Top stories from The Straits Times on Wednesday, Jan 2

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Wednesday, Jan 2.

Foreign ministers of Singapore and Malaysia to meet on Jan 8 in the Republic

The foreign ministers of Singapore and Malaysia will meet in the Republic on Jan 8, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah was quoted by Malaysian media as saying the dispute over airspace would be on the agenda of the meeting. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


Kim Jong Un warns of 'new path' if stalemate with US persists

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared his "strong will" towards denuclearisation in his annual New Year's Day address, but warned that he could "seek a new path" if the United States misjudges his patience.

In his annual New Year's Day address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said bilateral ties would propel ahead if the US were to "respond by taking trustworthy and corresponding, practical action". PHOTO: AFP


Car hit by fallen tree? NParks may cover claim

NParks says it has a public liability insurance policy which covers its legal liability for personal injury, loss or damage to property following a fallen tree incident.

The owners of the white Toyota Estima and silver Kia Rio, both of which were parked in Turf Club Road, managed to recover repair costs of more than $12,000 in total for the damage to their cars caused by a falling tree branch on May 27, 2017. PHOTO: POON POONG MOTORS


Heng Swee Keat to deliver 2019 Budget statement on Feb 18

It will be the fourth time Mr Heng, who took over as finance minister in 2015, is delivering the Budget statement.

The 2019 Budget statement will be delivered by Mr Heng Swee Keat on Feb 18. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG


Grading scheme for maid agencies runs into a snag

A planned scheme to grade maid employment agencies and boost the professionalism of the industry has been delayed for over a year after several issues were raised.

When the Trustmark scheme is ready, agencies will need to be graded by the Consumers Association of Singapore and the Manpower Ministry before they can renew their licences. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


9 hurt after man rams car through famous street in Tokyo in New Year Day attack

A 21-year-old man in a rented car deliberately ploughed into pedestrians on Harajuku's Takeshita Street, which was closed to vehicles for the New Year, injuring nine people.

A car ploughed into crowds celebrating New Year's Day at a popular tourist area of Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: REUTERS


The Lives They Live: She reached out to aids patients when no one would

At the former Middle Road Hospital, which handled Aids cases in 1985, two doctors resigned and 25 nurses asked to be transferred out of fear, but not Mrs Iris Verghese.

Mrs Iris Verghese was a health worker with the former Middle Road Hospital. Over the past three decades, she has counselled countless HIV/Aids patients and their families, as well as raised funds for HIV prevention. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


Moneylenders test tech to read your social media feed to figure out if you get a loan

An algorithm that reads your social media feed, gets a fix on your digital personality and analyses your online interactions with people may determine if you get a loan.

The Law Ministry selected six firms last month to pilot new business models for moneylending while also temporarily lifting a 2012 moratorium on new licences needed to operate in the sector. PHOTO: REUTERS


Newsmakers and readers share their #firstmeal2019 with ST Food

Check out what newsmakers and readers had for their first meal in the new year, from milk tea and raisin bread to roti prata.


Consumer tech trends in 2019

The Straits Times looks at what's coming your way in consumer technology in the new year.

Samsung Electronics' senior vice-president of mobile product marketing Justin Denison unveiling the company's foldable smartphone in San Francisco on Nov 7, 2018. The foldable smartphone may actually become a thing this year. PHOTO: REUTERS