ST Explainers: City Harvest, Trump-Xi summit, United Airlines and others

This is a fortnightly round-up of FAQs, pegged on news events, published on The Straits Times' website. Go to for more.

It was a busy fortnight for world affairs. Besides the first summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt and escalating war violence in Syria dominated world headlines.

Closer to home, the marathon City Harvest Church trial ended with reduced sentences while the value of HDB flats was a talking point. Here is a look at how ST Explainers offered background to these headlines.

City Harvest Church trial concludes

The marathon City Harvest Church trial ended on April 7 with a three-judge panel handing out reduced sentences to the six church leaders accused of misappropriating millions in church funds. We recap the long-running saga, its main players, the charges and the trial at For a guide to the judgment, and details on why the charges and sentences were reduced, go to

Spotlight on airline overbooking fiasco

United Airlines hit the headlines in the worst way when the video of a passenger dragged screaming from his seat went viral. The social media furore that followed put the airline's practice of overbooking in the spotlight. We look at the issues raised at

If you are concerned about being bumped off an overbooked flight, read travel reporter Lydia Vasko's explainer on what to know about the practice and find out how you can minimise your exposure to this industry norm at

Xi, Trump meet for first official summit

US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping met for the first time at the former's Mar-a-Lago resort on April 6 and 7. ST Explainers summed up the summit's key highlights, from a new understanding hashed out between the two leaders to a 100-day plan for trade talks. Get the lowdown at

At the end of the first day of the summit, President Trump informed his Chinese counterpart of the US missile strike against Syria, in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun. ST Explainers also looked at the issues raised by the six-year civil war in Syria at, and the ways in which President Assad has deployed weapons against his own people at

The US also demonstrated its military might in another way last week, when the USS Gerald R. Ford, the US Navy's new Ford-class aircraft carrier and its most expensive warship, set sail for its first trials. For a quick guide to the $14.8 billion behemoth, and videos on its construction and weaponry, go to

President Trump has had a busy fortnight and April 13 was especially notable as the President abandoned his stance on six issues which were key to his election campaign. These issues ranged from his stance on Nato to a public declaration that America's relationship with Russia was at an "all-time low".


Two churches bombed by ISIS on Palm Sunday

Two Egyptian churches were attacked on April 9 (Palm Sunday, resulting in more than 40 deaths. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Coptic Christian community. Here is a guide to one of the oldest church communities in the world and why they are a target for ISIS -

North Korea persists with nuclear testing

North Korea might be conducting its sixth nuclear test today. What does the reclusive regime want and what can China do to rein in the North Korean leadership? Read more at

HDB to reclaim most flats when leases expire

The value of older HDB flats has come under scrutiny recently, after Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong cautioned that the vast majority of flats will be returned to HDB when their leases run out. If you are thinking of buying an older flat, read our explainer for some important things to consider at

Getting the most out of 2018's public holidays

On a lighter note, the dates for public holidays in 2018 were announced on April 5. While there are only four long weekends, we figured out how you can turn five holidays into four-day weekends by taking leave strategically. Check out our calendar guide at

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2017, with the headline 'ST Explainers: City Harvest, Trump-Xi summit, United Airlines and others'. Print Edition | Subscribe