Top stories from The Straits Times on Thursday, Oct 18

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Thursday, Oct 18.

URA cuts number of units allowed to be built in condos, private flats

Under the new rules, more areas will also fall under the formula where the GFA will be divided by 100 sq m, including areas like Marine Parade and Balestier. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has revised its guidelines in a bid to further curb the proliferation of shoebox units and ease infrastructure strain.


Shedding light on move to open up electricity market


Greater competition will help keep the lid on prices and spur innovation.


Video: Further US rate hikes 'most likely' needed: Fed minutes

The Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, US, on Aug 22, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

US central bankers see no reason to pause their current course of gradual interest rate hikes amid the American economy's brisk expansion.


AHTC trial: Low Thia Khiang prioritised Hougang staff and WP supporters over residents, says lawyer Davinder Singh

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang (pictured) had "effectively put AHTC in a position where it was locked into FMSS going forward" by allowing FMSS to be the managing agent from the start of the WP's takeover. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Mr Singh said that if AHTC's managing agent was engaged and led by WP supporters, it would give other companies an "additional reason" to not bid for AHTC's contract in subsequent tenders. Mr Low disagreed.


Mid-career scheme for would-be teachers at international schools launched

Eight schools, including Canadian International School, are offering 15 to 20 trainee teacher positions between them, with plans to ramp up, depending on the interest and take-up of this pilot run. PHOTO: ST FILE

Mid-career professionals can take up trainee positions in international schools while doing studies.


Hawker centre operator must ensure open, fair competition; Koufu upfront about contracts: NEA

The National Environment Agency said it has required the operator of Jurong West Hawker Centre to ensure there is a transparent, value-for-money system when procuring cleaning services. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it requires the operator of Jurong West Hawker Centre to ensure that there is open and fair competition, as well as a transparent, value-for-money system, when procuring cleaning services for the centre. It also pointed out how the operator's parent company Koufu has been upfront about its relationship with GreatSolutions, which provides cleaning services.


Video: Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali says 'crooked bridge' not a priority for Malaysian government

The crooked bridge project was mooted by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad before he retired as premier in 2003. PHOTO: GERBANG PERDANA

Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said that he will look into a proposal raised by the Johor government to build a "crooked bridge", but that the government prioritises projects that benefit the people.


Tapes show Saudi journalist's fingers were chopped off, then he was decapitated: Turkish daily

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished after entering Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul for official documents ahead of his upcoming wedding to his Turkish fiancee. PHOTO: AFP

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, pro-government daily Yeni Safak reported, saying it had heard audio recordings.


Singapore tops global index on food security, but climate change may affect food supply

The Global Food Security Index puts Singapore at No. 1, a jump of three places from last year and the first time it has topped the ranking since the listing was started in 2012. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore is top in the world when it comes to ensuring that its citizens have access to safe and nutritious food at affordable prices in the short and long term.


BreadTalk returns to India with an outlet in Delhi and 15 more planned in 3 years

The newly opened BreadTalk at Select Citywalk, a popular shopping mall, in South Delhi in India. PHOTO: SVA FOTOGRAFS

BreadTalk currently has close to 900 outlets in 18 territories, such as Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.


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