What's News: October 12 2015

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (right) shakes hand with Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, Indonesia's West Java province, on Oct 11, 2015.
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (right) shakes hand with Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, Indonesia's West Java province, on Oct 11, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS


New standards for palm oil

Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed on new standards to produce environmentally sustainable palm oil following a meeting between President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday. Malaysia has pledged to increase cooperation to prevent fires in Indonesia. Water-bombing operations by the two countries and Singapore kicked off yesterday.


Kidnap phone scams up

More people are falling for kidnap phone scams. Last year, there were 40 cases in which people were cheated of a total $113,700, compared with 13 cases in 2013. The first half of this year has already seen 22 victims cheated.


BN 'against racial extremism'

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (photo) has said his Barisan Nasional coalition is against racial extremism, less than a month after some leaders in his party backed a gathering marked by incendiary remarks against the Chinese.


Myanmar ceasefire pact

Myanmar's government is keen to play up a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with big ethnic armed groups at a signing ceremony in front of international diplomats, observers and the media on Thursday. But critics dismiss the agreement as half-baked.


Easing cyber-security tension

The recent cyber-security pact between the United States and China is a crucial initial step in easing the tension over cyber security. But, at most, it is likely to provide a lull before the two engage in a deeper tussle for information, says Jonathan Eyal.

Commuters can enjoy live performances on MRT platforms while waiting for their trains in 15 MRT stations, up from five. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


Buskers' music on more MRT platforms

Buskers now have new performing platforms. The Land Transport Authority has extended a scheme to allow busking on train platforms in 15 MRT stations, up from five initially. The new stations include those in Bugis and Orchard, as well as Boon Lay and Tampines.


Letters from another time

Letters sent by overseas Chinese to their families in China more than a century ago are the subject of a conference at the Nanyang Technological University. Such correspondence can shed light on the lives of Chinese immigrants.


Corporate scene looks bleak

The corporate earnings season is coming round again, but the overall picture may not be pretty. Weak Singapore economic data, slowing Chinese and global growth and the uncertainty over a Federal Reserve rate hike are expected to weigh heavily on third-quarter results.


Hamilton smells victory

Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic Russian Formula One Grand Prix to take a huge step towards his third world championship, after his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg retired with throttle failure. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished runner-up to overtake the German as Hamilton's closest rival, but he is 66 points adrift.


Actress turns public speaker

Patricia Arquette, who took home this year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the drama Boyhood, says her acceptance speech calling for wage equality for women has had a bigger impact than winning the award itself. She is now often invited to speak at events for social causes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2015, with the headline 'What's News: October 12 2015'. Subscribe