While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 1

US House Democrats ready bills to reopen gov't with US$1.3 billion for border security

House of Representatives Democrats will introduce legislation this week intended to end a partial US government shutdown and fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb 8, including US$1.3 billion (S$1.77 billion) for border security but not the US$5 billion President Donald Trump has demanded for a border wall, a senior Democratic aide said on Monday (Dec 31).

Democrats, set this week to take control of the House from Trump's fellow Republicans, also will also offer legislation to provide year-long funding for other agencies and departments that have been closed by a partial government shutdown that began on Dec 22, the aide said.

Democrats have said they intend to vote on legislation to reopen the government on Thursday when the new Congress convenes.


Singapore ushers in 2019 with spectacular fireworks show at Marina Bay

As the clock struck midnight, Singapore ushered in the new year with a spectacular seven-minute fireworks display at Marina Bay on Tuesday (Jan 1).

New Year’s fireworks as seen from Marina Bay Sands Skypark. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Revellers thronged the bay area despite the drizzle and cloudy skies to catch the festivities such as a striking fireworks musical at The Float @ Marina Bay, rides and games at the Prudential carnival, and live performances at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

The show at the float culminated in an hour-long fireworks musical involving pyrotechnics, lights, and performance acts by Taiko drummers, dancers and fire performers.


Trump softens Syria pullout schedule but claims 'hero' status

n Syria, about 2,000 US soldiers operate alongside other foreign troops to assist local fighters battling Islamic State, a jihadist group that once held territory across much of Iraq and Syria and set up its own ultra-Islamist government.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

US President Donald Trump appeared to backtrack Monday (Dec 31) on shock plans for an immediate pullout of US troops from Syria, but said his drive to end American involvement in wars made him a "hero."

The shift came a day after a senior Republican senator said Trump had promised to stay in Syria to finish the job of defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS.

Trump had earlier stunned allies - and prompted the resignation of his respected defence secretary, James Mattis - by abruptly announcing that the jihadists were defeated and that US troops in Syria were ready to leave.


Boxing: Mayweather blitzes Tenshin in Japanese boxing exhibition

on Instagram that he would be paid nine million dollars for the fight, which was scheduled for three rounds.

Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement briefly to score a lucrative victory in an exhibition boxing match in Japan over kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa that will do more for his bank balance than it did for the reputation of combat sports.

The 20-year-old, who is unbeaten in professional kickboxing and mixed martial arts, was sent crashing to the canvas three times in the first round by Mayweather, leading the Japanese fighter's corner to throw in the towel.

The fight topped the bill for the prestigious New Year's Eve event promoted by Rizin, one of Asia's fast-growing mixed martial arts organisations, at the Saitama Super Arena, and though it has drawn international attention, it was little more than a shrewd branding move for all concerned.


Football: Arsenal's Emery fined for kicking bottle at Brighton fan

Arsenal manager Unai Emery was fined 8,000 pounds (S$13,899) on Monday (Dec 31) but avoided a touchline ban for kicking a plastic bottle at a Brighton and Hove Albion supporter, the English Football Association (FA) said.

The Spanish coach immediately apologised to the supporter following the incident during the closing moments of Arsenal's 1-1 Premier League draw at the Amex Stadium last Wednesday.

Emery admitted an FA improper conduct charge and accepted the standard penalty.