In a shift from his usual bellicose rhetoric, United States President Donald Trump said he was open to direct talks with North Korea - though not without prerequisites - and voiced hope that the two Koreas would take their high-level talks tomorrow beyond the Olympics. But he also stressed that the US maintained a very firm stance on the North.
TOP OF THE NEWS
Singapore may be spared the cyclones that wreak havoc in the northern hemisphere but it is facing its own climate change challenge - rising sea levels.
By 2100, the average level may have risen by about 1m, and the country has embarked on creating a framework for coastal protection.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday she was optimistic her conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) could agree to join forces as they embarked on five days of talks about reviving the "grand coalition" that has governed Germany since 2013. Persuading the SPD to team up with her is Dr Merkel's best bet of forming a stable government.
Japan is making an all-out bid to clinch the contract to build the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR). Japan's envoy to Malaysia said the bid will include a total transfer of technology and local vendor development to benefit Malaysian and Singaporean firms, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
The recent wave of protests in Iran may not derail the regime, but it has hurt its legitimacy and stoked a resurgence of Iranian nationalism that herald a trying year for the clerics, says Jonathan Eyal.
Singapore's first community-built playground opened in Sembawang Close yesterday after residents put the finishing touches to it. Soon, those in other areas will also get to have a hand in redesigning existing playgrounds in their estates.
Five of the 30 leaders and entrepreneurs in the business of law in Asia to watch this year are from Singapore. Picked by the Asian Law Portal publication last month, four of the five are women and their edge is in cutting deals, drumming up business and driving technology.
Rising interest rates should boost local bank profits this year, even as concerns linger about their exposures to the troubled oil and gas sector, analysts said.
Loans will likely grow steadily thanks to the recovering property market and increased investments by corporate clients, they said, which will also boost bank bottom lines.
Chelsea's Italian boss Antonio Conte labelled Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho a "little man" and a "fake" as their ongoing feud escalated. His ire was clearly directed at the Portuguese after the Premier League champions' 0-0 FA Cup third-round draw at Norwich. He refused to criticise his second stringers, saying their second-tier opponents deserved a replay.
The debut feature film of Singaporean photographer and film-maker John Clang, 44, is in the running for a prestigious award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Titled Their Remaining Journey, it features the stories of a dead theatre actress, a former mistress and an unfaithful husband.
What Xi is reading
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a New Year speech in his office, and we look at the books on his shelves. str.sg/oJAp
Tech companies are pushing software fixes for the microchip flaws discovered recently, but the fixes are causing more problems. str.sg/oJsM