While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 3


US says Russia still carrying out 'pervasive' election meddling

US President Donald Trump’s top aides said on Thursday that Russia is behind “pervasive” attempts to interfere in upcoming US elections, in a rejection of denials of meddling that Russian President Vladimir Putin made directly to Trump.

Trump’s national security team, including intelligence director Dan Coats and national security adviser John Bolton, appeared in the White House briefing room to stress that a major effort is under way to protect the integrity of congressional elections in November and the 2020 presidential election.

“We acknowledge the threat, it is real, it is continuing, and we’re doing everything we can to have a legitimate election,” Coats said, adding: “It is pervasive, it is ongoing, with the intent to ... drive a wedge and undermine our democratic values.”

Trump has voiced scepticism about Russia’s role in US election meddling, drawing accusations from Democrats and Republicans alike that he is ignoring a threat to American democracy.


Apple hits US$1 trillion stock market valuation

Apple became the first US$1 trillion (S$1.3 trillion) publicly listed US company on Thursday, crowning a decade-long rise fuelled by its ubiquitous iPhone that transformed it from a niche player in personal computers into a global powerhouse spanning entertainment and communications.

The tech company’s stock jumped 2.9 per cent to end the day at US$207.39, giving it a market capitalisation of US$1.002 trillion. During the session, Apple’s stock market value reached as much as US$1.006 trillion.

Apple has rallied about 9 per cent since Tuesday, when it reported June-quarter results above expectations and said it bought back US$20 billion of its own shares. It was Apple’s best-two-day run since April 2014.


Trump received letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

US President Donald Trump received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday that followed up on their recent discussions about denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the White House said on Thursday.

The two leaders when they met in Singapore in June announced an agreement in which Kim reaffirmed his “unwavering” commitment to denuclearize, but little progress on that front has been made in the weeks since.

Trump tweeted about the letter on Thursday, thanking Kim for returning the remains of some American war dead from the 1950-1953 Korean War.


Family separations were a ‘low point,’ media not the enemy, says Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump distanced herself on Thursday from some of her father’s most controversial policies and strident rhetoric, saying she is “vehemently against” family separations and that journalists are not the enemy.

Speaking publicly for the first time since she shuttered her eponymous fashion brand last week, the first daughter and senior adviser to President Donald Trump took a decidedly different approach than her combative father to stress that the immigration crisis has caused her anxiety.

“That was a low point for me as well,” Trump, 36, told a conference organised by news website Axios, referring to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to the stripping of thousands of children from their migrant parents.


Golf: Stanley grabs early lead but Tiger on prowl at WGC

Kyle Stanley shot a seven-under 63 to grab the early first round lead at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday but was looking over his shoulder at some of the game's biggest names, including Tiger Woods, in hot pursuit.

Playing the back nine first at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, Stanley turned in a sizzling first nine including six birdies but cooled off after the turn, making just two more along with his only bogey to sit one clear of Patrick Cantlay.

Right behind the two Americans was a chasing back at five-under featuring PGA Championship winners Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and Australian Jason Day, both with bogey-free rounds.