Top stories from The Straits Times on Saturday, Jan 12

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Saturday, Jan 12.

Trump stops short of emergency declaration in border wall fight

Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion on border security and safe communities at the White House. PHOTO: REUTERS

On Saturday, the shutdown will become the longest in US history.


Ecologists dispute HDB's finding that Tengah forests were mostly of 'low conservation significance'

About 150ha of forest from a 700ha site in Tengah have already been cleared as of Jan 1, 2019, according to calculations made by Mr David Tan, a research assistant at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. PHOTO: COPERNICUS SENTINEL DATA 2019, EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY

Experts are calling on the Housing Board to make public the full report for Tengah, where secondary forests are being cleared for public housing.


Football: Ben Davis has not appealed for deferment from NS again, as February enlistment looms for Fulham player

Davis, who turned 18 in November, is currently on the books of English Premier League side Fulham Football Club, the first Singaporean to sign professional terms with an EPL team. PHOTO: FULHAM FC

Should Davis fail to return by his enlistment date in February, he will be considered a defaulter.


Govt will help workers cope with job changes and economic restructuring: PM Lee Hsien Loong

(From right) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo chatting with Noralizah Aziz (career coach), Suriana Sarip and Dr Ng Yew Yee. Suriana found a job as an assistant staff nurse at Healthway Medical Corporation with Workforce Singapore’s help. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The changes Singapore faces are unavoidable, but the way forward is to become more productive, do better jobs and earn better pay, he said.


Infant formula companies to be barred from trading hospital sponsorships for brand promos

Formula milk companies will have a year's grace period to abide by the revised code for their promotion and distribution practices. PHOTO: ST FILE

While cash payments were already disallowed, sponsorships in the form of hospital dinner and dance functions, for example, have been highlighted as problematic.


Unemployed man, 21, charged after Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs escapes three-month kidnapping ordeal

Jayme Closs' disappearance made national news, sparking massive searches, with volunteers scouring woods and fields in suburban Minneapolis, and the offer of a reward for her safe return. PHOTO: AFP/BARRON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

The teenager, missing since her parents were found shot dead in their home in October, was discovered dirty and malnourished in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 100km north of her hometown of Barron.


8 more charged over $40m SkillsFuture scam; $20m still unaccounted for

A SkillsFuture roadshow by the Workforce Development Agency. PHOTO: ST FILE

Between May and October 2017, the syndicate used nine shell companies - three training providers and six business entities - to submit more than 8,000 course fee subsidy claims to SkillsFuture Singapore.


Poland detains Huawei employee, accuses him of spying for China

According to TVPInfo, Poland has arrested a Huawei Technologies Co employee and a former Polish security agent and accused them of spying for China. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Huawei employee is a Chinese citizen responsible for sales to public sector clients in Poland.


Man arrested for criminal trespass after throwing a brick on driveway outside Parliament House

According to a photograph of a ComfortDelGro taxi's mobile data terminal, which was circulating on social media, the man was driving a black Lexus SUV. PHOTO: ST READER

The Straits Times understands that the 45-year-old Singaporean driver was alone when the incident took place.


Rural towns in Japan woo city slickers with 'creative depopulation'

Kamikatsu resident Yukiyo Nishikage plucking maple leaves for sale. The 81-year-old widow has found a new lease of life working with Irodori, the market leader in tsumamono. ST PHOTO: WALTER SIM

As Japan ages and more young people move to big cities, rural areas are struggling to stem the population decline.