Top stories from The Straits Times on Wednesday, Oct 16

Good morning! Here are our top stories to kick-start your Wednesday, Oct 16.

Queenstown could get 5,000 new flats by 2027

According to tender documents, about 2,060 of these homes in two developments could be launched as early as 2021 or 2022. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

About 2,060 of these homes in two developments could be launched as early as 2021 or 2022, according to tender documents.


Singapore's 4G leadership lays out plans to take relationship with China 'to a higher level'

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat leading the Singapore delegation as he co-chairs the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation in Chongqing, China, on Oct 15, 2019. PHOTO: MCI

The vision for this new team is to build on the foundations of the past decades and "scale new peaks" in its relationship with China, said DPM Heng Swee Keat.


Clearing the air over fire and haze: It's complicated, say experts of fire situation in Indonesia  

A tourist wearing a mask at the Merlion park on Sept 18. The haze this year was not as bad as the 2015 crisis. In both years, fires were worsened by drier-than-usual weather caused by natural climate phenomena. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

While satellite data may show hot spots within an area, not all of these may translate into real fires. This is because things like metal rooftops or bodies of water may register as hot spots.


Singapore's No. 1 competitiveness ranking masks some weak spots


It must consider adopting a more liberal policy towards foreign workers, improve its shareholder governance and adopt more aggressive policies to promote the use of renewable energies, says associate editor Vikram Khanna.


Dutch police discover family locked away for years on farm waiting for the end of time

The six, aged 18 to 25, and their ailing father were found near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe. PHOTO: REUTERS

The family was discovered after one of the siblings escaped from the farm and sought help at a nearby cafe in the northern province of Drenthe.


Generation Grit: Undergrad who was sexually abused when she was 3 now ready to embrace life

After over a decade of counselling, undergraduate Law Mei Ting says she is ready to come out of the shadows and open up about her past. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Miss Law Mei Ting struggled to cope with anger, shame and loneliness when she was growing up. But now she is speaking up in this series on millennials who have overcome the odds.


Students get option to switch subjects mid-stream at Boon Lay Secondary

Boon Lay Secondary School teacher Sim Siok Siok with her student Esther Soon, a Normal Technical student who joined a Normal Academic art class through the pilot programme. The new scheme allows students to take "out-of-stream" subjects - a concept similar to subject-based banding, where students take subjects at a higher or lower level based on their strengths. ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI

The programme allows students to try subjects outside their subject combination via e-learning modules. After they prove their competency, they will have the option to change their subject combination permanently.


Hour Glass co-founder Jannie Chan's share from forced sale of $3.85m apartment to be paid to Official Assignee

Prominent businesswoman Jannie Chan and her younger daughter had granted a pair of potential buyers an option to purchase their Keppel Bay View property four months after the bank took possession of the apartment. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

Complications arose when potential buyers of the property successfully sued Ms Chan and her younger daughter over the aborted deal, and Ms Chan was made bankrupt by other creditors, leading to competing claims over the proceeds.


Google unveils new Pixel 4 phones with gesture controls and face unlock feature

At the Made By Google event in New York City, Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh talked about how Google's latest products can help solve the problems of their users. SCREENSHOT: VINCENT CHANG

The tech giant unveiled two versions of the Pixel 4 - the 6.5-inch Pixel 4 XL and the 5.7-inch Pixel 4 are identical in every way except for their screen sizes and batteries.


Football: Gutsy Lions fall 3-1 to Uzbekistan  

Singapore's Ikhsan Fandi in action during the World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan at the National Stadium on Oct 15, 2019. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

World No. 157 Singapore may have lost to 88th-ranked Uzbekistan but they would have won over many fans with their gutsy display as they rebuild for the future.