Morning Minutes: What will make headlines, Aug 5, 2016

The Singapore Sustainability Academy, which will be launched today (Aug 5), will be a major training and networking facility on sustainability.
The Singapore Sustainability Academy, which will be launched today (Aug 5), will be a major training and networking facility on sustainability.PHOTO: ST FILE

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Friday, Aug 5, and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

Singapore Sustainability Academy to be launched

Property developer City Developments Limited and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore, a non-profit organisation, are launching the Singapore Sustainability Academy today (Aug 5).

It will be a major training and networking facility on sustainability, and aims to promote a low-carbon economy, resource efficiency and sustainable practices among businesses and the community, particularly youths. - SAMANTHA BOH

Former Thai Premier Yingluck to appear in court to begin defence on graft trial


Ousted former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (centre) poses with supporters in the northern province of Phrae, Thailand, on June 11, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Former Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to appear in court today (Aug 5) to begin laying out her defence in a criminal negligence trial over a rice subsidy scheme which the military junta says cost the state more than US$8 billion (S$10.8 billion). The rice scheme was a major catalyst in months of debilitating protests that led to the military takeover in May 2014.

Yingluck, whose older brother Thaksin Shinawatra was booted out as premier by a 2006 coup, is accused of failing to halt rampant corruption in the subsidy, which offered farmers nearly double the market rate for their crop and pumped billions of dollars into the Shinawatras’ key support base in the country’s northeastern rice bowl.

The policy led to a 40 per cent fall in Thai rice exports after the government hoarded rice in an attempt to push up its global price to fund the policy, only to turn markets away and costing Thailand its title as the world's top rice exporter.

Yingluck says the scheme was a genuine attempt to help rice farmers and denies wrongdoing, alleging that the case against her is a politically motivated attack on her family.

Malaysia to announce trade figures for June


Lorries cross a bridge in Klang, Malaysia, on Oct 7, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia’s exports in June may have fallen 4.2 per cent from a year earlier, the biggest drop in 13 months, due to commodity slump, as the South-east Asian country prepares to release its trade data today (Aug 5).

Economists predict June exports shrinking at their fastest rate since May 2015’s 6.6 per cent annual decline, due to lower palm oil prices and weak global demand. Imports were expected to fall 0.3 per cent from a year earlier, after rebounding to 3.1 per cent the previous month.

Indonesia to release Q2 growth figures


An Indonesian worker at a construction site in Jakarta on July 26, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

Indonesia is set to announce its second-quarter growth figures today (Aug 5), which analysts expect to come in at 5 per cent. Domestic consumption probably improved, but investment likely remained soft.

First-quarter growth was a disappointing 4.92 per cent. The government’s gross domestic product growth target this year is 5.2 per cent, much lower than the growth target of at least 6.3 per cent set in President Joko Widodo’s mid-term planning document.

US to release non-farm and manufacturing payrolls


A lineup of Ford Focus vehicles on an assembly line at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, on Jan 7, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

The United States will release data for non-farm payrolls and manufacturing payrolls today (Aug 5), amid a recent set of strong economic data, which can strengthen the case of its Federal Reserve bank to raise interest rates by the end of the year.

The Labour Department's payrolls for July is expected to add 180,000 jobs compared to 287,000 the month before.