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  1. #7464
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    Default HDB to launch more 2-room units for singles

    Published on Sep 23, 2013
    3:55 PM




    Ongoing construction of Compassvale Ancilla Build-To-Order flats at Sengkang Central. The Housing Board (HDB) will be making more two-room flats available to cater to the needs of singles. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG



    By Daryl Chin

    The Housing Board (HDB) will be making more two-room flats available to cater to the needs of singles.

    It will launch all of its balance two-room units in non-mature estates later this month, which will add about 1,100 flats. It will also launch another 450 units in November.

    HDB has also tweaked the design of subsequent Build-To-Order projects to contain more of such flats next year. This means next year's supply will be raised to 5,000 units, up from 2,500 this year.

    These announcements were made by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on his blog on Monday. Singles, who could only buy resale flats previously, have been allowed to bid for BTO flats since July, with about 8,800 of them doing so. "This will enable more singles to realise their dreams of owning their homes," he wrote

  2. #7465
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Four more wheelchair-friendly bus services to be introduced by SMRT on Sept 29

    Published on Sep 23, 2013
    3:24 PM


    SMRT bus driver Machap Simakarupm helping Mr Patrick Ang to board the bus. SMRT is introducing wheelchair-friendly buses on four more bus services, bringing the total number of wheelchair-accessible bus services run by the operator to 38. -- TNP FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO


    By Melissa Lin

    SMRT is introducing wheelchair-friendly buses on four more bus services, bringing the total number of wheelchair-accessible bus services run by the operator to 38.

    From Sept 29 onwards, 30 such buses will be added to bus services 178, 853, 904 and 947.

    SMRT in a statement on Monday said that bus captains have been trained to assist passengers using wheelchairs. They will ensure that the passenger's seatbelt is fastened and the wheelchairs are secured before the bus moves off. They will also help to tap the passengers' ez-link card. Bus captains will also stow a ramp - which is manually-

    activated for persons in wheelchairs to get on and off the bus - to its original position before opening the front door for other passengers to board.

    Passengers may contact SMRT customer relations at 1800-336-8900 on weekdays (excluding public holidays) from 7.30am to 6.30pm or visit www.smrt.com.sg for more information.

  3. #7466
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Police refute allegations in BBC World Service Radio report

    Published on Sep 23, 2013
    3:05 PM



    By Joyce Lim

    The police have refuted allegations in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service Radio report on Sept 20, concerning Singapore's commitment to fighting match-fixing, following the arrest of 14 persons suspected to be involved in a match-fixing syndicate earlier last week.

    In a statement on Monday, the police said it is regrettable that BBC has allowed its interviewee, Mr Declan Hill, to make baseless allegations "without asking for his basis or any substantiation".

    "The Singapore authorities reject these serious allegations which are false and have cast negative aspersions on the high standing and integrity of our enforcement and judiciary system. Should the BBC or its interviewees have evidence that substantiate any of the allegations made against the Singapore authorities, or on match-fixing syndicates in Singapore, we advise that you contact us immediately to share such evidence so that action can be taken," said the police.

    Responding to the police's statement, the BBC said that it had received a complaint from the police and is investigating. "We will respond direct to them once this investigation is complete. The BBC strives for balance and impartiality and in line with our editorial guidelines we asked the Singapore Police Force for comment but were not granted an interview. A similar request in March was also declined," its spokesman added in a statement on Monday.

  4. #7467
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    Default "Open your eyes": Interpol chief to detractors of Singapore's efforts to tackle match

    Published on Sep 23, 2013
    5:30 PM



    Interpol's chief Ronald K. Noble says people like Mr Declan Hill should "simply open their eyes and look at the facts", before criticising Singapore's efforts in fighting match-fixing. -- TNP FILE PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHD YUSOF


    By Bryna Singh

    Interpol's chief Ronald K. Noble says people like Mr Declan Hill should "simply open their eyes and look at the facts", before criticising Singapore's efforts in fighting match-fixing.

    One of the allegations that Mr Hill made in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service Radio Report on Sept 20 was that local authorities had offered protection to suspected match-fixing syndicate ringleader Dan Tan, who was arrested together with 13 other Singaporeans also believed to be involved in the syndicate.

    The police have refuted Mr Hill's allegations. They said in their statement on Monday that it was regrettable that the BBC allowed its interviewee to make baseless allegations "without asking for his basis or any substantiation".

    Mr Noble told The Straits Times that he wished Mr Hill would take a balanced approach in his comments. "Mr Hill wrote a great book exposing the problem of match-fixing...but ever since that book, it seems that all he can do is just criticise, criticise, criticise, and not recognise that it's different to write an article where you accuse someone as compared to bringing charges against him," he said. "I wish he would tell the story from both sides." Mr Noble was speaking on the sidelines of the topping out ceremony of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation here, which is scheduled to open in September next year.

  5. #7468
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New regulations for firms seeking to hire EP holders

    What the new rules are. Graphic: Rodolfo Pazos


    Employers must post openings on govt portal; qualifying pay for new EP applications raise


    By Teo Xuanwei
    5 hours 43 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Jittery employers were relieved yesterday after hearing about the Government’s plans to make them consider Singaporeans for vacancies.

    On edge about the possibility of an onerous regime that will make hiring skilled foreigners even harder — following several waves of policy changes in recent years to curb imported labour, including steeper levies — businesses learnt that they have to first advertise job openings for 14 days on a new, free portal run by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency before they can turn to Employment Pass (EP) holders.

    The “fair consideration framework”, announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), follows rising numbers of complaints about nationality-based discrimination in hiring, which many frequently accuse the banking, services and IT sectors of.

    The advertising rule will apply from August next year for companies with more than 25 workers and which are seeking foreign professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) for jobs paying up to S$12,000.

    Among Singaporeans, 95 per cent are within this salary range.

    Firms that attempt to “go through the motions”, as Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin put it, could face additional scrutiny and be made to show the MOM their organisation charts that detail the nationalities of workers, outline how they recruit, handle grievances and plan progression, as well as craft plans to develop Singaporean staff to take on bigger roles or reduce reliance on EP holders.

    Errant firms may be hit with further requirements, such as declaring they will not let go of Singaporeans in a job they are applying or renewing EPs for 60 days prior and after. They should also “expect greater scrutiny and a longer review period for their EP applications”, or may have their work pass privileges curtailed, said the MOM.

    It will also raise the qualifying pay for new EP applications for fresh graduates by S$300 to S$3,300 from January — the third hike since 2011.

    Although there were fears that laws would be put in place to compel firms to give priority to locals, Mr Tan reiterated why it chose to “nudge” employers instead.

    “Fair consideration is fundamentally about attitudes and mindsets,” he said. “It is neither possible to change mindsets overnight nor legislate the problem away ... It requires persuasion, explanation and leading by example,” said Mr Tan.

    Business federations agreed with what they described as a “light touch” approach, saying that the rule will serve as a reminder to employers to give Singaporeans a chance.

    Association of Small and Medium Enterprises President Chan Chong Beng said:

    “Naturally, there were concerns that there would be new laws or harsh measures ... but I think this new rule is a fair move that doesn’t make it too difficult for companies.”

    Mr Tan also stressed that the new rule was not about getting employers to “hire Singaporeans first, or hire Singaporeans only”, noting that firms that are unable to find “suitable” Singaporeans can still bring in those with the skills needed from overseas.

    Reiterating that the Republic has and will remain open to imported skills and talent, Mr Tan pointed out that the rule is only about helping Singaporeans get a “fair opportunity” and is not a “silver bullet”. “Singaporeans must still prove themselves able and competitive to take on the higher jobs that they aspire to,” he said.

    While the “jury is out”, in the words of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce’s Jonathan Asherson, on whether firms will indeed follow the spirit of the law, CIMB economist Song Seng Wun said he did not think Singapore’s competitiveness, as a place to work or set up shop, would be dented by the move.

    “If you look at the figures, more are coming in than are leaving, even though costs are not low here,” he said. “As long as Singapore continues to be seen as a favourable place to live, work and play, it will not be an issue.”

    Before the advertising rules kick in, the MOM will, from the first quarter of next year, also look for firms that warrant “additional scrutiny” because they either have a disproportionately low proportion of Singaporeans at the PME level compared to their industry’s benchmark or have repeatedly faced complaints about discriminatory human resource practices.

    Writing on the MOM blog, Mr Tan said: “This is something ... we will be actively monitoring to add teeth to the advertising requirement, since we are realistic that some recalcitrant firms may try to ‘go through the motions’.”

    The ministry had, together with employer and worker union representatives, studied models in other countries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Hong Kong. “Many months of intense and wide-ranging consultations with various stakeholders” also went into coming up with the framework, Mr Tan said.

    He noted that the new advertising requirement also serves “a larger purpose of facilitating greater labour market transparency”. Having a central pool of job vacancies will help the Government to “discern existing skill gaps and also better facilitate job-matching”, he added.

  6. #7469
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    Default Feng captures World Cup bronze

    Sports






    Feng defeated Jiang Huajun to clinch the bronze. TODAY file photo



    By Adelene Wong -

    6 hours 28 min ago

    SINGAPORE — National paddler Feng Tianwei clinched a bronze in the Women’s World Cup singles yesterday when she defeated Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun 4-0 (11-6, 13-11, 12-10, 11-2) in the tournament’s third-place play-offs in Kobe, Japan.

    The world No 4 had reached the semi-finals but failed to advance to the final. She battled hard against Chinese world No 8 Wu Yang, but lost 1-4 (8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 10-12).

    Wu went on to meet compatriot Liu Shiwen in the final, where she lost 0-4 (11-3. 11-7,11-7, 11-2).

    Singapore Table Tennis Association High Performance Manager Eddy Tay said that Feng should be proud of her achievement, which is the second bronze that she has won in six World Cup appearances.

    “Although it is a bronze, it is still a good showing by Feng, as this is the Women’s World Cup,” he said. “She has triumphed over paddlers from around the world who will be key opponents at next year’s Asian Games. She recorded wins against all the Asian powerhouses — just failing to find an answer against the Chinese players.”

    Tay added that Feng’s 1-4 loss to Wu was also an improvement on her 4-0 trouncing by the same opponent at last month’s International Table Tennis Federation Harmony Open women’s singles in China.

    “Feng is improving as a player all the time. She just needs to step up her game against the paddlers from China, and she is getting there,” he said.

    Yu Mengyu was Singapore’s other representative at the event. The world No 27 reached the quarter-finals where she lost 0-4 (6-11, 4-11, 2-11, 8-11) to Liu.
    Last edited by Loh; 09-23-2013 at 09:38 PM.

  7. #7470
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    Default We must watch the fault lines: DPM Teo


    Mr Teo Chee Hean. TODAY file photo


    Diverse views must not be allowed to divide Singapore, he says at the National Security Seminar



    By Xue Jianyue

    1 min 39 sec ago


    SINGAPORE — In addition to race and religion, other possible fault lines such as “citizenship, sexual orientation and social values” — amplified by the ubiquity of social media — have emerged in Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said today (Sept 24).

    Opposing views over various issues have also surfaced among the 50,000 participants of Our Singapore Conversation, but Mr Teo said he hopes that Singaporeans can work together for the common good, even if the Government cannot cater to all individual preferences.

    Speaking at the opening of the 11th National Security Seminar today, Mr Teo said that Singapore “needs to be mindful of tensions in our society”, and should harness diverse views and channel the energies of different groups for the “greater good”of the country.

    Citing the unrest in France and Sweden — where tensions caused by immigration and different social values have led to riots — the Deputy Prime Minister said that even though Singapore has enjoyed social harmony for many decades, it may not be immune to social changes in other countries which could be imported into the country.

    He cited social media as a possible contributing factor. “Social media can help those with a common interest come together, but it can also reinforce and entrench polarising views,” he said. XUE JIANYUE
    Last edited by Loh; 09-23-2013 at 10:00 PM.

  8. #7471
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    Default HDB plans to go big on solar energy, calls largest solar-leasing tender

    Agency calls largest solar-leasing tender, looking to cover 125 blocks



    Published on Sep 25, 2013
    7:43 AM




    A panoramic view of the roof at Treelodge@Punggol, showing the solar panels set up on either side. The HDB has taken advantage of the plummeting prices of solar panels in pursuing its $31 million scheme to test solar energy. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM


    By Grace Chua

    The Housing Board is working on its largest single solar-leasing project to date - and is also looking into households being able to buy electricity made from the sun's energy.

    Last month, it called its largest solar-leasing tender: for a company to own and operate panels on some 125 blocks in Ang Mo Kio, Sengkang, Serangoon North and Buangkok.

    These would produce 5MW of electricity in optimum conditions, or 5 megawatts-peak (MWp), enough to power more than 1,000 four-room HDB flats.

    The HDB will offset up to 30 per cent of the start-up costs, and, in turn, buy the electricity for 20 years at a 5 per cent or greater discount off the prevailing market price. This electricity would power lights in corridors and common areas, lifts and water pumps, among other things.

  9. #7472
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    Default Work-life balance? Know trade-offs too, PM Lee says

    PM warns S'poreans that overseas competitors seek to steal their lunch



    Published on Sep 25, 2013
    7:44 AM




    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks on a live television forum on Channel News Asia on Sept 24 2013. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sought to inject some balance in the national preoccupation with work-life balance, warning Singaporeans that competitors are out to steal their lunch. -- PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION


    By Goh Chin Lian

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sought to inject some balance in the national preoccupation with work-life balance, warning Singaporeans that competitors are out to steal their lunch.

    At a televised forum last night, he said the idea of work-life balance has become so popular it is now a tag phrase.


    "They call it a meme on the Internet," he said, adding that people who used the phrase did not seem quite sure what they meant by it except that they would like more free time and less stress.

    It was also not clear if people knew the trade-offs, he said.


    Background story

    WHAT NATION'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY SHOULD MEAN

    I think we will have ample reason to celebrate but I don’t think we should stop at celebration. It’s not just fireworks and parties. I think we should give thanksgiving, 50 years, we’ve had a successful half century of tremendous achievement. I think there must be a spirit of commitment, dedication of ourselves to the next phase and a resolution that I want to take this further. Fifty years is not a long time in the history of a nation but at the beginning of the nation, 50 years is a long way to go.

    - PM Lee, on Singapore approaching its 50th year of independence in 2015

  10. #7473
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    Default Review of hospice care; today's hospices are built for yesterday

    Published on Sep 24, 2013
    4:16 PM



    ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


    By Janice Tai

    Dying patients and their family members lack adequate private spaces as hospices are not designed to support palliative care services. Some hospices are also isolated from the community as there no communal spaces or facilities which the public can opt to use.

    These are some of the key findings from a nine-month review of the sector commissioned by Lien Foundation and ACM Foundation. This first of its kind design study also gave some suggestions on how they can develop better hospices for the future. For example, it proposed having mobile trolleys that dispense medication to patients instead of fixed workstations for nurses so that the needs of patients can be met without intruding into their privacy.

    The foundations roped in fuelfor, a design consultancy specialising in healthcare, to examine some of the key challenges that hospices face today, from the design and use of spaces to patient experiences and community engagement.

    "Today's hospices are built for yesterday," said Mr Lee Poh Wah, chief executive of Lien Foundation. "Hospices suffer a poor image and deserve better understanding from society and fresh insights to meet rising care expectations."

  11. #7474
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Speakers at NUS forum want more done to help the poor, understand their problems

    Published on Sep 24, 2013
    4:12 PM




    An elderly rag and bone woman picking up a cardboard box outside Geylang Bahru food centre. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JASON QUAH


    By Andrea Ong

    Speakers at a National University of Singapore (NUS) forum on Tuesday called for a better understanding of poverty here and more targeted measures to address the circumstances people face in their daily lives.

    Nominated MP Laurence Lien and labour economist Hui Weng Tat cited sobering figures on rising income inequality and stagnating wages of the lowest income group to highlight the urgency of addressing the issue.

    They were speaking at a forum on building an inclusive society.

    Mr Lien, who is also chief executive of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, noted the lack of an official definition of the poverty line here. The closest measure is the Department of Statistics' figures on Absolute Household Expenditure on Basic Needs, which measures average expenditure on essential needs such as food, clothing and shelter. However, this does not explicitly include transport and medical costs, and also excludes what Mr Lien called expenditure on "social inclusion", where people spend on items or experiences to feel part of a group.

  12. #7475
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    Default SUTD to launch courses on game development next year

    Published on Sep 24, 2013
    4:05 PM





    The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) (foreground) is seen on Nov 28, 2011. From next year, second-year students at the SUTD will be able to take courses on game development, which will be offered under the Information Systems Technology and Design specialisation. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JOYCE FANG


    By Walter Sim

    From next year, second-year students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will be able to take courses on game development, which will be offered under the Information Systems Technology and Design specialisation.

    The university hopes to "play a significant role in developing Singapore's game industry", said SUTD president Professor Thomas Magnanti. He was speaking at a showcase event to exhibit the works of 32 tertiary students from around Singapore who had participated in a 14-week Game Innovation Programme held by the SUTD Game Lab in May.

    Over the next five years, the SUTD Game Lab aims to train 500 interns to boost the local gaming industry, and grow game developers and entrepreneurs.

    "In Singapore, games is a nascent but one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors in our local media industry," said Mr Yeo Chun Cheng, the Media Development Authority's industry assistant chief executive officer. The sector had in 2011 comprised more than 200 companies and generated $630 million in operating receipts.

  13. #7476
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    Default Russia-Singapore ties have broadened and deepened: Tharman

    Published on Sep 24, 2013
    3:24 PM




    -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


    By Alvin Foo

    Emerging market economies will remain the key driver of world economic growth over the next five to 10 years and even beyond, despite the recent volatility and challenges, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday at the Russia-Singapore Business Forum.

    He also noted that Russia-Singapore ties have broadened and deepened in scope, extending beyond economics into education and even the arts.

    Delivering the keynote address at Suntec City Convention Hall, Mr Tharman said:

    "Despite recent volatility and challenges, the emerging market economies will remain the main contributor to global economic growth over the next 5-10 years, and likely beyond."

    He added: "There are also significant opportunities arising from the rise of the middle class in the emerging world."

  14. #7477
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    Default Singapore team wins S$1.3m prize in bioinformatics competition



    Team emerged top among 2,700 participants


    1 hour 30 min ago

    SINGAPORE — A team from the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) has emerged tops in the first-ever bioinformatics competition organised by the US Department of Defence, reported Channel NewsAsia yesterday. The competition aimed to identify organisms from a stream of DNA sequences for clues to potential biological threats.

    Two researchers from SCELSE — visiting Professor Daniel Huson from the University of Tuebingen, and post-doctoral researcher Xie Chao from the Life Sciences Institute at the National University of Singapore — collaborated with graduate student Mr Benjamin Buchfink from the University of Tuebingen to develop an algorithm that best meet the stringent criteria laid out by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Algorithm Challenge.

    The challenge issued by DTRA, a Pentagon agency, in January this year attracted entries from more than 2,700 individuals from around the world.

    The team clinched the S$1.3 million in the global competition, which attracted entries from top universities and renowned research centres in the world.

    A joint NTU-NUS statement said the win is a clear indication of the research team’s strength and leadership role in next-generation sequencing. This includes areas such as microbial genomics, evolutionary genomics, and metagenomics.

    SCELSE is a Nanyang Technological University led partnership with the National University of Singapore, and University of Tuebingen, Germany. It is a S$120 million research centre, co-funded by the Singapore government over the next 10 years under the Research Centres of Excellence Programme. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

  15. #7478
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    Default Free UniSIM education for STTA paddlers

    TODAY






    UniSIM president Cheong Hee Kiat (third from left), Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin (fourth from left) and STTA President Lee Bee Wah (centre) with national youth paddlers at yesterday’s signing ceremony. Photo: Don Wong



    By Adelene Wong
    6 hours 40 min ago


    SINGAPORE — National table-tennis players who want to pursue an academic degree can now do so for free, thanks to a tie-up between the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) and SIM University (UniSIM).

    The local private educational institution inked a five-year UniSIM-STTA Sports Leader Sponsorship agreement with the national sports association yesterday to select two paddlers every year and sponsor all their tuition fees for their undergraduate degree programmes and Continuing Education and Training (CET) modular courses.


    This means that up to 10 national players can get to study for their degrees for free at UniSIM.

    UniSIM offers part-time undergraduate degree programmes which can be completed within eight years. Each costs between S$7,000 and S$8,000 per year. The agreement makes UniSIM the latest local academic body — after Nanyang Technological University, Republic Polytechnic and the Singapore Sports School — to join the STTA in its efforts to ensure that national paddlers do not miss out academically while training and playing full-time.

    Yesterday’s signing ceremony was held at UniSIM’s Clementi campus, with Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin as the guest of honour.

    STTA President Lee Bee Wah said the deal will “maximise the potential of elite athletes” and also “encourage more local talents to pursue professional table tennis”.

    “It is our belief that solid agreements between STTA and the educational sector will enable our players to focus on their pursuit for sporting excellence, knowing that their post-playing careers will be well taken care of,” she added.

    The STTA will nominate the paddlers each year based on their performances and their academic aptitude, and they will not need to serve a bond with UniSIM or STTA upon completion of their studies.

    One player likely to receive the sponsorship is 16-year-old Yee Herng Hwee — who is currently studying at the Singapore Sports School and will graduate next year. Said Yee, who is aiming to qualify for next year’s Youth Olympic Games: “I am very glad for this opportunity ... and I look forward to pursue a course in engineering as this is my interest, on top of table tennis as a sport.”

    UniSIM President Professor Cheong Hee Kiat said his school’s flexible programmes are “ideal for up-and-coming paddlers seeking to balance studying and high-level training”.

    He added that he is open to making similar agreements with other national sports associations, as he finds aiding the next generation of sportsmen in Singapore a worthy and beneficial cause.

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    Default PM Lee working to build successor team



    PM Lee Hsien Loong during a LIVE recording of Ask The Prime Minister with hosts CNA Presenter Sharon Tong (left) and Editor-in-Chief Walter Fernandez (right) at the MediaCorp TV theatre. Photo: Don Wong

    By NG JING YNG
    6 hours 42 min ago


    SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong intends to put in place a leadership team, as well as a successor, before he turns 70. He said this, in response to a question on Ask the Prime Minister programme on Channel NewsAsia last night, during which he was asked if he intends to stay on as Prime Minister beyond the age of 67 — the age at which Mr Lee Kuan Yew stepped down and handed over the reins to Mr Goh Chok Tong.

    Mr Lee, who is 61, said: “I do not have a specific date, but I have said that I shouldn’t really be Prime Minister until the age of 70.” He added: “I think we must have a successor, a successor team in place and ideally a successor in place well before that.”

    Mr Lee noted that the Prime Minister position is both a physically and mentally challenging role, which an older person might not be suited for.

    Noting that he was “very, very lucky” to have 20 years of apprenticeship, Mr Lee pointed out that the future prime ministers of Singapore might not have a similar privilege.

    “I think Singapore will have to get used to the idea that you have people come in, you have a leader who has not been there quite such a long time, you have to operate in a different sort of way but he can make it work,” he said.

    When asked about the qualities in the next Prime Minister, Mr Lee said: “Ideally we have another (Mr) Lee Kuan Yew, (but) that’s not going to happen.”

    He added: “There’s only one (Mr) Lee Kuan Yew in many, many, many, generations, in many, many countries. We’ve been blessed. We have to work with the talent which we have.”

    The Prime Minister acknowledged that social media and negative online comments have made it more challenging to recruit new political talent. The last two General Elections, however, have enabled him to bring in “significant number of good people”, and the current pool of political holders form a “good team”.

    And while it will take time for Singaporeans to gain familiarity with the new team, the Prime Minister said that “their heart is in the right place”.

    “I think they are shaping up, and around the team we will have to build, and we will build successors,” Mr Lee added. “I hope in the next election, I will be able to reinforce the team further. We are working at that.”

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    Default Normal stream students allowed to take higher-level subjects from next year in select

    Education


    MOE also to start new programmes to leverage on niche areas on all Secondary Schools


    By Amanda Lee
    2 min 56 sec ago


    SINGAPORE — Twelve schools will start allowing Normal stream pupils to take higher level subjects from next year in a new initiative.

    Announced during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally last month, this is to allow pupils to leverage on their strengths and work on their weaker areas. Based on their PSLE performance, a Normal stream pupil can, for instance, take Mathematics at the Express level if that is his or her stronger subject.

    The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that 12 schools will pilot this new initiative first before it rolls out to other secondary schools.

    MOE will also equip teachers with capabilities to help students with different academic abilities.

    Schools can also manage these classes by allowing Normal and Express stream students to be in the same class, or group students accordingly.

    The MOE is also leveraging on the niche areas of all secondary schools to develop an Applied Learning programme and a Learning for Life programme by 2017. Currently, 73 per cent of secondary schools have niche programmes.

    Students in the Applied Learning programme may be developed in areas such as business and entrepreneurship, while the Learning for Life programme will help to develop students’ character and values.

    The MOE is also working with relevant industry partners, government agencies and post-secondary education institutions. For example, the Singapore Science Centre will partner 40 to 60 secondary schools to help them design Applied Learning programmes in the area of sciences, mathematics and technology.

    To focus on the quality of student experience in all schools, the MOE will also support all primary and secondary schools to form student development teams by 2016. For instance, Teachers in charge of each level will oversee all programmes and matters relating to the holistic development of students in a given level.

    Also in 2016, an integrated online learning space which is aligned to the curriculum will be implemented. MOE will create and pool together quality resources designed by schools. This could come in the form of talking heads in interactive programmes

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