While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 19

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference prior to their talks in Gransee near Berlin, Germany. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Putin tells Merkel: EU can't afford a new Syria refugee crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he supports the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, warning that Europe can't afford another migration crisis.

Putin's remark, made before his first bilateral meeting with Merkel in Germany since 2013, hinted at the tension between the two leaders even as President Donald Trump's disruption of the global order pushes them into alliances of convenience after years of antagonism.

The invitation by Merkel, Putin's most implacable critic since he annexed Crimea in 2014, is a break in his isolation that also reaffirms the German leader's pivotal role in Europe.

"I remind you that there are a million refugees in Jordan and a million in Lebanon," Putin told reporters alongside Merkel on Saturday before they met at a German government chateau north of Berlin. "There are three million refugees in Turkey. This is potentially a huge burden on Europe, so it is better to do everything possible so that they can return home."


Man charged with killing pregnant wife, daughters; bodies found in fuel tanks

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A Colorado man who spoke of worriedly leaving the lights on for his pregnant wife and two small daughters when they failed to come home as expected has been charged with killing them.

Chris Watts, 33, was taken into custody on Wednesday and faces three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with a body in the Denver area of the western US state.

A TV station, Denver 7, said Watts has confessed to the bizarre killings.


Cossacks and flowers as Putin dances at Austrian minister's wedding

Russian President Vladimir Putin danced arm-in-arm with Austria's Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at her wedding on Saturday, after receiving an invitation that opposition critics said undermined the West's stance against Moscow.

Putin arrived in a car carrying a bouquet of flowers and accompanied, local media said, by a troupe of Cossack singers booked to serenade the newlyweds - on a stopover on his way to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside Berlin.

Photographs showed Kneissl, 53, smiling in a long white and cream "dirndl" dress and talking to Putin as they danced in a vineyard in southern Styria province, the venue of her wedding to entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger. Putin was pictured listening to her intently.


Superdry co-founder gives million pounds to campaign for a second Brexit vote

The co-founder of fashion brand Superdry is donating a million pounds (S$1.7 million) to the campaign for a referendum on the final Brexit deal, the Observer newspaper reported on Saturday, as pressure intensifies on Prime Minister Theresa May.

"I'm putting some of my money behind the People's Vote campaign because we have a genuine chance to turn this around," said Julian Dunkerton, a "remainer" who opposes Britain's planned departure from the European Union.

"I've got a good instinct for when a mood is going to change and we're in one of those moments now."


Football: Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-2 in London derby thriller

Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-2 in a pulsating London Premier League derby on Saturday with defender Marcos Alonso scoring an 81st-minute winner after the Gunners had fought back from an early 2-0 deficit.

Chelsea have now won both games under new manager Maurizio Sarri while Arsenal have suffered back-to-back defeats under Arsene Wenger's successor, Unai Emery.

But any result would have been possible in a see-saw game marked by poor defending and astonishing misses, with Arsenal particularly guilty of both in the first half.


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