While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, 26 July edition

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives for the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on May 14, 2017.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives for the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on May 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Najib admits to lapses in governance at 1MDB but defends govt's 'unprecedented' response

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Tuesday (July 25) that it is clear that there were lapses in judgment at state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), but defended his government's "unprecedented" response to the multi-billion dollar scandal.

Speaking to fund managers, industrialists and investors at the Invest Malaysia conference in Kulala Lumpur, Mr Najib said, "At 1MDB it is now clear there were lapses in governance. However, rather than bury our heads in the sand, we ordered investigations into the company at a scale unprecedented in our nation's history."

He made a case for investors to move on from the graft allegations that have weighed on South-east Asia's third-largest economy, saying the country is now "stronger than ever".


AHTC takes legal action against Workers' Party town councillors over past payments

Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), which had appointed an independent panel to help recover improper payments, is taking several of its town councillors to court.

They include Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang; the town council's chairman, Mr Pritam Singh; and its vice-chairman, Ms Sylvia Lim.

The Straits Times understands that the legal action was initiated as part of the work of a panel tasked with looking into improper payments made by AHTC.


US Senate narrowly votes to proceed on healthcare, with boost from John McCain

US Senate Republicans narrowly agreed on Tuesday (July 25) to open debate on a bill to end Obamacare, but the party's seven-year effort to roll back Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law still faces significant hurdles.

The Senate deadlocked 50-50 on moving forward with the healthcare debate, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote.

Senator John McCain, who was diagnosed this month with brain cancer and has been recovering from surgery at home in Arizona, made a dramatic return to the US Capitol to cast a crucial vote in favour of proceeding.


Swiss chainsaw attacker arrested after international manhunt

Swiss police on Tuesday (July 25) arrested a 50-year-old man a day after he stormed into an insurance office wielding a chainsaw and wounded two staff members, bringing an end to a two-day manhunt that had also involved German police.

Zurich cantonal place said in a statement that they had arrested the suspect in Thalwil, a town about 60 kilometres from Schaffhausen where the incident took place.

Police had identified the suspect as Franz Wrousis, a drifter with a criminal record who mostly lived in the woods.


Swimming: King, Peaty, Masse smash world records

The world championships came alive on Tuesday (July 25) as Lilly King of the United States won the women's 100 metres breaststroke title in one of three world- record swims at the end of a breath-taking evening session.

Adam Peaty of Britain continued his breaststroke trail-blazing with his second world mark of the day to reach the 50m final and Canada's Kylie Masse produced a world-best time to win the women's 100m backstroke gold medal.

If the day belonged to Peaty, the evening will be long remembered by Olympic champion King, who posted one minute 4.13 seconds to overhaul the world-record mark set by Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte in 2013.