US navy chief does not want China tensions to 'boil over'

Singapore, May 15 (AFP/PTI) The US navy chief said Wednesday he did not want maritime tensions with China to "boil over", a week after Washington's latest challenge to Beijing's territorial claims in contested waters.

Beijing said last week two American warships sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea without permission, prompting the Chinese Navy to ask them to leave.

The ships entered waters adjacent to Gaven and Chigua reefs in the Spratly Islands, which Beijing calls Nansha, on May 6, China's foreign ministry said.

Asian stocks rise, oil soars on Iran sanctions worries

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks mostly rose Tuesday and oil prices soared to their highest level since October after the U.S. said it would soon impose sanctions on all buyers of Iranian oil.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.2% higher at 22,259.74 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.2% to 2,220.51. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2% to 30,007.65. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 1% to 6,319.40. The Shanghai Composite bucked the regional trend, falling 0.1% to 3,210.77.

Shares rose in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia, but fell in Singapore.

Indian extradited to US from Singapore in call center fraud

20 Apr 2019; AFP: Singapore has extradited an Indian national to the United States to face charges in a call center fraud that scammed millions of dollars from victims in the United States, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Hitesh Madhubhai Patel, 42, of Ahmedabad, India, was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in a Houston, Texas federal court for his role in a case that was first announced in 2016, charging 60 people with wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

Singapore carrier grounds 2 Boeing 787-10 jets after checks

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore Airlines says it has grounded two of its Boeing 787-10 aircraft due to engine issues.

The carrier said in a statement on Tuesday that “premature blade deterioration was found on some engines” of its 787-10 fleet at recent routine inspections.

It said, “Pending engine replacements, two SIA 787-10 aircraft have been removed from service.”

The carrier said it would operate other aircraft on the affected routes to minimize disruption. It said some flights were disrupted but gave no details.

Singapore suspends Boeing 737 MAX flights

SINGAPORE, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is temporarily suspending all Boeing 737 MAX flights in its airspace on Tuesday days after a plane crash in Ethiopia.

The aviation regulator explained that the decision was made "in light of two fatal accidents involving Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months."

Ride-hailing firm Grab secures $1.5 billion in funding

06 Mar 2019; AFP: Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab said on Wednesday it has secured $1.5 billion in fresh financing from a fund run by Japan's SoftBank and will use a significant portion of it to expand in Indonesia.

Grab has seen its business grow rapidly since it bought US-based rival Uber's regional ride-hailing and food business in March last year. Uber received a 27.5 percent stake in Grab in return.

30% of Singapore budget in defence, security and diplomacy

SINGAPORE, Feb 19 (NNN-CNA) — The Singapore government will spend about S$22.7 billion, or 30 per cent of its total expenditure in Financial Year (FY) 2019, on defence, security and diplomacy, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget statement.

In FY2018, defence, security and diplomacy spending accounted for about 28 per cent of the total Government expenditure.

“Given its strategic significance, the Government will continue to invest a significant share of our resources … to support our defence, security and diplomacy efforts,” he told Parliament.

As US retreats, China touts its trade deal wares to Asia

14 Nov 2018; AFP: China is touting itself as the new defender of global commerce as it works with Asia-Pacific leaders to hammer out the world's largest trade deal -- with the United States relegated to the sidelines.

World leaders gathered in Singapore this week for a summit where a massive Beijing-backed agreement covering half the world's population has dominated discussions.

Asian leaders push toward pacts on South China Sea, trade

SINGAPORE (AP) — Leaders from Southeast Asia, China and other neighboring countries met in Singapore on Wednesday and cited progress on keeping peace in the contentious South China Sea as evidence that the region is managing to handle such issues on its own.

Both the Singapore meeting and a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum later in the week have drawn China’s leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin and heads of other regional powers, but not President Donald Trump, who sent Vice President Mike Pence instead.

US security chief Bolton vows to 'squeeze' Iran

Singapore, Nov 13 (AFP) US National Security Advisor John Bolton vowed Tuesday to "squeeze" Iran "until the pips squeak", a week after a tough new round of sanctions came into force.

President Donald Trump has dramatically increased pressure on Tehran, withdrawing from an international agreement aimed at ending its nuclear programme and introducing several rounds of unilateral US sanctions.

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