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  1. #7209
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    Default Commandos win Best Combat Unit award for the 10th consecutive year

    Published on Jun 29, 2013
    10:48 PM






    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...doOne2906e.jpg
    The Commandos form up outside the door of the enemy compound, getting ready to storm the building. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...oFive2906e.jpg
    The Commandos get ready to strike. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM






    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...oFour2906e.jpg
    The Commandos cut through barbed wire to infiltrate an enemy compound. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...doTwo2906e.jpg
    The Commandos keep watch on the outside as their teammates storm the enemy compound. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...Three2906e.jpg
    The Commandos storm an enemy compound. The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...Three2906e.jpg
    The RSS Intrepid, winner of the Best Ship award, berthed at its lot. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM






    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...idOne2906e.jpg
    Commanding Officer of the ship, LTC Vince Tan, takes the helm in the Combat Information Centre. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...onTwo2906e.jpg
    (From left, standing in front of an F-15SG fighter jet) ME3 Saravanan, Fight Line Crew IC; MAJ Neo Aik Tiang, Senior Weapon Systems Operator (WSO); LTC David Lim, Pilot and Commanding Officer of 149 Squadron; CPT Max Ng, Pilot and Unit Safety Officer; and ME1 Wilfred Ying, Flight Line Crew. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...Three2906e.jpg
    149 Squadron's Commanding Officer LTC David Lim salutes before the F-15SG fighter jet taxis to the runway. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...onOne2906e.jpg
    An F-15SG fighter jet, flown by the 149 Squadron, races along the runway before take-off. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


    By Royston Sim

    The Commandos have clinched the Best Combat Unit Award at this year's Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition - its 10th consecutive win.

    Also known as the Red Berets, the elite unit is among 13 active units in the SAF lauded as the top performers in their respective formations.

    Meanwhile, stealth frigate RSS Intrepid clinched the Best Ship award. It is the first time the warship has nabbed the prize since its commissioning in 2008.

    The Republic of Singapore Air Force's 149 Squadron, home of the F-15SG fighter jets, took home the Best Fighter Squadron award.

  2. #7210
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    Default Experts provide insights on haze in ST online forum


    Published on Jul 01, 2013
    8:37 PM



    By Feng Zengkun


    Three experts helped to answer Singaporeans' questions about the haze at a special online forum organised by The Straits Times on Monday.

    The questions ranged from health concerns to more technical ones, such as how the haze is measured.

    The experts who gave their insights were: respiratory medicine specialist Dr Ong Kian Chung; research scientist at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, Dr Erik Velasco; and senior research scientist at the Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing & Processing (CRISP) at the National University of Singapore, Dr Santo Salinas.




    Office workers cover their mouths and noses while others wear masks as they cross a road on June 20, 2013. Three experts helped to answer Singaporeans' questions about the haze at a special online forum organised by The Straits Times on Monday, July 1, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AP


    Here are some of the questions posed at the forum, and the experts' answers:

    Why was the haze so bad this year?

    Dr Salinas: In the Philippines and Taiwan, there were storms that pulled the moisture north and created an episode of dry-spell in our region. That was a unique event that happened that led to the burning becoming worse. It's not likely to be repeated in the next three, four months, but we are at the beginning of the dry season, so we are still likely to get smoke from biomass burning.

    Why does Singapore use the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) and not the Air Quality Index, which other countries like the United States use?

    Dr Velasco: The PSI includes five criteria pollutants - ozone, PM10, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. The standard index doesn't include fine aerosols. These were picked by the US in the late 70s and 80s. At the time, we didn't know much about fine aerosols and didn't have the instrumentation to monitor them.

    Can the human body cleanse itself of small, toxic particles called PM2.5?

    Dr Ong: Once those foreign bodies are in there, they will cause some kind of inflammation which would have taken place once those particles are in the body. Once they are in the bloodstream they can go anywhere in the body, and it will be very difficult for the body to cleanse them.

    Are spot-readings of the pollution in the haze useful?

    Dr Velasco: The National Environment Agency's data is very useful to make decisions about pollution in general; however for events like smoke haze, we need to act quickly, so we need hourly data. The 24-hour, 8-hour or 3-hour average data removes spikes which are also important in terms of health. In the international arena, the majority of monitoring networks report both hourly and 24-hourly data.

    How can people protect themselves against the haze's pollution?

    Dr Ong: Follow the Government's health advisory and wear face masks outdoors if the air is unhealthy. Having air purifiers indoors can also help. The NEA has a list of recommended air purifiers on its website.

    For more, read Tuesday's print edition of The Straits Times. The forum's full exchange is also available at The Straits Times Facebook page.

  3. #7211
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    Default More living to 100 years old in Singapore

    Access to medical care extending twilight years but quality of life is a worry for some



    Published on Jun 30, 2013
    10:21 AM




    Mr Wu Chung Chuan turned 100 this year and led an independent life until a stroke two years ago. Now, the widower uses a wheelchair to get around and spends most of his time in bed at a Econ Nursing Home. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO



    By Theresa Tan

    The centenarian club used to be really exclusive, but its membership has ballooned in the past two decades.

    From just 71 Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 100 and older in 1990, the country counted an estimated 900 centenarians as of June last year, according to latest data from the Department of Statistics.

    In the past decade alone, their ranks almost quadrupled from 232 in 2000, the department's spokesman told The Sunday Times.

    The surge comes as the World Health Organisation ranked Singapore as having the world's fourth longest life expectancy last month.


    Background story

    A good heart

    "My health was excellent all along until recently. I have no worries and I have a good heart. Maybe that's why I can live so long."

    MR WU CHUNG CHUAN, who turned 100 this year

  4. #7212
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    Default Singapore’s lessons for an unequal America

    Commentary

    TODAY





    By Joseph Stiglitz -

    20 March 2013



    Inequality has been rising in most countries around the world, but it has played out in different ways across countries and regions. The United States, it is increasingly recognised, has the sad distinction of being the most unequal advanced country, though the income gap has also widened to a lesser extent in Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany. Of course, the situation is even worse in Russia and some developing countries in Latin America and Africa. But this is a club of which we should not be proud to be a member.

    Some big countries — Brazil, Indonesia and Argentina — have become more equal in recent years, and other countries, like Spain, were on that trajectory until the economic crisis of 2007-2008.

    Singapore has had the distinction of having prioritised social and economic equity while achieving very high rates of growth over the past 30 years — an example par excellence that inequality is not just a matter of social justice but of economic performance.

    Societies with fewer economic disparities perform better — not just for those at the bottom or the middle, but overall.

    It is hard to believe how far this city-state has come in the half-century since it attained independence from Britain in 1963. (A short-lived merger with Malaysia ended in 1965.) Around the time of independence, a quarter of Singapore’s workforce was unemployed or underemployed. Its per-capita income (adjusted for inflation) was less than a tenth of what it is today.

    There were many things that Singapore did to become one of Asia’s economic “tigers”, and curbing inequalities was one of them. The government made sure that wages at the bottom were not beaten down to the exploitative levels they could have been.

    The government mandated that individuals save into a “provident fund” — 36 per cent of the wages of young workers — to be used to pay for adequate healthcare, housing and retirement benefits. It provided universal education, sent some of its best students abroad, and did what it could to make sure they returned. (Some of my brightest students came from Singapore.)

    There are at least four distinctive aspects of the Singaporean model, and they are more applicable to the US than a sceptical American observer might imagine.

    First, individuals were compelled to take responsibility for their own needs. For example, through the savings in their provident fund, around 90 per cent of Singaporeans became homeowners, compared to about 65 per cent in the US since the housing bubble burst in 2007.

    Second, Singaporean leaders realised they had to break the pernicious, self-sustaining cycle of inequality that has characterised so much of the West. Government programmes were universal but progressive: While everyone contributed, those who were well off contributed more to help those at the bottom, to make sure that everyone could live a decent life, as defined by what Singaporean society, at each stage of its development, could afford. Not only did those at the top pay their share of the public investments, they were asked to contribute even more to helping the neediest.

    Third
    , the government intervened in the distribution of pre-tax income — to help those at the bottom, rather than, as in the US, those at the top. It weighed in, gently, on the bargaining between workers and firms, tilting the balance towards the group with less economic power — in sharp contrast to the US, where the rules of the game have shifted power away from labour and towards capital, especially during the past three decades.

    Fourth, Singapore realised that the key to future success was heavy investment in education — and more recently, scientific research — and national advancement would mean all citizens — not just children of the rich — would need access to the best education for which they were qualified.

    Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, who was in power for three decades, and his successors took a broader perspective on what makes for a successful economy than a single-minded focus on gross domestic product, though even by that imperfect measure of success, it did splendidly, growing 5.5 times faster than the US has since 1980.

    More recently, the government has focused intensively on the environment
    , making sure that this packed city of 5.3 million retains its green spaces, even if that means putting them on the tops of buildings.

    In an era when urbanisation and modernisation have weakened family ties, Singapore has realised the importance of maintaining them, especially across generations, and has instituted housing programmes to help its ageing population.

    Singapore realised that an economy could not succeed if most of its citizens were not participating in its growth or if large segments lacked adequate housing, access to healthcare and retirement security. By insisting that individuals contribute significantly towards their own social welfare accounts, it avoided charges of being a nanny state. But by recognising the different capacities of individuals to meet these needs, it created a more cohesive society. By understanding that children cannot choose their parents — and that all children should have the right to develop their innate capacities — it created a more dynamic society.

    Singapore’s success is reflected in other indicators as well. Life expectancy is 82 years, compared with 78 in the US. Student scores on maths, science and reading tests are among the highest in the world — well above the average for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, the world’s club of rich nations, and well ahead of the US.

    The situation is not perfect: In the last decade, growing income inequality has posed a challenge for Singapore, as it has for many countries in the world. But Singaporeans have acknowledged the problem, and there is a lively conversation about the best ways to mitigate adverse global trends.

    Some argue that all of this was possible only because Mr Lee, who left office in 1990, was not firmly committed to democratic processes. It is true that Singapore, a highly centralised state, has been ruled for decades by Mr Lee’s People’s Action Party. Critics say it has authoritarian aspects: Limitations on civil liberties, harsh criminal penalties, insufficient multiparty competition, and a judiciary that is not fully independent. But it is also true that Singapore is routinely rated one of the world’s least corrupt and most transparent governments, and that its leaders have taken steps towards expanding democratic participation.

    Moreover, there are other countries committed to open, democratic processes that have been spectacularly successful in creating economics that are both dynamic and fair — with far less inequality and far greater equality of opportunity than in the US.

    Each of the Nordic countries has taken a slightly different path, but each has impressive achievements of growth with equity. A standard measure of performance is the United Nations Development Programme’s inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, which is less a measure of economic output than it is of human well-being. For each country, it looks at citizens’ income, education and health, and makes an adjustment for how access to these are distributed among the population. The Northern European countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway) stand towards the top.

    In comparison — and especially considering its No 3 ranking in the non-inequality-adjusted index — the US is further down the list, at No 16. And when other indicators of well-being are considered in isolation, the situation is even worse: The US ranks 33rd on the United Nations Development Programme’s inequality-adjusted life expectancy index, just behind Chile.

    Economic forces are global; the fact that there are such differences in outcomes (both levels of inequality and opportunity) suggests that what matters is how local forces — most notably, politics — shape these global economic forces. Singapore and Scandinavia have shown that they can be shaped in ways to ensure growth with equity.

    Democracy, we now recognise, involves more than periodic voting. Societies with a high level of economic inequality inevitably wind up with a high level of political inequality: The elites run the political system for their own interests, pursuing what economists call rent-seeking behaviour, rather than the general public interest. The result is a most imperfect democracy.

    The Nordic democracies, in this sense, have achieved what most Americans aspire towards: A political system where the voice of ordinary citizens is fairly represented, where political traditions reinforce openness and transparency, where money does not dominate political decision-making, and where government activities are transparent.

    I believe the economic achievements of the Nordic countries are in large measure a result of the strongly democratic nature of these societies. There is a positive nexus not just between growth and equality, but between these two and democracy. (The flip side is that greater inequality not only weakens our economy, it also weakens our democracy.)

    A measure of the social justice of a society is the treatment of children. Many a conservative or libertarian in the US assert that poor adults are responsible for their own plight — having brought their situation on themselves by not working as hard as they could. (That assumes, of course, that there are jobs to be had — an increasingly dubious assumption.)

    But the well-being of children is manifestly not a matter for which children can be blamed (or praised). Only 7.3 per cent of children in Sweden are poor, in contrast to the US, where a startling 23.1 per cent are in poverty. Not only is this a basic violation of social justice, but it does not bode well for the future: These children have diminished prospects for contributing to their country’s future.

    Discussions of these alternative models, which seem to deliver more for more people, often end by some contrarian assertion or other about why these countries are different, and why their model has few lessons for the US. All of this is understandable. None of us likes to think badly of ourselves or of our economic system. We want to believe that we have the best economic system in the world.

    Part of this self-satisfaction, though, comes from a failure to understand the realities of the US today. When Americans are asked what is the ideal distribution of income, they recognise that a capitalist system will always yield some inequality — without it, there would be no incentive for thrift, innovation and industry. And they realise that we do not live up to what they view as their “ideal”. The reality is that we have far more inequality than they believe we have, and that their view of the ideal is not too different from what the Nordic countries actually manage to achieve.

    Among the American elite — that sliver of Americans who have seen historic gains in wealth and income since the mid-1970s even while most Americans’ real incomes have stagnated — many look for rationalisations and excuses. They talk, for instance, about these countries’ being homogeneous, with few immigrants. But Sweden has taken in large numbers of immigrants (roughly 14 per cent of the population is foreign-born, compared with 11 per cent in Britain and 13 per cent in the US). Singapore is a city-state with multiple races, languages and religions. What about size? Germany has 82 million people and has substantially greater equality of opportunity than the US, a nation of 314 million (although inequality has been rising there too, though not as much as in the US).

    It is true that a legacy of discrimination — including, among many things, the scourge of slavery, America’s original sin — makes the task of achieving a society with more equality and more equality of opportunity, on a par with the best performing countries around the world, particularly tricky. But a recognition of this legacy should reinforce our resolve, not diminish our efforts, to achieve an ideal that is within our reach and is consistent with our best ideals.

    THE NEW YORK TIMES

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel laureate in economics, a Columbia professor and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist for the World Bank.

  5. #7213
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Football: LionsXII have outshone 1994 'Dream Team', says coach V. Sundramoorthy

    Published on Jul 02, 2013
    10:34 PM



    LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy holds the Malaysian Super League trophy aloft after his side's 4-0 victory over Felda United on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. In the eyes of Sundramoorthy, the LionsXII have outshone even the Malaysian league and Cup-winning 'Dream Team' of 1994, a line-up that featured the likes of Fandi Ahmad. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE


    By May Chen


    In the eyes of coach V. Sundramoorthy, the LionsXII have outshone even the Malaysian league and Cup-winning 'Dream Team' of 1994, a line-up that featured the likes of Fandi Ahmad.

    He said in a post-match press conference, shortly after the LionsXII beat Felda United 4-0 to capture the Malaysian Super League title on Tuesday night: "This team has outshone the 1994 team. For rookies, they've done a great job.

    "My boys tried their best from the start of the season. There were a lot of ups and downs but they pulled through."

    Indeed, the LionsXII - a young side with 25 players aged 23 or below - were written off at the start of the season.

  6. #7214
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A victory to savour for LionsXII



    Sundram turned the LionsXII into players who, in rivals coaches’ words, are extremely disciplined in defending and deadly at set-pieces. Photo: Wee Teck Hian



    TODAY

    By Philip Goh
    4 hours 45 min ago

    The goals took a while to come, but when they did, the celebrations that followed harked back to what many Singaporeans still recall as the “glorious Malaysia Cup days”.

    At the Jalan Besar Stadium last night, the LionsXII did not win the Malaysia Cup, but they did beat Felda United 4-0, sealing the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title to render Saturday’s final league match at Kota Bharu against Kelantan academic.

    That Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong turned up to watch and present the medals and trophy to the LionsXII was testament to the significance of this achievement by the side coached by V Sundramoorthy.

    This is the first trophy for the Singapore outfit that was put together for Malaysian competitions, following an agreement between the football associations of Singapore and Malaysia which saw teams from both sides competing in each other’s leagues.

    In many ways, this triumph came in the most trying of circumstances.
    Last season, with a team dominated by seniors, the LionsXII finished second in the league, was one penalty kick away from the Malaysia Cup final and reached the last eight of the Malaysian FA Cup.

    With the focus on preparing players for the South-east Asian (SEA) Games this December, the decision was taken to turf out all but five players aged 23 and above, leaving Sundram to work essentially with a bunch of youngsters, many of whom would have to juggle National Service and team commitments.

    It was a task Sundram carried out so proficiently and seamlessly that many would not notice the enforced changes he made for the season to proceed smoothly.

    Winger Faris Ramli, whose dazzling skills in the last two home matches won him many fans, has never played an away match, although he was on the bench in Johor Baru when the team travelled to Johor Darul Takzim in February.

    And so this is the LionsXII of 2013, the MSL champions whose victory has been built on a solid foundation, with a bunch of players who, in the words of rivals coaches, are extremely disciplined in defending and deadly at set-pieces.

    These qualities were in display last night as they stayed cool under pressure in the first-half, when Felda — surprisingly unambitious for a side battling relegation — did their best to blunt the hosts’ attacking threat.

    It seemed ironic that the opening goal for the LionsXII would come with a little help from Felda, with defender Azrul Ahmad turning in Shahril Ishak’s free-kick two minutes after the break.

    The stadium would erupt again 11 minutes later when Faris’s cross evaded the last Felda defender and Shahril made no mistake from three-yards out. Three minutes later, a Felda defender conspired to chest Nazrul Nazari’s cross back in front of Shahril, who set up Fazrul Nawaz for the simplest of tap-ins.

    By then, the fans were singing “Campeones, campeones ... ole ole ole”, and the LionsXII responded with a little showboating that included a free-kick by goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

    The icing on the cake came after 84 minutes, when Shahfiq Ghani finished off Shahril’s through ball for the fourth goal.

    The LionsXII won and lost twice on their travels this season, pulling off six draws away from home, scoring eight goals and conceding the same number.

    The number would also tell that they won the league at Jalan Besar, where they were unbeaten in the league, with 10 wins from 11 matches here, and 24 goals scored — while conceding just five.


    That they roared at home, again and again with the fans behind them, was how the league was won.


    (BTW why is the team called LionXII or Lion 12? The last man is the fans.)

  7. #7215
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    Default National Day Parade: Durable and stylish goodie bags to be handed out this year

    Published on Jul 03, 2013
    10:07 AM




    The Funpack for this year's National Day Parade has gone high fashion with a durable, sail-shaped design, as organisers hope that people will use it as a bag even after the parade rather than toss it aside. -- ST PHOTO: DAVID EE



    By David Ee


    The Funpack for this year's National Day Parade has gone high fashion with a durable, sail-shaped design, as organisers hope that people will use it as a bag even after the parade rather than toss it aside.

    The goodie bag for spectators at Singapore's 48th birthday bash features a flute, souvenir book and mini-banner, as well as familiar items such as a mini national flag, ponchos and snacks. It can be used as either a backpack or slingbag. The NDP executive committee 2013 unveiled the pack on Wednesday.

    This year's parade aims to strike a more personal tone, with its theme "Many Stories... One Singapore".

    The National Day song, sung by local artistes in previous years, will for the first time be sung by a choir made up of ordinary Singaporeans.

  8. #7216
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    Default Officials from regional countries in Singapore to learn about urban development

    By Monica Kotwani
    POSTED:
    02 Jul 2013 10:12 PM

    SINGAPORE: More than 30 city leaders and senior government officials from the region were in Singapore recently to learn about the country's successful and not so successful experiences with urban development.

    The programme 'Temasek Foundation Leaders in Urban Governance Programme' allows participants to interact with pioneers who transformed the city-state into what it is today.

    As Myanmar's political changes open it to economic opportunities, urban development seems to be one of its priorities.

    However, there is also the need to balance development with conservation, especially so for a city like Yangon, which has many colonial buildings and heritage sites.

    Toe Aung, deputy head of department at Yangon City Planning & Land Administration, said: "The government is changing, our policies are changing so we have to take more public, community hearings and know what they want. They don't have much experience with heritage conservation so we have to give more public education, explanations and public outreach on how to maintain these buildings, why we should maintain and which ways we can maintain."

    A common thread among participants today is the kind of challenges they are facing in terms of sustainable urban development in everything from flood management to rehousing slum dwellers into public housing.

    This is where Singapore's experience in facing these challenges, as well as its expertise in overcoming them could come in handy.

    For a first-hand insight, officials are taken to places such as Toa Payoh town and Marina Barrage over the five days and attend seminars.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Sri Lanka Defence and Urban Development Ministry, said:

    "Singapore has experimented and practiced these things, and have come to a high standard and high level. We can learn from them and rather than starting from the bottom, we can start from a high level so that is a very useful thing."

    The urban development programme, organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), is into its second year.

    It has received almost S$700,000 in funding from the Temasek Foundation over the two years.

    CLC's associate director Julian Goh, said: "We did research to try to capture knowledge of what we did right, also what we didn't do quite right, and we are very happy to share these experiences with the cities. We are also very happy to bring on board some of the urban pioneers. These are the people who were responsible for clearing the slums, and also cleaning up the Singapore River so that they can impart their experience first-hand to the participants and also give ideas to the current problems the cities are facing."

    After attending the programme, the officials from 30 different countries in the region will develop a detailed plan for their various projects, and work closely with CLC over the year to implement these plans.



    - CNA/fa



    File photo: The Singapore skyline. (AFP/File - Roslan Rahman
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    Last edited by Loh; 07-02-2013 at 10:40 PM.

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    Default ASEAN Regional Forum launches commemorative publication

    POSTED: 02 Jul 2013 11:25 PM



    SINGAPORE: Foreign ministers at the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Brunei witnessed the launch of the 20th ARF Commemorative Publication on Tuesday.

    They also reaffirmed the central role of ASEAN in the regional architecture and emphasised the importance of implementing the ARF Preventive Diplomacy Work Plan.

    The 3rd East Asia Summit (EAS) foreign ministers also discussed ways to improve regional cooperation in the six priority areas and reaffirmed the importance of the EAS as a platform for constructive dialogue and cooperation.
    A statement from the Singapore Foreign Affairs Ministry said that at the ARF and EAS meetings, the ministers also conducted in-depth discussions on international and regional issues, including developments in the East China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

    Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam attended the ARF and EAS meetings in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

    He was accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Grace Fu.


    - CNA/ir


    (L-R) Singapore's K Shanmugam, Vietnam's Pham Binh Minh, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Brunei's Mohammad Bolkiah pose for a group photo during the ASEAN Ministers Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan on July 2, 2013. (AFP/Pool/Jacquelyn Martin)
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    Default More primary schools get spruced up with upgraded facilities

    Another 7 schools will return to upgraded facilities by end of 2014



    Published on Jul 04, 2013




    Seng Kang Primary 1 pupil Jared Ong standing on a small stage at the back of a classroom, while his schoolmates (from right) Izwan Dennis and Gladys Heng, all seven, look on. The stages aid in teaching and learning at the school, which has performing arts as its niche programme. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN



    By Amelia Teng

    At Seng Kang Primary, pupils used to play in converted corridors because of a lack of space. Now there is a small performance stage at the back of classrooms.

    The school also has a performing arts studio, an indoor sports hall and outdoor learning spaces including a butterfly garden for pupils to explore biodiversity.

    All these have been added after it moved back to its upgraded premises in March.

    "Previously we had space constraints and had to convert corridors into play areas," said principal Rabia Shahul. Now, "learning is no longer limited by the four walls of the classrooms".


    Background story

    MORE ROOM TO LEARN

    Previously we had space constraints and had to convert corridors into play areas. Now, learning is no longer limited by the four walls of the classrooms.

    - Seng Kang Primary School principal Rabia Shahul

    Upgrading for primary schools

    SINCE 2009, primary schools have been undergoing upgrading in phases. The MOE plans to upgrade all 190 schools by 2016.

    • Completed and in-progress: 78 schools
    • Upgrading to start from November: 71 schools

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    Default NUS launches PhD programme with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Published on Jul 03, 2013
    5:02 PM

    By Stacey Chia


    The National University of Singapore (NUS) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) are launching a Joint Doctor of Philosophy degree programme in biomedical science in August this year.

    The programme will help to train biomedical scientists who will have international research experience with a strong footing in Asia, said the NUS spokesman.

    For the next four years, both NUS and the HUJ will each select about three students from their institutions for the programme. Students enrolled in the programme will divide their time between both campuses in Singapore and Jerusalem, spending a minimum of nine months at each institutions. Two NUS students have already been selected for the inaugural intake.

    This is the second collaboration between the two universities. They previously collaborated in establishing the NUS-HUJ Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammation Research Programme in 2010.

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    Default Insead receives a $5 million donation to help with expansion of campus

    Published on Jul 03, 2013
    3:18 PM


    Graduate business school Insead has received a donation of $5 million from one of its alumni, Mr Andre Hoffmann. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN



    By Amelia Teng


    Graduate business school Insead has received a donation of $5 million from one of its alumni, Mr André Hoffmann.

    Mr Hoffman, who holds an MBA from Insead, is the vice-chairman of Swiss global health-care company F. Hoffmann-LaRoche. His gift to the school will support the expansion of the school's campus in Singapore, which is located at Ayer Rajah. In particular, it will go towards the construction of its new leadership development centre.

    When completed in 2014, the six-storey centre will bring together business leaders from around the world.

    In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr Hoffman said: "Insead provided me with a priceless asset: deep business insight and a global vision of management...Preparing for the future is a fundamental requirement of leadership and I consider it a moral obligation to contribute to the education of tomorrow's global leaders."

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    Default New medical school selects 54 students out of more than 800 applicants

    Published on Jul 03, 2013
    10:51 AM




    Shortlisted candidates queueing to start their interviews for the newest medical school at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up by NTU and Imperial College London. Singapore newest medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, has picked its inaugural batch of 54 students out of more than 800 A-list applicants. The school being set up by Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College London said it shortlisted 440 of them to attend a series of eight short interviews. -- PHOTO: NTU



    By Sandra Davie

    Singapore newest medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, has picked its inaugural batch of 54 students out of more than 800 A-list applicants. The school being set up by Nanyang Technological University and Imperial College London said it shortlisted 440 of them to attend a series of eight short interviews.

    The final 54 chosen medical students - all Singaporeans - had almost perfect scores in the interviews and also aced their BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

    Two out of three students are A-levels holders and 90 per cent of them are among the top students in their cohort. The remaining one-third has equally outstanding results, with qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate and the NUS High School diploma.

    Besides boosting the number of doctors for Singapore, the school hopes to see more of their graduates becoming clinician scientists - doctors who do research and drive scientific discovery in medicine, on top of treating patients.

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    Default Former MP launches book on Chinese in the region

    Photo: Ernest Chua


    By NG JING YNG

    6 hours 17 min ago

    Singapore — Inter-marriages between South-east Asians and Chinese immigrants have influenced the region’s history, including giving rise to a generation of prominent political leaders with Chinese ancestry, such as former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and ex-Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said one-time Singapore politician and diplomat Lee Khoon Choy.

    This was among the observations the 89-year-old made in his new book, Golden Dragon and Purple Phoenix, which was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. The book launch was graced by some 250 people, including the author’s former parliamentary colleagues.

    Mr Lee, who was a People’s Action Party Member of Parliament from 1959 to 1984, also wrote a chapter titled Westernised Singaporeans, which cited the Republic’s past political history.

    A one-time Ambassador to Egypt and Japan, Mr Lee said the book was inspired by his lifelong interest in the topic of assimilation and how Chinese immigrants could lose touch with their roots after they settled in a new country.

    He hopes his book will motivate more academics to conduct further research into assimilation of Chinese immigrants and inter-marriages between them and South-east Asian people.

    The former Minister of State (Culture and Foreign Affairs) also expressed concerns that young people today are unaware of their heritage. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch, Mr Lee said: “Our younger generation don’t know their roots. I asked so many young people where they are from … they do not know.” Ng Jing Yng

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    Default Many firsts for S’pore’s newest medical school


    Mr Stewart Retnam and Ms Huang Baoxian are among the inaugural cohort at LKCMedicine. Photo: NTU



    By Amanda Lee

    6 hours 29 min ago

    SINGAPORE — When it came to selecting which medical school he hoped to enrol in to fulfil his dreams of becoming a doctor, Mr Stewart Retnam was especially drawn to one aspect of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) — its patient-centric approach.

    “It offers earlier and more extensive exposure to patients and clinical environments and I really felt that would prepare students … for tackling actual clinical situations in the future,” said the 21-year-old, who is among the pioneer cohort of 54 students at Singapore’s newest medical school, a joint venture between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London.

    He recounted how, during the three months before his International Baccalaureate examinations, he suffered frequent headaches and breathing difficulties, and was diagnosed with the flu. It was only when he consulted an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist that he learnt that he had sinusitis, the infection of the sinuses.

    Mr Retnam, who is an LKCMedicine scholarship recipient, said the care his doctor showed him meant more to him than the medicine he took.

    “I wanted to be in the position to be able to help people in my situation and bring them (patients) relief and comfort through good care,” he said.

    LKCMedicine features a five-year programme that will teach students the scientific basis of medicine, how to handle a doctor-patient relationship and provide clinical experience.


    The school received 817 applicants from among those who sat for the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), part of the school’s admissions requirements, which includes A-Level results or its equivalent.

    Four hundred and forty candidates were shortlisted for Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), a series of eight interviews with interviewers from different professions, such as doctors and scientists, where the candidates were assessed based on whether they have the traits to become a patient-centric doctor.

    The school also emphasises the use of technology to teach, with students having access to over 200 e-lectures recorded by professors, clinicians and scientists on their iPads, which are part of the teaching materials developed by Imperial College London.

    The school will also be pioneering the use of plastinated specimens, or human bodies preserved through plastination, for medical education. Its students will be the first in South-east Asia to use the Anatomage Table for learning, which displays life-sized 3D images of full body anatomy.

    Ms Huang Baoxian, 19, one of the pioneering cohort, is looking forward to using the table for learning.

    “The body is not a 2D thing, it’s a 3D structure … to be able to see it in 3D … (allows me to) virtually dissect it (and) to be able to learn more and …give way for mistakes in case … we cut (it) wrongly,” said Ms Huang, who is a Nanyang Scholarship recipient.

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    Default UK firm eyes S’pore Flyer

    The Singapore Flyer. Photo: Ernest Chua

    TODAY

    By Conrad Maria Jayaraj

    6 hours 29 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Merlin Entertainments Group, the British company behind the wildly successful London Eye, is considering buying the Singapore Flyer, which was recently placed under receivership, as part of plans to expand further into Asia.

    And if the deal is sealed, it could bring in a Madame Tussauds wax museum to boost the appeal of the Flyer.

    “We have been talking, on and off, to the company for the past year or so because of our association with the London Eye and we think it is a very attractive product with a great view of the Singapore skyline,” Merlin’s Strategy Director David Bridgford said during a trip to Singapore.

    The 165-metre-high Singapore Flyer, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, was placed in receivership at the end of May for failing to meet financial obligations to banks, just five years after it was launched to great fanfare.

    Mr Bridgford said there was nothing wrong with the concept of the S$240-million Flyer, except that the company was probably undercapitalised. “Perhaps they compared themselves with London which is a much bigger market than Singapore and I think they got their capital structure wrong,” he added.

    Mr Bridgford would not say how much Merlin would be willing to pay for the Flyer or if he had met with the company’s receivers during his trip. But he did say that if Merlin did purchase the Flyer, it would market it as part of a cluster of attractions here, which could also include a Madame Tussauds. The group already owns and operates 14 Madame Tussauds wax museums in a number of cities including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

    “It all depends on whether we can get a suitable site (for the Madame Tussauds),” Mr Bridgford said.

    He also pointed out that there was already a regular bus link between the Flyer and Merlin’s LEGOLAND Theme Park in Johor’s Iskandar complex, whose popularity has surprised even Merlin after achieving more than a million visitors in its first four months.

    The Flyer’s receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, is said to have obtained interest from both local and overseas parties for the complex, which includes a number of retail outlets and several eateries.

    Merlin, which describes itself as the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator after Disney with 54 million visitors worldwide last year, is keen on bringing other attractions to Singapore, including a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and The Dungeons.

    While the United Kingdom and Europe currently account for the bulk of its business, Merlin would like to see Asia account for one-third of its business, and Europe and US also having a third each. Its Asian operations currently account for 14 per cent of its visitors, up from just 2 per cent three years ago.

    Likewise, it will invest one-third of the roughly £50 million (S$97 million) it spends on new investments each year in Asia, especially in China, Japan and South Korea.

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    Default Bowling: Singapore keglers win women's doubles gold and bronze in South Korea

    Published on Jul 03, 2013
    3:50 PM


    By May Chen

    Singapore's keglers have bagged a gold and a bronze at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Incheon, South Korea on Wednesday.

    Daphne Tan and Bernice Lim posted 441 pinfalls in the women's doubles final, beating South Korea's Son Yun Hee and Hwang Yeon Ju's score of 393.

    They had made the final after beating team-mates Geraldine Ng and New Huifen in the semi-finals. The losing semi-finalists are guaranteed a bronze.

    The Republic had already won a gold earlier, a women's singles title courtesy of Tan. Keith Saw and Joel Tan had also clinched a bronze in the men's doubles event.

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