Top stories from The Straits Times on Friday, Dec 29

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Friday, Dec 29.

Experts call for policies to bridge class divide in Singapore

Activities and projects across schools like the Outward Bound Singapore camp would encourage students from different backgrounds to mingle and work together, NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser suggested. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

On the one hand, people from elite and non-elite schools, and those who live in public and private housing, are not really mixing. But the more they play sports and take part in cultural activities or voluntary groups, the more diverse their networks, a study released on Thursday found.


Schools can foster innovation in students: Ng Chee Meng

Minister Ng Chee Meng (left) chats with Dr Hon Chiew Weng (left), the retiring principal of Hwa Chong Institution, after the Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals by the Ministry of Education at the Shangri-La Hotel's Island Ballroom on Dec 28, 2017. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Nurture imagination, inquisitiveness and interconnections, the Education Minister said at the 20th Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals.


Singaporean killed in traffic accident in South Africa

Ms Koh Yuan Ling was travelling in South Africa when the accident happened on Dec 21. The Singapore High Commission in Pretoria is believed to be assisting her family members, who have flown to South Africa.PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE OF KOH YUAN LING

Another Singaporean has died in a traffic accident overseas, the third reported case this month.


Cold snap envelops parts of Asia

Heavy snow in Beitun, in China's Xinjiang autonomous region, on Wednesday. PHOTOS: REUTERS

Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia have been enveloped by an unexpectedly cold front, which descended from China last week, while heavy snow continues to blanket parts of Japan.


Failed adoption case: Dad still enjoys rights

File photo of an adult holding a child's hand. The bond between a gay Singaporean doctor and his biological son has not been materially affected by a court decision on adoption, said the judge who presided over the case. PHOTO: ST FILE

The court may have quashed a gay Singaporean doctor's bid to adopt his American-born biological son fathered through surrogacy, but the bond between father and child has not been materially affected, said the judge who presided over the case.


Endangered birds rescued from wildlife trade by Singaporean

The Santa Cruz Ground Dove has an average lifespan of 6.6 years. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

A Singapore "bird man" has been instrumental in saving 109 endangered birds from death and, hopefully, extinction.


Researchers create 'Iron Man' suit for proteins

Assistant Professor Chester Drum holding a 3D model of the first man-made protein folds made using a bacterium's exoshell. With him are researchers Siddharth Deshpande (left), 25, and Priya Desai, 42.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

There are more ways to fold proteins than there are atoms in the universe, says Assistant Professor Chester Drum of the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.


Video: Restaurant-nightclub Lavo Singapore opens on MBS rooftop

Lavo Singapore, which transforms from a restaurant to a nightclub, hopes to get people into the party mood every night of the week. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Singaporeans seem to party only thrice a week - and that is not nearly enough for the people who run Lavo Singapore, a flashy Italian-American restaurant and nightclub opening on the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands next year.


Football: A look at the 5 most expensive defenders in history

(From left) Manchester City's Kyle Walker, Southampton's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City's French defender Benjamin Mendy. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

The January transfer window has not opened, but silly season certainly has as Liverpool confirmed a world record transfer fee for a defender.


Video: Luxury hotels in Harbin penalised after videos of maids cleaning glasses with toilet brushes go viral

A video that has gone viral on social media shows hotel maids using the same brushes to wipe the toilets, bathtubs, sinks and other surfaces, sparking public concern over cleanliness.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

Three luxury hotels in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin have been rapped by authorities for hygiene lapses.