While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 16

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Marathon UN climate talks in Madrid fail to achieve progress

A marathon United Nations summit wrapped up on Sunday with little to show, squeezing hard-earned compromises from countries over a global warming battle plan that fell well short of what science says is needed to tackle the climate crisis.

The COP25 talks ground to a delayed close, with major polluters resisting calls to ramp up efforts to combat global warming and negotiators postponing the regulation of carbon markets until next year.

The Madrid summit comes in a year of deadly extreme weather and weekly strikes by millions of young people demanding action. It was viewed as a test of governments' collective will to heed the advice of scientists to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly to prevent rising global temperatures from hitting irreversible tipping points.

But the final declaration only called on the "urgent need" to cut planet-heating greenhouse gases in line with the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord.


US secretly expelled two Chinese diplomats: Report

The United States secretly expelled two Chinese embassy officials in September after they drove onto a sensitive military base in Virginia, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The newspaper, which cited people with knowledge of the episode, said it appeared to be the first time in more than 30 years that the US has expelled Chinese diplomats on suspicion of espionage.

At least one of the diplomats was believed to be an intelligence officer operating under cover, the Times said.


British PM Johnson eyes Parliament vote before Christmas to 'get Brexit done'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will "get Brexit done" by Jan 31 and then agree a new trade deal with the European Union by the end of 2020, cabinet office minister Michael Gove said on Sunday, vowing to deliver on the government's top priority.

First, the Conservative leader must make good on his often-repeated promise to "get Brexit done" and then turn to realising another priority - to increase funding into Britain's much loved but struggling public health service, a pledge he plans to enshrine in law.

According to the Sunday Times, Johnson plans to make major changes to his top team of ministers in February to focus on delivering his election promises, especially those made to voters in northern and central England, once called the "red wall" because of their loyalty towards Labour.


Hong Kong protests continue ahead of leader Carrie Lam's meeting with Xi

A traffic light was smashed and dismantled as Hong Kong protesters set boxes on fire to block more roads at about 1.30am on Monday, continuing clashes with police as Chief Executive Carrie Lam visits Beijing.

Mrs Lam is expected to update Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior officials on the violent protests that have gripped the city for the past six months.

Roads in Mong Kok, a tourist area known for its night market, were blocked with bricks as protesters threw glass bottles and other items at police officers at about 11pm Sunday. Police sprayed tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to a statement from the city's government.


EPL: Dazzling De Bruyne ensures City bounce back at Arsenal

Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and teed up Raheem Sterling for Manchester City's other goal as Arsenal crumbled to another humiliating 3-0 home defeat on Sunday.

Victory sees City close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool back to 14 points and edge to within four of second-placed Leicester, who they host next weekend.

Arsenal, on the other hand, remain ninth on the back of just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions.


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