While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 1

The White House has denied that plans are afoot to fire US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson (above).
The White House has denied that plans are afoot to fire US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson (above).PHOTO: AFP

White House denies Donald Trump is considering plan to replace Rex Tillerson with CIA chief

President Donald Trump is considering a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose relationship has been strained by the top US diplomat’s softer line on North Korea and other differences, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

Tillerson would be replaced within weeks by CIA director Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist and foreign policy hard-liner, under a White House plan to carry out the most significant staff shake-up so far of the Trump administration.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress, would be tapped to replace Pompeo at the Central Intelligence Agency, the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had given final approval to the reshuffle, but one of the officials said the President asked for the plan to be put together. The White House, however, later insisted that Tillerson remained in his post.

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Donald Trump ‘wrong’ to tweet far-right videos, but relations will endure, says Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May repeated on Thursday that US President Donald Trump was wrong to retweet anti-Muslim videos posted by a British far-right group, but stressed that the US and Britain's “special relationship” would endure.

May’s initial condemnation prompted an extraordinary rebuke from the US leader, who told her on Twitter: “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”

Speaking to reporters during a trip to Jordan, the Prime Minister stood her ground, defending her record on tackling extremism – including by the far-right – while emphasising the strength of British-US ties.

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Barack Obama tells Xi Jinping he wants to help preserve ties, China media says

Former US President Barack Obama offered in his first post-retirement meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help ensure strong ties between the world’s two largest economies, Chinese state media said.

The Chinese president told Obama that the two sides shared a wide range of common interests and had a responsibility to maintain world peace and prosperity, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Obama told Xi that he was willing to play a continued role in strengthening mutual understanding, exchange and cooperation between the two nations.

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Football: Survival specialist Sam Allardyce confirmed as Everton manager

Everton have appointed former England boss and renowned top-flight survival specialist Sam Allardyce as their new manager on an 18-month contract, the English Premier League club announced on Thursday.

Allardyce, whose previous clubs include Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Crystal Palace, will take charge of the Merseysiders for the first time when they welcome Huddersfield Town to Goodison Park for a league match on Saturday.

His arrival at the Liverpool club was effectively confirmed on Wednesday when Everton said they were finalising a deal with the 63-year-old Englishman, who will succeed Ronald Koeman as the Toffees’ full-time manager more than a month after the Dutchman was sacked.

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Golf: Solid start as Woods hits comeback trail

Former world number one Tiger Woods got off to a solid start on Thursday as he made his latest return to golf after a 10-month layoff punctuated by back surgery and personal problems.

The 41-year-old 14-time major champion, who has not played since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic in February, is hoping to relaunch his career at the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

In early play on Thursday, Woods made an encouraging return, moving to one under after nine holes in a steady start to his first round. 

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