Top stories from The Straits Times on Friday, Aug 9

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Friday, Aug 9.

Take confidence in Singapore's ability to overcome challenges, PM Lee Hsien Loong says in National Day message

This ability to overcome the odds is evident in Singapore's history, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Aug 8, 2019, the eve of National Day.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Global upheavals have produced grave challenges for Singapore but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is confident the country will overcome them and emerge even stronger.


Wall Street rallies as trade war panic subsides

A bank employee counts US dollars next to a stack of Chinese yuan in eastern China's Jiangsu province. PHOTO: AP

The gains for Thursday drove the broad-based S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq indices back into positive territory after several wild days.


Top honours for J.Y. Pillay who built up SIA, led GIC, MAS

Mr J.Y. Pillay, who has been awarded the Order of Temasek (With Distinction), said his best memories are of working with colleagues and superiors. ST FILE PHOTO

The longest-serving chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers is the 11th Singaporean to receive the Order of Temasek (With Distinction).


28m PayNow transactions in first half of year as usage soars

PayNow was launched in 2017, with its extension PayNow Corporate and unified payment code SGQR launched last year.PHOTO: ZB

This is four times the number of transactions from the same period last year and the amount of money that changed hands - about $4.6 billion - marks a 500 per cent increase.


NDP 2019: What does #myhomeSG mean to you?


Beyond Singapore’s tourist spots and man-made attractions is a rich heritage waiting to be seen in a new light. To celebrate National Day, The Straits Times’ photojournalists look into their connection to places that hold special meaning for them.


Economic reforms hinted by Beijing unlikely to ease tensions in Hong Kong, say observers

Protesters are demanding that Chief Executive Carrie Lam fully withdraws the extradition Bill, set up an independent inquiry into police actions against protesters, release all those arrested, retract the riot label and introduce universal suffrage. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

They believe the crux of the entire saga – sparked by a now-suspended extradition Bill – is a political issue, not an economic one, according to Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang.


Singaporeans must put national interests first amid external influences: Ng Eng Hen

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said Singapore and the world are entering a period of great uncertainty and turbulence driven by the sharper ideological divide between the United States and China.PHOTO: ST FILE

"We want to be relevant to the world and helpful to powers, big or small, but we do not want to choose sides or be asked to choose sides, or to be put in positions that bring short-term benefits but compromise the larger collective good," said the Defence Minister. 


Modi hails 'historic decision' over Kashmir

People watch a live address by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

India's Prime Minister said the government will secure the future of Kashmir, amid criticism over the withdrawal of its special status.


Higher fares, rising ridership push SBS Transit Q2 profit 24.5% higher to $24.2m

For the first half, SBS Transit saw its net profit climbing by 23.9 per cent to $44.9 million on a 5.4 per cent rise in revenue to $709.3 million.PHOTO: ST FILE

Directors expect revenue to continue growing on the back of higher fares and ridership, in part from full-year contributions from the Seletar and Bukit Merah bus contract packages.


Spreading the Singapore spirit: 5 interesting ways some are celebrating National Day

(Clockwise from top left) Private-hire driver Henry Ho, the former St Andrew's Mission Hospital, carpenter Tan Koon Tat, participants of an Automobile Association of Singapore trip who will be driving more than 22,000km from London to Singapore, and home-grown performers Music Heart Band.PHOTOS: GIN TAY, LIANHE WANBAO, LIANHE ZAOBAO, TOH TING WEI, SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

As the nation gears up for its birthday, we look at some interesting ways Singaporeans are commemorating the day.