MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, March 5, 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.

Singapore Budget Debate 2015: DPM Tharman to wrap up discussions

After two days of debate over this year's Budget statement, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will wrap up the discussions in Parliament today and respond to the comments of more than 50 MPs.

His Budget round-up speech will be followed by the Committee of Supply (COS) debate, in which MPs will speak about the spending plans of each of the 15 ministries and the Prime Minister's Office.

The COS debate will kick off with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Defence Ministry today, and will take place daily until Friday next week. - FIONA CHAN

China's National People's Congress opens yearly plenary meeting

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The National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, opens its yearly plenary meeting this morning with Premier Li Keqiang presenting a report on the government's work in 2014 and its priorities in 2015.

All eyes are on this year's economic growth target that Mr Li will unveil - whether it would dip to 7 per cent, a new low since 2004 - and the measures to manage a slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy while deepening economic structuring efforts.

Over the next 10 days, some 3,000 lawmakers will pore over the government work report and budget. Key ministries and the central bank will also meet the media to outline their work for this year.

Premier Li will close the NPC session on March 15 with a press conference. - KOR KIAN BENG

Spring Concert at Singapore General Hospital

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Patients and visitors at the Singapore General Hospital will be treated to musical and dance performances this evening to celebrate the 15th day of Chinese New Year. The "Spring Concert" will feature, among others, a lion dance performance and a Wind Symphony ensemble. - LINETTE LAI

DHL expands regional footprint

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Global courier DHL will unveil its plans today to expand its regional footprint and reinforce its strategic hub operations. It will also announce its upcoming investment plans to strengthen its existing presence in the Singapore market. - MICHELLE LEE

Study debunks many myths about women and work: PwC

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PwC is holding a press conference on the findings of a study that debunks many myths about women and work, such as the perception that women leave their jobs to start a family or spend more time with their children. The findings also touch on the financial independence of Singapore women and their ambitions versus their global counterparts. - FELICIA LEE

The Straits Times Athlete Of The Year

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Aloysius Yapp is a world junior champion in pool. Sailors Bernie Chin and Samantha Yom are the country's first Youth Olympic Games gold medallists. Bowler Jazreel Tan was Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the 2014 Asian Games. Joseph Schooling is the first Singaporean to win a Commonwealth Games swimming medal and the first Singapore man to win an Asiad title in swimming in over three decades. Find out which of these five outstanding athletes will be crowned The Straits Times Athlete of the Year today. - CHUA SIANG YEE

HSBC Women's Champions

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The first round of the US$1.4 million (S$1.9 million) HSBC Women's Champions gets underway with all eyes focused on world No. 1 Lydia Ko. The 17-year-old teenage star is in the marquee flight with American darlings Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson. After back-to-back wins in Australia and New Zealand last month, Ko is chasing her third straight victory and also her first success in Singapore. The elite 63-woman field will compete on Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course. Local fans will also have some familiar faces to cheer on with amateur Koh Sock Hwee joined by one of the LPGA Tour's rising stars Jennifer Yan, who is a former Raffles Girls' School student and a Singapore permanent resident. - JONATHAN WONG.

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