While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 13

US President Donald Trump reacts during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Dec 11, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Trump signs off US-China trade deal to avert December tariffs

President Donald Trump signed off on a so-called phase-one trade deal with China, averting the Dec 15 introduction of a new wave of US tariffs on about US$160 billion (S$216 billion) of consumer goods from the Asian nation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal presented to Trump by trade advisers on Thursday included a promise by the Chinese to buy more US agricultural goods, according to the people.

Officials also discussed possible reductions of existing duties on Chinese products, they said.

The terms have been agreed but the legal text has not yet been finalised, the people said.


New Zealand volcano eruption: Six bodies recovered in high-risk operation

A New Zealand military team that landed on a volcanic island on Friday has recovered six of eight bodies and are preparing to send them back to the capital city Wellington, police said in a statement.

The high-risk operation on White Island, located about 50km off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island began after 6am (1am Singapore time) despite the risk of a fresh volcanic eruption.

"Six bodies have been prepared for air lifting off White Island and the process to transport them to HMNZS Wellington by helicopter has begun," National Operations Commander John Tims said in his latest statement.


Traditional Thai massage gets Unesco heritage status

At Bangkok's Reclining Buddha temple, Krairath Chantrasri says he is a proud custodian of an ancient skill - the body-folding, sharp-elbowed techniques of Thai massage, which was added on Thursday to Unesco's prestigious heritage list.

Originating in India and practiced in Thailand for centuries, the massage was popularised when a specialty school opened in the 1960s to train massage therapists from around the world.

Nuad Thai's addition to Unesco's list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage" practices "is historic," said the Thai delegate at the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation meeting in Bogota, Colombia. "It helps promote the practice of Nuad Thai locally and internationally," he said.


'Keanu Reeves day' as Matrix, John Wick sequels set for May 21 release in 2021

Keanu Reeves' "renaissance" is about to step up a gear.

May 21, 2021 has been dubbed "Keanu day," with both his hotly anticipated Matrix and John Wick sequels due to hit theatres simultaneously in the US.

The scheduling appears to be a coincidence, with kung fu-inflected sci-fi flic The Matrix 4 being distributed by Warner Bros, and hitman thriller John Wick: Chapter 4 coming from rival studio Lionsgate.


Football: Man United thrash AZ, Arsenal roar back to win Europa League group

Teenage striker Mason Greenwood scored twice as Manchester United hammered AZ Alkmaar 4-0 and Enzo Crivelli scored a last-gasp winner to put Istanbul Basaksehir through to the last 32 as the Europa League group stage concluded on Thursday.

On a good night for English clubs, Wolverhampton Wanderers also thrashed Besiktas 4-0 in Group K, while Arsenal came from two goals down to draw 2-2 away to Standard Liege and finish first in their pool ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt.

After a goalless first half Manchester United turned on the style, opening the scoring with a brilliantly-worked goal from Ashley Young before Greenwood netted either side of a Juan Mata penalty.


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