What's News: December 18 2015

Fans came dressed as Star Wars characters for the first public screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, at Shaw Lido on Dec 16, 2015.
Fans came dressed as Star Wars characters for the first public screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, at Shaw Lido on Dec 16, 2015. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

TOP OF THE NEWS

Markets lifted by US rate hike

The guessing game that has dominated markets for more than a year finally ended yesterday when the United States raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade.

The move to lift rates by 0.25 percentage points from near zero lifted global stock markets as investors were relieved that the uncertainty was finally over.


TOP OF THE NEWS

Record $116m paid to the poor

A record $116 million was given out in social assistance payments to the poor for the last financial year, a 14 per cent rise from the year before.

Some 91,000 people were helped last year, up from about 54,000 five years ago.


WORLD

China protests US-Taiwan deal

China has summoned the United States envoy to protest against Washington's sale of warships to Taiwan, as part of a massive US$1.8 billion (S$2.5 billion) arms package, Beijing said yesterday. US officials said there was no change to the US' "one China" policy.


Syrian refugees waiting to register at the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Amman, Jordan, last week.
Syrian refugees waiting to register at the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Amman, Jordan, last week. PHOTO: REUTERS

WORLD

Displacement escalating due to conflicts and disasters: UN

The United Nations has warned of a staggering escalation of displacement caused both by conflicts and natural disasters, urging the international community to treat the two intertwined causes together. At least 37 countries are being plagued by conflicts and serious crises, the UN said.


OPINION

Hurdles to Asean integration

The outlook for Asean integration is mixed, with a slowing China affecting growth in the region, and nationalistic instincts creating obstacles to true integration, associate editor Ravi Velloor says in the Speaking of Asia column.


HOME

25cm-tumour 'largest seen'

The surgeon who led an operation at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital to remove a tumour from an Indonesian baby said it was the worst case of sacrococcygeal teratoma she had come across. Dr Low Yee said she had never seen a tumour as big as the one on Jeslyn Lim, which stretched to 25cm.


HOME

N-level students do well

Of the 11,528 students from the Normal (Academic) stream who took the N-level exams this year, 74.9 per cent qualified for Secondary 5. This is comparable to last year's figure of 74.6 per cent.


BUSINESS

Singapore exports take a hit

Exporters here suffered another unexpectedly bad month in November, as Asia remains stuck in a trade recession while the world economy rejigs itself.

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports fell 3.3 per cent last month over November last year, far short of market forecasts of a 1.5 per cent expansion.


SPORT

Doctor fined in steroids case

A South Korean doctor was fined 1 million won (S$1.2 million) yesterday for injecting swimming star Park Tae Hwan with steroids, an incident which resulted in an 18-month ban for the former Olympic champion.

The doctor, identified only by her surname Kim, was found guilty of breaching the medical code.


LIFE

Force is still strong, say fans

Local fans at the Singapore premiere of the new Star Wars movie on Wednesday night are mostly happy with The Force Awakens. But many fans were also visibly shaken by a major incident in the movie.


LIFE

Thriller sales cross 30m mark

Michael Jackson's 1982 album Thriller, still breaking new ground more than 30 years after its release and six years after the pop superstar's death, became the first album in history to cross the 30-million mark in the United States, record industry officials said on Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'What's News: December 18 2015'. Print Edition | Subscribe