While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 14 edition

Senator Ted Cruz (right) is trailed by reporters as he makes his way to the Senate floor for a series of votes Dec 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Conservative Cruz - widely accused by Democrats of causing last year's 16-day government shutdown - appeare
Senator Ted Cruz (right) is trailed by reporters as he makes his way to the Senate floor for a series of votes Dec 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Conservative Cruz - widely accused by Democrats of causing last year's 16-day government shutdown - appeared in no hurry to ease passage of the spending Bill on Friday, giving a fiery floor speech attacking congressional leaders for their failure to stand up to Obama's immigration order. -- PHOTO: AFP

Shutdown averted for now as Congress extends govt funding

The US Senate on Saturday gave itself four additional days to pass a US$1.1 trillion (S$1.4 trillion) federal spending Bill, easing the threat of a government shutdown that was looming at midnight.

Amid deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats over how to proceed on funding government through September, feuding lawmakers unanimously passed a measure that extends funds to late Wednesday.

The extension had already been approved by the House of Representatives, and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Read more here

Thousands descend on Washington to demand justice over police killings

Thousands of people marched in Washington and New York on Saturday to demand justice for black men who have died at the hands of white police, the latest in weeks of demonstrations across the United States.

The families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were among the demonstrators in the heart of the US capital for the “Justice For All March,” part of a growing protest movement sparked by the fatal August shooting of the unarmed Brown, 18, by a white policeman.

A grand jury decision last month not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the killing in Ferguson, Missouri was followed by another grand jury decision that also declined to charge another white policeman in the “chokehold” death in Staten Island of father-of-six Garner.

Read more here

Top Turkey cleric under fire over $500,000 luxury Mercedes paid for by taxpayers: Reports

Turkey's top cleric came under fire on Saturday over reports that a luxury Mercedes had been purchased at public expense to serve as his official car - the latest government splurge to cause a public outcry.

Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, known as Diyanet in Turkish, will soon be cruising in a Mercedes s500, worth some €350,000 (S$570,000), the Hurriyet newspaper reported Saturday.

Diyanet, whose budget is funded by taxpayers, bought another 14 Toyota cars for its senior officials, the newspaper said, noting that they previously rode in the more modest Renault Symbol.

Read more here

Dutchman tries to propose, destroys house

An over-amorous Dutchman became a homewrecker - literally - when a crane he was using to have himself lowered into his girlfriend's garden for a marriage proposal fell through the neighbour's roof.

The unnamed man hired a crane in the central town of Ijsselstein to lower him over his girlfriend's house and into her garden for the surprise proposal early on Saturday morning, emergency services spokesman Jelle Mulder told AFP.

"The crane the man wanted to use to propose fell on a house. During the attempt to right it, the crane unfortunately slipped and fell on the house again," Mulder said.

Read more here

Football: Good weekend for Wenger loyalists as Arsenal dazzle

From the perspective of the overwhelming pro-Wenger majority Arsenal's dazzling 4-1 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday was emphatic proof of their mantra "In Arsene We Trust".

Everywhere you looked at a chilly Emirates Stadium, whether at the artistry of Alexis Sanchez, the magnetic ball control of Santi Cazorla or the old-fashioned striking prowess of Olivier Giroud, there was something to marvel at.

Giroud scored twice, as did Cazorla on his 30th birthday, and the Gunners could have had plenty more against an obliging Newcastle side unrecognisable from that which inflicted a first defeat of the season on league leaders Chelsea last weekend.

Read more here