MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, Feb 12, 2015

Good morning. Morning Minutes is a round-up of stories that will break today and which we think you'd be interested in. It appears on weekdays, available by 7am.

Aljunied town council in Parliament spotlight

A spirited session is expected in Parliament today as the Workers' Party (WP)-run town council comes under the spotlight. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan will raise a motion to note "with concern" the accounting lapses that the Auditor-General's Office recently found while auditing the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council. Other People's Action Party (PAP) MPs are also likely to weigh in on the issue, and WP chief Low Thia Khiang has said he will address their concerns in the House. Follow us on twitter @STcom for live updates. - FIONA CHAN

High Court dismisses Bernard Lim's appeal


The High Court last November dismissed an appeal by the prosecution in the Brompton bikes case to jail Bernard Lim, the National Parks assistant director who provided false information to public servants. The prosecution has referred two legal questions for the Court of Appeal to determine issues surrounding custodial sentence for such offences.

EU summit in Brussels


European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels for their first summit since the Paris terrorist attacks in January. They will call for changes to bolster security, including a new process to force airlines to share passenger data with governments and more intelligence-sharing to stem the flow of extremists between Europe and Syria. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko will also attend the meeting, where he is expected to brief EU leaders on peace talks taking place on Wednesday in the Belarussian capital Minsk with the leaders of France, Germany and Russia. The Minsk talks are seen as the climax of a frantic diplomatic push to prevent the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War from escalating. - LEE SEOK HWAI

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's keynote speech


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be delivering a keynote policy speech in Parliament in the early afternoon. The government will also submit its draft Budget for fiscal 2015 to Parliament today. In his speech, Mr Abe will outline what he hopes to achieve in the coming fiscal year, which begins on April 1. He is also expected to touch on reforms in agriculture, taxation and other areas. Such important policy speeches are traditionally delivered at the beginning of the parliamentary session in January, but Mr Abe opted to delay it so that he could concentrate on tackling the Middle East hostage crisis in which two Japanese were involved. - KWAN WENG KIN

Wilmar International to release full-year results


Wilmar International will put out its fourth-quarter and full-year results after the market closes this evening. Analysts expect the commodities firm to report a net profit of some US$1.05 billion to US$1.15 billion, in line with market expectations. The spotlight could fall on the flooding in Peninsula Malaysia late last year, which affected Malaysian palm oil inventories as a whole, with a 12 per cent month-on-month fall in output to a six-month low of 1.77 metric tonnes as at the end of Jan 15. The company could also address issues such as the fall in the Malaysian ringgit and weak demand for crude palm oil from China. - JACQUELINE WOO

SembCorp Marine set to announce full-year net profit


SembCorp Marine is set to announce its fourth-quarter and full-year net profit today after the market closes. The marine and offshore engineering conglomerate will reveal the extent of the oil slump's impact on its earnings and prospects. Analysts do not expect the firm to be severely affected due to existing orders in the pipeline, but as rig activities decline, its demand outlook will likely dim. Meanwhile, its management will likely comment on the firm's alleged involvement in Petrobras' corruption scandal. - WONG WEI HAN



As NBA teams head in the All-Star Weekend in New York, contenders such as Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors will hope to go into the break on a winning note against lowly teams. The Hawks face the Boston Celtics, while the Warriors visit the Minnesota Timberwolves. - CHIA HAN KEONG

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