While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 25 edition

North and South Korea reach agreement to end current tensions

North and South Korea reached agreement Tuesday, following marathon talks, on ending a tense military stand-off that had pushed the two rivals to the brink of armed conflict.

In a joint accord, the North "expressed regret" over recent mine blasts that maimed two South Korean soldiers, while the South agreed to switch off loudspeakers blasting propaganda messages across the border.

The speakers will be silenced at midday (11 am Singapore time) today, at which time the North will lift a "semi-war state" declared last week by leader Kim Jong-Un.


US stocks end sharply lower but far above day's floor; Europe bourses fall

US stocks finished sharply lower Monday, but far above the session's floor, following a bruising day in global financial markets sparked by mounting worries over the Chinese economy.

The broad-based S&P 500 tumbled 77.68 points (3.94 per cent) to 1,893.21, pushing the index into "correction" territory, normally defined as a loss of 10 per cent or more.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 588.47 (3.58 per cent) to 15,871.28, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 179.79 (3.82 per cent) at 4,526.25.


Major step' taken towards universal flu vaccine: studies

 Scientists have taken a major step towards creating a vaccine that works against multiple strains of influenza, according to two studies published Monday in top journals.

A "universal vaccine" is the holy grail of immunisation efforts against the flu, a shape-shifting virus which kills up to half a million people each year, according the World Health Organisation.

There have been several killer pandemics in the last century - the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak claimed at least 20 million lives.


UN council holds first-ever meeting on LGBT rights

UN Security Council members on Monday opened their first-ever meeting on LGBT rights to hear Syrian and Iraqi gays tell of terror under ISIS rule.

"It's historic," US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters ahead of the meeting. "It's about time - 70 years after the creation of the UN - that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking centre stage."

UN envoys were to hear accounts from Adnan, an Iraqi who fled northern Iraq after being targeted as gay and from a Syrian, Subhi Nahas, who escaped persecution and now works for a refugee organization in the United States.


Football: Liverpool's perfect record ends with Arsenal stalemate

Liverpool's 100 per cent start to the season ended with a hard-fought goalless draw against top-four rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.

Arsenal were indebted to goalkeeper Petr Cech - at fault for West Ham United's goals in a 2-0 opening-weekend defeat - in the first half after he produced a string of stunning saves to keep an impressive Liverpool at bay.

Arsenal improved and enjoyed the better of proceedings in the second half but were unable to breech a stingy Liverpool defence which has yet to concede in three matches this season.