While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 4 edition

SMRT cuts CEO pay by nearly 20%

Transport operator SMRT Corp has cut the pay of its chief executive Desmond Kuek - a rare move in the corporate universe.

Mr Kuek, 53, received a total remuneration of $1.87 million for the financial year ended March 31 - down from $2.31 million the year before.

This was revealed in the company's newly-released annual report, which revealed more on Mr Kuek's compensation. It said that his basic salary was $830,955, while his variable performance pay was $1,040,759, making a total of $1,871,714.


Michelle Obama takes a swipe at Donald Trump

First Lady Michelle Obama took a veiled swipe at Donald Trump while delivering a passionate defence of immigration and diversity, in the final commencement address of her husband's presidency on Friday.

"Infusions of new cultures and new ideas, generation after generation, created the matchless alchemy of our melting pot and helped us build the strongest, most vibrant, most prosperous nation on the planet," Obama told the 2016 graduating class of City College of New York (CCNY).

"Some folks out there today seem to have a very different perspective," she said, appearing to allude to the presumptive Republican nominee for president, without using his name.


Scientists unveil plan to create synthetic human genomes

A group of American-led scientists and entrepreneurs has announced the start of a 10-year project aimed at creating synthetic human genomes in a move that could revolutionise the field of biotechnology but raises troubling ethical concerns.

The ambitious proposal could make it possible to grow human organs for transplant and speed up the development of vaccines, the project backers said in a paper published on Thursday in the journal Science.

But the idea has already sparked criticism due to the potential of one day creating children with no biological parents, and due to the secrecy surrounding a recent closed-door meeting on the subject.


UN pleads with Syria to airlift aid to starving civilians

The United Nations, backed by the United States, Britain and other powers, urged the Syrian government on Friday to end all sieges and allow UN airdrops of aid to hundreds of thousands of people trapped across conflict-torn Syria.

Nearly 600,000 people are besieged in 19 different areas in Syria, according to the UN, with two-thirds trapped by government forces and the rest by armed opposition groups and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants.

UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council the world body would on Sunday ask Syria to approve airdrops or airlifts of aid into besieged areas where only partial or no land access had previously been granted, said French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre, president of the council for June.


Motorcycling: Spanish rider Luis Salom dies in crash at Catalunya GP - organisers

Spanish Moto2 rider Luis Salom has died after a crash during the second free practice session for the Catalunya Grand Prix, race organisers said on Friday.

The 24-year-old Mallorcan fell on turn 12 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and was treated by medics before being taken to hospital where he underwent surgery.

“It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Luis Salom,” MotoGP said in a statement.