Top stories from The Straits Times on Thursday, Dec 20

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Thursday, Dec 20.

Taxi and private-hire car associations recommend integrated travel app, seek use of bus lanes and stops

An integrated transport app to help commuters choose travel options and allowing the use of bus stops and bus lanes for all public transport were among the proposals submitted. PHOTO: ST FILE

The National Taxi Association and the National Private Hire Vehicles Association said that their proposals for the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 seek to improve the livelihoods and work environment for taxi and private-hire car drivers.


Bomb hoax, car breakdowns, rampant queue-cutting all add to last weekend's Causeway jams

Long lines of cars near the Woodlands Checkpoint on the evening of Dec 15, 2018. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Commuters should continue to expect heavy traffic from Friday till New Year's Day at both the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, especially on the weekends, and checks against potential threats will be stepped up during the festive period, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.


US stocks end sharply lower after Fed rate hike, Dow down 1.5%

Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AFP

Wall Street stocks tumbled after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates while pledging a cautious approach to additional interest rate hikes next year.


US President Donald Trump starts withdrawal of US forces from Syria, claims victory

US forces patrol the Kurdish-held town of Al-Darbasiyah in northeastern Syria bordering Turkey on Nov 4, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

News of a full withdrawal drew immediate criticism from some of the president’s fellow Republicans, who said that leaving strengthened the hand of Russia and Iran, which supported Syrian President Bashar al Assad.


Gay parents seeking to adopt their kids may find it harder to prove they did not intend to violate policy against same-sex families: Desmond Lee

A High Court ruling on Dec 17, 2018, allowed a gay Singaporean man to adopt his biological son. PHOTO: ST FILE

“We will review our adoption laws and related policies, to see if they should be amended and further strengthened,” said Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee.


Chendol and other culture 'wars'


A common history dating back to the 13th century explains the similarities in dance, food and culture among Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.


Causes Week 2018: Using sports for good, teen rebel learns to channel his energy

Mohammed Narish (right) being coached by three-time SEA Games bronze medallist Muhamad Ridhwan during a training session, under The Chosen Wan Cares Programme, which provides free membership for at-risk youth to train at Ridhwan's Legends Fight Sport gym. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Boxer Muhamad Ridhwan's The Chosen Wan Cares Programme helps Mohammed Narish Mohamed Noh discover his boxing potential.


Washington attorney-general sues Facebook for failing to protect users' data in Cambridge Analytica scandal

A figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on the cracked screen of a smartphone. PHOTO: AFP

Facebook could be levied a civil penalty of US$5,000 (S$6,800) per violation of the region's consumer protection law, or potentially close to US$1.7 billion, if penalised for each consumer affected.


Hunky male leads in Crazy Rich Asians upends film stereotypes of emasculated Asian men, says Joan Chen

Joan Chen is concerned about the crumbling goodwill between China and the United States, and describes the current situation as "dismal". ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN

"I love the fact that it has hunky, good-looking Asian guys. Asian guys in American films are so emasculated, playing the nerd or the evil guy," said actress, director, writer and producer Joan Chen.


Sammi Cheng, Stanley Kwan reunite 13 years after Everlasting Regret for First Night Nerves

Joan Chen is concerned about the crumbling goodwill between China and the United States, and describes the current situation as "dismal". ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN

After going through a dark period, Sammi Cheng is back in the spotlight - playing a former top actress in First Night Nerves.