Top stories from The Straits Times on Sunday, April 15

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Sunday, April 15.

Donald Trump, allies praise 'perfect' Syria strikes as Moscow seethes

A missile is seen crossing over Damascus, Syria on April 14, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

They warned that another chemical attack would be met with renewed firepower, as Russia's push for condemnation at the UN Security Council fell far short. 


What if I outlive the lease of my HDB flat?

Ms Janet Ow, 41, and her husband Allen Wee, 39, in their five-room Telok Blangah Crescent flat. The property agents paid $580,000 for it in 2010 and started marketing it in 2016 at $680,000 to $690,000. Bids are coming in at $620,000 and $630,000, and offers have slowed to a trickle. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Ageing leases, plus the fact that being chosen for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) is not a given, have made people think twice about buying older flats. 


It Changed My Life: She lost her sight at 10 but proved the doubters wrong

Some doubted she would be able to cope at school or ever leave her small hometown, get a good job, find love or experience motherhood, but she graduated top of her high school, left university with first class honours, and moved to the big city to join a bank. And today, Dr Theresa Smith-Ruig is a top academic and a happily-married mother of three daughters. ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR

Many thought Dr Theresa Smith-Ruig's future would be bleak, but she went on to get her PhD, raise three children and become a university lecturer.


On song and coining it: Students take to busking to help fund studies

Polytechnic student Marian Carmel performing outside The Cathay. She busks about three times a week and hopes to make enough to fund her studies in arts management at Lasalle College of the Arts, which will cost about $20,000 per year for her. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Latest data from the National Arts Council shows there are about 300 endorsed buskers, with half of them below the age of 35. 


Are private degrees worth it? When paper qualifications matter, to a certain degree

File photo showing a graduation ceremony at the Singapore Institute of Management. PHOTO: ST FILE

A local private degree can cost as much as $50,000 but the question of its real worth in the job market has come up once more.


Malaysia election: BN plans 3 theme parks in Johor worth S$2.7b to rival Singapore

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that Johor was known as the Southern Tiger and that it is now the time for the tiger to show its teeth and stripes. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

In the pipeline are a new tourism centre at the Desaru coast, the world's first science fiction theme park near Legoland and an eco-entertainment park in Kota Tinggi. 


Hundreds flock to see ailing Inuka at Singapore Zoo polar bear enclosure

Visitors flocked to Inuka's enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on April 14, 2018, the first weekend after the zoo revealed that the 27-year-old polar bear could be put down if its health continues to decline. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Many made the trip to Mandai after the zoo revealed that the 27-year-old polar bear could be put down if its health continues to decline. 


Largest hospital ship in the world docks in Singapore

The USNS Mercy is currently moored at Changi Naval Base for a supply stop as it goes on a humanitarian mission in the region. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The USNS Mercy, on a humanitarian mission in the region, has 1,000 beds, is as tall as a 10-storey building and as long as three football fields. 


Singapore's silver athletes: This 74-year-old can run 100m in 16.25 sec

74-year-old John Chua (second from left) will compete at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Spain in September. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Mr John Chua is part of a growing crop of Singaporeans over 60 who are competing at a high level against more experienced foreign athletes. 


Snazzy stays: 5 new hotels in Singapore for your next staycation

Six Senses Duxton will officially open its doors on April 15, 2018. PHOTO: SIX SENSES DUXTON

With posting envy-inducing snaps on social media all the rage, more hotels are upping the style quotient to keep guests happy.