What's News: April 18, 2017

United States Vice-President Mike Pence.
United States Vice-President Mike Pence.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
George Saunders.
George Saunders.PHOTO: CHLOE AFTEL


Non-oil exports rise again

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) climbed for a fifth straight month, up 16.5 per cent in March from the same period a year ago. Last month's exports were 1.1 per cent lower than February's, but this beat economists' forecast of a much sharper 6.4 per cent fall. Both electronic and non-electronic Nodx put in a strong showing last month.


Don't test US, N. Korea warned

United States Vice-President Mike Pence has warned North Korea not to test the US' resolve and military prowess, while reiterating that all options to deal with the regime's nuclear threat are possible, including military action. Pyongyang had unveiled new missiles and tried unsuccessfully to conduct a missile test over the weekend.


Jakarta gears up for polls

Tomorrow, more than seven million Indonesians will cast their votes in the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Support for the city's governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama - who is standing trial for blasphemy which could bar him from holding office - has been on an uptrend, though as many as a fifth of voters are still undecided, according to a pollster. 


PAS closes ranks before polls

Malaysia's Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is holding elections next week, with expectations that key leaders will retain their posts unchallenged as members close ranks ahead of the next national polls. In the last PAS elections, ultra-conservatives defeated liberal-leaning leaders. 


More instability in Thailand

Thailand's new Constitution, approved on April 6, is meant to restore stability. But that is unlikely, writes Thitinan Pongsudhirak, who foresees more political imbalance, prolonged military rule and further radicalisation of the populace. 


'No frills' birthdays in school

At least six schools have issued guidelines calling for parents to simplify their children's birthday celebrations in school. Principals raised concerns of food allergies and inevitable comparisons. The Ministry of Education has no policy on the matter. 


Maritime gallery revamped

The Singapore Maritime Gallery, located at Marina South Pier, has been revamped after a nine-month, nearly $2 million overhaul. New attractions at the 1,000 sq m gallery include a simulator of a ship bridge and interactive displays using augmented reality technology.


Ezra meets bond holders

The management of debt-laden Ezra Holdings held a meeting with its bond holders for the first time since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States last month. Emotions were kept largely in check during the two-hour session, except for a few tense moments, as Ezra's founder, managing director and advisers provided updates. 


Infighting at S'pore Athletics

Singapore Athletics has been hit by infighting barely a year after president Ho Mun Cheong led his team to a landslide victory, and the track and field governing body is now poised for a leadership change.

A host of issues has torn the executive committee apart, including the appointment of former national women's floorball coach Jaime Cheong as general manager.


Author discusses debut novel

Short story maestro George Saunders talks about his much-anticipated debut novel Lincoln In The Bardo, which features 166 characters and has been made into a virtual-reality short film.


Meals for seniors

ST Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun and food critic Wong Ah Yoke give their verdict on senior-friendly food



United we falter

A scorpion biting a passenger is the latest incident on board the beleaguered United Airlines. Read about others at str.sg/unitedfails

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline 'What's News'. Print Edition | Subscribe