MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, July 16, 2015

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck will launch a new body set up to help SMEs.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck will launch a new body set up to help SMEs.ST PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

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

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

New non-profit body launched to help SMEs

A new non-profit body has been set up to help owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here cope with the labour crunch. The Workforce Advancement Federation will work with the Workforce Development Agency on schemes to help SMEs train their employees and refine human resource policies. Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck will officially launch the new federation today. - CHEOW SUE ANN

External trade data for June released today


Figures for Singapore's external trade are expected to remain stagnant. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Singapore’s external trade data for last month will be released today. The signs do not point to a robust set of figures after non-oil domestic exports unexpectedly fell 0.2 per cent year on year in May. Total shipment of electronics will likely continue its dismal run and offset any potential improvement in the more vibrant but volatile sectors such as pharmaceuticals. - WONG WEI HAN

Vote on bigger role for Japan’s military


Activists protest against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose government will vote on controversial bills to expand the role of Japan's Self-Defence Forces. PHOTO: AFP  

Japan's lower House of parliament is set to see a vote today (THU) on the controversial security bills that seek to expand the role of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. Backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Bills are expected to sail through the House, where Abe leads a coalition with a more than two-thirds majority. If cleared, the Bills go to the Upper House, which will have until Sept 27 to enact the legislation before the parliament session ends. Abe has said the Bills are necessary for a bolder security stance, which is vital to meet new challenges, such as those from a rising China.