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  1. #5713
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    Default Robotic claws clear cancer cells without cutting open patient

    Published on Feb 14, 2012

    The device has two arms placed on the end of a wire called an endoscope, which carries a tiny camera and can be inserted through the mouth, nose or other orifices. -- PHOTO: NTUBy Feng Zengkun


    Scientists in Singapore have created a set of crab-like robotic claws that can remove cancerous tissue without cutting open the patient.

    The device has two miniature arms that slice away the diseased area. They are placed on the end of a wire called an endoscope, which carries a tiny camera and can be inserted through the mouth, nose or other orifices.

    This means there will be no scarring, and the surgery will take a fraction of the usual time. Patients who undergo the operation will not need a general anaesthetic, and can even go home shortly afterwards.

    'The patient will feel only minor discomfort,' said one of the device's creators, Dr Louis Phee of Nanyang Technological University.
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  2. #5714
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    Default A vision for sports

    by Tan Weizhen
    04:46 AM Feb 14, 2012

    SINGAPORE - It is an ambitious objective: To make sports a part of the Singaporean lifestyle.

    And in unveiling its raft of recommendations at a press conference yesterday, the Vision 2030 steering committee - chaired by Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing - was under no illusion of the task ahead.

    "We think it takes a generation to be able to appreciate a mental frame that Vision 2030 espouses - that sports is a part of your life, not an adjunct to your life," said Singapore Sports Council CEO Lim Teck Yin, who is part of the 23-strong committee that included members from the Government, the sports fraternity as well as the private sector.

    The committee was set up in July last year to chart the path for Singapore sports over the next two decades.

    After seven months of public consultation, the committee has drawn up 19 recommendations aimed at creating more opportunities for Singaporeans young and old to take part in competitive or recreational sports, improving access to facilities and enhancing sports expertise.

    From working with schools to increase parents' involvement in their children's sporting activities and a more integrated academic and sporting curriculum for student athletes, to the setting up of a competitive sports league for companies and the creation of a "fitness ecosystem for seniors", the committee hopes to "provide opportunities for all, not just for a small group of people who may already be in the sporting circle" - as Mr Chan put it.

    Mr Chan added: "The ecosystem comprises not just sportsmen and athletes ... We wanted to address all these issues because we believe that, once we get the fundamentals right, then the results will be delivered accordingly."

    Speaking to Today, Fencing Singapore president Nicholas Fang noted that, even with the availability of good sports facilities, the challenge is in getting people to use them.

    "It is about creating a real sporting culture where people are sports fanatics and would rather watch sports instead of the movies," said the Nominated Member of Parliament-designate.

    Bringing in more sports events with high entertainment value would help, he suggested.

    Netball Singapore executive director Cyrus Medora reiterated that the movement needs to start in schools. For starters, schools need to change the mindset of getting students to play sports "just for the sake of winning", he said.

    Mr Medora also cited National Service as a possible hurdle to sportsmen. Still, referring to national footballer Hariss Harun, Mr Medora pointed out that it is not impossible to balance NS obligations and sporting pursuits. To that end, Mr Chan - a former Chief of Army - revealed at the press conference that "very positive" discussions are taking place with the Ministry of Defence to help male national athletes better juggle their various commitments.

    For the average Singaporean, a lack of time for sporting pursuits is a common refrain.

    Public relations practitioner Shirley Wong, 32, told Today: "It'd be helpful if the company creates time for its staff to indulge in sports - for example, have an activity day where employees go off on time or take two hours off to exercise together."

    But Courts Singapore chief executive Terry O'Connor reiterated the challenges that companies face in this regard. "We have operational realities, for instance. Having said that, we are seeing how we can bring this into our staff engagement activities," he said.

    The recommendations will undergo another round of public consultation over the next few months. From May, implementation of the final recommendations will begin.

    Some key recommendations

    To create more opportunities

    - A multi-agency committee to ensure alignment of sports pathways from primary school level to the tertiary and post-National Service period

    - Super Sports Clubs for all to train and compete in a range of sports. Pilot to be implemented towards year-end

    - Competitive corporate sports league supported and/or organised by companies

    - Fitness ecosystem for seniors, which includes setting national standards for sports participation and sports safety



    To improve access

    - Sports Facilities Master Plan for more creative and innovative way of maximising space for sports

    - SportCares Foundation and Movement which would use sports to improve well-being of vulnerable segments of society

    - One-stop platform with information on availability of sports facilities, activities and events


    To deepen expertise

    - Work with Ministry of Education to develop a more integrated academic and sporting curriculum for student athletes

    - Sports Academy which will tie up with universities to offer diploma, graduate and post-graduate courses

    - Coaching Academy to lead professional development of coaches



    The committee has drawn up 19 recommendations aimed at creating more opportunities for Singaporeans young and old to take part in competitive or recreational sports. TODAY FILE PHOTO

  3. #5715
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    Default 'Super Sports Clubs' can be like Real Madrid, Barcelona


    by Tan Yo-Hinn
    04:46 AM Feb 14, 2012

    The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Panathinaikos, all big names in European football, could provide the template for the formation of "Super Sports Clubs" in Singapore by the end of this year.

    This was one of 19 preliminary recommendations of Vision 2030 yesterday.

    Besides enjoying tremendous success on the football field, the European giants feature handball, basketball and volleyball teams and their headquarters also operate as a business and social meeting point.

    Singapore aims to mimic that successful formula through "Super Sports Clubs" which will be a base for individuals and communities to participate in a range of sports and meet for business and social events. The pilot will also offer affordable programmes and coaching, and organise league-based competitions and one-off sporting events.

    As part of its review of the LEAPS (Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation and Service) scheme, the Ministry of Education will consider awarding LEAPS points for participation in these clubs. The clubs will work with schools to enhance opportunities at recreational competitions and encourage lifelong sports participation in the community.

    Details on how these clubs might be run have yet to be worked out, as more suggestions are expected to come from a second round of public consultation.

    Singapore Sports Council chairman Richard Seow told Today the clubs could be developed from existing sports clubs that have the managerial and administrative expertise and infrastructure.

    "When we do the public consultative exercise, we can look at some of these models and people can say this super sports club should emanate from a club like (S-League side) Tampines Rovers or schools," said Mr Seow. "We're purposely being vague here to see what sort of ideas come out," he said. Tan Yo-Hinn

  4. #5716
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    Default A multi-agency body for sports in schools

    by Amir Hussain
    04:46 AM Feb 14, 2012

    SINGAPORE - A national multi-agency body to align sports pathways in schools from primary to tertiary level, more curriculum time for Physical Education (PE) and greater parental involvement is on the cards, as part of the recommendations of Vision 2030.

    A key recommendation, which has been welcomed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), is the setting up of a committee to "better coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders to strengthen and align sports pathways".

    The proposed committee will comprise members from the MOE, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, the Singapore Armed Forces, the People's Association, the National Trades Union Congress, tertiary institutions, the Singapore Sports School and the Singapore Sports Council.

    With an initial focus on youth sports development, the proposed committee will coordinate measures to "encourage sports participation, capability development of sports professionals, integrated programme delivery, competition frameworks and facilities development".

    It will also work to increase parental involvement in the school sports scene by, for instance, creating opportunities for families to participate together in programmes and events organised by the proposed Super Sports Clubs.

    In schools, time devoted to PE will also be further increased, as part of the MOE's long-term plan. Through its PE and sports programme, the MOE will "systematically develop the values of sportsmanship and teamwork in students".

    By the end of secondary school, every child should have learnt to play at least three core sports at the recreational level and have opportunities to continue participating in sports within the community.

    The MOE began increasing the curriculum time for PE in 2010. At Teck Whye Secondary School, its students undergo an average of 75 minutes of PE lessons per week, compared with 60 minutes previously.

    Teck Whye principal Zach Ong noted that striking a balance between PE, co-curricular activities and academic lessons is challenging for schools as well as students.

    Welcoming the proposal to further increase the duration of PE lessons, Mr Ong noted the need for indoor sports facilities. Currently, the school's PE lessons are conducted before 10.30am when the weather is conducive for outdoor activities.

  5. #5717
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Now to sell S'pore this sports vision

    Usual strategies, dramatic slogans no longer enough to convince public, corporations to give support


    by Leonard Thomas
    04:46 AM Feb 14, 2012

    When he charted the progress of Vision 2030 yesterday, Singapore Sports Council (SSC) chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin mentioned the strategies they had adopted over the years to promote sports in the country.

    There was Sports for All in the 1970s, Sports for Life in the '80s and Sports Excellence from the '90s right through to the present day.

    Each signalled the kind of sports development the Government emphasised in a particular era post-independence.

    Today, those who have worked on Vision 2030 can see the finish line, as the steering committee set up by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) enters the final straight in their bid to implement a blueprint they believe will turn Singapore into a sporting nation.

    The vision is grand - to turn sport into a national language.

    Pull it off and Singapore will eventually breathe a vibrant sports culture.

    But slogans are not going to convince parents to encourage their children to take up sports.

    Only a rock solid and innovative sales pitch will convince Singapore Airlines and DBS they will enjoy healthy returns on their investments if they spend millions bringing in world-class sports events here, or backing a local team or athlete.

    The key to it all is successfully selling Vision 2030 to Singaporeans and Singapore corporations, and MCYS Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing and his team need to work their magic.

    A successful individual athlete learns discipline and independence. He or she has the ability to cope under pressure. A member of a football team or rugby side learns to click through teamwork.

    Many sportsmen and sportswomen are natural leaders.

    We all know this, yet, many parents continue to baulk when their school-going children show even a hint they are thinking of pursuing an Olympic dream.

    That is the size of the task facing the scriptwriters of Vision 2030.

    The prestige Singapore gained from hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 was immeasurable.

    Singapore's youth revelled in the atmosphere.

    For so many, it was the first time they tasted an international multi-sport Games featuring so many athletes and visitors from all corners of the globe.

    The spin-offs are still being felt today, yet, there was a loud outcry when the Government went over the budget to organise the event.

    Singaporeans still need to be convinced the S-League is worthy of their support and watching the Singapore Slingers' home games at the Indoor Stadium is a good day out for the family.

    Chan said yesterday sports can unite the nation.

    A football match between the Lions and Malaysia or China or Iraq can drag Singaporeans of all races away from their TVs, computers and Xbox consoles to the stadium, but our team must at least be good enough to be able to do the country proud, even if they don't win, for the fans to turn into believers.

    In his briefing yesterday, Chan, the chairman of the Vision 2030 steering committee, stressed how happy he was over the critical role the Ministry of Education have undertaken to promote a sports culture in schools.

    Chan, a former major-general in the army, and SSC's Lim, previously a brigadier-general, are currently working with the Ministry of Defence to come up with a system that will allow the country's male athletes to continue to strive for success in their respective sports discipline while serving National Service.

    Clearly, they are already making significant strides in this huge task of changing mindsets.

    Now, they need to become storytellers of sport.

    I know Teo Ser Luck, the Minister of State for Trade and Industry and deputy chairman of the Vision 2030 steering committee, has stories to tell.

    Richard Seow's personal story from schoolboy track star to banking wizard and now SSC chairman is compelling.

    And Lim's real-life adventure, from fat kid to multi-sport athlete to the army and then national waterpolo star, which he so poignantly recounted yesterday, would be a story I would personally stick into the sales pitch.

    Leonard Thomas is sports editor at Today.



    Singapore Slingers (white) vs Philppine Patriots (black). TODAY FILE PHOTO

  6. #5718
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Sports industry happy with Vision 2030 recommendations


    by Tan Yo-Hinn
    04:46 AM Feb 14, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The initial recommendations for Vision 2030 have been generally well received by the National Sports Associations (NSA) .

    They were happy to hear hot-button issues like National Service, attracting more corporations to invest in Singapore sports and the creation of corporate leagues are set to be addressed.

    Said Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) president Jeffrey Leow: "Vision 2030 is a good initiative for the long-term development of sports in Singapore, and as a sport association , we are all behind it."

    Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) chief Tang Weng Fei added: "As a country, we've come a long way, and it's high time we had this (our sporting future) looked at."

    Launched in July last year by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Vision 2030 is a blueprint to map the long-term sporting landscape of Singapore over the next two decades.

    Nineteen preliminary recommendations - garnered from the feedback of over 2,500 people in public and online at www.vision2030.sg - were unveiled by Acting MCYS Minister and Vision 2030 steering committee chairman Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

    One recommendation is to develop professional services in the sports industry to provide more career options for athletes and those with sports-related skills and services.

    National bowler Jason Yeong-Nathan, 32, said: "As a national athlete, it's good if we have broader options career-wise, instead of just trying to find something with the NSAs."

    Nonetheless, Leow said the success of Vision 2030 will depend on the execution of the recommendations. "All of the 19 preliminary recommendations are good, but the key is in the implementation of these proposals," he said. Tan Yo-Hinn

  7. #5719
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Firms should see sports as good business


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM Feb 14, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Companies such as SingTel, Standard Chartered Bank and OCBC Bank may have invested millions in marquee sports events in Singapore, but many in the sports industry here feel there is still too little support for sports from corporations.

    This is why one of the recommendations of Vision 2030 is to convince more companies to adopt sports ventures.

    Part of the strategy includes the formation of a competitive sports league for corporations - akin to the Business Houses leagues of yesteryear - and developing incentives and recognition for companies that support sports.

    Singapore Sports Council chairman Richard Seow said yesterday at a Vision 2030 media briefing: "The corporate sector is looking for returns and we have to advance from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to advertising and branding budgets."

    "The responsibility for us is how to package this value proposition to companies ... it has to be entertaining and we need sports personalities. We have to show them the value of sports, whether it is in opportunities or branding, and really understanding what these companies are about," he said.

    One company that has successfully leveraged on sports is Travel Corporation, which manages brands such as Trafalgar Tours and Contiki. Contiki was the title sponsor of the Netball Beach Festival in 2009 and 2010.

    Regional director of Trafalgar Tours, Mr Nicholas Lim, said: "Our relationship with netball was a marriage that worked well - we gave back to the community and the event also gave our brand character and leverage.

    "If companies sponsor sports, depending on their objectives, they want to see some form of ROI (return on investment). Individual sports associations need to play ball with us ... when companies see value in this as a good tie-up, they will be more than happy to set aside the budget."

  8. #5720
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    Default No one is above the law, says Law Minister K. Shanmugam

    Published on Feb 14, 2012

    If you break the law, action will be taken against you. No matter that you are a Cabinet Minister, a senior civil servant, or a public official of lower rank or someone in the private sector.

    Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, K. Shanmugam, said this on Tuesday in his keynote address at the Rule of Law Symposium at the Supreme Court auditorium.

    In his speech, Mr Shanmugam talked on the practical application of the rule of law in Singapore to deliver good governance.

    He also touched on corruption, saying that even with the strictest laws, there will be individuals who fall short from time to time. When this happens, the system must be able to respond swiftly and decisive.

  9. #5721
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    Default Rolls-Royce opens $700m facility in Seletar, its largest in Asia

    PM Lee Hsien Loong (second right), with the chairman of Rolls-Royce Simon Robertson (left), launches the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus, Singapore's latest aerospace manufacturing and training hub. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG


    By Cai Haoxiang

    Global engine giant Rolls-Royce has officially opened its $700-million manufacturing, research and training facility at Seletar Aerospace Park.

    By 2015, the facility, Rolls-Royce's largest in Asia, is expected to create 500 new jobs.

    Most of these jobs are for skilled workers like managers, engineers, technicians, and production craftsmen, and 80 to 90 per cent of those hired will be Singaporeans and permanent residents.

    As he launched the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus this afternoon, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore will stay abreast of changes in the aviation industry.

    Mr Lee underscored the industry's importance to Singapore and said Singapore will continue to educate its workers to develop a highly-skilled workforce, strengthen its pro-business environment, and improve its connectivity.

    The new facility will enable Singapore to play a 'key role' in supplying aircraft engines for the latest jets, like the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, he said.

    'Choosing Singapore reflects Rolls-Royce's confidence in our workforce and in our future. Singapore will do our part to help the campus succeed, and make this partnership flourish,' he said.
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    Default Nominations for inspiring teachers of English award open

    Published on Feb 15, 2012




    Winning teachers (from left) Julian Victor, Edwin Tan, Suzaina Koh Nasir, Anna Mathew, Shirley Teo, Pamela Kiew, Lee Poh Lin and Gladys Ng each received a trophy, a certificate and $2,000 in cash. For their innovative teaching methods, these eight teachers received the Inspiring Teacher of English Award on 11 Oct 2011. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN


    By Geraint Wong

    One teacher used music such as Michael Jackson's Thriller to introduce new vocabulary, while another started an innovative drama programme in which students acted out minute-long skits, all in the name of piquing students' interest in the English language.

    For both their efforts and dedication, the teachers Mr Edwin Tan and Ms Pamela Kiew were awarded the Inspiring Teacher of English Award (ITEA) last year, beside six others.

    Now, schools, students, teachers and parents can nominate who they think deserves the award, in its fifth year.
    Background story

    Nominations for the ITEA close at 6pm on April 11. The winners will be announced in October. Forms can be downloaded at www.inspiringenglishteacher.sg or here.

    Jointly presented by The Straits Times and the Speak Good English Movement, with the support of the Ministry of Education, the ITEA is open to all in-service teachers of English, including literature and General Paper, from the primary to pre-university levels.
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  11. #5723
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    Default Sentosa welcomed 19 million people last year

    Published on Feb 15, 2012

    A record 19 million people flocked to Sentosa last year, with many drawn to its new attractions.

    This was 7.3 per cent more visitors than it received in 2010, said Sentosa Development Corporation's chief executive Mike Barclay on .

    'We are happy to see visitor numbers grow again, despite the unusually wet weather we experienced in the last quarter of the year,' he said.

    New hotels and features such as the iFly wind tunnel - which allows thrill-seekers to experience freefall - contributed to the rise.

  12. #5724
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Number of marriages in Singapore surpasses 27,000 for first time

    Number of marriages hits all-time high, with more than 27,000 couples tying the knot

    Published on Feb 15, 2012

    Couples Wang Jiehui, 25, and Vincent Yu, 29, and Salima Salee Muddin, 22, and Mohammed Noordeen Sahul Hamed, 24, wed last year. -- PHOTOS: WHITELINK BRIDAL STUDIO, MOHAMMED NOORDEEN SAHUL HAMED

    By Leslie Kay Lim

    The number of marriages here hit a record high last year, surpassing 27,000 for the first time.

    To be exact, 27,256 marriages were registered, out of which 22,838 were under the Women's Charter, and the remaining 4,418 sealed under Muslim law.

    The last all-time high was in 2009, when 26,081 unions were formalised.

    Related Links
    RECORD NUMBER OF MARRIAGESAside from a slight dip in the number of unions in 2010, the general trend since 2003 has been up, in proportion to the growth in the population here.
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  13. #5725
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    Default A code of conduct based on 3 principles


    by Teo Xuanwei
    04:46 AM Feb 15, 2012

    SINGAPORE - With recent scandals casting a pall on the Civil Service, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday set out the rules governing public servants' conduct, while stressing that various confidential whistleblowing channels, which are not hampered by the hierarchy of ranks, are available in government agencies.

    Responding to questions from Members of Parliament, Mr Teo, who is also the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister in charge of the Civil Service, said that all civil servants are governed by a code of conduct based on the principles of "integrity, incorruptibility and impartiality".

    He added that the Government is committed to upholding high moral standards for the public service and it has always been clear and unequivocal in dealing with such cases.

    "We come out with it in the open, we deal with it by the law, by disciplinary proceedings, and we are not shy of doing so, even if it causes embarrassment to the Government."

    Under the code of conduct for civil servants, when an officer has to decide on issues where he has a personal interest in, he must declare that interest. Their indebtedness and investments must also be declared upon appointment, as well as in every subsequent year.

    No gifts can be accepted on account of official positions and must be declared should it be impractical or inappropriate to refuse.

    Other measures to ensure integrity in the financial systems in government agencies include the rotation of officers handling financial work and segregation of duties. There are also regular internal audits, while the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) ensure proper accounting of public monies and the use of public resources.

    Officers are also rotated among different posts regularly to prevent them from "gaining excessive familiarity, power and control over the systems and departments they monitor or supervise", he added.



    59 whistleblowing cases

    Mr Teo also said civil servants can report on their peers' and superiors' improper conduct or irregularities in procedures through multiple channels. In the last five years, 59 cases were reported, he revealed.

    Within the Ministry of Home Affairs, a uniformed officer can raise concerns and feedback in person or in writing internally to the head or deputy head of his department.

    Otherwise, he may choose to go to the Deputy Secretary or senior director of human resource in the ministry's headquarters.

    External avenues are also in place, such as to the Permament Secretary, the Public Service Commission, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau or the AGO.

    The identity of the reporting officer is kept confidential
    , Mr Teo stressed.

    According to Mr Teo, if an officer has sufficient grounds to feel that he is being treated unfairly because of the report he made, he may submit a complaint.

    Nevertheless, he noted the need to guard against malicious or frivolous allegations.

    Still, "even in the best of systems, no one can guarantee that corruption can be entirely eradicated and that there will never be cases of misconduct, as there will always be human failing", Mr Teo said.

    Separately, Law Minister K Shanmugam reiterated that no one is above the law.

    Speaking at the two-day Rule of Law Symposium, Mr Shanmugam said: "If you break the law, action will be taken against you. No matter that you are a Cabinet Minister, a senior civil servant, or a public official of a lower rank, or someone in the private sector.

    "And the way we try to minimise the reaches of corruption is to have careful selection of people. But that and everything else we have will not eliminate wrongdoing because no system can guarantee saints."

  14. #5726
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    Default Honouring Dr Toh Chin Chye, welcoming the new NMPs

    04:46 AM Feb 15, 2012





    A minute's silence was observed in Parliament yesterday to honour the memory of former Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye. Dr Toh died on Feb 3, aged 90. In a tribute, Speaker Michael Palmer said: 'Succeeding generations owe much to the dedication and toil of the visionary leaders like Dr Toh, whose distinguished contributions to Singapore and to this House, will always be remembered.'


    PHOTO COURTESY CNA




    The nine new Nominated Members of Parliament were also sworn in yesterday - in time for the coming Budget debate. The Budget Statement will be delivered on Friday by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Photos courtesy Channel NewsAsia
    Last edited by Loh; 02-14-2012 at 09:08 PM.

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    Default S$33b in deals on first day of S'pore Airshow

    04:46 AM Feb 15, 2012

    SINGAPORE - The first day of the 2012 Singapore Airshow got off to a soaring start yesterday as deals worth some US$26 billion (S$33 billion) were announced, which surpassed the US$10 billion worth of deals announced in 2010.

    Headlining yesterday's deals was Boeing's confirmation of a 230-aircraft order worth US$22.4 billion from Indonesian budget carrier Lion Mentari Airlines.

    The accord includes 201 orders for the in-development 737 MAX and 29 for the extended range 737-900.

    The Lion Air order, which also includes 150 options, is Boeing's largest in terms of dollar value and aircraft numbers. It surpasses a Southwest Airlines deal for 208 737s signed in December.

    Boeing's rival, Airbus, separately announced a contract for 35 of its planned A-320neo aircraft from Kuwait-based Aviation Lease and Finance yesterday.

    Among other deals were Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's announcement of a contract with the Japan Coast Guard for four S-76D helicopters, and Honeywell's range of agreements with Air China covering avionics, wheels and brakes
    .

    "We hope the momentum will continue throughout the rest of the week," said Mr Jimmy Lau, managing director of Experia Events, the organisers of the Singapore Airshow. With reporting by Agencies



    The Aussie Roulettes at the Singapore Airshow 2012 yesterday. TODAY POOL PHOTO

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    Default 'Priority is to help students learn best'

    'by Tan Weizhen
    04:46 AM Feb 15, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Each year, an average of 380 students, or 6 per cent of the Secondary 1 Normal (Technical) cohort are able to transfer to the Normal (Academic) stream when they reach Secondary 2.

    But when they reach Secondary 4, only five Normal (Technical) students, on average, can do so.

    Releasing these figures to the House yesterday, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Sim Ann said most students who could benefit from an academically-oriented track would have been identified early on.

    She also revealed that, on average, around 960 students or 15 per cent of each Normal (Technical) cohort move on to study in a polytechnic or university and all Normal (Technical) graduates qualify for admission to the Institute of Technical Education.

    Ms Sim was responding to a question from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong, who asked for figures on the progress of Normal (Technical) students over the last 10 years.

    Mr Yee asked if the Normal (Technical) stream could be re-combined with the Normal (Academic) stream so that late developers could have more chances to transfer to the Normal (Academic) stream.

    Explaining the need for diverse pathways, Ms Sim pointed to students' different aspirations, aptitudes, interests and learning profiles.

    "The most important priority is to help them to learn best," she said.

    What is important also is to ensure mobility between pathways and that there are fulfilling jobs and opportunities for students regardless of which educational institution they graduate from, she added.

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    Default Time to market our sports stars

    Industry experts say likes of Feng, Tao Li and Hariss need more exposure to snap up commercial deals


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:46 AM Feb 15, 2012

    SINGAPORE - Attracting sponsorship dollars is tough enough for many national sports associations (NSAs) and high profile stars like Olympic silver medallist Feng Tianwei, swimmer Tao Li and footballer Hariss Harun struggle to sign big commercial and endorsement deals.

    But with the impending launch of Vision 2030, a transformation of Singapore's corporate sports landscape is on the cards, as the authorities look to woo more local companies to invest in sports in the country
    .

    Sports marketing experts whom Today spoke to felt more needs to be done to market the country's sports stars effectively before the sponsorship dollars come rolling in.

    World Sport Group, a company that works with over 300 brands and companies around Asia like DHL, Emirates and ING - they also represent India's cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar - knows all about what makes companies tick, and Patrick Feizal, vice-president, golf, and head of player management division, said: "They (Hariss, Tao Li, Feng) are only high profile in Singapore, not really regionally or globally. More needs to be done to build them up as local heroes doing well around the world. Fans or people need to know more about them as individuals - their character, their history and struggles."

    But Feizal does point the finger at corporations here, when he said: "Companies don't really know how to use these athletes effectively. Asia and Singapore still lag far behind North America and Europe in player endorsements and brand association. It is more than just monetary investment that needs to be looked at by a company. Players can be a marketing tool, a customer interaction vehicle, a role model, a print and TV model, spokesperson, motivator, digital media icon."

    100PLUS
    , via F&N Limited, is one brand that knows the value of sports sponsorship, investing S$750,000 over three years in Singapore's table tennis teams.

    Said Jennifer See, general manager, corporate marketing, food and beverage division, F&N Limited: "100PLUS is committed to supporting local sports and our sponsorships are made with the consideration to support the development of talented sports men and women. 100PLUS recognises that sports is a ready-made vehicle to build brand recognition, brand equity and long term relationships with its consumers."

    Ian Mullane, chief executive officer of sports marketing firm Vanda Sports, responsible for the popular White Collar boxing events in Asia, wants local sports authorities to lend a hand in helping athletes build brand appeal.

    He said: "Athletes should look at developing their brand equity over multiple sectors and we don't have any athletes that command global deals. It's a challenge for athletes (to get a sports agent). Maybe with the SSC (Singapore Sports Council), they can look at assistance in this area, or perhaps work with a local sports agency."

    One other goal of Vision 2030 - there are 19 preliminary recommendations out of it that will be discussed from now to May before implementation - is to sell the naming rights of sports facilities around the island.

    The idea was welcomed by Red Card managing director R Sasikumar, who said: "It's a matter of time that it will become a norm. Sponsorships will be key and the funds raised from sponsorships can be channelled into improving venues. Home grown brands and even international brands will be excited at the prospect of naming stadiums, swimming arenas and indoor stadiums if the price is right."



    Hariss Harun. TODAY FILE PHOTO










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