Top stories from The Straits Times on Wednesday, Dec 6

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Wednesday, Dec 6.

VIDEO: Russia banned from 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics over doping

IOC president Thomas Bach (left) and report author Samuel Schmid at the press conference, Dec 5, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

However, in a bid to protect “innocent athletes” the door has been left open for Russians to compete as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia”, as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.


Amazon to launch Prime membership for Singapore, ends free shipping for non-members

Amazon is launching its Prime membership in Singapore, making the country ineligible for the e-commmerce giant's Free AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping option. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore will be the 16th country - and the first in South-east Asia - to launch Amazon Prime.  


VIDEO: SAF scores several firsts with US live-firing exercise

Apache helicopters taking off at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field in Arizona on Monday during the Forging Sabre exercise. The 16-day live-firing exercise, which began on Nov 28, features upgrades to weapon systems and involves a record 800 personnel. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The Singapore Armed Forces is stepping up its push towards a more integrated and lethal military with several breakthroughs in the biennial Forging Sabre exercise in Arizona.


Incidents of fallen trees and branches at their lowest since 2001: NParks

A fallen tree branch that blocked two lanes along Lower Delta Road on Nov 22, 2017. Despite the amount of online chatter, incidents of falling trees and branches are at their lowest level since records were kept. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Despite online chatter, which suggests the opposite, incidents of falling trees and branches have dropped to their lowest level since recording began 16 years ago.


Causes Week 2017: It takes a village to provide care for former sex workers

Handicrafts made by women at Tamar Village, a daytime restoration centre for former sex workers. Since it was founded in 2010, the centre has helped about 12 women, as well as their partners and children. ST PHOTOS: SEAH KWANG PEN

Many of the people in the sex trade desire a more stable life. This is a belief held by Mrs Mercy Ho, the head of Tamar Village, a daytime restoration centre for people here who have been affected by or involved in the sex trade.


Singapore's first bitcoin dispute to go to trial

Singapore's first legal dispute over bitcoin, over trade proceeds that were allegedly wrongly reversed, will be heading to trial. PHOTO: AFP

Singapore's first legal dispute involving the cryptocurrency bitcoin is headed for trial at the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC).


COMMENTARY: The scary and exciting future of jobs


A new study predicts one-quarter of work activities in Singapore being displaced by 2030. But the Republic is also poised to enjoy higher growth and productivity.


Gigs to groove to in 2018 from Katy Perry to Jay Chou

American singer Katy Perry will hold her fourth concert in Singapore in April, as part of her Witness world tour. PHOTO: KEVIN MAZUR

It has been a sterling year for concerts in 2017 and music fans are in for another bumper crop in 2018, judging from the line-up that has been announced so far.


VIDEO: John Oliver grills Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment allegation

The conversation between Hoffman (left) and Oliver grew increasingly angry. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

HBO host John Oliver hammered Dustin Hoffman on an allegation of sexual harassment and the actor fired back with a ferocious defence as a seemingly benign screening became an explosive conversation about Hollywood sexual misconduct.


Gadget gifts galore

Clockwise from top left: The DJI Mavic Pro drone, Michael Kors' Access Sofie, Kano computer kit and Sony's WH-1000XM2 headphones. PHOTOS: DJI, MICHAEL KORS, SONY, KANO 

The Straits Times Digital team has come up with some recommendations in its annual gadget gift guide. There is something suitable for everyone, or at least we hope we will be able to ignite some gift ideas.