What's News: December 11, 2015

Raffles Hotel Singapore.
Raffles Hotel Singapore.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN


Raffles Hotel gets new owner

Paris-based chain AccorHotels is the new owner of Raffles Hotel after signing a US$2.9 billion (S$4.1 billion) deal to buy a firm that owns hotels under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel brands. While the deal will allow the chain to add 2,100 rooms to its portfolio in Singapore, it is the Raffles component that is the real jewel.


Kidney transplant crunch

With kidney transplant operations suspended at the Singapore General Hospital as a result of the hepatitis C outbreak there, the National University Hospital is now the only place here where cadaveric kidney transplants are being done. While private hospitals are allowed to do living donor organ transplants, only two public hospitals - SGH and NUH - can do cadaveric transplants.


Ng Eng Hen on US spy planes

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Wednesday that the deployment of United States surveillance aircraft to Singapore reinforces American presence in the region. He highlighted that it was not the first time that the P-8 surveillance aircraft have rotated through Singapore, and added that the issue needs to be seen in perspective.

Protesters expressing their objections in Paris yesterday as the deadline loomed for the climate change talks. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY


Climate change talks: Race to meet pact deadline

The climate change talks in Paris are nearing a deadline today to seal a truly global deal to save the planet from weather extremes. Seen as the last chance to agree on a pact, age-old divisions resurfaced as dozens of nations spoke up against a draft text released by the French on Wednesday, with many saying it was not ambitious enough.


Tackling Islamophobia in US

A heightened sense of anxiety is now palpable in the United States. This has fed into a rising Islamophobic mood, culminating in presidential contender Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering America. US counter-terrorism efforts need to focus as much on bringing people together as they do on investing in security hardware.


Dine on locally farmed crabs?

Diners here may be able to tuck into crab dishes made with locally farmed crabs in future. A local farm, Gills 'N' Claws, is waiting for the nod from the authorities to raise crabs hatched in Sri Lanka here.


Popular Punggol tree to go

A tree in Punggol popular as a spot for photo shoots will be removed next Wednesday due to public safety concerns. Parts of the dead tree, which was struck by lightning in July, have been falling off without warning.


Audit for financial sales staff

Financial advisory firms and banks are gearing up for the introduction of a new scorecard system to rate the services their staff provide to customers. The scorecard involves assessing a representative's performance every quarter and assigning a grade, which can affect remuneration.


Harden wields his wizardry

Barely 24 hours after scoring a season-low 10 points in a National Basketball Association loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets star James Harden recorded his eighth game this season with at least 30 points.

He scored 42 points and out-duelled guard John Wall as the Rockets beat the Washington Wizards in a 109-103 win on Wednesday.


MasterChef Asia winner

Singaporean Woo Wai Leong, a 27-year-old home cook, part-time bartender and former lawyer, has taken home the coveted title and US$50,000 (S$70,200) cash prize in MasterChef Asia. In the finale of the reality TV cooking contest that aired last night, he beat Malaysian contestant Marcus Low.


Local English pop 'a hard sell'

Home-grown Mandopop queen Stefanie Sun says it is harder for local English pop artists to find success overseas, as globally there are few Asian faces singing English songs. Creatively speaking, the only way to do it is "to be one step ahead of the Western market", she said in an exclusive interview.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2015, with the headline 'What's News: December 11, 2015'. Print Edition | Subscribe