While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 9 edition

US Senator and astronaut John Glenn in 1999.
US Senator and astronaut John Glenn in 1999.PHOTO: REUTERS

Former US astronaut and senator John Glenn dies in Ohio at 95

John Glenn, who became one of the 20th century’s greatest explorers as the first American to orbit Earth and later as the world’s oldest astronaut, in addition to a long career as a US senator, died at age of 95.

Glenn was the last surviving member of the original seven “Right Stuff” Mercury astronauts and is credited with reviving US pride after the Soviet Union’s early domination of manned space exploration. .

His three laps around the world in the Friendship 7 capsule on Feb 20, 1962, forged a powerful link between the former fighter pilot and the Kennedy-era quest to explore outer space as a “New Frontier.”

Glenn’s astronaut career, as well as his record as a fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War, helped propel him to the US Senate in 1974, where he represented his home state of Ohio for 24 years as a moderate Democrat.


Leonardo DiCaprio, Donald Trump discuss green job creation

Leonardo DiCaprio met President-elect Donald Trump to discuss climate change and how renewable, clean energy could boost the economy by creating millions of new jobs, the actor's foundation said.

A long-standing environmental champion and a noted supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton, DiCaprio recently made the climate-change documentary Before The Flood and spoke about the issue during his acceptance speech for winning an Oscar in February.

The actor reportedly gave Trump the documentary at the 90-minute meeting at Trump Tower, New York, having previously presented Trump's daughter, Ivanka, with a copy.


North Korea capable of launching nuke, but has not mastered targeting - US official

North Korea has developed the capability to pair a nuclear warhead with a missile and launch it, but has not mastered bringing the weapon back from space and onto a target, a senior US defence official said.

Pyongyang has conducted a series of missile launches in the wake of its fourth nuclear test in January, to the consternation of regional countries and many in the international community.

While experts say the North is thought to have succeeded in making nuclear warheads small enough to arm Scud missiles, it is unclear if they can put a weapon on a bigger rocket that travels further and deploys a warhead from space.


Book hand-written and illustrated by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling up for sale

Harry Potter fans will be able to bid for a piece of history next week when a book designed, hand-written and illustrated by J.K. Rowling goes on sale at Sotheby's auction house in London.

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is one of six copies the author produced to give as gifts to those who helped bring the story of the boy wizard to life, and is seen fetching £300,000 to £500,000 (S$500,000 to S$900,000) at Tuesday's sale.

The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is a volume of five wizarding fairy tales left to Hermione Granger by Albus Dumbledore in the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.


Pig born in China with a face like a monkey has people baffled

A pig with a face that resembles a monkey has been born in China and is baffling both locals and the Internet, say media reports.

Photos show the mutant piglet appears to have a monkey’s head, a small snout and a protruding lower jaw.

It is believed to be just a deformity though - not any sort of DNA experiment crossing pigs with monkeys. Experts, however, believe environmental pollution may have played a role in the pig’s peculiar appearance.