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  1. #1616
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    Default The goal: Thomas Cup finals in 2016

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Apr 13, 2010

    by Ian De Cotta

    SINGAPORE - Ten years ago, the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) took up the challenge thrown down by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and targeted qualification for the 2012 Thomas Cup finals.

    Li Li made history in 2002 when she became the first Singapore shuttler to win gold at the Commonwealth Games when she won the women's singles event in Manchester.

    With Ronald Susilo hitting a high of world No 6 in 2004, and going on to beat world No 1 Lin Dan of China to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympics that year, optimism was in the air.

    But Singapore badminton has slipped since and SBA president Lee Yi Shyan admitted yesterday that the men's team will not meet the 2012 target, and will not be good enough to qualify for the 2014 finals as well.

    "I think we have to take one step at a time," said Mr Lee. "Today, there is still a gap between Singapore and other top international teams. I think this cannot be denied.

    "We want to try and raise the level and shore up the players' fitness and skill and a good target will be after five years (2016)."

    Some members of the national men's and women's squad took on a team from China's Shangdong province in a friendly match yesterday at Jurong East Sports and Recreation Centre as part of a week-long joint-training programme.

    Without key players who were away in Delhi for the Asian Championships, the Singaporeans lost 3-1.

    Mr Lee, the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Manpower, says such sparring sessions and training programmes will be a regular feature.

    "With teams like this, our players will be exposed to different types of play they can't get in Singapore. It is a way to stretch them and identify their skills gap. This is the first one we did jointly with the Singapore Sports Council and there will be more," said Mr Lee.

    The last time Singapore qualified for the Thomas Cup finals was in 1986. The line-up included Wong Shoon Keat, Lau Wing Cheok and Hamid Khan.

    The standard of badminton then plummeted. In a bid to revive the sport, the SBA tapped on the Foreign Sports Talent scheme and in 2002, Susilo, who came here from Indonesia in 1993 to study, was granted citizenship, along with former Chinese national players Xiao Luxi, Li Li, Jiang Yanmei and Liu Fan.

    Besides Li Li's success in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the women also managed to win a team silver in Manchester.

    The women also reached the Uber Cup finals in 2006 for the first time, losing to China in the quarter-finals in Tokyo.

    Today, out of 37 players in the national squad (20 men, 17 women), 21 are locally-born.

    A number of the shuttlers were part of the squad that won mixed-team bronze at the 2007 World Junior Championships.

    While he is not expecting medal success at the Asian Games in November, Lee believes the women's team can win at least silver at the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in New Delhi from Oct 3 to 14.

    "In the past few years we've had stronger women's teams and it is possible in India.' Ian De Cotta



    Tickets for the Li-Ning Singapore Open 2010 from June 15 to 20 are now available at Sistic outlets. Daily tickets cost $12 for adults and $4 for children under 12.


    Despite the best efforts of Gu Juan (picture) in the women's singles, Singapore lost the friendly match against a Chinese team 3-1. Koh Mui Fong
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  2. #1617
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    Default More demand for enrichment

    The Straits Times
    Apr 14, 2010

    Schools are turning to them as MOE pushes to grow students' soft skills

    By Amelia Tan

    ART and music enrichment centres are seeing a greater demand for their services from schools, and are hiring more staff to meet these needs, thanks to the Ministry of Education's (MOE's) push towards soft skills.

    At the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts' (Nafa) job fair yesterday, three centres told The Straits Times that the increased demand may be linked to the MOE's greater emphasis on art and music to nurture soft skills in pupils.

    In Parliament last month, Education Minister Ng Eng Hen had announced enhancements to the teaching of art and music, with teachers specialising in either one of these subjects. But the MOE acknowledged that it will take some time before enough teachers are trained to specialise in these subjects.

    Meanwhile, schools are turning to art and music enrichment centres to run classes. Madam Nancy Pey, principal of WowART Learning, which runs art classes at about 40 primary and secondary schools, says 40 more will be taking up its programmes - which range from art appreciation to introductory classes on various art forms - by next year.

    It is hoping to hire about 20 teachers to run the classes, which are held during curriculum time and after school hours.

    Similarly, Artspiration, which runs music and art programmes at five schools, will have two more on board by year's end. It is looking to hire five more teachers.


    For fine arts graduates at the Nafa job fair yesterday, the MOE's push towards nurturing soft skills in students and the rising demand for arts educators could translate into a wider range of more stable employment opportunities. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
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  3. #1618
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    Default Exceptionally strong growth ahead for Singapore, and stronger dollar

    Channel NewsAsia
    14 April 2010 0846 hrs

    Singapore: Exceptionally strong growth was seen in the first quarter of 2010 and the Trade and Industry Ministry (MTI) says it now expects Singapore's economy to grow by 7.0 to 9.0% during the current year.

    The revision upwards from an earlier 4.5-6.5% GDP growth is in view of the "exceptionally strong growth for the Singapore economy" in the first quarter and the overall improved outlook for external economies for the rest of 2010, MTI said in its news release on Wednesday.

    In view of the rebound of the Singapore economy and expected firm recovery with a more favourable global economic outlook the MAS will re-centre the exchange rate policy band for the Singapore dollar at the prevailing level and shift the policy band from zero percent appreciation to a modest and gradual appreciation.

    The decision to allow for a stronger dollar was influenced by the tightening of the labour market with the seasonally adjusted resident unemployment rate falling from 5% in September 2009 to around its pre-crisis rate of 3% in December, and an expected pick-up of wages this year.

    Overall, Singapore should see inflation in 2010 at between 2.5% and 3.5%, which is slightly higher than the 2-3% forecast earlier.

    Experts say the move to move by MAS indicates that the view that domestic inflation is the concern now that economic growth has settled in.
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  4. #1619
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    Default PM Lee meets key members of US economic team, US senators

    Channel NewsAsia
    13 April 2010 2020 hrs

    By May Wong

    SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has met with some key members of the US economic team and US senators before the start of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC.

    Mr Lee met with Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke.

    The two discussed issues such as the state of the US economy and the stability of the global financial system.

    Earlier, Mr Lee attended a tea session with several US senators.

    Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Jim Webb, hosted the event.

    They exchanged views on global issues, including climate change and developments in Asia like US-China relations and Myanmar.

    PM Lee will also meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner later Tuesday.


    Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (L) shakes hands with US President Barack Obama during the official arrivals for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington
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  5. #1620
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    Default More partnerships expected between S'pore & foreign animation firms

    Channel NewsAsia
    13 April 2010 2127 hrs

    By Gladys Ow

    SINGAPORE: Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) has announced a major fund of up to S$5 million for every new animation programme made with foreign companies.
    It is part of efforts to extend Singapore's reach in the global content market.

    MIPTV is one of the world's most important trade markets for the television industry.

    Held in the French city of Cannes, it is also where Singapore showcases the programmes it produces, and convinces international partners why they should do business with the country.

    "I think there is good governance, pro-business policies, sound laws, deep respect for intellectual property," said Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore's Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.

    "I think we have got, actually, a very highly skilled workforce that's really, I think, equipped with the skills required, whether it is in the area of animation, live action (or) 3D."

    In fact, Singapore took centrestage at this year's MIPTV.

    Organisers have chosen the city-state as the country of focus - an acknowledgement to Singapore's success story.

    And Singapore wants to take its achievements to the next level. It has launched the international animation fund at MIPTV.

    The country is inviting producers from all over the world to pitch ideas for new animation content. Producers who have worked with Singapore have said the country has a lot more to offer than money.

    "We were grateful and excited with the opportunity to work with the Singapore MDA, and the Sparky Animation company there, whose technical ability enabled us really, to produce and deliver an enormous amount of animation content in a very short period of time," said Peter Shube president of the Jim Henson Company.

    "And we had a seamless process working with our animation partners in Singapore, even though we are 15 hours and several oceans apart."

    Proposed projects for the new animation fund must have a Singapore partner, and they will be distributed by Freemantle Media.


    The MediaCorp booth at the MIPTV event in Cannes, France
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  6. #1621
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    Default Realism in Asian Art explored at Singapore Art Museum exhibition

    Channel NewsAsia
    14 April 2010 0020 hrs

    By Wang Eng Eng

    SINGAPORE: "Realism in Asian Art", an exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum, features 78 paintings from eight Asian countries.

    They depict issues that Asia has grappled with in the last century.

    They include works by Korean artist Oh Yun's painting of the working class in a group setting, which represents the vicious cycle of poverty the workers are caught in.

    Paintings like these often depict scenes of peasant and working class, urban life as well as entertainment enjoyed by the masses.

    They draw their roots from 19th century Western art movement that accentuates the observation of everyday life.

    The exhibition focuses on five major themes such as the impact of war and the rural landscape.

    "The whole idea of Realism it is about capturing everyday life so we will feel closest to our everyday life by looking at people and landscapes that we are familiar with," said Kwok Kian Chow, director of the National Art Gallery of Singapore. "Many of us have travelled in the regions like Japan and Korea and we would want to revisit the places."

    Artists featured at the exhibition include Singapore's Lee Man Fong as well Yamashita Kikuji from Japan.

    As part of a new approach to exhibitions, more interactive elements such as a children's play corner have been introduced.

    This allows young ones to connect to key themes of the exhibition through portrait drawings.

    Realism in Asian art is presented by Singapore's National Art Gallery, together with the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Korea.

    It will run from April 9 to July 4 at the Singapore Art Museum.
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  7. #1622
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    Default Ionescu linked to escorts firm

    The Straits Times
    Apr 14, 2010

    NEWS reports in Romania have linked former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu to a local company there that allegedly recruits girls to become 'escorts in the most fashionable karaoke clubs in Singapore', The New Paper reported on Wednesday.

    Adevarul (The Truth), one of Romania's top daily newspapers, reported that the former charge de'affaires to Singapore had lent 28,000 euros (S$53,000) to the company, Elaboration Ltd, which is said to be run by his close friend, Mr George Karastergios, a Greek national.

    The Romanian reports also link Dr Ionescu, 49, to a traffic accident in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, six years ago, after which he claimed the other driver tried to blackmail him, said TNP.

    A warrant of arrest and an Interpol alert have been issued against Dr Ionescu, after a State Coroner found him to be the driver of the car that killed Mr Tong Kok Wai, 30, and injured two others in hit-and-run accidents last Dec 15 at Bukit Panjang.

  8. #1623
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    Default Singapore to host inaugural World Senior Women's Fitness Physique event

    Channel NewsAsia
    13 April 2010 2251 hrs

    By Patwant Singh

    SINGAPORE: Bodybuilding is not part of the Asian Games in Guangzhou China this year, but that's not stopping the sport from having a vibrant year.

    In fact, Singapore will host the inaugural (WBPF) World Senior Women's Fitness Physique and Senior Women's Model Physique competitions in September.

    Model Physique competitions for women are big in Europe, and Singapore now wants to be part of this growing sport.

    More than 120 participants from 20 countries will strut their stuff at the University Cultural Centre.

    Singapore will also field a women's team.

    Said M Letchmenon, president of the the Singapore Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation: "This is an event that they will be very interested in and very popular in Asia, because in Hong Kong, Korea and Japan it has been introduced. I thought it is the best time to ... introduce this and encourage more ... women to participate."

    The men will not be left out, with the 2010 South East Asia and Asian Multi Bodybuilding and Physique championships running concurrently with the women's event.

    Leading Singapore's charge is Kevin Chiak, recently crowned Mr Singapore 2010 after clinching the 85kg category and overall title at the National Championships.

    In fact, the 43-year old had been working towards this goal for the last 20 years.

    "Becoming Mr Singapore is one of my baby dreams, it's a baby step towards becoming an Asian Champion and of course, ultimately every sportsman would want to become the world champion," said Chiak.

    The Asian event will provide Chiak and other bodybuilders good training for December's Asian Beach Games, where the Federation is predicting some medals.

    To stage these two events, it will cost Singapore Bodybuilding at least S$250,000.

    The Federation has seen a 40 per cent cut in its budget this year and is looking at more assistance from the Singapore Sports Council.

    It has even engaged an events company to help with its marketing and sponsorship.
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  9. #1624
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    Default

    Refer post #1616.

    SBA can buy players from all over the world. By doing this, sure will have chances to win big trophy in badminton sports.

    By the way, where is Local-borned Kendrick Lee? Retired?

  10. #1625
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dato Asbullah View Post
    Refer post #1616.

    SBA can buy players from all over the world. By doing this, sure will have chances to win big trophy in badminton sports.

    By the way, where is Local-borned Kendrick Lee? Retired?
    What happened to you? I thought you are following the badminton scene quite closely yet you seemed to be so blur and naive?

    I think you better concentrate on your country's own players in case you may be embarassed with not knowing what's going on.

  11. #1626
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    Default Highest growth in 16 years

    The Straits Times
    Apr 14, 2010

    By Fiona Chan

    SINGAPORE has raised its forecast for 2010 growth after the economy strengthened massively in the first quarter of this year.
    It now expects the economy to grow by 7 to 9 per cent, significantly higher than its previous prediction of 4.5 to 6.5 per cent growth, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said.

    This comes after gross domestic product (GDP) shot up 13.1 per cent in the Jan-Mar period compared to the same time last year, the biggest year-on-year jump in 16 years.

    Quarter-on-quarter, GDP surged 32.1 per cent from January to March, compared to the preceding October to December period. Economists said this was the highest rise on record.

    Growth in the first quarter was led by the manufacturing sector, which expanded by an eye-popping 139 per cent quarter-on-quarter. This was due to a strong rebound in global demand for semiconductor chips, as well as a bigger-than-expected surge in biomedical manufacturing output, the MTI said.

    'While downside risks remain, such as a sovereign debt crisis in Europe or a slowdown due to withdrawal of fiscal measures, these have been outweighed by stronger signs that global economic conditions are improving,' the ministry said in a statement.


    Growth in the first quarter was led by the manufacturing sector, which expanded by an eye-popping 139 per cent quarter-on-quarter. This was due to a strong rebound in global demand for semiconductor chips, as well as a bigger-than-expected surge in biomedical manufacturing output, the MTI said. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO
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  12. #1627
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    Default MAS lets Sing$ rise

    The Straits Times
    Apr 14, 2010

    THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has made an unusually aggressive move to let the Singapore dollar strengthen, following stronger-than-expected economic growth and a rise in inflationary pressures.

    The central bank said on Wednesday it will tighten monetary policy in an unprecedented double step in order to counter inflation this year, which is now expected to come in higher than previously predicted.

    The MAS uses the exchange rate rather than the interest rate to conduct monetary policy. The exchange rate is allowed to fluctuate within a band, which is adjusted by the MAS twice a year.

    On Wednesday, the MAS said it would shift the band upwards and also make its slope steeper - the first time it has made two simultaneous changes to the band.

    'The Singapore economy has rebounded from the downturn and is expected to continue on its firm recovery path given the more favourable global economic outlook,' the central bank said in a statement.

    'At the same time, inflationary pressures are likely to pick up, driven by rising global commodity prices as well as some domestic cost factors.'


    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) tightened its monetary policy on Wednesday by recentering its Singapore dollar policy band upwards and by shifting its policy to modest and gradual appreciation for the currency. -- BT PHOTO: RICHARD CHNG
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  13. #1628
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    Default Last surviving print of rare 1950s local film restored & digitised

    Channel NewsAsia
    13 April 2010 2246 hrs

    By Dylan Loh

    SINGAPORE: The last surviving print of a rare 1950s local film has been restored and digitised by the Asian Film Archive.

    "Moon Over Malaya" is a romantic drama about a man who struggled to balance his family business and passion for promoting education in Malaya.

    It was shot in Singapore and Malaya in 1957, and was produced by the Kong Ngee Company, a production house founded in 1937.

    President S R Nathan and local filmmakers attended a charity screening of the film on Tuesday evening at The Cathay.


    A still from the film Moon Over Malaya
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  14. #1629
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    Default PM Lee meets Hillary Clinton on sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit

    The Straits Times
    14 April 2010 1702 hrs

    By May Wong

    SINGAPORE: On the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Singapore Prime Minister Lee met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    They discussed how the US can further engage ASEAN and Asia.

    They feel this could be done through new regional architecture like the ASEAN-plus-eight and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    During the meeting, Mrs Clinton reiterated Washington's interest to engage ASEAN.

    Prime Minister Lee welcomed this, including US accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and the inaugural ASEAN-US Leaders' Meeting last year.

    Aside from exchanging views on issues related to the Nuclear Security Summit, the two also spoke about recent regional developments.

    They include the situations in Myanmar and Thailand.


    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
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  15. #1630
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    Default More frequent train services for Circle Line on opening day

    The Straits Times
    14 April 2010 1637 hrs

    By Joanne Chan

    SINGAPORE: Commuters hoping to try out the 11 new Circle Line stations can expect more frequent trains on its opening day this Saturday.

    More train trips will be added and the waiting interval shortened for trains travelling between Dhoby Ghaut and Bartley stations, in anticipation of an increase in crowds.

    From noon to 7pm, commuters can enjoy a shorter waiting time of five minutes.

    From 9.30pm until the end of the train service, waiting times will be further shortened to 3.5 minutes.

    The waiting interval is normally about seven minutes.

    SMRT is also adjusting train timings so that commuters from the last Circle Line train can connect to the last trains along the North-South and East-West lines.

    Deputy Director for Station Operations, Chia Chun Wah, said that a high ridership is expected on the first day of operations from people who are keen to try out the new train service.

    There will also be many concert goers heading to Taiwanese girl group S.H.E.'s and Taiwanese rock band Mayday's concerts held near Stadium MRT station.

    SMRT added that other crowd control measures will also be in place.

    Concert goers heading home on the Circle Line are advised to use a stored-value card or purchase a single trip ticket in advance on the same day, to avoid queuing for tickets.


    Marymount Station (artist impression)
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  16. #1631
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    Default WDA to focus on supporting productivity drive in 2010

    Channel NewsAsia
    13 April 2010 1824 hrs

    By Hoe Yeen Nie

    SINGAPORE: In 2009, the Workforce Development Agency's (WDA) priority was to help workers keep their jobs.

    This year, with the economy on the mend, its focus will be on supporting the government's aim for a more productive workforce.

    The WDA has plans to set up a research and innovation fund this year to improve its slate of training opportunities for working adults.

    The fund will be used in curriculum design, training methodology and the use of technology in classrooms.

    The WDA will also offer more Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses to help working professionals improve their managerial skills, in areas such as project management, finance and marketing.

    More courses will also be offered at higher levels such as graduate diplomas and certificates, specialist diplomas and advanced certificates.

    There will also be more courses in specialised fields, including a customised curriculum for retail sales in different products and courses aimed at sommeliers and baristas.

    For older low-wage, low-skilled workers, WDA will launch a programme called Workfare Skill-Up, to boost their literacy skills and provide help in finding jobs.

    The new initiative comes under the Workfare Training Scheme announced in February.
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  17. #1632
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    Default S'pore economy has made a remarkable recovery: PM Lee

    Channel NewsAsia
    15 April 2010 0010 hrs

    By May Wong

    WASHINGTON DC : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Singapore's economy has made a remarkable recovery from a year ago and he expects a good year going forward.

    He said the rebound from the downturn surpassed expectations. He was reacting to Singapore's strong economic performance for the first quarter of the year.

    Speaking to the Singapore media in Washington DC before flying off to Chicago for the second leg of his US visit, Mr Lee said he does not believe the strong growth will continue indefinitely because it is just not possible.

    He said: "Our target is 3 to 5 per cent growth over the next 10 years. This year is off to a very good start - I expect we should have a good year.

    "And we should make the most of these conditions this year to get momentum for our longer term plans to upgrade the productivity, transform the economy and to continue to work at our tripartite relationship between the unions, employers and the government, so that the next time something hits us, we are stronger than we were the last time."

    The Trade and Industry Ministry has also revised Singapore's inflation rate from 2 per cent to between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent. But Mr Lee does not expect prices for daily necessities - like food or clothes - to increase drastically.

    As for rising property prices, he said the government had already introduced measures to prevent a bubble from forming.

    He added: "When there is a momentum like this for the housing market, it doesn't change on the dime. You don't introduce new measures and tomorrow, straight away, prices drop. If you did, you probably are risking a crash and you don't want to cause destabilisation.

    "So we'll have to watch it over the next few months and decide whether we need to do something more or not. If we need to, we will - we have some instruments.

    "But when you're dealing with property prices, we can influence the major directions. We can't influence the day-to-day ups-and-downs and the value of every individual flat."

    On his assessment of the 2-day Nuclear Security Summit involving 47 world leaders, Mr Lee called it a useful meeting.

    He said US President Barack Obama did a good job in bringing the subject of nuclear proliferation to the forefront. This enabled the various countries to discuss and make commitments to mitigate the risk of nuclear terrorism.

    During his stay in the capital, Mr Lee also had meetings with some members of the US administration and the business community on the sidelines of the summit.

    He said the feedback he received was that they were quietly confident the US economy is recovering. "There are still some headwinds and they may not come back to full robust growth for some time."

    He added: "And even when they do come back to robust growth, they cannot come back to where they were, which is consuming more than they were producing and covering the difference by borrowing.

    "So it will be a different balance and the world will have to get used to this different balance. But as long as it keeps on an even keel like this, I think that provides the conditions for Asia to continue its growth and its transformation."

    PM Lee at Nuclear Security Summit
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