Top stories from The Straits Times on Friday, Sept 13

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Friday, Sept 13.

Malaysian PM Mahathir to contact Indonesian President Joko over transboundary haze

Students with masks at a school in Puchong, Selangor, yesterday. Nationwide, there were over a dozen locations with Air Pollution Index readings at unhealthy levels of 101 to 200. PHOTO: REUTERS

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency predicts that hot spots and haze may persist until the middle of next month due to the dry season in Sumatra and Kalimantan.


Haze situation in S'pore forecast to be similar to past few days but NEA warns PSI could enter unhealthy band

A photo taken on Sept 12 shows the haze situation in the central part of Singapore at 3.25pm. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

It might enter the unhealthy range if the winds become unfavourable and the haze situation in Sumatra persists.


'Absolutely not': PM Boris Johnson denies lying to Queen Elizabeth in Brexit crisis

Johnson visits the NLV Pharos, a lighthouse tender moored on the river Thames, to mark London International Shipping Week. PHOTO: AP

The British PM said he did not lie over his reasons for suspending the British parliament after a court ruled his decision was unlawful and opponents called for lawmakers to be recalled to discuss Brexit.


California diving boat fire: Second Singaporean's death confirmed

Dr Sunil Singh Sandhu was among 34 people who died when a fire broke out on the diving boat on Sept 2. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SUNIL SINGH SANDHU'S FAMILY

Dr Sunil Singh Sandhu, a Singaporean researcher, was among 34 people who died on Sept 2, according to his family.


Speaking Of Asia: Amaravati plans still more dream than reality


Singapore can shrug off the consequences of Amaravati, the proposed capital city, not proceeding to plan. But India, and specifically Andhra, needs to ponder the long-term consequences, says Associate Editor Ravi Velloor.


Encounter with PMD rider left woman with 30 stitches

The e-scooter rider, Tham Chee Boon pleaded guilty on Sept 11, 2019, to causing grievous hurt to Madam Yeo by riding an e-scooter in a negligent manner. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The 53-year-old suffered a fractured skull and needed surgery after falling backwards when an e-scooter rider came close to colliding with her last year. The rider pleaded guilty on Wednesday.


Malaysian man dubbed 'cosplay killer' gets 22 years' jail, instead of death, upon appeal

Poon Wai Hong, 29, was sentenced to death by Malaysia's High Court in 2018 for murdering a 15-year-old cosplay fan five years ago. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

The man was sentenced to death in 2018 for murdering his girlfriend, a 15-year-old cosplay fan, and stuffing her remains in a suitcase.


Former Indonesian president Habibie laid to rest in state funeral

Former Indonesian president B. J. Habibie was buried in a state funeral with full military honours on Sept 12, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

Thousands of mourners lined the streets of Jakarta to watch the motorcade carrying the body of Indonesia's third president to the Kalibata heroes' cemetery.


Facebook, Instagram users cheated of $107,000 from January to August: Police

Scammers contacted the victims on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, impersonating the victims' friends or followers. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

The police said they received at least 90 reports of scams involving fake Lazada and Shopee lucky draws. Scammers impersonated the victims' friends or followers on social media platforms.


Table Tennis: U-18 world No.1 Koen Pang keen to make senior mark

Koen Pang, 17, has been training full-time after taking a year-long leave of absence from the Singapore Sports School since his promotion to the national senior team in January. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

The 17-year-old became the first Singaporean to be ranked No. 1 in last month's International Table Tennis Federation Under-18 world standings.