Top stories from The Straits Times on Monday, Feb 19

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Monday, Feb 19.


Budget 2018: Economists expect bumper surplus for 2017

With Singapore's strengthening economy having boosted government coffers, economists predict a larger than expected Budget surplus for the financial year ending March 31.

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Singapore Budget 2018: Follow Straits Times for live coverage of Heng Swee Keat's speech

What does this year's Budget mean for you? The Straits Times will be offering live coverage of this year's announcements as they are delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament from 3.30pm on Feb 19.

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Expanded drive to find out what Singapore seniors need

A national drive is under way to find out the specific needs of different seniors, in a move to explain and refine policies relevant to them.

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Cash top-up at MRT passenger service centres to be phased out by March

Cash top-up services at the passenger service centres of train stations will be completely phased out next month, completing the first step by authorities to wean commuters off cash to pay for public transport.

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Questions resurface about $22.5 million in 'missing' funds from Punggol East

Workers' Party MP Png Eng Huat brought up the issue in a Facebook post after independent auditor KPMG said in its final report that the Aljunied Hougang Town Council had fixed all its financial and governance lapses.

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Social media war hots up as Malaysian polls inch closer

Just before the 2013 general election, many Malaysians were alarmed by a viral social media message that claimed 40,000 Bangladeshis had arrived in the country to vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

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Trump accuses FBI of 'spending too much time' on Russia probe and failing to prevent Florida shooting

US President Donald Trump attacked the FBI and lawmakers probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and said an excessive focus on Russia led federal investigators to miss signs that could have prevented the deadly school shooting in Florida last week.

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Passenger plane crashes in Iran, likely killing all 66 aboard

An Iranian passenger plane on a domestic flight crashed into the country’s Zagros mountains on Sunday killing all 66 people on board, officials said.

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Gardens by the Bay board director Tan Jiew Hoe was born with green fingers

The 71-year-old patron of horticultural and botanical causes has spent four decades travelling to far-flung regions to discover new plants.

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Muslim girl in Malaysian lion dance troupe warms hearts

Despite opposition from her relatives and friends, a Mandarin-speaking Muslim girl insisted in joining a lion dance troupe.

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