Morning Briefing: Top stories from The Straits Times on Jan 15

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Wednesday, Jan 15.


Stiffer penalties for unfair hiring a strong deterrent, say experts



Manpower Minister Josephine Teo announced changes to the Fair Consideration Framework on Jan 16, 2020. PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

"With these changes, there is a strong and broader message for greater equity in hiring between local and foreign workers," AP Lawrence Loh of NUS Business School said.

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Wuhan virus has limited human-to-human transmission but could spread wider: WHO



In all, 41 cases of pneumonia have been reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, mainly through exposure at a seafood market. PHOTO: AFP

Preliminary lab tests cited by Chinese state media show that the virus could be from a new type of coronavirus.

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1984 Singapore murder suspect hid in Australia for over 30 years



The exterior of the former supreme court near the Padang. Tham Kwok Wah was sentenced to jail in New South Wales for passport fraud and deception. PHOTO: ST FILE

 

Tham Kwok Wah, now aged 76, used a fake identity to get an Australian passport and pension benefits of some A$104,000 (S$97,000).

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Electrocuted and beaten: S'porean kidnapped in Thailand recounts his painful ordeal



Mark Cheng Jin Quan claimed that his kidnappers beat and electrocuted him with electrical wires while demanding he pay his own ransom of US$500,000 worth of bitcoins. PHOTOS: LIANHE WANBAO, THE QUEEN'S YOUNG LEADERS

Mark Cheng's kidnapping was allegedly masterminded by his travelling companion, fellow Singaporean Kim Lee Yao Wei.

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Port workers won't lose jobs as PSA goes for automation 



Mr Ong Kim Pong, PSA's chief executive for South-east Asia, says the new Tuas port is not going to be just another bigger Pasir Panjang Terminal (above). It will feature "good usage of technology, machines, in terms of software and hardware". ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Workers will be reskilled and reassigned to other roles in the company, said its chief executive for South-east Asia Ong Kim Pong.

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US lifts currency manipulator label on China ahead of signing trade pact



China allowed the yuan to fall below seven to the US dollar in August, sending shudders through stock markets at the time. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The move is a sign of easing tensions between the economic powers after nearly two years of conflict.

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Fastest-growing firms here propelled by tech, innovation



Most of Singapore's fastest-growing companies are technology firms and others that have invested in digital tools that keep them ahead of industry trends. PHOTO: ST FILE

Tech firms and businesses that invest in new digital tools have come up tops among Singapore's fastest-growing companies, according to a study by global research company Statista and The Straits Times.

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Top India court confirms 4 men to hang for 2012 bus rape and murder



The mother of a young woman who was raped and murdered in a New Delhi bus in 2012 is seen at the city's Patiala House Court on Jan 7, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

India's Supreme Court dismissed pleas for a review of the death sentence, leaving an appeal to the President as the men's only possible recourse.

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Progress Singapore Party member draws ire with remarks on proposed opposition alliance



Mr Alex Tan, who is personal assistant to PSP leader Tan Cheng Bock, described the leaders of a proposed 4-party alliance as captains of "sinking boats". But he clarified later that he made the remarks in his personal capacity. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Mr Alex Tan, who is personal assistant to PSP leader Tan Cheng Bock, clarified later that he made the remarks in his personal capacity.

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Singaporean accused of filming women in toilet: Court urged to lift gag order, stop his return to top UK uni



The man now faces a total of 19 counts of insulting a woman's modesty by filming them using the toilet, showering and changing at various locations, and one count of possession of obscene films. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

The prosecution said it was alerted to text messages last Friday between the 22-year-old Singaporean and a "trusted friend", in which the former discussed his plans to abscond and seek asylum in another country.

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