Top stories from The Straits Times on Saturday, Jan 5

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Saturday, Jan 5.

Trump, Democrats hold 'contentious' talks, fail to end shutdown

President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference following a meeting with Democrats regarding the partial government shutdown, on Jan, 4, 2019. PHOTO: NYTIMES

US president Donald Trump said he might declare a national emergency to have the wall on the Mexican border built.


Dow ends up 3.3% as US stocks rally on jobs data, dovish Fed

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Jan 3, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

Stocks rallied further after Fed Chair Jerome Powell told a gathering of economists that the US central bank had no "pre-set" plan for interest rates and was carefully monitoring economic conditions.


Budget 2019 could focus on SMEs: Analysts

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. PHOTO: ST FILE

As Singapore presses on with economic transformation, the Government can be expected to further nudge small and medium-sized enterprises to innovate and seek opportunities abroad, said observers.


Tropical storm Pabuk wreaks havoc in south Thailand

Cars and fallen electricity poles seen along a road as tropical storm Pabuk approaches the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, on Jan 4, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

Three airports - in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani provinces and also Koh Samui - were closed, as some 10,000 people were evacuated in Nakhon Si Thammarat alone to ride out the storm that is expected to last until Saturday. 


Volvo starts selling its China-made models here

Authorised agent Wearnes Automotive has started with the S90 flagship sedan (above) and XC60 mid-sized crossover. Volvo Cars is owned by Chinese carmaker Geely Holdings, which also owns Lotus and Proton. ST PHOTO: TOH YONG CHUAN

"The car quality is great - no different than any in our range," said its managing director Sabrina Sng, adding that "customers are mostly indifferent" to the move.


Red Dot Power halts electricity retail services amid 'financial challenges'

Red Dot's customers will be transferred back to the SP Group on Jan 7, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

Its customers' electricity accounts will be transferred back to the SP Group on Monday.


China tests its own 'Mother of All Bombs'

The bomb was dropped by a Chinese H-6K bomber, though further details about the bomb test were not provided. PHOTO: TWITTER/KEVIN MCCAULEY

The bomb - whose strength is only second to that of a nuclear weapon - was dropped by a Chinese H-6K bomber.


SIA named in two top 20 lists for safest and most punctual airlines

Singapore Airlines has made the list every year since the website started in 2013. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The airline that took the top spot as the world's safest airline in this year's edition was Australia's Qantas Airways, which took home the top spot from 2014 to 2017 as well.


Peranakan Association ex-president and Dick Lee's father, Lee Kip Lee, dies aged 96

Mr Lee Kip Lee, the former president of The Peranakan Association Singapore, died of kidney cancer at the age of 96, on Dec 29, 2018. PHOTO: COLIN CHEE

He was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the middle of last year and his health had deteriorated sharply since November.


Power bank explodes on Royal Brunei Airlines flight, passengers unharmed

A power bank reportedly exploded on a Royal Brunei Airlines flight on Jan 3, 2019. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/FRANCIS NGU HOWN HUA

Videos and images showed the flight cabin filled with mild smoke and passengers covering their noses and faces as flight attendants calmly extinguished the cause of the small fire.