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News, though plural in form, always takes a singular verb. If only one thing is meant we say a piece or an item of news: This Is a good piece of news.
All names of things consisting of two parts (like scissors, trousers, spectacles, shears, pliers) take a plural verb. We can say: a pair of (scissors, etc.) is...
Two singular nouns joined by as well as require the verb to be singular.
When we precede number by the it denotes a unit and is singular. When it's preceded by a it means several or many and is plural.