billion).

    The group has now diversified into property development. It also owned retailer of bath and body products Crabtree & Evelyn, which was sold last year for US$155 million.

    Both Sime Darby Plantation and KLK have denied involvement in the fires, adding that they have strict no-burning policies.

    Sime Darby Plantation
    said its units operate in areas where there are local communities and smallholders occupying parts of the concession area linked to the haze, and they are unable to control activities in areas occupied by others.

    KLK
    said on Monday that the purported concession area under PT Adei Plantation is mainly planted with mature palms, with no land-clearing for new plantings.

    PT Multi Gambut Industri is now known as PT TH Indo Plantations
    . Its parent, the Lembaga Tabung Haji, said it is not involved in any open burning activities.

    Aside from Sime Darby's PT Bhumireksa Nusa Sejati and PT Tunggal Mitra Plantation, and KLK's PT Adei Plantation, the others named are PT Langgam Inti Hibrindo, PT Udaya Loh Dinawi, PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa, and PT Mustika Agro Lestari.

    On Monday, the Association of Plantation Investors of Malaysia in Indonesia said Malaysian firms are not involved in clearing Indonesian land using fire. Its executive secretary, Mr Nor Hazlan Abdul Mutalib, told Bernama: "Plantation owners have to set aside 20 per cent of land to nurture smallholders in oil palm planting. It is a common practice for the smallholders to clear the land by fire."

    alfoo@sph.com.sg
    Additional reporting by Chia Yan Min


    Background story

    Wilmar, Golden Agri admit links

    TWO of the world's biggest palm oil companies - Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources - have admitted that they do business with some of the eight named companies being investigated for starting haze-related fires in Indonesia.

    Both Singapore-listed companies said they are in the midst of reviewing these dealings.

    The eight firms are among the 14 being investigated so far by Indonesia for the fires.

    Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil processor, said it conducts business "with some of these companies as they have assured (it) that they have a no-burn policy". It is checking with these firms to ascertain their involvement.

    A Wilmar spokesman said: "However, should they be found to be involved in burning to clear land for cultivation, we will stop doing business with them."

    A Golden Agri spokesman said: "We have some transactions with a few of the named companies, and the management is in the process of reviewing these."

  2. #7176
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    Default Singapore Botanic Gardens named top park in Asia: TripAdvisor survey

    Published on Jun 25, 2013
    5:47 PM



    The Singapore Botanic Gardens has been named the top park in Asia based on feedback by travellers on online travel site, TripAdvisor. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


    By Melissa Lin

    The Singapore Botanic Gardens has been named the top park in Asia based on feedback by travellers on online travel site, TripAdvisor.

    The site announced the winners of its inaugural Travellers' Choice Attractions awards on Tuesday. These were determined based on the quality and quantity of travellers' reviews in each of the categories.

    The awards honour 1,263 of the world's top landmarks, parks, museums and amusement and water parks, with winners found in 39 countries.

    Universal Studios Singapore came in second in the list of top 10 amusement and water parks in Asia, losing out to Indonesia's Waterbom Bali. The Asian Civilisations Museum was named one of the top museums in the region, taking the twelfth spot, while the Singapore Flyer was named the top landmark in Singapore. TripAdvisor's chief marketing officer Barbara Messing said the top attractions were named based on feedback from millions worldwide and were meant to "inspire travellers setting out on summer trips".

  3. #7177
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    Default PM Lee: Yudhoyono's apology "gracious" and Singapore accepts wholeheartedly

    Published on Jun 25, 2013
    4:54 PM




    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore "wholeheartedly" accepts Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's apology for the haze, and welcomed his promise to spare no efforts in tackling the serious problem. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA



    By Rachel Chang

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore "wholeheartedly" accepts Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's apology for the haze, and welcomed his promise to spare no efforts in tackling the serious problem.

    In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Lee said that Dr Yudhoyono's apology, made on Monday in a televised press conference, was gracious.

    Referring to Dr Yudhoyono's pledge for the Indonesian police to take the necessary legal action against those responsible for the forest fires that have produced the haze, Mr Lee said that he hoped for "swift and sustained action."

    He also reiterated Singapore's offer of assistance to Indonesia to put out the fires.

    "Singapore stands ready to work closely with Indonesia, Malaysia and others in the region to bring to an end the haze-related problems which have plagued our region. We need to put in place a permanent solution to prevent this problem from recurring annually," he said.

  4. #7178
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    Default Singapore Armed Forces concludes deployment in Afghanistan

    Published on Jun 25, 2013
    12:16 PM




    Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Aloysius Joseph (left) training Afghan soldiers on the detection and identification of improvised explosive devices in Oruzgan. All Singaporean troops will be brought home from Afghanistan by June 2013, as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officially ends its six-year deployment there. -- PHOTO: MINDEF



    By Fabian Koh

    With the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the final stages of taking over full security responsibilities for their country, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) concluded its deployment there in a ceremony last Saturday at the Multinational Base Tarin Kowt located in Oruzgan.

    It was attended by Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Ravinder Singh, Commander of Australian forces in the Middle East MG Michael Peter Crane, and Commander Regional Command South MG Robert B. Abrams.

    The SAF has deployed close to 500 personnel to Afghanistan since May 2007 as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), contributing their expertise in areas such as humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts, as well as training the ANSF.

    Describing this deployment as one of the longest and most wide-ranging overseas deployments for the SAF, MG Singh said, "Our soldiers have consistently demonstrated a high level of professionalism and commitment in carrying out their duties. We are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the global fight against terrorism and help the Afghan people."

  5. #7179
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    Default Baby girl for Sun Beibei



    TODAY

    By Low Lin Fhoong


    13 hours 41 min ago

    SINGAPORE – Former national paddler Sun Beibei and husband Xu Qiang welcomed a new addition to their family early this morning (June 25) with the birth of their baby girl, nicknamed An An, at the Thomson Medical Centre.

    The 28-year-old went into labour at 5am on Tuesday morning, and her firstborn was delivered naturally some 90 minutes later. Despite arriving four days after her scheduled delivery date, An An weighed in at a healthy 3.2kg and measured 50 cm in height.

    First-time parents Sun and Xu were happy to welcome their bundle of joy, as they said in a statement: “Our new baby has given us immense pleasure and happiness. We hope that our baby girl will grow up strong and healthy.”

    A member of the women’s team that claimed a bronze at the London Games, Sun – along with teammates Li Jiawei and Wang Yuegu – had announced her retirement from competitive table tennis after the 2012 London Olympic Games. She was then appointed coach of the youth players in the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s School Within a School programme with the Singapore Sports School.

  6. #7180
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    Default Quah on comeback trail



    Quah won the women’s 50m butterfly in 27.54 sec to meet the event’s ‘B’ qualifying time for next month’s World Championships in Barcelona. Photo: Wee Teck Hian



    By Tan Yo-Hinn

    7 hours 6 min ago

    SINGAPORE — After a difficult past couple of years, national swimmer Quah Ting Wen is optimistic she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

    The 20-year-old yesterday won the women’s 50m butterfly in 27.54 sec
    , the first event of the Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) at the Singapore Sports School. She met the event’s “B” qualifying time of 27.77 sec for next month’s World Championships in Barcelona, while Marina Chan and Mylene Ong were joint second in 27.96 sec.

    United States-based Quah, who has one more year before she completes her four-year communications course at the University of Southern California, believes her performance is a good sign. “To do a personal best in an event I don’t normally race in was unexpected,” she said.

    “Although I don’t expect to eventually get selected for this event for the World Championship, as Tao Li has posted a better time, it is a good start for me here, particularly after the past year or so, when I broke my arm, which affected my form. I missed the 2011 SEA Games and several other meets and it had a domino effect, as I also missed the London Olympics.”

    The SNSC is the only local qualifier for the SEA Games and the last opportunity to make the cut for the World Championships (July 19-Aug 4).

    Quah is also racing in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, the 100m and 200m fly and the 50m backstroke this week.

    Having won five golds at the 2009 SEA Games, Quah wants another shot at the Dec 11-22 Games in Myanmar. But as the format of the SNSC could change depending on the haze — if the PSI rises to hazardous levels, the results of the heats could be used as the final times — she is focusing on what she can control. “Since I got back, training had been affected, with sessions shortened, postponed or cancelled,” she said. “We all have to deal with it and prepare as best as we can.”

    Also meeting the “B” qualifying times for next month’s World Championships were Samantha Yeo in the women’s 50m breaststroke and Tao Li in the women’s 50m backstroke.

    Samantha, 16, won her race in 33.01 sec, ahead of Phee Jing En (34.27) and Cheryl Lim (34.37), to go under the “B” benchmark of 33.12 sec, while Tao, 23, won her race in 29.13 sec, ahead of Lynette Ng (30.48) and Malaysia’s Caroline Chan (30.69), to meet the “B” timing of 29.85 sec. TAN YO-HINN
    Last edited by Loh; 06-25-2013 at 10:20 PM.

  7. #7181
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    Default Documenting the heritage of Bidadari Cemetery





    The tombstone of medical doctor and social reformer Lim Boon Keng. Photo: Don Wong

















    The former Bidadari Cemetary is almost as big as four-and-a-half National Stadiums and is home to tombstones of 21 notable Singapore pioneers. Photo: Don Wong



    National Heritage Board calls for tender to conduct research on cemetery before redevelopment


    By NG JING YNG

    7 hours 14 min ago

    SINGAPORE — The National Heritage Board (NHB) will be documenting the historical elements of the former Bidadari Cemetery and its surroundings, which have been slated to be turned into a housing estate.

    According to a tender called by the NHB on June 5, it is seeking an agency to “conduct research and to prepare a detailed report on the heritage of the former Bidadari Cemetery and the wider Bidadari estate”. Among other things, the project due by August will include an account of the developments and events that have taken place as well as the origins and history of the place — one of Singapore’s oldest burial grounds. The NHB has also asked vendors to conduct interviews with relevant individuals.

    In February, the Government announced Bidadari as one of three new housing estates, alongside Tampines North and Tengah. The authorities later assured that the development of Bidadari, which is set to offer 11,000 units over the next three years and is located at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Upper Aljunied Road, will incorporate its green landscape and historical elements.

    The former cemetery includes the Bidadari Garden, which is home to tombstones of 21 notable Singapore pioneers. They include medical doctor and social reformer Lim Boon Keng and former Speaker of Parliament George Oehlers. Dr Lim and Song Ong Siang, a lawyer who was also buried at Bidadari, founded the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School in 1899.

    The former Bidadari Cemetery, which is almost as big as four-and-a-half National Stadiums, is currently used by joggers. The graves were exhumed in 2001.

    Responding to media queries, the NHB said: “This project is in preparation for the development of Bidadari estate.” Adding that the NHB and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be working closely on the project, the NHB spokesperson said:

    “Bidadari’s history and heritage elements will be considered in the planning of the (Bidadari estate).”

    Heritage and history experts TODAY spoke to applauded the NHB’s efforts to consider historical elements during the Bidadari development process, noting that the move signified an increased awareness in preserving Singapore’s heritage.

    Last year, the Government’s decision to build a road through the Bukit Brown Cemetery drew flak from both conservation and nature groups. Some parties felt that there was a lack of consultation before plans were finalised, while others were up in arms over the loss of nature and heritage spaces in the country.

    History academic Goh Geok Yian from Nanyang Technological University felt that the Bukit Brown episode could have been “instrumental” in alerting the NHB to the importance of documenting gravestones and other structures in Bidadari.

    She suggested giving members of the public a chance to participate in the research process, including giving views on how they want historical places to be remembered.

    “Places, like the Bidadari estate and cemetery, form parts of a history of Singapore which is multifaceted and longer,” said Dr Goh. “The obliteration of many of these places only serves to make our country’s history poorer and less interesting.”

    Singapore Heritage Society Vice-President Chua Ai Lin said that it is important to provide urban planners with the research findings during the early stages of development, “so that the research can inform the planning in a meaningful way”.

    “It is important not to look at Singapore as if it is a blank slate, but to incorporate a sense of continuity from the past in our future plans,” she added.
    Last edited by Loh; 06-25-2013 at 10:42 PM.

  8. #7182
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    Default Swimming: Tao Li qualifies for FINA World Championship with backstroke record



    SINGAPORE - The 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships kicked off on Tuesday.

    And Singapore's queen Tao Li set a new record of 29.13 seconds in the 50-metre backstroke.

    Tao Li's excellent time also meant that she qualified for the FINA World Championship in Barcelona, Spain, next month.

    Tao edged out fellow Singaporean Lynette Ng, who clocked 30.48 seconds.

    Malaysia's Caroline Chan was third in 30.69 seconds.


    - CNA/de
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  9. #7183
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    Default Punggol Waterway to get more freshwater mangroves in near future

    Published on Jun 27, 2013
    10:02 AM






    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../27996594e.jpg
    Longest man-made waterway at Punggol Waterway. It was opened in October 2011 and is the focal point of the 12.3ha Waterway Park. Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../27971150e.jpg
    Cyclists and joggers along Punggol Waterway in the direction towards Jewel Bridge during sunset on Aug 19, 2012. Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../27953241e.jpg
    My Waterway @Punggol, a 4.2km man-made river that runs right through Punggol Town. Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future. Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI



    By Kash Cheong


    Residents at Punggol Waterway can look forward to more freshwater-tolerant mangroves and floating wetlands in the near future
    . Currently HDB has test-bedded about 160sq m of freshwater-tolerant mangroves along the waterway. It plans to ramp this up to about 6000sq m over the next three to five years. It is also looking at adding approximately another 500sq m of floating wetlands in the same period.

    This was after successfully test-bedding it with an existing 50 sq m, said Senior Principal Architect Alan Tan.These two projects will cost $1.8 million and $850,000 respectively.

    HDB's Punggol Waterway project was given the Minister for National Development R&D distinguished award for being a living laboratory for green innovation.

    A project that turns waste concrete into high value construction material was given the merit award. This was jointly done by the Building and Construction Authority and construction firm SamWoh Corporation.

  10. #7184
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    Default Walkway in new Punggol district to be above ground

    Published on Jun 27, 2013
    8:45 AM



    An artist’s impression of Northshore, which will be the first public housing district to be fully connected to an LRT station via a path one level above the ground. The walkway will also lead out to Punggol’s coastal promenade. -- PHOTO: HOUSING BOARD



    By Charissa Yong

    Residents in an upcoming Punggol district will have the most extensive second-storey walkway in Singapore, linking them block to block from LRT station to the sea.

    Northshore will be the first public housing district to be fully connected to an LRT station via a path one level above the ground. The walkway, which will be lined with greenery, leads out to Punggol's coastal promenade.

    Similar corridors which connect carparks to Housing Board blocks or malls to MRT stations already exist, but are not so extensive, said the Housing Board.

    Ground-floor void decks will still be present but transformed into high-ceiling atriums with greenery and open spaces, revealed HDB Building Research Institute director Larry Cheng in an interview yesterday.

  11. #7185
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    Default Iconic Singapore Zoo celebrates its 40th birthday

    Despite hard lessons along the way, zoo is now one of the world's best



    Published on Jun 27, 2013
    8:44 AM




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...C_3720074e.jpg
    Assistant director of zoology Alagappasamy Chellaiyah feeding Bornean orang utans at the Singapore Zoo. -- PHOTO: DESMOND LUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...les/zoo01e.jpg
    Schoolchildren watch as "Inuka", a male polar bear, swims in its pool enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on May 29, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...les/zoo02e.jpg
    Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics swims in his new enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 in Singapore. -- FILE PHOTO: AP



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...les/zoo03e.jpg
    The white tiger is a star attraction at the Singapore Zoo. -- FILE PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER PHOTO: MOHD ISHAK



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...s/zoo04e_0.jpg
    A zookeeper feeding the African striped deer in the Singapore Zoo. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...s/zoo05e_1.jpg
    With a little help from her flexible trunk, Gambir the elephant raises the national flag up a flagpole while her fellow elephants raise their trunks in a salute. -- ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...les/zoo07e.jpg
    People at the entrance of the Singapore Zoological Gardens, located in Mandai. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE ZOO



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...1_3720063e.jpg
    Zoo icon Ah Meng having ''tea'' with model Margaret Pye for a Canon camera advertisement photo shoot in 1981. With them were the ad agency’s creative director, Ms Catherina Ng, and Ms Ng’s daughter. At the end of the three-hour session, Ah Meng picked up a $500 ''modelling fee'' for the zoo. -- ST FILE PHOTO



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...5_3720181e.jpg
    Children stroking lion cubs put on show for the first time at the zoo on Jan 4, 1974. They were among 1,000 visitors who spent the Hari Raya Haji holiday at the zoo. -- ST FILE PHOTO



    By Melissa Lin


    THE thought of a panther or bears escaping from the Singapore Zoo - regarded as one of the top zoos in the world today - and its staff keeping quiet about it may be hard to fathom now.

    Yet that was exactly what happened 40 years ago, when its staff were still inexperienced, said one of the zoo's pioneer zookeepers, Mr Alagappasamy Chellaiyah.
    But the iconic zoo, which celebrates its 40th birthday today, has come a long way, he added.

    The 62-year-old, who joined the zoo in 1971 and is now the assistant director of zoology, recalled when two sun bears and a black panther escaped about four months before the zoo opened its doors to the public in June 1973.


    Background story

    Milestones in 40-year history

    1968: Dr Ong Swee Law, chairman of Public Utilities Board, conceives the idea of a Singapore Zoo in the catchment forests around the Upper Seletar Reservoir.

    June 27, 1973: Singapore Zoo officially opens with a collection of 272 animals from 72 species.

    1974: Congo the hippopotamus escapes on Jan 14 and stays in Upper Seletar Reservoir for 52 days, until March 7.

    1982: Breakfast with an orang utan programme begins.

    Dec 26, 1990: Inuka becomes the first polar bear to be born in the tropics.

    1998: The Fragile Forest, Singapore Zoo's first immersive exhibit, opens.

    Feb 6, 2008: Zoo icon Ah Meng dies at the age of 48. More than 4,000 people attend the funeral. The orang utan becomes the first zoo resident buried on the park's grounds.

    May 29, 2013: The new $8 million polar bear exhibit, Frozen Tundra, opens.

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    Default NUS research team creates first robotic fish in Asia that can function on its own

    Published on Jun 26, 2013
    6:20 PM



    (From left) Lab technologist Zhang Heng Wei, research fellow Ren Qinyuan and graduating electrical engineering student Fan Lupeng pose with different versions of the Robot Carp, which can be used in research for underwater archaeology. A team of National University of Singapore researchers has created the Robot Carp - the first robotic fish in Asia that can dive, float, and use its fins like a real fish. It can also be programmed to perform specific functions on its own. -- PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE


    By Farah Mohd Ismail


    A team of National University of Singapore researchers has created the Robot Carp - the first robotic fish in Asia that can dive, float, and use its fins like a real fish. It can also be programmed to perform specific functions on its own.

    Unlike traditional underwater vehicles, it has the flexibility, shape and size of a fish, which enables it to access narrow spaces easily. This is particularly useful in research for underwater archaeology, where wreckage may be difficult for divers or machines to access, said researchers. Other potential applications include military activities or pipeline leakage detection, which may be too dangerous for humans to perform.

    The team, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is made up of graduating electrical engineering student Fan Lupeng, Professor Xu Jianxin and research fellow Ren Qinyuan. The Robot Carp was part of Mr Fan's final year project and won the High Achievement Award at the Engineering Faculty's 27th Innovation and Research Awards.

    Currently, most robot fish can perform only two-dimensional movements, which means they are unable to dive and are limited to swimming at the water surface. While it has not been tested in an actual marine environment, the team hopes to make its robot fish even smaller and more realistic. Mr Fan added: "We intend to equip it with more sensors like GPS (Global Positioning System) and a video camera to improve autonomous 3-D movement. We also intend to test out our fish with more challenging tasks such as object detection."

  13. #7187
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    Default Princely art collection on display at National Museum of Singapore

    By Alvina Soh
    POSTED: 26 Jun 2013 10:40 PM

    SINGAPORE: Members of the public will be able to catch a glimpse of one of the world's most important private art collections at the National Museum of Singapore.

    The exhibition will run from June 27 to September 29.

    The Crown Prince of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Prince Alois, officiated at the opening of the exhibition "Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein" at the museum on Wednesday evening.

    It will be the first time 91 masterpieces from the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein, including rare and major works of European art acquired by Liechtenstein’s royal family, will be featured in the museum.

    Visitors can look forward to some of the finest in European art spanning 500 years.

    Also giving a local touch to the exhibition are 16 oil paintings depicting local pioneers, including Singapore's first president, Yusof Ishak.

    Prince Alois is on an official visit to Singapore from Wednesday to Friday.

    - CNA/fl
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    Default Singapore Sports Hub to feature sports promenade, community facilities

    POSTED: 26 Jun 2013 7:19 PM

    SINGAPORE - World class events aside, the Sports Hub - set to open in April next year - will be a place for the ordinary man to enjoy too.

    It will feature a sports promenade and other community facilities, most of which will be free of charge.

    The sports promenade is an open space, and will link all the major facilities in the Hub.

    There will also be community facilities like a rock-climbing wall, skate park, beach volleyball and a leisure water ride.

    Other amenities like a jogging and cycling track will connect the Sports Hub to East Coast Park and MacRitchie.

    The iconic facility also boasts quite a bit of technology, like self-cooling seats, which will be a welcome relief in Singapore's hot weather.

    Mr Clive Lewis, Associate Director of Arup Associates - Sports Venue Design, said: "It provides local air to each seat within the stadium, so something new in terms of the scale we are doing, 55,000 seats, and also allowing it to be naturally ventilated as well as the stadium space. We can actually change the way the technology is being used for a night-time event to a day-time event."

    Also confirmed are the colour of the seats - red and white.

    The field for the facility will be created using natural turf, reinforced with artificial fibre. But a confirmed decision on that will be made later.

    What is certain is that the Singapore Sports Hub is one of the only facilities in the world custom-made for four different sports - cricket, rugby, football and athletics.



    - CNA/de
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    Default ‘Integrity’s a must’ for next IOC chief



    From left: 2004 Olympic fencing silver medallist (epee team) Claudia Bokel, 1992 Olympic windsurfing champion Barbara Kendall, Adecco Vice-President (IOC Athlete Career Programme) Patrick Glennon, Singapore Sports Institute Assistant Director Peggy Tng, retired Singapore national water polo player Yip Ren Kai, and AXA Insurance Financial Service Director Tan Eng Seng addressing about 50 Singapore athletes at the IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar at the Marina Bay Sands on June 26, 2013. Photo courtesy of Adecco.




    Barbara Kendall, 1992 Barcelona Olympics windsurfing gold medallist, shared tips with national sailor Renfred Tay and windsurfer Audrey Yong at the IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar. Photo: Adecco



    Rogge’s successor must stay true to values, says windsurfing great Kendall




    ByTan Yo-Hinn

    11 hours 9 min ago

    SINGAPORE — The six candidates seeking to become the next International Olympic Committee (IOC) President will present their manifestos to fellow members at next week’s IOC Extraordinary Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    But for Barbara Kendall, one of the world’s greatest windsurfers and New Zealand’s IOC member, their bids alone are not enough.

    Speaking yesterday at the IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the sailboard gold medallist from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics suggested the next IOC President must have integrity above all else.

    The 42-year-old Kiwi, a five-time Olympian, is possibly the first among IOC members to publicly comment on the IOC presidential election.

    “I’m waiting to hear the presentations when we go to Switzerland next week,” said Kendall, who won silver and bronze at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games, respectively.

    But the most important thing, she said, was integrity. “Just integrity. The IOC is built on values, and if there are any gaps in their values, then that will be exposed very quickly, so they have to be very, very true to their values.”

    A successor to current IOC President Jacques Rogge will be elected on Sept 10 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Germany’s Thomas Bach, an IOC Vice-President, is an early favourite, but Singapore’s Ng Ser Miang, also an IOC Vice-President, is regarded as a serious challenger.

    The other candidates are Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, who heads the IOC’s Finance and Audit Committee, International Rowing Federation President Denis Oswald of Switzerland, International Boxing Association chief Wu Ching Kuo of Taiwan, and Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergey Bubka.

    They, together with Rogge and retired Olympians like Kendall, are expected to attend the IOC Athletes Commission and Forum from today until Saturday at MBS.

    Kendall was one of six speakers at yesterday’s IOC Athlete Career Programme seminar.

    The other speakers were 2004 Athens Olympics fencing silver medallist Claudia Bokel of Germany, Adecco Senior Vice-President (IOC Athlete Career Programme) Patrick Glennon, Singapore Sports Institute Assistant Director Peggy Tng, retired national waterpolo player Yip Ren Kai and AXA Financial Service Director Tan Eng Seng, with Ng as the event’s guest-of-honour.

    The day-long session saw them, as well as badminton player Pedro Yang and speed skater Yang Yang, interact with over 40 Singapore national athletes on planning for life after their competitive sports careers.

    Launched in 2005, the IOC Athlete Career Programme has reached out to about 12,000 athletes.

    “If you have the peace of mind that you have something after your sporting career, it makes it easier to train everyday,” said Bokel, 39, an IOC Executive Board member.

    Former national sailor Xu Yuan Zhen, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, felt that more companies here needed to change their mindsets.

    “Athletes spend a lot of their time training and competing, and tend to lose out when applying for a job,” he said.

    “Employers generally tend to go for technical skills, and overlook the qualities and values an athlete brings.”

  16. #7190
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    Default Man gets prestigious scholarship, 6 years after brush with death






    Photo: Don Wong


    By Kenneth Low

    6 hours 56 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Mr Karthigayan Ramakrishnan barely escaped with his life when a Taiwanese fighter jet crashed into the storeroom that he was in during National Service training on that island six years ago. Burns covered 45 per cent of his body and he spent almost 60 days in hospital, “walking the line” between life and death.

    Yesterday, in a clear testimony to how far he has recovered, the 29-year-old was among five Singaporeans awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship by the United Kingdom government. Known previously in Singapore as the Raffles Scholarships, the programme offers bond-free scholarships to promising young Singaporeans.

    Mr Karthigayan, who will be the very first Chevening-British Alumni scholar, said the scholarship came as “a real boost”. “It will drive me to do even better,” he added.

    The scholarship, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will help to pay for his master’s degree in public policy at Sheffield University.


    Explaining his choice of study, Mr Karthigayan, a sociology graduate from UniSIM, said: “When I was doing sociology, I realised that it is public policy and governance that affects every part of daily life … If you want to be part of the change, you have to be part of (it).”

    Mr Karthigayan, who is currently a senior executive of student affairs at NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has also been working actively to inspire other burn victims through the Singapore General Hospital’s burns support team.

    “When you are a burn victim, your features change. Sometimes there is skin discolouration or celluloid, but when we meet each other, we reinforce to one another that life goes on. The kind of message we want to give is to accept it first. Coping happens later,” he said.

    Indeed, Mr Karthigayan’s recovery from the May 2007 crash, which killed three Singaporean soldiers and two Taiwanese pilots, has been fraught with much pain and difficulty, although it has influenced the way he views life.


    “The accident reinforced one thing for me, that life was fragile. There is only this limited time that I have to do what I want to do ... So that’s what I keep telling myself every day — to make the best out of everything,” said Mr Karthigayan, who got married earlier this year.

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    Default New training and career centre for social service sector

    Published on Jun 28, 2013
    10:30 AM





    Those interested to work in the social service sector may now get help for training and job placement at a one-stop career centre - the first of its kind in the sector. This centre is part of the new Social Service Institute, which was officially launched on Friday morning by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The new institute at TripleOne Somerset replaces the Social Service Training Institute. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH


    By Lim Yi Han

    Those interested to work in the social service sector may now get help for training and job placement at a one-stop career centre - the first of its kind in the sector. This centre is part of the new Social Service Institute, which was officially launched on Friday morning by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

    The Workforce Development Agency will fund the training and the operations of the career centre with a grant of up to $28 million over three years. The career centre aims to boost manpower in the sector by matching jobs for 2,000 individuals by 2016.

    DPM Tharman, who is also Finance Minister said: "The solution to low incomes and inequality does not merely lie in supporting incomes through Government transfers or other police moves...It takes people with the passion and skills to help others. We must groom a larger pool of committed, qualified and skilled social service professionals."

    The new institute at TripleOne Somerset replaces the Social Service Training Institute which already provides training courses and programmes for those in the social service sector.

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