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Thread: Singapore Also Can
03-30-2012, 12:26 AM #5900
Table Tennis: Singapore through to men's q-finals in world championships
Posted: 29 March 2012 2355 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore's men beat Belarus 3-1 to qualify for the quarterfinals in the World Team Table Tennis Championships for the first time.
Singapore took a gamble, with teenager Pang Xue Jie taking on world number 13 Vladimir Samsonov in the first singles.
The Belarusian beat Pang 11-2 , 11-3, 11-6.
Singapore's top male paddler Gao Ning came on next, against Evgueni Chtchetinine.
While Gao struggled, he eventually earned the tying point 5-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-3.
Yang Zi then made it 2-1 for Singapore, when he beat Pavel Platanov 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 15-13.
Gao came on again for the fourth match, and he stunned his higher ranked opponent Samsonov 11-8, 11-9, 13-11 for Singapore's winning point.
Singapore will next play Japan in the quarter-finals.
03-30-2012, 04:08 AM #5901
Multicultural ties in S'pore stronger: Study
by Sumita Sreedharan
Updated 12:07 PM Mar 30, 2012
SINGAPORE - Multiculturalism in Singapore has grown stronger, according to a study by researchers at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University.
The report, titled The Ties that Bind and Blind: A Report on Inter-racial and Inter-religious Relations in Singapore, was launched this morning.
It found that the strength of multicultural ties rose to 67.1 per cent last year, compared to 47.5 per cent in 2007. This is based on an inclusiveness index, which measures the number of people who answered yes to all questions on their receptiveness to interact with people of the three main races and five religions included in the study.
The study found that Malays, Christians and Chinese were no less inclusive than their non-Malay, non-Christian and non-Chinese counterparts.
A total of 2,111 were polled last year, while 1,763 people were polled in 2007. All respondents were Singapore citizens and data was collected by face to face interview.
04-01-2012, 02:03 AM #5902
World Table Tennis Team Championships
Singapore's Women's team is on track to defend it's world title in Germany today.
Two years ago Singapore shocked the TT world with an unprecedented win over hitherto unbeatable China which fielded a young side. Most observers considered the victory as more a fluke than real skills from the Singapore girls.
But today, two years later, Singapore again beat the odds to enter the finals to face, who else but China again. So it was no fluke that Singapore managed to produce a world-beating team.
Not that SIN had a relatively easy time than CHN to advance this far in this year's tournament. As I recall, SIN had to overcome host Germany, Hong Kong and South
Korea in very tight matches before earning a berth in the final.
Of course CHN is in terrific form and most of the young players who lost to SIN previously are available to take revenge. So it is not SIN that will be pressured but CHN which is eager to take back the WC crown. With it's players ranked in the top 4 in the world, there is little doubt that CHN can do it.
But I'm sure our girls will not give up without a fight as they did two years ago. Anyway I'll be rooted to the TV this evening at 7.30 to watch the live telecast and to cheer our team on.
04-01-2012, 10:41 PM #5903
S'pore loses world table tennis crown to Chinaby Geoffrey Lip
04:45 AM Apr 02, 2012
By Geoffrey Lip
DORTMUND - Maybe China's women's table tennis team never forgot how they were stunned by the Singaporeans in the world team final in one of the biggest sports stories of 2010. They exacted some sort of revenge when Guangzhou hosted the Asian Games later that year by defeating the same opponents to snatch the gold medal, but it somehow wasn't the same.
Yesterday, though, revenge was complete, and sweet.
The reigning Olympic champions proved just how far ahead they are of the rest when they blitzed the defending world champions from Singapore 3-0 to wrest the title back here at Westfallenhallen, Dortmund, on the final day of the World Table Tennis Team Championships.
After two gruelling matches, against Germany in the last eight and South Korea in the semi-finals, the paddlers from Singapore didn't have enough in the end against a determined and clearly superior Chinese team.
On Saturday, Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Lee Bee Wah had said the team stood only a one per cent chance of success in the final.
Speaking to Today over the telephone after the conclusion of the tournament, she said: "There glimpses of a 1-per-cent opportunity, but the Chinese played very well. Our girls tried, and they gave their best."
Singapore's world No 5 Feng Tianwei took on world No 1 Ding Ning and after two games it was all square at 1-1. That was when Feng wilted as Ding turned up the pressure in the third and fourth games and the Chinese eventually went on to win 3-1 (14-12, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3).
Wang Yuegu, Singapore's hero in the titanic semi-final over Korea, came out battling in the second match against world No 4 Li Xiaoxia.
Wang also managed to square the match at 1-1, but frustrated after squandering a match point in the third game, she buckled and also lost 3-1 (11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 11-5).
Li Jiawei had to win the third match to keep the tie alive but never got out of first gear against world No 7 Guo Yue, losing easily 3-0.
The next big target is of course the Olympic Games, which will be held in London from July 27 to Aug 11.
After a Chinese double gold here, the most dominant team in table tennis look well set to sweep the top prizes in London.
Said Lee: "There are a few more Pro Tour (events) and there are (also) doubles in the Olympics. It is still too early to talk about (our chances at) the Olympics. I am happy with the performance of the men's and women's teams. I would say the men were commendable. This will be the first time that our men's team have qualified for the World Team Cup.
"Yesterday, Clarence Chew was fielded against Taiwan and he beat the Taiwanese No 2 (Chen Chien-an). (Pang) Xuejie also got a precious point when we beat Spain. This gives us something to cheer about for our younger players."
Ding Ning saw off Feng's challenge and China never looked back. GETTY IMAGES
Brave Singapore to face mighty China
Women paddlers show nerves of steel and will now defend their world crown against the best
by Geoffrey Lip email@example.com
04:45 AM Apr 01, 2012
DORTMUND - "That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger," German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said.
It looks as if the Singapore's women's table tennis team have taken Nietzsche's words to heart, if their results here in the Westfallenhallen arena at the World Table Tennis Team Championships are anything to go by.
Twice the defending champions came back from what looked like almost certain losses, and now they are in the final for the third straight time and will take on the mighty Chinese today.
Just as they did in their quarter-final against Germany, Singapore's women lived on the edge in their semi-final against South Korea yesterday, coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to prevail 3-2.
And coach Zhou Shusen said their match against the Germans was crucial.
"After yesterday's experience with Germany (when Singapore came from 0-2 down to win 3-2), it was easier today against Korea. We felt we still had a chance of winning although we were down 1-2," Zhou said.
Feng Tianwei came on against South Korean number one Kim Kyung Ah in an opening match that proved to be a game of attrition.
Both exponents fenced with the mindset of chess grandmasters in an enthralling clash of styles.
But it was the veteran South Korean who prevailed 12-10, 13-15, 9-11, 11-1, 11-7.
Wang Yuegu was taken to five sets as well by Seok Ha Jung.
She held her nerve at match point to deliver a killer blow to the South Korean, ultimately winning 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6.
"I felt like I had been forced into corner. So, I might as well face it, do my best and go for a win," Wang said, after the game.
A lethargic Li Jiawei came on in the third game and lost to Dang Ye Seo 13-11, 11-5, 11-6 to hand South Korea the advantage.
"I only slept at 3am. I felt a bit sluggish. I've played Yeo before and it wasn't so hard before," said Li.
Feng then swung the tie back in Singapore's favour. She extended an unbeaten streak against Seok Ha Jung with an 11-5, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8 win.
With the pressure on Wang, the Singaporean again rose to the occasion against South Korea's Kim. Wang attacked aggressively from the start and the tactic paid off as she won in five grueling games (11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9).
"When I win a point, and I see everyone in the stands cheering for me, I feel like I've got to do well for the team, and for Singapore," Wang said.
Hot favourites China beat Hong Kong in the other semi-final, and Zhou was under no illusions about the size of the task in today's final. "Frankly, we don't even stand a one per cent chance. But we will give it 100% effort," he said.
Whatever the outcome, the journey itself has left the Olympic silver medallists battle hardened, with the London Games looming.
"The road to the finals hasn't been easy at all, but I think we've shown great team spirit," Wang said.
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04-01-2012, 10:59 PM #5904
S'pore Institute of Technology plans campus HQ, new programmes
by Ng Jing Yng
04:45 AM Apr 02, 2012
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) plans to have its own campus headquarters to bring students together and is also exploring new degree options in line with possible expansion plans.
SIT president Tan Chin Tiong has mooted the possibility of new business-related programmes in the areas of banking, finance and accounting.
He also did not rule out the option of conferring its own degrees, as well as joint degrees with foreign universities and dual degrees, if its expansion plans go ahead.
Prof Tan shared these details with Today after Minister of State (Education) Lawrence Wong suggested, in a recent dialogue, the potential of the SIT having room to grow as a full-fledged university under the Government's plans to expand the university sector.
The SIT's immediate plan is to provide undergraduates with a full university life experience.
The two-year-old institution has campuses spread across the five polytechnics, and Professor Tan agreed that student identity was an issue.
He said: "When you have a distributed campus, there can be all kinds of problems. With poly graduates continuing to study in another poly campus, the perception is very different (as opposed to) going to a more mainstream university with its own campus."
Hence, the SIT is in talks with the Ministry of Education for a main campus by 2015. "Regardless of where you're studying at ... there will be opportunities for you to take classes at the main campus, so that there will be a home," Prof Tan said.
The proposal is for the coming campus headquarters to be large enough to hold sporting and club activities. Until then, the SIT aims to foster student life through shared events such as overseas volunteer trips.
The SIT was set up to offer polytechnic graduates an additional route to a university degree. It differs from the other public universities here as it offers niche degrees through tie-ups with overseas institutions.
It is also known to have strong industry linkages as it is based on a practice-oriented curriculum model.
When it comes to rolling out more degree options, Prof Tan stressed that the degrees must be of high quality and able to meet the economy's demands.
Such degrees would also be based on existing polytechnic courses to ensure accelerated graduation.
Prof Tan, who reiterated the need to avoid duplicating the other local universities, added that the challenges in expansion include managing relationships with overseas partners and faculty recruitment.
He said expansion could also mean leveraging on the SIT's existing programmes. But if the SIT is to confer its own degrees, the challenge would be to find niche areas that are not being catered for now.
Despite the undergraduate focus, Prof Tan believes that the SIT can do more to provide continuing education for working adults, for instance, by offering night courses.
As it moves forward, the SIT will continue to look at ways to raise its profile and educate the public on the concept of a practice-oriented model.
"I'm quite optimistic ... The poly kids themselves are already quite different. You give them a degree that further enhances on an industry-relevant angle and there may be very interesting output from the system," said Prof Tan.
"In Singapore, you'll need to have a variety of options ... for a better mix of graduates to meet the economy's needs."
PHOTO COURTESY SIT
04-02-2012, 10:06 PM #5905
Social workers get direct degree pathway
by Channel NewsAsia
04:45 AM Apr 03, 2012
SINGAPORE - From July, social workers who have completed the Higher Diploma in Social Service programme offered by the Social Service Training Institute (SSTI) will be able to directly apply to SIM University's (UniSIM's) Bachelor of Social Work programme.
This is one result of a partnership between the SSTI - the National Council of Social Service's training arm - and UniSIM.
Social workers must have two years of work experience to be eligible for direct entry into the programme.
The council said this is part of the institute's efforts to provide an alternative pathway for social service practitioners to upgrade themselves.
The increased training opportunities will also develop more skilled professionals to meet manpower demand in the social service sector.
The council has provided a training fund of S$400,000 to increase accessibility to training opportunities for its member voluntary welfare organisations. About 2,000 social service professionals have benefited from it.
Ms Florence Tay, centre manager of a Thye Hua Kwan seniors activity centre, said: "I am really glad to have pursued the Social Service Training Institute's Higher Diploma in Social Service. The programme has broadened my knowledge in social service and the skills learnt are directly applicable in my work.
"With the higher diploma, I can now apply for the Bachelor of Social Work in UniSIM to continue my passion for learning in this field and be a trained social worker one day."
Ms Tay is part of the first cohort graduating from the higher diploma programme.
04-02-2012, 10:17 PM #5906
New benchmark for town councils
Two indicators added to promote accountability, encourage community ownership of estates
by Channel NewsAsia
04:45 AM Apr 03, 2012
SINGAPORE - Town councils will now be scored on their financial adequacy and how well they have complied with financial rules.
The Ministry of National Development (MND) on Sunday added two new indicators - corporate governance and financial adequacy - to the report card for town councils. This is in addition to the four existing indicators in the Town Council Management Report (TCMR).
To assess corporate governance, the 15 town councils will have to submit a self-declared checklist on their compliance with the Town Councils Act and Town Councils Financial Rules. The TCMR will provide information on whether auditors have made any governance-related observations in their annual financial audit.
Town councils will be scored for financial adequacy based on their ability to meet future expenses, especially big-ticket items such as repainting and repairs, as well as lift replacements. The ministry will also appoint a professional consultant to develop an appropriate assessment methodology for their financial adequacy.
This will help residents to better understand whether town councils have adequate funding through the service and conservancy charges collected, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
More details will be announced at a later date.
The introduction of the two indicators aims to promote greater accountability and transparency and encourage community ownership of the management of public housing estates, said the MND.
Meanwhile, the four existing indicators will also be enhanced to better reflect public concerns.
In cleanliness and maintenance, the report will take into account the severity of the observations and give greater weight to lapses that pose a hygiene, health or safety concern. Hence, a town council will be rated more poorly for failing to replace a missing manhole cover, which poses a safety threat, than for not replacing a missing fluorescent light-tube.
The cleanliness indicator will be further revised to differentiate between unsatisfactory cleaning work and littering.
The enhanced report will also measure the percentage of lifts in a town that break down frequently. This will help town councils to focus on maintenance issues that greatly inconvenience residents.
The first TCMR under the new framework will be published by the end of this year and cover the period starting this month to September.
The MND said it will look into the next phase of enhancement, such as piloting residents' involvement in the scoring for cleanliness and maintenance and to cover negative and positive experiences.
04-02-2012, 10:22 PM #5907
Overhead bridges get 'green' lights to conserve energy
Published on Apr 3, 2012
This pedestrian overhead bridge near Block 233 in Boundary Road is one of 50 islandwide that have LED lights and intelligent lighting detection systems. -- PHOTO: LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
New commuter facilities such as overhead bridges, pedestrian underpasses and taxi stands will soon come with 'green' features to conserve energy.
LED lighting will also be installed at existing overhead bridges and other facilities whose fluorescent lights need replacing.
This announcement was made on Monday by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), which added that since February, it had installed LED lights and intelligent lighting detection systems at 50 overhead bridges islandwide.
Among them are one along Still Road South near Tao Nan School, and another near Block 233 in Boundary Road.
04-03-2012, 02:32 AM #5908
An ice rink to help realise an Olympic-sized dream
by Tan Yo-Hinn
04:45 AM Apr 03, 2012
SINGAPORE - One of the biggest goals of the Singapore Ice Skating Association (Sisa) is to produce the country's first Winter Olympian.
The Rink - Singapore's first Olympic-sized ice rink in Jurong East at the newly-opened JCube Mall - will play a key role if Sisa are to realise their dream.
Built at a cost of S$6 million, the 60m-by-30m, 460-seater facility - South-east Asia's first fully-padded rink - can host competitive and recreational events like ice skating performances and ice hockey games, and is seen as a timely boost for Sisa and the Singapore Ice Hockey Association (Siha).
The national ice-skating and ice hockey teams will train there, and the rink will allow Sisa and Siha to gain affiliation with their respective world bodies, which will then allow Singapore to stage international events.
The Rink is already staging the Ice Hockey League, which started yesterday, consisting of three divisions of four 18-strong teams each.
Singapore is also set to host this year's Asian Short Track Speed Skating Championships, and Sisa have earmarked the likes of short track speed skaters Lim June Liang and Lucas Ng, and figure skater Ceciliane Hartmann, for the 2014 Sochi and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Today also understands the Singapore Sports Council are assisting Sisa in their search for a new national coach.
To encourage more to pick up the sport, Sisa and Siha have developed the national Learn-To-Skate programme or "Skate- Star", which is open to skaters of all ages and begins next month.
Come down on April 7 from 8.15am to 10.15am for a free short track speed skating try-out at Sisa's Open House at The Rink at JCube.
Kids enjoying the thrill of ice hockey at The Rink at JCube. Photo by WEE TECK HIAN
04-03-2012, 02:46 AM #5909
One section of Gardens By The Bay to open on June 29
by Joanne Chan
10:46 AM Apr 03, 2012
SINGAPORE - One section of the waterfront gardens at Marina Bay will open on June 29.
Bay South Garden is the largest of the three gardens that make up Gardens By The Bay, Singapore's new green oasis in the city.
Bay South features the two cooled conservatories, and the 18 "supertrees".
The man-made, tree-like structures tower at between 25 and 50 metres tall.
Visitors can look forward to changing floral displays in the Flower Dome, and a light and sound show at the Supertree Grove.
To celebrate its opening, a series of events have been planned over two weekends, from June 29 to July 8.
This includes "live" concerts by Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz and local songbird Corinne May.
Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay
04-03-2012, 11:50 PM #5910
ITE marks 20 years of transformation
'Place of last resort' now leader in vocational and technical education
Published on Apr 4, 2012
By Kezia Toh & Poon Chian Hui
It was seen as 'a place of last resort' that occupied hand-me-down premises.
But now, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has become a global leader in vocational and technical education, occupying mega-campuses with state-of-the-art facilities.
The ITE's journey of transformation was celebrated on Tuesday at a dinner to mark its 20th anniversary.
ALUMNI GIVE THEIR TAKE ON THEIR ITE EDUCATION
•Mr James Pinto, 25, founder of software development company Vortics Communications
•Attended ITE College Central from 2002
'At ITE, I was with the student council, so learning leadership and presentation skills helped me in setting up my business. For example, I have to pitch to clients these days, so the experience from school helped.
ITE was a stepping stone for me to build a path to greater things.'
•Mr Fandi Ahmad, 49, former national football player
•Attended Singapore Vocational Institute (now ITE Balestier) from 1977
'I was already in the national team during my time, and my teachers were very understanding...
There are more opportunities for students now, with more courses and bigger campuses. Some students are late bloomers, and ITE provides the avenues for them to go into.'
•Mr Lim Hock Chee, 51, managing director of Sheng Siong supermarkets
•Attended Jurong Vocational Institute from 1976
'ITE was a good training ground because I got a more practical education. If you just study theory, especially for those of us who are not academically inclined, it can be very difficult to understand. Learning to be hands-on helps in my business. I can... see how things work and fix problems.'
Timeline of changes over the years
•1979: The Vocational and Industrial Training Board (VITB), predecessor of the ITE, was formed. Half of its students were primary school leavers, and the other half, from secondary schools.
•1992: ITE established as a post-secondary educational institution under the Ministry of Education.
Under its umbrella, the vocational institutes were renamed as Training Institutes, with a new ITE logo and brand name.
•1993: The $34 million ITE Bishan campus was completed.
•1998: ITE Tampines, built at a cost of $31 million, started operating, and was the first ITE to install a Campus Online system for students to learn and submit assignments electronically.
•2000: A Centre for Music and the Arts was established for students with artistic potential.
ITE Bukit Batok was completed at a cost of $63 million. It was positioned as a 'community college' for the neighbourhood, and nearby residents were able to use the school's facilities.
•2002: To reflect the raised profile of its teaching staff, they are called 'lecturers'.
•2011: ITE has signed 92 MOUs with industry partners for student and staff attachments, and technology transfers.
•2012: About half of ITE teaching staff have bachelor's degrees, master's or PhDs. The ITE offers close to 100 courses in Applied and Health Sciences, Business and Services, Design and Media, Electronics and Info-comm Technology, and Engineering and Hospitality.
It had started out as a post-secondary institution tasked with equipping youth with industry-relevant skills, but now offers nearly 100 courses - including health-care simulation training for nursing students - to cater to the changing needs of the economy.
ST FILE PHOTOS
Mr Fandi Ahmad
Mr Lim Hock Chee
Mr James Pinto
04-04-2012, 12:34 AM #5911
ASEAN calls for lifting of Myanmar sanctions
04:46 AM Apr 04, 2012
PHNOM PENH - The timing of the 20th ASEAN Summit, which opened here yesterday, could not have been any better.
Following Myanmar's historic by-election on Sunday, which saw pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi leading her party to a sweeping victory, the leaders of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) yesterday called for the lifting of all international sanctions against the reclusive state.
Cambodia, in its capacity as ASEAN chair, welcomed the conduct of the polls and called for Western nations to lift the crippling economic and political sanctions imposed on Myanmar because of repression by its previous military regime.
"We urge the international community to consider lifting economic sanctions on Myanmar so that the people of Myanmar can enjoy better opportunities in realising their aspirations for peace, national reconciliation, democracy and national development," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong was quoted saying in a press release from the group.
"This election process is a step forward towards democratisation, and a positive step."
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the lifting of sanctions will be a "powerful signal that things are changing".
"We need a democratic dividend in Myanmar; things are happening," he said. "ASEAN has continuously spoken of lifting sanctions, but now more than ever. It's very timely."
The imperative to ease the sanctions, which hindered economic development, is generally considered to be the impetus for political reforms initiated by Myanmar President Thein Sein, particularly reconciliation with Ms Suu Kyi and the country's pro-democracy movement.
The by-election in Myanmar will fill just 45 vacant seats in the country's 664-seat Parliament but took on historic significance because of Ms Suu Kyi's presence after two decades as a political prisoner.
Myanmar's Election Commission confirmed late yesterday that Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) took 43 seats available, losing only in distant Shan state to an ethnic Shan party candidate.
In one constituency, the NLD candidate was disqualified before the polls and the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won.
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan cited Mr Thein Sein as telling him he was encouraged by the way in which the election was conducted.
"He said to me the process was more important than the result, which I think is the right attitude because the process is part of national reconciliation," Mr Surin told reporters.
ASEAN has long advocated a more diplomatic approach towards Myanmar, as opposed to punitive sanctions. Myanmar analyst Larry Jagan noted ASEAN has good reason to feel vindicated and even "smug" following the by-election.
"To some extent, Burma has been an embarrassment in the past, and now it's a shining success," he told the Voice of America.
"So I think that as far as ASEAN is concerned, and as far as most of the countries in the region are concerned, this is great news."
Concerns over N Korea, China
Meanwhile, new differences could undercut attempts by ASEAN and China to forge a pact aimed at preventing territorial conflicts from erupting into violence, diplomats said yesterday at the start of the summit.
Ahead of the leaders' summit, foreign ministers and senior diplomats discussed a proposal to turn a nonbinding 2002 political declaration into a legally binding "code of conduct" to discourage aggression and prevent armed clashes among China and five other claimants - including ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - in contested South China Sea areas, officials said.
Taiwan also makes claims to the South China Sea.
China has said it wants to take part in the drafting of the code with ASEAN, but Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said the bloc's members should complete a version among themselves before discussing it with China.
China has rejected arrangements that would force it to negotiate with a bloc of nations over the disputes, preferring one-to-one talks with each claimant.
North Korea's planned rocket launch next week is also expected to be a main topic at the summit. United States officials say the rocket is actually a test of long-range missile technology, and nations are concerned that parts could fall in South-east Asia.
Pyongyang insists it is planning to place a peaceful observation satellite into orbit sometime between April 12 and 16. Agencies
At the opening ceremony of the 20th ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh yesterday, were (from left) Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's Vice-President Boediono, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Myanmar's President Thein Sein. REUTERS
04-04-2012, 12:40 AM #5912
ASEAN Economic Community vital to meet competition: PM Lee
by S Ramesh
04:45 AM Apr 04, 2012
PHNOM PENH - With less than three years left to achieve the objective, the rest of the world is watching carefully to see if ASEAN can deliver on its commitment to build an economically-connected community, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday,
Mr Lee was addressing ASEAN leaders at the plenary session held after the opening of the 20th ASEAN Summit.
Mr Lee reiterated that the ASEAN Economic Community is vital, as it is the best way for the 10-member grouping to meet growing competition. Such a community will also create new opportunities by integrating the markets and supply chains, he added.
Mr Lee noted that ASEAN has made some progress: The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement, which has come into effect, creates a more predictable and stable investment environment.
With the agreement, all companies can have greater confidence that their investments in ASEAN will be protected and welcomed, Mr Lee said.
Nevertheless, there is a need to press on with other commitments, said Mr Lee.
Among them, the eighth package of services commitments, which was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2010, but has been delayed.
According to Mr Lee, when this package is completed, it will allow Singaporean companies - such as those in accountancy and medical services - greater access to the wider ASEAN market.
Among the tasks ahead for ASEAN is to step up efforts on the masterplan on ASEAN connectivity, said Mr Lee.
He noted that ASEAN's dialogue partners strongly supported the masterplan last year and the grouping should follow up with concrete projects by working with the Asian Development Bank on connectivity projects, such as the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link and the ASEAN Highway Network.
Mr Lee pointed out that closer ASEAN integration will boost Singapore's position as a regional business hub and create new opportunities in headquarter services and supply chain management. S RAMESH
04-04-2012, 12:44 AM #5913
Bay South Garden to open on June 29
by Joanne Chan
04:45 AM Apr 04, 2012
SINGAPORE - Bay South Garden, the largest of three gardens that make up Gardens by the Bay, will open on June 29.
The sprawling 54ha site features man-made, tree-like structures known as "supertrees" with an aerial walkway linking two of them, as well as the Dragonfly Lake and four heritage gardens.
There are also two cooled conservatories, one of which is the Cloud Forest conservatory. It features a mountain covered in luscious plants with a 30m-high waterfall.
Entry to most parts of Bay South will be free, except for the conservatories and the aerial walkway.
To celebrate the opening of Bay South, there will be a series of events held over two weekends from June 29 to July 8.
These include "live" concerts by Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz and local songbird Corrine May. Six restaurants will also be opened. JOANNE CHAN
The Cloud Forest conservatory at Bay South Garden. Photos by WEE TECK HIAN
04-04-2012, 01:08 AM #5914
Public can now use former KTM railway stations for ad-hoc events
Posted: 04 April 2012 1146 hrs
People exploring Bukit Timah Railway station.
SINGAPORE: The public can now make use of the two former Malayan Railways RTM stations at Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar for ad-hoc activities and events.
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said it hopes such events and activities will inject vibrancy and life to the two buildings and the surrounding area.
SLA said over the past few months, it has received several requests from the public to use both railway stations for community events, sports activities and exhibitions.
The first event to be staged at the former Tanjong Pagar station is a fashion show on April 25. The event is organised by Female and Nuyou magazines.
Other events being planned include exhibitions and art performances.
Both stations were on land formerly occupied by Malayan Railways KTM.
Since the land was returned to the Singapore Government in July 2011, SLA has carried out improvement works at the sites.
The Tanjong Pagar railway station has been gazetted as a national monument, while the Bukit Timah railway station has been conserved.
SLA is carrying out improvement works at three sites along the 26-kilometre Rail Corridor and adjacent vacant state land which have been identified for interim community use in January.
The sites, which are located near Jalan Hang Jebat, Ghim Moh Road and Kampong Bahru Flyover, will be progressively opened to the public from April.
04-04-2012, 01:12 AM #5915
Football: LionsXII go top after win over Negeri Sembilan
By Hiranand Sunny Naresh,
TODAY | Posted: 03 April 2012 2319 hrs
LionsXII's Hariss Harun in a battle for the ball with a Negeri Sembilan player (TODAY Pool Photo).
NEGERI SEMBILAN: The LionsXII achieved another landmark on Tuesday, reaching the summit of the Malaysian Super League after ending Negeri Sembilan's unbeaten streak at home with a comprehensive 4-2 victory.
The LionsXII, who are now ahead of defending champions Kelantan by a point, having played two games more, had their task made much easier with the return of captain Shahril Ishak to the starting 11 and midfield libero Hariss Harun from suspension. Shahril partnered Khairul Nizam upfront in the absence of Sufian Anuar.
It was a worrying start for the LionsXII as Negeri attacked with all guns blazing but could not find a way past the LionsXII defence, which has been excellent all season.
But it was the LionsXII who took the lead in the 15th minute against the run of play.
Madhu Mohana's long throw caused mayhem in the Negeri penalty area and defender Safuwan Baharudin pounced on a loose ball to give the visitors a valuable 1-0 lead.
And barely five minutes later, the LionsXII doubled the lead, much to the horror of the home fans.
Burly striker Khairul Nizam linked up well with Shahril Ishak and Shahdan Sulaiman and found himself in acres of space in the area. He then produced a nifty piece of footwork to round the Negeri goalkeeper and slot the ball into an empty net to give his side a 2-0 lead.
There was controversy too just before the half hour mark, when Negeri's Shakir Ali clearly landed an elbow on LionsXII defender Irwan Shah, but escaped with only a yellow card.
The home side then reduced the deficit when they capitalised on a superbly taken corner-kick to head the ball past Hyrulnizam and cut the LionsXII lead to just one goal.
But it was Captain Marvel to the rescue once again for the LionsXII, as Shahril Ishak wiggled his way past a couple of Negeri defenders before curling a beauty past the outstretched arm of the Negeri goalkeeper to give his side a 3-1 lead at the break.
Khairul Nizam almost made it 4-1 on the night when he shrugged off a Negeri defender en route to goal. Unfortunately, his piledriver of a shot cannoned off the post and he was denied his second goal of the night.
Following that, it was the home side who were asking all the questions, but thankfully for the LionsXII their defence had the answers and repelled everything the home side could throw at them.
But in the 70th minute – once again against the run of play – the LionsXII extended their lead.
Hariss Harun embarked on a lung-bursting run through midfield and ploughed his way through the Negeri defence before squaring the ball to Shahdan Sulaiman, who had the easiest of tap-ins to make the score 4-1.
But sloppy defending cost the LionsXII another goal when Negeri got their second goal of the night via another set-piece.
But despite their late efforts they were not able to preserve their unbeaten home record, but more importantly, they could not stop the LionsXII from securing top spot in the league.
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