While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 13 edition

Pop star Lady Gaga is seen on a videowall while fans light their phones during the opening ceremony of the 1st European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, on June 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Pop star Lady Gaga is seen on a videowall while fans light their phones during the opening ceremony of the 1st European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, on June 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Obama quest for fast-track trade bill defeated for now in US House

Democrats in the US House of Representatives defeated a bill critical to granting the President fast-track negotiating authority on trade, dealing a huge blow to President Barack Obama's hopes of completing a landmark free trade deal with Asia.

On Friday, a measure known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which provides aid to workers whose jobs are displaced by free trade, failed in the House 126-302 despite some personal last-minute lobbying by the President.

While Obama has faced setbacks before on the issue, this time it might just prove fatal.


Angelina Jolie lobbies African leaders over sexual violence

Actress Angelina Jolie on Friday appealed to African leaders attending a summit in Johannesburg to confront the "near total impunity" that hampers efforts to tackle violence against women across the continent.

Speaking at a forum ahead of the Africa Union summit starting Sunday, Jolie said that sexual attack such as rape was the "weapon of choice" in many conflict zones as perpetrators seldom face justice.

"Violence against women is still treated as a lesser crime," said Jolie, who is the UN special envoy for refugees.


South African man with transplanted penis to be a father

A South African man who received the world's first successful penis transplant is to become a father just months after undergoing surgery, his doctor said Friday.

Urologist Andre van der Merwe, who led the team that performed the operation, told AFP that the 21-year-old's girlfriend was pregnant.

The man, whose identity has not been revealed, received his new penis from an organ donor in a nine-hour operation on Dec 11 at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.


Lady Gaga surprise guest at European Games opening ceremony

Pop star Lady Gaga sang John Lennon's Imagine sitting at a flower-covered piano as the inaugural European Games got off to a glamorous start in the Azeri capital with a dazzling opening ceremony on Friday.

The American six-time Grammy Award winner was a surprise addition to the ceremony, aimed at setting the stage for 16 days of competition in the continent's first multi-sports event which Azerbaijan hopes will put it firmly on the global sports map.

The energy-rich nation has spent more than a billion dollars to stage its biggest sports extravaganza to date, building several venues from scratch for the 16-day competition. The Games, featuring 50 nations, have, however, failed to attract the biggest track and field athletes and swimmers.


Actor Patrick Dempsey takes starring role in Le Mans 24-hour motor race

American actor Patrick Dempsey is making a real fist of his other profession: motor racing.

For the fourth time in his career, Dempsey will appear in the Le Mans 24 Hours Race in his Porsche this weekend. His passion is gradually becoming an obsession.

He's certainly proven himself on screen, featuring in 11 seasons of medical drama Grey's Anatomy before his departure this year. He's decided to take the rest of the year off to focus on other ventures - Le Mans being one.


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