What's News: Feb 20, 2018

Officers and bank staff at the Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank.
Officers and bank staff at the Brady House branch of the Punjab National Bank.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


GST to rise to 9% in a few years

A hike in the goods and services tax, from 7 per cent to 9 per cent, will take effect some time from 2021 to 2025, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech yesterday. Other revenue-raising measures include an increase in stamp duty on residential property and a carbon tax.


Call to grow industrial zones

Indonesia's Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto said yesterday he has encouraged Singapore to develop three industrial estates in the country. Mr Airlangga said the estates being offered were Tanah Kuning Industrial Estate in North Kalimantan, Kuala Tanjung Industrial Estate in North Sumatra and Bitung Industrial Estate in North Sulawesi.


Probe of Indian bank hots up

The Brady House branch of state-run Punjab National Bank in Mumbai was closed yesterday as officers from the elite Central Bureau of Investigationconducted searches and pored over records in a US$1.8 billion (S$2.4 billion) fraud case involving a billionaire jeweller. At least three people have been arrested so far.


Alternative to China strategy

Australia, the United States, India and Japan are talking about establishing a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative in an attempt to counter Beijing's spreading influence, the Australian Financial Review reported yesterday, citing a senior US official.


Trump puts US back in Asia

The Trump administration may not have explicitly proclaimed a pivot to Asia, but its actions on the ground are effectively shifting the power dynamics in the region, says Dr Thitinan Pongsudhirak.


Valuable finds among junk

Junk disposal firms - usually hired to remove unwanted items from homes - sometimes find brand new and even valuable things among the discarded items. The companies donate usable finds to charities, or sell items to waste recycling firms or second-hand dealers.


SIA to amend sick leave rule

Singapore Airlines cabin crew who go on sick leave for common ailments such as coughs will not have their incentive points docked from April. The change comes after staff complained about the current system, and is part of a broader overhaul of the appraisal system.


Noble expects Q4 loss

Noble Group has warned of a net loss surpassing the billion-dollar mark for the three months ended Dec 31 - the group's fourth consecutive quarterly net loss - and also for the full year. In a profit guidance, the group said it is expecting a fourth-quarter net loss in the range of US$1.7 billion (S$2.2 billion) to US$1.9 billion, taking its full-year net loss to between US$4.8 billion and US$5 billion.


Thrill of less popular sports

Assistant sports editor Rohit Brijnath is so enthralled by Singapore teen Amita Berthier's surge to No. 2 in the women's foil junior rankings that he wants to get a fencing manual. Her exploits and that of speed skater Cheyenne Goh at the Winter Olympics have opened eyes to a wider world beyond mainstream sports.



An immigrant's dilemma

In Lau Siew Mei's third novel, The Last Immigrant, a Singaporean living in Australia must balance his identity as an immigrant with his job of deciding if asylum seekers get to stay in the country. In a sense, Lau herself has been an immigrant for nearly half her life. Born and raised in Singapore, she moved to Australia in 1994, and has become a citizen there.

Straits Times Digital


Special therapy dog

This miniature schnauzer has been been trained by its owner to obey commands in Hokkien to connect with elderly patients at Assisi Hospice. str.sg/oi6y


S-League's voice

The Football Association of Singapore is looking for new stadium announcers for this year's S-League season. What is it looking for? str.sg/oiDZ

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2018, with the headline 'What's News'. Print Edition | Subscribe