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  1. #8484
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Poetry World Cup 2014

    http://themissingslate.com/2014/06/1.../#.U88ztvOwrcs



    WINNER: Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (Singapore)




    The Draw

    FINAL

    Singapore (Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) v. Pakistan (Mehvash Amin) SGP by 25 votes
    Semi-finals

    Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) v. Singapore (Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) SGP by 54 votes
    Pakistan (Mehvash Amin) v. Laos (Bryan Thao Worra) PAK by 137 votes
    Quarter-finals

    Venezuela (Rafael Ayala Páez) v. Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) TUN by 29 votes
    Trinidad & Tobago (Vahni Capildeo) v. Singapore (Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) SGP by 70 votes
    Scotland (Ryan Van Winkle) v. Pakistan (Mehvash Amin) PAK by 23 votes
    India (Shikha Malaviya) v. Laos (Bryan Thao Worra) LAO by 131 votes
    Round Two

    Venezuela (Rafael Ayala Páez) v. USA (Ravi Shankar) VEN by 4 votes
    Bermuda (Nancy Anne Miller) v. Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) TUN by 3 votes
    Trinidad & Tobago (Vahni Capildeo) v. St. Lucia (John Robert Lee) TTO by 5 votes
    Singapore (Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) v. Cyprus (Nora Nadjarian) SGP by 34 votes
    Scotland (Ryan Van Winkle) v. Russia (Valery Petrovskiy) SCO by 8 votes
    Republic of Ireland (Anatoly Kudryavitsky) v. Pakistan (Mehvash Amin) PAK by walkover
    India (Shikha Malaviya) v. Indonesia (Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi) IND by 5 votes
    Iran (Payam Feili) v. Laos (Bryan Thao Worra) LAO by 56 votes
    Round One

    Bangladesh (Mir Mahfuz Ali) v. Venezuela (Rafael Ayala Páez) VEN by 10 votes
    Barbados (Esther Phillips) v. USA (Ravi Shankar) USA by 7 votes
    Bermuda (Nancy Anne Miller) v. Uganda (Derek Lubangakene) BMU by 20 votes
    Botswana (TJ Dema) v. Tunisia (Ali Znaidi) Tie; TUN by golden vote
    Bulgaria (Kapka Kassabova) v. Trinidad & Tobago (Vahni Capildeo) TTO by 3 votes
    Canada (Ottilie Mulzet) v. St. Lucia (John Robert Lee) LCA by 16 votes
    China (Changming Yuan) v. Singapore (Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé) SGP by 48 votes
    Cyprus (Nora Nadjarian) v. Serbia (Dušan Gojkov) CYP by 3 votes
    Denmark (Amalie Smith) v. Scotland (Ryan Van Winkle) SCO by 9 votes
    England (Jon Stone) v. Russia (Valery Petrovskiy) RUS by 10 votes
    Finland (Kat Soini) v. Republic of Ireland (Anatoly Kudryavitsky) IRE by 12 votes
    Ghana (Kwame Dawes) v. Pakistan (Mehvash Amin) PAK by 28 votes
    India (Shikha Malaviya) v. Nigeria (David Ishaya Osu) IND by 8 votes
    Indonesia (Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi) v. New Zealand (Iain Britton) IDN by 30 votes
    Iran (Payam Feili) v. Malaysia (Sharanya Manivannan) IRN by 17 votes
    Laos (Bryan Thao Worra) v. Lebanon (Wadih Sa’adeh) LAO by 37 votes

  2. #8485
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Minimum Sum among aspects under review



    Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin (left) at the Insitutue of Policy Studies' forum on CPF and Retirement Adequacy. Photo: Don Wong


    Govt also looking at possible options to help asset-rich but cash-poor members


    By Joy Fang

    Published: 4:03 AM, July 23, 2014


    SINGAPORE — Amid intense public debate over the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme, the Government is reviewing various aspects of the scheme, including how the CPF Minimum Sum is calculated, and possible options to help the asset-rich but cash-poor.

    It could also study options for CPF members to try and earn higher returns, such as by allowing members to invest CPF monies in private pension plans, and review the current income cap on employer contributions to CPF.

    This was shared at an Institute of Policy Studies forum on CPF and retirement adequacy yesterday, where Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin took part in dialogue sessions with academics and members of the public.

    Mr Tan, who spoke at a session in the morning, said concerns about inflation impacting on retirement adequacy are valid. “One of the measures we have put in place really is in terms of interest rates ... But (inflation) is a valid concern (and) that is one area we have been looking at,” he said. “It is something we will be making some announcements on.”

    In the meantime, the Government is reviewing how the CPF Minimum Sum is being calculated, which will in turn affect how much the Minimum Sum should be raised against inflation. The CPF Minimum Sum is currently pegged to inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and adjustments are made every year.

    Responding to a question on whether it is fair to include the imputed rent component in the CPI, Mr Tan said that “we may want to consider not including” imputed rent when computing Singapore’s inflation rates.

    The CPF scheme has come in for intense debate over the past few weeks, with concerns from the public over the raising of the Minimum Sum, the level of returns on CPF savings, and whether it can adequately meet retirement needs.

    In Parliament earlier this month, Mr Tan made a 20-minute speech to dispel “misconceptions and myths” over the Minimum Sum, while Mr Tharman detailed how the CPF Board invests the savings of workers.

    Mr Tharman, who spoke during the closing dialogue session yesterday, made clear that the CPF is aimed at tackling basic needs, hence the wage ceiling on employer CPF contributions. Currently, CPF contribution from employers is payable on ordinary wages of up to S$5,000 per month.

    “(CPF) is aimed at basic retirement needs. It is not aimed at catering to the full retirement needs of the upper-middle-income group or the higher-income group,” he said, in response to a question from Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief at Singapore Press Holdings’ English and Malay Newspapers Division, who had asked whether the Government has a certain segment of the population in mind when reviewing the CPF scheme. This, of course, would be reviewed over time, he said. “We pegged it at the 80th percentile of incomes and over time we will see how we should adjust the salary cap,” he said.

    Responding to suggestions from speakers on providing better options — than currently provided for under the CPF Investment Scheme system — for CPF members who are able to take on higher risks so that they can try to earn higher returns, Mr Tharman said this is an area the Government can study. An option that remains on the table is allowing members to use CPF monies to invest in private pension plans. However, the Government has to study any new options carefully, take in views and ensure that everyone understands the risks involved, said Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister.

    “It doesn’t mean these are ill-conceived funds. In principle, in the long term, you should expect to earn higher returns for higher risks. But you can go through long periods where higher returns do not materialise. That is the basic lesson from the evidence on market cycles,” he said, adding that the CPF is already offering good returns for risk-free assets.

    He acknowledged that many Singaporeans in the older generation are asset-rich but cash poor. “We will help them get cash out of their homes. Some of today’s speakers have suggested ways of doing this, and there are ways, which we are studying very seriously.”

    Asked by an audience member on plans for the next 50 years, Mr Tharman was optimistic. He said: “We are in the rare position of being able to strengthen our system as we go forward, while most other systems are having to cut back on benefits or raise more taxes to sustain their social security systems. We are in a very rare situation of starting from a very strong foundation and being able to improve our system, and improve we will.”

  3. #8486
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    Default Team Singapore ready to give their best at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

    By Patwant Singh
    POSTED: 23 Jul 2014 00:01


    Chef de Mission for Team Singapore Low Teo Ping says athletes and officials have settled in comfortably at the Games Village.



    Team Singapore athletes headed for the Youth Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games (Photo: Patwant Singh)


    SINGAPORE: Singapore athletes are all set to give off their best at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which begins on Thursday (July 24). The 105-strong contingent consists of 70 athletes and 35 officials.

    Chef de Mission for Team Singapore Low Teo Ping says it has been a smooth transition for the athletes and officials. They have settled in comfortably at the Games Village, even decorating it with Singapore flags and banners.

    Mr Low said Team Singapore is impressed with the warm reception from the hosts. He said the close proximity of the Games Village to the Opening Ceremony venue is another advantage for athletes who need to compete on Thursday.

    "It is actually walking distance from here to the venue of the Opening Ceremony. It is not like they are going to be there right until close to midnight like other opening ceremonies that we have experienced that would then prevent them from participating in it. So there is a chance for them to break-off half way through and go back to their accommodation and then watch television and rest for the rest of the evening for the next day's competition," said Mr Low.

    MediaCorp's Okto channel will be screening the opening ceremony live at 4am Singapore time on Thursday (July 24). The channel will also have daily action from the Games from 9pm onwards starting Thursday.


    - CNA/by

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    Default Commonwealth Games: Feng backs Singapore for table tennis gold

    POSTED: 22 Jul 2014 17:21


    Feng Tianwei insists Singapore can be confident of repeating their dominance in table tennis at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.




    Feng Tianwei of Singapore in action at the 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo. (AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA)


    GLASGOW: Feng Tianwei insists Singapore can be confident of repeating their dominance in table tennis at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. World number four Feng is the strong favourite to retain the women's singles title she won four years ago, when Singapore collected six gold and five silvers from a total of 24 medals on offer.

    The 27-year-old was the flag bearer for her country at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, where she won two bronze medals, two years ago. She is comfortable in her role as team leader and expects the team to be successful in Scotland.

    She told AFP: "I have been leading the women's team for several years. For this Commonwealth Games, we have a new team but the confidence is high and our younger players have shown a lot of fighting spirit. I believe that the younger players are able to deal with the pressure and perform their best. I hope we can continue our success at the Games."

    In the men's event, Singapore's Gao Ning, beaten by fellow countryman Yang Zi in the final four years ago, is also confident he can live up to expectations. The Singapore team have been gearing up for Glasgow in Linz, Austria, where they have been training for six hours a day, and world number 12 Gao feels ready.

    "We have been sparring with players of specific playing styles in preparation for the games," Gao told AFP. "We have been busy training and in such a way where we are prepared for every scenario, positive or negative. There will definitely be pressure at any competition but I am confident and prepared and we hope to repeat Singapore's success at the Commonwealth Games."

    India's best ever player Sharath Kamal Achanta, winner of the singles and team gold in 2006 and doubles in 2010, is determined that the Singapore team will not have it all their own way. Kamal, currently ranked 44th in the world, is confident of adding to his total haul of five Commonwealth Games medals.

    He told AFP: "The Commonwealth Games has always been important for India especially for table tennis as this is one place where we can win medals. Usually in the Olympic Games and Asian Games we are not in contention but in the Commonwealth Games we stand a good chance to win even the gold medal.

    "Singapore are the best in the business in the Commonwealth Games and they are quite strong players but nevertheless I would be able to give them a run for their money. I would really like to win back the gold from the mighty Singaporeans but I will have to play to the best of my abilities every time I face them. I am hoping to take back at least one gold medal home along with me this time."


    - AFP/ac

  5. #8488
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default All systems go for Singapore’s elite

    Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014


    By IAN DE COTTA -

    Published: 4:03 AM, July 23, 2014

    SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Commonwealth Games team has settled in Glasgow ahead of tonight’s opening ceremony, and the transition has gone without a hitch.

    A total of 70 athletes from the Republic are set to compete in athletics, badminton, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting. To keep them focused during the 11 days of competition, team officials led by chef-de-mission Low Teo Ping have worked on making the Games Village a home away from home. Support teams are also on hand round the clock to look after the competitors’ every need.

    “We work with the athletes’ respective coaches and team managers to ensure that nothing is left to chance, from comfortable bedding, to transportation, to addressing their anxieties, injuries, aches and pains,” he told TODAY.

    The Singaporeans are a stone’s throw from the dining hall and transport services to take them to competition venues. The Games Village will be home to 6,500 athletes and is furnished with over 260,000 items of furniture, fittings and equipment recycled from the 2012 London Olympic Village.

    The Republic’s 11-member swimming team, which includes men and women’s butterfly specialists Joseph Schooling and Tao Li, have been impressed with the facilities.

    “Everything has been great since we arrived,” said swimming team manager Aloysius Yeo. “We’ve also visited the Tollcross International Swimming Centre where we will be competing and it is first-class.”

    There was also praise from badminton team manager Chew Keet Hou. “To help the athletes relax, there are ample recreational facilities and access to the Internet.”

    But there is one thing the whole team is missing: A more generous spread of Asian fare in the canteen.“The food is good and there is pasta and Western fare,” said Chew. “But the Asian food we had so far is limited to fried rice, noodles, and some Indian food.”

    Games chefs have the difficult task of catering for athletes and officials from 71 nations across six continents. Eight of the competing teams, including Singapore, are from Asia, compared with Africa’s 18. Fifteen are from the Caribbean, 14 from Oceania, 10 from Europe and six from the Americas.

    Despite the absence of Singaporean cuisine, the Republic’s athletes’ have been happily tucking into what was on offer. Said Yeo: “As long as they are not complaining, it means they are enjoying themselves. They are eating well and it is a good sign for all of us.”

  6. #8489
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Republic ready to Glas-go!

    Singaporeans extremely happy with warm welcome from locals in Scotland



    Published on Jul 22, 2014 3:00 PM



    From left to right: Liang Xiaoyu, Shinta Mulia Sari, Yao Lei, Vanessa Neo and Fu Mingtian pose for a picture at the international zone. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
    - ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Above, Singapore’s chef de mission, Mr Low Teo Ping, speaking to the badminton and table tennis players after the welcome ceremony at the foyer outside their accommodation at the Games Village, which he named the “Singapore Square”. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Above, the Singapore flag flies high at the Games Village near a sculpture of the Loch Ness monster standing at the entrance to the accommodation. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    By Wang Meng Meng, In Glasgow

    IN THE concrete-coloured skies over Scotland's biggest city, the five stars and crescent moon have brightened up a corner of Glasgow's cloudy east end.

    With the help of three local firemen, Singapore flags and bunting depicting the lion have been hung up at the athletes' village before the Commonwealth Games, which will commence tomorrow.

    And with the 70-strong contingent receiving a warm welcome from their Glaswegian hosts at the flag-raising ceremony yesterday morning, the Games provide an opportunity to win medals and also a chance to pick up tips on how best to host the SEA Games on home soil next year.

    Pointing to his driver, Team Singapore chef de mission Low Teo Ping said: "She is from the Isle of Tiree, four hours away by ferry and another two-and-a-half hours by road. And she came all the way to volunteer.

    "The firemen came forward and brought a ladder to help us decorate our homes in the village.

    "We have been greeted warmly by policemen, bus drivers... this gives the Games a different feel as you sense that the whole community is behind the event.

    "I would like to see our own SEA Games achieve this kind of feeling."

    Low is also vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council and a member of the 2015 SEA Games steering committee.



    Singapore's top male badminton player Derek Wong, who is targeting the semi-finals, added: "This is how visitors would like to be welcomed.

    "I hope that when we host the SEA Games, we can be more open and let the athletes feel that they are not just here to compete but also that they are part of the Games."

    The 35ha Village provides a recreational area for 6,500 athletes housed there. It has a gym, a medical centre, billiards tables, gaming consoles, three cafes, smoothie bars, a salon that provides hairdressing and manicure/pedicure services and athletes are also welcome to join yoga and pilates sessions by the lawn.

    Preaching sustainability through low carbon emissions, solar panels and energy-efficient design, the facility is reusing 260,000 pieces of furniture and fittings from the London Olympics of 2012.

    After the Games conclude, this cluster of semi-detached houses and two blocks of flats will be sold off as condominiums as part of the process to re-energise a section of Glasgow that has battled social deprivation.

    With the warm reception setting Team Singapore at ease, Low believes the contingent is ready to put up a good show in the first of three major competitions before the SEA Games.

    Following Glasgow are September's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.


    At the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, a 65-strong Singapore contingent rallied to the country's best-ever performance at the event, hauling in 11 gold medals, 11 silvers and nine bronzes. Low believes there will be a similar, or better, harvest in Scotland.

    "The medals will come from our traditional strengths - table tennis and shooting, but there could be additional medals to come from gymnastics and weighlifting," he said.

    "Weighlifter Scott Wong has been improving quickly. Our swimmers arrived early to acclimatise in Surrey (England) and Joseph Schooling is a good bet for a medal. A lot of our athletes have been training extremely hard and are peaking, so you never know, we might have some surprises."

    In the case of those Singaporean athletes who fail to stand on the podium, Low expects they will at least set new personal bests and smash national records.

    But some say the Games have somewhat lost their lustre, especially with the London Olympics still fresh in the memory.

    David Beckham and Daniel Craig headlined the opening ceremony for the London Olympics while Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle will sing at Celtic Park tomorrow night.

    An injured Lee Chong Wei will not return to defend his men's badminton singles title and the fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, will perform for about nine seconds as he will only compete in the 4x100m relay.

    But Glasgow is still a good place for Singapore's athletes to polish their skills.

    Paddler Isabelle Li, playing in her first Commonwealth Games, said: "The team left early for Linz, Austria, to acclimatise to the weather and time difference. And we have been analysing the different playing styles we will encounter in this competition.

    "The Commonwealth Games is definitely a very useful stepping stone for me. I will gain experience and I'll learn what it's like to be part of a team pursuing gold."

    With such warm hospitality and athletes prepared for a good haul of medals for Singapore, the only complaint has been the high level of security.

    Athletes, officials and media all have to remove any metal objects, including belts, watches and accreditation before passing through metal detectors and having their bags scanned.

    But Low still sees the funny side of this with his wisecrack: "I had become a stripper."
    meng@sph.com.sg


    Background story

    President Tan in Scotland

    PRESIDENT Tony Tan Keng Yam will represent Singapore at the opening ceremony of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland tomorrow.

    Dr Tan will support Team Singapore athletes taking part in the Games from today until Sunday, his office said in a statement yesterday.

    Mr J. Y. Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, will exercise the functions of the President's Office while Dr Tan is away in Europe.
    CHARISSA YONG

  7. #8490
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    Default All eyes on Joseph Schooling, Tao Li at Commonwealth Games

    By Patwant Singh
    POSTED: 23 Jul 2014 18:53


    The two swimmers share some details of their training regime ahead of their Commonwealth Games campaign, which kicks off in Glasgow on Thursday (July 24).





    Tao Li (Photo by Tan Yo-Hinn - TODAY)


    SINGAPORE: All eyes will be on Joseph Schooling and Tao Li when they begin their Commonwealth Games campaign in Glasgow, Scotland on Thursday (July 24). Ahead of their races, here is a sneak peek at their preparations in the United States, where they were based.

    After winning five gold medals at last year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar, expectations are high for 19-year-old Schooling. But he is unfazed by the burden of carrying a nation's hopes.

    "I set pretty high goals for myself, high standards. I always want to do my best," he said. "If I go in there, I swim my heart out, and give it 100 per cent. If I win, I win. If I lose, that means the guy is better than me."

    Schooling has been studying and training at the Bolles School in Florida for the past five years. In the build-up to the Commonwealth Games, he has stepped up the intensity of his training, working on his turns and the speed of his strokes.

    His Spanish coach Sergio Lopez said he also focused on building up Schooling's mental strength: "The most important thing is the mind of the swimmer. Some days you have to create conflict - it makes you grow and understand the chance you have to do something special."

    Schooling's state of mind was under the spotlight at the 2012 London Olympics. Then, he blamed his eighth-place finish on a late change of cap and goggles. It is an incident Schooling still remembers vividly. "That was a huge melting point for me," he admits. "Two years down the road, I would say that I have learned a lot. I am in no way, no way close to my full potential yet. Psychologically, I have a lot of things that I still have to learn, and a lot of things I still have to work out internally. That is something that only I can help myself."

    Since May, he has had a Singapore team-mate for company - swim queen Tao Li has been training with Schooling in Florida
    . "I have never before trained with so many Olympians in one group and in one programme, so I think I really enjoy the time here," she said of the experience. "Surrounding me are all boys or men. I think even though they swim slowly, they are faster than me, so I just try to keep up with them."

    The 24-year old is using the Commonwealth Games to gear up for September's Asian Games in South Korea, which is likely to be her last.
    "That is the most important thing for my career. Because I got gold in 2006 and 2010, so one more - that is why I sacrificed everything, family, friends back home in China and Singapore," she revealed. "My Mum misses me and wants me to retire and she thinks that it is time for me to go on another pathway, like start my own club, do some studies, finish my university. But she believes in me and trusts me to do well, so she let me come to the US."

    According to her coach Lopez, Tao's continued training in the US will depend on a review of her progress after the Asian Games.

    Team Singapore athletes also got a morale boost on Wednesday, when President Tony Tan Keng Yam stopped in at the Commonwealth Games Village, where he visited the Singapore House and toured the facilities.

    The President found the athletes in good spirits and wished them well. He will be in Glasgow till July 27, and will attend the Opening Ceremony and visit some competition venues.


    - CNA/xy

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    Default Joseph Schooling qualifies for Commonwealth Games 50m butterfly final

    Published on Jul 25, 2014 7:15 AM



    National swimmer Joseph Schooling gestures after winning the gold medal in the men's 200m individual medley at the 27th SEA Games held in Naypyidaw's Wunna Theikdi Swimming Complex, Myanmar, on Dec 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    By Wang Meng Meng In Glasgow

    Inside the ready room at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre, Joseph Schooling gets himself into the zone by listening to house music.

    But as he admitted frankly, he might have overdone the relaxation as it nearly jeopardised his qualification for the Commonwealth Games' 50m butterfly final on Friday night.

    The 19-year-old got off to a slow start but managed to recover strongly to finish third in his semi-final, and fifth overall, with a time of 23.48 sec, a shade slower that the new national record of 23.43 sec he set in the qualifiers that same morning.

    England's Benjamin Proud was the top semi-finalist (23.16 sec), followed by South African duo Roland Schoeman (23.25 sec) and Chad le Clos (23.29 sec).


    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/spo....dqksG0Wh.dpuf

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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore off to good start in table tennis

    Published on Jul 24, 2014 10:01 PM



    Singapore's Isabelle Li on the first day of competition against Sri Lanka at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    GLASGOW (AFP) - Favourites Singapore made a commanding start to the team event of the table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Thursday with both the men and women recording convincing victories.

    In the preliminary round on the event's opening day, the men beat Ghana 3-0, while the women, also top seeds, overcame Sri Lanka with the same scoreline.

    Hu Li and Ning Gao
    beat Derek Abrefa and Felix Lartey in the doubles and Gao and Jian Zhan beat Emmanuel Commey and Lartey with each match finishing 3-0.

    In the other match in Pool A, Sri Lanka, who face Singapore later on Thursday, picked up a comfortable 3-0 win against Seychelles.

    Singapore's women, with top seed Feng Tianwei not involved, produced a similarly dominant display against the Sri Lankans.

    Ye Lin and Yu Mengyu
    had a tough start against Hansani Piumila and Ishara Madurangi, winning the first two games 13-11 and 12-10 before taking the final game 11-7 in the doubles rubber.

    Isabelle Li beat Madurangi and Yu overcame Erandi Warusawithana with 3-0 scorelines to give Singapore a perfect start.

    They are back in action later on Thursday when they meet Northern Ireland in their final Pool A match.

    Malaysia's women recorded a convincing 3-0 victory against Papua New Guinea, dropping only 20 points across the nine games played in the three matches.

    Their next match in Pool F is against Canada, who secured a 3-0 win against Jamaica.

    In Pool B, Australia, who face hosts Scotland later on Thursday, produced a commanding performance to beat Guyana 3-0 and in Pool C England beat Ghana 3-0 and Trinidad and Tobago beat Tanzania with the same score.

    India's men rested top player Sharath Kamal but they still eased past Vanuatu with a 3-0 scoreline in Pool D, where Nigeria also beat Kenya 3-0.

    New Zealand
    started with a 3-0 victory against Vanuatu and they face Wales, who recorded a 3-0 win over Mauritius in their opening game, later on Thursday.

    With the rest of the men's opening round of matches taking place on Thursday, among the early results, Nigeria beat Bangladesh 3-0 in Pool D, where Mauritius picked up a 3-0 victory against Kiribati.

    In Pool E, Canada beat Tanzania 3-0 and hosts Scotland beat Uganda by the same margin.


    Commonwealth Games: Singapore in charge of Games table tennis


    Published on Jul 25, 2014 5:27 AM


    GLASGOW (AFP) - Top seeds Singapore's women secured their progress from the preliminary round of the team table tennis at the Commonwealth Games before the men's team pulled off another convincing victory.

    The women followed up their 3-0 win over Sri Lanka on the first morning of competition with a routine 3-0 victory against Northern Ireland. The men maintained the form they showed in beating Ghana 3-0 in their first match with another comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sri Lanka.

    Their final match of Pool A comes against Seychelles on Friday.

    Even without number one player Feng Tianwei, the Singapore women made short work of Northern Ireland to underline their prospects of gold at the Scotstoun Sports Complex.
    -

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    Default Team Singapore athletes in action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

    Published on Jul 24, 2014 1:42 PM








    Opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games held at the Celtic Park Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Badminton and table-tennis players and officials pose for a picture after the welcome ceremony at the foyer outside their accomodation at the Game's Village which Mr Low Teo Ping named the "Singapore Square". -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Singapore athletes waiting to make their way to the welcome ceremony held at the International zone of the Games Village on July 21,2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Singapore athletes make their way to the welcome ceremony at the Games Village on July 21, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    President Tony Tan Keng Yam (right), with chef de mission Mr Low Teo Ping, inaugurating the Singapore Square at the living quarters of the athletes during his visit at the Games Village in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 22, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    President Tony Tan speaks with table-tennis player, Isabelle Li (fourth from right) as he visits the Singapore athletes at the Games Village in Glasgow, Scotland, a day before the July 23 Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Commonwealth Games flag-bearer Lim Heem Wei speak with the Chef de Mission Low Teo Ping at the cafeteria of the Games Village. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Team Singapore contingent at the Welcome ceremony for Singapore held at the international zone within the Games Village during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on July 21, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Joseph Schooling speaks with the Chef de Mission, Low Teo Ping, at the cafeteria of the Games Village. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    The 14th Commonwealth Games kicked off in the Scottish city of Glasgow on July 23 and Team Singapore, with a 70-strong contingent, will be competing in sports from shooting and swimming to badminton and gymnastics.

    Of the team, 45 are young athletes making their debut and medal hopes are high for some of them.

    Straits Times photographer Kua Chee Siong will be on hand to capture their competition moments, so bookmark this page and come back for regular photography updates on the team's performance.

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    Default Commonwealth Games open in colourful, moving ceremony

    Published on Jul 24, 2014 6:43 AM



    Dancers perform during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS


    Britain's Queen Elizabeth waves as she arrives during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



    Spectators look on during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP


    Flagbearers of the Commonwealth Games Federation display the flag during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP


    A pipe band performs during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP


    Jets fly over the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS


    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP


    Singer John Barrowman performs during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP


    Fireworks light up the sky during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP





    Dancers perform during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS


    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP


    Members of the Singapore delegation walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG





    The opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    GLASGOW (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II opened the 2014 Commonwealth Games on Wednesday after a moving and colourful ceremony staged at the famed home of Celtic football club.

    The 20th Commonwealth Games will feature 17 sports across 11 days of competition with more than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations competing, making the event the biggest Scotland has ever hosted.

    Amongst the colour, there was a sombre, immaculately-observed minute's silence to remember the 298 people who died in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight disaster.
    Eighty-two of the victims were from Commonwealth nations.

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    Default What CPF reform should achieve

    TODAY file photo


    By Devadas Krishnadas



    Published: 4:00 AM, July 25, 2014


    Earlier this week saw a lively discussion on reforming the Central Provident Fund or CPF at a forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies. Several ideas have been thrown out for consideration and we can expect to hear more about the Government’s thinking during the upcoming National Day Rally.

    One proposal is the option of taking higher risk in investing CPF monies in return for the prospect of higher returns
    . Ideally, this should be limited to CPF members who already have high confidence of meeting their retirement needs through meeting a certain minimum sum. This would ensure that they have the base of security before taking greater risks.

    What is important is that CPF members who qualify and elect to take higher risks should be expected to indemnify the Government from protecting them against any losses or from making good their retirement adequacy if their total financial circumstances are significantly altered by future events, such as another global financial crisis. This is to ensure that well-to-do CPF members do not benefit from a privatised upside gains but also socialised downside protection.

    WHY PRIVATISING CPF MAY NOT WORK

    Another suggestion often touted in social media discussions is to privatise, in part or as a whole, the management of CPF in order to have full transparency. This would be a very radical option.

    The CPF system is not only integrated into our social fabric but also our national fiscal management system, as CPF monies are invested in Special Singapore Government Securities or SSGS bonds that are issued and guaranteed by the Government. The proceeds from SSGS bonds are invested by the Government via the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) to generate the required returns to cover the interest rates payments on CPF deposits.

    Privatising CPF would reduce GIC’s inflow of fresh funds and affect its current operating model. GIC, being our sovereign wealth fund, can be relied on to keep the national interest as its highest priority. Private investment houses would no doubt be eager for the opportunity to manage the large pool of CPF capital, in view of the handsome management fees involved.

    But unlike GIC, private investment managers’ focus would be serving their corporate and shareholder’s interests. GIC can afford to invest long term as Singapore is its sole client. Private investment firms would find it more difficult to do the same under the pressure to produce early results. Privatisation of CPF, therefore, entails higher risks than simple portfolio risks.

    It has also been suggested that CPF funds can be inflation protected. This could be done by reconfiguring the SSGS as an inflation-linked bond. While this is easily enough done it would raise the performance bar on national investments. This could lead to riskier investment choices in an attempt to meet the higher hurdle.

    Servicing a higher interest hurdle due to the need to deliver real returns over inflation is not a small ask. GIC could also be expected in the near future to contribute to more current expenditure by the Government to meet higher social spending needs. The dual strain on GIC could be a slow strangling of the goose laying the golden eggs.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that Singapore’s healthy sovereign credit rating and fiscal confidence come from the certainty that its assets handily exceed its liabilities. As expenditures rise and the size of the government bond market grows to feed the needs of the economy we would still need asset growth to maintain this enviable state of accounts.


    EVOLVING DEBATE


    The public is likely to be confused even more by further tweaks to the system. There is also a chance that the main body of the public will be upset if there is any perception that only well-to-do CPF members have opportunities to maximise returns even if doing so comes with higher risks.

    Clamouring from the middle and lower-middle to also join the chase for higher returns could compel a populist government to accede to their requests. In the event of general losses in the future and its erosive impact on retirement confidence, the contingent liability may have to borne by the government, which effectively means burdening future tax payers through higher taxes, lower expenditures on their needs or both.

    The public needs to understand and the Government needs to be clear on the difference between retirement adequacy and retirement affluence. The former is a matter of concern in CPF reform while the latter is strictly a matter of individual career and wealth management. CPF members should not expect to have retirement outcomes all on the same final terms as that is a mix of what the CPF and they themselves do. Further tweaking also does not address the fundamental source of unhappiness of CPF members, which is the perception that the “goalposts” are arbitrarily being changed by Government.

    The Government, in making changes to the Minimum Sum, does so in an attempt to ensure that members have certainty of retirement adequacy. However, CPF members also expect certainty and commitment from government about withdrawal terms.

    The Government would be better off simplifying the CPF model by limiting its scope, moderating the permissible withdrawal for housing needs and making schemes more common rather than more specific to population segments. This would provide greater clarity, a better sense of equity and improve the prospect of providing for retirement adequacy for a larger percentage of Singaporeans.

    The debate on the CPF is a challenging and evolving one but this is to be expected. Singapore is a changing society at several levels — not only demographically but socially and politically.

    CPF reform is a moving target because Singapore itself is a moving target. Policy should not be aiming for perfection in the short term but for fairness and sustainability over the longer term. Acceptance of this by both public and Government is a pre-condition to a responsible debate on a matter as crucial and as structural as the CPF.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Devadas Krishnadas is the CEO of Future-Moves Group, an international strategic consultancy and executive education provider based in Singapore

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    Default Shooter wins S’pore’s first gold in Glasgow




    Ms Teo Shun Xie celebrating her win in the women’s 10m air pistol in...
    [More]




    By Low Lin Fhoong
    linfhoong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:00 AM, July 26, 2014
    Updated: 8:21 AM, July 26, 2014

    SINGAPORE — Shooter Teo Shun Xie clinched Singapore’s first medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow yesterday —a gold in the women’s 10m air pistol.
    Ms Teo, a 25-year-old research officer, came tops in the elimination-style final shootout involving eight shooters.

    Ms Heena Sidhu, India’s world No 4 and 2013 ISSF World Cup final winner, topped the qualifying, but was the second to be eliminated.

    With India’s Malaika Goel left to beat as the field was whittled down to the final two, Ms Teo held her nerve to score 19.9 with her final two shots against Ms Goel’s 19.2, clinching gold with a total score of 198.6.

    Ms Goel settled for silver with a total of 197.1, while Canada’s Dorothy Ludwig claimed the bronze in 177.2.


    “I’m really happy that I managed to win this, and especially with this new final format (for shooting),” said Ms Teo in an interview after the medal ceremony yesterday at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Dundee.

    “I didn’t know that Sidhu was the World Cup winner. I just kept my focus on my shots till the last shot and couldn’t really react to winning until I laid down my pistol.”

    Added Ms Teo: “I didn’t really do well in qualification, but with this new format, it allowed me to catch up. I had a few bad shots in the beginning of the final but I kept reminding myself that the target is the same one I’ve been training with here for the past week.

    “I hope to get into the finals of the 25m pistol and fight my way to another medal again. I also hope my medal will encourage my team-mates to keep their faith in themselves and achieve good results.”


    A silver medallist in this event at the South-east Asian Games last December in Myanmar, Ms Teo entered the final as the fifth-highest qualifier with 377 points. She hardly had time to celebrate her gold medal victory yesterday, as she was first ushered to doping control before taking a phone call from Singapore President Tony Tan.

    Ms Teo will be competing in the women’s 25m pistol qualification round at 4pm today.

    At the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, shooting delivered five of the 11 gold medals that Singapore won, with table-tennis responsible for the rest. The 11-strong shooting contingent will be looking to Ms Teo to inspire them to more success.


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    Default Mixed fortunes for Singapore swimming pair


    Joseph Schooling of Singapore looks on after the Men's 50m Butterfly...
    [More]



    Tao Li. Photo: Getty Images

    By Adelene Wong

    -

    adelenewong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 7:18 AM, July 27, 2014

    SINGAPORE – Talented Singaporean swimmers Joseph Schooling and Tao Li swam in their pet events in the early hours this morning (Singapore time) at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, but while Tao did not disappoint, Schooling faltered.

    Schooling, 18, finished in eight spot in the men’s 200m butterfly final with a time of 1min 59.09secs, more than two seconds off his personal best of 1:56.27 set at last year’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona. He had earlier timed 1:58.04 in the heats yesterday evening (Singapore time).

    South African Chad le Clos – who famously beat American Michael Phelps in the event at the 2012 London Olympics – came in first in the 200m butterfly final at the Tollcross International Swimming Complex in a new Games’ record timing of 1:55.07. Australia’s Grant Irvine took silver (1:56.34), while another South African Sebastian Rousseau was third (1:56.43).

    Schooling will be in action again the 100m butterfly heats this evening.


    Meanwhile, local swim queen Tao, 24, powered home in 26.33secs in the women’s 50m butterfly semi-final to finish fifth and qualified for the finals tomorrow morning. She had earlier also finished fifth out of a 47-strong field in the heats in 26.44.

    Defending champion England’s Francesca Halsall was the fastest qualifier in a new Games’ record time of 25.36secs, finishing in front of Bahrain’s Arianna Vanderpool Wallace (25.90) and Australia’s Brittany Elmslie (25.91).

    Tao is a two-time Asian Games (2006, 2010) champion in the 50m butterfly, with a personal best of 26.10secs set at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

    She has another event in the women’s 50m backstroke to gun for a first swimming medal for the Republic at the quadrennial Games.

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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore win women’s team table tennis gold

    Singapore beat Malaysia 3-0 in the women’s table tennis final at the Commonwealth Games 2014. Photo: Commonwealth Games Singapore


    Singapore beat Malaysia 3-0


    Published: 9:42 PM, July 27, 2014

    GLASGOW – Singapore beat Malaysia 3-0 in the women’s table tennis final to secure a fourth straight gold in the event at the Commonwealth Games today (July 27).

    The strong favourites suffered a mild surprise when they lost their first match since their win in the inaugural tournament in 2002 in their semi-final win over India.

    But they were far slicker against the sixth seed Malaysians, who shocked second seeds Australia in the semi-finals, and did not lose a match on their way to gold.
    Australia beat India 3-1 in the bronze medal match.

    In the final, world number 10 Yu Mengyu, beaten by India’s Manika Batra yesterday, lost her first game against Sock Khim Ng 11-7. But she fought through to win her rubber by taking the next three games 11-5, 11-9, 11-9.

    Singapore’s top player Feng Tianwei produced a controlled performance with an 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 win over Lee Wei Beh.

    Lin Ye and Yu then edged a tight match against Ying Ho and Lee Wei in the doubles with an 11-9, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5 win to continue their domination of the event.

    They will now look to continue their run of success in the singles and doubles events and are strong favourites for a clean sweep of the gold medals.

    After the shock of losing the semi-final to Malaysia, Australia coach Jens Lang admitted it was a major relief to win a medal.

    India’s Manika Batra beat Lay Jian Fang to make it 1-1 against Australia in the bronze medal match. But Lang’s team won the doubles and Zhang Ziyu beat Madhurika Suhas Patkar to seal bronze after two hours and 43 minutes.

    Lang said: “It’s a massive relief. We’re so happy now. It was such a thrilling game. Every match could have gone either way. You prepare for such a long time, set your focus on nothing but this and whether it works out depends on such tiny little details.

    “We did everything right, we had the perfect line-up. We’ve proved we’re still a powerhouse in the Commonwealth Games in table tennis. People say the players are too old and past their prime but we still have fighting spirit and experience and we showed that.”

    The semi-finals of the men’s team event, with Singapore facing Nigeria and India meeting England, take place later on today.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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    Default Heritage trail explores history of Queenstown

    Aerial view of Tanglin Halt estate. TODAY file photo


    Two-hour trail also charts the evolution of public housing in Singapore


    By Vimita Mohandas

    Published: 6:57 PM, July 27, 2014


    SINGAPORE ­– The public can now learn more about the rich history of Singapore’s first satellite estate, Queenstown, through the My Queenstown Heritage Trail.

    The trail will also chart the evolution of public housing in Singapore through personal stories of older residents and visits to iconic landmarks which have been around for the past 60 years.

    The two-hour trail stretching from Tanglin Road to Portsdown Road is broken down into five smaller trails based on location clusters. They include the Commonwealth, Tanglin Halt and Wessex, Mei Ling and Alexandra, Princess, and Duchess trails.

    Also adding charm to the estate are the HDB apartments along Stirling Road. These apartments were the brainchild of the Singapore Improvement Trust’s New Towns Working Party, which stipulated an optimal residential density of 200 persons per acre. This recommended density was achieved by building high rise apartments housing 400 persons per acre and low rise terrace units housing 150 persons per acre.

    Members of the public are also in for a treat as older residents share colourful stories.

    “We had a Red Indian circus here last time. There was an elephant here where everybody can touch or feel. It was open space in that corner,” recalled Mr Mahmood Tamam, a resident at Stirling Road.

    “When we were kids, we liked to play a fool with the elephant, threw stones at it and gave the elephant rubbish to eat. So I think the elephant was angry. And there was an animal keeper but he did nothing. So I think the elephant got angry, shook its head, grabbed the keeper and bounced him and the keeper died!”

    The trail includes stops at Queenstown’s first Catholic church, the Church of the Blessed Sacrement, as well as the Sri Muneeswaran Temple, believed to be Southeast Asia’s largest Hindu shrine for the Sri Muneeswaran deity.

    And at the end of the trail, the public can tuck into scrumptious hawker fare at the Tanglin Halt Neighbourhood Centre, where several pioneer businesses can be found. The centre was opened in 1962 and comprises shop units arranged at a quadrangle and stalls in the wet market. However, the centre will not be here for too long as it makes way for new developments.

    The heritage trail is open to the public and interested participants can register for the free guided tour, which takes place on the last Sunday of every month, through EventBrite, myqueenstown@gmail.com or call Queenstown Community Centre at 64741681.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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    Default Singapore gaming firm Garena valued at US$1 billion

    Up to 100,000 gamers visit Garena Online each night to chat and battle it out



    Published on Jul 27, 2014 8:30 AM




    Garena Stadium in Bugis+ mall allows gamers to play while spectators watch. -- PHOTO: GARENA



    Co-founder Forrest Li says Garena is popular because it integrates social networks with gaming. -- BT FILE PHOTO


    By Grace Chng Senior Correspondent

    Every night, as many as 100,000 gamers go to Garena Online to play multi-player games, chat and share tips and tricks.

    They are mainly from South- east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and come together to do battle on their PC screens, playing games like League of Nations and Defence of the Ancients.

    It is free to be a Garena member, but to win their virtual battles, many make in-game purchases of bullets, weapons, shields and other accessories.

    The five-year-old company with 1,000 employees in the region has its own virtual currency called Shells. Gamers buy credits of between US$5 (S$6.20) and US$60 to pay for their online purchases.


    Background story

    WANT TO BE A WEB GIANT? HEAD TO CHINA OR THE U.S.

    Any entrepreneur who wants to build a US$100 billion (S$124 billion) Internet company can only succeed in the US or China.

    The World Startup Report concluded this from data on 150 Internet companies in 50 countries. It studied the financial performance of the top three Internet companies in each country.

    The United States boasts three giant Internet companies: Google is the world's largest Internet company, valued at US$410 billion, followed by e-commerce giant Amazon at about US$187 billion and social network firm Facebook at US$183 billion.

    In China, Alibaba - due to be listed soon - tops the list with a US$200 billion valuation.

    Communications company Tencent is next, valued at US$154 billion, followed by search giant Baidu at US$67 billion.

    On average, the report said it takes about seven to 10 years to build a US$1 billion company.

    The report listed 29 countries, including Singapore, which joined the Billion Dollar Internet club with at least one Internet start-up valued at US$1 billion.

    In each country, the top three Internet companies are featured.

    Singapore gaming platform Garena took the country's No.1 spot, followed by video streaming site Viki - which was acquired by Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten for US$200 million - and high-end fashion e-commerce site Reebonz, still privately held, valued at US$200 million.

    Collated by American entrepreneur Bowei Gai, the free report (www.worldstartupwiki.org) aims to provide useful information to guide aspiring entrepreneurs in different countries. It was published in partnership with Startup Genome, which has been collecting information from more than 100,000 start-ups in the world over the last two years.

    In each country Mr Gai talked to entrepreneurs, investors and others to get an idea of the start-up landscape in each country. Contributors in the start-up community also provided information for the report.

    Six interesting things from the report:


    • The most valuable industry is communications with the average value of start-ups ringing in at about US$20 billion.
    • The most popular industry is e-commerce with 38 companies.
    • The most mature is the search industry which started just before 2000.
    • The largest Internet start-up is Google.
    • The largest Internet company outside the US is China's Alibaba.
    • Public listed start-ups from the top 10 countries had the highest valuations, showing that going public creates the highest value for the company.


    Grace Chng









    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sin....rM32IQms.dpuf

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