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

A handout picture released by the Office of the President Taiwan on Dec 3 shows Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (centre) having a phone conversation with US President-elect Donald Trump late evening in Taipei, Taiwan, Dec 2.
A handout picture released by the Office of the President Taiwan on Dec 3 shows Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (centre) having a phone conversation with US President-elect Donald Trump late evening in Taipei, Taiwan, Dec 2. PHOTO: EPA

US committed to "one China", Taiwan not bargaining chip - White House

The White House on Monday (Dec 12) insisted that Washington's "one China" policy should not be used as a "bargaining chip" with Beijing after President-elect Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to be bound by its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of China.

Signalling further resistance Trump will face in Washington if he tries to overturn a principle that has underpinned more than four decades of US-China relations, Republican US Senator John McCain said he personally backed the "China policy" and no one should "leap to conclusions" that the president-elect would abandon it.

"I do not respond to every comment by the president-elect because it may be reversed the next day," McCain told Reuters when asked about Trump's statement in an interview broadcast over the weekend.

Trump set off a diplomatic firestorm when he told Fox News: "I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade." This followed an earlier protest from China over the Republican president-elect's decision to accept a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec 2.

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Guterres sworn in as UN chief, promises change

Antonio Guterres took the oath of office on Monday (Dec 12) as the United Nations' ninth secretary-general, vowing to shake up the world body as it confronts global crises and uncertainty following the election of Donald Trump.

During a solemn ceremony at the General Assembly, the former prime minister of Portugal placed a hand on the UN charter and took the oath office administered by the president of the General Assembly Peter Thomson.

The first former head of government at the UN helm, Guterres takes over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1 amid ongoing bloodshed in Syria and questions over the US role in the world under a Trump presidency.

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Italy's Gentiloni unveils new cabinet

Italy's new Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni unveiled his cabinet team on Monday (Dec 12) ahead of an official swearing-in ceremony, keeping the line-up largely unchanged to ensure political stability in the eurozone's third largest economy.

Gentiloni, 62, was asked by President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday to form a new centre-left government that will guide Italy to elections due by February 2018, following the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Gentiloni tapped Angelino Alfano - a former protege of ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - to take over his role as foreign minister.

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Terminally ill little boy dies in Santa's arms

A wish came true for a terminally-ill five-year-old who wanted to see Santa for Christmas - then the youngster died in Saint Nick's arms.

A few weeks ago, a nurse phoned  Eric Schmitt-Matzen, 60, with what seemed like an ordinary request. The president of Packing Seals & Engineering in Jacksboro, Tennessee in the United States has been bringing smiles to the faces of ailing children at a local hospital as Santa Claus during the holiday season for years.

"She said there was a very sick five-year-old boy who wanted to see Santa Claus," he told the Knoxville News Sentinel, part of the USA Today network.

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Pokemon Go gets its first new Pokemon and a Santa Pikachu

Pokemon Go, the mobile game about catching virtual critters, is finally getting the series' second generation of Pokemon.

Niantic Inc, the game's developer, announced that new Pokemon, such as Togepi, Pichu and selected others, from the Johto region in Pokemon Gold and Silver video games will be available from today (Dec 13) onwards.

Unfortunately, players cannot catch these new Pokemon in the wild. Instead, they will need to hatch them from eggs picked  up at Pokestops.  

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