10 must-reads for today

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the presidential palace in Kabul yesterday with Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the presidential palace in Kabul yesterday with Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Israeli left-wing activists protesting in front of the country's Parliament in Jerusalem yesterday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Israeli left-wing activists protesting in front of the country's Parliament in Jerusalem yesterday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

1 Pompeo tries to save deal

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived yesterday in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit to help salvage a historic deal between Washington and the Taleban to end the US' longest war. His visit to Kabul is being watched closely for clues on whether it can resolve the weeks-long political deadlock.

2 Virus worries hit markets

Singapore stocks joined their counterparts across Asia and the rest of the world in an accelerating race to the bottom amid rising coronavirus worries. The market rout came as a rising tide of national lockdowns threatens to overwhelm frantic efforts of policymakers to cushion what is likely to be a global recession.

3 S'pore, Australia boost ties

Singapore and Australia yesterday signed a digital economy pact and 10 agreements to boost bilateral cooperation. The Digital Economy Agreement will create a framework for both sides to cooperate more closely in areas such as digital identities and e-payments. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Australian counterpart, Mr Scott Morrison, witnessed the signing of some agreements after they met via video conferencing.

4 Bid to block Israeli PM's govt

Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have asked the Supreme Court to block what they described as a power grab by the caretaker government. They asked the court to restore the full powers of Parliament, which has been largely blocked from functioning by Speaker Yuli Edelstein, an ally of Mr Netanyahu.

5 China's coronavirus mission

China is sending medical help to several countries. While that is a positive move, blowing its own trumpet and engaging in conspiracy theories in an attempt to deflect attention from its initial response to the coronavirus are not, says global affairs correspondent Goh Sui Noi.

6 S'pore sea levels rising

As the world warms and ice caps melt, global sea levels are rising, including around Singapore. The average sea level around the island today is 14cm above pre-1970 levels, said the Meteorological Service Singapore yesterday in its annual climate assessment report. HOME B2

7 More poly options for adults

Polytechnics are opening more doors for working adults to go back to school. This year, polytechnics extended a scheme to working adults that allows students to apply for full-time diploma courses based on their aptitudes. About 250 working adults applied for a place this year through the scheme, and about 70 received offers, the Ministry of Education said.

8 MAS expected to ease policy

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will release its six-monthly monetary policy statement slightly earlier than usual next Monday, amid economists' expectations that an easing in monetary policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic is on the cards. This news also comes as core inflation last month hit a decade-low.

9 Duo quit athletics body

Retired sprinters Poh Seng Song and Gary Yeo have left Singapore Athletics' management committee over disagreements regarding views and decisions. But both stressed that they were parting with the association on amicable terms. Poh has not ruled out his future involvement in the track and field fraternity. Their departures follow a turbulent period for the association.

10 Taiwan dance queen dies

Taiwan celebrity dancer Serena Liu has died at the age of 44, after being in critical condition since last month. The decision was made to take her off life support after it was determined that nothing more could be done to save her.


VIDEO

Bangkok's nightlife goes quiet

The entertainment district in Bangkok went from struggling with dwindling tourist numbers to being totally quiet after all bars, nightclubs, gyms and massage parlours were ordered to shut for two weeks. str.sg/blurb281

VIDEO

Fear, humour, courage amid outbreak

From toilet paper fights to funny memes, people around the world are coping with the coronavirus pandemic in their own ways. Here is a look at how some have reacted. str.sg/blurb282

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2020, with the headline '10 must-reads for today'. Print Edition | Subscribe