Morning Minutes: What will make headlines, Jan 25, 2016

Parliament is set to debate President Tony Tan's speech starting today (Jan 25).
Parliament is set to debate President Tony Tan's speech starting today (Jan 25). ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Monday, Jan 25, and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH

Parliament sits for one week starting today (Jan 25) with more than 70 MPs expected to speak.

They will debate President Tony Tan Keng Yam's speech to Parliament at its opening two Fridays ago, when he set out the Government's goals and policies for its new five-year term.

Security and economic issues are expected to feature prominently in the light of the terror threat and the volatile state of regional markets.

But Singapore's plans for education, manpower and health and social policies are also expected to be debated.

Today, MPs will also elect two Deputy Speakers, who are expected to be Mr Charles Chong (Punggol East) and Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten).

The first MP slated to speak is Mr Christopher De Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC).

SCIENCE CONFERENCE TO OPEN TODAY

The 3rd Heritage Science Conference opens today (Jan 25) at Nanyang Technological University. The two-day conference focuses on key issues relating to the safeguarding and promotion of intangible cultural heritage. Under the definition by Unesco, intangible cultural heritage includes traditions or living experiences inherited from one's ancestors. These can be social practices, rituals, as well as festive knowledge and events. - MELODY ZACCHEUS

KERRY BEGINS ASIA TRIP


US Secretary of State John Kerry begins his Asia trip today (Jan 25). PHOTO: REUTERS

US Secretary of State John Kerry begins a three-day Asia trip today (Jan 25) in Laos, the 2016 chair of Asean, where he is expected to urge Asean countries to stand up in unity to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Mr Kerry will head to Cambodia tonight where he will meet Prime Minister Hun Sen, and then on to Beijing for talks on Wednesday, during which he will press China to support additional UN sanctions on North Korea over the latter's recent nuclear test. 

SYRIA PEACE TALKS TO BEGIN


US Vice-President Joe Biden has said that the US and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against the Islamic State group in Syria. PHOTO: REUTERS

The latest round of Syria peace talks between the war-torn country's government and opposition are planned to begin today (Jan 25) in Geneva but were at risk of being delayed partly because of a dispute over who will comprise the opposition delegation. The main coalition of opposition bodies, the High Negotiations Committee, announced that its delegation to the talks would include Mohamed Alloush from the powerful rebel group Jaish al-Islam, but the Syrian ruling regime's ally Moscow has said it considers Jaish al-Islam to be “terrorists” while other opposition groups insisted that it was unacceptable for the delegation to be led by a member of an armed group. US Vice-President Joe Biden has said the United States and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against the Islamic State group in Syria should the Syrian government and rebels fail to reach a political settlement.