While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 20

Afghan man shovels off debris after Taliban burned a market in the city of Ghazni on Aug 14, 2018.
Afghan man shovels off debris after Taliban burned a market in the city of Ghazni on Aug 14, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

US welcomes Afghanistan's latest ceasefire offer to Taliban

The United States on Sunday (Aug 19) welcomed the announcement by Kabul of a provisional ceasefire with the Taliban, saying the plan "responds to the clear and continued call of the Afghan people."

The announcement by President Ashraf Ghani followed a bloody week of fighting across Afghanistan which saw the Taliban launch a massive assault against the provincial capital Ghazni.

It came after a brief, unprecedented ceasefire earlier in June.


US points at China, not Russia, on election meddling

US National Security Advisor John Bolton on Sunday (Aug 19) singled out China, North Korea and Iran as countries who could possibly meddle in American elections - as President Donald Trump railed about a probe into Russian interference in 2016.

Trump himself pointed the finger of blame on Saturday (Aug 18), tweeting: "All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China."

When asked about the tweet, Bolton also mentioned Beijing, which is currently at an impasse with Washington on trade talks.


Aretha Franklin celebrated at Sunday service at father's Baptist church

Fans and worshippers celebrated the life of Aretha Franklin at her father's Baptist church in Detroit on Sunday (Aug 19), with her powerful voice again ringing out within its walls in tribute to her spectacular career.

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, greeted by a standing ovation, sent the several hundred parishioners into raptures with his eulogy and rousing prayers for his old friend, the "Queen of Soul."

The New Bethel Baptist Church - located in a down-at-heel, quiet neighborhood of Detroit - has been the focus of tributes to Franklin, who passed away from advanced pancreatic cancer on Thursday (Aug 16) at age 76.


In Nigeria, thousands celebrate Osun, goddess of fertility and water 

"I'm dressed like a river," says priestess Osundele Okugbesan as she shows off her flowing white strapless dress and long beaded necklaces cascading down her chest.

This year, as she has done for the past 35, she has come to the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove in southwestern Nigeria to celebrate Osun, the great Yoruba goddess of fertility and water.

Others have tattoos of fish on their bodies or have sewn seashells onto their dresses.


Football: Manchester gap widens as City score six and United lose

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 6-1 rout of Huddersfield Town on Sunday (Aug 19) before the champions’ neighbours Manchester United suffered a limp 3-2 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion that left Paul Pogba questioning his team’s attitude. 

Where Pep Guardiola’s City again dazzled against the only side to stop them scoring at the Etihad Stadium in the league last season, United produced a tepid, defensively inept display that offered little hope that they will challenge this season. 

Sunday’s other game saw Watford beat Burnley 3-1 to leave the Hornets as one of five sides unbeaten on six points at the top of the table.