Top stories from The Straits Times on Wednesday, April 18

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Wednesday, April 18.


SMRT's Desmond Kuek stepping down, expected to be replaced by former chief of defence force Neo Kian Hong


SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek (left) is stepping down after more than five years at the helm, say sources. His successor is expected to be former chief of defence force Neo Kian Hong. PHOTOS: ST FILE, PUBLIC SERVICE DIVISION 

Mr Kuek is stepping down after 5½ years at the helm, with a formal announcement of the change to be made as early as Wednesday. 

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Donald Trump says US and North Korea had direct 'high level' talks


Donald Trump welcomes Shinzo Abe to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Five locations are under consideration for his planned summit with the North's leader Kim Jong Un, Mr Trump revealed after meeting with Japan PM Shinzo Abe. 

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Thum Ping Tjin must expect to be questioned, says Charles Chong in response to open letter by academics


Mr Charles Chong said Dr Thum Ping Tjin had chosen to use the select committee on deliberate online falsehoods to make a political point about Operation Coldstore - a security operation that took place 55 years ago, long before the Internet existed. PHOTOS: GOV.SG

Mr Chong, who chairs the Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods, said Dr Thum's written submission "is not an academic dissertation but a political piece". 

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O-level cheating trial: Student knew about cheating plan only on morning of exam


The centre's principal Poh Yuan Nie (centre) and tutors Fiona Poh Min (left) and Feng Riwen allegedly helped six Chinese students cheat during the O-level exam in 2016. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Tuition centre principal Poh Yuan Nie (centre) told the student she had  "something to help" him in his exam - by attaching communication devices to his body. 

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Tanker collision in Singapore waters results in butane leak, situation contained: MPA


File photos of Singapore LPG tanker Crystal Sunrise (left) and Greece tanker Astro Saturn. PHOTO: MARINETRAFFIC.COM

The Singapore-registered LPG tanker Crystal Sunrise had collided with the west-bound Greece-registered Astro Saturn about one nautical mile south of Tuas Extension. 

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Caltex pump attendant urges netizens to stop harassing driver


In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, the elderly pump attendant said: "I feel that it is not necessary for netizens to be harassing the other party, and it should stop immediately." 
PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, FACEBOOK/KELLY YEO

The elderly attendant said the whole incident was a misunderstanding and that he feels it is not necessary for netizens to harass the driver. 

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Sabah emerges as key swing state in Malaysia election

The rising cost of living is an issue for voters like fisherman Abdul Ghafar Radin (centre) in Sabah. Some political analysts based there believe former Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal has an even chance of overthrowing the Umno-led state government
The rising cost of living is an issue for voters like fisherman Abdul Ghafar Radin (centre) in Sabah. Some political analysts based there believe former Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal has an even chance of overthrowing the Umno-led state government that has ruled Sabah for more than two decades. ST PHOTO: LESLIE LOPEZ

Political analysts believe that Mr Shafie Apdal, a former Umno vice-president and rural development minister, has a chance of overthrowing the Umno-led state government. 

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Southwest Airlines jet engine blows out in flight, killing woman passenger


Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. PHOTO: REUTERS

The cabin suddenly lost pressure when engine debris pierced the window, said one passenger. Seven others suffered minor injuries. 

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Chemical inspectors enter Syria’s Douma amid concerns for probe of alleged gas attack


Syrians cycle along a damaged street in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on April 16, 2018. 

France and the US have questioned the purpose of the mission, given it is highly likely that evidence and essential elements have disappeared from the site. 

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Football: Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid confirmed for International Champions Cup Singapore leg


Former football players (from left) Jose Luis Caminero (Atletico Madrid), Robert Pires (Arsenal) and Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain) at a press conference at Marina Bay Sands' ArtScience Museum on April 17, 2018. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Atletico will play Arsenal in the opening match on July 26, followed by Arsenal versus PSG (July 28) and PSG vs Atletico (July 30). 

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