While you were sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed early morning of Oct 17

'Clipboard Man' sparks social media storm after helping transfer Ebola patient with no protection

Amid a cluster of white hazmat suits on Wednesday in Dallas, as the second US nurse to contract Ebola was loaded onto a plane bound for Atlanta, was a lone official with no protection whatsoever.

The official - as yet unidentified - wore just a button-down shirt and trousers as he held a clipboard and directed the operation at Love Field airport. He then flew with the nurse, who has been identified as Amber Vinson, and the hazmat-suited team to Atlanta, where local TV crews spotted him with Vinson's stretcher as she was disembarked at the airport in Georgia to be transferred to Emory University Hospital.

The incident has triggered amazement and a social media storm, due to the ease with which Ebola - a virus which has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa and which has now spread beyond its borders to Europe and the United States - can be contracted.

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Lawmakers blast government handling of Ebola on American soil

US lawmakers on Thursday blasted the Obama administration's handling of Ebola on American soil, warning that public trust is waning after two nurses caring for a Liberian man with the disease contracted the virus.

"The trust and credibility of the administration and government are waning as the American public loses confidence each day, with demonstrated failures of the current strategy," said the chairman of a House of Representatives panel, Republican Timothy Murphy of Pennsylvania.

As pressure mounts for a US travel ban on countries in West Africa hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic, Republicans and Democrats spent hours at the House subcommittee hearing grilling the United States' top public health adviser, who insisted that Ebola poses no major US health risk.

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Author John Grisham apologises for child porn comments

Best-selling US author John Grisham apologised on Thursday for comments he made to a British newspaper that not all men who look at child pornography should be sent to prison and that sentences for such crimes were too harsh.

Grisham, who is about to publish his new legal thriller, made the comments to the Daily Telegraph in the context of a wide-ranging attack on the US judicial system and its high prison rates.

Grisham also issued an apology on his own website: "Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography - online or otherwise - should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

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Apple unveils iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, but no 12.9-inch iPad

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Apple regains its throne of having the thinnest tablet with the new iPad Air 2 announced in a special event held at Apple campus in Cupertino.

The new iPad Air 2 is only 6.1mm thin, which is 1.4mm or 18 per cent thinner than the original iPad Air. Weighing as little as 437g, it is also 32g lighter. It also comes with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor home button.

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Grammy winner Erykah Badu flops as a Times Square street performer 

Life can be tough for a street musician, even one whose voice has won four Grammys.

Acclaimed R&B singer Erykah Badu recently went incognito to New York's bustling Times Square and set out her hat to collect tips, but after more than 40 minutes wound up with US$3.60 (S$4.58) worth of coins.

In what appeared to be more of an artistic project than an attempt to win busking stardom, Badu recorded her performance with her phone and said that she had always wanted to experience life as a street musician.

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