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


US not seeking to topple North Korea regime, says Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised that the United States is not trying to topple Kim Jong-Un’s North Korean regime, but warned it must halt its nuclear missile programme.

Briefing reporters on diplomatic efforts to pressure Pyongyang, Tillerson said Washington would be willing to talk to the North if its leaders accept that they must disarm.

“We don’t think having a dialogue where the North Koreans come to the table assuming they’re going to maintain their nuclear weapons is productive,” he warned.

But he sought to reassure the isolated authoritarian regime that it does not need a nuclear arsenal to defend itself from a US attack.

His remarks came as Republican foreign policy hawk Lindsey Graham, a US senator, said Trump is ready to launch a devastating military strike if diplomacy fails to stop the nuclear missile threat.


At least 29 killed in Afghan Shi'ite mosque attack

A suicide bomber and a gunman killed at least 29 people and wounded 63 at a packed Shi'ite mosque in Afghanistan’s main western city of Herat, the latest attack to highlight the country’s deteriorating security situation.

The assault on the Jawadya mosque in Herat, which is close to Afghanistan’s border with Iran, came a day after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed a deadly attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul.

The Herat attack was the latest in a series of assaults on Afghanistan’s minority Shi'ite population.


Rex Tillerson to travel to Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia Aug 5 to Aug 9, the State Department said.

Tillerson will participate in meetings of diplomats of the Association of South-east Asian Nations in Manila, and discuss "denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, maritime security, and counterterrorism," the State Department said.

In Thailand, Tillerson will pay his respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016, and discuss the US-Thai relationship with officials there. In Malaysia, he will discuss bilateral relations with officials.


Athletics: Usain Bolt ready to race, and really ready to retire

Just in the unlikely case that the world of athletics did not know what they will be missing once Usain Bolt walks away in less than two weeks, the Jamaican superstar's final eve-of-race news conference rammed home the message on Tuesday.

These events have become part and parcel of every global championship and though Tuesday's version in east London lacked the dancing girl razzmatazz of his Rio welcome last year, it scored heavily on nostalgia as every aspect of his stellar career was raked over anew.

As always, journalists and TV crews, around 400 of them, from every corner of the world packed every available space and strained their arms in desperation to get their question answered by the great man, who playfully castigated one half of the auditorium for not giving him an enthusiastic enough welcome. Bolt is an old hand of course and rolled out all the familiar answers, but always with grace.


Football: Ronaldo says his 'brilliance' bothers people

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said that his "brilliance" annoys people, a day after he was quizzed by a Spanish judge investigating whether he evaded paying millions of euros in taxes.

"What bothers people is my brilliance, insects only attack lamps that shine!!!!" the Portuguese wrote in an Instagram message (above) that received over a million likes within an hour of being posted.

Ronaldo spent over 90 minutes on Monday answering the questions of investigating judge Monica Gomez at a closed door hearing in Pozuelo de Alarcon, the wealthy suburb of Madrid where he lives. Prosecutors accuse the four-time world player of the year of having evaded €14.7 million (S$23.5 million) in tax.