Why it matters

Every day on Page 2 of The Straits Times, reporters write about why certain news reports matter to readers. This is a weekly round-up of the columns.

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports slid 10.6 per cent in July from a year earlier. Business reporter Chia Yan Min observed that exports are a vital economic pillar across the Asian region and, with major economies looking tepid, Singapore may need to look closer to home for long-term growth prospects. http://str.sg/4qBY

Cardless methods to pay for ERP charges, such as the new EZ-Pay system by EZ-Link, is the way to go, said transport reporter Adrian Lim. But the current payment systems are not yet seamless. Still, cardless payment will prepare motorists for the next-generation satellite-based ERP which will launch from 2020. http://str.sg/4qez

The marathon debate in Parliament over the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill, which lasted seven hours, helped to clear the air on what one is permitted to say about the judiciary and ongoing court proceedings, reporter Chong Zi Liang noted. While the long debate did not win over the Workers' Party MPs, it was a valuable elaboration on what the law entails and curtails. http://str.sg/4qAu

More people are signing up for health insurance, with the amount of new premiums rising 25.5 per cent to $59 million in the second quarter, compared with the first. Most of the new sales come from Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) and riders, but business reporter Rachael Boon said people need to know the full extent of the IPs and what they offer so that they do not end up paying for more than they need. http://str.sg/4qxQ

Thailand has changed Constitutions on an average of once every four years. Thailand correspondent Tan Hui Yee noted that many in Thailand are eager for a return to democracy after more than two years under a military government. But stability could be elusive, with a sensitive royal transition looming. http://str.sg/4qSn

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2016, with the headline 'Why It Matters'. Print Edition | Subscribe