Top stories from The Straits Times on Sunday, Feb 25

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Sunday, Feb 25.

Preserving reserves signals to markets strength of Singapore dollar: Chan Chun Sing

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sin said keeping half of Singapore's earnings from its reserves signals the "strength of the Singapore dollar" to currency markets. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Mr Chan cited this as "yet another important reason" the Government does not spend more than half of returns from the national reserves, after calls were made to raise the 50 per cent spending cap. 


Video: From GST hike to using the national reserves: 5 burning Budget questions

Other than an increase to the GST, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a second major tax change - a 1 per cent hike in Buyer's Stamp Duty on the value of transacted residential properties in excess of $1 million. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

With Monday's Budget generating a flurry of discussion among Singaporeans, Insight gets out the magnifying glass ahead of Parliament's Budget debate this week.


Video: Home with skeletal remains, bungalow in Yang Yin case: How much would you pay for these 2 storied houses?

(Top) The small single-storey terraced house off Upper Thomson Road where two sets of skeletal remains were found and (bottom) the bungalow on a sprawling piece of land off Yio Chu Kang Road that was almost swindled from a rich widow. PHOTOS: ALVIN HO, ST FILE

One is a small terraced house off Upper Thomson Road where two sets of skeletal remains were found, the other a bungalow on a sprawling piece of land off Yio Chu Kang Road that was almost swindled from a rich widow. 


SMRT to add 2,500 more employees to its 11,000-strong workforce, raise starting pay for engineers

SMRT has also introduced performance excellence incentives to boost team efficiency and productivity, including introducing a Rail Excellence Team-based Award last month. PHOTO: ST FILE

Experts say the moves, which include raising starting salaries and extending rehiring contracts, will help raise reliability and help SMRT retain and develop engineering expertise. 


'It feels like I married a different person': Husband of woman in e-scooter accident

2018: The strain of caring for Madam Ang has taken its toll on Mr Leong and the family. He earns about $1,000 plus and spends about $2,000 a month on his wife's medicine, therapy bills and the maid's salary. While the financial burden is heavy, it is the struggle to understand his wife - she has not recovered the ability to speak audibly - that weighs most on Mr Leong. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

Mr Leong Loon Wah's wife was involved in a collision with an electric scooter in September 2016, leaving her in a coma for a month with severe head injuries.


UN backs Syria ceasefire as death toll in rebel enclave tops 500

Members of the United Nations Security Council vote for ceasefire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on Feb 24, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

With support from Russia, the Security Council approved a resolution calling for a ceasefire “without delay” to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations.  


Lunch With Sumiko: New Sports Hub CEO Oon Jin Teik is Mr Nice Guy

Mr Oon Jin Teik was named chief executive officer of the Singapore Sports Hub last month, after acting in that role since May last year. He has been involved in Singapore sports at all levels - as a national swimmer, CEO of the former Singapore Sports Council, secretary-general of the Singapore Swimming Association, and now at the helm of the $1.3 billion sports and lifestyle hub. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The former national swimmer, who was named the Singapore Sports Hub's new CEO in January, says respect for others is key to getting people to 'chiong' for a project. 


Commentary: Who will be new PM? Test him in the next general election

PM Lee Hsien Loong and his Ang Mo Kio GRC teammates (from left) Gan Thiam Poh, Ang Hin Kee, Koh Poh Koon, Intan Azura Mokhtar and Darryl David thanking supporters at Toa Payoh Stadium during the 2015 General Election. In the Singapore context, a general election is both an invaluable experience for a PM candidate as well as a rare opportunity for the public to size him up under testing conditions. PHOTO: ST FILE

It is better to find out now who cuts it than risk appointing someone who might be found wanting later, says ST editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang. 


93% take-up rate for first batch of Re-offer of Balance Flats

Mr Adrian Tay, his wife Joan Tan and their one-year-old daughter Kiersten at their new place in Admiralty Grove. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

There were a total of 6,102 applicants in last August's inaugural Re-offer of Balance Flats exercise - more than four applicants for each flat.


Video: Fight like Ip Man and get fit: Wing Chun takes flight in Singapore 

Wing chun students Tan Jin Kiat (right), 44, and Ken Tan (left), 31, practising moves during a class at Dennis Lee Ving Tsun Martial Arts Association (Singapore) at Selegie Road on Feb 21, 2018. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

At least five Wing Chun organisations here claim to be linked to Ip Man, the famed Chinese martial artist who popularised the fighting style.