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  1. #8501
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S'pore will match Malaysia's new Causeway tolls, says LTA

    S'pore will match Malaysia's new Causeway tolls, says LTA


    Published on Jul 28, 2014 5:53 PM



    The Singapore Immigrations and Customs checkpoint at Tuas Second Link, as seen from Johor, Malaysia. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday, July 28, 2014, that should Malaysia raise existing tolls or introduce a new one at the Causeway and Second Link, the Singapore Government will match its tolls to those set by Malaysia. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

    By Pearl Lee

    SINGAPORE- The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday that should Malaysia raise existing tolls or introduce a new one at the Causeway and Second Link, the Singapore Government will match its tolls to those set by Malaysia.

    The LTA was responding to media reports that Malaysia's Works Ministry will increase a toll charge for all vehicles except motorcycles entering Johor from Singapore through the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at the Causeway. It will also impose a new Causeway toll for outbound vehicles entering Singapore from Johor.

    According to Malaysian media reports, the two new changes will kick in on Friday.

    In the statement, an LTA spokesman said it has always been the Singapore Government's practice to peg Singapore's tolls to match that of Malaysia's.

  2. #8502
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore shuttlers clinch bronze after edging India 3-2

    Commonwealth Games: Singapore shuttlers clinch bronze after edging India 3-2


    Published on Jul 28, 2014 8:35 PM




    Singapore team members run to congratulate doubles pair of Lei Yao (centre top) and Shinta Mulia Sari (right) after the women defeated India's Ashwini Ponnappa (centre bottom) and Jwala Gutta (left) in the Mixed Team event at the Emirates Arena at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014. Singapore clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena. -- PHOTO: AFP



    Singapore team members celebrate on the court after the women doubles pair of Lei Yao and Shinta Mulia Sari defeated India's Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta (both not in picture) in the Mixed Team event at the Emirates Arena at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014. Singapore clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena. -- PHOTO: AFP



    Singapore clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena. -- PHOTO: COMMONWEALTH GAMES SINGAPORE



    Singapore's Lei Yao (top right) plays a shot besides her doubles partner Shinta Mulia Sari (left) against India's Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta (both not in picture) in the Mixed Team event at the Emirates Arena at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014. Singapore clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena. -- PHOTO: AFP



    Singapore's Shinta Mulia Sari (top right) besides her doubles partner Lei Yao (top left) against India's Ashwini Ponnappa (bottom right) and Jwala Gutta (centre) in the Mixed Team event at the Emirates Arena at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014. Singapore clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena. -- PHOTO: AFP

    By Sanjay Nair In Glasgow

    SINGAPORE clinched the bronze medal in the badminton mixed team competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, after beating India 3-2 in the third-place play-off tie at the Emirates Arena.

    The tie was settled in heart-stopping fashion as Singapore's women's doubles pair of Shinta Mulia Sari and Yao Lei fought off the spirited challenge of India's Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta in the gruelling second game, edging them 21-17, 29-27. That gave the winning point to Team Singapore in the tie, as the entire team ran onto the court to celebrate the bronze.

    Earlier, Danny Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo had won the opening mixed doubles match against Ponnappa and R.V. Gurusaidutt 21-19, 21-19, but Huang Chao lost to Kashyap Parupalli 15-21, 20-22 in the men's singles tie.

    Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart then put Singapore ahead against, beating Akshay Dewalkar Pranaav Chopra 21-12, 21-16. However, Liang Xiaoyu lost to P.V. Sindhu 22-24, 13-21 to set the dramatic final women's doubles tie.

  3. #8503
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore men’s team win gold in table tennis

    Commonwealth Games: Singapore men’s team win gold in table tennis



    Singapore table tennis team player Zhan Jian. TODAY file photo


    Singapore beat England 3-1






    Published: 11:11 PM, July 28, 2014
    Updated: 11:20 PM, July 28, 2014


    SINGAPORE *– The Singapore men’s table tennis team secured the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games after beating England 3-1 in the final.

    In the first game, Singapore’s Zhan Jian initially struggled against England’s Paul Drinkhall, losing two of the first three sets, but the Singaporean eventually prevailed 3-2.

    Gao Ning easily swept aside Liam Pitchford 3-0 in the second game to give Singapore a 2-0 lead. Gao Ning then teamed up with Li Hu in the doubles, but lost to England’s Andrew Baggaley and Paul Drinkhall 1-3.

    Zhan Jian, however, extinguished any hopes of a comeback from England, beating Andrew Baggaley 3-0 to secure the gold medal for Singapore.

    It is Singapore’s third gold medal at the Games in Glasgow following their gold in the women’s team table tennis event and in the women’s 10 metre air pistol.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA
    Last edited by Loh; 07-28-2014 at 02:53 PM.

  4. #8504
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Schooling sets second national mark at Commonwealth Games

    Schooling sets second national mark at Commonwealth Games




    Joseph Schooling. TODAY File Photo


    By Adelene Wong
    adelenewong@mediacorp.com.sg

    Published: 2:38 PM, July 28, 2014


    SINGAPORE – Leading Singapore national swimmer Joseph Schooling has set his second national record at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, clocking 52.22secs in the men’s 100m butterfly in the semi-finals on Sunday (this morning, July 28, Singapore time).

    The 19-year-old bettered his previous national benchmark of 52.33secs which was set at last year’s ARENA Grand Prix in Charlotte in the United States

    Schooling is the third best qualifier for the 100m fly final which takes place at the Tollcross Swimming Centre on Monday (tomorrow morning, Jul 29, Singapore time). England’s Adam Barrett was the fastest qualifier in 52.00secs, followed by South Africa’s Chad le Clos (52.12secs).

    It was a positive response from the United States-based butterfly specialist who finished in eight-place in the 200m fly final yesterday in 1min 59.09secs, well off his national record of 1min 56.27secs.

    It was also his second national record set in Glasgow, after timing 23.43secs in the 50m fly heats last Thursday.

    Meanwhile, Singapore’s two-time Asian Games champion Tao Li timed 26.26secs to finish fifth in the 50m butterfly final on Sunday (this morning, Singapore time).

    England’s Francesca Halsall took gold in a new Games’ record time of 25.20secs. Arianna Vanderpool Wallace of Bahamas was second (25.53secs), while Brittany Elmslie of Australia took bronze (25.91secs).

  5. #8505
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Schooling wins Singapore's first swimming medal, clinching silver

    Published on Jul 29, 2014 8:43 AM














    Joseph Schooling makes history by winning a silver medal, the first ever medal in swimming at the Commonwealth Games, in the 100m butterfly at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre on July 28, 2014.. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG



    Joseph Schooling at the men's 100m butterfly event on July 27, 2014. Years of hard work had boiled down to an outburst of explosive energy as Joseph Schooling powered his way into Singapore sports history by winning the country's first-ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


    By Wang Meng Meng In Glasgow

    Years of hard work had boiled down to an outburst of explosive energy as Joseph Schooling powered his way into Singapore sports history by winning the country's first-ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games.

    The 19-year-old clinched the silver in the 100m butterfly at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre when he touched home in a new national record time of 51.69 secs, which erased his old national mark of 52.22 secs he set in the semi-finals.

    It also eclipsed the Asian Games record (51.83 secs) set in 2010 by China's Zhou Jiawei but it is 0.69 secs slower than the Asian record held by Japan's Kohei Kawamoto since 2009.

    South Africa's swim star Chad le Clos won the gold with a new games record time of 51.29 secs while England's Adam Barrett took the bronze (51.93 secs).

    Schooling, who had been plagued by poor starts, overly tight swim shorts and a bout of self-doubt during the Commonwealth Games, regained his confidence by relaxing and bonding with his team-mates.

    Rejuvenated, he produced a textbook swim with a quick start off the blocks, powering ahead, was second at the split (27.45 secs) and continued surging without losing steam to touch the wall and earn his place in Singapore's sports history.


    "This is a huge honour and a huge relief," said an exhausted Schooling after the race.

    "I started the Commonwealth Games well with a good heat in the 50m butterfly but I relaxed and it went downhill. I completely messed up my 200m butterfly. But I managed to come back and beat these guys in the 100m final.

    "It showed how much I've matured."


    Schooling will take part in the 200m individual medley heats today.

  6. #8506
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Rooftop greenery adds splash of colour to HDB estates

    Published on Jul 29, 2014 7:28 AM







    The green and red rooftop "carpet" in Toa Payoh West (above) is made up of small, interlocking plastic trays - a system developed by the HDB itself. This rooftop is not accessible to the public, but some, such as the one in Punggol Place, include amenities for residents to enjoy. -- ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM


    By Janice Heng

    A patchwork of deep red leaves and bright green grass stretches across the roof of a multi-storey carpark in Toa Payoh West. No one is allowed up there, yet the greenery can still be appreciated by many - those who live in the high-rise blocks around it.

    From converted roofs of old carparks to landscaped decks in new housing estates, more such gardens in the sky are on the way.

    About 28ha of greenery is now spread across more than 160 roofs of Housing Board blocks and carparks.

    Over the next few years, another 43ha will be added - the area of almost 60 football fields.

  7. #8507
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Pre-schools with arts focus growing in popularity

    Parents book places years ahead as two operators have long waiting list



    Published on Jul 29, 2014 6:10 AM




    At Nafa Arts Kindergarten, children have an hour of lessons each day on topics such as music, dance, art and drama. -- PHOTO: NANYANG ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS

    By Pearl Lee

    Project manager Patrina Lew started making plans for pre-school when she was still expecting daughter Heather.

    By the time Heather was three months old, Ms Lew, 36, had already registered her for a place at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) Arts Kindergarten.

    She said: "I didn't want my girl to be in a purely academic environment, and quite a few of my friends said that Nafa's pre- school has music and dance in its lessons." Heather, now four, has attended the pre-school for more than a year now and enjoys art and craft, she added.

    Like Ms Lew, a small but growing group of parents is putting more emphasis on the arts when it comes to pre-schools, swelling the demand for places in at least two pre-school operators here that specialise in the arts.

  8. #8508
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Changi airport to offer airlines perks to boost transfer traffic

    Published on Jul 29, 2014 6:08 AM


    The new incentive is part of a $100 million plan to boost traffic and help carriers cut costs. -- ST FILE PHOTO


    By Karamjit Kaur Aviation Correspondent

    For the first time, airlines will be rewarded for bringing stop-over passengers to Changi Airport.

    A new incentive package is being rolled out to encourage carriers to use Changi as a transfer hub, a spokesman for Changi Airport Group has told The Straits Times. Transfer traffic is "an important component" of the airport's success as a major air hub, he added.

    Transfer passengers now make up about 30 per cent of the airport's total annual throughput. Details are being finalised, he said.

    The new incentive, part of a recently announced $100 million plan to boost traffic and help carriers cut costs, will complement existing programmes to grow transfer traffic, Changi said.

  9. #8509
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore win first swimming medal

    By Tan Yo Hinn
    POSTED: 29 Jul 2014 11:17
    UPDATED: 29 Jul 2014 11:18


    Swimmer Joseph Schooling clocked 51.69 secs in the men’s 100m butterfly final, to finish behind South African star Chad Le Clos.




    (L-R) Silver medallist Singapore's Joseph Schooling, Gold medallist South Africa's Chad le Clos and Bronze medallist England's Adam Barrett pose after the men's 100m Butterfly at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. (AFP/ANDREJ ISAKOVIC)


    SINGAPORE: Swimmer Joseph Schooling won the silver medal in the men’s 100m butterfly final at the Commonwealth Games to claim Singapore’s first ever medal in the sport at the quadrennial meet.

    The 19-year-old clocked 51.69 secs at the Tollcross Swimming Centre in Glasgow to finish behind South African star Chad Le Clos, who took the gold medal in a new Games record of 51.29. England’s Adam Barrett claimed the bronze in 51.93.

    Schooling’s time is also a new national record, having bettered the previous benchmark of 52.22 which he set on Sunday.

    It is also Singapore’s fifth medal at the Commonwealth Games, after shooter Teo Shun Xie, the men’s and women’s table tennis team events, and a bronze medal from badminton in the mixed team.


    -TODAY/cy

  10. #8510
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S’pore will match KL’s moves on Causeway tolls



    Traffic at the Causeway. TODAY file photo


    Businesses that operate in both countries concerned about cost impact


    By Xue Jianyue
    xuejianyue@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:03 AM, July 29, 2014
    Updated: 4:04 AM, July 29, 2014

    NEXT PAGE | SINGLE PAGE


    SINGAPORE — The furore over the Republic’s decision to raise Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fees for foreign-registered vehicles entering Singapore took another twist yesterday, with the Government saying it would match any new or increased tolls introduced by Malaysia.

    This comes after Kuala Lumpur announced over the weekend that it would increase the toll and introduce new ones at the Sultan Iskandar Building checkpoint, which connects to the Causeway, from this Friday. The new tolls come on top of a proposed VEP by Malaysia for foreign vehicles entering Johor, which could be at least RM50 (S$19.50).


    In a statement yesterday, a Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesperson said it has been the Government’s practice to peg Singapore’s tolls to those set by Malaysia at the Causeway and the Second Link.

    “The Singapore Government has not received any communication from the Malaysian authorities on this new toll or increase in toll charges, and has requested for official confirmation from the Malaysian government of the media reports,” the spokesperson said.

    Currently, cars entering Johor through the Sultan Iskandar checkpoint must pay a one-way charge of RM2.90, and there are no tolls when exiting.

    However, the Malaysian Highway Authority has announced that from next month, it will collect tolls from cars entering and exiting at the Sultan Iskandar checkpoint. Cars entering Johor from Singapore for a day trip will have to pay RM16.50 — RM9.70 will be charged when entering and RM6.80 will be charged on the way out. Motorcycle tolls will be revised to RM24.90, more than five times the current fee
    .

    On the Singapore end, cars — foreign and local — leaving the island through Woodlands Checkpoint currently pay S$1.20, while motorcycles are not charged.

    Earlier this month, Singapore announced that starting next month, it would raise VEP fees from S$20 to S$35 a day for foreign cars entering the country — the first increase since 1994. Fees for goods vehicles will also be raised from S$10 to S$40 a month.

    This triggered an outcry among Malaysians who regularly commute to Singapore for work, and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak later told the media that Kuala Lumpur would implement a VEP fee for all foreign vehicles entering Johor, a decision made following a request from the state. Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi last week told Sin Chew Daily newspaper that the fee would be at least RM50.

    Singapore’s Ministry of Transport had asked for more information on the proposed VEP about two weeks ago, saying there was concern about whether Malaysia’s decision was directed towards Singaporean vehicles, as it would apply only in Johor. Yesterday, the LTA spokesperson said it was still waiting for Malaysia’s reply before deciding on its response.

    Businesses TODAY spoke to worried about the impact of the impending tolls from both the Singapore and Malaysia ends.

    Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee and Singapore Business Federation chief executive officer Ho Meng Kit said higher tolls would raise business costs. Mr Wee, who described the moves as “tit for tat”, said companies could raise prices to pass on the cost, but that this could drive away customers. He added that the whole episode could dampen interest in locating operations in Johor, while businesses with operations that ply between both sides would probably cut down on trips where possible. “Businesses generally do not like unstable regulations,” he said.

    Ms Jasmine Tan, a Malaysian who owns printing and curtains businesses, said she would consider locating some of her business in Singapore, where many of her clients are, despite the higher rental costs. “(The new tolls) will affect us a lot, because we travel (between Singapore and Johor) every day,” she said.

    Singapore Member of Parliament for Mountbatten, Mr Lim Biow Chuan, who also sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee (Transport), felt raising the tolls was Malaysia’s prerogative. “Ultimately, it will have economic consequences, in the sense that there will be less traffic flow between the two countries. I suppose Malaysia has to decide whether this is beneficial in the long term, because there are quite a lot of ins and outs between Singapore and Malaysia.”

    Mr Ho hopes both sides can sort out the tolls over time. “Malaysia is Singapore’s biggest trading partner. A lot of our trade goes through the land-link between the two countries. Also, with further integration of the two economies, a lot of Singaporeans are going (to Malaysia) to set up factories or buy houses. This will just make it more difficult and costly for that to happen.

  11. #8511
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default

    I just witnessed Jasmine Ser of Singapore winning the Gold Medal in shooting for

    50m Rifle 3 Positions Women Shooting

    Jasmine beat local girl Jen McIntosh (SCO) for the Gold on an elimination basis.

    The final standings:

    Detailed Results
    Rank Competitor
    1
    SIN
    J. SER
    Points:449.1
    FGR
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    148.9 302.2 400.5 409.8 419.4 429.9 439.3 449.1 449.1
    49.6 50.9 49.8 9.3 9.6 10.5 9.4 9.8
    50.8 51.7 48.5
    48.5 50.7
    2
    SCO
    J. McINTOSH
    Points:446.6
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    146.4 298.5 399.5 409.1 419.5 428.9 438.7 446.6 446.6
    46.9 50.3 51.1 9.6 10.4 9.4 9.8 7.9
    50.1 50.6 49.9
    49.4 51.2
    3
    IND
    L. GAUSWAMI
    Points:436.1
    EL
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    147.3 299.5 397.2 407.3 415.9 425.2 436.1 436.1
    46.8 52.2 47.8 10.1 8.6 9.3 10.9
    50.8 48.4 49.9
    49.7 51.6
    4
    MAS
    N.S. MOHAMED TAIBI
    Points:422.0
    EL
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    145.2 295.2 390.7 401.3 411.4 422.0 422.0
    48.4 48.6 48.9 10.6 10.1 10.6
    49.6 50.2 46.6
    47.2 51.2
    5
    SIN
    Y. LI
    Points:411.3
    EL
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    144.7 297.8 390.7 400.8 411.3 411.3
    49.3 51.1 47.6 10.1 10.5
    46.2 51.2 45.3
    49.2 50.8
    6
    RSA
    E. van REENEN
    Points:400.7
    EL
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    150.7 306.6 391.6 400.7 400.7
    48.2 51.7 42.7 9.1
    51.5 51.4 42.3
    51.0 52.8
    7
    NZL
    J. MACKENZIE
    Points:385.6
    EL
    Kneeling Prone Standing - Eliminations Total
    138.0 291.1 385.6 385.6
    48.2 50.4 47.0
    47.3 51.8 47.5
    42.5 50.9
    8
    AUS
    R. RIDLEY
    Points:384.2
    EL




    Jasmine Ser

    Biography


    Singapore


    Age: 23
    Height: 1.55m(5' 1'')
    Weight: 48Kg / 105 lbs
    Date of Birth: 24 September 1990
    Place of Birth: Singapore

    ATHLETE BIOGRAPHY


    • Start of sporting career
      She took up shooting at age 13 at Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School in Singapore. (prischew.com, 25 Nov 2013)

      Reason for taking up this sport
      "I felt the sport was interesting and unique, different from other usual sports clubs. My sister [Adrienne] was also in the same club, and she was winning competitions and bringing back the medals to show me, so I thought maybe I could do it too." (prischew.com, 25 Nov 2013; singaporeshooting.org, 04 Nov 2008)

      Ambitions
      To compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (news.asiaone.com, 28 Sep 2013)

      Training
      She trains for five to six hours per day. In the morning she trains for the 50m rifle three position at the National Shooting Centre, Singapore, and in the afternoon she trains for the 10m air rifle at Safra Yishun Country Club, Singapore. (prischew.com, 25 Nov 2013)

      Sporting philosophy / motto
      "In training, you have to be patient when you encounter difficulties. In competition, you must have the fighting spirit to persevere and also the strong desire to excel and win. I believe that's what makes a champion." (newshub.nus.edu.sg, 2011)

      Awards
      She received Meritorious Awards at the Singapore Sports Council Sports Awards in 2009 [individual], 2010 [team and individual], and 2013 [individual]. (teamsingapore.com.sg, 2013)

      She received the 2012 National University of Singapore [NUS] President's Sports Award. (bschool.nus.edu.sg, 22 Nov 2012)

      She was named the 2011 Sportswoman of the Year by the Singapore National Olympic Council [SNOC]. (singaporeolympics.com, 01 Dec 2012)

      She was named the 2010 NUS Sportswoman of the Year. (nus.edu.sg, 03 Aug 2012)



    Congratulations Jasmine!

  12. #8512
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Shooter Jasmine Ser clinches Singapore’s fourth gold



    Gold medalist Jasmine Ser of Singapore (centre), Jen McIntosh of...
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    Jasmine Ser of Singapore after winning in the 50m Rifle 3 positions...
    [More]



    Jasmine Ser of Singapore with her Gold medal after the 50m Rifle 3...
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    Jasmine Ser of Singapore in action in the 50m Rifle 3 positions final...
    [More]


    By Low Lin Fhoong

    -
    linfhoong@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 2:02 AM, July 30, 2014
    Updated: 6:31 AM, July 30, 2014


    SINGAPORE – Shooter Jasmine Ser has claimed the Republic’s fourth gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, surviving a thrilling final shoot-out that went down to the wire to clinch the women’s 50m rifle three positions gold this morning (July 30).

    With the final down to a field of eight shooters, Ser ­– who had qualified in top spot with 581 points – clawed her way into top spot after her second elimination (standing) shot of 9.3 for a total of 409.8, just 0.7 points ahead of home favourite Jen McIntosh.

    The thrilling seesaw battle between the duo saw the lead changing hands over the next three shots, with Ser holding onto a slim lead after the fifth shot at 439.3. McIntosh shot 9.8 for a 438.7 total, while India’s Lajja Gauswami took the bronze with 436.1 after she was eliminated.

    With the final showdown down to one shot, it was McIntosh who fired first from the standing position, and a poor 7.9 gave Ser the perfect opportunity to claim gold. The Singaporean shooter did not flinch, hitting 9.8 to finish with a total of 449.1 to clinch the title ahead of the Scotswoman (446.6).

    This is Ser’s first gold in Glasgow, and her third at the Commonwealth Games after two gold in the 10m rifle singles and 50m rifle 3 positions pairs four years ago. The 23-year-old had narrowly missed out on gold in the 10m rifle singles on Monday after placing fourth in the final.

  13. #8513
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    Default 5 things about wild boars in Singapore

    Published on Jul 29, 2014 4:45 PM



    Wild boars searching for food by the side of the Old Upper Thomson Road at night on Jan 16, 2012. About 80 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area have been culled by the authorities since 2012 to improve public safety and reduce damage to the area's vegetation. -- PHOTO: ST FILE


    By Feng Zengkun, Environment Correspondent

    About 80 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area have been culled by the authorities since 2012 to improve public safety and reduce damage to the area's vegetation.

    The National Parks Board (NParks) gave this update recently, and said it is also looking into longer-term measures to manage the boars' population.

    Here are 5 things about wild boars in Singapore:

    1. Where can you find wild boars here?

    Wild boars have been seen across Singapore in recent years, from Choa Chu Kang to Lower Peirce and near Changi, but there are no figures for their total population on the island.

    NParks estimated that the agency's culling has reduced the Lower Peirce population to around 30 to 50 boars, down from about 80 to 100 boars in 2012.

    2. Why is there a need to cull the boars?

    NParks has said that culling the boars is necessary because they reproduce very quickly and can pose a risk to public safety. It pointed to two incidents in June and September 2012 where wild boars attacked people in Pulau Ubin and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, causing minor injuries.

    It has also said that the boars damage vegetation in the area, by trampling the undergrowth and eating the seeds of primary forest trees.

    But some Lower Peirce residents opposed to the cull said the attacks were isolated incidents, and some also asked whether the attacks may have been provoked, for example by people surrounding the boars to take photographs.

    They also wanted NParks to explore other measures such as sterilisation, contraceptives or relocating the boars. NParks said it had studied these options and ruled them out as impractical - contraceptives on the market would require follow-up injections - or would simply transfer the problem elsewhere.

    3. How are the boars culled?

    After they are captured, vets sedate them with dart guns and euthanise them with drug injections.

    4. What happens to the bodies?

    They are incinerated. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has said that the bodies cannot be sold for meat because there are no appropriate facilities here to ensure safe and hygienic processing of the meat.

    As such, it may not be safe for consumption as the boars may carry parasites and diseases.

    5. Wild boars are not new to Singapore

    Wild boars are not new to Singapore. Researchers wrote in 1895 that the boars are "abundant in Singapore", and in 1924 that they can "still be found in certain parts of Singapore".

    But they had become uncommon by 1960, and an extensive survey between 1992 and 1997 found no wild boars in the nature reserves here at all. The extinction was thought to be caused by habitat loss and hunting.

    Some researchers believe the reappearance of the animals here was due to boars coming here from Malaysia, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin.

  14. #8514
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    Default 'Ulu' place now a leisure haven

    Punggol has shaken off its past to become one cool town


    Published on Apr 21, 2014 8:51 PM





    The crowd dining at Marina Country Club. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI






    The old jetty at Punggol end where people can take boat to Pulau Ubin. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN



    What really underlines that Punggol has become posh is the arrival of Gallop Stable last year, to offer farm stays, pony rides and riding lessons that start at $65 for a session. -- ST PHOTOS: AZIZ HUSSIN, LIM SIN THAI









    Prawn fishing at Marina Country Club and (above) the pier with the Punggol dam in the background. Another draw is the historical World War II site at Punggol End where many were killed by Japanese invaders. -- ST PHOTOS: AZIZ HUSSIN, LIM SIN THAI


    By Audrey Tan

    HORSE riding, "farm stays" inside wagon-like chalets, beautifully landscaped parks set amid lush foliage and a silver ribbon of a river.

    It sounds like a portrait of a northern holiday spot or even a scene out of a childhood Enid Blyton book, but the description is of Punggol, which has shaken off a past steeped in pigs and poultry to become one cool town.

    Housewife Jubell Thong, 39, a Punggol resident of 12 years, loves to take her two children, aged four and six, on her pedalling adventures along the meandering trail in Punggol Waterway Park.

    "I really like this area, it's family-friendly and gives us an option to stay outdoors," Madam Thong told The Straits Times as she stopped for a breather during a solo excursion to the park on Wednesday morning.

    Just six or seven years ago, many residents complained that Punggol was like the Sembawang of the north-east: "ulu" (remote), unglamorous and quiet with few residents. These days, Punggol is shaping up to be a leisure destination and has seen its population double from about 42,000 in 2007 to at least 83,300 living in flats as of last year.

    Not bad for a former farming area also known for fishing and fruit trees - Punggol was, after all, most likely named after a Malay word that means "hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring them down to the ground".

    Its transformation had quickened after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the "Punggol 21-plus" masterplan to make it one of the first waterfront public housing projects in his 2007 National Day Rally speech.

    Punggol would have features such as facilities for water sports, gardens and parks with jogging tracks, and eateries for al fresco dining, Mr Lee had said.

    Many leisure amenities capitalising on Punggol's natural charms have since sprung up.

    The cycling trail that Madam Thong loves, for example, is part of the Punggol Waterway Park - a green lung in north-east Singapore. Running through it is the 4.2km Punggol Waterway, which links rivers Sungei Serangoon and Sungei Punggol.

    "The park is relaxing and you can enjoy nice views," said sales representative and Punggol resident Andrew Ng, 47.

    Other new installations, such as Punggol Point Park, near Punggol jetty located at the end of old Punggol Road, have also added to the area's chic feel.

    Instead of seafood restaurants under zinc roofs that used to line the area, Punggol Point Park now has lily ponds, a playground, and an elevated, ship-inspired viewing deck which offers visitors views of red and gold-drenched skies at sunset, Pulau Ubin and the Strait of Johor.

    Al fresco dining on boardwalks by the sea, too, is now a reality.

    What really underlines that Punggol has become posh is the arrival of Gallop Stable last year, to offer farm stays, pony rides and riding lessons that start at $65 for a private, 30 minute session.

    Said Mrs Mani Shanker, the stable's director: "The development of Punggol has helped promote the place - people become more aware of the area and its facilities."

    Mr Francis Ng, chief executive of the House of Seafood Group, sees Punggol becoming "an East Coast in north-eastern Singapore" where people go for a seafood meal by the beach.

    That is why the 42-year-old picked Punggol for his sixth restaurant, which opens today.

    "I also chose to open an outlet here because of the memory of the place too - 20 years ago, there used to be many kampung seafood restaurants here," he added.

    While Punggol is shaping up to be a draw even for visiting dignitaries such as Ms Sun Chunlan, top leader of Tianjin Municipality which has a population of 14 million, some people view it as a less desirable place to live in, given its faraway location.

    While Punggol residents are made up mostly of young couples who choose to start their families in non-mature estates, real estate agents say some of them are now moving out to mature neighbourhoods for amenities like malls and wet markets.

    Dr Janil Puthucheary, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said residents' common gripes include the lack of facilities such as shopping malls and childcare centres. But plans are in place to increase these, he added.

    "The town is rapidly developing, and people have easy access to nature through the parks and reservoirs," he said. "Residents can see that (the facilities) are up and coming."

    And as always, the development of an area has its downside. Said technician and avid angler Zulfazli Abdul Kadir, 28: "In the past we were free to fish anywhere, but now we can be fined if we fish in the wrong places."

    Mr Derrick Ong, general manager at the Marina Country Club that has stood sentinel in Punggol for the past 20 years, said road accessibility is a challenge.

    Crowds here have grown not just on weekends but also during the week.

    Still, challenges aside, Punggol's appeal is as strong as ever, he added.

    "Punggol is historical, with a World War II site located at Punggol End, has beautiful sunsets, and offers leisure activities with a seaview," said Mr Ong, referring to a beach area where many were killed by Japanese invaders.

    "It's a unique place you cannot find anywhere else in the north-east."

    Background story

    UNIQUE

    Punggol is historical, with a World War II site located at Punggol End, has beautiful sunsets, and offers leisure activities with a seaview. It's a unique place you cannot find anywhere else in the north-east.

    - Mr Derrick Ong, general manager at the Marina Country Club, on the charm of Punggol

  15. #8515
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Schooling’s silver gives S’pore its first Commonwealth swimming medal



    National swimmer Joseph Schooling (left) takes a selfie with his coach Sergio Lopez to celebrate his medal. Photo: Joseph Schooling’s Twitter


    By Tan Yo-Hinn

    -
    yohinn@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:04 AM, July 30, 2014


    SINGAPORE — If top Singapore national swimmer Joseph Schooling goes on to medal at the Asian Games later this year, he will look back on the breakthrough achieved at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    On Monday (yesterday morning, Singapore time), the 19-year-old became the first Singaporean to win a medal in swimming at the Commonwealth Games when he clinched the silver in the men’s 100m butterfly final in a national record of 51.69sec on the pen-ultimate day of the swimming competition at Tollcross Swimming Centre.

    South African Olympic gold medallist Chad Le Clos won in a Games record of 51.29sec, with England’s Adam Barrett taking the bronze (51.93).

    Mr Schooling is now ranked fourth in the 100m fly this year by swimming’sworld governing body FINA, behind Mr Le Clos (51.29), Russia’s Viacheslav Prudnikov (51.60) and 18-time US Olympic champion Michael Phelps (51.67), who holds the world record of 49.82 sec.

    The medal, Mr Schooling’s first at a major Games outside the South-east Asian (SEA) Games, represents a significant breakthrough for him in the build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where he could reach a final, possibly in the 100m or 200m fly.

    Speaking before yesterday’s 200m individual medley heats, where he finished 15th of 24 swimmers in 2min 07.04sec, Mr Schooling, who described his silver medal as a “relief”, told TODAY the pressure in Glasgow was a timely wake-up call.

    “I can’t really think about expectations. I never really realised it, but the expectations over the past few years have been building up and it showed for the first half of the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

    “But I managed to calm myself and I’m very proud of being able to do this. This just shows how much I’ve matured over the past few years.”

    The Singaporean is also the top-ranked Asian in the event with less than two months to the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19to Oct 4. The other Asians in the world’s top 10 rankings are Japan’s Takuro Fujii (51.84), who is sixth, and Hirofumi Ikebata (51.89), who is ninth.

    Said Mr Schooling: “This medal is a big boost for me. I’m not fully rested for this meet, so that means I should be faster at the Asian Games, especially for my 200m fly.”

    Last year, Mr Schooling, who graduated from the Bolles School in Florida earlier this year, was ranked among the top five in the 100m and 200m fly, as well as the 200m IM in his age group in the United States’ highly competitive collegiate programme.

    His potential and achievements saw Singapore’s Ministry of Defence grant him deferment from National Service until August 2016, so he could prepare for the Rio Olympics.

    Until his silver medal on Monday, the burden of spearheading Singapore’s hopes in Glasgow had affected him, as he finished last in the 200m fly final in 1min 59.09sec — well off his national record of 1min 56.27sec.

    Mr Schooling won six golds at the SEA Games in Myanmar last December, but Singapore national head coach Ian Turner, who will step down after the Games, believes Mr Schooling needed to get his first medal at a major international meet out of the way. “Success breeds success and more confidence. He needed it, because so much pressure was on him to win Singapore’s first swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games,” said Mr Turner.

    “It is a massive achievement and he knows it. He broke that mental barrier and, now, anything can happen.”

    Mr Schooling’s silver medal result was possibly the best performance by a Singaporean swimmer at a major international meet since Tao Li finished fifth in the women’s 100m fly final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    However, Mr Schooling, who joins the University of Texas in Austin next month, where he will train under US Olympic men’s coach Eddie Reese, believes he has been his worst enemy.

    “I was very tense during this meet and realised I had to stop over-thinking and just be myself. I went back to racing hard and having fun instead of thinking about winning a medal,” said Mr Schooling, who had been working towards a mid-51sec timing.

    “It would really have surprised me if I went 51sec or faster. But I’m right where I should be now.”

    ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ADELENE WONG
    Last edited by Loh; 07-29-2014 at 11:38 PM.

  16. #8516
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    Default 31 new defence scholars ‘committed to noble cause’



    Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Ng Chee Meng and Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen chatting with MINDEF scholars at the Istana. Photo: Don Wong



    Published: 4:04 AM, July 30, 2014


    Officials from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), proud parents and principals were among those who gathered at the Istana yesterday to see Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen present defence scholarships to 31 recipients.

    Six received the SAF Overseas Scholarship, 18 received the SAF Merit Scholarship and seven received the Defence Merit Scholarship.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng stressed the importance of having a strong and credible SAF, and the high expectations and heavy responsibilities of being a defence scholar. In accepting the scholarships, they have pledged themselves to serve a noble cause, he said.

    Upon completing their education, the SAF Overseas and Merit Scholarship recipients are to return to serve in the armed forces, which will groom them for senior command and leadership positions in MINDEF and the SAF. The Defence Merit Scholarship recipients will be groomed for senior management positions in MINDEF.

  17. #8517
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    Default Building a healthier Singapore

    Thanks to the Healthy Living Master Plan, one in two Singaporeans will have 
access to at least three healthier options by 2020



    Published: 4:04 AM, July 30, 2014

    Singapore — While most of us know that we should eat healthily and exercise more, doing so is sometimes not easy. The National Health Survey 2010 found that 54 per cent of Singaporean residents aged 18 to 69 did not participate in any leisure-time physical activity.

    The Healthy Living Master Plan (HLMP), which was announced earlier this year, hopes to make healthy living an easy, accessible part of every Singaporean’s daily routine by offering more healthy options near their homes, offices and schools.

    By 2020, one in two Singaporeans will be able to access at least three healthier options. This means that in six years, 1 million employees will work in a healthier workplace, and almost all students will be enjoying healthier meal options in their school.

    Effortless change

    The main aim is to gently spur Singaporeans into effortlessly changing their lifestyles by making the healthier choice the easier one. For employees, there’s the Healthy Workplace Ecosystem at the Mapletree Business City, featuring running groups, communal activity sessions and a smorgasbord of healthier dining options, including 500-calorie meals.

    In the heartlands of Sembawang and Choa Chu Kang
    , there are Healthy Community Ecosystems, created in collaboration with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), National Parks Board (NParks), Ministry of Education (MOE), Sport Singapore (SS), the People’s Association (PA) and regional health systems. These eco-systems feature healthy “cues” to use the stairs instead of the lift, plus additional healthy food options and group exercise sessions.

    For children, 100 mainstream schools and 240 childcare centres have pledged to serve more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

    A nudge in the 
right direction

    By making the healthier option the easier one, it is hoped that Singaporeans will gradually improve their lifestyles, thus reducing their risk of premature death from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes — typically known as the “Big Three”.

    “I feel this is a step in the right direction, educating people yet also making changes in their living environment to ‘nudge’ them into automatically making healthier decisions,” said Dr Kwong Seh Meng, Deputy Head of Medical Operations at the Fullerton 
Healthcare Group. “Hopefully when it is fully implemented, the rates of the ‘Big Three’ (and obesity) will be reduced over the next decade.”

    Looking ahead, HPB hopes to extend the reach of the HLMP to more workers, while expanding the Healthy Workplace Ecosystem model to 15 business parks by 2020. Other targets include replicating the Healthy Community Ecosystems in bigger communities, plus expanding dental care to pre-school children.

    While the HLMP is ambitious in its scope, there are areas HPB should focus on.

    “My personal belief is that more can be done for health education at the school level. For example, the current food pyramid that they teach in school applies to young and growing children, but after puberty and starting work, carbohydrate intake (rice, noodles, bread, wheat, flour, sugars) should be halved,” said Dr Kwong, who hopes that this change will be rolled out in future.

    The key question though: Will Singaporeans bite? Even if all the barriers to healthier living are pulled down, it remains to be seen if Singaporeans will choose the healthier route.

    After all, a nation that lives and dies on its stomach may not relinquish its greasy hawker delights easily. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. Elisabeth Lee


    CORRECTION: This story originally referred to the Mapletree Business Centre. This is incorrect. It should be the Mapletree Business City. We apologise for the error. This story was updated on July 30 at 11.52am.

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