While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 2 edition

Joshua Wong leads Hong Kong protesters on hunger strike after violent clashes

Joshua Wong, the teenage face of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, and two other student demonstrators went on a hunger strike on Monday, raising the stakes after one of the worst nights of violence to hit the demonstrations.

Wong, 18, said he and two young female members of his Scholarism group -  university student Isabella Lo, 18, and 17-year-old high school pupil Prince Wong  - would refrain from eating in a bid to force the government to respond to their demands.

Student-led demonstrators are demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city, with the main protest camp continuing to block a long stretch of a multi-lane highway in central Hong Kong.

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Devoutly Catholic Poland elects first openly gay mayor

Poland has elected its first openly gay city mayor, in a result hailed by rights activists as a sign of slowly crumbling taboos in what is still one of Europe's most devoutly Roman Catholic countries.

Local media attributed Robert Biedron's victory in Sunday's mayoral election in Slupsk, a city of over 90,000 near the Baltic coast, to hard work and grassroots canvassing among voters he had previously served as their member of parliament.

But the election of Biedron, 38, also shows deeper changes afoot in Poland, said Agata Chaber, head of the Warsaw-based Campaign Against Homophobia non-governmental organisation. "People are slowly ceasing to believe that a gay man or a lesbian is pure evil. Sexual orientation is no longer eclipsing a person's competence," she said.

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 'Toxic' Hello Kitty jewellery and tiny Disney figurines pose health risks: US report

Too small Disney figurines and toxic Hello Kitty jewellery are among toys that pose a risk to children this shopping season, according to a report Monday by an American consumer organisation.

The US Public Interest Research Group expressed alarm that "dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America's store shelves" in its annual Trouble in Toyland report pn Monday. The organisation commended the country's policing of toy sales, but said more needs to be done.

The report noted there was no warning label on a set of figurines for popular Disney TV show Doc McStuffins that could be broken into pieces and swallowed. Hello Kitty jewellery and a plastic bath duck were found to have high levels of phthalates, which can damage reproductive systems.

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Third House of Cards season to debut in February on Netflix

The third season of award-winning political drama House of Cards is to debut on Feb 27 next year, streaming video giant Netflix announced on Monday.

"A special message from the White House," said a short video posted on the show's Twitter and Facebook pages, giving the date.

The clip shows scheming politico Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, boarding what looks like a presidential aircraft with his ever-loyal wife Claire (Robin Wright).

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Boyhood wins best film, director awards from New York critics

Boyhood, a coming-of-age drama filmed over 12 years with the same actors, dominated the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday, winning best picture of 2014, best director for Richard Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette.

Actor Timothy Spall was named best actor for his portrayal of one of Britain's greatest painters, J.M.W. Turner, in Mr. Turner, and Marion Cotillard nabbed the top actress donors for roles in two films, The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night.

With presentation set for on Jan. 5 in New York, these are the first major movie awards in the run-up to the Oscars, the film industry's highest accolades. 

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