While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 17

Firefighters working at the site where a large explosion occurred at a restaurant in Sapporo, in Hokkaido, on Dec 16, 2018.
Firefighters working at the site where a large explosion occurred at a restaurant in Sapporo, in Hokkaido, on Dec 16, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS

More than 40 injured in blast at two-storey Sapporo izakaya bar 

More than 40 people were injured in a major explosion at a two-storey izakaya bar in Sapporo on Sunday night (Dec 16), Japanese media reports have said citing local fire department officials.

Police are investigating the cause of the blast, suspected to be a gas explosion, that occurred at about 8.30pm local time (7.30pm in Singapore) at the izakaya Umi Sakura, located near the Hiragishi station on the Sapporo subway line.

No deaths have been reported. Of the 42 reported casualties, 41 suffered light injuries while one has been seriously injured.

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Georgia's first female president sworn in


Georgia on Sunday (Dec 16) swore in its first female president, Salome Zurabishvili, as opposition parties continue to denounce her election as fraudulent and demand snap parliamentary polls.

The inauguration paved the way for a new constitution to come into force, transforming the country into a parliamentary republic with a largely ceremonial president.

The event was held in the mediaeval town of Telavi in Georgia's eastern winemaking region of Kakheti.

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Lawyer says Mueller can interview Trump only 'over my dead body'


A lawyer for Mr Donald Trump on Sunday (Dec 16) pushed back against reports that the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election might be seeking to interview the President, saying it would happen only "over my dead body".

Mr Rudy Giuliani said special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors could not be trusted to deal fairly with the President, suggesting they had trapped another witness into committing perjury.

Asked on Fox News Sunday about reports Mr Mueller now wants a face-to-face interview to follow up on Mr Trump's submission of written answers, Mr Giuliani shot back: "Good luck. Good luck."

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Thousands of demonstrators march in Brussels over UN migration pact


Thousands of protestors clashed with police during march against a UN migration pact here on Sunday (Dec 16), while a peaceful counter-protest in favour of the pact drew over 1,000 people on the same day.

The march against the Untied Nations Global Compact for Migration, signed in Marrakech last week, was triggered by Flemish right-wing parties amid fears the pact could lead to an increase in immigration.

Police were forced to deploy tear gas and water cannon as clashes broke out near the European Union institution quarters.

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Football: Liverpool back on top as Shaqiri sinks United, Arsenal’s unbeaten run ends

Liverpool powered back to the top of the Premier League as Xherdan Shaqiri inspired a 3-1 win over bitter rivals Manchester United, while Arsenal’s 22-match unbeaten run was shattered by a shock 3-2 defeat at Southampton on Sunday (Dec 16). 

Jurgen Klopp’s side made it six successive league victories thanks to Shaqiri’s late double after United’s Jesse Lingard had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener at Anfield. 

Shaqiri’s superb substitute cameo allowed Liverpool to reopen a one point lead over second placed Manchester City after the champions had knocked the Reds out of first place with their win against Everton on Saturday. 

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