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  1. #7192
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Chinese firm invests $95m to build aviation training centre in Changi

    Published on Jun 28, 2013
    10:02 AM

    By Royston Sim


    China-based aviation company Haite Group is pumping in $95.3 million to set up an aviation training centre in Singapore.

    Located in Changi Business Park, the training centre will spread over almost 7,000 sq m and have simulators for Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

    The six-storey centre, which will provide training facilities to pilots and crew in the Asia-Pacific region, is expected to begin operating in early 2015. It will cost $26.05 million to set up, and house up to six or seven simulators that will cost $60 million.

    The ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held on Friday morning. This will be the latest aviation training centre here. Existing ones include one run by Boeing subsidiary Alteon at Changi North Rise.

  2. #7193
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    Default Singapore Zoo hopes to expand current site

    TODAY


    ByAlfred Chua


    7 hours 17 min ago

    SINGAPORE — The Singapore Zoo is hoping to expand its current site, amid plans previously announced by the Government to develop the surrounding Mandai area into an eco-tourism destination.

    The zoo currently occupies 26ha of land and, with the growth in population, space might be an issue, said Ms Claire Chiang, Chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which runs the zoo.

    “At our peak of 14,000 visitors a day, we are nudging each other. We need space ... I hope there can be certain extensions and certain enhancements made,” she told reporters at the zoo’s 40th anniversary celebrations yesterday.

    Last year, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran announced that the Government was looking to add more tourist developments in Mandai, such as hotels and more restaurants, to transform the area into a complete tourist destination.

    Ms Chiang hoped the authorities “can keep this whole Mandai parcel intact for eco-tourism”.

    “It has the opportunity to be a huge integrated reserve,” she added.

    Former President SR Nathan attended the anniversary celebrations as guest of honour.
    To thank visitors for their support, all Singaporeans and permanent residents visiting the zoo next month will enjoy 40 per cent off ticket prices, said WRS.

    Sharing her hopes for the Singapore Zoo, Ms Chiang felt that zoos of the future should be “interactive, immersive and edu-taining”.

    Commenting on its future, she said: “It’s not just to showcase animals, (but) to look at biodiversity and sustainability, and ... how animals, nature and men can exist in a way that can be a win-win (situation).”

  3. #7194
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Another 300,000 people to benefit from legal aid from July 1

    Published on Jun 30, 2013
    2:13 PM




    Photo of the Supreme Court. Another 300,000 people will benefit when amendments to the Legal Aid and Advice Act take effect on Monday. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH



    By Stacey Chia


    Another 300,000 people will benefit when amendments to the Legal Aid and Advice Act take effect on Monday.

    The amendments will extend legal aid to more Singaporeans and permanent residents, enabling greater access to justice to those who need, but cannot afford basic legal services, said the Ministry of Law in a press statement on Sunday.

    Currently, those that apply for legal aid have to pass the means test and the merit test.

    Tweaks have been made to the means test, which requires an applicant's annual income to be $10,000 or less. It will now be easier to meet this criterium.

  4. #7195
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default SAF hub to help boost military cyber security



    TODAY file photo



    By Amanda Lee

    7 hours 11 min ago

    SINGAPORE — With hacking emerging as a global security threat, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has beefed up its defence against cyber attacks on its military networks by setting up a Cyber-Defence Operations Hub (CDOH).

    Revealing this in a media interview on Saturday ahead of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day today, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said cyber attacks “are increasing everywhere and there’s a reason why big countries and big powers are very preoccupied with this”.

    “This is actually a topic of much discussion in my visits with other defence chiefs,” said Dr Ng, noting that military and surveillance networks around the world are highly dependent on computer systems.

    The CDOH draws on existing expertise from MINDEF, the SAF and the defence technology community to conduct day-to-day cyber defence operations. It has 24/7 capabilities to protect the systems, detect and respond to cyber threats and quickly recover the military networks if needed.

    By enhancing the robustness and resilience of the Republic’s military networks, the CDOH also strengthens the third-generation SAF’s war-fighting capabilities.

    Dr Ng said the CDOH will work with other agencies, including the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority. He said: “It allows us to have command and control structures, because when you want to respond, who responds? What is the response plan? It may cut across agencies ... across different forces, different services.”

    He noted that, while people could understand the implications of cyber threat, it “isn’t as real as physical threat”. “We just have to manage it,” he said, adding that he recognised the “realities on the ground”.

    Cyber security and surveillance came under the global spotlight in recent weeks, with the United States searching for former security contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details about US surveillance to the media. Among other revelations, leaked documents showed that in 2010, Brussels was subjected to a cyber attack at its offices in New York and Washington, which was later traced to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization building used by US officials.

    Last Tuesday, on the anniversary of the start of the Korean War in 1950, South Korea was hit by cyber attacks which brought down the main websites of its presidential office and some local newspapers. The hackers secured and released publicly personal details of more than two million South Korean ruling party workers and 40,000 US troops, including those stationed in South Korea.

    The US Defence Department also announced plans last Thursday to step up its cyber security operations. It plans to spend US$23 billion (S$29 billion) on cyber security and hire 4,000 recruits for the effort.

    US Army General Martin Dempsey said at a conference in Washington that some nations have developed the capability to launch massive cyber attacks that could cripple an adversary. “I do think there are capabilities out there that are so destructive in nature and potential that it would be very difficult not to see them as acts of war,” he said.

  5. #7196
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default ASEAN foreign ministers to address haze issue today

    A

    A smouldering peatland that has been burnt in Sepahat in Riau province, Indonesia on 22 June 2013. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong



    Singapore foreign minister K Shanmugam says a ‘good statement’ will likely be issued later today in Brunei


    23 hours 42 min ago

    SINGAPORE — The foreign ministers of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia had a “good and frank discussion” in Brunei and agreed on a way forward in dealing with the haze, Singapore’s Law and Foreign Minister K Shanmugan wrote in a Facebook post today (June 30).

    Mr Shanmugam also said that it is “likely that a good statement” will be issued on the haze problem later today at the main ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM).

    The informal meeting in Brunei yesterday afternoon was the suggestion of Mr Shanmugam with the aim of reaching a consensus between the three countries most affected by the haze on how to deal with the problem caused by forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

    The hour-long meeting between Mr Shanmugam, Malaysia’s Anifah Aman and Indonesia’s Marty Natalegawa took place in a hotel lounge without any aides present.
    “We agreed on a way forward in how to deal with the haze. It is likely that a good statement would be issued at the meeting of foreign ministers,” Mr Shanmugam wrote.

    “It is good that we have taken this first step to agree that concrete steps need to be taken to prevent recurrence. Of course, hereafter, implementation is key — and that has its own set of challenges.”

    Yesterday, Dr Natalegawa told reporters in Brunei that about 4,000 hectares are affected by the fires on Sumatra, down from the previous high of over 16,000 hectares.

    Indonesia’s foreign minister, however, declined to go into details of his country’s action against Singaporean companies suspected of being involved in starting the fires, saying he would leave it to law enforcement agencies.

    ASEAN foreign ministers are meeting at a half-day retreat today to discuss challenges facing the 10-nation South-east Asian bloc and to also address housekeeping issues, and to strengthening ties both within and outside the grouping with its dialogue partners.

    Singapore is represented at the meeting by both Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Environment and Water Resources, Ms Grace Fu.

    The ASEAN foreign ministers are also scheduled to meet their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea
    . A closely watched discussion will be the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting between the new Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Wang Yi, and his ASEAN counterparts with China’s approach in dealing with the disputes in the South China Sea is expected to be raised by both sides.

    WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHANNEL NEWSASIA

  6. #7197
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Haze update: Asean urges Indonesia to ratify treaty tackling haze problem

    Published on Jun 30, 2013
    6:32 PM




    This handout picture taken on June 23, 2013, shows smoke blanketing cleared forest land as fires rage in Riau province on Sumatra island. South-east Asian nations urged Indonesia on Sunday, June 30, 2013, quickly to ratify a treaty aimed at preventing fires in its giant rainforests that regularly inflict choking haze on its neighbours. -- PHOTO: AFP / ULET IFANSASTI / GREENPEACE



    BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, (AFP) - South-east Asian nations urged Indonesia on Sunday quickly to ratify a treaty aimed at preventing fires in its giant rainforests that regularly inflict choking haze on its neighbours.

    Thick grey smoke from the fires on Sumatra island sent air pollution to record levels in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia this month, forcing people to wear face masks and schools to close.
    The crisis prompted the two nations to raise the problem at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foreign ministers' meeting in Brunei on Sunday. Indonesia is the largest member of the 10-nation bloc.

    "We... stressed the importance for regional countries to uphold their international obligations and work together to tackle the transboundary haze pollution problem," the foreign ministers said in a joint communique. They "called upon Asean member states that have not yet ratified and operationalised the (treaty) to do so expeditiously".

    Indonesia is the only member which has still not ratified an Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution brokered in 2002. The treaty aims to stop cross-border haze pollution caused by forest fires by requiring parties to prevent burning, monitor prevention efforts, exchange information on the problem and provide mutual help. It also binds signatories to "respond promptly" to requests for information sought by another country affected by the smoke and to take steps to implement their obligations under the treaty.

    Indonesia, a freewheeling democracy since the fall of strongman Suharto in 1998, has blamed its Parliament for the long delay. The government had sought legislators' approval to ratify the haze agreement but the proposal was rejected in 2008.

    Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the treaty had been resubmitted to the current legislature, although no timeline for ratification was given.

    Environmental group Greenpeace International, however, said Indonesia was reluctant to ratify the treaty because it would affect the expansion plans of palm oil companies in the country. The Sumatra fires have been largely blamed on palm oil firms using the illegal but cheap method of burning vast tracts of rainforests and peat lands to clear them for planting.

    Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, which is used for many everyday items such as soap and biscuits.

    Some of the world's most biodiverse rainforests cover vast areas of Sumatra and other parts of the sprawling Indonesian archipelago.

    But environmental campaigners warn these forests are being cleared at a disastrous rate to make way for palm oil plantations, as well as for mining and logging.

    Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam voiced satisfaction at progress on the haze issue at the talks.

    The Asean statement "focuses on the importance of putting out the fires, it focuses on the importance of monitoring, verifying to prevent recurrence in the future", he told reporters. "It gives a framework for us to move ahead."


    However, Greenpeace's chief Indonesia forest campaigner, Mr Bustar Maital, said Asean must widen its focus to prevent the rapid rate of deforestation in Indonesia and across the region, rather than simply focus on the fires.

    "Deforestation is the main driver of the forest fires," he told AFP.
    Last edited by Loh; 06-30-2013 at 10:57 PM.

  7. #7198
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Haze update: Efforts to fight haze a success: Indonesian agency

    Published on Jun 30, 2013
    6:06 PM




    An aerial view of smoke rising from burnt trees in Indonesia's Riau province on Friday, June 28, 2013. Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) declared on Sunday its 10-day emergency efforts to counter the haze as successful. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



    By Zubaidah Nazeer, Indonesia Correspondent In Pekanbaru (Riau Province)



    Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has declared its 10-day emergency efforts to counter the haze as successful.

    "The haze problem in Riau has been overcome," BNPB spokesman Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a text message on Sunday.

    He said that the number of hot spots have dropped from a peak of 265 on June 24 to one on Saturday.

    Visibility has improved from a low of less than 100m just before the national effort began, to up to 10km now.

    Air quality in Dumai, one of Riau's worst-hit regencies, have gone from a dangerous high of 1048 on the PSI to 78 on Saturday.

    Still, the authorities are conducting water bombing and cloud-seeding operations as the dry season in Indonesia is expected to last till September, peaking in August, where fires on lands could recur.

  8. #7199
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default ASEAN Foreign Ministers open dialogue with APEC partners

    Asia



    Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries hold hands together with ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh (R) during the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan June 30, 2013. Photo: Reuters


    1 hour 35 min ago

    BRUNEI — Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers kicked off their one-on-one dialogue sessions with countries in the Asia-Pacific region today (July 1), the second day of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

    These are called the ASEAN Plus One dialogues where ASEAN and the dialogue partner country take stock of the state of relations with both sides and try to bring the ties to even greater heights.

    Singapore is chairing ASEAN’s dialogue with Canada which has been on track for the past 36 years, according to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

    The ASEAN-Canada cooperation is being implemented through the ASEAN-Canada Action Plan of Action to implement the enhanced partnership programme for the period 2010 to 2015.

    During the Ministerial meeting in 2012, Canada announced a contribution of C$10 million (S$12.1 million) for the next three years towards the ASEAN connectivity and integration projects.

    Also meeting his ASEAN counterparts will be the new US Secretary of State John Kerry who travels to Brunei amidst his busy schedule in brokering peace in the Middle East.

    Mr Kerry is expected to update his ASEAN counterparts on his efforts in this area and also underscore the importance the US places on its ties with ASEAN and its involvement in the East Asia Summit process.

    In 2012, leaders of ASEAN and the US agreed to institutionalise their meeting into an annual “summit” level. The meeting between the US President and his ASEAN leaders during the second ASEAN Summit was described as a “meeting”.


    From 2013, this would be upgraded to a Summit and Brunei will host the 1st ASEAN-US Leaders’ Summit in October 2013. As for the European Union (EU), the grouping continues to be ASEAN’s second largest trading partner and the biggest source of investment flow.

    Figures released by the ASEAN Secretariat indicate that both total trade and imports from the EU have gone up over the years.

    Discussions will also be held with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India, New Zealand, and Australia which recently saw a change in its Prime Minister.

    CHANNEL NEWSASIA

  9. #7200
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default ESM Goh thanks SBY for efforts to tackle haze problem



    The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index reading stayed within the ‘good’ range yesterday from noon onwards and reached a low of 17 at 2pm and 3pm. Photo: Ernest Chua


    10 hours 12 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday thanked Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for showing “will, graciousness and dignified statesmanship” in dealing with the haze problem.

    Writing on Facebook, Mr Goh noted that the number of hot spots in Sumatra had dropped and the Pollutant Standards Index reading was in the moderate range.

    He attributed the improvement in the haze situation to “rain, wind direction change and the Indonesian President’s directive to his ministers to put out the many fires”.

    Mr Goh added that Mr Yudhoyono’s efforts were “appreciated, in contrast with the boorish remarks of some of his ministers”.

    Going forward, Mr Goh reiterated that “prevention is better than cure”. “It may not be possible to totally stop poor farmers from their slash-and-burn practice but it should be easy to prevent commercial plantation owners from doing so,” he said.

    “With satellite technology, new laws if necessary and political will, smoking guns can be identified, confiscated and made to pay if they are fired.”

  10. #7201
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Not all that matters is measured in dollars and cents

    Commentary





    Volunteers handing out haze masks to residents in Ang Mo Kio. It is crucial how we nurture the sense of looking out for each other in times of crisis. TODAY file photo




    TODAY file photo




    ByTan Wu Meng


    10 hours 30 min ago

    Even as we respond to the haze, it is useful to think about the lessons of this recent adversity. We cannot always predict the future, but we can put ourselves in a good position to respond.

    In times of challenge, why do some countries fragment into the downward spiral of every man for himself, whereas others emerge stronger from fire (or smoke), with the steel of renewed resolve?

    The key ingredient is social cohesion: A sense of common cause and common purpose, which yields the uncommon courage needed to face untoward odds.

    Communities grow cohesive for many reasons. The older civilisations possess a sense of long history: The idea that people have survived great challenges before, that they can and will do so again. For some, it is shared experience: A defining time in history, binding a generation in shared memory. In others, it can be a common ancestry, a common language.

    Singapore faces especial challenges in the forging of social cohesion. We are a nation of diverse colours, tongues and faiths. Being a young country, our shared history is short. Immigration continues to shape the face of our population: Whether the older migrants of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, or the newer faces arriving today.


    HAWKER CENTRE VERSUS FOOD COURT

    The financial bottom line is a long-standing principle of Singapore’s governance — it is only proper that taxpayers’ money is carefully stewarded to maximise value and avoid waste. To optimise revenue, market-based strategies have been deployed, such as competitive bidding and auctions. Public-private partnerships seek to attract private sector investment in support of public projects.

    But not all fiscal optimums lead to a prime outcome. Some result in negative externalities and hidden costs, such as a weakening of social cohesion.

    For example, a rent maximisation model might prioritise supermarkets and food courts over wet markets and hawker centres. Yet, the latter provide common spaces accessible to Singaporeans across a diverse income spectrum, while preserving aspects of local culture amid architectural change.

    Elderly Singaporeans living alone can find a peer group at the local hawker centre — friends who will enquire if they drop out of peer gatherings. This can make the difference between early attention after a sudden illness (or an accident at home) and receiving help too late. When new hawker centres are built, it is not only about food but nourishment for society.

    Public-private partnerships
    require careful handling, too. A flagship project such as the new National Stadium is more than the sum of bricks, mortar and design; it is a symbol.

    Decisions on pricing and access can convey deep powerful signals. Premium memberships with special privileges may increase revenue, but send the wrong message about what kind of society Singapore should be.

    SOCIAL COHESION AS KPI

    Social mobility and progressive redistribution — both hallmarks of an inclusive society — are also integral to social cohesion. No society can survive unless each citizen feels a personal stake in the country, and that his or her children will have a fair start in life.

    Social cohesion must therefore be an explicit consideration — or even a Key Performance Index (KPI) — in government policymaking. It need not be the be-all and end-all of every policy, but derogating from the social cohesion KPI should be a conscious, considered decision.

    There is a great difference between considering an angle but carefully proceeding regardless, and not seeing the angle at all.

    There is established precedent for viewing public policy through lenses other than the bottom line. To help safeguard Singapore’s security and sovereignty, investments have been made in the expensive NEWater project — even though it would have been cheaper in the short term to purchase water from external sources.

    Singapore’s independence depends on many factors: A strong defence, coupled with water, energy and resource security — and the economic wherewithal to maintain them. Also crucial is how we bind ourselves and our fellow citizens together, how we nurture the sense of looking out for each other in times of crisis and how we become resilient people.

    This is why social cohesion must be a core consideration in public policy-making — not an afterthought.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Tan Wu Meng is a medical doctor working in a public sector hospital.

  11. #7202
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    Default Our teams can learn from LionsXII: FAM



    The LionsXII currently lead the Malaysian Super League standings but their final five games may prove to be a stumbling block. TODAY file photo


    11 hours 7 min ago

    SINGAPORE — There will be no looks of dismay or feelings of regret within the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) should the LionsXII win this season’s Malaysian Super League (MSL) title.

    So said FAM Assistant Secretary-General Ahmad Fuad Daud on the eve of the LionsXII’s crucial home game against Felda United.

    Currently top of the MSL with a four-point lead over closest rivals Selangor and Johor Darul Takzim, V Sundramoorthy’s team will clinch the championship at Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow if they beat relegation-threatened Felda in their penultimate league match.

    They will get to hoist the trophy in front of their fans and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who will be at the game.

    “And if they do so, we at the FAM will be happy for them,” said Ahmad Fuad in a telephone interview with TODAY.

    “I am sure the LionsXII deserve the title. They have assembled a strong side for this year’s competition and have been very consistent.

    “Indeed, the LionsXII have brought added value to our league and increased its popularity. Big crowds have followed the team wherever they played.

    “We also feel that all the other teams have benefited from playing against the LionsXII this season.”

    Ahmad Fuad also welcomes the possibility of the LionsXII capturing the league title as he feels it will be a huge reality check to the other powerhouses in the MSL.

    Before the start of the season, several teams had signalled their ambitions by splashing out the cash on Malaysian internationals and big-name foreign signings.

    T-Team signed former English Premier League duo George Boateng and Caleb Folan, but are now in 10th position and fighting against relegation.

    Selangor and Johor, who are second and third respectively, and are hoping the LionsXII will trip up against Felda, also spent big in the pre-season.

    Coached by Fandi Ahmad, Johor splurged on former Spain striker Daniel Guiza and Lazio midfielder Simone del Nero and Malaysian internationals Safiq Rahim, Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Aidil Zafuan, while Selangor signed ex-Australian international and Sydney FC midfielder Adam Griffiths, as well as Malaysian national players S Kunanlan, Sharbinee Allawee and Mahali Jasuli.

    “I feel the other teams will do well to learn from the LionsXII who have done so well with no foreign players, a predominantly Under-23 team, and with just five players over the age of 23,” said Ahmad Fuad.

    “What the LionsXII have done and achieved will definitely fire up and spur the other teams on not just for the Malaysia Cup, but also for next season, and that can only be good for our tournaments.”

  12. #7203
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    Default Olympics: Why Singapore is dreaming big now

    By Marc Lim

    The Straits Times
    Monday, Jul 01, 2013

    It occupies but a small section of the Singapore Sports Council's Kallang headquarters.
    Manned by a team of just five full-time staff, its operations are modest by most standards.

    But that has not stopped the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) from dreaming big.

    Barely three years after staging the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010, Singapore is again hosting the Olympic fraternity, this time for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission and Forum.

    Over the next few days, more than 100 delegates, including IOC members and athletes, past and present, will tackle issues ranging from doping to athletes' role in the Olympic movement. They will also be engaging Singaporean youth, passing on life lessons as well as sharing inspirational stories of sporting excellence.

    It is little wonder that SNOC vice-president Ng Ser Miang, one of six contenders to succeed Jacques Rogge as IOC president, has dubbed his Singapore office one of the world's busiest national Olympic committees (NOCs).

    "There is hardly a dull moment," quipped the 64-year-old.

    Indeed, since becoming the first Singaporean to join the IOC as a member in 1998, Ng has been instrumental in both introducing the sporting world to Singapore and Singapore to the Olympic movement.

    The Republic's introduction to the big league of world sport started in 2001, when the heads of major international sports bodies gathered here for the General Association of International Sports Federations congress.

    But it was only in 2005 that the world first took notice of Singapore's Olympic ambitions.

    The staging of the 117th IOC Session - which brought a Who's Who to Singapore,

    including then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US First Lady Hillary Clinton and football superstar David Beckham - did not just strengthen Singapore's image as an efficient organiser. It also altered a mindset within the country's psyche.

    "For many years, we thought of the Olympic movement as just the Olympic Games. And if you are not an Olympian, you are not there," said Ng, who was chairman of the Singapore Sports Council from 1991-2002.

    "But when we hosted the 2005 Session, had political leaders in town and the world watching as the 2012 host city was revealed, it hit us that Singapore was part of this bigger entity. "It broke down the perception that the Olympic movement was something high and mighty and out of reach."


    The success of the 2005 Session went a long way to persuading the Singapore Government to bid for the 2010 inaugural YOG.

    Although the budget for the Games ballooned from $104 million to $387 million, the Games brought about many positive spin-offs, including record tourism arrivals and the marketing of Singapore as an international brand.

    But perhaps more importantly, the Games got the buy-in of the nation's youth.

    Said Ng: "Till today, I have people telling me about the positive experience they had during the YOG.

    "The Games mobilised the youth of Singapore, gave them a voice and created opportunities for them to be involved, as athletes, as young journalists, even as young ambassadors through the Games' Culture and Education Programme."

    Incidentally, the YOG journey was what convinced Ng that there was more the Olympic movement could do for the youth of the world.

    In fact, the youth will be at the centre of his plans should he beat Germany's Thomas Bach, Puerto Rico's Richard Carrion, Taiwan's Wu Ching-kuo, Switzerland's Denis Oswald and Ukraine's Sergey Bubka to lead the world's most powerful sporting body.

    "There are seven billion people in the world, and when half of them are below the age of 25, you can't deny that this group are the Olympic movement's main constituents," said Ng.

    "It's our responsibility to reach out and engage them, through the international sporting federations, NOCs and the governments of the world."

    He has an ambitious plan to expand the IOC's Youth Sport Development Centre programme, which aim to build sports facilities in various parts of the world, giving young athletes and local communities access to quality sporting facilities.

    Launched in 2010 with the opening of a multi-sport facility in Zambia, the IOC is set to open its second such centre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    But Ng is keen to ramp up the programme, and wants the IOC to commit to building 80 centres over five continents over the next eight years.

    It is a goal which will require a lot of funding, but he believes the IOC's like-minded sponsors can help fulfil his vision.

    He said: "We have, in the IOC, some of the best companies in the world as our partners. They have a global outreach, and their target is also the youth."

    Yet in order to achieve his goal, he would have to do something that has never been done before - become the first Asian be elected to the office of the IOC president.

    Of the IOC's eight presidents in its 119-year history, only American Avery Brundage (1952-1972) was not a European.

    But Ng believes the IOC is ready for a change. He cites how the Olympic movement is increasingly becoming more global, with Asian countries hosting two of the last seven Summer Olympics and Rio de Janeiro set to become the first South American city to host the Games.

    "I'm a Singaporean, I'm an Asian, but I'm also a global citizen," said Ng, who is Singapore's Ambassador to Norway.

    "The movement has become much more universal. I've been an IOC member since 1998 and showed that there can be a first in the IOC. When Singapore won the bid to host the Youth Olympics, no European, no American, no African country had hosted it before. The IOC trusted Singapore and I think we earned their trust."

    Ng has two months to persuade enough fellow members that he is the man to lead the IOC. He will find out in Buenos Aires in September if he is successful. But few will underestimate the man who put Singapore on the IOC map.
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    Default Swimming: Quah Zheng Wen, 16, breaks national 100m backstroke record

    Published on Jun 28, 2013
    9:52 PM



    Quah Zheng Wen (above) rewrote his own national record in the 100m backstroke on Friday evening with a swim of 56.60sec at the Singapore National Swimming Championships. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE



    By Fabius Chen


    Quah Zheng Wen rewrote his own national record in the 100m backstroke on Friday evening with a swim of 56.60sec at the Singapore National Swimming Championships.

    The 16-year-old finished behind China's Yan Jin (56.33) but still bettered his previous mark of 56.63, set last year.

    It was a satisfying evening for the Republic's swim queen Tao Li as well, as she raced to victories in the 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly events.

    Lynette Lim's time of 8min 57.16sec in the 800m freestyle, meanwhile, booked her a spot at December's SEA Games in Myanmar.

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    Default Swimming: Sprint sensation Darren Lim almost breaks Ang Peng Siong's 1982 record

    Published on Jun 29, 2013
    6:49 PM




    Swimmer Darren Lim (centre), 14, won the race to become Singapore's fastest man at the Singapore National Swimming Championships held at the Singapore Sports School. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM



    By Chan U-Gene

    Swimmer Darren Lim, 14, won the race to become Singapore's fastest man at the Singapore National Swimming Championships held at the Singapore Sports School.

    His time of 22.73sec clocked in the morning's heats also came close to the long-standing national record of 22.69 timed by Ang Peng Siong in 1982.

    Darren did not improve on his time in the finals but his time of 22.87 was still good enough for gold. In second place was Russell Ong, 24, with 23.33 and third was China's Weiwen in 23.77.

    Besides Darren and Ong, another four swimmers made the cut for December's SEA Games - Samantha Yeo and Cheryl Lim (200m breaststroke) and Quah Ting Wen and Lynette Lim (200m freestyle).

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    Default Poor outing for Tao Li at National Championships



    Tao Li finished second in the women’s 200m butterfly final. TODAY file photo

    By Low Lin Fhoong


    11 hours 43 min ago

    SINGAPORE — Butterfly queen Tao Li was upstaged at the Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) at the Singapore Sports School yesterday, when the 23-year-old was beaten by Quah Ting Wen in the women’s 200m butterfly final.

    Tao could not find her way past Swimfast Aquatic Club (SAC) mate Ting Wen, 20, who claimed the lead before powering home in 2min 13.77sec to win and book her ticket to the Myanmar SEA Games.

    Tao finished second in 2:16.33, while Lynette Lim, also from SAC, was third in 2:17.58.

    Competing in her first high-level meet this year, Tao had hoped to bounce back from a disappointing London Olympics that saw her missing out on the 100m fly final.

    Back here after a two-month training stint in Hubei, the two-time Asian Games champion was aiming to make the cut for the SEA Games in the 50m and 100m backstroke and 100m fly. But the swimmer — who won seven gold medals at the 2011 SEA Games — only qualified for the 100m fly at the SNSC, which is the only local qualifying meet for the Games.

    She still can make it for the other two events though, as athletes can still qualify for places from now till September if spots are still available for a particular event after the SNSC.

    “Training has not been ideal as I have been busy with school and my coach was sick,” said Tao, a first-year business management student at the Singapore Institute of Management. “I may skip my second semester to concentrate on training.”

    She will head to the World Championships in Barcelona (July 19 to Aug 4) before aiming for SEA Games qualification at the Hong Kong International Open (Aug 23 to 25). She added: “I hope to compete in six events at the SEA Games and I want to win all of them.”

    Singapore Swimming Association technical director and national head coach (swimming) Ian Turner said of Tao: “She’s taken her foot off the gas. She knows what needs to be done and it’s down to her. The national championships have been an eye-opener for her as there are some good swimmers who have beaten her.

    If she wants to duplicate the seven gold medals she won, she’s got to get down to some serious work in the next five months.”

    Meanwhile, Quah Zheng Wen, Ting Wen’s younger brother, booked his ticket when he beat 2011 SEA Games champion Danny Yeo in the men’s 200m freestyle final in a new meet record time of 1:50.29.

    Amanda Lim also met the SEA Games qualifying mark in the women’s 50m freestyle.

    All in, 13 swimmers have qualified for 18 events at the SEA Games.

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    Default SEA Games Swimming Qualifiers

    Red Sports

    Four national open and age-group records broken as six swimmers qualify for SEA Games at Singapore National Championships


    Posted by: Erwin Wong
    Posted date: June 28, 2013


    Singapore Sports School, Wednesday, June 27, 2013 – The third day of the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships saw four national open and age-group records broken, as well as six swimmers meeting the qualifying marks for December’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

    23-year-old Danny Yeo sprinted to a national open record in the first final of the evening, when he beat a talented men’s 100 metres freestyle field to finish first. His time of 50.51 seconds improved his own mark by nine hundredths of a second, and also easily surpassed the Games qualifying mark of 51.36s, pegged to the bronze-medal winning time of the previous Games in Palembang.

    It was also good enough to meet the ‘B’ qualifying mark of 50.64s for August’s World Championships.

    While Danny qualified for his third consecutive SEA Games, it would be the first such outing for young Darren Lim, who has taken down a slew of national age-group records over the past 15 months. The 14-year-old Secondary Three student clocked a blistering 51.25s to take the second of two SEA Games spots for this event.

    Darren’s pre-meet personal best and national under-17 record stood at 52.03s. His heat time of 51.88s was a new mark which lasted for less than 12 hours before he rewrote that in the final. Darren also met this year’s World Junior Championships qualifying mark of 51.49s.

    Clement Lim, who set a national record in this event at the last Games during the 4x100m relay final, finished third in a time of 51.57s, while Russell Ong, a mainstay in the previous three 4x100m freestyle relay squads that have taken the gold medal at the SEA Games, was fourth in 51.71s. Quah Zheng Wen (52.10) and Zach Ong (52.26) also put themselves up for consideration to swim this relay in Myanmar.

    Samantha Yeo, 16, qualified for the women’s 100m breaststroke in style as she smashed a long-standing age-group record en route to becoming the second fastest local swimmer ever in this event.

    Samantha covered the first 50m in 33.21 seconds – the third quickest time she has ever swum – and touched home in 1 minute 10.49 seconds, 1.2 seconds faster than the 1:11.69 qualifying mark.

    Joscelin Yeo’s national under-17 record of 1:11.37 was already under threat when Samantha swam a 1:11.57 in the heats, and the 17 and a half year-old mark finally fell in the final. Joscelin had registered that time in the 1995 SEA Games final when she won the gold medal, one of her 40 in the biennial Games.

    Samantha also qualified for the 200m individual medley yesterday.

    Samantha’s time met the ‘B’ qualifying mark for the World Championships, and also qualified her for the World Junior Championships in late August. In addition, registering a time in the 1:10+ territory placed her as a genuine contender for the SEA Games gold medal, and she could potentially usurp the dominance of the Malaysian duo of Siow Yi Ting and Christina Loh, who finished 1-2 at the last Games in 1:10.55 and 1:10.57. Siow clocked 1:10.73 at May’s Malaysia Open while the latter finished second in 1:12.06.

    Lynette Lim qualified for her third 400m freestyle event in four SEA Games when she finished first in a time of 4:19.31. It was about two seconds off her fastest time of the year, a 4:17.19 which she clocked at the Santa Clara Grand Prix in May, but nevertheless well within the Games qualifying mark of 4:23.00.

    Rachel Tseng, 15, improved her personal best by over two seconds to finish second in a time of 4:22.56, and that ensured her a place in her first SEA Games squad.

    Quah Zheng Wen, who qualified for the 400m IM on Wednesday, will swim both individual medley events after meeting the 200m mark today. He won the final in a time of 2:05.96 to go quicker than the mark by a full second. Zheng Wen will join Joseph Schooling to represent Singapore in this event. The latter, who is based in America, qualified by virtue of his national record of 2:00.77 clocked last month in Charlotte.

    A national under-14 record was broken in the final event of the night, the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. The Swimfast Aquatic Team quartet of Tan Jing-E, Hoong En Qi, Hannah Quek and Quah Jing Wen finished first in a time of 4:06.60 to break the existing record of 4:07.92.

    The same four swimmers also took down the national under-14 record in the 4x200m freestyle relay on Wednesday.

    The men’s 100m breaststroke was also contested. Christopher Ee had finished a close second behind Lionel Khoo at April’s National Schools meet, and this time he turned the tables on the national under-17 record holder by touching home 0.42 seconds ahead of the latter in 1:05.04. Both swimmers were well short of the SEA Games qualifying mark of 1:02.84, and it appears likely that the Singapore’s medal drought in this event at the Games will extend beyond the current 14 years.

    Today’s events will feature the men’s 400m freestyle, the women’s 800m freestyle, the men’s and women’s 100m backstroke and butterfly, as well as the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

    SEA Games qualifiers so far:

    Men’s 100m freestyle: Danny Yeo; Darren Lim
    Men’s 200m freestyle: Joseph Schooling
    Men’s 100m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
    Men’s 200m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
    Men’s 200m IM: Joseph Schooling; Quah Zheng Wen
    Men’s 400m IM: Quah Zheng Wen; Pang Sheng Jun
    Women’s 100m freestyle: Quah Ting Wen; Amanda Lim
    Women’s 400m freestyle: Lynette Lim; Rachel Tseng
    Women’s 100m breaststroke: Samantha Yeo
    Women’s 200m IM: Samantha Yeo

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    Default Army officer recognised at SAF Day parade for brave act

    Published on Jul 01, 2013
    5:45 PM



    Second Lieutenant Kamalasivam Shanmuganathan (right), shakes Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen's hand after receiving the Singapore Armed Forces Medal for Distinguished Act during the annual SAF Day parade. He was recognised on Monday, July 1, 2013, for his selfless act of valour which saved at least two lives. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG



    By Lim Yan Liang

    An army officer was recognised on Monday for his selfless act of valour which saved at least two lives. Second Lieutenant Kamalasivam Shanmuganathan, 25, became the eighth soldier to receive the Singapore Armed Forces Medal for Distinguished Act.

    He was awarded the medal by Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen at the SAFTI military institute during the annual SAF Day parade on Monday. His award puts him in the ranks of officers who were deployed to conflict zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait and also showed exceptional courage over regard for their personal safety.

    In 2LT Kamalasivam's case, he bravely handled a situation where a recruit accidentally released a hand grenade lever while pulling out the safety pin. He did not panic and told the recruit in a calm voice to throw the grenade, adding that he did not reach out to try and pull the live grenade from the recruit's hands as he could not risk dropping it.

    Fortunately, the recruit managed to throw the grenade over the bay, where it detonated in mid-air.

    "It's the nicest way to end it (my national service)," said 2LT Kamalasivam who is a Ngee Ann polytechnic diploma holder and aspiring teacher. He will be attending the National Institute of Education (NIE) when his two-year national service commitment ends in a fortnight's time and hopes to become a physical education teacher.

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