Top stories from The Straits Times on Thursday, Oct 17

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Thursday, Oct 17.

Singapore guards itself against populist forces by focusing on basic needs: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a dialogue with Mr Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, at the Forbes Global CEO Conference yesterday (Oct 16). The hour-long dialogue covered a broad range of topics, including the US-China trade tensions, the political unrest in Hong Kong and Singapore's role in South-east Asia. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

He said this is done through equitable policies on housing, healthcare and education, as well as ensuring Singaporeans have opportunities to upgrade themselves and cope with new demands.


8 families find out they have been paying respects to the wrong graves for 39 years

The National Environment Agency found that the tombstone of one grave at Choa Chu Kang Chinese Cemetery was misaligned, which led to other adjacent headstones being wrongly tagged to grave plots. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

The National Environment Agency discovered a misalignment of tombstones at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery that affected nine graves.


Chiam See Tong steps down as SPP chief, ending storied political career that spanned more than four decades

Veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong relinquished his post as secretary-general at the Singapore People's Party's biennial Ordinary Party Conference held on the evening of Oct 16, 2019. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The Straits Times understands Mr Chiam's name was not put forward during a vote for the party's new central executive committee.


Tianjin Eco-city testing ways to turn it waste-free

Tianjin Eco-city's Smart City Operations Centre has been a one-stop command post to centrally monitor all public utilities infrastructure, and direct all municipal services and emergency management. PHOTO: MCI

The 11-year-old intergovernmental project between Singapore and China is testing a number of waste management solutions that could eventually be brought to other Chinese cities and also back to Singapore.


US imposes tit-for-tat restrictions on Chinese diplomats

Chinese diplomats will be required to tell the State Department in advance of any official meetings with US diplomats, local or municipal officials, and before any visits to colleges or research institutions. PHOTO: AFP

A senior State Department official said the action is a response to what the Chinese government does to limit the interactions that US diplomats can have in China with Chinese stakeholders.


Sweet online booking deals leave bitter taste

Expedia, Agoda, and did not respond to queries on whether they would adopt the proposed guidelines. PHOTOS: EXPEDIA, AGODA, BOOKING.COM, HOTELS.COM

A Straits Times check of more than 20 hotel and airline booking sites found opaque pricing on most of the deals.


New rules for buying Malaysian property: Concern over foreign invasion, real estate bubble

An upscale residential development in Forest City, Johor. The southern Malaysian state has 51,000 unsold properties, of which between 60 per cent and 70 per cent are priced at RM600,000 (S$197,000) and above. PHOTO: ST FILE

Analysts warn of the impact of the government's decision to lower the threshold price for foreign buyers in a bid to reduce the number of unsold apartments.


Wet and warm weather expected for next fortnight; below-average rainfall in first half of October

People are seen carrying umbrellas to shield against the rain in Novena on Sept 29, 2019. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

For the next 14 days, the temperature is forecast to reach as high as 35 deg C on a few days, although the daily temperature should range between 25 deg C and 34 deg C on most days.


How K-pop can move forward after the deaths of Sulli and Jonghyun

K-pop star Sulli's (left) death from alleged suicide, nearly two years after Jonghyun (right) of boy band SHINee killed himself, has again sparked outrage against cyber bullying. K-pop star Sulli's (left) death from alleged suicide, nearly two years after Jonghyun (right) of boy band SHINee killed himself, has again sparked outrage against cyber bullying. PHOTOS: INTERNET, SM ENTERTAINMENT

Despite multiple suicide attempts and deaths, and lawsuits over malicious posts, the toxic online culture surrounding South Korean entertainment persists.


Athletics: National marathoner Soh Rui Yong sends letter of demand to Liew's management team

Soh Rui Yong (left) has been embroiled in a dispute with Ashley Liew since October 2018. PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ASHLEYLIEWCHIRO/INSTAGRAM

The fallout from Soh's dispute with former teammate Ashley Liew continues, with Soh's lawyer sending a letter of demand to One Management and its co-founder accusing the parties of defamation.