Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Thursday, March 24, and which we think you'd be interested in.
It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.
Singapore Budget 2016 to be delivered
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver his maiden Budget speech in Parliament on Thursday (March 24) at 3.30pm.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said real-time updates of key announcements will be posted on MOF's Facebook page and Twitter account, while the public is encouraged to use the hashtag #SGBudget2016 to view Budget-related tweets and postings.
Real-time updates will also be posted on www.straitstimes.com, and a live telecast of the speech can be seen on The Straits Times website.
Taiwanese fishing boats to arrive for resupply in Singapore
The two Taiwanese fishing boats that were fired upon on Monday (March 21) by an Indonesian government vessel are scheduled to arrive in Singapore to unload their catch and to get resupplied on Thursday (March 24) .
Although none of the crew were injured, the incident left at least one of the two boats - the Sheng Te Tsai and the Lien I Hsing No. 116 - with bullet holes, according to Taiwanese media reports.
In what it called "a detailed investigation report," the Liuchiu Fishermen's Association in Pingtung, where the two Taiwanese fishing boats are registered, said the two fishing boats had full loads of fish and were on their way to Singapore at the northern entrance of the Strait of Malacca when the incident took place and were not fishing illegally.
US Secretary of State to hold talks with Russian President
United States Secretary of State John Kerry will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday (March 24) , hoping to build momentum for peace in Syria after a partial Russian withdrawal and to restore a fragmenting ceasefire in Ukraine.
But few experts expect Washington’s top diplomat to make much headway with a Kremlin that has achieved its short-term goals and is seeking new victories.
US figures on state of economy to be released
A day after registering a rise in home prices, the United States will release on Thursday (March 24) latest data on the initial and continuing jobless claims for the last two weeks, while Markit services will give estimates for service and composite flash purchasing managers’ index for March.
The figures will reflect the strength of the economy as the quarter winds down. The data will be watched by central bank policymakers who are mulling over the next interest rate hike during the year, after lifting rates rates by 25 basis points from near zero in December.