MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, Aug 31, 2015

Pilgrims and guests at the pre-departure haj briefing organised by the Association of Muslim Travel Agents Singapore (AMTAS) with support from Muis, held at the Singapore Expo on 2 August 2015.
Pilgrims and guests at the pre-departure haj briefing organised by the Association of Muslim Travel Agents Singapore (AMTAS) with support from Muis, held at the Singapore Expo on 2 August 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Aug 31 and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

First group of pilgrims to go on annual Haj to Mecca on Monday

The first group of pilgrims will go on the annual Haj to Mecca on Monday (Aug 31). The Mufti of Singapore and a senior director from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will send them off from Changi Airport Terminal 2. All Muslims hope to undertake the Haj at least once in a lifetime if they have the means. Muslims currently on the waiting list face an average wait of 12 years, according to Muis. Those who plan to sign up can expect to wait for about 25 years. - Zhaki Abdullah

Obama to go on three-day tour to Alaska for climate change drive


United States President Barack Obama will address an arctic conference, meet Alaska's governor and travel to a town inside the Arctic Circle. PHOTO: AFP

United States President Barack Obama heads to the northern US state of Alaska today (Aug 31) for a three-day tour that is part of a drive to call attention to the impact of climate change on the Arctic. There, he will address an arctic conference, meet Alaska's governor and travel to a town inside the Arctic Circle, becoming the first US president to venture into the circle while in office. Mr Obama's trip comes after he was forced to defend his decision to allow Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean, prompting criticism from environmentalists who say it will expend the kind of energy production blamed for climate change.