What's News: March 17, 2018

Hoe Wah Toon springing onto the vault during training at the CCAB gymnastics hall for next month's Commonwealth Games, for which he has qualified in the vault and floor.
Hoe Wah Toon springing onto the vault during training at the CCAB gymnastics hall for next month's Commonwealth Games, for which he has qualified in the vault and floor.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

TOP OF THE NEWS

Leaders push for free trade

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a strong push for nations to continue working together on free trade, with Mr Turnbull calling protectionism a "dead end", while Mr Lee noted that Asean continues to work towards boosting economic integration.

TOP OF THE NEWS

S'pore exports fall 5.9%

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports contracted by 5.9 per cent in February from the same month a year earlier - the first decline since last September. Most economists attributed this largely to the Chinese New Year festivities that began from mid-February, and added that they remain confident of overall trade prospects.


Mr Donald Trump at the Asean-US Commemorative Summit in Manila last November. PHOTO: REUTERS

WORLD

Asean key in US strategy

United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong said the Trump administration sees South-east Asia as the fulcrum of its "free and open Indo-Pacific" strategy rather than a region excluded from it. The new point man for US security initiatives in East Asia and the Pacific described the strategy as a "high priority" for President Donald Trump.

WORLD

China to axe crowded classes

China's Education Minister Chen Baosheng yesterday outlined plans to shrink overcrowded classes to raise the quality of education. The authorities will get rid of the 86,000 "super-sized" classes with more than 66 students by the end of the year, and the 368,000 "oversized" classes with more than 56 students by 2020.

OPINION

Relevance of Empire debate

The days of Empire may have long gone, but the rise of new powers and of ethno-nationalism have revived debates on the colonial impact on our world today, says Associate Professor Farish A. Noor.

HOME

Ferrari driver jailed for assault

Ferrari driver Shi Ka Yee, 72, has been sentenced to four weeks in jail and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for six months for assaulting a fellow motorist. Shi had punched Mr Raphael Chong in 2014 after he refused to move his BMW to let her vehicle pass.

HOME

Adoption issue by gay singles

The Adoption Act protects girls from potential sexual abuse by single male adopters but is silent on boys and girls being adopted by single men and women with a different sexual orientation. A judge had flagged the issue in rejecting a gay man's application to adopt a boy.

BUSINESS

$1.1b raised in capital markets

Local companies have raised US$816.9 million (S$1.1 billion) from capital markets so far this year - the strongest start since 2013.

This includes the four initial public offerings this year that raised US$344.4 million, almost six times that raised by the three listings last year.

SPORT

Hoe back for C'wealth Games

Hoe Wah Toon just cannot walk away from gymnastics. The 29-year-old is coming out of retirement for a second time in four years to compete in the floor and vault events at next month's Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia. Hoe, who is a dentist, won a historic bronze medal in the vault at the Glasgow Games four years ago.


PHOTO: NYTIMES

LIFE

Millennials go big on plants

Wellness-minded millennials are filling their apartments with houseplants - a cheap and renter-friendly way to imbue their homes with cosiness.

American millennials, especially those living in cities, were responsible for 31 per cent of houseplant sales in 2016.


WEB SPECIAL

Dreaming of sleeping

See what readers chose in a poll of how they would like to sleep. http:// str.sg/oTsu


VIDEO

Nordic bliss

The latest World Happiness Report says Finland is the happiest country in the world. What is its secret? http://str.sg/oTx6

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'What's News'. Print Edition | Subscribe