While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 16

Trump braces for legal challenges to emergency declaration over border wall

President Donald Trump said on Friday he was confident his declaration of a national emergency to unlock funds for his border wall would stand up in the Supreme Court, even as Democrats vowed to mount legal and legislative challenges against what they called an act of presidential overreach that violated the separation of powers.

The emergency declaration was the first step to securing up to US$3.6 billion (S$4.8 billion) reallocated from military construction projects, on top of the US$1.375 billion for 90km of fencing authorised by a spending Bill passed by the House and Senate on Thursday, said the White House in a statement.

In addition, Mr Trump will take more traditional executive action to draw on US$600 million from a Treasury forfeiture fund and US$2.5 billion from a Defence Department counterdrug programme, bringing the total up to US$8 billion.

The President justified the move as a matter of national security needed to secure the US-Mexico border to stop an invasion of drugs and criminals from entering the country, during an hour-long press conference at the White House Rose Garden on Friday morning.


Gunman opens fire at Illinois plant, at least one killed

BREAKING: Multiple people have been wounded in an active shooter situation at Henry Pratt Company is west suburban #Aurora. Schools in the area are on lockdown. We have the latest information in the link in our bio.

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A gunman opened fire in an industrial building in Aurora, Illinois on Friday, city and law enforcement officials said, killing at least one person and wounding several others before he was taken into custody.

“We have an active shooter incident at 641 Archer Av. This is an active scene. Please avoid the area,” the Aurora Police Department said in a tweet shortly after 2pm central time, adding that additional details would be forthcoming.

The city of Aurora, which is roughly 80km west of Chicago, tweeted about an hour later that a suspect had been arrested.


Mike Pence visits Auschwitz after saying Iran plotting ‘new Holocaust’

US Vice-President Mike Pence on Friday paid homage to victims of the Holocaust at the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, a day after he accused Iranian authorities of plotting a “new Holocaust”.

More than a million European Jews perished at the site located in then German-occupied southern Polish town of Oswiecim during World War II.

Pence passed through the Auschwitz camp’s infamous wrought-iron “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work makes you free”) gate before laying a wreath at the death wall where the Nazis executed thousands of people.


North Korea’s Kim ready to accept inspection of nuclear plant, adviser says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was ready to accept the dismantlement and inspection of a high-profile nuclear plant, a South Korean presidential adviser said, suggesting a possible point of compromise in upcoming talks with President Donald Trump.

Moon Chung-in, a special adviser for foreign affairs and national security, said in an interview on Friday that the verified destruction of the regime’s Yongbyon nuclear complex was an achievable goal during Trump’s planned Feb 27-28 summit with Kim.

Moon said it was his “understanding” that South Korean President Moon Jae-in got Kim’s personal assurance on that when they met in Pyongyang in September.


Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom hint at engagement with ring picture

Pop star Katy Perry and her Hollywood actor boyfriend Orlando Bloom have hinted they are engaged, posting a picture of the American singer sporting a large diamond-encrusted ring.

Perry and Bloom began dating in 2016 but split for a time before getting back together.

Both took to Instagram after Valentine’s Day to share the same photo, which showed part of their faces and the 34-year-old chart-topper sporting a flower-shaped ring, of small diamond “petals” around a crimson stone, against a backdrop of red balloons.


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