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  1. #8433
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    Default Chung Cheng High School gazetted as national monument

    Institution also celebrates rich cultural history on 75th anniversary


    Published on Jul 11, 2014 7:21 AM




    The entrance arch (above) of Chung Cheng High School and its administration building have been gazetted as a combined national monument, joining nine other Singapore school buildings which have been preserved. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM


    By Andrea Ong
    A rich heritage in the arts and the spirit of "yin shui si yuan" - the Chinese saying for remembering one's roots - are qualities Chung Cheng High School will celebrate to mark its 75th anniversary.

    As part of the festivities, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday officiated at a ceremony to gazette its administration building and the entrance arch of its main campus as a combined national monument.

    The two structures are part of the Chung Cheng family's collective memory, principal Pang Choon How of Chung Cheng High School (Main) said yesterday.


    The administration building, designed in the Chinese National style, has been the school's "heartbeat",
    he added.

  2. #8434
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    Default More F&B outlets opening at Sports Hub

    Long wait before Stefanie Sun concert due to limited dining options



    Published on Jul 11, 2014 7:21 AM


    The Sports Hub, including the iconic new National Stadium at Kallang. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM


    By Cheryl Faith Wee

    Football fans should not go hungry or thirsty when a Singapore Selection play Italian giants Juventus at the National Stadium next month.

    Last Saturday, there were long queues and waiting times of more than half an hour for food and drinks in the nearby Kallang Wave mall before the Stefanie Sun concert when the new arena drew its biggest crowd - of about 20,000 - since its opening last month.

    Only six out of its 26 food and beverage (F&B) outlets were open
    .

    However, by the Juventus game on Aug 16, more than half of these should be up and running

  3. #8435
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    Default Explaining the Syrian conflict to Muslims in Singapore

    Malay-Muslim leaders help spread message to guard against extremism



    Published on Jul 11, 2014 7:18 AM


    Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (centre, in white), at a Ramadan bonus disbursement ceremony held at Muis. Leaders of the Malay-Muslim community are taking steps to put across the right message about the Syrian crisis, which has drawn fighters from around the world to take up arms. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN


    By Tham Yuen-C

    Leaders of the Malay-Muslim community are taking steps to put across the right message about the Syrian crisis, which has drawn fighters from around the world to take up arms.

    The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, or Muis, has roped in mosques, religious teachers and madrasahs to explain the conflict to Muslims here and to put things in perspective.

    The Government has also started working with the Malay media, like the Berita Harian newspaper, to put out explanatory articles, and is looking into cyberwellness programmes that will guard against young people being radicalised via the Internet.

    Some Malay-Muslim groups have also sourced for bona fide channels for Singaporeans to provide humanitarian aid and donations to victims of the conflict.

  4. #8436
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    Default Govt efforts to produce bilingual S’poreans successful, says PM



    Mr Lee Hsien Loong (centre) touring Chung Cheng High School (Main) yesterday. PHOTO: ERNEST CHUA


    By Siau Ming En -

    Published: 4:03 AM, July 11, 2014

    SINGAPORE — The Government’s efforts to produce Singaporeans who are bilingual have been successful, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, amid concerns that standards of Mandarin in the Republic are falling.

    Speaking at a gala dinner to mark the 75th anniversary of Chung Cheng High School (Main), Mr Lee said Singaporeans should not compare today’s standards with those of the 1950s. “We need to take a different perspective: If we did not introduce the bilingual policy, promote Mandarin and start SAP (Special Assistance Plan) schools, Singapore might be a completely English-speaking society,” said Mr Lee, who spoke in Mandarin.

    “To achieve the standards of Mandarin we have now, in an environment where English is the lingua franca, is quite an improvement,” he added.

    Mr Lee said SAP schools have been successful in producing students who are bilingual and bicultural, but when they were set up, it was not clear whether they would succeed.

    Mastering both Chinese and English as first languages
    in the environment then was quite a challenge for students. “People had begun to value English over Chinese, as English was the working language and perceived to have more economic value.”

    But with determination, government resources and the commitment of teachers, students and parents, SAP schools have worked out, he said.

    Mr Lee said the policy direction is to ensure that Singaporeans are rooted in their mother tongues and culture, and the Government will continue to help Singaporeans achieve their potential in mother tongues.


    Besides SAP schools, the Government is promoting Mandarin in all schools, he noted. For instance, 30 per cent of Chinese students took Higher Chinese at O-Levels last year — almost double the rate in 2000.

    Yesterday also saw the administration building and the entrance arch to Chung Cheng High School (Main) — built in the ’60s — gazetted as a national monument. Together, they are the 66th monument to be gazetted by the National Heritage Board (NHB).

    Ms Jean Wee, director of the preservation of sites and monuments division at the NHB, said the school has met the criteria on many accounts — the building is at least 30 years old, has contributed significantly to the nation’s history by meeting the needs of Chinese education then and possesses “architectural merit”.

    For instance, the school is one of the few that married traditional Chinese aesthetics with Western architectural principles, she said.

  5. #8437
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    Default Syrian conflict could pose bigger risk to S’pore than JI: DPM Teo

    Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and about 60 religious leaders of various faiths were at the discussion. PHOTO: NEO CHAI CHIN


    Convenience of air travel, rapid spread of radical ideology due to Internet were reasons cited


    By Neo Chai Chin -
    Published: 4:03 AM, July 11, 2014

    SINGAPORE — The Syrian conflict could pose a bigger risk to Singapore than the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist network did in 2001, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday, a day after he had announced in Parliament that a handful of Singapore citizens had gone to participate in the conflict there.

    “I’d say the potential is there for a variety of reasons,” Mr Teo told reporters after a closed-door discussion with about 60 religious leaders of various faiths on the Syrian conflict, its potential impact on Singapore and what the community can do to maintain social harmony.

    He cited the convenience of air travel, the extent of violence in Syria causing emotions to run high and the rapid spread of radical ideology due to the Internet as reasons.

    Syria is in its third year of strife after the government cracked down on peaceful protests and the Middle Eastern country descended into civil war between the regime of President Bashar Assad and rebels. More than three million Syrians have become refugees in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

    Mr Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, had said in Parliament on Wednesday that the number of foreigners who might have joined the fighting in Syria has exceeded the number of foreign fighters in the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s. Among the Singaporeans who have joined the conflict is Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali, a naturalised citizen, who has taken his wife and three children to Syria. A woman is also believed to have gone there with her foreign husband and two teenage children.

    Mr Teo said the discussion with religious leaders was very useful, with the two concerns being security and social harmony.

    “While there may be individuals who have become radicalised or who have taken up extreme positions, we need to understand that in Singapore, all our communities believe in peace and harmony,” he said.

    Various efforts have been taken by the Muslim community here to prevent radicalisation — through Friday sermons at mosques and religious classes by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, providing Muslims here with channels to donate to humanitarian purposes, and media and cyber-wellness programmes, said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

    Friday sermons “have started really talking about the Syrian conflict and how Muslims who feel (for) the conflict can respond”, he said. “We’re looking into cyber-wellness programmes because we understand the Internet is a game changer now, compared with the (time of the) JI incident.”

    Mr Mohamed Nassir Abdul Sukkur of Islamic education outfit SimplyIslam, who attended the discussion, said the threat of extremist ideas being spread to Singapore was serious, with “wayward individuals” trying to get Muslims and non-Muslims involved in the war or religious teachers spreading “extreme narratives” about needing to go for jihad (holy war) to fulfil their Muslim duty.

    Moderate and sensible voices must prevail, said Mr Mohamed Nassir, who expressed shock that women and children could be involved in the conflict. “They’re not supposed to be involved at all ... it’s not in the teachings of Islam in whatever denomination they come from.”

    SimplyIslam and other organisations are raising funds to help refugees and building a school for them in Turkey, he said.

    The Syrian conflict is a challenge to “Singapore as a whole” because the nation will be affected if Singaporeans return after participating in the conflict, said Dr Yaacob. Non-Muslim leaders can also help correct misconceptions that tarnish the Muslim community, he added.

    Bishop Wee Boon Hup of the Methodist Church of Singapore and president of National Council of Churches of Singapore, who also attended the discussion, said community leaders can assure non-Muslims that Muslim leaders are “getting hold of the problem”. “I think they are to be commended for facing the challenges head-on,” he said.

  6. #8438
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    Default Temasek and Government-linked companies outperform market, study finds

    POSTED: 11 Jul 2014 09:58
    UPDATED: 11 Jul 2014 10:04


    Temasek Holdings’ 20-year total shareholder return was 2.5 times that of the MSCI Singapore index in 2012, according to the study by NUS and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.



    File photo of Temasek Holdings. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)


    SINGAPORE: Better-than-average corporate governance and a clear business mandate have helped Temasek Holdings and Government-linked companies (GLCs) in Singapore perform better than the market, according to a study published on Friday (July 11).

    Undertaken by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the study is based on Singapore Exchange-listed GLCs and Government-linked real estate investment trusts (GLREITs), as well as GLCs’ performance on CGIO’s Governance and Transparency Index between 2009 and 2013.

    BETTER-THAN-AVERAGE PERFORMANCE

    The study found that Temasek Holdings’ 20-year total shareholder return was 2.5 times that of the MSCI Singapore index as of 2012, and that the market value of its portfolio surged by 300 per cent between 1994 and 2013.



    The study also found that, between 2008 and 2013, GLCs accounted for an average of 37 per cent of the stock market’s value of S$500 billion, while GLREITs made up 54 per cent of the REIT market value of S$35 million.

    COMPARISON OF GOVERNANCE PRACTICES

    The research linked the better-than-average performance of GLCs to several drivers of good corporate governance:

    • The ability to operate with a clear business mandate and at arm’s length from politics
    • Being publicly-listed on the stock exchange
    • Internationalisation of GLCs’ businesses
    • Ieadership continuity
    • Adoption of corporate governance best practices

    Between 2009 and 2013, GLCs outperformed non-GLCs in various corporate governance measures on the GTI, such as director independence, the nomination process for directors, disclosure of directors’ remuneration, communication with shareholders, as well as auditing and accountability.



    The study also found that the majority of GLCs (79 per cent) had at least one independent director with industry experience compared with less than half of non-GLCs.

    GLCs were also found to have a higher proportion of independent directors on their boards, compared with non-GLCs. Notably, 89 per cent of GLCs had an independent chairman or a non-executive director who was not from the chief executive officer’s family, compared to 32 per cent of non-GLCs.

    “In many countries, state ownership is known to detract from company performance due to issues such as political interference and rent seeking, or unfair advantages from political protection,” said Professor Steen Thomson, co-author of the study and member of CGIO’s Academic Advisory Council.

    “In contrast, Temasek Holdings has previously stated that it acts like an active investor with long-term returns maximisation as an important motive in its investment decisions, and that the Government does not interfere in its business decisions. We believe that such a structure is particularly important,” added Prof Thomson.

    For the study, GLCs and GLREITs were defined as organisations in which Temasek Holdings had a stake of at least 20 per cent between April 2012 and March 2013. A total of 23 such GLCs and GLREITs were examined.


    - CNA/cy

  7. #8439
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    Default HPB introduces new visual aid to advocate healthy eating

    POSTED: 11 Jul 2014 10:47

    My Healthy Plate will replace the Healthy Diet Pyramid Model as the tool of choice to motivate Singaporeans to eat healthily, according to the Health Promotion Board.




    SINGAPORE: There will now be a new, easy-to-understand visual tool to encourage and motivate Singaporeans to improve their diet, which was created after feedback from the public, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) said on Friday (July 11).

    In a statement, the agency said it launched the visual aid - named My Healthy Plate - to be a simple and educational tool designed to guide Singaporeans on how to plan a healthy meal when they dine in and out of home. My Healthy Plate depicts a comprehensible visual representation of what a healthy meal may look like, it said.

    In comparison to the Healthy Diet Pyramid, My Healthy Plate emphasises the healthy habits of:

    • Filling half your plate with fruit and vegetables
    • Fill a quarter of your plate with whole-grains
    • Fill a quarter of your plate with meat and others
    • Use healthier oils
    • Choose water
    • Be active


    Based on a recent HPB study, it was found that Singaporeans prefer a simple, plate-based image that conveys clear messages about a healthy diet.

    Additionally, the Student Health Survey 2012 show that 80 per cent of students aged 13 to 18 do not meet recommendations for both fruits and vegetables, while the National Nutrition Survey 2010 indicated that up to 85 per cent of Singaporean adults fall short of the recommended intake of fruit and vegetables, the statement said.

    "My Healthy Plate is a friendly and easy-to-understand visual tool to improve our diet quality while reminding us to choose water over sugar-sweetened drinks, and to be active. This latest effort will form a significant contribution to inculcate healthy eating habits and make 'Healthy Living Every Day' simple for all," said Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Health in the statement.

    HPB said it will replace the existing Healthy Diet Pyramid tool across all its collaterals by end-2014.


    - CNA/kk

  8. #8440
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    Default NUS in world’s top 10 across 11 key subject areas, Asia’s best in 18 subjects

    Published: 26 February 2014



    NUS has been ranked among the world’s 10 best universities for key subject areas in engineering and technology, arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences and management, according to the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject published today. The University is placed top 10 for a total of 11 subject areas, and is Asia’s best across 18 subjects.

    The QS World University Rankings by Subject is an annual ranking of 200 universities around the world along 30 individual disciplines. The ranking is based on research citations as well as reputational surveys involving over 90,000 academics and employers worldwide.

    Subject World Ranking 2014
    Chemical Engineering 5th
    Electrical & Electronic Engineering 6th
    Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering 6th
    Materials Science 6th
    Civil & Structural Engineering 7th
    Statistics & Operational Research 7th
    Computer Science & Information Systems 9th
    Geography 9th
    Communication & Media Studies 9th
    Politics & International Studies 9th
    Modern Languages 10th

    Among Asian universities, NUS took the top spot, or second, in the following subject areas:

    Arts & Humanities

    • English Language & Literature
    • Linguistics
    • Modern Languages


    Engineering & Technology

    • Computer Science & Information Systems
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Civil & Structural Engineering
    • Electrical & Electronic Engineering
    • Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering


    Life Sciences & Medicine

    • Biological Sciences
    • Medicine
    • Pharmacy & Pharmacology
    • Psychology


    Natural Sciences

    • Chemistry
    • Geography
    • Environmental Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • Materials Science


    Social Sciences & Management

    • Accounting & Finance
    • Economics & Econometrics
    • Communication & Media Studies
    • Law
    • Politics & International Studies
    • Sociology
    • Statistics & Operational Research


    Among the 27 subjects that are applicable to NUS, the University recorded improved overall performances for 17 subjects, with advances in academic reputation in 12 subjects, employer reputation in 18 subjects, and citations per faculty in 18 subjects. They include a rise in academic reputation in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering; employer reputation in statistics & operational research, and sociology; and citations per faculty in linguistics and biological sciences.

    Employers around the world gave NUS Engineering and NUS Computing resounding votes of confidence by recording scores upwards of 94.5% in the areas of computer science & information systems, chemical engineering, civil & structural engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

    Employer feedback on the University’s chemical engineering graduates registered more than a six-point jump between 2013 and 2014, with a 94.6% performance score. Employers of civil and structural, electrical and mechanical engineers gave NUS a rating of more than 97%.

    Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost said: “We are happy that NUS continues to be recognised as among the best universities in the world. We are particularly delighted to note that the University is among the top 10 globally for engineering and technology, and some key subject areas in arts and humanities, natural sciences, as well as social sciences and management.

    “The latest results of the QS World University Rankings by Subject reflect a strong recognition of NUS’ quality education and cutting-edge research among employers and academics around the world. We are proud of our faculty and graduates, and will continue to strive towards being a leading global university centred in Asia.”

    More information on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014

    - Full results
    - Subject areas where NUS has performed well globally and in Asia
    - Subjects where NUS improved in its global rankings

  9. #8441
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    Default Singapore’s Q2 GDP growth slows to 2.1% as manufacturing weakens

    POSTED: 14 Jul 2014 08:00
    UPDATED: 14 Jul 2014 09:08


    On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted and annualised basis, Singapore's economy shrank 0.8 per cent, a reversal from the 1.6 per cent growth in the preceding quarter.


    Central Business District skyline. (Photo: TODAY/Ernest Chua)


    SINGAPORE: The Republic’s economy expanded at a slower pace of 2.1 per cent in the second quarter from a year ago, hurt by a slowdown in manufacturing, according to advance estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday (July 14).

    The increase in second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was slower than the 4.7 per cent year-on-year growth in the first quarter, and slower than the median estimate of 3.1 per cent by economists in a Reuters poll.

    On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted and annualised basis, Singapore's economy shrank 0.8 per cent, a reversal from the 1.6 per cent growth in the preceding quarter. It was the first sequential contraction since the third quarter of 2012, an MTI spokeswoman said.

    The manufacturing sector grew 0.2 per cent in the second quarter from a year ago, down from the 9.9 per cent increase in the first three months of 2014. The deceleration in growth was largely due to a contraction in electronics output and slower growth in transport engineering output, MTI said.

    Services rose 2.8 per cent, while construction gained 5 per cent. MTI said the moderation in services growth was largely due to slower expansion in the wholesale and retail trade and transportation and storage sectors.

    Singapore releases advance GDP data shortly after the end of each quarter and follows up with detailed estimates about a month later.


    - CNA/cy

  10. #8442
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    Default Singapore now 4th most expensive city in the world for expats: Survey

    POSTED: 14 Jul 2014 11:41


    The Republic climbs one spot from last year to come in fourth, behind two African cities and Hong Kong.

    File photo: People walking along the pier overlooking the skyline of Singapore's financial district. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)

    SINGAPORE: The Republic is now the fourth most expensive city in the world for expatriates and the second most expensive in Asia, according to the latest cost of living survey by Mercer.

    Singapore gained one spot from last year to come in fourth, behind two African cities – Luanda in Angola and N’Djamena in Chad – and Hong Kong.

    Four of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia. The most expensive city in the region, Hong Kong, jumped from sixth place to third, followed by Singapore. Tokyo - previously Asia's most expensive city for expatriates - fell four places to seventh, while Shanghai came in 10th on the list, jumping four spots from last year.

    “Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices,” said Mr Ed Hannibal, Partner and Global Leader for Mercer’s Mobility practice.

    “While Luanda and N’Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly as well."

    The survey covers 211 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.



    - CNA/cy

  11. #8443
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    Default Artist who will draw Singapore's skyline from memory begins tour of the city

    Published on Jul 14, 2014 3:23PM




    British architectural artist Stephen Wiltshire is brought on a land tour of Chinatown and a bus tour of the Civic District on July 14, 2014. Wiltshire has been commissioned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to draw Singapore's cityscape for the company's 30th anniversary. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG


    By Joanna Seow

    SINGAPORE - British architectural artist Stephen Wiltshire, known for his immense panoramic drawings of world cities, arrived in Singapore this week.

    He began his week-long maiden visit with a tour on Monday of historical sites in Chinatown as well as the skyscrapers of the financial district.

    Mr Wiltshire, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and travels with his older sister Annette, will be drawing a 4m long panorama of the city from memory.
    He will be at the Main Atrium of Paragon from Wednesday to Sunday, as part of a Singapore Press Holding's 30th anniversary celebration event called See The Big Picture.

    "It's a nice city, it's very historic. But I like the tall buildings best," he said after Monday's tour.

  12. #8444
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    Default 5 cooking oils: What's healthy and what isn't

    Published on Jul 14, 2014 3:45 PM



    Palm Oil; 38 per cent monounsaturated fat, 10 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 52 per cent saturated fat.--PHOTO: Bloomberg





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...4_10_2005e.jpg
    Olive Oil; 78 per cent monounsaturated fat, 8 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 14 per cent saturated fat.--PHOTO: ST FILE





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...0_01_2007e.jpg
    Walnut Oil; 24 per cent monounsaturated fat, 67 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 9 per cent saturated fat.--PHOTO: ST FILE





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...ackgrounde.jpg
    Coconut Oil; 6 per cent monounsaturated fat, 1.6 per cent polyunsaturated fat and 92 per cent saturated fat.--PHOTO: ST FILE





    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/st...4_10_2005e.jpg
    Canola Oil; 31 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 62 per cent monounsaturated fat and 7 per cent saturated fat.--PHOTO: ST FILE


    By Cheow Sue Ann

    Starting this month, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) is subsidising wholesale oil suppliers to encourage them to sell a healthier cooking oil to food outlets.

    Thus far, the most commonly used oil is palm oil. HPB wants to replace this "unhealthy" oil with a healthier oil by subsidising the difference between the cheaper palm oil and the slightly more expensive mix of canola and palm oil.

    What makes an oil healthier or less healthy is the type of fat it contains, as well as the nutrients that can be found in it.

    According to HPB, the unhealthy fats are transfat and saturated fat, both of which increase levels of unhealthy cholesterol. The healthy fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which lower levels of unhealthy cholesterol and can reduce chances of heart problems.

    We take a look at three cooking oils that are known to be healthier options, and see how canola and palm oils compare against these healthy options based on the type of fat each oil contains.

    CANOLA

    Canola oil contains 31 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 62 per cent monounsaturated fat and 7 per cent saturated fat. This is probably the lowest amount of saturated fat out of all commonly used cooking oils. Canola oil does tend to be highly refined, meaning that while it does not have as many antioxidants as an oil like olive oil may have, it has a relatively long shelf-life.

    PALM

    Palm oil contains 38 per cent monounsaturated fat, 10 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 52 per cent saturated fat. This oil contains antioxidants including vitamins A and E. However, its high saturated fat content means that it could pose a threat to cardiovascular health and increase cholesterol levels.

    WALNUT

    Walnut oil contains 24 per cent monounsaturated fat, 67 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 9 per cent saturated fat. This oil tends to be more expensive, and has a rich, nutty flavour. It is rich in omega-3, a specific type of polyunsaturated fat, which is known to be good for the heart and have anti-inflammatory properties. A drawback, however, is that this oil has a short shelf-life, and needs to be refrigerated.

    OLIVE

    Probably the most famous for being healthy, this oil contains 78 per cent monounsaturated fat, 8 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 14 per cent saturated fat. This oil has the highest concentration of antioxidants, and is known to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. The oil is supposed to help lower the risk of not only heart diseases and stroke, but also diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer and metabolic problems.

    COCONUT

    Coconut oil contains 6 per cent monounsaturated fat, 1.6 per cent polyunsaturated fat and a whopping 92 per cent saturated fat. While coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, it is still a great oil with many health benefits when used sparingly. The oil is supposedly able to help boost immune systems, improve digestion and reduce stress levels. However, the oil is rich in unhealthy fats and must be used carefully.

    Information culled from http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/5634, http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2011/May..., http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/healthy-cooking-oils-buyers-g... and http://authoritynutrition.com/healthy-cooking-oils/

  13. #8445
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    Default National Jobs Bank launched, currently has 16,000 job postings

    Published on Jul 14, 2014 10:37 AM




    Office workers in the central business district (CBD). A national jobs bank was officially launched on Monday by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), listing more than 16,000 positions. -- PHOTO: ST FILE


    By Joanna Seow

    SINGAPORE - A national jobs bank was officially launched on Monday by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), listing more than 16,000 positions.

    First announced by the Manpower Ministry in 2013, the National Jobs Bank is meant to facilitate job matching between employers and local job seekers. Under the Fair Consideration Framework, which kicks in on Aug 1, employers with businesses of 25 or more people must post job vacancies on the website for at least 14 days before applying for an Employment Pass.

    Since the beta version of the site was launched in May, 4,300 employers and 12,900 people have signed up for accounts.

    "We are creating many job opportunities in our economy, but we need a better, more systematic way to match job seekers to vacancies," said Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin at the launch at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar. He said public feedback on the portal is welcome.

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    Default Civil Service: Keeping it a success factor

    TODAY file photo


    By Devadas Krishnadas -

    Published: 4:03 AM, July 15, 2014


    On June 30, Mr Martin Donnelly, a Permanent Secretary in the United Kingdom civil service, spoke about the need for civil servants to remain neutral, build trust and play a greater role in helping citizens understand complex issues.

    Mr Donnelly’s remarks have relevance to Singapore, which has a political system and administrative model similar to that of the UK.

    The Singapore Civil Service has a well-deserved reputation for efficiency and integrity. It is not a small organisation. Comprising almost 140,000 officers, it is the largest employer in Singapore. Its wage structure is competitive and serves as a benchmark for the private sector. Through its much vaunted scholarship system, it absorbs large numbers of bright young people each year to serve the nation. This stands in contrast to the civil bureaucracies of many other countries, which are a source of employment of last resort for the less capable.

    Yet, for all these virtues, there is some confusion and cynicism about the role of the Civil Service here. What can be done to help improve the perception and effectiveness of the Civil Service?

    PROFESSIONAL, BUT NOT INDEPENDENT?

    It is commonly proclaimed that it is important to have an independent Civil Service. However, this casual truism needs to be reconsidered.

    In serving their political masters, civil servants should conduct themselves by the highest standards of professional integrity and never compromise national interests. However, the Civil Service is obligated to develop and implement policies predicated on the political philosophy of the government of the day. This is because political office holders are elected and hold the mandate to lead from the highest source of democratic power — the vote.

    If the political process results in a change of government, the Civil Service must similarly afford the new government the same level and quality of support even if the new political philosophy is diametrically opposed to that of the previous government.

    The Civil Service should not be functioning as a third force alongside the governing party and the Opposition. It should not develop its own agenda and attempt to subvert the incumbent government’s political intent. Therefore, it must be clear to the electorate that the Civil Service is neither a check on the political government nor an extension of the ruling political party. When implementing policies, it should not do so in a partisan manner but apply the same policy treatment nationally.

    Thus, while it is not correct and even unfair to speak of an independent Civil Service, it is appropriate and even necessary to insist upon a professional Civil Service.

    The moral authority necessary for the Civil Service to retain the respect of the citizenry is premised on its integrity and professionalism. The notion of service connotes an element of sacrifice. However, civil servants today enjoy competitive wages, job security and recognition through public awards. Taken together, this bundle of benefits is hardly found in the private sector.

    Perhaps it is timely for the Civil Service to adjust its bundled benefits to be more in sync with the employment reality all other Singaporeans face so that it can strengthen its moral authority. As the society and economy matures and national issues become more complex and interconnected, senior civil servants must also play a greater role in engaging with the population on public policies.

    Mr Donnelly was right when he said that civil servants “need to be more assertive in helping citizens to assess available information about complex issues and programmes that are under scrutiny”.

    He also correctly noted that in today’s world, much of the trust-building dialogue with the public takes place across social media.

    “Digital literacy is becoming a core skill for policy officials seeking evidence about policy impact and also seeking to engage with sometimes sceptical citizens directly. Ensuring that there is a recognised area for officials to engage in this way while respecting both political boundaries and their own private space is a key challenge for the coming years,” he said.

    AVOID BLURRING LINES

    Civil servants in the most prestigious of service schemes, such as the newly conceived Public Service Leadership Programme, are sometimes seconded to grassroots organisations or exposed to grassroots activities to give them a better understanding of community issues. A number of such officers also volunteer their time in the grassroots out of a personal sense of civic duty.

    While the intention is good and examples of civic consciousness are laudable, such activities are conducted in very close proximity to politicians and there is a risk of blurring the lines between the civil servants’ official and political roles. This blurring of lines is compounded by the fact that many of Singapore’s top political leaders today are drawn from the Civil Service or the Singapore Armed Forces.

    This pattern of civil servants “parachuting” into politics can be misconstrued by the public that the Civil Service is politicised and by ambitious civil servants and military officers that political office is the highest rung in the ladder of promotion.

    While the practice of inducting technocrats into politics is commendable, there is a need to maintain a clear distinction between the Civil Service and political office.

    One way forward is that civil servants or military officers with political potential and ambitions should spend some time working outside the Civil Service to both create temporal distance between their bureaucratic and political identities and to gain additional experience. This “out, then up” approach would have to be voluntary, but it would be more acceptable to the public than the current “parachute” approach.

    The Civil Service — efficient, reliable and incorrupt — is a major success factor behind the Singapore story. Civil servants are on the whole dedicated to serving the nation and its people.

    To be effective, the Civil Service requires the trust, confidence and respect of the electorate. As we close in on the 50th anniversary of our independence, it is a good time to consider what it would take to ensure that the Civil Service remains a success factor for the next 50 years of our national journey.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Devadas Krishnadas is the Chief Executive Officer of Future-Moves Group, an international strategic consultancy and executive education provider based in Singapore.

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    Default Warm response to Marine Park tours

    By Alice Chia
    POSTED: 15 Jul 2014 09:34
    UPDATED: 15 Jul 2014 10:35


    All 90 places for guided walks next month at Singapore’s first Marine Park have been taken up, according to NParks.

    Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee on the first introductory guided walk at the Sisters' Island Marine Park.


    SINGAPORE: All 90 places for guided tours next month at Singapore’s first Marine Park have been taken up in just three days, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Tuesday (July 15).

    The tours, to be held on Aug 14 and 15, will be led by trained volunteer guides. There will be 45 participants each day, to be divided into three groups of 15. The groups are kept small so as to protect the marine life, NParks said.

    Members of the public can register for guided walks in September, November and December. Those who are interested can sign up at NParks’ website.

    The Marine Park will span 40 hectares around Sisters' Islands and along the western reefs of St John's Island and Pulau Tekukor. Called the Sisters' Islands Marine Park, it will serve as a platform for outreach, education, conservation and research activities related to Singapore's native marine life.


    - CNA/cy

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    Default Myanmar's 1st Vice President in Singapore for state visit

    Myanmar's 1st Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, who is in Singapore for a state visit, met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Istana on Monday.



    Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (L) shakes hands with Myanmar's 1st Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Tham at the Istana.


    By Olivia Siong
    POSTED: 14 Jul 2014 22:15


    SINGAPORE: Myanmar has expressed keen interest in Singapore's healthcare and education policies.

    The two topics were widely discussed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Myanmar's 1st Vice President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, who is in Singapore for a state visit.

    Dr Sai met with Mr Lee at the Istana on Monday (July 14), where they both affirmed the warm and long-standing bilateral relations as well as the growing people-to-people ties between both countries.

    The Myanmar leader also met Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. They had an extensive exchange on Myanmar's domestic developments and socio-economic reforms.

    Dr Sai thanked PM Lee and ESM Goh for Singapore's support of Myanmar's development through the Singapore-Myanmar Technical Cooperation Programme, which was launched during Myanmar President Thein Sein's visit to Singapore in 2012.

    Both Mr Lee and Mr Goh informed Dr Sai that the Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute in Yangon will commence classes next year and assured Dr Sai that Singapore's support for Myanmar's development would continue.


    - CNA/ec

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    Default A sneak peek into the new Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall

    By John Leong
    POSTED: 15 Jul 2014 00:01


    The refurbished Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is set to become the centrepiece of Singapore's arts hub.



    Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.


    SINGAPORE: The refurbished Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is set to become the centrepiece of Singapore's arts hub. It sits in the middle of the civic district and counts the Arts House, the National Gallery and the Asian Civilisations Museum among its neighbours.

    Kathy Lai, CEO of National Arts Council, said: "This whole precinct is really going to be a hub for cultural and arts activities. So it is a real focal point now for anything that has to do with arts and culture, so I think it will add to what we have today. We don't really have that focal point today."

    The main brief for architects working on the project was to preserve the old while transforming it into a performance arts venue fit for the 21st century. The walls of the concert hall were restored, but not altered in any way. Meanwhile, the walls of the theatre were built from scratch, with a design that is interpretive of the old.

    Mok Wei Wei, managing director of W Architects, said: "Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall has established itself as the icon in the Singapore built-scape -- its historic significance as well as the social memories it holds. So for us to come and do this 21st century refurbishment is really about trying to do our best to keep up its legacy."

    The monument now boasts new spaces for the public, performers and support crew alike. The theatre has new changing rooms and a loading bay, while the central atrium has been opened up and has become an additional area for the hosting of arts activities.

    But having new spaces means some sacrifices were necessary. For instance, the theatre now seats fewer people - about 600 from some 900 before - to free up space in what is now the atrium. The concert hall's balcony was also made smaller and higher, so that acoustics are not compromised for those sitting below.

    Mr Mok said: "The reduction of seats is so that we can get quality, we're not just talking about quantity of seat numbers. We're talking about the quality of the restoration of the monument, quality of the sound in the hall, and it is quality that drives the decision-making."

    But the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall’s smaller capacity suits the arts scene perfectly. According to feedback from arts circles, there is a shortage of mid-sized venues. The only other such venue is the Drama Centre, which is located at the National Library.

    Ms Lai said: "A lot of arts groups really don't have productions of the scale that can fill a thousand-seater like what you have at the Esplanade. And then if you look at Marina Bay Sands, the Star, they are all huge. I think this kind of smaller venues is going to be exactly what most of our performing groups are looking for."

    Early signs are promising. The monument's management said there has been healthy interest from arts groups since bookings opened in April.

    Victoria Concert Hall's first ticketed event is the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's homecoming performance.

    Channel NewsAsia has been tracking the project for two years. A one-hour documentary entitled Grand New Victoria will air on 31 August.

    - CNA/xq

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