What's News: Jan 24 2018


Singapore, Sri Lanka sign FTA

A free trade agreement that will grant Singapore firms greater access to the Sri Lankan market was signed between the two countries yesterday. The deal guarantees tariff-free access for Singapore exports to Sri Lanka on 80 per cent of all tariff lines for 15 years. 


South Korea slams US tariffs

South Korea said yesterday that it will complain to the World Trade Organisation about a United States decision to impose tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, calling the action excessive and regrettable. China, also affected by the new trade tariffs, yesterday hinted that it could take a similar approach. 

Thick black smoke engulfing the Kusatsu-Shirane volcano in central Japan after an eruption yesterday, which sparked an avalanche.
Thick black smoke engulfing the Kusatsu-Shirane volcano in central Japan after an eruption yesterday, which sparked an avalanche. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


Japan volcano eruption kills 1

One man was killed and at least 11 people were injured when rocks from an erupting volcano rained down on skiers at a mountain resort in central Japan yesterday. An avalanche soon after the eruption engulfed about a dozen skiers. The authorities warned that further eruptions by Kusatsu-Shirane, a 2,160m volcano, could not be ruled out. 


US govt shutdown ends

US President Donald Trump signed a Bill on Monday to end a three-day government shutdown. The impasse broke after Senate Democrats accepted a deal from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that will fund the government until Feb 8. In exchange, Mr McConnell agreed to address Democrats' demands that Congress restore protection for people known as "dreamers". 


Much ado about blockchain

Tracking diamonds, use of photos online or property ownership - these are some of the ways blockchain can change the world. But much of the buzz now is hype, says Vikram Khanna. 


Agency lapses flagged

The Public Accounts Committee, a Parliament watchdog, reminded public sector agencies to adhere strictly to control measures, adding that weaknesses detected in areas such as IT and finance were due to non-compliance, in a report submitted on Monday. 


NS 'bedrock of S'pore defence'

Singaporeans must continue to show support for national servicemen, given that they form the backbone of national service, said President Halimah Yacob. NS is the bedrock of Singapore's national defence that allows for the Republic's survival, success and security, she said. 


More CEOs upbeat about 2018

There is a record rise in the percentage of business leaders who are optimistic about the global economy, based on a survey of around 1,300 chief executives that was released during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It found that 57 per cent believe global growth will improve in the next 12 months, well up on the 29 per cent in last year's poll and the biggest year-on-year rise since the survey began asking this question in 2012. 


C'wealth Games team picked

A total of 59 athletes across 12 sports have been selected to represent Singapore at the April 4 to 15 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Table tennis and shooting, which produced 24 Commonwealth Games gold medals for the Republic over the last three editions, will once again be called upon to do the heavy lifting. 


Rooftop art at National Gallery

A small tearoom inside a bamboo maze on the roof garden of the National Gallery Singapore is the heart of a new art installation. The work designed by Argentina-born Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is named untitled 2018 (the infinite dimensions of smallness). It will be on show until Oct 28. 

What it should have been

In our report yesterday "He quit social media for 'deeper connections' ", a wrong picture of Mr Bryan Tan was used. The picture was of Mr Shan Herng. We are sorry for the error.


Tokyo eats

The Straits Times Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun has been eating her way around Tokyo. Here are some drool-worthy food she tucked into. str.sg/oUoo


Money hub

At Certis Cisco's cash processing centre in Commonwealth, money from banks, ATMs and retail outlets is counted and sorted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. str.sg/oU3g

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2018, with the headline 'What's News'. Print Edition | Subscribe