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

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US calls Switzerland, Vietnam currency manipulators

The Trump administration labelled Switzerland and Vietnam currency manipulators on Wednesday, in another parting shot at international trading partners that could complicate matters for US President-elect Joe Biden's incoming team

In a long-overdue report, the US Treasury also added India, Thailand and Taiwan to a list of countries it says may be deliberately devaluing their currencies against the dollar.

The Covid-19 pandemic has skewed trade flows and widened US deficits with trading partners, an irritant to outgoing President Donald Trump, who won office four years ago partly on a promise to close the US trade gap.

The Swiss National Bank said it does not manipulate its currency and "remains willing to intervene more strongly in the foreign exchange market". Vietnam's trade ministry declined to comment.


Landmark ruling links death of British schoolgirl to pollution

Air pollution contributed to the death of a London schoolgirl, a coroner ruled on Wednesday in a landmark case that could push Britain to get tougher on traffic and clean up city air.

After a two-week inquest, coroner Philip Barlow said the death in 2013 of Ella Kissi-Debrah, aged nine, was caused by acute respiratory failure, severe asthma and exposure to pollution.

He said air pollution was a "significant contributory factor" that had exacerbated her asthma, with the principal source of her exposure being traffic emissions.


Some vaccine doses kept too cold, Pfizer having manufacturing issues

The first days of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine rollout have seen unexpected hitches including some vaccines being stored at excessively cold temperatures and Pfizer reporting potential challenges in its vaccine production, US officials said on a Wednesday press call.

At least two trays of Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered in California needed to be replaced after their storage temperatures dipped below minus 80 deg C, US Army General Gustave Perna said on the call.

Pfizer's vaccines, made with partner BioNTech SE, are supposed to be kept at around minus 70 deg C.


Trump Twitter account hacked, no charges for culprit

Dutch prosecutors on Wednesday said a man had cracked US President Donald Trump's Twitter account in October despite denials from Washington and the company, but added that the so-called "ethical hacker" would not face charges.

The man, named as Victor Gevers in Dutch media, reportedly hacked into Trump's account @realDonaldTrump by guessing his password on Oct 16, Dutch media reports said.

Gevers, 44, disclosed the hack immediately, saying the password he guessed was "maga2020!", referring to the Trump slogan "Make America Great Again."


Football: Liverpool go top as Firmino grabs late winner against Spurs

Roberto Firmino headed a 90th-minute winner as Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield on Wednesday to open up a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table over the London club.

Juergen Klopp's side dominated from the outset and took the lead in the 26th minute when Mohamed Salah's shot deflected off Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld and looped into the far corner.

But Tottenham struck back seven minutes later, Giovani Lo Celso finding Son Heung-min with a superb pass and the South Korean beat Alisson with a clever and composed finish.


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