While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 12 edition

US sceptical of North Korea ballistic missile test launch from sub claim: officials

North Korea did not test fire a ballistic missile from a submarine as Pyongyang claimed over the weekend and the country is still a long way from achieving such a capability, US officials said Monday.

 The North's state media said on Saturday that a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) had been tested but US officials rejected the regime's account.

"That was not a ballistic missile," a defence official said.

Read more here

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak dispels rumours of leadership crisis in Umno

POLITICS34345999

Prime Minister Najib Razak said he has had a "heart-to-heart" talk with his deputy, dispelling rumours of a  rift and leadership crisis after senior Umno leaders questioned a controversial land purchase deal between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the Tabung Haji pilgrimage agency.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had openly criticised the government's handling of the 1MDB scandal while in Milan on a working trip last week.

Yesterday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, again reminded the party to not let 1MDB smear its image in a message  for Umno's 69th anniversary celebration.

Read more here

Sea-level rise accelerating as Earth's ice sheets melt, say scientists

Sea-level rise is accelerating, not declining as some have hoped, scientists said on Monday citing meltwater from Earth's ice sheets as the likely cause.

In 2013, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the global mean sea level rose by 19 centimetres from 1901-2010, an average 1.7 mm per year.

This accelerated to 3.2 mm per year between 1993 and 2010, the IPCC said in its landmark Fifth Assessment Report.

Read more here

Picasso masterpiece, Giacometti statue tipped to smash auction records, topping US$270 million combined

 A Picasso masterpiece and a Giacometti statue are tipped to smash world records in New York Monday for most expensive art sold at auction in what has been dubbed "sale of the century".

The Women of Algiers (Version 0), which depicts a colourful scene from a harem, has been valued at US$140 million (S$186.7 million) by Christie's. A standard premium, in this case 12 per cent, will be added to the hammer price.

The current world record for a painting sold at auction is US$142.4 million, set for British painter Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which was sold by Christie's in New York in 2013.

Read more here

Next season will be the last for American Idol, says Fox

Americanidols120515 

American Idol, the most popular music reality show in US television history, will end after its 15th season airs in January next year, Fox Television said on Monday.

The show was once a ratings powerhouse for Fox, watched by more than 30 million viewers at its peak, but the popularity of the competition, which launched the careers of stars such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, has fallen in recent years.

Just 10.6 million viewers tuned in for American Idol's 2014 finale, compared with 11.6 million for NBC's rival singing competition The Voice.

Read more here