While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 14

Coats testifies before an annual Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "world wide threats".
Coats testifies before an annual Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "world wide threats".PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Russia is targeting 2018 US elections, intelligence chiefs say

Top US national security officials said on Tuesday they had “no doubt” Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 US mid-term elections, adding Moscow believes it succeeded in its effort to undermine US democracy by meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Russia, as well as other foreign entities, were likely to pursue more cyber attacks on US and European elections this year and beyond.

“Persistent and disruptive cyber operations will continue against the United States and our European allies using elections as opportunities to undermine democracy,” he told an annual Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats.

Coats said that effort would include the US elections in November, when Republican control of the House of Representatives and Senate are at stake, as well as a host of positions in state governments. “Frankly, the United States is under attack,” he said.

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Israel police recommend corruption charge for PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli police on Tuesday recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted in two cases of alleged corruption after a long-running probe in a move set to shake the country’s politics.

A decision to press formal charges against the veteran premier now rests with the attorney-general’s office, which is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed.

Netanyahu, prime minister for nearly 12 years, addressed the nation as news of the recommendations broke, proclaiming his innocence and pledging to continue to lead the country.

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New York City bomber sentenced to life in prison

The New Jersey man convicted of planting bombs in New York City's Chelsea neighbourhood in 2016 received two life sentences on Tuesday, after expressing no remorse in a Manhattan courtroom for engineering the explosion that injured 30 people.

"I don't harbour hatred towards anyone," Ahmad Khan Rahimi said in a courtroom packed with spectators, including some of the people who were injured when one of his bombs exploded on Sept 17, 2016. "But through life experience, I have learned to understand why there's such frustration between the Muslim community overseas and the American people."

Rahimi, a 30-year-old US citizen born in Afghanistan, said that he had been "harassed" by authorities while travelling because of his Muslim appearance after he started practising the religion.

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Tennis: Young claims Harrison made racist comment during New York Open match

Things got heated during a tennis match between Donald Young and Ryan Harrison at the New York Open, resulting in Young accusing his opponent of racism.

After the match, won 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) by the sixth-seeded Harrison, Young accused Harrison of making a comment “about me as a black tennis player”.

Harrison denied making such comments about 45 minutes later, tweeting that Young’s accusations were “absolutely untrue.”

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Wawrinka loses to world No. 259 in Rotterdam

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka blew a one-set lead to fall 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to unfancied Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in a first-round shock at the Rotterdam Open on Tuesday.

The Swiss fifth seed slumped to another surprise defeat by an outsider, after losing in the Australian Open second round to Tennys Sandgren and in last week's Sofia Open semi-finals to Bosnian Mirza Basic.

The 32-year-old Wawrinka, the 2015 Rotterdam winner, is struggling to regain top form after a pair of summer knee operations. The Swiss has now lost three matches and won three since returning in January.

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