While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 31

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Trump says 'talking not the answer' on North Korea, Mattis disagrees

President Donald Trump declared "talking is not the answer" to the tense standoff with North Korea over its nuclear missile development, but his defence chief swiftly asserted that diplomatic options remain and Russia demanded US restraint.

Trump's comment, a day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan that drew UN and other international condemnation, renewed his tough rhetoric towards reclusive, nuclear-armed and increasingly isolated North Korea.

"The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years," Trump, who just last week said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "starting to respect" the United States, wrote on Twitter. "Talking is not the answer!"

When asked by reporters just hours later if the United States was out of diplomatic solutions with North Korea amid rising tensions after a series of missile tests by Pyongyang, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis replied: "No."

"We are never out of diplomatic solutions," Mattis said before a meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon.


Six family members found dead in missing van: Houston police

Police in Houston said they have recovered the bodies of six family members whose van was swept away in flooding unleashed by Harvey over the weekend.

Manuel and Belia Saldivar and four of their great-grandchildren ranging from six to 16 years in age went missing Sunday as they were attempting to escape from rising waters.

Their relatives returned to the scene of the tragedy on Wednesday as floodwaters subsided and alerted police that the van was now visible, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

"We were able to retrieve the van, pull it out of the water," he said. "We have a total confirmed six dead here at the scene inside this van. Our worst fears have been realised."


Athletics: World 800m champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse 'brutally assaulted'

World 800m champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse sustained "multiple facial fractures" after a vicious late-night attack in the south-west Gironde region of France last weekend.

Bosse, 25, said on his Facebook page on Wednesday that he was the "victim of a violent attack" while on holiday and had been "brutally assaulted by three individuals".

He said he had suffered "unspeakable psychological damage" as a result of the incident and had been forced to put an early end to his season.


U2 rocks out as it readies post-Trump album

U2 on Wednesday rocked out on a guitar-charging first track of its upcoming album, which the Irish rock legends had largely finished last year but revisited following Donald Trump's shock election victory.

In the first taste of its upcoming album Songs Of Experience, the band released The Blackout, a rock number with echoes of early-1990s Achtung-Baby-era U2 with a dominant bass line pushing The Edge's heavily distorted guitar.

U2 released the song through a "video" of a live performance - which, true to the song's title, is a black screen. U2 earlier hinted at the song by sending fan club members anonymous letters in the mail of silhouetted figures, which arrived when the United States was experiencing a historic solar eclipse on Aug 21.


Shrunken Matt Damon opens 74th Venice film festival

Alexander Payne's Downsizing, a satire about shrinking humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population and global warming, opened the Venice film festival.

It kicked off days of screenings, parties and red carpet glamour at the world's oldest film fest on the historic lagoon city's Lido island.

The movie, starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig, tells the story of financially-strapped occupational therapist Paul Safranek and his wife Audrey who decide to be downsized - a process that is irreversible - so they can be part of the affluent "small community" where money goes a lot further.


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