Top stories from The Straits Times on Wednesday, May 9

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kickstart your Wednesday, May 9.


Parties in close race as Malaysians go to polls today


A worker making final preparations yesterday at a counting centre in Klang, Selangor, before today's vote. Pollsters say neither BN nor PH has secured a comfortable lead.PHOTO: BERNAMA

Party leaders made last-ditch appeals to Malaysia's 15 million voters ahead of today's general election, as the latest polls show a neck-and-neck race to the finish for ruling coalition Barisan Nasional and opposition pact Pakatan Harapan.

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New $6,000 performance bond for Indonesian maids 'unnecessary': MOM


Domestic workers being trained in Jakarta. Since April 2018, employers hiring a new Indonesian maid in Singapore have been asked to purchase a performance bond guarantee.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Indonesian Embassy's move to impose a new performance bond of $6,000 on employers who hire Indonesian maids here is unnecessary, the Singapore Government said.

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Last-minute rush for Malaysians trying to cast their vote from overseas


(From left) Wong Keen Hon, Stacey Low, Josephine Ong, Jackie Ong, Vincent Chan and Lee Hui Lii travelling from Singapore to Ipoh with their balloting slips to vote.PHOTO: STACEY LOW

When Malaysian citizen Mrs Agnes Koay received her balloting slip at 7pm on Monday, she did not think she would be able to send it back in time to cast her vote on Wednesday - even with the help of a courier.

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VIDEO: Donald Trump pulls US from Iran nuclear deal, will revive sanctions


Donald Trump announcing his decision on the Iran nuclear deal.PHOTO: REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday (May 8) pulled the United States out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East, upsetting European allies and casting uncertainty over global oil supplies.

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Malaysia election: Follow The Straits Times for live updates on Polling Day


(Seated, from left) Malaysia Bureau Chief Shannon Teoh, Assistant Foreign Editor Lim Ai Leen and Executive Photojournalist Kua Chee Siong. (Standing, from left) Correspondent Tan Hui Yee, multimedia journalist Azim Azman, photojournalist Ariffin Jamar, and correspondent Trinna Leong. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

As campaigning comes to a close and 15 million Malaysians head to polling booths on May 9, The Straits Times' team of journalists will bring you live updates and results.

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Trump-Kim summit likely in mid-June if held in Singapore


United States President Donald Trump (right) will "most likely" meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before the G-7 talks so he can report the results at the summit. PHOTO: REUTERS

It is "diplomatically unthinkable" that talks between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are postponed, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha told broadcaster KBS yesterday.

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President Halimah's call for bold changes draws bold ideas


President Halimah Yacob's President's Address on May 7, drafted primarily by fourth-generation ministers, set out the direction which the younger leaders hope to take Singapore in.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Experts, NGOs, ex-MPs suggest ways to work on key priorities set out by President Halimah

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Buzz over sighting of 'extinct' woodpecker at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve


The first recent sighting of the great slaty woodpecker took place last Wednesday, when nature photographer Ted Lee spotted the bird near the summit of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and took snapshots of it.PHOTO: TED LEE

The reappearance of the great slaty woodpecker, thought to be extinct in Singapore due to forest clearance during the Republic's developing years, has been described as the greatest ornithological event in Singapore in the last decade.

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All new private developments to have bicycle parking as fresh guidelines kick in


All new developments, both residential and commercial, will now be required to provide bicycle parking spaces.PHOTO: ST FILE

In another push towards a car-lite society and to encourage people to use a bike for commuting, the Government will now require all new private developments to provide bicycle parking spaces.

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VIDEO: Desire to care for mentally ill mum led to his career choice


As a child, Mr Rayson Choo was ashamed of his mother. But since he became a psychiatric nurse, he is better able to deal with her when she acts up. Mother and son now enjoy a close relationship and he takes her out at least once a week.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

When he was seven years old, his mother ran away from home and Mr Rayson Choo and his father, a security guard, spent weeks scouring the island hoping to find her.

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