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  1. #8518
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default New River Safari Cruise launching this Friday



    African elephants spotted on the River Safari Cruise. Photo: Alice Chia


    Published: 11:50 AM, July 30, 2014


    SINGAPORE — Starting Friday (Aug 1), the newest attraction at the River Safari will see visitors go on a nature cruise on Upper Seletar Reservoir, one of Singapore’s largest water catchment areas.

    The 15-minute River Safari Cruise — which joins the Amazon River Quest in the River Safari lineup of boat rides — will travel along the outskirts of Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari compound, which border on the reservoir, giving visitors a chance to spot animals including giraffes and Asian elephants.

    Tickets are priced at S$5 for adults and S$3 for children aged three to 12, on top of River Safari admission. Each cruise can take up to 50 passengers and runs at 15-minute intervals from 9.30am to 5.30pm daily. The boats are wheelchair-friendly.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA

  2. #8519
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore guaranteed two table tennis medals

    POSTED: 01 Aug 2014 04:42

    Singapore will win at least two medals in the women's table tennis singles at the Commonwealth Games on Friday (August 1) after Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye all enjoyed comfortable victories to make the semi-finals.



    File photo of Singapore's Feng Tianwei. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)


    GLASGOW: Singapore will win at least two medals in the women's table tennis singles at the Commonwealth Games on Friday (August 1) after Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye all enjoyed comfortable victories to make the semi-finals.

    World number four Feng, may have lost a game in her third round win over Australia's Zhenhua Dederko, but she was untroubled as she beat Malaysia's Lee Wei Beh 11-2, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7. Feng will next take on Lin who beat Manika Batra of India 11-4, 11-2, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7.

    "It was pretty straightforward," said the top seed who played in the doubles as well. "I'm a little tired as I've played five times today, but I will have a massage and take some medicine. Myself and Lin play together a lot. She's a very young player with explosive power."

    Yu saw off the challenge of Canada's Mo Zhang with a 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9 and she will meet Jian Fang Lay of Australia with both the semi-finals and final taking place on Friday.

    While Singapore dominated singles competition, England broke their stranglehold in the mixed doubles event by having three pairs through to the semi-final stage, most notably with husband and wife pairing Paul and Joanna Drinkhall putting out second seeds Gao Ning and Ye Lin 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6.

    Singapore coach Jing Junhong told how Gao and Ye struggled with Joanna's style of play. "The big problem was the spin and the chopper style of Joanna," she said. "If you can read the spin you can do well against a chopper. The big problem today was that the players couldn't. They understand how to play against such defensive players but sometimes they were hesitant. They'd see a chance for a high ball but miss. Also mixed doubles is the best of five. If it was best of seven, we might have recovered. We didn't have much time to prepare for the mixed doubles. It's not played very often."

    The Drinkhalls will next play Danny Reed and Kelly Sibley who followed up their victory over Li Hu and Yu in the fourth round by putting out Indians Sharath Kamal and Shamini Kumaresan 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 12-14, 11-4.

    A final English pairing in Liam Pitchford and 15-year-old Tin-Tin Ho also battled through in five games with a 11-4, 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 win against Eugene Wang and Zhang of Canada with top seeds Zhian Jian and Feng, the only Singapore pair remaining, awaiting in the last four after their comfortable three-game victory against William Henzell and Miao Miao of Australia.

    In the men's doubles, the top four seeds of Gao/Li, Yang Zi/Zhan, Kamal/Anthony Arputharaj and Drinkhall/Pitchford all went through to Friday's semi-finals with the gold medal decided later in the evening.

    Men's singles action is still in a fairly early stage but top seeds Gao and Zhan of Singapore and Kamal all made comfortable progress to the third round without losing a game, in a tournament where defending champion Yang was not selected for the singles.
    Women's singles quarter-finals:

    Feng Tianwei (SIN) bt Lee Wei Beh (MAS) 4-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7
    Lin Ye (SIN) bt M Batra (IND) 4-1: 11-4, 11-2, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7
    Yu Mengyu (SIN) bt M Zhang (CAN) 4-1: 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9
    JF Lay (AUS) bt N Owen (WAL) 4-1: 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7

    Men's doubles quarter-finals:

    S Kamal/A Arputh (IND) bt D Reed/S Walker (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8
    P Drinkhall/L Pitchford (ENG) bt Q Aruna/S Toriola (Ngr) 3-2: 11-7, 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-7
    Gao Ning/Li Hu bt HR Desai/S Ghosh (Ind) 3-1: 10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8
    Yang Zi/Zhan Jian bt A Ho/P Theriault (CAN) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8

    Mixed doubles quarter-finals:

    L Pitchford/TT Ho (Eng) bt E Wang/M Zhang (CAN) 3-2: 11-4, 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8
    Zhan Jie/Feng Tianwei (SIN) bt W Henzell/M Miao (AUS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 14-12
    D Reed/K Sibley (ENG) bt SK Achanta/S Kumaresan (IND) 3-2: 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 12-14, 11-4
    P Drinkhall/J Drinkhall (ENG) bt Gao Ning/Lin Ye (SIN) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6


    - AFP/de

  3. #8520
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default MOH may run its own nursing homes



    Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong touring The Society for the Aged Sick's new tower block at its nursing home yesterday. Photo: Ernest Chua


    Govt ramps up original target for nursing home beds from 15,600 to 17,000 by 2020


    By Ashley Chia

    ashley@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: August 1, 4:04 AM

    SINGAPORE — In a move that would mirror the Education Ministry’s foray into the pre-school sector, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is considering operating nursing homes, as part of efforts to expand and offer more options in the eldercare sector.

    It is also planning to offer opportunities to manage larger nursing home projects involving a “package” of two or more homes on land leased from the Government, as it ramps up its original target of having 15,600 nursing home beds by 2020 to 17,000.

    Announcing these moves at the official opening of the Society for the Aged Sick’s new tower block at its nursing home yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the Government, in considering running nursing homes, has no intention of dominating the market.

    Rather, these homes will serve as platforms where innovations and new care models can be tested, allowing the ministry to better understand operational issues on the ground.

    The Government is considering operating three or four nursing homes with a total of 1,000beds by 2020, which would make up about 6 per cent of the total bed capacity then.
    “The innovations, if successful, will be shared with the rest of the eldercare sector, so as to spread good practices and allow more of our seniors to benefit,” Mr Gan said.

    As for the plans to let market players manage nursing home projects of two or more homes — to be mainly located in the same areas — Mr Gan said this is to nurture the growth of larger players who have economies of scale and are able to provide a comprehensive range of services.

    The ministry will launch its first Request for Proposal (RFP) for such a project next month. These RFPs will be open to new and existing players from both the volunteer and private sectors. These anchor providers must be able to offer comprehensive care, such as home care services for those returning home after receiving care in the nursing home.

    They will operate under the Build-Own-Lease (BOL) model introduced in 2012, where the ministry builds and owns the nursing homes and tenders out the operating rights to an operator through the RFP process.

    Mr Gan said there is no minimum requirement for these operators such as a minimum bed capacity, as long as they meet licensing requirements. “We will also consider their capability, their commitment to developing the nursing home sector, including investment in innovation training and developing new models of care,” he said.

    Beyond the BOL model, suitable land sites and state properties will also be released for the private sector to develop their own nursing home facilities to cater to their own market segments.

    Operators TODAY spoke to welcome the idea of the MOH entering the sector, saying it will give the Government a better idea of operational and administrative issues.

    “Presently, there is a lack of role models or regulations in the nursing home sector,” said healthcare policy expert Phua Kai Hong of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. “The MOH coming into the sector is an encouraging sign as it would set the norms for costs and quality of care.”

    He also said this was not the Government’s first foray into the long-term care sector and that plugs were pulled on the service as the Government had felt at the time that voluntary welfare organisations would be able to provide better care for those who need the service.

    But as the Government seeks to improve the quality and standards of the sector while ramping up capacity, it must also help with operational costs to prevent them from being passed on to the patients’ families, said United Medicare Centre nursing director Tan Guat Peng.

    She added that beyond costs, many patients are in nursing homes because of conflicts with their family, and “hence have nowhere to go or no one to look after them”.

    “What’s better is encouraging the elderly to age in place and help resolve the social issues that these elderly may face,” she said.

  4. #8521
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Six more firms join spexBusiness Network

    But Minister Teo says awareness of scheme to provide careers for retired athletes must be stepped up


    By Philip Goh

    -
    philipgoh@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: August 1, 4:06 AM

    SINGAPORE — Eight months after it was launched with seven companies, six more firms have joined the Sports Excellence Business (spexBusiness) Network for Athletes, the body that drives the Sports Excellence Career (spexCareer) Scheme which provides a pathway for Singapore athletes to have a stable livelihood after their sports careers are over.Yesterday, Amore Fitness, Borneo Motors Singapore, DBS Bank, Deloitte Singapore, DHL Supply Chain and Sakae Holdings were unveiled as the latest to come on board, bringing the number of firms under the spexBusiness Network for Athletes to 13.

    A new advisory panel was also unveiled yesterday and tasked with ensuring the programme is successfully implemented.

    Chaired by Tan Yen Yen, the regional vice-president and managing director, Asia Pacific (South) for SAS Institute, the seven-person panel will advise the High Performance Sports (HPS) Selection and Performance sub-committee on matters pertaining to the spexBusiness Network.

    Although the number of companies in the scheme has nearly doubled, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck stressed more had to be done to increase the outreach to firms here to generate a greater awareness of what the scheme aims to achieve. He added the potential is there for the demand from companies to employ former elite athletes to outstrip the supply.

    “We’re doing networking sessions every other month to encourage more companies to join the scheme,” said Teo, who chairs the HPS Selection and Performance sub-committee.
    “(We ask the companies) not to see the candidates just as athletes, but as a person who can contribute to their companies. (The athletes) are very special because they have achieved at such a high level, and the response has been positive because everyone wants a good talent.

    “I believe there will be a higher demand than supply, but we haven’t done enough of outreach to increase the awareness of this scheme.”

    The spexCareer Scheme offers the athletes a second career after sports, and also gives assurance to parents to commit their children to sports, said Teo.

    “But of course (the athletes) have to work really hard to be a functioning member of a company,” he added, noting the feedback has been positive from companies who have employed athletes under the scheme, and that “some have been asking for more

    Launched in November last year, the spexCareer Scheme saw companies from different industries have come on board to offer career development support.

    These include internships, apprenticeships, job placements and flexible workplace practices, allowing active elite athletes to train and compete while holding a job, and get a headstart when seeking full-time employment.


    In May, financial services firm Deloitte Singapore hired netballer Suhailah Karimun as a special project executive on a full-time basis and in July, it took on Singapore’s top male badminton player Derek Wong as a research specialist on a six-month contract, with view of a full-time role.

    Seak Gek Choo, talent partner for Deloitte, said having athletes brings tangible benefits for the more than 2,000 Deloitte employees here. “We look to them to champion certain sports for us and build up the sporting culture within the company and bring people in the firm together.”

    Companies in the spexBusiness Network:

    Adecco, Charles & Keith, KPMG, MSIG Insurance, MOH Holdings, Resorts World Sentosa, StarHub, Amore Fitness*, Borneo Motors Singapore*, DBS Bank*, Deloitte Singapore*, DHL Supply Chain*, Sakae Holdings*

  5. #8522
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Commonwealth Games: Singapore shuttler Derek Wong gets silver

    Commonwealth Games: Singapore shuttler Derek Wong gets silver










    File photo of Singapore's Derek Wong at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo: Commonwealth Games Singapore













    Published: 9:05 PM, August 3, 2014





    SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Derek Wong today (Aug 3) won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games badminton men’s singles, after losing 2-1 to India’s Kashyap Parupalli.


    In the finals, Wong lost 14-21, 21-11, 19-21 to second-seeded Parupalli.


    Wong, 25, is the first Singaporean medallist in the men’s singles event.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA

  6. #8523
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default No table tennis clean sweep for Singapore

    No table tennis clean sweep for Singapore


    Feng must now concentrate on the mixed doubles bronze medal match and...
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    Singapore gymnast Hoe Wah Toon with his bronze medal in the individual...
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    But six gold target at C’wealth Games still on track; gymnast Hoe wins surprise bronze


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

    Published: 4:04 AM, August 2, 2014


    SINGAPORE — There will be no clean sweep of the table tennis gold medals for Singapore at the Commonwealth Games after the sole surviving mixed doubles pair of Zhan Jian and Feng Tianwei were handed a shock 3-2 defeat by England’s Liam Pitchford and Ho Tin-Tin in the semi-finals at Scotstoun Sports Campus in Glasgow.


    The loss to Pitchford, 21, and Ho, 15, was unexpected, given that the Singaporean duo looked poised for gold after cruising to 3-0 victories over their opponents from Ghana, Malaysia and Nigeria in the earlier rounds to advance to the top four.



    Zhan and Feng will play England’s Danny Reed and Kelly Sibley in the bronze medal match today, with the final set for an all-English clash between Pitchford and Ho, and Paul and Joanna Drinkhall.

    “They didn’t play so well today as their opponents were able to play a varied game and made a lot of changes throughout,” said Singapore national men’s team head coach Yang Chuan Ning.

    “Their men’s player was very aggressive and the other played a very steady game. At 2-2 there was some hope but the English pair played really well. If we had won the first game we would have had a better chance.

    “But with only five games to play there was no chance of recovery (after losing the first two). Our mixed doubles was actually our best bet for gold, and we have to go back and analyse their game.”

    Singapore’s paddlers won six out of seven gold medals on offer at the 2010 Games in New Delhi, only missing out on a clean sweep after losing the men’s doubles title to India.

    Nonetheless, the Singapore Table Tennis Association remains on course to meet its pre-Games target of six golds, having already won the men’s and women’s team.

    Singapore’s hunt for gold in Glasgow for continues over the weekend in the women’s singles — team-mates Feng and Yu Mengyu will contest the final — men’s singles and doubles.

    Over at the Emirates Arena last night, Singapore’s mixed doubles hopes in badminton also ended with Chayut Triyachart and Yao Lei, losing 2-0 to top seeded English pair Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, while Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo (world No 10) stumbled in their rematch against Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon and Lai Pei Jing — the Singaporeans lost the decider to Chan and Lai in the mixed team semi-final last week — losing 2-1.

    But there was unexpected joy for Singapore’s gymnasts yesterday, as Hoe Wah Toon clinched a bronze in the men’s vault final on the final day of gymnastics competition at the SSE Hydro arena.

    Up against a field of seven other finalists, the 25-year-old dentist was first up on the vault, scoring 14.258 and 14.133 points in his two attempts for a 14.195 average to finish third behind Canada’s Scott Morgan (14.733) and Kristian Thomas of England (14.499).

    “I’m really happy I won and surprised too as I didn’t expect this,” said Ho on winning his first medal at a major Games.

    “My parents were here to support me but they flew off today at 2pm and it’s a pity they weren’t here to see me, so I really want to call them to tell them I won.”
    Last edited by Loh; 08-03-2014 at 08:36 AM.

  7. #8524
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Two silvers for Singapore on final day of Commonwealth Games

    Published on Aug 4, 2014 7:30 AM


    Derek Wong (centre) with the doubles pair Danny Chrisnanta (left) and Chayut Triyachart in Glasgow yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

    It was not a hoped-for Super Sunday finale for Team Singapore yesterday at the Commonwealth Games, when Derek Wong narrowly failed to land the country's first gold medal in the men's singles in badminton.

    The gutsy shuttler had clawed his way back to 19-19 in the deciding third game, but India's Parupalli Kashyap held his nerve to reel in the last two points to triumph 21-14, 11-21, 21-19.

    Still, Wong, 25, can walk away with the distinction of being Singapore's first badminton men's singles medallist at the Games.

    His teammates Danny Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart - who became Singapore's first men's doubles finalists - also mined silver when they lost 12-21, 21-12, 15-21 to the Malaysian pair Tan Wee Kiong and Goh Wei Shem.

    (And these achievements came despite an erratic change of guard to our national badminton team when the coaching team was overhauled and the departure of some of our senior players, most noticeably, our top WS player.)

  8. #8525
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default B+ for Team Singapore


    B+ for Team Singapore










    Shooter Teo Shun Xie won the Republic’s first gold medal at the Games. Taking part in seven sports, Singapore won medals in five: Badminton, gymnastics, shooting, swimming and table-tennis. PHOTO: AP

    Chef de Mission pleased about nation-inspiring performances

    Philip Goh
    philipgoh@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 6:14 AM, August 4, 2014

    SINGAPORE — Team Singapore may have returned from the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with 14 fewer medals than the previous edition in New Delhi, but that has not stopped Chef de Mission Low Teo Ping from hailing the nation’s athletes for providing some “historic and inspiring moments”.

    From the first medal — a gold on the second day of competition for shooter Teo Shun Xie in the women’s 10m air pistol — to the final one, a silver from the men’s doubles pairing of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart in badminton, Team Singapore has put up an overall performance that Low is pleased with, giving the team of 70 athletes and 35 officials a B+ grading.

    For Low, the Commonwealth Games is an opportunity for Singapore athletes to gauge where they are in high performance among the top regional and international competition.
    He said: “Over the past 10 days, we have been up against competition we never knew existed. It is important for the athletes to know where they stand in terms of standards among leading nations in sports that we have participated in.

    “Long gone is the mentality of Singapore’s dominance in certain sports, as new powerhouses are fast emerging in sports such as table tennis, badminton and shooting.
    “It is important that these Games give our athletes a platform where they can perform and excel and give them an opportunity to strengthen their self-belief, so that they can also continue to do well at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games and 2015 SEA Games.”

    Taking part in seven sports, Singapore won medals in five — badminton, gymnastics, shooting, swimming and table-tennis — with a final tally of eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals. Athletics and weightlifting drew a blank, while table-tennis delivered yet again the lion’s share of the medals with 10. The paddlers achieved their target of six gold medals, missing out this time on the mixed doubles crown.

    Comparatively, Singapore’s 31 medals at the 2010 New Delhi Games (11 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze) were won across four sports, after taking part in seven.

    The difference this time was the breakthrough Joseph Schooling made in swimming when he came second in the men’s 100m butterfly, the first medal from the pool for the nation in the history of these Games.

    In a media release from Glasgow to sum up Team Singapore’s performance at the Games, Schooling’s feat in finishing behind South Africa’s Olympic champion Chad le Clos with a new national record of 51.69sec was described as nation-inspiring, along with shooter Jasmine Ser’s gold in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event.

    Derek Wong, Chrisnanta and Chayut were given special mentions for becoming the nation’s first male shuttlers to feature in the singles and doubles finals, though the gold medal escaped their grasps.

    Shooter Martina Lindsay Veloso, the baby of the Singapore contingent, received a special mention for “punching above her weight” in finishing fifth in the 10m air rifle event.

    The 14-year-old who won a World Cup event in Munich prior to her Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow, will also be heading to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing later this month and to the Asian Games in Incheon next month.

    Low also paid tribute to team officials and support staff from the National Sports Associations, Commonwealth Games Singapore, Singapore Sports Institute and Sport Singapore, saying: “This level of support is testament to the increasing standards of sports support we have in Singapore.”

    He added: “The overall experience at the Commonwealth Games has been fantastic. The comfort of the Games Village and the friendliness of the volunteers have created a fun and warm environment for our athletes and officials.

    “These are great examples which I hope we can learn and replicate at the 2015 SEA Games.”

  9. #8526
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default 3 things about Yishun's upcoming integrated development Northpoint City

    Published on Aug 1, 2014 12:37 PM


    The new wing of Northpoint Mall. -- PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN/SPH



    With the addition of a $165 million new wing and a $38.6 million asset enhancement initiative, the area of Northpoint mall is now 235,000 sq ft, up from 149,200 sq ft. The mall is located right next to Yishun MRT station. -- PHOTO: LIM KOK MENG


    HDB's "Remaking Our Heartland" Exhibition - Artist's impresson of the an integrated shopping mall, bus interchange and housing project in Yishun (near Yishun MRT). -- PHOTO: HDB


    By Tung Shi Yun
    Residents in Yishun can look forward to the development of Northpoint City, the latest addition to the rising number of integrated developments in Singapore's suburbs.

    Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam unveiled the latest development by Frasers Centrpoint Limited at the Northpoint City exhibition in Northpoint Shopping Centre this afternoon.

    With a full integration of public shopping malls and private residential estates, the Yishun community is set to transform into a vibrant hub for its residents.

    Although it is not slated to be completed until 2018, here are three things to know about the upcoming Northpoint City and what exciting things we can expect.

    1. It will feature Singapore's first Community Club in a shopping mall

    Northpoint City will feature Singapore's first Community Club located in a shopping mall, Nee Soon Central Community Club. It is also the first Community Club to be fully air-conditioned, moving from a "void deck CC" to a "lifestyle CC", a name penned by the People's Association (PA).

    The idea was first suggested by Nee Soon Central MP Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim. The Community Club will offer programmes that the PA says will “promote community and intergenerational bonding”.

    Residents, especially the elderly, will be able to relax in an air-conditioned environment. PA's chief executive director Ang Hak Seng had also promised that there will be no additional costs to the residents for activity fees held in the Community Club.

    2. It will fully integrate public and private spaces


    Residents will soon be able to shop right at their doorsteps with the integration of commercial and residential spaces in Northpoint City.

    The whole development will run like a dynamic self-sufficient town. Northpoint Shopping Centre, the largest mall in the North of Singapore, as well as the new shopping centre to be built across the street from it, will provide an array of shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment facilities.

    A residential development will also be integrated into the commercial and retail spaces of the shopping malls, allowing residents greater convenience and transforming the area into an exciting place to live in.

    3. It will feature a shopping underpass leading to the MRT station


    There will be a shopping underpass that leads from Northpoint City to Yishun MRT station, the town garden and surrounding amenities, so residents can now make their walk to the station a more exciting and vibrant one.

    Additionally, with an air-conditioned bus interchange in Northpoint city, residents can comfortably wait for their buses without going out into the heat.

    These latest developments will help to create seamless connectivity and greater accessibility for residents living in the area.

  10. #8527
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default GIC manages pool of Govt funds, not just SSGS or CPF monies: DPM Tharman

    By Eileen Poh
    POSTED: 04 Aug 2014 15:29


    The GIC is not managing the Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) or CPF monies on their own, but a combined pool of Government funds including a significant sum of unencumbered assets, the Deputy Prime Minister said in Parliament.





    SINGAPORE: The GIC is not managing the Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) or CPF monies on their own, but a combined pool of Government funds including a significant sum of unencumbered assets, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday (Aug 4).

    "That is why the GIC's mandate is to take calculated investment risks aimed at achieving good, long-term returns on the Government's funds, without regard to the Government's liabilities," he said.

    Speaking in Parliament, Mr Tharman added that the only way to avoid fluctuations in the value of Singapore's reserves is to avoid taking investment risk. This could include, for instance, investing all of Singapore's assets in cash-like instruments.

    "However, this would mean accepting low returns over the long-term, and indeed returns that would likely fall below the interest rates on Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) and even Singapore Government Securities (SGS) over the long-term," said Mr Tharman.

    Mr Tharman pointed out that GIC has achieved good long-term returns to date. But as investment markets are uncertain and volatile, GIC's returns over shorter periods could be low or even negative.

    For instance, the Global Financial Crisis led to a significant reduction in GIC's annualised five-year return ending March 2013 - to just 0.5 per cent in nominal SGD terms, said Mr Tharman.

    But moving just a year forward to March 2014, its five-year annualised return rebounded strongly,
    he adds. Mr Tharman also pointed out that the Constitution guards against actions that lead to a systematic erosion of reserves, and not the investment of reserves in order to gain long-term returns, which must involve investment risk and fluctuations in market value.

    The Constitution enables the President to state and gazette his opinion if he considers that the Government has entered into liabilities that will likely draw down past reserves. But Mr Tharman said the President has not been put in a position where he has had to state such an opinion.


    - CNA/rw

  11. #8528
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    Default World-class karting track to complement F1 race

    Motor Racing

    World-class karting track to complement F1 race




    Kranji karting circuit to run under MRT tracks



    Guests trying out go-karting during a preview of the KF1 Karting...
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    Photo: Don Wong

    By Ian De Cotta

    ian@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 4:04 AM, August 1, 2014


    SINGAPORE — To be operational by the middle of next month, a S$2 million, 960m karting track that was launched yesterday will soon be a playground for world championship drivers and racing enthusiasts alike.

    The KF1 Karting Circuit, which was conceptualised by Formula 1 track designer Hermann Tilke, will be built and operated by Arina International Holding (AIH) at the Singapore Turf Club in Kranji.

    The track will have 18 turns — 10 left and eight right — with the longest straight stretching 140m. Drivers can reach top speeds of 120kmh and complete each lap in an average of 46 seconds.

    Parts of the circuit will run under the MRT tracks near Kranji station and approval had to be sought from public transport operator SMRT.

    At a press conference, Mr Richard Tan, a businessman and AIH’s managing director, said the green light was given yesterday.

    In the coming weeks, a concrete foundation and two layers of tarmac will be laid out for the circuit, with the aim of getting it up and running before the F1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix from Sept 19 to 21.

    The rest of the facility, including the pit building, is scheduled to be completed by October.
    Mr Tan said he hopes that with the help of the night race organisers, Singapore GP, F1 drivers will be able to offer their opinion of the track after driving on it.

    He also plans to stage this year’s karting KF1 Corporate Challenge at the new facility. The event was previously held at the F1 pit building and will now alternate between the two locations every year before the night race.

    TODAY first reported on July 10 AIH’s plans to build Singapore’s first international-class karting track that will meet the standard approved by world governing body CIK-FIA.

    Fifty slots AIH offered at the launch of its private membership drive, costing S$1,200 a year, were later snapped up within two days. Corporate rates for four drivers will cost S$6,800 a year.

    “We have received a lot of enquiries since the news broke,” said Mr Tan. “We are in the midst of finalising our marketing plans, but we will be opening more slots very soon so that more racing enthusiasts can join us.”

    The avid kart and badminton enthusiast previously built the S$1.5 million, state-of-the-art Singapore Badminton Hall in Geylang in 2011, after the nearby original building had closed down three years earlier.

    Demand for that facility has been good, he said, and he expects a return on his investment within two years. Mr Tan said he is building the badminton and karting facilities because of his passion for both sports. He has not set any key performance indicator (KPI) on when KF1 will return a profit.

    Track fees range from S$30 to S$80 for members, and S$50 to S$100 for non-members. “I am not doing this with any KPI in mind because I want to do things that I really love and enjoy like the badminton hall, which was well-received and enjoyed by the public. It is a satisfaction that money cannot buy,” said Mr Tan.

    Mr Barry Kan, chief executive officer of FASTrack Autosports, also attended the launch. His company is building a RM3.5 billion (S$1.36 billion) motorsports city in Johor’s Iskandar region. Mr Kan said the new circuit in Kranji will complement the track that is being built across the Causeway.

    The Nusajaya complex will feature a 4.5-km FIA-certified Grade 1 track, a kart and drag racing track, as well as food and beverage and entertainment facilities.

    Mr Kan said: “When we have a bigger base of motorsports participants and they want to graduate from karting to cars, they can come to us. We are not competing, we are complementary to each other.”

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    'Solid result' for Singapore at Commonwealth Games: Lawrence Wong


    POSTED: 04 Aug 2014 22:11

    The Culture, Community and Youth Minister says Singapore had several breakthroughs with first medals in various sports, and that its athletes showed "tremendous grit, resilience and fighting spirit".



    Derek Wong (L) poses with India's Kashyap Parupalli and R V Gurusaidutt after they receive their medals for the men's singles badminton finals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. (Photo: Commonwealth Games Singapore)

    SINGAPORE: Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong says he is very proud of how Team Singapore has performed at the Commonwealth Games, which wrapped on Sunday (Aug 3). Singapore had a "solid result" of eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals, he said in a Facebook post.

    He noted that Singapore had several breakthroughs - garnering first medals in swimming (Joseph Schooling), men's artistic gymnastics (Hoe Wah Toon) as well as for men's badminton's doubles (Danny Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart) and singles (Derek Wong). Many athletes recorded personal bests and braved tough competition to clinch medals, such as Teo Shun Xie's gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event.

    "Beyond the medal achievements, I was most impressed by the way our athletes competed. They showed tremendous grit, resilience and fighting spirit," Mr Wong wrote.

    He gave special mention to swimming sensation Joseph Schooling and shooter Jasmine Ser. "Joseph didn't do so well in his 200m event, but he bounced back to break the national record and get silver in the 100m fly. Jasmine Ser initially failed to get a medal in her pet event, but shot her way to a gold medal later at the 50m rifle 3 positions event."

    Mr Wong promised that his ministry would continue to build up Singapore's high-performance sport system and provide maximum support for athletes.

    - CNA/ly
    Last edited by Loh; 08-04-2014 at 11:22 AM.

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    Default Singapore Zoo ranked best in Asia by TripAdvisor

    Published on Aug 5, 2014 2:17 PM



    Inuka the polar bear at the Frozen Tundra at the Singapore Zoo. The Singapore Zoo has been ranked first in Asia in a top 10 list by TripAdvisor in its Travellers' Choice Awards. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

    By Cheryl Faith Wee

    SINGAPORE - The Singapore Zoo has been ranked first in Asia in a top 10 list by TripAdvisor in its Travellers' Choice Awards.

    It beat the likes of the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand, which was second, and the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in India, which was third.

    Overall in the world, the Singapore Zoo ranked fifth. The S.E.A. Aquarium in Sentosa also clinched seventh place in Asia in the aquariums category.

    The winners were decided based on the quantity and quality of reviews on the travel site over one year.

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    Default Local start-up unveils 3d printer that prints with living tissue



    A bio-3d printer. Photo: Today


    Each bio-3D printer will cost between S$3,000 to S$10,000 to lease after tomorrow’s official launch


    By Siau Ming En
    siaumingen@mediacorp.com.sg -

    Published: 2:32 PM, August 5, 2014
    Updated: 2:35 PM, August 5, 2014

    SINGAPORE — Local start-up Bio3D Technologies unveiled Singapore’s first 3D bio-printer today (5 Aug) that is able to print human cells, tissues and other biological parts.

    3D printing refers to the method by which objects are created by a machine that deposits thin layers of material — typically plastic — layer by layer to form 3D shapes. The technology sees applications in the fabrication of machine parts and toys.

    A bio-3D printer is capable of printing biological parts, organs and even medicine in a similar fashion with higher precision. With 3D bio-printing, it may also be possible to fabricate living tissues or human replacement parts and organs in the future.

    Co-founder and director Fan Mingwei said 3D bio-printing would be a “revolutionary tool” to speed up research and drug development.

    For instance, drug testing is currently a long process that involves both animal and human testing. 3D bio-printing would be able to print human tissues for drug testing, speeding up the drug development process, said Mr Fan.

    Following the official launch of the printers tomorrow, the printers will be available for lease to interested parties. They will cost between S$3,000 to S$10,000, depending on the amount of customization on the system.

    As the concept of bio-printing is relatively new and almost unheard of in Asia, Mr Fan hopes a leasing model would encourage more researchers to explore the technology here.

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    Default Road closures in the CBD area this Saturday for National Day Parade

    Published on Aug 5, 2014 10:26 AM




    The National Day Parade preview on Aug 2, 2014. The National Day Parade will be held on Saturday at the floating platform at Marina Bay and certain roads and lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic at different times from 10am. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA


    By Joanna Seow


    SINGAPORE - The National Day Parade will be held on Saturday at the floating platform at Marina Bay and certain roads and lanes will be closed to vehicular traffic at different times from 10am.

    The Police said in a statement on Tuesday that traffic delays are expected along Raffles Boulevard, Raffles Avenue, Republic Avenue, Bras Basah Road, Nicoll Highway, Esplanade Drive, Bayfront Avenue, Marina Street, Marina Boulevard, Marina Gardens Drive and Marina Mall. They advised motorists to avoid these areas.

    People driving to Suntec City and Marina Square from Crawford Street and Ophir Road can use alternate routes via Nicoll Highway or Beach Road. Those travelling to the vicinity of Suntec City, Marina Square and Marina South are advised to use public transport.

    Only ticket holders will be allowed into The Float @ Marina Bay and the gates will open at 4pm.

    Large crowds are expected at the Esplanade Waterfront Promenade, Marina Bay Sands Waterfront and Merlion Park, and the Police may close off these places if overcrowding occurs. The pedestrian pavement along the East Coast Parkway (Sheares Bridge) will also be closed to the public.

    Kites and remote-controlled aircraft cannot be flown in the Marina Bay area during the parade, the Police statement said.

    The public can call 1800-637-2014 for further information on the event and road closures

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    Default Parliament: Remove cap on Minimum Sum

    Parliament: Remove cap on Minimum Sum for people who want bigger payouts from CPF Life, says MP

    Published on Aug 5, 2014 4:56 PM



    An MP wants the Government to remove the cap on what people must put aside for the Minimum Sum in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

    By Janice Heng

    An MP wants the Government to remove the cap on what people must put aside for the Minimum Sum in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts.

    Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC), speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, called for this option to be offered to Singaporeans who want bigger monthly payouts from their CPF Life annuity scheme.

    She said: "Given that the Government has acknowledged the current Minimum Sum only provides monthly payouts to cover basic living expenses, I would like to ask the minister why is there a need to set a cap on the sum of money that CPF members wish to set aside in CPF Life?"

    Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, in his reply, said that while the CPF Life scheme is designed to help Singaporeans meet their basic needs in retirement, its priority is to provide for those at lower income levels.

    In doing so, it allows the Government "to target our resources on those Singaporeans who need it most," he added.

    Mr Tan also pointed out that middle- and higher-income Singaporeans, who have retirement savings in excess of the Minimum Sum, have other investment options outside the CPF system to meet their retirement needs.

    Persisting, Ms Foo expressed the hope the Government would look into her suggestion.
    Mr Tan noted the four-year-old CPF Life scheme is still relatively new, and that the Government will "continue to look at it and see how best to improve it".

    Earlier, he told the House that CPF members who are older than 55 can put aside more than the specified Minimum Sum for their cohort.

    The Minimum Sum is lower for older cohorts. For instance, those who turn 55 from July 1 last year till June 30 have to set aside $148,000, lower than the $155,000 Minimum Sum for people who turn 55 from July 1 this year till June 30 next year.

    But these older workers can top up to the $155,000 Minimum Sum of the current cohort. This bigger amount would give them monthly payouts of $1,200 under the CPF Life scheme.

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    Default Parliament: Shanmugam weighs in on civilian deaths in Gaza

    Published on Aug 5, 2014 4:10 PM

    Palestinians living in Bolivia and other supporters participate in a candlelight vigil to demonstrate their solidarity with those living in Gaza, in La Paz, on Aug 4, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

    By Tham Yuen-C

    SINGAPORE - Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam addressed on Tuesday concerns of Members of Parliament about the loss of innocent lives in Gaza, saying that Singapore will support prosecution if there is targeting of civilians, considered a crime under international laws.

    However, he urged a careful examination of the facts of the conflict, which has escalated in the past month. The death toll in Gaza has topped 1,400, as both sides start a 72-hour ceasefire on Tuesday.

    About 60 were killed on the Israel side.

    "If indeed the facts are that it's a pure targeting of innocent civilians, that is completely uncacceptable and an international crime. We will support prosecution under international laws," he said. "However, there is a need to look at the facts carefully."

    Laying out the situation, Mr Shanmugam noted that Hamas has continued firing rockets into Israel - more than 2,000 so far - even though they have caused little damage because of Israel's defences.

    This has invited retaliation, putting the Palestinian people in the line of fire, he added.

    Yet, Hamas continues to do so, said Mr Shanmugam, who also pointed out that a Hamas spokesman had gone on television to say that the human-shield strategy had proven very effective.

    "Hamas knows its cause is helped when civilians die," Mr Shanmugam said. "The exploitation of dead children is completely unacceptable."

    He also noted that no rockets had been fired from the West Bank, which is not under Hamas but the Palestinian National Authority.

    Equally, he said, Singapore has made clear that it believes Israel's response in Gaza has not been proportionate.

    Israel's month-long offensive has caused the loss of many innocent lives and is "completely unacceptable". He noted that many Palestinians have also been displaced from their homes.

    According to the United Nations, at least 260,000 out of 1.8 million Palestinians have been displaced.

    While Israel has a right to defend itself, said Mr Shanmugam, the killing of civilians "raises questions", he said.

    But the rights and wrongs of the situation will have to be decided by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is launching an inquiry into potential violations of human rights in the Gaza Strip, he added.

    To questions from MPs Zaqy Mohamad and Zainal Sapari about whether Singapore could do more to help Palestinians affected by the conflict, Mr Shanmugam said various aid agencies here have collected funds and also provided humanitarian aid. The Government has also pledged financial support by channeling funds through these agencies, such as the Red Cross.

    With a ceasefire, the international community, and Singapore, would be able to do more to help, he noted.

    "Money is not the issue, political will is," said Mr Shanmugam
    Last edited by Loh; 08-05-2014 at 10:03 PM.

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