While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 10 edition

US presence remains critical for stability in Asia, says Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen

Even amid sweeping geopolitical change around the world, the United States presence in Asia-Pacific remains critical for peace and stability in the region, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Washington on Wednesday.

Delivering a speech at an event organised by the Centre for a New American Security, the visiting defence minister stressed that Singapore continues to believe in the importance of US engagement in the region and urged the country to "continue to provide clear and consistent signals and commit physically to remain engaged in this region".

He said that the belief in the US role was part of the reason behind the enduring military ties between the two countries.


French release streamlined draft of pact to save world from weather extremes and rising seas

The French government on Wednesday released a streamlined draft text of a pact to save the world from devastating weather extremes and rising seas caused by climate change.

As the UN-led talks race towards a deadline later this week, tensions are growing as negotiators press their demands.

The present draft, consolidated by the French, still leaves the most contentious issues unresolved including on financing, review of national climate action plans and the temperature goal.


Scottish university withdraws Trump's honorary degree

A Scottish university on Wednesday revoked an honorary degree it awarded to Donald Trump amid an outcry over a call by the Republican presidential frontrunner to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

"In the course of the current US election campaign, Mr Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university," said a spokesman for Robert Gordon University in a statement.

The university, based in the northern Scottish city of Aberdeen, awarded Trump an honorary doctorate of business administration in October 2010.


Four-year-old dancer takes YouTube crown

A video of a four-year-old dancer known as Heaven King, sometimes called a "mini Beyonce," was the most viewed item of the year on YouTube, the Google-owned service said Wednesday.

The music video featuring the girl and her dance crew performing choreography to rapper Silento's Watch Me in New York was viewed more than 116 million times, YouTube said.

The dance video was far ahead of the number two item, which was a Super Bowl commercial for the "Clash of Clans" video game that also featured actor Liam Neeson, viewed 83 million times.


Trumbo leads US Screen Actors Guild film awards with 3 nominations

Trumbo, the movie about the 1947 Hollywood blacklist, led the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations on Wednesday in a diverse field that hinted at likely Oscar contenders but snubbed presumed front-runners The Martian and new Jennifer Lawrence drama Joy.

Trumbo, about a group of screenwriters and directors shunned for their associations to the Communist Party, earned three nominations, including the guild’s top prize for best ensemble cast.

Other nominees for best ensemble include Netflix African war drama Beasts Of No Nation, Wall Street comedy The Big Short, Catholic Church abuse probe Spotlight and rap movie Straight Outta Compton.