MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, Feb 26, 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.

Voluntary groups to set up fostering agencies

Dedicated agencies that will support parents in better caring for foster children placed with them will be set up in a $8 million, three-year pilot, in a move to have more of these children cared for in families instead of children's homes.

These fostering agencies will provide counselling, training and other services to these parents.

The agencies' roles also include recruiting and screening parents, and raising awareness about the need for foster parents.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), which carries out these functions now, will appoint voluntary welfare organisations to set up these agencies.

The idea is to staff the agencies with social workers who know the problems on the ground and can focus on helping these parents and children, instead of having MSF administrators handle them. - JANICE TAI

Singer-songwriters JJ Lin and Corrinne May talk about their Chingay song


This year's Chingay is set to be the biggest since the street parade was started in 1973 to liven up the Chinese New Year celebrations.

In the main show at the F1 Pit Building on Feb 27 and 28, Singaporean singer-songwriter JJ Lin will be singing the finale song, Dreams.

He composed it with music director Goh Kheng Long, and singer-songwriter Corrinne May wrote the lyrics for it.
The trio will talk about their participation in the parade. - SAMANTHA BOH

Hollande to discuss climate change with Aquino


French President Francois Hollande will be on a two-day state visit to the Philippines from today (26th) to drum up support for an international climate deal the UN hopes to conclude in Paris in December. While terrorism will be on the table in the wake of attacks by Muslim extremists on the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, climate change will be Mr Hollande's main agenda.

The French leader and his Philippine counterpart Benigno Aquino are expected to launch a global call for the global community to act against climate change. The Philippines has taken a pivotal role in the push for a world accord on climate change since Typhoon Haiyan tore through its central regions in 2013, killing at least 6,500. Experts believe the typhoon was likely made more severe by climate change.

Mr Hollande will visit Samar tomorrow (27th), one of the provinces hardest hit by Haiyan.

The state visit - the first by a French head of state since the Philippines gained independence in 1946 - has a Hollywood sheen to it, as Oscar-winning actors Marion Cotillard and Melanie Laurent, both advocates for the environment, will accompany Mr Hollande. - RAUL DANCEL

India's Rail budget to be announced


India's Modi government is set to unveil the Railway Budget today, and hopes are high that the decrepit network will get a much-needed investment boost that would go some way to offset disappointment at the lack of private sector interest. Indian Railways is famed as the world's fourth largest network as well as the country's largest single employer providing jobs to 1.3 million people. Successive governments have backed away from modernisation of the network, which means services are slow and plagued by frequent accidents. - RUPALI KAREKAR

AIA to release full year results


Insurance giant AIA will be releasing its full year results today. Mr Tan Hak Leh, its chief executive for Singapore, will provide insights on the key drivers of the business performance of AIA Singapore. - RACHAEL BOON

New integrated nature and wellness resort to be launched in Singapore

A 75-acre mixed-use project on the edge of the Sungai Pulau Wetlands - touted as first holistic, integrated nature and wellness development in Iskandar Malaysia - will be launched in Singapore. The resort will be launched by the Chairman and Co-Founder of MB Group, Alan Sim. The developer has roped in television celebrities, Fann Wong and her husband Christopher Lee, as the project's ambassadors. - ONG KAI XUAN

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