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January 6, 2018

The Blaugrana are stepping up their interest in the Liverpool midfielder and a January move now looks on – but how will he fit in at the Catalan club?

Philippe Coutinho’s Barcelona dream is close to being fulfilled. After failing to sign the Brazilian from Liverpool in the summer, the Catalan club are back in for the 25-year-old in the winter window and a transfer should be completed some time this month.

Ever since Neymar left Barca in the summer, Coutinho was the top target for the Blaugrana along with Ousmane Dembele. The latter did arrive in a deal that could rise to €150 million, but the former was made to wait as Liverpool played hardball.

Negotiations went to the wire on deadline day, but the Reds refused to budge. Six months on, however, talks are set to take place once again and the player is keen on a transfer, even though he would not be able to feature in the Champions League until next season after already playing in the competition for Liverpool this term.

So how would he fit in at Barcelona? Will he be used as an attacker in Neymar’s vacant role on the left? Will his signing signal a return to 4-3-3? Will he play in Andres Iniesta’s position? Or could he feature in a four-man midfield for the Catalan club?

Coutinho Neymar role

The answer, quite probably, is “yes” to all of those questions. Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has utilised several systems already this season, including 4-3-3. 4-2-3-1, 3-5-2 and above all 4-4-2, and he will see Coutinho as a player who can slot into any of those formations.

If selected in Neymar’s vacant role as a left-sided forward, Coutinho would start alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. The MSN may be long gone, but this strikeforce has the potential to be devastating too and it could also operate with the Argentine in a deeper role and Dembele on the right, or without Suarez at all if necessary.

Coutinho often plays on the right for Brazil to allow Neymar to operate in his favoured position, but the Liverpool attacker prefers to play on the left and could yet be a like-for-like replacement for the Paris Saint-Germain forward at Camp Nou.

Neymar revealed back in September that Coutinho was in a “moment of great sadness” after his move to Barcelona failed to materialise and another former Brazil and Blaugrana icon, Rivaldo, has tipped the Liverpool man to shine at Camp Nou.

“Coutinho is a very good player and if he ends up signing for Barcelona, he will succeed easily,” he said recently. “I think he has the characteristics that a footballer needs to succeed in Barcelona. The style of play will suit him and fans will give him time to adapt. I think he will succeed.”

Coutinho Iniesta role

Time will tell, of course, but following the signing of Dembele, it seems Barcelona see Coutinho as more of a long-term replacement for Iniesta in a midfield role like the one he has excelled in this season at Anfield, and in the meantime a player who can alternate with the Spain star in his twilight years.

Iniesta has already featured heavily for the Catalan club in the current campaign and that has surprised many given that he can no longer play every week over a long season. However, with Coutinho on board, he could be kept fresh for the biggest tests later in the season (notably the Champions League, for which the Brazilian would be cup-tied anyway).

“I see him as a great link-up player, with so much talent,” Iniesta said in December. “He uses both feet, he scores goals, he combines up really well, he can link between the midfield and the attack.

“He is a player with a profile that fits well with ours and he would be a great signing if he arrives. I don’t see him as competition for me, but as a boost for the club.”

Coutinho wide

That is the thinking for Valverde as well and one of the conclusions from last season, when Barca missed out on La Liga to Real Madrid and exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, was the need for a larger and stronger squad.

When Neymar left, Barca decided to go for two top players (Dembele and Coutinho) instead of one, while Paulinho and Nelson Semedo have also added to the quality of the group since arriving in the summer.

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Another alternative for Valverde is to stick with 4-4-2 and utilise both Coutinho and Dembele as wingers, something he has tried with other wide players already this season, with Suarez further forward and Messi dropping deep to link between midfield and attack.

“We will see if he comes or not,” Valverde said on Wednesday when asked about Coutinho ahead of his side’s Copa del Rey clash against Celta Vigo. “He is a great player. We respect Liverpool and we respect the player.”

That was a suitably diplomatic response from the Barca boss, but it is likely that the 53-year-old already knows he will arrive and also how he will fit in at the Catalan club. And wherever he is used, Coutinho will make this team stronger for the remainder of this season and also in the years to come.

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The Spain International Striker Enjoyed A Dream Second Debut

Diego Costa claims to “feel like a footballer again” after putting his Chelsea pain behind him to enjoy a dream fresh start at Atletico Madrid.

Despite having helped the Blues to two Premier League titles during his time in England, the Spain international striker found himself frozen out by Antonio Conte at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

A frustrating summer for the 29-year-old followed, with a return to Atletico agreed while the La Liga giants were working under the restrictions of a transfer ban.

Costa has, however, finally been freed to open a second spell in the Spanish capital and netted just five minutes after stepping off the bench in a Copa del Rey clash with Lleida Esportiu on Wednesday.

He is hoping there will be many more efforts to come, with the burly frontman determined to make up for lost time.

Costa told reporters after a goal-scoring bow: “Now I am very happy because I feel like a footballer again.

“It is great for me to play for Atletico Madrid again, the club are very important to me and I am very happy with this.

“I could not have asked for anything more on my second debut, to be back playing again and to have scored a goal is fantas

A midweek outing for Atletico was Costa’s first since suffering defeat in the 2017 FA Cup final with Chelsea in May.

He did pick up a knock in the process of opening his goal account for his new club, with Atletico having announced that they will be carrying out medical examinations.

Costa took a blow to his right knee in finding the target against Lleida Esportiu, but was determined not to let a few bumps and bruises spoil his big night.

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The Manager Made The Remark After Sharing The Points With Antonio Conte

Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger controversially claimed that he would have killed himself had Davide Zappacosta’s late shot sealed three points for Chelsea on Wednesday.

A sparkling second half of football at the Emirates Stadium ended in a 2-2 draw between the London rivals.

The visitors hit back after Jack Wilshere’s first Premier League strike in over two years with goals via Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso, before Hector Bellerin restored parity late on.

There was one more twist in the tale, however, when Zappacosta crashed a long-range shot against the bar.

“I would have committed suicide,” Wenger told reporters after the final whistle when asked what he would have done if that effort went in.

“It was a great football game, we have shown great mental resources, I knew the last 20 minutes would be tough.”

The draw leaves Arsenal rooted in sixth place in the Premier League, outside the Champions League standings.

But while Wenger is annoyed to see his side down the table, he believes that the Gunners’ play merits better fortunes.

“It’s very frustrating. We have to look at ourselves as well,” he added.

“Our performances have been top quality but we have not had the results we could have had. We have not been gifted luck.”

The manager singled out goalscorer Wilshere for praise after opening the scoring with a fine finish.

“He’s at the level now that not many people expected him to be. He has not played for England since 2016, that means everyone gave up on him,” he said.

“But now it would not be a surprise if he gets a call up. He deserves great credit.”

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Cheetahs’ stalwart Lambri Moondari dies at SGH after complications from fall

Groundsman Lambri Moondari died on Monday at the Singapore General Hospital due to complications from a head injury after a fall in Batam while on a family holiday last week.

The 66-year-old’s sudden passing saddened many in the local football fraternity, especially those at S.League club Hougang United, which play their home matches at the Hougang pitch where Lambri tended to for almost two decades.

Hougang United general manager Matthew Tay said: ”Practically every morning, he would be out on the pitch under the hot sun scattering fertiliser, cutting grass, flattening the pitch and marking the boundary lines just to make sure the pitch is ready for training and matchdays.

”All of us at Hougang United Football Club are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr Lambri and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”

Cheetahs skipper Nurhilmi Jasni, who has been at the club since 2012, said: ”His dedication is evident through our field’s tiptop condition. When we report for training in the mornings, he is already at the stadium. He is a cheerful soul and we are sad to see him go.”

The father of three, who grew up idolising former Singapore internationals Arshad Khamis, Samad Allapitchay, Quah Kim Song and the late Dollah Kassim, started out as a grass cutter at the Farrer Park field in 1971.

Lambri joined the National Sports Promotion Board the same year before the Singapore Sports Council (now Sport Singapore) was established in 1973.

He rose through the ranks from an unskilled workman to become a groundsman at Queenstown Stadium in 1977 before he moved to Hougang Stadium in 2000

Rain or shine, Lambri faithfully and painstakingly patched up the pitch six days a week, and even trimmed the grass before it was outsourced to a contractor.

”The pitch changes day by day — it is never the same,” he told The Straits Times philosophically in a 2013 article that later won the S-League’s Story of the Year.

During that same awards ceremony, Lambri took home the S.League Special Award — the first time a groundsman was honoured.

Former Hougang defender Delwinder Singh noted that Lambri was equally attentive to people as he was to the pitch.

He said: ”Cik Lambri was always cheerful, always smiling.

”Whenever he saw us, he would wave and greet us. Even if you were having a bad day, seeing him would brighten your day. He was an honest man too, telling us if we played well or not after matches, but there was always encouragement from him.”

There was kindness outside of football as well.

On Hougang’s Facebook page, Nalza Ijah Nalzam wrote: ”An event my organisation had planned was rained out in November 2017. As I stood in the rain to inform participants of the cancellation, the late Mr Lambri came up to me to chat.

”Halfway through, he went to his room and came out with a cup of hot coffee. He offered me the cup and insisted I drink it to warm myself up.

”I asked him why he wasn’t drinking and he said it was his last packet of instant coffee and, when I offered it back to him, he declined and said he would make a cup of tea for himself.

‘All through the two hours, he stood beside me to keep me company and I never thought much of it. He told me how he cycled from his home every morning even in the rain. ”I was blessed to have had the pleasure to meet such a kind and selfless soul.”

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Playmaker is one of four Singaporeans to feature in MSL next term

Now 29, he has not always lived up to that expectation, as he struggled with a spate of leg fractures.

This past season is his first injury-free one since he broke his right leg and dislocated his right ankle at the 2014 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup.

He recovered in 2015, only to fracture the same fibula last year and was out for five months.

Shahdan said yesterday: “It wasn’t easy. But I still have great passion to play football, and I have great support from my family. Otherwise I would have given up.”

Following a steady campaign with Tampines – he scored six goals in 27 appearances this year – as well as re-establishing himself as a first-team regular with the national team, Shahdan appears to have finally caught a break.

 

“I’m happy to secure an overseas move and challenge myself in the MSL,” said Shahdan, who recently agreed a three-year extension with the Stags but will now take his wife and two sons with him to Malaysia.

“I’m thankful to Tampines chairman Desmond Ong and coach Juergen Raab for allowing me to go on loan for a year.

“Playing for a foreign team for the first time is a big opportunity for me. I know I haven’t been consistent enough so far in my career, but I am still hungry for success and I will work hard to re-establish myself at both club and international levels.”

Raab agreed to release Shahdan as he felt the talented player can learn from the experience.

The 59-year-old German said: “It was a big request from him and we decided to give him the chance because we felt the MSL is of good quality with better imports and we hope Shahdan can go and show that there are good Singaporean players.

“He is a good strategist who is able to see many situations and immediately play the right ball. We wish him the best in Melaka next year.”

Melaka, who finished eighth in the 12-team MSL last season, are coached by Portuguese Eduardo Almeida.

Besides Shahdan, Melaka have strengthened their midfield further by signing former Portugal Under-21 midfielder Tiago Gomes, who has featured in La Liga with Hercules, and Malaysia international wingers Chanturu Suppiah and R. Gopinathan from Johor Darul Takzim.

Shahdan’s compatriots Faris Ramli and Hafiz Sujad were also on trial at Melaka for the sole Asean slot before the club opted for Shahdan.

Melaka manager Yusoff Mahadi said: “What we needed was someone to play in the middle of the park, and now we have such a player thanks to Shahdan’s inclusion.”

Shahdan, who has 52 international caps, is the fourth Lion set to feature in the MSL in 2018. Hariss Harun (JDT), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang) and Madhu Mohana (Negeri Sembilan) are the others.

He said: “It will be weird to play against them in a foreign league, but I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s a different challenge as we move out of our comfort zone and now have the responsibility to justify our positions as imports.”

Another three Lions – Zulfahmi Arifin (Chonburi), Hassan Sunny (Army United) and Izwan Mahbud (Nongbua Pitchaya) – will be plying their trade in Thailand.

Veteran defender Baihakki Khaizan could also join the exodus.

The 33-year-old is in Saudi Arabia to trial with second-tier Jeddah Club, who are 14th in the 16-club competition that ends next May.

His trial ends on Saturday and he is hoping to become the first Singaporean to play in the Saudi Arabian league.

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The Singapore netball team are facing an uphill task

Last night’s defeat at the OCBC Arena, which came after Sunday’s 53-54 loss to Ireland, left Natalie Milicich still searching for her first competitive win as Singapore coach.

Milicich, who took over in September, gave credit to the African side, who are ranked world No. 30 and dominated play against world No. 19 Singapore.

The 50-year-old New Zealander said: “We have to give credit to Swaziland because I think they played a very, very strong game.

“It was a combination of Swaziland playing a very disciplined game and then our own little errors in terms of ball placement, just making ourselves available to the ball a little bit earlier and making those connections earlier as well.”

Swaziland, who beat Hong Kong 48-36 on Sunday, bagged their second win with the highest average shooting accuracy of 86.5 per cent in the tournament so far.

With Singapore’s 1.96m-tall goalkeeper Chen Lili in the treatment room after Sunday’s match against Ireland, Milicich felt that her team’s defence could not cope with Swaziland’s strong attackers – the 1.79m-tall Jabulisile Khathwane and Sebenzile Nxumalo, who is 1.73m tall.

Milicich added that she places more emphasis on the consistency of the team’s performance than the scoreline.

She said: “I try not to think too much about the pressure. We’ve got to think about our performance and we’ve got a bigger picture.

“I’ve been with the team for only six weeks, so I’m still learning about the players and we’re doing some really great stuff out there, we’ve just got to go for longer.”

Going up against bigger and stronger opponents, Singapore’s goal defender Nur Aqilah Andin felt that the hosts were at a disadvantage in terms of size.

The 21-year-old said: “The game started pretty slow for us, and what we planned for the first quarter didn’t work as well so we switched it up after that. We knew that it was going to be tough, but we were ready.

“We had nothing to lose because we knew that they were a better team, and we fought as hard as they did, but they were definitely more fired up than during yesterday’s game.”

Despite the loss, Singapore’s co-vice captain Nurul Baizura Abdul Razak remains optimistic ahead of today’s game against world No. 24 Hong Kong.

The 27-year-old said: “Against Hong Kong, we should have the same mentality and stay positive.

“Ultimately, of course, winning is great but there’s much more to learn from a defeat.”

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National women’s bowler Cherie Tan finished third

The 28-year-old had bowled a score of 237, losing out to South Korea’s Yun Hee Yeo (255) and eventual champion, United States’ Anthony Simonsen (244) in the second round of the finals, which was played on a survivor format. The lowest scorer in each round was eliminated.

In the mixed-gender tournament, where women keglers get an eight-pin handicap, Tan was gutted to have come so close to winning.

She said: “I bowled pretty well for the step-ladder match, so it’s quite disappointing not to be able to win. But the other two outstruck me, so I guess they had a better day.

“It’s definitely bittersweet, because I came so close to winning this year but I didn’t. But overall it was a good tournament for me, so I’m pretty satisfied with my performance.”

Tan had also finished third in this tournament last year, but felt that she had put up a better performance this time around.

“As compared to last year, this year was a bit harder because the lane conditions were a bit harsher and less forgiving,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, I was just focusing on my own game, and not bothering about what the opponents were doing. So I’ll definitely say that I bowled way better this year.”

Ending 2017 on a good note, Tan added: “The year has been quite good. I made two TV finals in the US and won a SEA Games gold medal. At the World Championships, the team came in second, and I came in fifth for all events.

“So overall it’s been quite a consistent performance for me all year round. Our focus next year will be on the Asian Games in August.”

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How To Win Playing Keno

Playing Keno is like playing the lottery: You pick your numbers and hope that they hit. Here are some tips to help you win at keno and get more out of your keno game.

How Many Keno Numbers to Pick

How many spots should you pick? There is no one right answer, but there are a few principles to keep in mind. The more keno numbers you pick, the higher your potential winnings. If you bet $1 and pick only one number, hitting your number will win you $3. If you pick 5 numbers, you can win $50. If you pick 10 numbers, you can win $1,800. And if you pick 15 keno numbers, you can win $10,000.

On the other hand, if you pick more numbers, you also need to match more of them in order to win anything. If you pick 5 numbers, you need 2 matches to break even. If you pick 10, you need 3 matches to break even. And if you pick 15 keno numbers, you’ll need 5 matches to break even.

A Good Keno Bet

Close study of the online keno payout table will reveal some good bets. For example, if you pick anywhere from 7 to 11 keno numbers, you need 3 hits to break even. So it makes sense to pick 11 numbers. For one thing, your odds of at least getting your original bet back are higher, since it is easier to hit 3 out of 11 than it is to hit 3 out of 7. At the same time, the maximum payout on an 11-spot ticket is 3,000-to-1; on a 7-spot ticket it is only 100-to-1.

So, as a matter of keno strategy, picking 11 keno numbers makes more sense than picking 7, 8, 9, or 10 numbers, any way you look at it. Your chances of at least breaking even are much higher, and your maximum potential winning keno payout is also much higher.

Picking Your Keno Numbers

Have fun picking your keno numbers. Remember, the winning keno numbers are chosen at random, so any number has the same chance of winning as any other number. There is no “wrong” way to pick numbers in a game of keno. So you might as well have fun. You can go with birthdays, dress sizes, license plate numbers, or telephone numbers. It’s always fun to pick a theme each time you play and stick with that theme for the day. You can play birthdays on Monday, and telephone numbers on Tuesday. Any of these systems can enable you to win at keno. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

Balance Your Yin and Your Yang

Keno is an ancient Chinese game, based on certain principles of Chinese philosophy. One of these is the concept of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are the two opposing yet complementary forces of the universe. Ideally, Yin and Yang should be kept in perfect balance.

In keno, the Yin is represented by the top half of the keno ticket, and the Yang by the bottom half. To keep the Yin and Yang in harmony, you need to pick an equal number of keno spots from the top half and the bottom half of the keno ticket.

\nThe Yin and Yang theory of winning keno numbers has not been scientifically proven, but it certainly can’t hurt to have the mystical powers of the universe on your side.

Have Fun Playing Keno

The most important tip for playing Keno online is to know that you are having fun. You can hope for a little good luck and pick those keno numbers with pizzazz. And then, you can sit back, watch, and hope you will be the lucky keno winner for the day.

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Baccarat Rules, How To Playing And Get Win !

Although many people do not know how to play, Baccarat is actually one of the easiest casino games to play. It has been played in various forms since the early 1800’s. This Internet Casino offers the most popular version of baccarat, as found in most casinos in Las Vegas.

In Baccarat, cards are dealt to two hands, named Player and Banker. The object of the game is to correctly pick which hand will have the higher score. You can also place a bet on Tie, which pays 9 to 1.

GAME PLAY

To play Baccarat you simply choose whether you want to bet on Player, Banker, Tie, or any combination of the three.

To place a bet, click on the area in which you wish to bet, either Player, Banker, or Tie. Then click the chips in the lower left corner to add them to the betting area. If you want to remove chips from the betting area, click them.

When you are finished placing your bet(s), click deal.

After the hands are dealt, if you correctly bet on the outcome, you win.

If you bet on Player and win, you win even money. A R5 wager pays back your R5, plus an additional R5.

If you bet on Banker and win, you win even money minus a 5% commission. A R5 wager pays back your R5, plus an additional R4.75.

If you bet on Tie and win, you win 9 times your wager. A R5 wager pays back your R5, plus an additional R45.

THE DEAL

At the start of the game, the Player and Banker hands are each dealt two cards.

If the score of either hand totals 8 or 9, the game is over and no further cards are dealt to either hand.

If neither hand scored 8 or 9, the game proceeds as follows:

The Player goes first and must play according to the following rules:
The Player hand draws another card if its total is 0-5, otherwise it does not draw another card. Play now proceeds to the banker.

If the Banker hand totals 7, 8 or 9, the Banker does not get another card.
If the Banker’s first two cards total 0,1 or 2, then the Banker draws one card, otherwise, the Banker draws cards according to this table:

BASIC BACCARAT RULES

Card Values
The suits of the cards have no meaning in the game.

– Cards 2 through 9 count as face value.
– 10, Jack, Queen, and King count as 0.
– Ace counts as 1.

To calculate the score for the hand, add the values of each card and drop the ten’s digit.

For example:
– A hand with a seven of hearts and a seven of spades scores as follows:
7 + 7 = 14 – the ten’s digit = 4

– A hand with 3 sevens has a score of 1:
7 + 7 + 7 = 21 – the ten’s digit = 1

BACCARAT INTERFACE

Deal
Clicking on the Deal Button after placing a bet starts a new game.

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No change in land supply for private homes in first-half 2018

SINGAPORE – The Government has decided to keep the total supply of land for private residential development for the first half of next year at about the same level as that for the current second half 2017 slate, citing among other factors, sufficient supply from the redevelopment of collective sale sites being generated from the private sector.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) said on Wednesday (Dec 13) morning that under its first half 2018 Government Land Sales (GLS) Programme, it will be offering land that can potentially yield about 8,045 private homes (including executive condominium or EC units) and 63,960 sq m gross floor area (GFA) of commercial space.

This is compared with the 8,125 private residential units (including EC units) and 83,590 sq m GFA of commercial space on both confirmed and reserve lists in the current second half 2017 slate.

For first half 2018, through the confirmed list, the MND will release six private residential sites (including one EC site) that can yield 2,775 private homes (including 450 EC units) and 4,450 sq m GFA of commercial space.

In comparison, it is releasing land for 2,840 private residential units (including ECs) and 26,800 sq m GFA of commercial space in the second half 2017 programme. Confirmed list sites are launched according to schedule regardless of demand.

On the reserve list, the Government will offer eight private residential sites (including two EC sites) and one commercial site. These sites can yield 5,270 private homes (including 1,255 EC units) and 59,510 sq m GFA of commercial space. This is similar to the second half 2017 reserve list supply of 5,285 private residential units and 56,790 sq m GFA of commercial space.

Reserve-list sites are launched only upon successful application by a developer or when there is sufficient market interest in a site.

In working out the supply for the first half 2018 GLS Programme, the Government had taken into consideration several factors.

Commenting on the private residential market, the MND said: “On the one hand, there is strong demand for sites by real estate developers, and a pick-up in transaction volumes. On the other hand, there is a large potential supply of around 20,000 units from awarded en-bloc sale and GLS sites that have not yet been granted planning approval, on top of the around 18,000 unsold units that already have planning approval.”

Moreover, there are more than 30,000 existing private housing units that remain vacant, the ministry added.

“Therefore, on balance, the Government has decided to keep the total supply of units for first half 2018 at about the same level as the supply of units from the second half 2017 GLS Programme.”

Taken together, the total supply in the pipeline, including the units from the first half 2018 GLS Programme, will be adequate to meet the purchase demand for new private housing from home buyers over the next one to two years.

“When these are completed, the overall stock of private housing will be more than sufficient to meet Singaporeans’ housing needs,” it added.

The first half 2018 reserve list will have one site at Woodlands Square for a mixed-use development comprising mainly office space. “This site will allow developers to initiate the development of more office space if they assess that there is demand,” the MND said.

The confirmed list sites on the first half 2018 programme include a land parcel in Dairy Farm Road that can generate about 500 private homes and 4,000 sq m of commercial space, and plot in Jalan Jurong Kechil that can yield about 280 private homes. The sole EC site on the confirmed list, which can generate about 450 units, is along Canberra Link in the Sembawang area.

The new reserve list sites include a plot along Sims Drive that can yield about 680 private homes and a site in Peck Seah Street near Tanjong Pagar MRT Station for about 700 private homes and 4,500 sq m of commercial space. Another new site, in Clementi Avenue 1, can yield up to 640 private homes. The two EC sites on the reserve list are in Tampines Avenue 10 (for about 715 EC units) and Anchorvale Crescent (for about 540 units).

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