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  1. #6835
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A David taking on the region’s Goliaths

    Today

    Science






    Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO of the National Research Foundation, talks about the NRF and the foundation of the purpose-built new CREATE campus, an interdisciplinary research and development hub.


    NRF CEO Low Teck Seng tells TODAY about the 20-year journey that brought S’pore’s R&D scene to its present vibrant, diverse state

    By June Yang

    18 January

    SINGAPORE — It is a morning during the term break and the thoroughfare in this part of the National University of Singapore (NUS) is sparsely populated, sunlight undisturbed as it filters through glass panels and skylights. Looking across the surface of this placidity, you would not believe that groundbreaking research was happening, hidden behind the granite facades.

    With its ground-floor water features and glass-and-steel towers, someone walking through the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) might imagine he is in a posh financial district. But this gleaming 67,000-square-metre complex, officially opened in November, hopes to open doors to a new era in research here.


    The 10 universities with research centres in CREATE:
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Technical University of Munich
    Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Ben-Gurion University
    University of California, Berkeley
    Peking University
    Shanghai Jiao Tong University

    (NUS must be the missing one)


    The CREATE campus is the fourth big pillar in Singapore’s research landscape, the other three being NUS, the Nanyang Technological University and research hospitals.


    At its core are labs from 10 institutes from all over the world that have been brought in to carry out cutting-edge, innovative research.

    The disciplines are eclectic, ranging from molecular biology to engineering to urban studies. One group has come up with a novel cure for malaria. Another is designing electric taxis. Yet another is coming up with a better construction material than steel (Hint: It is bamboo).

    Why bring in these institutions? It is to strengthen Singapore’s R&D landscape, said Professor Low Teck Seng, Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation (NRF).

    “One of the key attributes of a vibrant landscape is diversity
    ,” said Prof Low. “So having only two universities, A*STAR and a fledgling group of scientists in hospitals is insufficient for us to propel us into the next phase.”

    Even with Singapore’s size, it is not enough. “If you look at other small nations, you see greater diversity in their landscape,” he told TODAY.

    “When the NRF was formed in 2006, one of the key strategies was to bring three top universities into Singapore to provide competition and diversity in our landscape,” the professor said.

    CREATE not just met that target, but surpassed it, with labs formed from 10 universities from Asia and around the world. “The presence of these top 10 universities in Singapore, working with our two local universities and A*STAR, provides a very, very interesting mix of talent,” said Prof Low.

    Capitalising on this pool of talent, together with Singapore’s position in Asia, could be a winning combination, he said. “It’s a very potent and exciting mix of ingredients that could see us developing something which is unique. And in due course, win us a reputation globally ... That is the ambition that we have in the longer term: To be able to create a branding and reputation for CREATE.”

    A gentle man with silver hair, Prof Low has been in the thick of Singapore’s R&D sector since the 1980s, and has witnessed its growth through different stages.

    “The evolution of our science and technology has been in very interesting quantum leaps at appropriate times,” said Prof Low, who took the helm at the NRF last July . “Our short history in R&D is a disadvantage, but it’s also an advantage because we’re not bound by traditions and cultures that could hold us back.”

    In 1991, the first National Technology Plan was launched when the Science Council was turned into the National Science and Technology Board (today’s A*STAR).

    “If you look into A*STAR today, of all the science and research council institutes, seven of them were started during that period,” said Prof Low, who was the Managing Director of A*STAR before he joined the NRF.

    “In the initial phases, the focus was primarily on physical sciences and engineering. It’s how we built our economy,” the professor said. “The initial institutes that were developed were those that related to key industry sectors that we were strong in, and those we wanted to grow.”

    These ended up being in microelectronics and semiconductors.

    “These industries have high value-add, and as such could provide very good jobs for our people,” he said.

    Singapore’s limited land also meant that the land use of these industries had to be weighed against their value to the nation.

    Fast forward 20 years, and Singapore’s R&D sector is booming, the industry having grown from contributing 1 per cent to the current 2.3 per cent of Singapore’s GDP
    . NUS and NTU are both “research-intensive, globally-recognised” universities, Prof Low noted.

    The year 2001 saw a concerted push into the biomedical research sector as new fields in that area opened up with the sequencing of the human genome, among other things. Today, many of the major pharmacological companies have set up shop here.

    Today, the biomedical sciences are very vibrant, very active, and we’re beginning to reap the rewards of the investments we’ve made,” said Prof Low, with more than a hint of pride. “We’ve seen the emergence of systems biology, synthetic biology, our ability to sequence the human genome ... Great strides have been made, tremendous opportunities.”

    The time around 2007 to 2008 marked a new shift in direction in research; in Prof Low’s words: “A*STAR embarked on a strategy to look at the spaces between physical sciences and biological sciences.”

    Such interdisciplinary research is what forms the core of CREATE, and there are reasons for that.

    “As we embark on the next phase of evolution, and the nature of science today, great opportunities exist at the interfaces of the disciplines. Many of the big sciences that we are going to embark on in the future really will be interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in nature,” he said.

    If there is anything that stands in the way of what Singapore hopes to achieve, it is our size. Within our region sit the twin juggernauts of China and India, commanding large markets and vast pools of talent.

    To stay afloat in the game, our David to their Goliaths needs to be clever. We challenge them not on size, but by depth, said Prof Low.

    “The challenge is to find our niche, so we can compete with a giant like China,”
    he added.

    Singapore needs to make use of what it already has to develop what he calls high peaks:

    “High peaks in terms of the level of expertise that we are able to develop, or the calibre of the top scientists that we are able to bring together. So that the depth of expertise, the breadth of knowledge in that area that we can generate allows us to be unique, and hence, allows us to be competitive,”
    Prof Low said.

    Singapore will host the inaugural Global Young Scientist Summit (GYSS) from Jan 20-25, an international gathering bringing together bright young researchers and eminent science and technology leaders. The speakers include 12 Nobel laureates and winners of the Millennium Prize, Turing Award and Fields Medal. Prof Low is the co-chairman of the GYSS@one-north organising committee. For more info, visit http://www.gyss-one-north.sg/

    Next week: Prof Low will talk about the schemes in place to develop R&D talent in Singapore.

  2. #6836
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    Default Elderly 'won't have to fret over health care'

    Gan pledges they will get needed care without having to worry about bills

    Published on Jan 24, 2013



    The Health Minister yesterday assured senior citizens that they would always receive the health care they need without having to worry about whether they can afford to pay their medical bills. -- PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR


    By Leonard Lim

    THE Health Minister yesterday assured senior citizens that they would always receive the health care they need without having to worry about whether they can afford to pay their medical bills.

    "The important message is that our senior citizens will always receive the necessary health-care services without worry about affordability," Mr Gan Kim Yong said at a clan event.

    His remarks came a day after the Workers' Party (WP) slammed the Government at an election rally for not doing enough to help the elderly.

    The minister added: "I encourage all these elderly folks... if they have problems with their bills, do let the hospitals, public institutions, health-care institutions know.
    "We'll find different ways to help them."

    Medifund Silver, for instance, is a scheme for needy patients aged 65 and older, he cited.
    "We also have given the hospitals a lot of flexibility in terms of eligibility criteria, so that they can reach out to more elderly who are in need of support for their healthcare needs," the minister added.

    He also urged caution in response to WP candidate Lee Li Lian's suggestion that those older than 75 should be allowed to use their Medisave without restriction.

    "We have to be mindful these are very important savings of the elderly, and they will continue to need the savings as they grow older," the minister said.

    Mr Gan, who was attending an event at the Singapore Foochow Association, said he would take the opportunity to share with those present what the Government had done for the elderly.

    Speaking to reporters, he listed five policies to show that the Government is helping the old.

    These are:

    The Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) scheme
    in which facilities such as grab bars and slip-resistant tiles are fitted in homes at highly subsidised rates;

    Raising the age limit for MediShield
    , the national health insurance scheme, to 90 this year;

    A one-off Medisave top-up of up to $400 to help with MediShield premiums;

    An annual Medisave top-up of up to $450 under the GST Voucher scheme;

    Expanding the renamed Community Health Assist Scheme
    to let patients get subsidised outpatient treatment for acute and chronic conditions and basic dental services at participating general practitioners and dental clinics.

    Mr Gan said he would also let clan associations and community leaders know that the Government will continue to do more for seniors.

    "I encourage the community and clans to continue with their many good programmes for the senior citizens," he added.

    Separately, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who was in Punggol East to accompany PAP candidate Koh Poh Koon on a walkabout, defended the Government's track record.

    The former Minister of State (Social and Family Development) gave several examples. One was grants for less well-off households employing maids to take care of elderly family members.

    Announced last year, the estimated five-year budget for this is $25 million.

    Another instance is the Government saying last October that it would spend $500 million until 2016 to ramp up the number of nursing homes, senior care centres and senior activity centres.

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    Default S’pore firms continue to increase investments overseas



    Today File Photo



    1 hour 20 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Singapore companies continued to increase their investments overseas despite the global slowdown.

    According to the latest figures released by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the country’s cumulative stock of direct investments abroad grew 1.7 per cent on-year to S$416.4 billion as of end-2011.

    The trade agency said Asia remains a bright spot for Singapore’s investments abroad, with the country’s direct investments to Asia in 2011 rising 6.5 per cent, outpacing overall growth of 1.7 per cent.

    As of end 2011, Asia was the top destination for Singapore’s investments, accounting for 57.7 per cent of Singapore’s direct investments abroad at S$240 billion, with China, Indonesia and Malaysia being the top three preferred destinations within Asia for Singapore companies.

    Meanwhile, Singapore’s total trade climbed 1.1 per cent to reach S$984.9 billion in 2012, with trade with regional economies being the primary growth driver. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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    Default More covered linkways, elderly friendly bridges for commuters

    Posted: 24 January 2013 1045 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The government will spend close to S$700 million to make transport nodes more accessible, elderly friendly and conducive for commuters.

    The plans, mapped out in the new Land Transport Master Plan, were announced by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Wednesday.

    One of the new initiatives -- Walk2Ride -- will make it easier for more commuters to walk to MRT stations.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build sheltered linkways within a 400-metre radius from all existing MRT stations, compared to the current radius of 200 metres.

    LTA will also link up developments within a 200-metre radius of all bus interchanges, LRT stations and high-usage bus shelters.

    In all, some 200 kilometres of linkways will be added islandwide by 2018, more than four times the existing 46 kilometres today.

    The project is expected to cost some S$330 million and will begin from 2014.


    Currently, sheltered linkways are built to link only to schools, healthcare institutions and other transport nodes like bus stops and taxi stands.

    But under Walk2Ride, shopping, leisure, commercial and residential areas will also be linked.

    LTA intends to leverage on existing linkways and work with the different town councils before deciding on which areas will be given priority.

    The Walk2Ride initiative is being rolled out, following a successful trial at Lakeside MRT.

    More pedestrian overhead bridges will also become more elderly and wheel-chair friendly.

    LTA has reviewed the provision criteria to build more lifts at such bridges. These include those located within 200 metres of MRT stations and 100 metres of LRT stations.

    Some 40 bridges have been identified for further feasibility studies.

    A budget of about S$60 million has been set aside to install the lifts from 2014. Half of them will be completed by 2016 and the remaining by 2018.

    Another S$300 million will be spent on installing some 20 kilometres of noise barriers along elevated MRT tracks.

    Since September, LTA has been measuring noise levels at 455 residential flats located close to such tracks.

    In some locations, the noise levels were found to have exceeded the National Environment Agency's guideline of 67 decibels.

    Mr Lui said residents living close to MRT viaducts, such as those in Simei, Marsiling and Dover, can expect noise levels to be reduced by about five to 10 decibels.


    LTA intends to start installing the barriers from end of this year and complete them by 2020.

    - CNA/al

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    Default From school dropout to Academy Award winner

    Animator Nickson Fong's passion for film puts him on road to Hollywood

    Published on Jan 24, 2013
    12:07 PM

    By Janice Tai



    WHEN animator Nickson Fong becomes the first Singaporean to pick up an Academy Award next month, he can look back with pride to the moment that inspiration struck.

    He had been working on visual effects for the movie Godzilla in 1998 in the wee hours of one morning when he took a seemingly uninteresting algorithm - or formula - that a recent college graduate used to bend cylinders and applied it to muscle joints and facial expressions.

    The technique - dubbed Pose Space Deformation
    - allowed for more life-like movements and subtle nuances in facial expressions.

    It was a game-changer in the film industry. Hollywood blockbusters like Spiderman, Avatar and The Lord Of The Rings all used it for their 3-D characters.





    Mr Fong will receive the Technical Achievement Award as part of a three-man international team. The technique they developed allows for more life-like movements and subtle nuances in facial expressions. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE



    Fifteen years later, Mr Fong, 43, will receive the Technical Achievement Award as part of a three-man international team.

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    Default Dining with the stars at ME@OUE

    By Vimita Mohandas | Posted: 23 January 2013 1826 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Diners can soon look forward to a star-studded dining experience right in the heart of the business district. ME@OUE -- a collaboration between real estate developer OUE and MediaCorp, the parent company of Channel NewsAsia -- will boast cuisines by Michelin chefs while offering diners a splendid view of the city skyline.

    Its doors will open to the public on February 16.

    The restaurant will offer authentic Japanese, French and Chinese cuisines and will be helmed by Michelin star chefs Masayasu Yonemura, Laurent Peugeot as well as celebrity chef Justin Hor.

    Themed events from trade launches, stand-up comedies, fashion shows to New Year's Eve countdown dinner parties have also been lined up.

    A scenic view of the city skyline, gastronomic delights prepared by Michelin star and celebrity chefs, and rubbing shoulders with MediaCorp celebrities -- diners can soon look forward to this swanky dining experience at ME@OUE, located on the penthouse level of the OUE Bayfront.

    Tan Seck Wee, retail director of MediaCorp, said: "We will be bringing shows to the restaurant, we will be taking content to new levels, ticketed events that will allow our audience engagement to take to a new perspective.

    "For example, you could have an F1 party here, where we could have a ticketed event. At the same time, there are elements that have been incorporated to facilitate TV and radio broadcast production."

    The kitchen has also been designed for TV productions
    , allowing it to generate innovative content for viewers.

    Besides its prime location and the exquisite cuisine, it is hoped that this star-studded experience will make it stand out from other restaurants in the area.

    Patrina Tan, senior vice president of Overseas Union Enterprise Limited, said: "The collaboration with MediaCorp -- which is star power, the rubbing of shoulders, the spotting the stars, the excitement of seeing them dining at this place regularly, the events that are going to be held -- this is the venue for the most glamorous activities that you can find in town."

    Some of the signature dishes at the restaurant include Glutinous Rice, Tune and Sea Urchin, Brittany Loster and the Pan-Fried Whole Abalone.


    The view of the city skyline at ME@OUE (Photo: Vimita Mohandas, Channel NewsAsia)
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    Default Solar tech the way to go, says Khaw, as 80 more HDB blocks get fitted with panels

    Published on Jan 24, 2013
    1:00 PM




    Solar panels at the Marina Barrage are made of mono-crystalline silicon. This type of solar panel has the highest efficiency. -- PHOTO: PUB


    By Daryl Chin


    ANOTHER 80 public housing blocks in eco-town Punggol will be fitted with solar panels to harness energy from the sun, said the Housing Board on Thursday.

    This will be done by private company Sunseap, which outbidded 12 other contractors in an open tender. HDB will offset a portion of the start-up costs - up to 30 per cent - and in turn, the town council will get a discount of up to five per cent off the retail electricity tariff rate.

    The company takes care of the subsequent operational and maintenance costs.
    In 2011, HDB also awarded Sunseap to power 45 blocks in Punggol at a cost of $11 million.

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    Default Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visits the Istana

    Published on Jan 25, 2013
    5:30 AM


    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands shakes hands with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, Jan 24, 2013, at the Istana in Singapore during her official four-day state visit to the country. -- PHOTO: AP



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../bea24138e.jpg
    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (left), chats with Singapore's President Tony Tan after a welcoming ceremony at the Istana in Singapore on Jan 24, 2013. Queen Beatrix is on a four-day state visit in Singapore. -- PHOTO: AFP




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st.../bea24137e.jpg
    (Left to right) Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Singapore's President Tony Tan, first lady Mary Tan, and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands pose for group photo after a welcoming ceremony at the Istana in Singapore on Jan 24, 2013. Queen Beatrix is on a four-day state visit to Singapore. -- PHOTO: AFP




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...bea241310e.jpg
    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, walks in front of Singaporean President Tony Tan, as she reviews the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Istana in Singapore on Jan 24, 2013. Queen Beatrix is on a four-day state visit in Singapore. -- PHOTO: AFP


    By Himaya Quasem


    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands began her first official trip to Singapore with a visit to the Istana to meet President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

    Wearing a patterned blue skirt and blouse with matching hat, the 74-year-old monarch strolled past white-uniformed guards during a welcome ceremony at the President’s official residence yesterday morning.

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    Default

    With the defeat of PAP in by election, expect more government policies that will try to keep property prices stable but I wonder how well they can do it when there are floods of cheap money from many countries.

    Also expecting the government to be more stringent in immigration policies. This will affect the table tennis and badminton imported talent.

    I think there will be less pursuit of Olympic gold.

  10. #6844
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sen View Post
    With the defeat of PAP in by election, expect more government policies that will try to keep property prices stable but I wonder how well they can do it when there are floods of cheap money from many countries.

    Also expecting the government to be more stringent in immigration policies. This will affect the table tennis and badminton imported talent.

    I think there will be less pursuit of Olympic gold.
    Yes, it is hoped that property prices and the relatively high inflation rate will subside with recent government policies, but as you said the high liquidity all round makes an open economy like Singapore a big challenge.

    Indeed the employment of foreign workers is on the decline but Singapore cannot totally avoid foreign workers, especially the high-value added ones, if it wants to continue to grow.

    On the sporting front, foreign talents who can help Singapore raise standards, are also limited. One reason for this is that the exporting countries have been doing relatively well economically and therefore their workers' incomes have risen in general.

    The other is that Singapore is making an attempt to grow its own talent pool, although I think it is difficult as our young people can make better money elsewhere without having to sweat for long hours in training. Not unless they are really talented to be able to compete internationally in the highly paying sports jobs like football, tennis, basketball, golf, etc.

    But sports will continue to be an important pillar of the Singapore society because of its positive contribution to the nation and economy. Winning international competitions can help gel the country and its people as one nation and an all-rounded worker have less medical problems.
    Last edited by Loh; 01-28-2013 at 12:48 AM.

  11. #6845
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    Default Singapore scientists identify mechanisms that lead to gastric cancers

    Published on Jan 28, 2013
    10:44 AM





    Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) headed a study that discovered four processes by which gastric cancer is formed. -- ST PHOTO : JAMES CROUCHER



    By Chia Yan Min


    Scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) headed a study that discovered four processes by which gastric cancer is formed.

    GIS scientists have identified four distinct processes that cause mutations in gastric cancer. The discovery of these processes provides clues to the formation of gastric cancers, paving the way for diagnostics and targeted therapy.

    Gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide, claiming almost 750,000 lives annually of which 60 percent of those affected are Asians.

    The findings have been published online in the December 2012 issue of biological research journal "Genome Biology".

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    Default Nanyang Business School takes 32nd spot in world's MBA rankings

    By Tan Qiuyi | Posted: 28 January 2013 0802 hrs



    SINGAPORE: Nanyang Business School (NBS) is now ranked 32nd in the Financial Times' 2013 ranking of the world's MBA programmes, up two spots from last year.

    The school's Nanyang Master of Business Administration programme is ranked sixth within the Asia Pacific.

    The annual survey ranks the top 100 business schools from around the world, based on audited data from the schools themselves and from the class who graduated three years ago.

    NBS admits about 80 students to its full-time MBA programme every year, with another 40 taking the course on a part-time basis.


    It is offering a new Nanyang MBA curriculum in July with a sharper focus on leadership development and industry application in the Asian context.

    The new course can be completed in 12 months, instead of the usual 16.

    - CNA/de


    Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
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    Default A*STAR scientist wins Singapore Challenge at Global Young Scientists Summit

    By Alice Chia | Posted: 25 January 2013 2205 hrs


    SINGAPORE: A research scientist at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has won the Singapore Challenge medallion at the inaugural Global Young Scientists Summit@one-north (GYSS).

    Dr Lynette Cheah
    was presented with a medallion by President Tony Tan and awarded a prize of US$100,000 to pursue her research interests.

    She submitted a proposal on building a transportation network that helps smoothen traffic flow.


    Part of her proposal involves taxi and car commuters sharing rides, and bus and train frequencies would be automatically adjusted.

    The theme of the Singapore Challenge is "Innovations for Future Cities" - where scientists presented ground-breaking ideas to address sustainability challenges.

    More than 70 proposals were received.

    President Tony Tan said: "The Singapore Challenge exemplifies how scientific communities can partner governments and industries across countries to make societal impact. It is good for science and good for society when researchers build networks and collaborate openly to translate research outcomes for a better world."

    - CNA/de

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    Default NTU partners Holland's Wageningen University in food science research

    Posted: 25 January 2013 1244 hrs



    SINGAPORE: Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is working with a leading research centre of Wageningen University from the Netherlands in food science and technology.

    Both sides are looking into new undergraduate modules.

    NTU aims to develop full-fledged programmes in this field at the undergraduate and Master's level, and involve more schools and departments from both universities.

    This will help to build a critical mass of trained manpower for the food industry, locally and regionally.

    On the research front, NTU and Wageningen University are expected to focus on projects such as converting agricultural raw materials to high-value food ingredients, as well as sustainable food production including conversion of waste to food supplements.

    The agreement providing for their partnership was signed on Friday by NTU's president Professor Bertil Andersson and Wageningen University's president Dr Aalt Dijkhuizen.

    Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, who was at NTU as part of her official visit to Singapore, was also present.

    - CNA/fa




    (L to R) NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson briefs Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, Princess Maxima of The Netherlands and The Prince of Orange about the university. (Photo: NTU
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    Default Four who shine the brightest

    Laurentia, Feng, Shayna and Shahril star in Singapore's best sporting year





    Published on Jan 26, 2013
    in The Straits Times


    By Marc Lim Sports Editor

    EIGHT world crowns, four Asian champions, two Olympic medals, two Paralympic medals and the right to be called kings of Asean.

    Last year will go down as arguably the greatest in Singapore's sporting history.

    From 15-year-old Yukie Yokoyama winning the team and individual titles at the Optimist World Championships, to 42-year-old Aleksandar Duric winning the Asean Football Federation Cup with the Lions, the national flag was raised, on average, at least once a month in honour of a Singapore champion.

    In fact, at The Straits Times sports desk, there was hardly a dull moment in 2012.

    Yet while the bumper crop of champions made for interesting stories, it also made our task harder when it came to deciding the nominees for The Straits Times Athlete of the Year Award for 2012.

    All of us at the desk were free to choose our top picks.

    The heroic displays of table tennis player Feng Tianwei and equestrian Laurentia Tan at the Olympics and Paralympics - both were double medallists - made them easy choices. In their sport, the stage just does not get any bigger.

    But strong cases were also made for those who did not make the podium. The efforts of gymnast Lim Heem Wei and canoeist Geraldine Lee (both became the first Singaporeans in their sport to qualify for the Olympics) did not go unnoticed.

    But in the end, there was room only for four.

    Although the young world beaters from wushu and sailing did their nation proud, they lost out as their accomplishments came at the youth level.

    It was a tough fight between silat world champion Muhammad Shakir Juanda and world champion bowler Shayna Ng. But given that bowling is a more universal sport than silat, we felt Ng's feat was the more difficult to achieve.

    And while the Asean football crown is a regional title, it was impossible to ignore the year that Shahril Ishak had. For consistency, he had few equals.

    As captain of the LionsXII, his goals helped bring the Malaysia Cup fever back to Singapore after 17 years. As skipper of the national team, he led the Lions to a record fourth AFF Cup.

    Selecting the winner will be an even more tricky task. Fortunately, an expert panel of seasoned sports officials and athletes will help us pick a worthy champion.

    To salute the final four, The Straits Times, in partnership with award sponsor 100Plus, will profile each nominee in the Sport pages from next week.

    So who will be crowned the ST Athlete of the Year for 2012?

    All will be revealed on Feb 26.

    marclim@sph.com.sg

    Winners of the readers' contest to name the nominees will be revealed next week

  16. #6850
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore's population could hit 6.9m by 2030, with a Singaporean core

    Published on Jan 29, 2013
    12:00 PM




    By 2030, Singapore's population is projected to reach 6.5 to 6.9 million based on a government White Paper released on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: RAJENDRAN NADARAJAN


    By Jessica Cheam


    By 2030, Singapore's population is projected to reach 6.5 to 6.9 million based on a government White Paper released on Tuesday.

    This will comprise a resident population of 4.2 to 4.4 million, of which 3.6 to 3.8 million are citizens and the rest Permanent Residents. Non-residents will make up about 2.3 to 2.5 million by then.

    To keep Singapore's citizen population from shrinking, Singapore will need 15,000 to 25,000 new citizens each year, assuming the current total fertility rate (TFR) of 1.2.

    About 30,000 new Permanent Residents (PR) is needed to keep the PR population stable at 500,000 to 600,000.

  17. #6851
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    Default Two-thirds of Singaporeans in white-collar jobs by 2030

    Published on Jan 29, 2013
    12:00 PM




    Two thirds of Singaporeans will hold white-collar PMET jobs by 2030, up from half the workforce currently, a new population White Paper has projected. -- ST PHOTO: MALCOLM MACLEOD


    By Jessica Cheam

    Two thirds of Singaporeans will hold white-collar PMET jobs by 2030, up from half the workforce currently, a new population White Paper has projected.

    Growth rates of 3 to 5 per cent may be achieved in this decade, but is likely to be more modest at 2 to 3 per cent per year from 2020 to 2030, said the new study by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD).

    To ensure there are enough good jobs to go around, Singapore needs to innovate and restructure its industries even as it improves on its productivity, said NPTD.

    In its widely-anticipated White Paper, which sets out Singapore's population and immigration policies for the future, the NPTD noted that the citizen workforce will age and plateau beyond 2020.

    The paper recommends a calibrated inflow of foreign workers to complement the Singaporean workforce.

    As citizen workforce growth slows, the total workforce growth is also projected to slow to 1 to 2 per cent - half the average of the past 30 years.

    Given this workforce growth rate, and if Singapore achieves the stretch target of 2 to 3 per cent productivity growth per year in this decade, the country can get 3 to 5 per cent GDP growth on average up to 2020.

    From 2020 to 2030, with workforce growth likely at 1 per cent and productivity growth rates at 1 to 2 per cent per year, Singapore will see more modest GDP growth of 2 to 3 per cent per year.

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