While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 22

US government shutdown looms as lawmakers seek last-minute compromise

President Donald Trump said there was a good chance the Senate would not approve his demand for US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion) towards funding his long-demanded border wall and that there probably would be a partial US government shutdown at midnight.

Lawmakers scrambled to find an 11th-hour solution to avert the potential shutdown, meeting with Vice-President Mike Pence and senior White House officials.

Negotiators in the Senate were discussing legislation that would include US$1.6 billion in border security money and retaining assistance for areas hit by natural disasters that was added by the House of Representatives, according to a Republican Senate aide.

Before meeting with Senate Republicans at the White House, Trump wrote on Twitter that “Democrats now own the shutdown,” despite having said last week that he would be “proud” to close the federal government over the issue of border security and “I’ll be the one to shut it down.”


London’s Gatwick airport reopens after new drone report halts flights

Flights at Britain’s second-biggest airport Gatwick have resumed after a brief suspension following unconfirmed reports of another drone sighting on Friday evening, an airport spokeswoman said.

Gatwick, south of London, was forced to close for 36 hours this week, stranding more than 100,000 Christmas travellers, when a mystery saboteur used drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers.

Services had resumed at Britain’s second busiest airport early on Friday, but they were halted again 11 hours later after reports of another drone flying in the area.


JD.com chief executive Richard Liu will not face assault charges in US

Minnesota prosecutors will not charge the billionaire chief executive officer of China’s JD.com, Richard Liu, after he was accused of rape by a University of Minnesota student during a recent US visit, authorities said.

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said there were “profound evidentiary problems which would have made it highly unlikely that any criminal charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt”.

In a statement, Freeman said that after an investigation by Minneapolis police and a review by four senior sexual assault prosecutors, it was clear his office could not meet its burden of proof, and therefore could not bring charges.


Asia’s richest take hit with US$137 billion in losses in 2018

The world’s fastest growing source of mega-wealth hit a speed bump this year.

The 128 people in Asia with enough money to crack the 500-member Bloomberg Billionaires Index lost a combined US$137 billion (S$187 billion) in 2018, the first time wealth in the region has dropped since the ranking started in 2012.

Global trade tensions and concerns that stock valuations are too frothy hammered some of the area’s biggest fortunes. China’s tech sector was hit particularly hard, while India and South Korea weren’t spared.


Football: Keane accuses Man United players of ‘getting away with murder’

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has accused the current crop of players at Old Trafford of getting away “with murder” and of throwing Jose Mourinho “under the bus”.

The Irishman’s broadside comes just days after Mourinho was sacked as United manager, having presided over their worst-ever start to a Premier League season.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Keane said: “The modern player, they’re not just weak players, they’re very weak human beings… You can’t say a word to them.”


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