While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 19 edition

PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the CEO Summit. With him are fellow panel speakers Robert E. Moritz, chairman of PwC Global (left), and Stephen McIntosh, group executive growth and innovation at Rio Tinto.
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking at the CEO Summit. With him are fellow panel speakers Robert E. Moritz, chairman of PwC Global (left), and Stephen McIntosh, group executive growth and innovation at Rio Tinto.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Preserve gains made with free trade in Asia-Pacific: PM Lee

Countries in the Asia-Pacific should not turn back the clock on free trade in spite of political pressures to do so, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (Nov 18).

He reminded fellow leaders and business chiefs that closer economic integration over the past 26 years, since the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum began in 1989, has brought prosperity to the region, creating jobs and improving lives.

"While it is difficult to take dramatic new initiatives in this prevailing climate, let us do our best to hold on to the progress we have achieved over the past two decades," he said.

We should "not do things that will hurt ourselves and lead to retaliation, undoing the progress that we have achieved," he added.

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WHO declares end of Zika emergency but still needs action

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Friday (Nov 18) that the Zika virus and related neurological complications no longer constitute an international emergency but said that it would continue to work on the outbreak through a "robust programme".

The WHO’s Emergency Committee, which declared an international public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in February, said the virus still represents “a highly significant and a long-term problem”.

“The Zika virus and associated consequences remain a significant enduring public health challenge requiring intense action but no longer represent a PHEIC,” the WHO panel composed of independent experts said in a statement after meeting.

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Several seriously hurt in Dutch train crash with milk truck

Eighteen people were hurt on Friday (Nov 18) when a train partly derailed after smashing into a milk tanker in the northeastern Netherlands, police said.

"Eleven people were taken to hospital. Three of them were seriously injured but their lives are not in danger," spokesman for the local Groningen crisis team, Cyriel Hamstra, told AFP.

Only about 40 people had been on the train at the time of the crash, he added.

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New weapons cache uncovered outside Paris

French investigators announced on Friday (Nov 18) the discovery of a weapons cache in a Paris suburb, including grenade launchers, a rocket launcher, bulletproof vests, guns and ammunition.

The arsenal was discovered early on Friday in Evry, in an unlocked private parking garage inside a shopping centre near a commuter rail station, a source at the public prosecutor's office said.

"Nothing in this discovery leads us to believe there is a link to terrorism," the source added.

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French fashion designer worn by Michelle Obama refuses to dress Melania Trump

There's no doubt which side the fashion world supported during the US presidential campaign.

For years, First Lady Michelle Obama and Democrats' vanquished presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have been favourites with fashion designers who dressed them in clothes aimed at evoking their values.

But New York-based French designer Sophie Theallet has gone a step further, throwing down the gauntlet by refusing to dress future first lady Melania Trump because of the political views of her husband, President-elect Donald Trump.

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