1. World Politics: World leaders in disagreement over trade policies

For the first time in the history of the APEC grouping, leaders were unable to agree on a formal written declaration amid sharp differences over trade policy.

“The leaders agreed that instead of a traditional leaders’ declaration, they would leave it to the hands of PNG as the chair to issue a chair statement on behalf of all the members,” said Zhang Xiaolong, a spokesman from the Chinese foreign ministry.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted there were “different visions on particular elements with regard to trade that prevented full consensus on a communique document.”

The annual gathering, held for the first time in Papua New Guinea, was overshadowed by speeches from Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Vice President Mike Pence, which appeared to represent competing bids for regional leadership.

Pence warned smaller countries not to be seduced by China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure programme, which sees Beijing offer money to poorer countries for construction and development projects.

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: APEC leaders divided after US, China spat

 

  1. Development of new towns: Traffic congestions, and developments of amenities are part of Punggol’s growing pains

“As Punggol morphs into one of the largest housing estates in Singapore with a slew of new developments — it is projected to be twice the size of Ang Mo Kio — its transport woes continue to persist unabated. The ongoing road works to help the transport infrastructure play catch-up further adds to the congestion and inconvenience, much to the chagrin of residents.

It was not too long ago when the mere mention of “Punggol” brought to mind the boondocks. Back in the 1970s and 80s, pig farms were a common sight in Punggol, recalled 44-year-old Lee Ngee Chong.”

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: The Big Read: From the boondocks to waterfront town, Punggol grapples with growing pains and traffic jams

 

  1. Review of hawker centre operations: Greater flexibility given to hawkers following the review of contractual terms

“The round-the-clock operations were requested by the community, but after it opened in November 2016, the demand for food in the wee hours never materialised.

The hawkers and centre operator will “recalibrate the arrangement”, both Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli and Senior Minister of State Amy Khor said on Monday in replies to different parliamentary questions.

The change is part of a series of tweaks that the NEA is making to hawkers’ contractual terms, which will also take effect from Jan 1 next year.

The agency, which oversees hawker centres, announced about two weeks ago that stallholders at social enterprise-run hawker centres will have greater flexibility on how long they wish to operate their stalls, among other changes.”

Read the full article on Today: Released from 24-hour operations, stallholders at Our Tampines Hub hawker centre rejoice

 

Picture credits: https://unsplash.com/photos/DurC25GdOvk