Top stories from The Straits Times on Sunday, Nov 5

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Sunday, Nov 5.

Disruptions, flooding, fake work records: How systemic are SMRT's cultural issues?

Commuters at Bishan MRT station waiting for trains on Dec 15, 2011, after a massive breakdown of services on the North-South Line. PHOTOS: ST FILE, FACEBOOK / SCDF

Ahead of a Parliament sitting to address last month's unprecedented flooding in an MRT tunnel, Insight looks at the possible extent of such lapses, SMRT's maintenance culture and what needs to be done.


Commentary: SMRT's maintenance woes: Formal inquiry needed to get to the bottom of issues

Workers doing maintenance work on a rail track. Lapses happen in life - but it is quite another thing if workers wilfully breach standard operating procedures, as is suspected of the team in charge of maintaining the flood prevention system at Bishan depot. ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR  

Lapses happen, especially in a big organisation like SMRT with some 10,000 employees. But it is quite another thing if workers wilfully breach standard operating procedures.


North Korea issues fresh warning as Trump travels to Asia

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One en route to Japan.PHOTO: NYTIMES

North Korea ruled out talks and threatened to increase its nuclear arsenal in a fresh warning to Donald Trump's administration on Saturday, as the US President set off on a tour of Asia.


Low Thia Khiang's move to step down a chance to reshape Workers' Party: Analysts

Low Thia Khiang speaks during the Workers' Party 60th anniversary dinner.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

The party took a fairly moderate line under Mr Low, but his departure after 17 years at the helm paves the way for younger leaders to change tack.


Commentary: Time to trade in COE scheme for a newer model?


New tech allows for better ways of charging motorists for road usage, among other things. 


Malaysia's bumper harvest spells cheaper durians in Singapore

Sellers doing business at Combat Durian in Balestier Road. The vendor saw sales drop by 20 to 30 per cent during the last season in June and July owing to the higher prices, but owner Linda Ang said: "Hopefully, with more supply coming from Pahang and Muar, it will be cheaper." ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Prices for the prized Mao Shan Wang variety may fall to as low as $15 to $20 per kilogram in the coming weeks, after hitting highs of over $40 earlier this year amid lower supply from Malaysia.


Few willing to take over their parents’ sundry, fresh food stalls; experts suggest making them hip

The wet market at 127, Toa Payoh Lorong 1. Data showed that the number of NEA-licensed hawkers selling market produce fell 12.4 per cent to 5,485 last year, from 6,264 in 2006.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Going by the latest figures, the number of licensed hawkers under the National Environment Agency selling market produce, such as fresh meats and vegetables, has fallen over the past decade.


Video: Lunch With Sumiko: Never underestimate the power of a shoe, says Giuseppe Zanotti

Giuseppi Zanotti left school at the age of 17, became a radio deejay, and then went into shoe design. The Italian designer’s shoes are now sold in 28 countries and have become a red-carpet favourite with celebrities. His women’s shoes are known for their sculptural heels and bold use of jewels like crystals and accessories like feathers. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The Italian maker of luxury shoes believes that the best designs come from the soul. 


Video: The biggest losers: Slimming down through surgery

Samat Said (left), 69, his wife Salmah Ahmad (right), 63 and daughter Sakdah Samat, 38, each went for a bariatric sugery when dieting and exercise didn't work for them. ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

Bariatric surgery, which swiftly tackles obesity and related diseases, is gaining popularity in Singapore. 


VIDEO: Bubble tea reboot: New variations feature fresh fruit, pink cactus pearls

R&B Tea's (from left) Devil's Booster, Jing Xuan Oolong with Cheese Cream, Strawberry Crystal Yoghurt, Roasted Oolong with Tea Cream and Mighty Luffy.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

With the bubble tea craze not going away anytime soon, new flavours and variations have surfaced in the market, such as freshly brewed tea filled with chunks of fruit or toppings that are not the run-of-the-mill tapioca pearls.