While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 18 edition

North Korea warns US envoy of 'bigger mishap' than a knife attack

A North Korean propaganda unit said the US ambassador to South Korea could face a "bigger mishap" than the knife attack to his face last month if he does not stop insulting North Korea with "laughable" accusations.

US envoy Mark Lippert said in a speech on Wednesday that if North Korea improves its human rights record and takes steps to end its nuclear programme, it will be rewarded with prosperity and better ties with the outside world, including the United States.

The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Lippert's remarks were proof that Washington was intent on hostility.

"Lippert needs to drop the bad habit of rashly engaging in scheming chatter distorting the truth and instigating war by taking issue with us," the committee said in a commentary published on Thursday on the Uriminzokkiri propaganda website. "Otherwise, next time, he could face a bigger mishap than getting cut in the cheek by a South Korean citizen."

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Obama urges 'major progress' this year on US-EU trade pact

US President Barack Obama on Friday called for “major progress” in 2015 on a huge free trade agreement currently under negotiation between Washington and the 28-member European Union.

Obama also dismissed concerns that the controversial negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as well as another key trade pact with Asian nations, would cause deep political fissures in the United States, saying the pacts would “absolutely” benefit American workers.

“Now that Congress is considering bipartisan legislation, TTIP negotiations need to make major progress this year,” Obama told a joint press conference alongside visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House.

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Last month was hottest March worldwide since 1880: US

Rising temperatures across the planet have set more new records, as the US government announced Friday that the globe experienced its hottest month of March since record-keeping began in 1880.

The period of January to March was also the warmest on record, said the monthly report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The latest data, which takes into account global averages across land and sea surfaces, follows announcements from the same US government scientists that 2014 was the hottest year in modern history.

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Gwyneth Paltrow flunks $39 food stamp challenge

Four days proved too much for Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow when she tried to get by on a US$29 (S$39) food-stamp budget, only to give up when chicken and black licorice beckoned.

The Iron Man and Shakespeare In Love star was challenged by celebrity chef Mario Batali to live on the equivalent of the average US government food stipend for low-income families.

With US$29, Paltrow filled her grocery basket with a healthy-looking mix of eggs, black beans, lettuce, kale, a tomato, some avocados and corn tortillas.

"As I suspected, we only made it through about four days, when I personally broke and had some chicken and fresh vegetables (and in full transparency, half a bag of black licorice)," she wrote on her Goop.com blog Thursday.

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Apple Watch to boost 'glance journalism'

With the Apple Watch expected to sell in the millions, news organisations are refocusing their efforts to become part of that tiny screen.

In the news business, this is now called "glance journalism".

The Apple Watch, expected to catapult to the leading item in wearable technology, opens up new possibilities to a news industry seeking to connect with audiences in the digital era.

Readers will be able to "hand off" an article to view on an iPhone or iPad.

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