Top stories from The Straits Times on Friday, Nov 17

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Friday, Nov 17.

Tuas West stations to reopen only on Monday

Train services between Joo Koon and Tuas Link stations were halted on Nov 16, 2017, for the authorities to investigate Nov 15's collision between two SMRT trains. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

While the four stations on this extension - Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link - will reopen after the weekend, the authorities will keep service between Joo Koon and Gul Circle stations suspended for up to a month. 


SMRT refutes online allegation that CEO Desmond Kuek fired half of the staff in a rail department

SMRT said it would not have been able to complete the change out of all the power rails and 188,000 sleepers if staff count had indeed been cut. PHOTO: SMRT

In a Facebook post on Thursday night, the train operator clarified that under Mr Kuek's leadership the staff strength in the team which looks after track and trackside infrastructure has almost doubled.


Malaysia's Carey Island mega port plan stalls

Port Klang (above) has faced a challenging year as new shipping alliances have been moving their scheduled dockings to call at PSA Singapore since April. PHOTO: REUTERS

An ambitious plan to build a RM140 billion (S$45.5 billion) mega port on an island off Selangor has been shelved for now by its main promoter MMC Corp, led by Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Albukhary. 


Fire safety experts: Mandatory smoke detectors a good start, but fire extinguishers needed too

File photo of thick smoke billowing from a HDB flat. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

While fire safety experts welcome the upcoming requirements making it mandatory for new buildings to have smoke detectors from June 2018, they stress that it is only half the battle. 


Video: Wounded otter pup successfully caught, treated in first such operation

The otter pup that was spotted last month with a wound from a ring around its body was successfully rounded up and treated in a five-hour operation on Thursday. 


Sweet drinks off the menu at primary schools

Pupils at Riverside Primary School in Woodlands Crescent are encouraged to bring their water bottles every day and to refill them at the water coolers, says principal Sharon Siew. The school, which started in 2013, has never had a drinks stall. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

One does away with drinks stall and some stop sales of sugary drinks in fight against diabetes. 


First six charged under Organised Crime Act

(Clockwise from top left) Seet Seo Boon, See Chye Huat, Or Poh Soon, Seah Ee Lam, Toh Hee Choye and Lim Poi Hwa are allegedly part of a group whose main activity is said to have been illegal 4D and Toto. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

For several years, a group of Singaporeans allegedly ran an illegal gambling syndicate - including their own version of public lotteries - while staying one step ahead of the law. 


Mugabe's refusal to quit stalls plans for interim government

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at a news conference at the State House in Harare. PHOTO: REUTERS

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's refusal to publicly resign is stalling plans by the military to swiftly install a transitional government after seizing power this week, two people familiar with the situation said. 


Video: Saying goodbye to the Sloane Court Hotel

The charming Tudor-style Sloane Court Hotel in Balmoral Road will be closing its doors at the end of November. It has been operating since the early 1960s and is one of the last vestiges of the colonial era. 


Affordable Art Fair focuses on new talent

Artworks created by artists wearing virtual reality headsets, which simulate the experience of having cataracts. ST PHOTO: KEVIN CHNG

A wall featuring emerging artists, fresh video and digital installations, as well as a virtual-reality experience simulating the vision of people with cataracts - these are some of the new features at this year's fair.