While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 21

In a 2014 photo, a Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet lands on a closed section of highway during a military exercise.
In a 2014 photo, a Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet lands on a closed section of highway during a military exercise.PHOTO: AP

US State Department approves possible US$8 billion fighter jet sale to Taiwan

The US State Department has approved a possible US$8 billion (S$11 billion) sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said on Tuesday in an official notification to Congress.

The sale being considered would be for 66 aircraft, 75 General Electric engines, as well as other systems, the agency said in a statement.

It said the sale serves US national, economic and security interests, and would help Taiwan maintain a credible defence.

China has already denounced the widely discussed sale, one of the biggest yet by the United States to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province. It has warned of unspecified "countermeasures."


Brazilian police sniper kills Rio bus hijacker; no hostages hurt

Brazilian security forces in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday shot dead a man who hijacked a bus on a bridge across Guanabara Bay and took 37 people hostage, in a dramatic end to an incident that underlined the city's daily grind of violence.

The hijacking began around 5am local time when a masked man commandeered a commuter bus on the bridge connecting Rio with the city of Niteroi.

The man took 37 people in the bus hostage before freeing six of them, officials said.


Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions on women

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday began implementing a landmark reform allowing women over the age of 21 to receive passports and travel abroad without permission from a male "guardian", authorities said.

The reform, announced earlier this month, weakens the restrictive guardianship system that has long been a symbol of repression against women.

"The passport department has started receiving applications for women aged 21 and above to issue or renew passports and to travel outside the kingdom without permission," the department said on Twitter.


Badminton: Yeo Jia Min eliminates women's world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi

The Republic's world No. 32 women's singles shuttler Yeo Jia Min scored a sensational upset at the BWF World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, on Tuesday night, when she upset world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the round of 32.

The 20-year-old had a 0-2 head-to-head record against the 22-year-old before the Basel duel, and last played against her at the Badminton Asia Championships in April 2019, where she lost 18-21, 21-8, 17-21.

But Yeo took 39 minutes to clinch a 21-14, 21-18 victory over the 2018 world championships bronze medallist, to score the biggest scalp of her career so far.


'Matrix 4' announced with Keanu Reeves to return as Neo

Sci-fi franchise The Matrix will return for a fourth film with Keanu Reeves reprising his role as kung fu-kicking, shades-wearing hero Neo, studio Warner Bros said on Tuesday.

Lana Wachowski will helm the project, returning to write, direct and produce the latest installment of the hugely popular series about humans trapped in a virtual reality by machines, which has netted more than US$1.6 billion (S$2.2 billion) worldwide.

Lana and her sister Lilly - who were formerly known as the Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry, before switching gender - directed the original trilogy.