While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 11 edition

Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, on Jan 10, 2017.
Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, on Jan 10, 2017.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Donald Trump's attorney general pick Jeff Sessions rejects racism charges

Donald Trump's choice for attorney-general vehemently denied accusations of racism against him, as the US Senate launched confirmation hearings for key nominees to the Republican President-elect's Cabinet.

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama was the first of a parade of nominees set to go before their Republican and Democratic Senate peers this week, as Trump seeks to get some of his top people into place before taking office on Jan 20.

Sessions, whose nomination has drawn fierce pushback from Democrats, swiftly sought to tamp down a swell of criticism of his civil rights record, which has threatened to upend his bid to become the nation's top law enforcement official.

"These are damnably false charges," he told a packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, referring to accusations about alleged racially charged comments he made in the 1980s towards and about African Americans when he was a federal prosecutor.


New UN chief calls for 'whole new approach' to prevent war

New UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a "whole new approach" to prevent war, in his first address to the Security Council since taking office.

Guterres took over from Ban Ki-moon on Jan 1 with a promise to shake up the world body and boost efforts to tackle global crises, from the carnage in Syria to the bloodshed in South Sudan.

The former Portuguese prime minister and head of the UN refugee agency told a council debate on conflict prevention that too much time and resources were being spent on responding to crises rather than preventing them.


Thousands apply to be 'travel nanny' for US couple on round-the-world trip

An American couple who want to travel the globe with their three kids have been inundated with applications after advertising for a "travel nanny" to look after their children while on the road.

Derek and M'Kenzie Tillotson, who run a family travel blog called Five Take Flight, are selling their home in Utah and setting off around the world with children Porter, Beckett and Wren.

Their route will take them from New York to Iceland in July, followed by a grand tour of Europe, then a Christmas pit-stop back in Utah, before going on to Hawaii, the Pacific, and Asia until next June.


U2 delays release of new album due to election of Donald Trump

Rock band U2 has decided to delay the release of its new album due to the surprise election of Donald Trump as US president, according to reports.

Speaking with Rolling Stone, guitarist The Edge - real name David Evans - said the band was placing the album’s release on hold and taking some “breathing space” to consider what it wants to say following Trump’s ascension to the White House. They plan to reconsider certain songs in the wake of a Trump presidency.

“We just went, ‘Hold on a second – we’ve got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what’s going on in the world,’” the guitarist said.


Football: Critics round on 'political' World Cup expansion

Critics of Fifa's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams were quick to blast it as a political and money-driven ploy that will be detrimental to football's showpiece tournament.

But there was support - particularly in Asia and Africa - for Fifa president Gianni Infantino's expansion plan, unanimously approved by Fifa's ruling council and to be implemented at the 2026 World Cup.

In Germany, the reigning World Cup winners, reaction was mixed. "My main worry is that the attractiveness of the matches will suffer," said Reinhard Grindel, president of the German Football Association.