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  1. #1667
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Marina Reservoir to be ready by year-end

    The Straits Times
    Apr 20, 2010

    But another dry spell may delay this as rain is needed to dilute salt content

    THE Marina Reservoir, which when completed will be able to supply up to 10 per cent of Singapore's water needs, is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

    But another dry spell like the one just past could push its ready date to next year, as the reservoir depends, to a large extent, on rainwater to dilute its salt content, the PUB said.

    Over the last 15 months, the reservoir's concentration of salt water has come down from around 35,000mg.

  2. #1668
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Lower (transport) fares from July

    The Straits Times
    Apr 20, 2010

    By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

    OVERALL public transport fares will dip by 2.5 per cent from July 3, but savings will vary from commuter to commuter.

    The Public Transport Council, in its latest annual fare review, said the 2.5 per cent reduction arises from the fare revision formula, which pegs adjustments to national inflation and productivity figures. As Singapore was in a recession last year, the formula gave rise to a rare fare reduction. This followed a fare freeze the year before.

    The PTC will also roll out completely a distance-based fare regime. Transfer penalties, which have been reduced gradually over the last two years, will be completely gone from July 3.

    Transfer penalty refers to subsequent boarding charges a commuter who makes transfers has to bear. From July 3, the same commuter will be charged solely according to the distance he travels - regardless of how many transfers he makes.

    Not all commuters, however, will benefit from the change, although the PTC said two-thirds will save about $25 a year. The other one-third will experience higher travelling expenditure, to the tune of $16 a year. In this group will be one in three senior citizens, who will have to spend on average $23 more a year on commuting.

    Typically, bus commuters who choose to or have to make train transfers will see higher expenses. One of the reasons for this is that train rides generally cost more than bus rides.


    Shorter fare bands

    Another pertinent change that will be rolled out from July will see a narrowing of fare bands. The current fare band of around 2.4km will be shortened to 800m.

    This will give rise to smaller but more frequent fare jumps than before. On a typical journey without transfers, this will result in higher fares.

    PTC chairman Gerard Ee said the removal of transfer penalty is a significant change that will benefit most commuters.

    'The decision comes after careful deliberation and scrutiny of the impact on both the transport operators and commuters,' Mr Ee said, noting that operators will bear 'the larger part of the costs'.

    The latest fare revision, valid for a year, will result in SBS Transit and SMRT Corp losing a combined $32 million in annual revenue.

    Mr Ee added that the change will give commuters 'more choices and greater flexibility to decide on the best route to reach their destination'.

    The Land Transport Authority will roll out publicity programmes to raise awareness of the new fare system.

    By June, commuters will also be able to make online enquiries on route choices and fare amounts at www.publictransport.sg.


    Overall public transport fares will dip by 2.5 per cent from July 3, but savings will vary from commuter to commuter. --ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
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  3. #1669
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S'pore disassociates itself from document on conclusion of Tehran conference

    Channel NewsAsia
    20 April 2010 1547 hrs

    By S.Ramesh

    SINGAPORE: Singapore has disassociated itself from a document titled "Conclusion of the Tehran Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, 7-18 April 2010" which it said Iran claimed was adopted at the conference.

    Responding to media queries, a Singapore Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Singapore has disassociated itself by sending a Third Person Note to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

    Singapore also intends to make its position clear to the United Nations in New York and Geneva.

    Singapore attended the Tehran Conference but said the document issued by the Iranian authorities is misleading.

    The spokesperson added there was no agreement among delegates to the Tehran Conference to issue such a document.

    There was also no discussion on the contents of the document.

  4. #1670
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default More formalised training for biomedical manufacturing industry

    Channel NewsAsia
    20 April 2010 1311 hrs

    By Mok Fei Fei

    SINGAPORE : More formalised training is available for those working in the biomedical manufacturing industry.

    A Higher Certificate in Process Technology for Biologics Manufacturing and Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing has been developed for the industry.

    The higher certificate under the Workforce Skills Qualifications framework was developed by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

    WDA had collaborated with Singapore Polytechnic, Millipore Singapore and DPS Engineering in developing the course.

    The partners formally sealed their collaboration with the inking of the Memorandum of Cooperation on Tuesday to provide full certification training, strengthen good working ties and facilitate the sharing of resources.

    In conjunction with the signing of the memorandum of cooperation, Singapore Polytechnic also launched its Professional and Adult Continuing Education Academy.

    Previously known as the Department of Continuing Education, the Academy is set up to increase the polytechnic's training capacity.
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  5. #1671
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Possible consequences on Singapore-Romania relations: analysts

    Channel NewsAsia
    20 April 2010 1945 hrs

    By Saifulbahri Ismail

    SINGAPORE: Political analysts have floated measures like downgrading diplomatic representation as some steps Singapore could take against Romania if it doesn't bring former diplomat Dr Silviu Ionescu to justice.

    Singapore's Foreign Ministry has said there would inevitably be consequences for bilateral relations if justice is not served.

    Since Singapore is an open economy dependent on trade, political analysts said it's unlikely to impose economic sanctions on Romanian goods.

    However, they pointed out that Singapore's move to remind Romania of the possible consequences on bilateral ties is a timely reminder.

    Associate Professor Simon Tay, chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said: "I think the statement is important to remind the Romanians that this is not just a government to government issue. This is a people-to-people issue. I think that our attitude should be one of trying to foster co-operation.

    “Quite honestly, Singapore is a small country and while economically quite rich, there aren't that many sanctions or sticks that we can really try to hit Romania with."

    There are more severe measures a government can take like breaking off diplomatic relations.

    But political analysts said this is unlikely to happen.

    Still, Singapore could try to lobby support from the European Union of which Romania is a member of.

    Associate Professor Alan Chong, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: "These little incidents do add up over time to establish or to brand a country's diplomatic image even among friends like fellow European Union members and so on.

    “And certainly if Romania does hope to someday successfully attain the chair of the presidency of the EU, it will have to demonstrate some degree of impeccable credentials or at least be seen to follow the letter of International Law. So I think there's something to be said about Romania's internal calculations."

    Last month, the Coroner's Inquiry ruled that Dr Ionescu was the driver of the car that hit three pedestrians on 15 December 2009.

    A Joint Commission Meeting between Singapore and Romanian prosecutors is expected to be held by next month.

  6. #1672
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Road link to upcoming developments in Marina Bay opens this Sunday

    Channel NewsAsia
    20 April 2010 2029 hrs

    By Jessica Yeo

    SINGAPORE : The new 1.3-kilometre road link to Marina Bay opens on Sunday.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) says it will improve road access to upcoming developments such as the Marina Bay Sands and the Marina Bay Financial Centre.

    The road will provide a direct link between Temasek Avenue and Central Boulevard, as well as Marina Boulevard.

    It is made up of a bridge across Marina Bay, and a newly constructed Bayfront Avenue.

    Eight public bus services will also be re-routed to ply through this network.

    The buses will commence from Jurong East, Ang Mo Kio, Pioneer Road North, Pasir Ris and Bukit Batok.

    The road, which provides an alternative route to the Central Business District, will have an ERP gantry along Bayfront Avenue towards Temasek Avenue starting next Monday, April 26.

    Overseas guests arriving at Changi Airport can make use of the Marina Bay Sands Airport Shuttle Bus, which runs over 40 times a day, to get to the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort.

    There are 15 coaches in total and will run at 10-minute intervals during peak periods.

    Parking at the Integrated Resort starts at S$8 per hour and carpooling is advised due to limited parking spaces.

    Drivers can opt to park at the satellite car park at Marina South and pay $10 for the parking and usage of the Marina Bay Sands shuttle bus.

    Commuters can also choose to go on foot via the pedestrian footpath adjacent to the new bridge and Bayfront Avenue.
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  7. #1673
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default How well do you know S'pore?

    The Straits Times
    Apr 20, 2010

    By Cassandra Goh and Neil Ang

    SINGAPORE has always been a country of immigrants.

    According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, immigrants to Singapore increased by 4.8 per cent in 2009, and more than 10 per cent in 2007 and 2008.

    A whopping 1.3 million people in Singapore are foreign born - that's almost 4 out of every 10 people.

    But how well integrated are foreigners in Singapore?How much do they know about their adopted country, and can new citizens truly integrate into Singapore by participating in a quiz?

    The Integrate Singapore Quiz is designed to do just that. It is one out of four new key initiatives developed by the South West Community Development Council (CDC) to integrate local and new citizens.

    But are the questions too hard for foreigners to answer? Razor TV asked Singaporeans five of the toughest questions in the Quiz. A majority of locals found them quite difficult, and most who got them right merely guessed them.

  8. #1674
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default World champ, and gold medal (YOG) hope

    TODAY
    05:55 AM Apr 20, 2010

    Sailor Darren Choy will be a hot favourite at the Youth Olympics, and he's up for it

    by Adhe Sarariany Andi Djohar

    SINGAPORE - There will be one Singapore athlete who will be the hot favourite for gold at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

    Darren Choy, 16, is the reigning world champion in the Byte CII class, which is one of the sailing events at the Games.

    He won it last year, and successfully defended his title earlier this month in Cannes, France.

    With two consecutive world titles and a gold medal from the inaugural Asian Youth Games - held here last year - under his belt, much will be expected of Darren at the Youth Olympics, which will be held here from Aug 14 to 26.

    The Games will feature around 3,600 athletes aged between 14 to 18 doing battle in the 26 Olympic sports.

    While the list of entries have yet to be finalised, Darren's prospects of representing the Republic at the Games is almost certain, and the young sailor is focused on getting to the top of the podium

    Like all world champions, he is confident, insisting he was not worried about shouldering the weight of a nation.

    Speaking to MediaCorp last Friday, he simply said: "Whatever it is, I will give my best shot."

    Dressed in a polo T-shirt, bermudas and flip-flops, and grinning from ear to ear, few would have made Darren out to be the undisputed world champion of Byte CII sailing if they saw him at the National Sailing Centre last week.

    He showed no signs of jet-lag despite enduring a 16-hour flight from Nice less than 48 hours earlier.

    Currently a Secondary 4 student at the Singapore Sports School, one only has to mention sailing and his face lights up.

    "Sailing has been a part of my life for so long that it has already become a habit," he said.

    "I've been sailing since I was 9, and sailing competitively since the age of 12.

    "I love sailing and in competitions, the reward makes it all the more sweet."


    According to Mark Robinson, SingaporeSailing's head of high performance, Darren is "tenacious".

    He added: "Overall, the Singapore team have similar technical skills, but the key difference for Darren is what he does on competition day."

    Darren always has his game face on at events.

    "Once out at sea, the main thing for me is to focus on what has to be done," he revealed. "From there, I just go all out to try to achieve my goal."



    A MISCHIEVOUS SMILE

    Darren's simple philosophy helped him beat 44 other sailors in Cannes, as he retained his world crown and duly became the favourite for the gold at the Youth Olympic Games.

    This year will likely be Darren's last in the Byte class. The plan is for him to switch to either the Laser Radial class or 420 class, which are both Olympic events, while Byte is not.

    Robinson insists they are not thinking too far ahead. Right now, the main target for Darren is to do well in the Youth Olympics.

    Darren and his team-mates work on their fitness three times a week and his favourite is when they "get to cycle all the way to Changi jetty".

    "That is when the team bonds," he claimed.

    "We do things for each other, and we encourage and urge each other to persevere, which can only be good."

    Darren's hero is Ben Ainslie, a triple Finn and Laser Olympic gold medallist.

    The Briton is one of the world's greatest sailors in the history of the sport.

    Darren hopes Ainslie will be here for the Youth Olympics.

    When asked what he would say to his hero, the Singapore sailor smiled mischievously and, with typical confidence, said: "Hope to beat you one day."
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  9. #1675
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default MT weighting could be cut

    The Straits Times
    Apr 21, 2010

    By Sandra Davie, Senior Writer

    THE high weighting given to mother tongue languages in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is now under review and could be reduced.

    Education Minister Ng Eng Hen says his ministry is studying whether it is educationally sound for mother tongue language performance to count for so much at the Primary 6 level.

    'The worry is whether it could exclude someone from progressing in his educational pathway even if he did well in other subjects,' said Dr Ng in an interview with The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao.

    Mother tongue languages now carry the same weight - 25 per cent - as the three other examinable subjects, English, mathematics and science. The combined aggregate score taken from the grades of the four subjects is used for entry into secondary school.

    For years, parents have complained their children who excelled in all other subjects except mother tongue have lost out on a place in top secondary schools. Some have even ended up in the Normal stream for academically weaker pupils.

    A mother tongue language review is now under way that will take into account the prior backgrounds of pupils and devise customised approaches. It will be completed by the end of the year.


    Education Minister Ng Eng Hen says his ministry is studying whether it is educationally sound for mother tongue language performance to count for so much at the Primary 6 level. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
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  10. #1676
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default S'pore, China note progress made in defence ties during DPM Teo's visit

    Channel NewsAsia
    20 April 2010 1957 hrs

    By S.Ramesh

    SINGAPORE: Singapore and China have reaffirmed the good bilateral ties between both countries. They also noted the progress made in the defence relationship between both sides.

    This took place during Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean's official visit to China.

    The Defence Ministry said on Tuesday morning that Mr Teo and the Singapore delegation visited the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment of the Chengdu Military Region where they were briefed on the Regiment's contributions to the Sichuan earthquake disaster relief efforts in 2008.

    While in Chengdu, Mr Teo also met Commander of the Chengdu Military Region Lieutenant General Li Shiming and senior officials of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

    Over the next few days, Mr Teo, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, will visit the China Executive Leadership Academy in Yan'an (CELAY).

    While at CELAY, Mr Teo will have a dialogue with students of the Academy and be briefed on the historical roots of the Communist Party of China and the PLA as well as the Academy's leadership development framework.

    Meanwhile Mr Teo is also scheduled to meet key Chinese political and defence leaders- among them Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission General (GEN) Xu Caihou, Minister of National Defence General Liang Guanglie and the PLA Chief of General Staff General Chen Bingde in Beijing.

    MINDEF added that Mr Teo's visit is part of the regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits by top leaders of Singapore and China and is a continuation of the exchange of visits by defence ministers since 1997.

    DPM Teo Chee Hean (L) being briefed in a helicopter operated by the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment by commanders of the Chengdu Military Regiment

    DPM Teo Chee Hean (L) meeting with Commander of the Chengdu Military Region LG Li Shiming
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  11. #1677
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default SIA resumes some flights

    The Straits Times
    Apr 21, 2010

    By Wendy Lim

    WITH the gradual reopening of airspace in Europe, Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be resuming a limited number of flights to and from European destinations.

    As at 9.30am on Wednesday, SIA said it is reinstating flights SQ318 and SQ308 from Singapore to London, which will depart at 12.45pm and 2.00pm respectively on Wednesday, according to the SIA website.

    Five other flights are scheduled to depart from various European cities to Singapore. These include SQ323 from Amsterdam, SQ333 from Paris, SQ345 from Zurich, SQ365 from Rome and SQ377 from Barcelona.

    Some flights to Europe continue to be cancelled due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, according to an update on the Changi Airport Group website on Wednesday morning.

    Five flights, excluding SQ308 and SQ318 which have been reinstated, have been cancelled. These include flights operated by British Airways, Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines to Frankfurt, London and Sydney.

    Passengers are advised to check with their respective airline for updates. They should not go to Changi Airport unless they have received confirmation from their airline about their flight.

    SIA said it is reinstating flights SQ318 and SQ308 from Singapore to London, which will depart at 12.45pm and 2.00pm respectively on Wednesday, according to the SIA website. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
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  12. #1678
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    Default

    S'pore & Uzbek ministers discuss initiatives to expand bilateral ties


    Channel NewsAsia
    20 April 2010 2039 hrs

    By S Ramesh

    UZBEKISTAN: Singapore Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed has met Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Elyor Ganiev.

    The Foreign Ministry said both ministers discussed initiatives to expand bilateral economic cooperation.

    Minister Zainul welcomed proposals to encourage more Singaporean companies to enter Uzbekistan.

    Both countries have so far held three business fora and are planning a fourth one later this week.

    Ministers from both countries have also noted the friendly and growing relations between Singapore and Uzbekistan and exchanged views on the dynamics in Central Asia and their implications for the surrounding regions.


    SMS Zainul (L) presents DPM and Uzbek Minister for Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Elyor Ganiev (R) with a RISIS horse statuette (Photo: MFA)

    Uzbek DPM and Minister for Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Elyor Ganiev (C) presents SMS Zainul (L) with a book on Samarkand and a coin collection (Photo: MFA
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    Last edited by Loh; 04-20-2010 at 11:36 PM.

  13. #1679
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default World's first double helix bridge opens at Marina Bay on April 24

    Channel NewsAsia
    21 April 2010 1321 hrs

    SINGAPORE: The world's first double helix curved pedestrian bridge will open to the public on April 24 from 9.30pm.

    Located at Marina Bay, the pedestrian bridge will connect Marina Centre to the Bayfront area.

    The bridge will also lead to the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort when phase 2 of the IR opens this June.

    For motorists, there will be a new vehicular bridge located just beside the double helix bridge.

    Vehicles can pass through this new road from 3pm on April 25.

    The Youth Olympic Park located at the entrance of the bridge will also open on Saturday.

    National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan will officially open both bridges and the Youth Olympic Park at 8pm on April 24.

    The event will be opened to the public and those interested can head down to the sitting gallery at Marina Bay's floating platform.

    The opening ceremony will feature a series of performances and a two-minute pyrotechnic display.


    Curved double helix bridge which connects Marina Centre to the Bayfront area. - URA photo
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  14. #1680
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Capitol site up for tender

    The Straits Times
    Apr 21, 2010

    By Lin Yingxin

    THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday launched the commercial site at Stamford Road/ North Bridge Road for sale by public tender.

    The land parcel, which occupies a prime location in the heart of the city and is surrounded by three distinctive and vibrant districts - the Civic District, Marina Centre and Bras Basah. Bugis - was made available for sale via the Reserve List system on Dec 18, 2008.

    The 1.43 ha site is strategically located at the junction of Stamford Road and North Bridge Road. It is slated to be developed for commercial use with a hotel component.

    URA announced on April 1 that it had received an application from a developer to put up the land parcel for tender. The developer has committed to bid at least S$100 million.

    The site will be sold together with a subterranean parcel below North Bridge Road that provides seamless access to the City Hall MRT Interchange Station and the underground pedestrian network connecting to the nearby Marina Centre area and Esplanade MRT Station. The maximum permissible gross floor area (GFA) for the development is 50,389 square metres.

    The land parcel also contains a cluster of three historically and architecturally significant buildings - Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House - that will be retained and restored for adaptive reuse. The Capitol Theatre, which was a purpose-built performance facility, is required to be restored into an arts or entertainment-related performance venue.

    In line with the vision to create a distinctive development that is commensurate with the strategic location of the site, URA said a Concept and Price revenue tender system will be adopted to evaluate the tenders for the site. Under this system, concept proposals will be evaluated first, before the bid prices are considered. The site will then be awarded to the tender with the highest bid price among those with acceptable concept proposals.

    The tender closes at noon on Aug 18.


    The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Wednesday launched the commercial site at Stamford Road/ North Bridge Road for sale by public tender. -- ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
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  15. #1681
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    Default 12 researches get $7.7m grants

    The Straits Times
    Apr 21, 2010

    By Lin Yingxin and Judith Tan

    TWELVE research projects on infectious diseases and immunology have been given a $7.7 million shot in the arm by A*STAR's Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) and Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN).

    This amount is over a third of the $23 million in grants from BMRC's 8th General and SIgN's 4th grant calls, aimed at translating the discoveries in the laboratories to potential treatments for diseases prevalent in Singapore and the region.

    Eight projects will examine viral infections and the human immune response to diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and anterior uveitis, a specific form of inflammation of the eye, transmitted from mother to child.

    The rest went to researches in neuroscience and cardiovascular diseases.

    Sir George Radda, Chairman of the BMRC, said the grants provides funding to the most promising research aimed at unveiling new knowledge, create breakthroughs in biomedical science, and advance translational and clinical research.

    Since its inaugural General Grant Call in 2001, BMRC has awarded a total of 414 grants, amounting to over $306 million, to local research institutes and hospitals.

    Adding, Profressor Paola Castagnoli, the scientific director of SIgN said: 'As Singapore ramps up its efforts in bench-to-bedside translational research, SIgN will continue to contribute to the vibrant research environment here by encouraging the exchange of ideas and expertise between academic, industrial and clinical partners.'

  16. #1682
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    Default Skype founders help S'pore start-up

    The Straits Times
    Wed, Apr 21, 2010

    By Liew Hanqing

    A HOME-GROWN technology start-up is getting a cash injection from the founders of Skype, a world renowned communication software firm.

    Progeniq, a maker of hardware cards that speed up the performance of existing computers, will receive a seven-figure sum jointly from Ambient Sound Investments (ASI) - an investment firm formed by four of Skype's founding engineers - and Singapore investment funds BAF Spectrum and Spring Seeds Capital.

    The partners declined to reveal details of the funding, but it is the first time ASI has invested in a Singapore company.

  17. #1683
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default $50m YOG target surpassed, but 'more welcome'

    The Straits Times
    Wed, Apr 21, 2010

    By Jonathan Wong

    THE $50 million sponsorship target for the Youth Olympic Games has been exceeded but organisers are still hoping for even more support in the coming months.

    This was revealed by Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Transport) Teo Ser Luck yesterday after exhibition services provider Cityneon became the latest local company to sign up as a sponsor for the Aug 14-26 Games.

    He said: 'We have surpassed our target comfortably. Anything that comes now will be a valuable bonus for us.'

    Cityneon becomes the Games' official special events infrastructure partner. It will supply, distribute and manage marquees, tents and canopies at 23 competition and trining venues island-wide.
    Last edited by Loh; 04-21-2010 at 03:20 AM.

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