Top stories from The Straits Times on Friday, March 22

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Friday, March 22.

PUB's focus on water security but Hyflux consortium could walk away: Analysts

PUB's announcement that it will take control of the Tuaspring Desalination Plant (above) should the Hyflux subsidiary be unable to cure its defaults by April 5 puts an end to any hopes that retail investors of perpetual securities and preference shares have about holding out for a better deal, analysts say. PHOTO: HYFLUX 

The consortium's offer is contingent on them getting Hyflux's subsidiary Tuaspring and the likelihood of them walking away is now much higher.


EU wrestles with short Brexit delay as 'no deal' looms

With just a week left until Britain is due to quit the European Union, the bloc's leaders scrapped planned talks on Chinese trade and plunged into six hours of talks through the evening on March 21, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to reassure European Union leaders on Thursday that she can secure a deal at home next week on an orderly Brexit, diplomats said, prompting frantic talks on how to ease Britain out without a deal.


Maintaining multicultural exchanges essential for promoting societal cohesion, integration: PM Lee

(From left) Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, MP Lim Wee Kiak, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann at Hwa Chong Institution's 100th anniversary gala dinner. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 

Hwa Chong, a Special Assistance Plan school, has few non-Chinese students. The school has, however, striven to give students the opportunity to mix with peers of different races and backgrounds through a range of activities, PM Lee said at the school's 100th anniversary gala dinner.


Trump: US should 'fully recognise' Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

The Jewish settlement of Qatzrin in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a territory US President Donald Trump called "of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!" in a tweet on March 21, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

In 2017, Mr Trump went against decades of practice by recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, rather than the previously accepted Tel Aviv.


New guidelines to rein in 'pushy' commercial fund-raisers

The Code for Commercial Fund-raisers addresses concerns voiced by the donating public, namely pushiness in asking for donations and often, a lack of transparency. PHOTO: ST FILE 

They should not "act manipulatively or dishonestly or deliberately make a potential donor feel guilty", or block the public's right of way in order to get them to donate.


Singaporean man arrested after allegedly staging his own kidnapping in Vietnam


He told his relatives that he had been kidnapped and requested that a sum of US$15,000 (S$20,200) be transferred to his bank account for his release. 


Gardens by the Bay murder trial: Accused says he'd have a 'better plan' if he intended to kill lover

Accused murderer Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock (in red) said would not have gotten caught if he intended to commit murder, as he would have had a proper plan. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS 

"I am good in my work. If I plan carefully, I would not make mistakes," accused murderer Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock said in a statement a day after his arrest.


Football: Geylang International lodge complaint to FAS over 'spying' by rival Singapore Premier League clubs

A Geylang player said that a teammate had spotted a man allegedly manning a tripod and camera on the third floor of the Our Tampines Hub (OTH), one day before their Albirex game. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE 

Geylang allege that officials from the two clubs, which were not named in the complaint, were spotted days before two of their matches this season.


Hangout with ST: Christchurch terror attacks and dealing with hate speech

In this week's episode, multimedia journalists Alyssa Woo and Hairianto Diman will discuss how New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern handled the Christchurch attacks, and how society can help quash hate speech. PHOTO: AFP 

Multimedia journalists Alyssa Woo and Hairianto Diman weigh in on the past week's talking points.

K-pop sex video scandal: Singer Jung Joon-young arrested

Singer Jung Joon-young had allegedly secretly taped videos of the women engaging in sex acts and shared them in a group chat with other artists. PHOTO: EPA-EFE 

On Thursday, Jung admitted to all the charges against him and said: "I bow my head in apology to the females who were victimised by my actions; to the females who suffered from... rumours online."