While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 3 edition

A handout pictures shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a multiple rocket launching drill. United States has imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea in retaliation for a cyber attack on Hollywood studio Sony Pictures. --PHOTO: REUTERS  
A handout pictures shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a multiple rocket launching drill. United States has imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea in retaliation for a cyber attack on Hollywood studio Sony Pictures. --PHOTO: REUTERS  

US slaps sanctions on North Korea after Sony hack

The United States imposed new sanctions Friday on North Korea in retaliation for a cyber attack on Hollywood studio Sony Pictures.

In an executive order, President Barack Obama authorised the US Treasury to place on its blacklist three top North Korean intelligence and arms operations, as well as 10 government officials, most of them involved in Pyongyang’s arms exports.

Obama said he ordered the sanctions because of “the provocative, destabilising, and repressive actions and policies of the government of North Korea, including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014.”

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Britain's Prince Andrew named in US ‘sex slave’ case

A woman has alleged in a US court document that she was repeatedly forced to have sexual relations with Britain's Prince Andrew, The Guardian has reported.

The accusation against the Duke of York is contained in a motion filed in a Florida court this week by a woman who claimed that she was sexually abused by American billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein between 1999 and 2002.

In it, she claims Epstein used her to ingratiate himself and loaned her out to rich and powerful men. She was underage at the time.

Buckingham Palace has denied the allegations.

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Sarah Palin's photos of son stepping on dog trigger online outrage

Facebook photos posted by Sarah Palin showing her son Trig using the family dog as a step stool unleashed online fury on Friday reminiscent of the public reaction to the disclosure that Mitt Romney had once driven with his dog strapped on the car's roof.

Trig, six, who has Down Syndrome, is shown stepping on the back of the family's black Labrador while it lies on the kitchen floor in order to reach the sink.

The Facebook post by Palin, who was the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008, drew comments ranging from cries of animal abuse, to those seconding Palin's praise for the youngest of her five children.

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Ecuador tops list of best countries for retirement; Malaysia in top five

Looking for a safe, affordable place for retirement? With its warm climate, affordable housing and generous benefits, Ecuador was named the best country to retire in by InternationalLiving.com.

The South American nation bordered by Colombia and Peru topped the website’s annual global retirement index of 25 best countries, scoring high points for affordable cost-of-living, entertainment and amenities.

Next are Panama, Mexico, Malaysia and Costa Rica, rounding out the top five nations in the index that looks at eight criteria to determine the best countries for retirement.

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Tennis: Nadal shrugs off 6-2, 6-0 loss to Murray in Abu Dhabi

Rafael Nadal shrugged off his 6-2, 6-0 defeat to Andy Murray at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships on Friday, insisting he'll be fighting fit when his 2015 season starts in Qatar next week.

The 14-time Grand Slam title winner was making his first appearance since undergoing an appendectomy late last year having also missed most of the second half of the 2014 season with a wrist problem.

The Spaniard's rustiness was obvious against Murray, who had played for more than two hours in seeing off Feliciano Lopez in his first match at the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament on Thursday.

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