Morning Minutes: What will make headlines, Dec 8, 2016

Paralympian medallists Theresa Goh (left) and Yip Pin Xiu will be at Safra Toa Payoh today to meet members of the special needs community.
Paralympian medallists Theresa Goh (left) and Yip Pin Xiu will be at Safra Toa Payoh today to meet members of the special needs community.PHOTO: ST FILE

Good morning! Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break on Thursday (Dec 8) and which we think you'd be interested in.

It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

Special needs charity events in Singapore today

Charity events are plentiful this holiday season, and several today (Dec 8) focus on those with special needs.  Rainbow Centre, for one, has brought special needs children together with artists to create unique pieces for an exhibition being launched at the ION Art Gallery.

Separately, there will be music and games for the special needs community at Safra Toa Payoh, and the chance to meet Paralympian medallists Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh.

Japan to announce revision of gross domestic product data

Skyscrapers in Tokyo
's Shinjuku area with Mt Fuji in the distance. PHOTO: AFP

Japan’s economy is set to grow by an amount equivalent to New Zealand’s economy in the blink of an eye today (Dec 8), when the government announces the revision of gross domestic product data, using a new accounting standard. Nominal GDP was 500.6 trillion yen for fiscal year 2015, according to the most recent reading released on Nov. 14.

One of the most important changes will add research and development to the sum of all goods and services produced in the nation. This will bring Prime Minister Shinzo Abe closer to his goal of expanding GDP to 600 trillion yen, although it will not alter the fundamental problem of weak economic growth in Japan. 

Six-month extension to European Central Bank stimulus efforts

The headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. PHOTO: REUTERS

Economists are expecting European Central Bank policymakers to announce an extension of six months to their stimulus efforts when they end their two-day meet on interest rates today (Dec 8).

The ECB is expected to prolong a 1.7 trillion euro purchase program due to end next March, but the prospect of further stimulus is failing to reassure investors in Europe’s corporate-bond market. The bonds had a loss of 1.1 per cent last month, the index data show. ECB has maintained a zero per cent interest rate for six straight months until October.

Kerry to meet Russian counterpart

United States Secretary of State John Kerry (left) with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Sep 9, 2016. FILE PHOTO: AFP

United States Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Hamburg, Germany, today (Dec 8) with the situation in Syria high on the agenda.

The two men are in the German port city for a foreign ministers’ meeting of the 57-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.