ST Explainers: Politics, fast food, technology and broadcast fees

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

ST Explainers in the last fortnight ranged far and wide, inspired by world events. From politics and fast food to groundbreaking technology and spiralling broadcast fees, here is a sampling of the digital stories that helped readers make more sense of the headlines.

The long history of Singapore-US relations

This past week has been full of headlines about Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's visit to the United States. PM Lee and some members of his delegation stayed at the historic Blair House, which has played host to some of America's most distinguished guests since 1942. Read about this famous guest house at And for a primer on the long history of ties between the US and Singapore, read our compilation of seven facts about Singapore-US relations.

The increasing cost of broadcasting sports on TV

News that Singapore will not get live Olympic broadcasts caused an uproar recently, although a last-minute deal ensured Singaporeans will get to see the Games after all. Prices to broadcast sports have only got higher since Singtel wrested the English Premier League broadcast rights from StarHub in 2009 for a rumoured eye-watering $400 million.

We look at the sports broadcast rights sagas over the years.

How solar power propelled a plane around the world

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in the United Arab Emirates on July 26 and became the first sun-powered airplane to circle the globe. Find out how the plane functioned and watch videos of the plane's journey.

A look back at the McDonald's journey in Singapore

The Golden Arches in Singapore is up for sale. Bloomberg reported that the McDonald's franchise rights in Singapore and Malaysia are up for grabs for an estimated US$400 million. We revisit the history of the fast-food chain in Singapore, from Hello Kitty queues to menus with a local twist.

Eight learning points about China and its people

The Straits Times' China correspondent Teo Cheng Wee returned to Singapore after a year-and-a-half in Beijing. He offers his insights into the country and its culture in eight points.

What you need to know about Tokyo's first female governor

Tokyo got its first female governor on July 31. Read ST Explainers for an introduction to Ms Yuriko Koike, the unusual 64-year-old who ran for the position against the wishes of her Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). She is fluent in Arabic and was the first woman to run for presidency of the LDP.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'ST Explainers: Politics, fast food, technology and broadcast fees'. Subscribe