Top stories from The Straits Times on Monday, Dec 31

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Monday, Dec 31.


Pacific Rim trade deal enters into force with steep tariff cuts for six nations including Singapore, Australia, Japan


The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) came into effect on Dec 30, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Consumers will also stand to gain from the deal. For example, Japanese retailer Aeon has already cut prices of Australian beef at its supermarkets.

READ MORE HERE

More deaths, fewer injuries in construction from Jan to Nov


There were 12 deaths in the construction industry for the whole of last year, down from 24 in 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

A Ministry of Manpower spokesman told The Straits Times that there were 13 workplace fatalities in the construction sector from January to last month, up from 10 in the same period last year.

READ MORE HERE

Malaysia's PM Mahathir indicates will hand over power to Anwar, despite calls to stay on


Members of the media taking a picture with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at Putrajaya International Convention centre on Dec 30, 2018. PHOTO: BERNAMA

"I am aware of calls for this old prime minister to remain for a long time. But we could only win the election with our coalition parties, and to have this coalition, one of the conditions was that the prime minister, their former enemy, can only be prime minister as a temporary measure," he said.

READ MORE HERE

Marina Bay all set to ring in 2019

 The Merlion illuminated by an animated light projection during a test last Friday. As part of the Marina Bay countdown celebrations, the Merlion and other landmarks will feature such projections - adapted from artworks created by Nanyang Academ

A Japanese motocross rider performing a stunt at a height of 15m during a rehearsal for the Star Island Singapore Countdown Edition at The Float @ Marina Bay last Friday. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

As the year rushes to a close, no effort has been spared to ring in the new, with participants of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2019 working hard in the past week to put together an exciting show.

READ MORE HERE

Minimum legal age for smoking raised to 19 from Jan 1



The minimum legal age for the purchase, use, possession, sale and supply of tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 19 years old, from Jan 1, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

It will be raised progressively every January until 2021, when smokers will have to be at least 21.

READ MORE HERE

Graham says Trump committed to smart Syria withdrawal



Senior Republican senator Lindsey Graham said Trump was "frustrated" by the limited options available in Syria. PHOTO: AFP

“We talked about Syria. He told me some things I didn’t know that made me feel a lot better about where we’re headed in Syria,” the Republican senator told reporters.

READ MORE HERE

10 tips on recovering from your holiday binge


Quick-fix diets after the feasting during the holiday season is popular, but the evidence behind the diets are weak and inconclusive, say health experts. PHOTO: ST FILE

While so-called detox diets may lead to rapid short-term weight loss, it is unclear whether these are sustainable in maintaining a healthy weight in the long term, say health experts.

READ MORE HERE

AVA investigating pet boarding service Platinium Dogs Club after alleged pet mistreatment



Platinium Dogs Club at Galistan Avenue was raided by the authorities on Dec 29, 2018. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

The pet boarding facility based in a Bukit Panjang landed house was raided by the authorities on Saturday following complaints.

READ MORE HERE

Yakult Singapore to stop providing straws from end December 2018



Yakult Singapore said they will no longer be providing straws on their Yakult and Yakult Ace Light products from the end of December. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/YAKULT SINGAPORE

Some netizens pointed out that its products' bottles are still made of plastic and suggested that the company look into finding a non-plastic alternative.

READ MORE HERE

Football: Five things we learnt from the Premier League weekend



Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (right) scores his team's third goal past Arsenal's German goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on Dec 29, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

Liverpool took another significant step towards a first top-flight title in 29 years by thrashing Arsenal 5-1 to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League, thanks also to Tottenham's collapse at home to Wolves.

READ MORE HERE