Top stories from The Straits Times on Thursday, Aug 2

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Thursday, Aug 2.

Changi Airport takes off with DIY for Fast-er boarding

 So far, 16 airlines have adopted Changi's Fast and Seamles
So far, 16 airlines have adopted Changi's Fast and Seamless Travel (Fast) initiatives. ST PHOTO: SONG TAO

From an almost 100 per cent manned system just three to five years ago, there are now 180 self-service check-in kiosks and another 130 machines for travellers to deposit their self-tagged bags, across all four terminals.


Trump administration confirms plan to raise China import tariff to 25 per cent

Workers process tilapia fish fillets at a workshop in Wenchang, Hainan province, China. PHOTO: REUTERS

US President Donald Trump sought to ratchet up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 per cent tariff on US$200 billion (S$270 billion) worth of Chinese imports.


EZ-Link promotes e-payment adoption with free auto top-up, loose-change top-up

EZ-Link chief executive Nicholas Lee provides a demonstration on an EZ-Link transaction at Cheers on Aug 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

EZ-Link on Wednesday announced that EZ-Reload will be an entirely free function with immediate effect - as part of the company's efforts to promote e-payment adoption and discourage the use of cash in Singapore.


Fed leaves rate unchanged with economy growing at 'strong rate'

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing. PHOTO: REUTERS

Federal Reserve officials left the benchmark interest rate unchanged while reiterating their plan to gradually lift borrowing costs to keep the economy expanding at a healthy pace.


South Korea seeks unity at Asean-led meetings to ensure Pyongyang fully denuclearises: Kang Kyung-wha

South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is in Singapore for Asean-related meetings on Aug 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

"What has brought us to this point is the unity of the international community in the message to North Korea."


Former chief of defence force Neo Kian Hong starts as new SMRT head

SMRT chief executive Neo Kian Hong (left), SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming (second from left), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan (second from right) and representatives of LTA and SMRT observing a full-day signalling system trial, on April 29, 2018. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SMRT

Former chief of defence force Neo Kian Hong started his first day as chief executive of rail operator SMRT on Wednesday by urging his staff to work hard to deliver safe, reliable and comfortable train services.


Missing the taste of home: Singapore-born winner of MasterChef Australia Sashi Cheliah started cooking regularly only in 2012

Singapore-born Sashikumar Cheliah, who is a prison officer, had never considered himself a good cook and has no formal culinary training. PHOTO: LIFETIME ASIA

While he occasionally helped his mother in the kitchen as a child, Singapore-born Sashikumar Cheliah never considered himself a good cook.


Police arrest man who threatened to blow up pawnshop after failed robbery attempt

The man had staged a failed robbery attempt using a knife and a replica gun. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Police have arrested an armed suspect who attempted to rob a pawnshop outside Boon Lay MRT station last Saturday.



Facebook, Instagram to introduce tools to help people limit time spent on the platforms

In a statement, Facebook and Instagram announced "new tools to help people manage their time" spent on the platforms. PHOTO: AFP

Among the tools are a way to limit notifications, and a dashboard that allows users to keep track of how much time they have spent on the platforms.



Hundreds protest in Denmark against new ban on face veils in public

Women protest in Copenhagen on the first day of the implementation of the Danish face veil ban. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Hundreds of  Danes marched through Copenhagen on Wednesday in protest at a new ban on the wearing of face veils in public, accusing the government of infringing on women’s right to dress as they choose.