MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, March 9, 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.

Committee of Supply debate likely to focus on Manpower Ministry

Lifelong learning, support for older workers and changes to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system are likely to be among the key issues raised in Parliament today as the Committee of Supply debate (COS) enters its second week.

Most of today's session, which starts later this morning, will be focused on the Ministry of Manpower. MPs are also expected to ask about fair employment practices and enhancing flexible work arrangements.

The annual COS debate, in which MPs discuss the spending plans of the 15 ministries and the Prime Minister's Office, is scheduled to continue until the end of this week. - FIONA CHAN

Market opens amid worries the Fed will raise interest rates early


All eyes will be on the stock market as trading resumes today following a mauling on Wall Street last Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a barometer of US equities, surrendered some 278 points - or 1.5 per cent - to 17,857.8 as investors fret over the possibility that the Federal Reserves will raise interest rates as early as June after the release of key employment data suggest that the US economy is fast gaining strength. - GRACE LEONG

Euro zone leaders to meet over Greek reform proposals


Euro zone finance ministers will meet in Brussels today to discuss seven major reforms Greece has put forward to unlock the next tranche of its much-needed bailout. If the reforms are rejected in favour of a new debt deal, Greece's new government may call for early elections or a referendum on the deal, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Sunday, raising the spectre of another euro zone crisis reminiscent of the one in 2011. - LEE SEOK HWAI

German Chancellor Merkel begins Japan trip


German Chancellor Angela Merkel begins today a two-day trip to Japan, her first visit to Germany's second-largest trading partner in Asia in seven years. Dr Merkel and her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are likely to discuss increasing cooperation among the Group of Four, which also include Brazil and India, on reforms to the UN Security Council, Japanese news agency Kyodo said.

The two leaders will also agree to promote bilateral cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and other advanced science and technology, as well as accelerate talks for a free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan. - LEE SEOK HWAI

OCBC Cycle to include Speedway Challenge event


This year's OCBC Cycle event will see the introduction of the OCBC Speedway Challenge, where top riders from Singapore and the region will be competing in a knock-out format on a fast 1km course. Watch out fordetails of this, including how you, the ST readers, can get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the organisation of the race, along with reserved slots in workshops and other sideline activities. - SANJAY NAIR

Results of the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants award ceremony


The culinary greats of Asia come together at Capella Singapore tonight (March 9) for the award ceremony of the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pelligrino and Acqua Panna.

Acclaimed Singapore restaurants such as Restaurant Andre, Iggy's, Les Amis and Waku Ghin will be gunning for the top spot. The current No. 1 is Thai restaurant Nahm by celebrity chef David Thompson. - EUNICE QUEK

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