MORNING MINUTES: What will make headlines today, May 20, 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.

Koalas, barbecue and art to celebrate 50 years of Australia-Singapore ties

The Australian High Commission will launch its project called "50 Bridges" today, to commemorate 50 years of bilateral relations between Australia and Singapore and to mark Singapore's 50th birthday.

Under the project, the commission will organise a mass barbecue involving 50 barbecue pits islandwide, actors will put on plays and puppet shows in shopping malls and MRT stations, and street artists will paint on 50 walls in hawker centres, schools and HDB areas.

Australia has also loaned four koalas for six months to the Singapore Zoo, where the public can view them from noon today. - MELISSA LIN

Acres to release investigation results on animal welfare in pet shops, farms

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Animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) will release today results of its undercover investigation into the welfare of animals in pet shops and farms in Singapore. The probe was conducted by its Animal Crime Investigation Unit between March and this month. - MIRANDA YEO

Johor Chief Minister to attend UMCity Medini Lakeside groundbreaking

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United Malayan Land is holding the groundbreaking ceremony at Puteri Harbour, Johor Bahru of UMCity Medini Lakeside. The event will be officiated by Johor Chief Minister Dato' Mohamed Khaled Bin Nordin. - REME AHMAD

Asean Conference 2015 begins today

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Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang is guest-of-honour at the Asean Conference 2015, "Growth Opportunities in an Integrated Asean", being held today at the Raffles City Convention Centre. - WONG WEI HAN

Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to hold talks on migrant boat crisis

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Malaysia will hold talks with Indonesia and Thailand today as the three countries seek a solution to the migrant boat crisis in their shared maritime border. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar as well as Bangladeshis are stranded in vessels adrift at sea after being turned away by the three countries.

The United Nations rights and refugee agencies on Tuesday called on Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to step up sea rescue operations and allow the refugees to land. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman will meet with his Indonesian and Thai counterparts to discuss areas of cooperation to address the crisis.

Malaysian father, Singaporean son charged over robber's death to hear re-mention of case

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The Malaysian father and his Singaporean son accused of causing the death of an alleged robber in Negeri Sembilan will hear their case mentioned again at the Gemas magistrate today. Moo He Hong, 57, and Moo Wee Keong, 29, were detained for 23 days after Chinese New Year, after being charged with the murder of Mr Chan Boon Poh, but their case was later amended to death by negligence, allowing them to be released on bail in February. The mention had been delayed for three weeks after the prosecution failed to deliver case documents in time last month.

The younger Moo, whose Singaporean mother Kuek Soo Lan, 52, was allegedly slashed with a parang by Mr Chan, had insisted that he and his father only wanted to snatch the knife away, but admitted beating the man. If found guilty, Moo and his son will face up to two years' jail and a possible fine.

French death row convict Serge Atlaoui to hear appeal in Indonesian court

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Convicted French drug trafficker Serge Atlaoui will face the Jakarta administrative court today to hear his appeal against his death penalty after the hearing was adjourned from last week. Atlaoui had been due to face the firing squad with other convicts last month but was granted a last-minute reprieve to allow for the completion of his legal appeals.

Atlaoui, a welder, is challenging President Joko Widodo's decision to reject his request for clemency, claiming that the Indonesian leader did not properly consider his case. A plea for presidential clemency is typically a death row convict's final chance to avoid the firing squad. The bid is, however, widely expected to fail after a similar bid filed in the same court by two Australian traffickers was also rejected. The two Australians were put to death on Apr 29.

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