Top stories from The Straits Times on Saturday, Aug 3

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Saturday, Aug 3.

China says it is ready to strike back with own measures after Trump’s new trade tariffs

US President Donald Trump has vowed to put additional 10 per cent tariffs on US$300 billion (S$413 billion) of Chinese imports from Sept 1, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

If the US introduces the new taxes, Beijing said it will take counter-measures "to resolutely defend the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people".


Doctor fined and suspended 16 months for over-prescribing addictive drugs

According to Ministry of Health guidelines, the drugs, including Dormicum, Librax and Valium, should not be prescribed for long-term use as they are addictive. PHOTO: ST FILE

He prescribed a sleeping pill to one patient for over 11 years.


Apology by YouTuber Preetipls and brother for their race rap video is 'mock, insincere apology': MHA

MHA added that the police are continuing their investigations into YouTuber Preeti Nair and her brother Subhas Nair and taking advice from the Attorney-General's Chambers. PHOTOS: PREETIPLS, SUBHASMUSIC/INSTAGRAM

"This spoofing is a pretence of an apology, and in fact shows contempt for the many Singaporeans who have expressed concern at their blatantly racist rap video," said MHA.


Malaysia to impose departure tax of between $2.65 and $50 on airline travellers from Sept 1

Cabin crew, children aged below two years as well as airline passengers transiting in Malaysia and leaving the country within 12 hours will be exempted from the levy. PHOTO: REUTERS

The levy imposed on travellers will depend on the destination and the class of airline flights.


Why is Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam keeping quiet?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has been mostly out of public eye, and has come under fire for keeping quiet on the escalating crisis. PHOTO: AFP

Chief Executive Carrie Lam's deafening silence in recent months may be a sign that she is paving the way to get out of this ballooning political crisis for both herself and Hong Kong, some observers believe, adding that she is working behind the scenes to ease tensions.


New PSLE scoring system: Parents worry Foundation subject pupils are at a disadvantage

Pupils waiting for the release of their PSLE results last year. Parents have expressed concern over Foundation-level subjects under the new PSLE scoring system, but MOE has made it clear that while the 2021 scoring system is doing away with pinpoint T-scores for broad achievement bands, "the treatment of Foundation-level subject scores is actually similar". ST FILE PHOTO

The Ministry of Education has made it clear that while the 2021 scoring system is doing away with pinpoint T-scores for broad achievement bands, "the treatment of Foundation-level subject scores is actually similar".


Asia Times article questioning Home Affairs Minister's statements on drug abuse 'quite inaccurate': MHA

The Ministry of Home Affairs has backed up Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam's statement, made during a seminar in June 2019, that drug mortality rates in Portugal had increased, after the country decriminalised drugs in 2001. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

The ministry addressed points made in a July 17 opinion piece by human rights analyst Gen Sander that claimed that Law and Home Affairs minister K. Shanmugam was "spreading disinformation" about the social costs and impact of decriminalising or legalising drugs, as well as the deterrent effect of the death penalty.


Singapore investigates alleged export of Pokka products into North Korea

News website NK News reported that Pokka Singapore had pressured a distributor into hiding its dealings in North Korea in August 2018. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Beverage company Pokka Singapore has denied media reports that it tried to illegally export products into North Korea, saying they contain many "false and unsubstantiated allegations".


10-year-old knows the Singapore pledge in 4 languages

Tanabordee Pansook Lim, who was born in Thailand's Korat province and moved to Singapore five years ago, went from knowing not a single word of English to now speaking English and Mandarin with ease. The 10-year-old, who became a Singapore citizen in April, has also learnt the pledge by heart in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

A newly minted Singapore citizen, Thai-born Tanabordee Pansook Lim speaks English, Mandarin and Thai, and taught himself to recite the pledge in all four official languages.


Times Bookstores will close Centrepoint branch in September after 36 years

Times book store at Centrepoint is closing down by the end of 2019. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

It is the latest in a slew of closures in Singapore's book scene that has included Books Kinokuniya's Liang Court outlet in April, Popular's Thomson Plaza outlet in June and MPH's last two local outlets.