What's News: December 23, 2017

Bodum products are known for their sleek, simple design.
Bodum products are known for their sleek, simple design.PHOTO: BODUM


Call for two-state solution

A day after United Nations member states snubbed America's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, countries stressed the need for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict. Singapore was among the 128 countries that voted in favour of a UN resolution condemning United States' move.


Crisis after Catalan vote

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (below) yesterday rejected a call by ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont for a meeting, after his effort to snuff out an independence drive in Catalonia was dealt a blow as secessionists narrowly won an election. Mr Rajoy said he would make an effort to hold talks with the new Catalan government.


S'pore firm in AI venture

A Singapore start-up and a top Chinese hospital in Beijing have set up what they say is the world's first artificial intelligence (AI) research centre for neurology. The centre aims to develop technologies that, for example, ensure efficient and consistent diagnosis of brain tumours and vascular diseases, and help patients recover faster through the use of robots.


$1b drug bust in Australia

Australia has seized more than A$1 billion (S$1.04 billion) worth of methamphetamine in its biggest bust of the drug, police said.

The massive 1.2 tonne haul of methamphetamine, or "Ice", was intercepted after it was offloaded from a boat which the authorities believe came from China.


Give less fortunate a leg-up

Meritocracy is seen as a virtue, but different starting points are a fact of life. As we approach the new year, we should count our blessings and help those less fortunate than us, says Singapore Institute of Directors chairman Willie Cheng.


Sea robots for coast guard

The Singapore Police Coast Guard showcased two unmanned surface vessels (USVs), which can patrol the waters autonomously, to the media in the open water off Marina Bay. The USVs, one 9m long and the other 16m, have been on trial since late last year.


NGO slams study on maids

Advocacy group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics has distanced itself from a study led by researcher Anja Wessels, which claimed that three in five maids in Singapore are exploited and one in five is a victim of forced labour.


Eric Schmidt stepping down

Google parent Alphabet said on Thursday its executive chairman Eric Schmidt will step down next month, ending a 17-year run in which he played a central role in building Google into a global technology powerhouse. He will continue to serve on Alphabet's board of directors and act as an adviser focused on technical and science issues. Mr Schmidt said the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition.


Race for athletics GM post

Singapore Athletics (SA) general manager Jaime Cheong's last day of service is Jan 10, having resigned citing a "clash in values" . Among her possible replacements are former SA director-general Eric Song, former Sport Singapore assistant director of events development Ong Chong Lin and chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Council Athletes' Commission Yip Renkai.


Secret of Bodum's success

Great partnerships, says Mr Jorgen Bodum, 69, are the secret of Danish tableware and kitchenware company Bodum's success. The global brand is now sold in 55 countries.


Year-end round-up

From harassment letters signed by "Lord Voldermort" to a woman trapped upside down trying to retrieve her own poo, here are nine headlines this year that sounded incredulous. str.sg/ook2


Unusual items in corridors

Take a look at some uncommon sightings in the common corridors of Housing Board blocks. str.sg/o4C2

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2017, with the headline 'What's News'. Print Edition | Subscribe