MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, March 3, 2015

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.

Start of Parliament debate on 2015 Budget 

The annual debate on the Budget Statement starts in Parliament today, and about 60 MPs are expected to speak in the first three days. A key topic will be the SkillsFuture programme to help Singaporeans keep developing skills to advance their careers and, in turn, Singapore’s competitive edge.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will then address their comments and concerns in a wrap-up speech on Thursday. 

Parliament will then resolve itself into a Committee of Supply to scrutinise the spending plans of each of the 15 ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office. This debate will take place daily, till next Friday (March 13).

Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) is scheduled, as chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Finance as well as Trade and Industry, to start the debate today. - ZAKIR HUSSAIN

Israeli PM to make public speech on Iran nuclear deal

Morning6

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a controversial appearance on Capitol Hill to deliver a speech denouncing Iran nuclear talks.

The event has strained ties between the White House and Israel not just because the Obama administration supports the nuclear talks but also because the visit was not organised through normal diplomatic protocols.

Critics are also suggesting the speech is an election ploy for Mr Netanyahu. The address takes place in the morning in the US, which makes it difficult for Americans to tune in. In Israel, however, it will be the evening and most people will be off work. - JEREMY AU YONG

Launch of crowdfunding portal to aid startups

Morning2

Mr Andy Lim, who founded financial services group Moneyworld in 1992 and private equity firm Tembusu Partners in 2006, will unveil the launch of a crowdfunding portal targeted at investors and lenders who are willing to invest or lend to start-ups from as low as $5,000 each for up to 12 months. - JACQUELINE WOO

The Singapore Girl to gets its own wax figure

Morning3

Madame Tussauds Singapore is getting a new addition to its collection. A wax figure of the Singapore Girl will be revealed at the attraction on Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa, later today.

The museum already features local celebrities like singer Stefanie Sun, film-maker Jack Neo and actor Gurmit Singh. - KARAMJIT KAUR

Local R21 film Lang Tong cut before commercial release 

Morning4

Even though local film Lang Tong is rated R21, three minutes from the 80-minute long film had to be cut for its commercial release. The scenes cut include shots from two lesbian scenes.

The sex-themed thriller was first screened at the Singapore International Film Festival last December, and stars former beauty queen Angeline Yap, William Lawandi and Vivienne Tseng.

The movie will open in cinemas on Thursday. BENSON ANG attends its press conference today. 

Female golf stars glam it up for launch of HSBC Women's Champions

Morning5

The world's top women golfers, including defending champion Paula Creamer and teenage world No. 1 Lydia Ko, are in town in preparation for this week's HSBC Women's Champions tournament at Sentosa Golf Club.

Before the competition begins, however, they will swop style on the fairways for high fashion as they join in the official launch of the tournament. - JONATHAN WONG