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  1. #7923
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    Default Demand for transitional care service at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on the rise

    A ward at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. Photo: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital website


    Service allows patients to recover at home while freeing up bed space in the hospital


    TODAY

    By Vimita Mohandas

    Published: 21 January, 6:28 PM


    SINGAPORE — As Singapore transforms its healthcare model to be less reliant on hospitals, community care such as transitional care services will be a focus.

    Transitional care involves caring for patients after their discharge with healthcare providers visiting them in their homes.

    Since the programme started at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in April 2012, there has been about a 30 per cent rise in the number of patients. The service used to see about 30 patients utilising it per month when it first started, and this number rose to 40 in April last year.

    The service runs for a period of up to three months depending on the patients’ condition, following which, they may be handed over to a community care provider.

    Currently, there are about 75 patients tapping on the service. And on average, three inpatients from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital are referred to the service daily.

    But with more elderly suffering complex conditions, manpower remains a challenge to the team, especially during festive periods.

    Dr Ang Yan Hoon, project director of transitional care services at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, said: “We actually put in more manpower with effect from December, and it was quite timely because over the Christmas to New Year’s Eve period last year, there was a quite a severe bed crunch in the hospital. Normally we had three referrals a day, and during that period we had up to about 10 referrals a day.”

    After suffering a stroke last August, 58-year-old Mdm Sa’odah Ahmad was in and out of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for various treatments. In October, her family was recommended the transitional care service as her condition had stabilised.

    Mdm Sa’odah Ahmad’s daughter and caregiver, Ms Lizawati Zakariah, was concerned about the delivery of medical care.

    She said: “Hospital (has) everything. At home, she’s (Mdm Sa’odah Ahmad) comfortable but the thing is we don’t have everything. We only have medicines and milk. But since my mum always says ‘I want to go back’ and she wants me to take care of her, I (don’t have a) choice.”
    In such situations, the team conducts caregiver training to help family members cope with the care of their loved ones.

    Not only does this service allow patients to recover at home, it also frees up bed space for more acutely ill patients.

    After subsidies, a visit by a nurse is priced at S$40, a visit by a doctor is priced at S$80, while a visit by therapist is priced at S$75.

    The duties of a doctor include reviewing patients with medical conditions such as heart failure, respiratory problems and diabetes. Nurses will conduct physical assessments and nursing procedures such as changing of feeding tube, urinary catheter and wound dressing.

    A physiotherapist would discuss the treatment plan and duration with the individual or caregiver.

    Transitional care service is in place at Changi General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and Singapore General Hospital.

    It will be launched at National University Hospital next month, and soon at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

  2. #7924
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    Default No basis to attribute riot to foreign workers’ discontent, says Chuan-Jin

    A file photo of a foreign worker dormitory at Tuas Techpark. Photo: Wee Teck Hian


    MOM surveys show that most are happy working in Singapore: Manpower Minister


    By Kok Xing Hui

    Published: 21 January, 4:02 AM
    Updated: 21 January, 6:00 PM


    SINGAPORE — There is no basis to assert that foreign workers’ discontent with their employment situation here had caused the Dec 8 riot, Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said yesterday.

    In his ministerial statement on the incident, Mr Tan said while he looked forward to the perspective of the Committee of Inquiry on the matter, he found it “puzzling as to how some individuals can so quickly conclude or criticise that there is widespread and systemic abuse of the foreign workforce; or that these were the reasons for the riot”.

    “In the same vein, some foreign media just echo these points, but offer only scant evidence for their assertions,” he said.

    Responding to wide-ranging questions tabled by Members of Parliament (MPs) on the treatment and management of foreign workers here, including the measures taken to ensure they have adequate access to public amenities, Mr Tan reiterated the findings of a 2011 survey conducted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that found an overwhelming majority of foreign workers expressing their satisfaction with the overall experience of working in Singapore and saying they wished to continue working here.

    The MOM conducted another survey in November last year with departing foreign workers and the results were largely similar, the minister said.

    Mr Tan said as at the end of November last year, there were about 1.1 million foreign workers here, excluding foreign domestic workers. About 700,000 were work permit holders.

    From January to November last year, the MOM assisted about 7,000 foreign workers with difficulties, Mr Tan said, noting that this constituted a small proportion of work permit holders. Half of the cases were employment-related, covering issues such as salary and overtime claims.

    “Are all foreign workers poorly treated here? While the situation is generally good, it is not perfect. There is always room for improvement,” said Mr Tan, stressing that his ministry will continue to take a strong stance against errant employers.

    Citing the significant increase in the number of foreign construction workers here in recent years, Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng asked, among other things, whether the number should be capped. Ms Ng noted that it was “inevitable that labour issues will arise because of the sheer numbers of (foreign construction workers)”. Nominated MP R Dhinakaran also asked if the riot will have any material impact on foreign manpower policies.

    In response, Mr Tan noted that the Government has begun to moderate the increase in the number of foreign workers to more sustainable levels and help businesses reduce their reliance on low-cost foreign labour. It will continue to do so in a targeted and adaptive manner, Mr Tan said. “This is something that we are already doing anyway ... the riot will not have a material impact on our plans.”

    He added that during visits to workers’ dormitories in the aftermath of the riot, “many foreign workers told us that they were ashamed by the conduct of those responsible”.

    The Indian High Commissioner to Singapore also shared that “there was no discontent discerned among the Indian community of foreign workers” here, Mr Tan pointed out.

    Addressing allegations of widespread and systemic abuse of the foreign workforce, Mr Tan said it was wrong to “portray Singapore, Singaporeans and our employers in this light because that is not how things are, nor who we are”.

    Correction: The article originally stated that Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng had asked about foreign workers. This is incorrect. She had asked about foreign construction workers. This was updated on Jan 21, 2014, at 6pm.

  3. #7925
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    Default Singapore to raise contribution to World Bank’s capital

    Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Photo: Ministry of Finance

    By Wong Wei Han
    Published: 22 January, 4:03 AM

    SINGAPORE — The Republic will be raising its contribution to the World Bank’s capital substantially, in return for a bigger say on the organisation. Parliament yesterday approved a motion to raise Singapore’s subscription to the capital of World Bank, officially known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), from US$38.6 million (S$49.4 million) to US$672 million.

    Of that total amount, 6 per cent — or US$38 million — has to be paid. “The remaining 94 per cent, known as callable capital, will not be drawn by IBRD except in extreme circumstances,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in his speech to move the motion. “This is our first increase in capital subscription to the IBRD since 1966. It will mean an increase in our voting power in the IBRD from 0.05 per cent to 0.25 per cent.”

    With 188 member countries, the IBRD is the world’s leading institution that lends to the developing world to reduce poverty and support global development. To boost its coffers, it raised its capital by US$86.2 billion in 2011.

    As a member, Singapore is required to chip in — and doing so will be in the Republic’s interest, Mr Tharman said. “Given our role as a major financial centre and the importance of a healthy global economy to our economic prospects, we should participate in this global effort,” he said. “Our economic ties are also growing with developing countries in Asia and beyond.”

    Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam, from the Workers’ Party, asked Mr Tharman about the tangible benefits of raising the country’s contribution.

    In response, Mr Tharman said: “Having a strong and effective multilateral institution is in Singapore’s interest. We’re small and dependent on the rest of the world, on a stable and growing world for our people’s livelihood.”

    He noted that the increased contribution is not “inordinate”, as the IBRD only raises its capital every 10 to 20 years. “So conservatively, let’s say 10 years. That’s US$38 million, or about S$50 million, over 10 years, which is about S$5 million a year. I don’t think it’s an inordinate amount to contribute to the World Bank, an institution whose effectiveness we have a clear vested interest in sustaining,” he said.

    “The amount only looks large because we included the callable capital,” he added. “They’ve never called on the callable capital … in fact no one expects it to ever become necessary.”

  4. #7926
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    Default MP proposes piloting cluster of schools without exams, streaming

    Primary One students at St Hilda's Primary School. Photo by OOI BOON KEONG.


    Phua urges MOE to experiment with idea of having 10 years of through-train education

    By NG JING YNG

    Published: 22 January, 4:03 AM


    SINGAPORE — A school without high-stakes examinations or streaming, but offers 10 years of through-train education for students of all backgrounds to learn and interact together.

    Moulmein-Kallang GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Denise Phua laid out her proposal in Parliament yesterday to pilot a cluster of such schools, so as to “go beyond the current trimming of the excesses of the (education) system”.

    Speaking during an adjournment motion, she called on the Ministry of Education (MOE) to experiment with the idea, just as it had started its own kindergartens.

    In these pilot schools, she envisions that students will develop their own portfolios instead of being excessively tested. These schools will also be a “microcosm of society” and students will not be physically segregated into groups, but would benefit from programmes that suit their individual learning needs
    .

    The idea of a pre-school to secondary school model had been raised in Parliament in recent years by Ms Phua herself, while Nominated MP Laurence Lien and Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong have suggested a direct primary-to-secondary-education model.

    In his response, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat promised to give “serious consideration” to Ms Phua’s proposal. However, he stressed the importance of ensuring that changes are made horizontally across the board. For example, with innovations in curriculum, such as inquiry-based learning for science, their impact is felt across the entire school system.

    He also cited coming policy shifts, such as tweaks to the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) scoring mechanism and reservation of places at Primary One.

    “We are changing at a pace that allows our students, parents and educators to adapt and to build capacity to sustain these changes,” added Mr Heng. As systemic changes are implemented, he reiterated that pacing and prioritisation are critical.

    Ms Phua acknowledged these future enhancements to the education system, but noted that pervasive challenges still dot the current landscape.

    Among other things, she pointed to the excessive focus on academic performance among Singaporeans, as well as the Direct School Admissions potentially opening up another form of competition for schools to admit students talented in sports, arts or leadership fields.
    She also singled out the tuition conundrum, where the recent global education survey Programme for International Student Assessment showed Singapore as having the highest number of pupils with one-on-one tuition. “The longer we delay in working out a multiple of solutions, and thereby allow this thriving shadow education industry to keep growing, the harder it will be for us to trim this elephant to size,” added Ms Phua.

    Mr Heng noted that these education issues are the result of a complex mix of policy, expectations, mindsets, perception and ground realties. While there may be criticisms, he pointed out that Singapore’s education system is highly regarded internationally as academic excellence is encouraged here, among other things. “We must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater … We need a balance,” said Mr Heng.

    Ms Phua stressed that she is not seeking to copy the much-touted Finnish education system, where students have their first exams at 18 but the country still manages to dominate international ranking tests. She said Singapore has to create its own brand of education.

    “The traditional model of the educator being the teacher and chief dispenser of knowledge ... is a model that will not stick in the digital age.” As such, educators in the proposed pilot schools must take on roles as content curators to guide students to access online information, as well as being life coaches to shape their characters and values, she added.

    Speaking to TODAY on why she had raised the proposal, Ms Phua said: “Everyone should be given a good shot at maximising his potential whatever his ability, learning profile or social background. I myself was from a poor background when I was young and I experienced the power of a good education .”

  5. #7927
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    Default All new HDB flats to have eco-features

    Published on Jan 22, 2014
    10:12 AM


    Ongoing construction of Fernvale Riverbow Build-To-Order (BTO) flats at Fernvale Link. All new Housing Board flats will come with a set of "eco-features" for a greener living environment and to support the national commitment to sustainable development. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG


    By Janice Heng

    All new Housing Board flats will come with a set of "eco-features" for a greener living environment and to support the national commitment to sustainable development.

    Most of these features have been piloted in HDB projects in Punggol. They include centralised recycling chutes and a water system that directs water from hand-washing to the cistern, so it can be used for flushing.

    These features will be part of all new developments, starting with those in Wednesday's Build-to-Order exercise.

    The BTO also marks the start of the HDB's tapering off of the massive flat supply over the last three years.

  6. #7928
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    Default DPM Teo responds to hijab question, explains why uniforms should not vary

    Published on Jan 21, 2014
    9:27 PM




    Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014, set out reasons for not allowing officers in the uniformed services to vary their uniforms, in response to Workers Party MP Pritam Singh's question on the the wearing of the hijab by Muslim staff. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


    By Maryam Mokhtar

    Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday set out reasons for not allowing officers in the uniformed services to vary their uniforms, in response to Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh's question on the the wearing of the hijab by Muslim staff.

    Mr Teo said uniforms are to project the common identity of the service, and not just meet operational requirements, and allowing variations would detract from this.

    "In particular, by disallowing variations for religious reasons, we visibly uphold the secular nature of the Government and reassure citizens that they will receive key services fairly and impartially regardless of race or religion," said Mr Teo, in a written reply on behalf of the Prime Minister.

    Mr Pritam had asked if the Prime Minister would consider studying with the heads of uniformed services the feasibility of allowing the hijab to be worn by Muslim staff, subject to operational exigencies.

    In his reply, Mr Teo said that the requirement of wearing uniforms without overtly displaying religious symbols is a practice in many countries.

    He added that the Government has to balance the needs of various groups in Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious society and has maintained a "broad common secular space", even as it has allowed space for each community to practise its beliefs to the fullest extent possible.

    "Fortunately, Singaporeans understand the need to balance what their own group wants with the need to accommodate other groups, and to preserve the common space that all benefit from, especially minority groups," he said.

    The hijab issue resurfaced late last year following calls for Muslim women to be allowed to freely don the hijab in all workplaces.

  7. #7929
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    Default 3,139 new HDB flats launched today

    An artist's illustration of Golden Ginger in Serangoon. Photo: HDB


    An artist's illustration of Punggol Bay View. Photo: HDB


    A table showing the Jan 2014 BTO prices as of Jan 22, 2014. Photo: HDB


    An artist's illustration of Woodlands Glen. Photo: HDB


    An artist's illustration of Golden Ginger in Serangoon. Photo: HDB


    New flats in towns including Serangoon, Woodlands and Punggol are part of six Build-To-Order projects


    Published: 22 January, 11:12 AM


    SINGAPORE — Some 3,139 new flats were launched in six Build-To-Order (BTO) projects today (Jan 22), the Housing & Developmental Board (HDB) said.

    In the first tranche of the 24,300 BTO flats HDB planned for this year, the new flats in four non-mature towns, namely Bukit Batok, Jurong West, Punggol and Woodlands, and one mature town, Serangoon, comprise of Studio Apartments (SAs), two-room to five-room flats, as well as 3Gen flats, to meet housing needs of first-timers, second-timers, multi-generation families, elderly and singles.

    First-timers continue to enjoy priority flat allocation, with at least 85 per cent (for four-room and five-room) and 70 per cent (for two-room and three-room) of the BTO flat supply in non-mature towns/estates set aside for them. Eligible first-timer singles have the option of applying for two-room flat in Punggol Vue or Woodlands Glen.

    Married or courting couples who wish to apply for a 3Gen flat together with their parent(s) can apply for one in Punggol BayView. Other multi-generation families who wish to live in the same BTO project can apply under the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme, in which HDB will set aside up to 15 per cent of the SAs, two-room and three-room flats in a BTO project. There will be flats set aside in Bukit Gombak Vista, Punggol Vue, Punggol BayView, and Woodlands Glen for this purpose.

    In addition, 50 per cent of the SA supply in Bukit Gombak Vista, Golden Ginger, and Golden Lavender will be reserved for elderly applicants under the Studio Apartment Priority Scheme.

    Eligible first-timer households can enjoy up to S$60,000 of housing grants, comprising the Additional CPF Housing Grant (up to S$40,000) and Special CPF Housing Grant (up to S$20,000). With these grants, two-room, three-room, four-room and five-room flats are priced from S$13,000, S$95,000, S$199,000 and S$383,000 respectively.

    Starting with this launch, HDB said they will also introduce several eco-features in all new public housing developments, which will help to manage water, energy and waste more efficiently.

    These include eco-pedestals in bathrooms which recycle water for toilet flushing, LED lighting with motion sensor controls and regenerative lifts that help to lower energy consumption, as well as Centralised Chutes for Recyclables (CCR) to promote recycling.

    More covered bicycle parking lots and bicycle wheel ramps will also be added to new projects to encourage residents to adopt a more environmentally-friendly mode of transport, said HDB.


    APPLICATION FOR JAN 2014 BTO EXERCISE

    Application for the BTO flats can be submitted online from today to next Tuesday. Eligible applicants can apply for only one flat type in one town only.

    For enquiries, the public can log on to esales.hdb.gov.sg, email hdbsales@hdb.gov.sg or visit the HDB Sales Office to speak with our Customer Relations Executives during office hours.

    In March this year, HDB will offer about 3,500 new flats in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun. For the rest of the year, there will be a mix of BTO flat types across various towns, such as Bukit Batok, Hougang, Jurong West, Kallang Whampoa, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun, said HDB.

  8. #7930
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    Default Study missions to China and Vietnam for working adults

    Published on Jan 23, 2014
    8:12 AM

    By Amelia Teng


    Civil servant Guan Wen Long will spend nine days in Beijing in March - but it will be no holiday.

    The 31-year-old student at SIM University (UniSIM), which caters to working adults, will visit university campuses and study historical sites after taking up one of two new overseas study missions it has set up. The other is to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

    Both continued education and training (CET) courses aim to give students an insight into two of Asia's fast-growing economies.

    The nine-week China and Vietnam programmes start on Jan 29 and Feb 12 respectively.

    Enrolment closes on Jan 28. Seven students, with ages ranging from 23 to 51, have already signed up for each course. All are in full-time jobs in sectors such as government, finance, insurance, manufacturing and recreation.


    Background story

    NO HOLIDAY

    There will be structural academic work involved before and after the trip to give students a strong grounding on the background of the destination countries, and to help them analyse and reflect on their learning. It is not just a tour.
    - Dr Teng Su Ching, UniSIM's director of CET

  9. #7931
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    Default PM tells sports school to become national academy of excellence

    Sports


    (From left) Singapore Sports School alumni Habibah Najihahbi bte Ahmad, Darren Choy and Brandon Lee taking a photo with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during Singapore Sports School's 10th Anniversary Awards Night. Photo: Wee Teck Hian


    Amanda Lim celebrating after winning the 50m Freestyle gold medal at the 27th Sea Games Myanmar. Photo: Wee Teck Hian


    Review committee to chart Singapore Sports School’s future directio

    TODAY

    Published: 23 January, 4:02 AM

    SINGAPORE — Swim queen Tao Li, 10-time SEA Games gold medallist Amanda Lim (swimming) and Youth Olympic Games paddler Isabelle Li are some of the success stories to have emerged from the Singapore Sports School, which opened its doors at the Woodlands campus in April 2004.

    Now, the school’s graduates include four Olympians, seven world champions, five Asian Games gold medallists, three gold medallists at the Commonwealth Games and 60 SEA Games gold medallists, as well as a President’s Scholar.

    At the school’s 10th Anniversary Awards Night last night, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued a challenge to its current 523 student-athletes and staff: Become the national sports academy of excellence in the next 10 years.

    To achieve this long-term goal, Mr Lee announced that the Sports School will conduct a strategic review to study how the best sports academies in the world design their academic curriculum, among other things. It will also look into ways to partner polytechnics and universities here and abroad to offer academic pathways for students, strengthen the school’s role in the sports eco-system by working with the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) and national sports associations (NSAs), and help develop promising athletes in mainstream schools by sharing their best practices.

    Addressing student-athletes, parents and staff during the dinner, Mr Lee said: “The school has done well, but it needs to continually review its work to stay relevant to the changing sporting landscape. The competition is getting stronger and, even in South-east Asia, other countries are investing significant resources to develop their athletes. They are closing the gap with us even in sports, where we traditionally do well.”

    A committee will be formed to conduct the review. It will be co-chaired by Ms Yeoh Chee Yan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), and SSC chairman Richard Seow.

    The committee will also include members of the sports fraternity, representatives from the Ministry of Education and tertiary institutions and is expected to complete its work by the end of this year.

    Singapore Bowling Federation President Jessie Phua backed the strategic review: “Every organisation has to do honest soul-searching to see where they have done well, where they could have done better and where they went wrong. Such is the landscape of sports ... If we don’t keep pace, we will constantly be playing catch-up. We want to have the advantage of being ahead of the pack.”

    On a broader level, Myanmar SEA Games silver medallist (Women’s Singles) Isabelle Li said she hopes that the corporate sector will become more involved in sports. “For table tennis, some of the athletes from other countries are adopted by companies and play for them. They know that they have job security (after retirement),” said the 19-year-old.

    The SSP’s ceremony also saw a total of 56 awards handed out to student-athletes and staff, with paddler Yee Herng Hwee and swimmer Lim Ching Hwang winning the Moo Soon Chong Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year Awards.

  10. #7932
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    Default NUS rolls out 'grade-free' system for its freshmen

    Published on Jan 23, 2014
    8:11 AM







    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...N_4008320e.jpg
    By doing away with grades, the National University of Singapore hopes that freshmen can venture out of their comfort zone and take on more ''exploratory'' type of courses. -- ST FILE PHOTO



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...3_4007767e.jpg
    NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan says "it is important to reduce some of the over-focus on grades as the most important thing to go for, as opposed to actual learning". -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG


    By Ong Hwee Hwee, Assistant News Editor

    In a bold move by the National University of Singapore (NUS) to reduce the obsession with grades, how its freshmen perform in exams may no longer count in their final mark.

    The initiative, already in place at its medical school, will be rolled out in phases to other faculties, which could include law and engineering, from as early as this year, revealed NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan.

    Details are still being worked out for what NUS has called its "grade-free" system, which will be extended to the whole school over the next few years. But while there will still be tests and exams, first-year students will no longer get A to F grades.

    Instead they will just be given a distinction, pass, or fail in their modules - and these will not form part of their Cumulative Average Point, which determines the quality of the degree awarded at the end of their course.

  11. #7933
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    Default NUS president to chair prestigious university group at the World Economic Forum

    Published on Jan 22, 2014
    10:00 PM


    In a boost for Asian universities, National University of Singapore president Tan Chorh Chuan (above) has been appointed by the World Economic Forum as chair of a prestigious forum of university leaders. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG


    By Ong Hwee Hwee, Assistant News Editor

    In a boost for Asian universities, National University of Singapore (NUS) president Tan Chorh Chuan has been appointed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as chair of a prestigious forum of university leaders. From this year, he will head the Global University Leaders Forum (Gulf) for a two-year term, taking over from Professor Richard Levin, the former head of the renowned Yale University, NUS said in a press release on Wednesday.

    The group, which comprises the heads of 25 top universities, was created by the WEF in 2006 as a platform for academic leaders to engage their peers from other sectors in high-level dialogues. It also debates and discusses major trends in higher education and research, such as the impact of online learning on universities.

    Members of the “invitation only” group include top universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, as well as leading Asian institutions such as Peking University and the University of Tokyo. NUS is one of six Asian universities in the group, and the only one from Singapore.

    Prof Tan, 54, who has been involved in the forum since 2008, when he was appointed NUS president, said: “It is a great honour to be chair of such a distinguished gathering of university presidents. It recognises NUS’ standing as a global university... and Singapore’s overall prominence on the global stage.”

  12. #7934
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    Default National University Hospital doctor pioneers 'one cut' lung surgery technique

    Published on Jan 22, 2014
    2:53 PM


    By Linette Lai

    A doctor at the National University Hospital has pioneered a technique of performing lung surgery that reduces the amount of incisions, drug dosage and possible damage that other methods can involve.

    Dr John Tam makes one 3cm incision - compared to at least three or four small cuts that other minimally invasive techniques involve. It also means no muscle fibres are cut or ribs are cracked, as can happen in conventional surgery.

    He inserts a tiny camera and other surgical instruments between the patient's ribs to carry out his work.

    Instead of having to take heavy doses of painkillers after surgery, most of his patients take only Panadeine - a slightly stronger version of Panadol. Most stopped painkillers after a few days and were discharged within a week.

  13. #7935
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    Default 5 more Social Service Offices to launch this year

    File photo. Photo by Ernest Chua


    New offices in Clementi, Yishun, Taman Jurong, Bukit Panjang and Serangoon will bring the total number of SSOs to 20 by the end of 2014


    By Kok Xing Hui
    Published: 23 January, 11:00 AM


    SINGAPORE — Five more Social Service Offices (SSO) will be launched in Singapore by the end of the year, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced today (Jan 23).

    This next batch of SSOs — to be located in Clementi, Yishun, Taman Jurong, Bukit Panjang and Serangoon, in addition to the four new ones announced in December — will bring the total number of SSOs here to 20 by the end of this year.

    The four SSOs announced last month will come into service by June and their exact addresses were also announced this morning.

    Speaking at the official opening of Singapore’s 10th operational SSO, Mr Chan said that 95 per cent of needy Singaporeans will have access to MSF’s services within 2km of where they live or work by the time 20 SSOs and other social services are rolled out.

    Health Minister Gan Kim Yong officiated the opening of the new SSO located at Chua Chu Kang. He noted that the HDB block directly opposite the new SSO, which has been operating since early last month, is a rental block with many needy Singaporeans.

    Since the SSO started operations, it has seen 150 new applications from the elderly, single parents and families with insufficient income, said Ms Ida Iryanee, the general manager of the SSO at Chua Chu Kang.

    Two more SSOs — in Bukit Merah and Boon Lay, which are already operational — will be officially launched within the next two months.

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    Default Jurong Bird Park relaunches Waterfall Aviary with new viewing terrace

    Published on Jan 23, 2014
    12:09 PM

    By David Ee


    Jurong Bird Park relaunched its Waterfall Aviary on Thursday with new species of endangered birds and a viewing terrace for visitors and for private events.

    The refurbished 43-year-old aviary, which has hosted famous people like Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, is home to at-risk sun conures from South America and common crowned pigeons from Papua. In total, it has more than 600 birds from about 50 species.

    A viewing terrace has also replaced the now defunct panorail station within the aviary.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said that he hoped more people would visit the Bird Park - Asia's largest - to be reminded of the rich biodiversity in the world.

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    Default Get married with a perfect bird's eye view at relaunched aviary

    Relaunched aviary part of move by Bird Park to woo more local visitors



    Published on Jan 24, 2014
    8:28 AM


    Couples can have their marriages solemnised in front of the 30m-tall, man-made waterfall, the world's highest inside an aviary. The Bird Park has tried to attract more locals with regular talks in schools, and credit card promotions. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG


    By David Ee

    Fancy getting married with a bird's eye view over a kaleidoscope of exotic birds from around the world?

    Couples can do so at the Jurong Bird Park, which relaunched its Waterfall Aviary yesterday with a new elevated terrace that caters to public viewing as well as private events such as weddings.

    The $250,000 terrace - converted from a monorail platform - can host 100 people at a standing reception or buffet. The ground-floor area can fit another 50 guests.

    In the past, while couples could say their vows there, they had to go elsewhere for the reception and dinner. Other "flighty" wedding touches the park provides for nature-loving couples include having a cockatoo fly the wedding bands to them.

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    Default First volunteer-run community care healthcare team

    First volunteer-run community care healthcare team helps more than 200 at-risk residents in 7 months


    Published on Jan 23, 2014
    7:11 PM


    By Audrey Tan

    When it comes to healthcare, it is not just doctors and nurses who play an important role. The community, too, can lend a hand in reaching out to at-risk residents in their neighbourhoods.

    This is the aim of a pioneering project called Neighbours for Active Living, spearheaded by the South East Community Development Council (SE CDC).

    Under the project, which started in July 2013, about 50 neighbourhood volunteers were recruited by SE CDC and trained by health system company Eastern Health Alliance (EH Alliance).

    These volunteers aim to help at-risk residents - typically elderly patients suffering from multiple illnesses - in reducing the chances of them suffering from relapses and health complications during house visits.



    Mr Tan Tock Hwee (in blue), 66, takes a walk at a park near his block with his befriender, Madam Sharifah. A pioneering project called Neighbours for Active Living, spearheaded by the South East Community Development Council, aims to get the community to lend a hand in reaching out to at-risk residents in their neighbourhoods. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

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    Default RSAF's Black Knights vow to wow with new moves at this year's Singapore Airshow

    Published on Jan 23, 2014
    6:00 PM


    By Lee Jian Xuan

    From a slow, measured glide to heart-stopping nosedives, spectators at this year's Singapore Airshow can look forward to eight new aerial manoeuvres by the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) elite Black Knight pilots.

    The Black Knights, who will make their first appearance since the event's inaugural edition six years ago, unveiled their new moves at a high-octane aerial display in Tuesday's media preview. The same 22-minute display will also be put up at the Airshow, which will be held on Feb 11 to 16 at the Changi Exhibition Centre.

    The highlights are four complex and intricate manoeuvres, including two which will be performed for the first time in the world by a F-16 aerobatic team
    .

    The first manoeuvre, dubbed "Twist and Shout", involves four Black Knights repeatedly changing positions while flying in a "V" formation. It is rivalled in difficulty perhaps only by the "Double Inverted Wrap" in which two Knights fly upside down, while two others spiral around them.


    New moves at new heights
    The Republic of Singapore Air Force Black Knights team will perform eight new manoeuvres at the Singapore Airshow 2014. Here are four new and highly complex moves to watchout for.
    ▲ Criss-cross

    Two pairs of Black Knights approach from a distance
    They then turn towards each other and converge before splitting upwards an outwards in different directions.
    ▲ Twist and Shout

    Flying in a Delta formation, two inner wingmen Black Knights barrel-roll outwards and take the positions of the outer wingmen.
    The outer wingmen then move in to fill the positions.
    The "Twist" is repeated as the new inner wingmen barrel-roll back to their original positions.
    ▲ Double Inverted Wrap

    Two Black Knights fly inverted in a straight line, while two other Black Knights spiral around them in a criss-cross pattern.
    ▲ Seashell

    Four Black Knights pull up one after another in the air.
    Then they roll away from the group in turn, leaving smoke trails each bigger than the previous as they descend, creating a "seashell" in the sky.
    Source: MINDEFStraits Times Graphics: Lim Yong and Derrick Ho

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