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  1. #1531
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    Default RWS' resident circus theatrical show debuts June 17

    Channel NewsAsia
    30 March 2010 1718 hrs

    By Joanne Chan

    SINGAPORE: The circus will come to town soon at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

    The resident show Voyage de la Vie, which will debut on June 17, is a 90-minute made-in-Singapore production, combining gymnastic feats with original music.

    The man behind the show has a portfolio of Rolling Stones concerts and Cirque du Soleil's "KA", and he has crafted a production that celebrates Singapore's unique East-meets-West personality.

    Voyage de la Vie tells the story of a young man's quest to discover his destiny.

    It has dazzling costumes, an original score from Singaporean composer Jonathan Lim and death-defying stunts not seen in other productions.

    "There is a gentleman who does a bow and arrow act," said Philip McKinley, director of Voyage de la Vie. "He will stand in the middle of a ring that hurls 16 bows and arrows and he will shoot the arrows at himself. And at the very end, he will shoot an apple off his head with the last arrow. And what's exciting for me also is that the arrows are on fire."

    The show boasts of an international cast and crew, with more than 130 people from 16 nationalities. The producers of Voyage de la Vie said a Singaporean has been chosen to play the show's lead.

    The show's producers said that over 80 per cent of the cast and crew are local.

    There are also plans to bring Voyage de la Vie overseas.

    "I've been part of the talks to people in China and other places where we may try and take this show or another version of this show," said Mark Fisher, creative director of Voyage de la Vie. "We really have to see how it goes first. But we have great plans for it if it's successful."

    Producers said rehearsals are underway and the cast lineup will be made known later.

    Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, starting at S$48 for seats with restricted views. The most expensive tickets are priced at S$188.


    Resorts World Sentosa's resident circus theatrical show Voyage de la Vie will debut on June 17. (Image grab from official RWS website)
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  2. #1532
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    Default FAS, Tiger Airways ink S$150,000 deal for youth football teams

    Channel NewsAsia
    30 March 2010 1811 hrs

    By Tan Yo-hinn

    SINGAPORE : Homegrown budget carrier Tiger Airways has become the official airline partner for Singapore's national youth football teams.

    The two-year deal, which starts next month, will see Tiger Airways provide S$150,000 worth of free flights for the teams to participate in overseas tournaments, training camps and friendly matches.

    It will benefit the National Football Academy's under-14 to under-18 national teams.

    They include the under-15 team, which will compete at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games here in August, as well as the national under-16 and under-19 girls' teams.

    President of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Zainudin Nordin said the teams will greatly benefit from this partnership.

    "It is a tremendous boost for the teams as they can gain more experience travelling and playing overseas. This is in line with the FAS Strategic Plan as we look to progress Singapore football from ASEAN's best to be among the best in Asia," he said.

    Managing director of Tiger Airways Rosalynn Tay said this is one way the carrier can give back to Singapore.

    "Singapore is where we started our company and our first base, and the region is where we have successfully expanded our pawprints. We are pleased to give something back to the nation, by helping to realise its goal for sports excellence and nurture future Olympic champions," she said.

    Formed in 2004, Tiger Airways currently operates international flights between Singapore and 19 destinations across 11 countries and territories in Asia and Australia.


    Tiger Airways crew members
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  3. #1533
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    Default First National Karting Championship set to blaze new trail

    Channel NewsAsia
    30 March 2010 2144 hrs

    By Patwant Singh

    SINGAPORE: Even before the Changi Motorsports Hub revs into action next year, Singapore's motor racing calender is set to blaze a new trail.

    Fans can look forward to exciting track action in the Nescafe Singapore Karting Championship.

    A new 750-metre track in Jurong, named the Kartright Speedway, is Singapore's only karting track.

    Come April, karters will be racing in Singapore's first National Karting Championship.

    A S$50,000 sponsorship from Nescafe Singapore is helping to drive the sport.

    "Due to the lack of a venue, we didn't have the opportunity of having a full year of competition calendar," said Tan Teng Lip, president of the Singapore Motor Sports Association (SMSA). "Of course, we have to look at the longer term, we plan to do the championship on a yearly basis."

    Nestle, Nescafe's parent company, has signed a one-year deal but the SMSA will try to convince them to extend beyond 2010. At the same time, it will look for more sponsors.

    Some 70 karters of all ages will compete in five races this year.

    "I want to get my first podium and to get the first for the Singapore championship," said Jordan Tay, a karter from Kartright Academy.

    "We are going to get our first race with other fast drivers like those young ones and then we are having the same engine," said Tan De Shuen, another karter.

    Young racers can also look forward to a holistic learning experience at the Kartright Academy.

    SMSA wants to steer the sport to the schools by next year.

    It feels that even when the Changi Motorsports Hub is up, smaller karting tracks still have a place when it comes to hosting national championships.

    The track in Jurong is a former golf driving range. It took some five months to transform it into a karting track that is wide, allowing for thrilling overtaking opportunities. Karters can even race under the stars as there are floodlights all around.
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  4. #1534
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    Default Public Service Division sets up centre for Strategic Futures

    Channel NewsAsia
    30 March 2010 2213 hrs

    By Hwee Goh

    SINGAPORE: The Public Service Division has set up a centre for Strategic Futures.

    It is tasked to build up the Public Service's instincts in dealing with what it calls "strategic surprises".

    At a promotion ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean spoke at length about building the service's capabilities.

    This includes equipping officers with the sensitivity and skills to navigate international relations and understanding behavioural economics, which takes human biases into account and pays more attention to how policies are designed and presented to people.

    Mr Teo, who is also Minister in Charge of the Civil Service, said the centre will develop strategic thinking for long-term planning, including risks and opportunities, for agencies to help with their decision making.

    It will be overseen by an advisory board chaired by the Head of Civil Service, Peter Ho.

    At the ceremony, Mr Ho also gave an update on recruitment figures among the service's higher ranks.

    Last year, it hired 485 officers in the Administrative Service and the Management Associates Programme, which is a six-per-cent increase over the previous year.

    The Management Associates Programme was introduced in 2002 to groom young people for leadership positions in the civil service.

    In the same year, 11 Administrative Officers left, and 19 officers left the Management Associates Programme.

    Mr Ho said the service will continue to expand its talent pool beyond scholarship holders.

    The aim is to have 20 per cent of Administrative Officers working outside of the Ministries at any time.

    At the end of last year, the proportion was 12 per cent.

    Mr Ho said the Civil Service College will introduce an Adjunct Faculty Scheme to ensure officers still in service can train and develop a new generation of public service officers.

    Seventy-one officers will be promoted this year - 46 within the Timescale grades, 13 to the Superscale grade and 12 within the Superscale grades.

    Eleven officers will be appointed to the Administrative Service.

  5. #1535
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    Default Romanian diplomat Ionescu was the driver in fatal hit-and-run

    Channel NewsAsia
    31 March 2010 1235 hrs

    By Shaffiq AlKhatib

    SINGAPORE: State Coroner Victor Yeo has ruled that Dr Silviu Ionescu, Romania's former Charge d'Affaires was the driver of the car involved in the hit-and-run accidents that took place on 15 December last year.

    The car, which belongs to the Romanian Embassy, was involved in two accidents in the Bukit Panjang area at around 3am that day.

    Three pedestrians were hit.

    One of them, 30-year-old Singapore permanent resident, Tong Kok Wai, succumbed to his injuries and died ten days later.

    The other two, 24-year-old Bong Hwee Haw and 18-year-old Muhammad Haris Abu, were injured.

    The State Coroner delivered his verdict after a six-day hearing involving 54 witnesses.

    artist's impression during hearing into hit-and-run case (MediaCorp NewsHub)
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  6. #1536
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    Default SIA is travellers' top choice

    The Straits Times
    Mar 31, 2010

    SYDNEY - SINGAPORE Airlines has topped an Australian survey as the best airline to fly with internationally, while British Airways trailed with the lowest satisfaction rating for flights from Australia to Britain.

    In a survey about 9,000 members of Choice, a consumer advice organisation, were asked to rate their satisfaction on recent international flights on cost, in-flight service, seat comfort, leg room, timeliness, food quality and check-in process.

    Singapore Airlines was voted the best airline for 11 out of the 12 most popular international destinations for Australians. This list included to Britain, the United States, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and Japan. The one destination where it was not No. 1 was to New Zealand, as its flights are operated by Air New Zealand.

    V Australian, Virgin Blue's trans-Pacific carrier, was ranked second in terms of satisfaction for flights to the United States while bankrupt Japan Airlines came second for flights to Britain.

    Australian airline, Qantas, was criticised for not delivering on cost or in-flight service, lagging ninth when it came to flights to Britain and fifth on flights to the United States. -- AFP

    BA is last

    For flights to Britain, British Airways came last in overall satisfaction, beaten by Japan Airlines, Emirates and Thai Airways among others due to its poor scores for cost and in-flight service.

    Travellers heading to New Zealand rated Emirates as the best carrier with the airline beating Air New Zealand and the Australian carriers in terms of value.

    Choice advised passengers flying internationally to check out at least three airlines before booking, taking into account the in-flight service, number of stopovers and type of plane.

  7. #1537
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S'pore in EU research project

    The Straits Times
    Mar 31, 2010

    By Lin Yingxin

    The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)'s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES) has partnered InForm in a 1.7 million euros (S$3.2 million) European Union funded project.

    This project involves 17 world-leading research institutions and major companies, and is led by The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

    InForm, which stands for 'Integrating Nanomaterials in Formulation', aims to encourage the transfer of ideas and knowledge amongst top scientists around the world to provide a boost to the field of formulation science through a variety of tools, such as scientific forums, technical workshops and fact-finding missions.

    Formulation science is a field of research that studies the blending and mixing of various raw materials to create novel products ranging from tablets and inhalers to emulsions and creams. Specifically, the InForm platform will allow formulation scientists to share best practices on the use of nanomaterials in formulations.

    InForm will organise a conference, entitled NanoFormulation2011, in July 2011 in Singapore as a specialised symposium under the auspices of the International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT) 2011. The conference will gather the global scientific community in nanoformulation to share and exchange ideas, and foster collaborations with relevant international partners.

    Dr Keith Carpenter, Executive Director of ICES, said: 'Through the networking opportunities provided by this platform, ICES will be able to work with industry players to better understand consumer needs, and develop advanced technological solutions for use in the marketplace.

  8. #1538
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    Default Verdict On Hit-and-run Death

    The Straits Times
    Mar 31, 2010

    Ionescu caused death

    By Elena Chong and Teh Joo Lin

    FORMER Romanian diplomat Dr Silviu Ionescu was found on Wednesday to have caused the death of a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident in Bukit Panjang last December.

    State Coroner Victor Yeo said he was satisfied that the State had proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the driver of the black Audi car involved in the Dec 15 accident was none other than Dr Ionescu, 49, then the charge d'affaires of the Romanian Embassy.

    After a six-day inquiry into the death of Malaysian Tong Kok Wai, 30, an assistant manager, earlier this month , the coroner recorded a verdict of death due to the reckless act of a known person.

    Coroner Yeo also found that Dr Ionescu, who had since returned to Romania, had deliberately lied about his Audi car being stolen from outside the embassy at Jalan Harom Setangkai, near Farrer Road, shortly after the accident.

    The inquiry also heard that the ex-diplomat had severely injured Mr Tong's close friend, Mr Bong Hwee Haw, 24, who was using the pedestrian crossing, when they were hit.

    Mr Bong, who is now back in Kuching, Sarawak, could not remember what happened except that the lights were in their favour at the time.

    Dr Ionescu did not stop and went on to hit Institute of Education student Muhammmad Haris Abu Tabli, 19, at the next junction of Bukit Panjang and Pending Road.

    Dr Ionescu is facing manslaughter charges in Romania with regard to the death of Mr Tong.
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  9. #1539
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    Default A*Star 7th most prolific agency

    The Straits Times
    Mar 31, 2010

    By Reico Wong

    THE Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) is ranked the seventh most prolific agency in the Asia-Pacific region for the number of research papers published in the prestigious Nature-branded journals last year.

    The Nature Asia-Pacific Index, which tracks annual research output published from 13 different countries and 429 institutions in Asia-Pacific, placed A*Star ahead of top universities in China and Australia such as Tsinghua University, Peking University, Australian National University and University of Queensland.

    Japanese institutions such as the University of Toyko, Kyoto University and Riken dominated the top three spots of the list.

    Publications from A*Star was lauded for reflecting the wide spectrum of deep capabilities in the agency's research institutes, including bioinformatics, cancer research, genomics and genetics, as well as materials engineering and nanotechnology.

    In the past 12 months, A*Star scientists published a total of 19 papers in eight Nature-branded journals, which included Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Chemistry, Nature Genetics, Nature Materials, Nature Methods, Nature Nanotechnology and Nature Reviews Cancer.

    'These data are indicators of the strong growth in output of top quality basic scientific research from Singapore and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region,' said Lim Chuan Poh, A*Star chairman. 'They reflect the high standards of scientific research upheld by A*Star. With continued focus and sustained efforts by A*Star and other public sector research institutes and local universities, we are confident that Singapore can become a key global R&D hub in Asia.'

    The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) was one the agency's most prolific research institutes published in Nature in the last year. IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying said: 'Here in Singapore, we are very fortunate to have a great deal of flexibility with research resources from A*Star. Unlike in many institutions, we do not have to devote an enormous amount of time on looking for funding or writing proposals. This enables us to focus our energy towards conducting the research itself.'

    By country rankings, Singapore came in fifth overall, out-performing India which was in sixth place and New Zealand, which placed seventh. The total number of papers published in Nature journals by Singapore's scientists last year saw more than a 12-fold increase from only two articles published in 1998. Heading the 2009 list of countries was Japan, followed by China, Australia and Korea.

  10. #1540
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    Default Work on LNG site begins

    The Straits Times
    Mar 31, 2010

    By Robin Chan

    CONSTRUCTION has begun on the $1.5 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal that is set to boost Singapore's energy needs.

    Already six power generation companies have signed on 10-year long gas purchase agreements with the terminal, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran announced on Wednesday.

    Seaking at the terminal's official groundbreaking ceremony at Jurong Island, Mr Iswaran said: 'When fully operational, it will not only help meet Singapore's growing energy needs, but also catalyse the development of a robust gas market to underpin our industrial growth.'

    The terminal, expected to be ready in 2013, will provide Singapore with ready access to LNG, a less carbon-intensive and lower-emissions fuel.

    It will also provide services to off-load LNG from vessels to store and send out regasified LNG to end-users within Singapore.

    It is expected to serve as a hub for LNG trading to develop in the region.

  11. #1541
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    Default One-stop info system

    The Straits Times
    Mar 31, 2010

    By Lin Yingxin

    'ONEMAP', Singapore's first intelligent map information system that provides reliable, timely and accurate location-based information and services to the public, was launched on Wednesday.

    The interactive map system is an integrated online geospatial platform to spur innovation by facilitating and promoting the use of geospatial information across the public, private and people sectors. Companies, organisations and individuals can tap on OneMap's advanced web mapping technologies to create useful and value-added services within their own websites.

    Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam, launching the system, said it brings together multiple public agencies to establish common standards and policies so that there can be greater sharing and usage of geospatial information among the public agencies.

    'OneMap is an example of how the public sector continues to evolve in delivering services to the public in an era where 'facebooking' and 'crowd-sourcing' are daily occurrences. The OneMap portal and applications that you see today is only the start.'

    OneMap is the first major application of the Singapore Geospatial Collaborative Environment (SG-SPACE) initiative, a whole-of-government initiative to create an environment in which the public and private sectors and the community can collaborate and create a wide range of innovative applications and services using geospatial or map-based information.

    Added Mr Douglas Gan, CEO and Founder of ShowNearby, one of the pioneer adopters of OneMap: 'The OneMap portal offers users a practical and critical local map base. Its structure provides consistent reliability and accuracy which enhances ShowNearby Analytics' capabilities to provide users with push-map accessibility to public amenities and facilities.'

    About 12 companies and organisations, including five public agencies, are already offering services on OneMap. More public agencies are expected to come on board to contribute new geospatial information and services.

    For more information, log on to www.onemap.sg or www.onemap.sg/mobile.


    Key features of OneMap

    *OneMap is built on Web 2.0 technologies

    *Very user-friendly and convenient for users to leverage on its base maps to create new applications with their own data through the use of an Application Programming Interface (API).

    *Allows sharing of spatial content using internet services

    *Accessible on desktop and mobile platforms

    *It is a multi-agency platform built on a common base map of Singapore

    *Provides a myriad of services and functions that allow users to search and navigate intelligently for places of interest such as museums, hawker centres, childcare services, parks and sports centres.

  12. #1542
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    Default Singapore leads largest group of 14 media companies to MIPTV in Cannes

    Channel NewsAsia
    01 April 2010 0223 hrs

    By Gladys Ow

    SINGAPORE: Singapore will take the spotlight as 'Country of Focus' at this year's MIPTV in Cannes, France - the world's premier market place for buying and selling television programmes, films and digital content.

    The Media Development Authority (MDA) and IE Singapore will lead the largest contingent of 14 media companies to MIPTV.

    The delegation will showcase Singapore content and promote - for international sale and distribution - more than 224 hours of High Definition (HD) programming across animation, factual, lifestyle and drama genres.

    This year's MIPTV takes place from 12 to 16 April 2010.

    Singapore's Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), Lui Tuck Yew, will open the event as Guest-of-Honour.

    He will be joined by France's Minister of Culture and Communication, Frederic Mitterrand.

    As the 'Country of Focus', Singapore will host a half-day conference to promote the republic's content, capabilities and services.

    It aims to encourage more international co-productions and partnerships with Singapore companies.

    The conference will also provide case studies on the capabilities of Singapore's media industry, such as in the field of 3-D.

    Visitors to the Singapore Pavilion will be able to see a prototype of a 3-D racing game by local company TQ Global.

    MediaCorp's Channel NewsAsia International will be presenting a slate of HD titles which have been picked up by international distributors.

    These include "Kungfu Kitchen", "If Food Runs Out", and "Sun Tzu: War on Business", a 13-part business reality series.


    MIPTV in Cannes in 2007
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  13. #1543
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    Default 'Cowardly, deplorable' act

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Apr 01, 2010

    by Teo Xuanwei

    Evidence points 'inexorably' to former Romanian diplomat as hit-and-run driver

    SINGAPORE - The "overwhelming evidence" points to Dr Silviu Ionescu as the driver of the embassy car that killed Malaysian Tong Kok Wai in a hit-and-run accident last year, the Coroner's Court ruled yesterday - though for now, no criminal charges can be pressed in Singapore against the Romanian whose diplomatic immunity has not yet been lifted.

    The former Charge d'Affaires of the Romanian Embassy exhibited "one of the most reckless acts of driving" when he beat two red lights and hit three pedestrians in the span of one minute in the wee hours of Dec 15 last year, said State Coroner Victor Yeo.

    Mr Tong, 30, succumbed to his multiple injuries after being in a coma for 10 days. After hearing evidence from 54 witnesses over the six-day inquest last month, State Coroner Yeo recorded a verdict of "death due to the reckless act of a known person".

    In blistering remarks on his conduct, the coroner said Dr Ionescu, 49, "must have recognised that there was a real risk of serious or fatal injuries" caused to the victims when he sped past the red lights.

    But not only did he not have the "human decency" to stop and help Mr Tong and Mr Bong Hwee Haw, 24, after hitting them, he even had the "audacity to slow down his car and wind down his window to scold the eyewitness who was trying to stop him from fleeing the scene", the coroner said. "In my view, there can be no argument that the driver's conduct was not only cowardly and irresponsible to say the least, but utterly deplorable."

    A LIE FUELLED 'BY GUILT'

    Despite Dr Ionescu's continued denial of his involvement in the accidents along Bukit Panjang Road, eyewitnesses' testimonies as well as closed-circuit television footage "clearly and inexorably" showed he was behind the wheel of the embassy's black Audi A6.

    The court heard that Dr Ionescu had reported to the police that the car was stolen minutes after the accidents. His claim that the car went missing outside the Romanian Embassy between 2am and 3am that day - after he had driven it there following a visit to a KTV nightspot - were obviously lies, said the coroner.

    The black Audi was seen leaving a condominium along Bukit Timah close to 3am.

    "Other than the unsubstantiated assertion by Dr Ionescu, there is not a shred of evidence before this Court to remotely suggest that the embassy car was stolen," said State Coroner Yeo.

    There can be "no question that these lies were deliberate" and were "motivated by his guilt for driving recklessly and causing the two accidents" because expert witnesses had testified that the Audi was fitted with an anti-theft system.

    There was also "no plausible explanation" to account for Dr Ionescu's presence at Sungei Kadut Avenue after 3am - near where he flagged a taxi home later - other than the fact that he had just abandoned the car there.

    THE NEXT STEP?

    The Coroner's Inquiry does not amount to a criminal trial as it is purely a fact-finding process.

    And unless Dr Ionescu's diplomatic immunity is eventually waived by his government, criminal charges cannot be pressed against him here. In response to media queries, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson said: "We understand that the Attorney General's Chambers is studying the findings of the State Coroner and is deciding on the next steps in this case. It would be premature for us to comment at this stage."

    The only recourse for further satisfaction, for the two survivors of the double hit-and-run accidents - Mr Bong and Institute of Technical Education student Muhammad Haris Abu Talib, 19 - would appear to be civil action against the embassy's car insurers, NTUC Income. MediaCorp understands that Mr Tong's widow, Madam Yenny Young, and Mr Haris are seeking legal advice on the possibility of seeking compensation.

    Speaking to reporters outside court, Romania's Economic Counsellor to Singapore, Alexandru Coseru, said: "I have no comments right now. I will report that back to my home. And now, it's a matter of my Ministry of Justice to do the job."

    Dr Ionescu - who returned to his home country three days after the accidents saying he needed medical help for his diabetic condition - has been charged with culpable homicide in Romania in relation to this case.

  14. #1544
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    Default SMU team an ace in court

    TODAY
    Updated 12:50 PM Apr 01, 2010

    by ANDRE YEO

    A moot court contest that is, beating 20 international teams

    SINGAPORE - Only three years old, and this was the first time the university's law faculty was taking part in the international moot, or mock trial, competition.

    And their representatives won, beating 20 other teams from countries like the United States, Georgia, China and the United Kingdom.

    Singapore Management University's (SMU) School of Law was in Oxford University last week to participate in the oral rounds of the Monroe E Price International Media Law Moot Competition.

    The written submissions were done in January. The topic focused on international media law and press freedom.

    Representing SMU were four third-year law undergraduates - Mr Chang Zi Qian, Ms Eng Cia Ai, Ms Sheryl Lee and Mr Michael Ng, from the pioneer batch of SMU law students - who were trained by Assistant Professor Tay Eu-Yen and Assistant Professor Pasha Hsieh since last August.

    On why SMU decided to take part in the competition, which started in 2008, Ms Tay said: "This moot is new and we felt it would grow into something as prestigious as the Jessup."

    The Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot competition and has been won several times by the National University of Singapore.

    Mr Ng, 25, said: "I wanted to win this. There were moments when I doubted if it could happen ... Oxford was intimidating and I was nervous."

    In the end, all that training paid off and the students impressed the judges, who included three Queen's Counsel and a European Court of Human Rights judge.

    Professor Michael Furmston, dean of the SMU School of Law, said: "For a young three-year-old law school, we are proud that our students are given the opportunity to prove their mettle and stand up against the pressure of very talented and strong competitors on an international platform."
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    Default Ionescu charges prepared

    Apr 2, 2010

    MFA summons Romanian Ambassador to meeting to discuss hit-and-run case

    By Teh Joo Lin

    SINGAPORE has taken the first steps towards criminal proceedings against former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu, a day after the State Coroner found him responsible for two hit-and-run accidents in Bukit Panjang last December.

    The Attorney-General's Chambers has prepared a set of 13 charges it wants to bring against Dr Ionescu, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Thursday night said.

    The charges include causing death by reckless driving, causing grievous hurt through a rash act, and failing to stop, help or lodge a police report after the accidents. In its statement, MFA said it had summoned Mr Aurelian Neagu, the Romanian Ambassador to Singapore, who is based in Tokyo, to a meeting next week to discuss the charges.

    What comes next, however, is unclear, said lawyers contacted.

    They said that Dr Ionescu has to be in Singapore to answer the charges. He also enjoys diplomatic immunity, and Romania has given no indication that it will waive this.

    In the unlikely event that Bucharest does so, Dr Ionescu cannot be compelled to return as Singapore and Romania do not have an extradition treaty.

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    Default Capitol site to go on sale

    The Straits Times
    Apr 2, 2010

    $100m bid triggers public tender for 1.43ha plot; historical buildings have to be restored

    By Fiona Chan

    A NEW lease on life is on the way for the iconic stretch of colonial buildings along Stamford Road.

    Stamford House, Capitol Building and Capitol Theatre are part of a huge land parcel that will go on sale in two weeks' time, after a property developer agreed to put in a bid of at least $100 million for the commercial site.

    The bid triggered a public tender for the 1.43ha plot, which is located at the key junction of Stamford Road and North Bridge Road, and also includes Capitol Centre, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday.

    Whichever developer wins the tender can tear down Capitol Centre, a dingy three-storey complex with shops, offices and schools opposite St Andrew's Cathedral, and best known for its Gramophone and TMC Academy tenants. In its place, a new development of up to 10 storeys can be built, said the URA.

    But the other three 'historically and architecturally significant buildings' will have to be retained and restored, it said.

    Stamford House was built in 1904 in a neo-classical style by Mr Regent Alfred John Bidwell, the architect behind the Raffles Hotel. Capitol Theatre, which housed Singapore's first cinema, was built in 1929, and Capitol Building, previously known as Shaw Building, was built in 1933.


    The 1.43 ha site at the junction of Stamford Road and North Bridge Road will be put up for public tender by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in two weeks' time. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
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    Default Singapore's Foreign Ministry summons Romanian Ambassador to Singapore

    A more thorough report from CNA:


    Channel NewsAsia
    01 April 2010 2120 hrs

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's Foreign Ministry has summoned the Romanian Ambassador to Singapore, Aurelian Neagu, to a meeting next week in the city-state to discuss the charges preferred by the Attorney-General's Chambers against Dr Silviu Ionescu.

    The state coroner had ruled that Dr Ionescu, Romania's former Charge d'Affaires, was the driver of the car that hit three pedestrians on December 15 last year.

    Responding to media queries, the Ministry provided a summary of the charges.
    They include:

    - Causing the death of Mr Tong Kok Wai by reckless driving, or alternatively, by a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide

    - Causing grievous hurt to Mr Bong Hwee Hwa by a rash act

    - Reckless driving, resulting in a collision into Mr Muhammad Haris Abu Talib

    - Failing to stop after an accident

    - Failing to lodge a report after an accident

    - Failing to render assistance after an accident

    - Removing vehicle without police authority

    - Giving false information to a police officer

    The ministry added that Dr Silviu Ionescu's comments carried in the media are outrageous and cast aspersions on the integrity of Singapore's judicial system, which are entirely without basis.

    The Singapore legal system is widely known for its transparency, integrity and high standards, and has consistently scored highly in international rankings on the administration of justice and judicial independence.

    In the Institute for Management Development World Competitiveness Yearbook 2009, Singapore placed 13th in the area of the fair administration of justice, while Romania ranked 37th.

    In the Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010, Singapore was 19th for judicial independence, compared to Romania's 84th placing.

    The ministry said that as Dr Ionescu continues to maintain his innocence, the best way to resolve this is for him to return to Singapore to give his side of the story.

    It added that Dr Ionescu remains an employee of the Romanian Foreign Ministry. While he has been suspended from his duties, he has not been dismissed.

    It also said that at the meeting next week, it trusts that the ambassador will unambiguously and categorically disassociate the Romanian government from Dr Ionescu's views.

    Furthermore, MFA said it is puzzled by the comments reportedly made by Ambassador Neagu in Thursday's Straits Times that Romania had yet to receive evidence related to the case from the Singapore authorities.

    The ministry said this is untrue, pointing out that copies of the documents that were tendered at the Coroner's Inquiry were extended to Mr Alex Coseru of the Romanian Embassy during the course of the Inquiry from 3 March 2010 to 10 March 2010.

    These consisted of two document folders and eight volumes of photographs.

    On the last day of the Inquiry on 10 March 2010, Mr Alex Coseru requested from the State Counsel a copy of the Investigation Report. This was extended to him and he left thereafter, leaving behind the two document folders and the eight volumes of photographs which were earlier given to him.

    The Singapore authorities have seen to the due process of the law in Singapore.

    Singapore will cooperate to the fullest extent possible under its law with the Romanian authorities to ensure that justice is served.

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