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The elderly living in central Singapore will have 2,500 more volunteers visiting them regularly and organising events for them this year.

The Central Community Development Council (CDC) launched its Silver Friends recruitment drive yesterday. It aims to get more elderly befrienders to reach out to 5,000 more seniors this year, reported The Straits Times.

The CDC now has about 2,000 Silver Friends who befriended 4,200 elderly last year. Central CDC Mayor Denise Phua said her district has 366,000 elderly residents, the highest in Singapore. Many live without family support.

Yesterday, the CDC and Silver Friends volunteers organised a Chinese New Year celebration for 150 elderly at Tanjong Pagar CC.

Singaporeans have more than 45 courses at community centres on which to spend their SkillsFuture Credit - the national initiative to encourage lifelong learning.

About 1,000 residents so far have signed up for courses such as fashion, IT and languages at 15 centres around the island since the scheme, which gives citizens aged 25 and above $500 to pay for skills upgrading, kicked in this month.

Yesterday, the People's Association held a session at Bedok Community Centre to teach senior citizens how to use their $500 credit, reported The Straits Times. They can also sign up for classes, of which more than 200 are available, at booths.

Marina Bay Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) yesterday launched the Central Division Retail Watch Group at Bugis+.

Police said the group consists of retailers from major shopping malls such as Bugis+, Bugis Junction, Raffles City, Marina Square and Suntec City.

Membership is also open to other retailers whose outlets fall within the jurisdiction of the Marina Bay NPC.

Police added that the group will be a platform for police and retailers to exchange information on how to strengthen vigilance and measures against potential terrorist attacks.

Four miners trapped underground for 36 days in a collapsed Chinese gypsum mine were pulled out on Friday, a "miracle" rescue in a country with a poor track record on industrial accidents.

The final operation to save the men trapped more than 200m underground took two hours as they were hauled up to the surface one by one in a rescue "capsule", according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The four were among 29 trapped when the mine collapsed on Dec 25 last year.

But the rescue was marred as a local government official said there had been no contact with 13 other missing miners. - AFP.