While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 2


Trump's former adviser Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI over Russian links

Former US national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia’s ambassador, and prosecutors said he consulted with a senior official in Donald Trump’s presidential transition team before speaking to the envoy.

In an appearance at a courtroom in downtown Washington, Flynn became the first member of Trump’s administration to plead guilty to a crime uncovered by the special counsel investigation into Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Flynn, a former Army general and member of Trump’s campaign team, admitted as part of a plea deal that he gave false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak before Trump took office.

ABC News said Flynn, facing up to five years in jail, was prepared to testify that before taking office Trump had directed him to make contact with Russians.


Rex Tillerson will remain as top US diplomat, Trump tweets

President Donald Trump said on Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not leaving the administration, contradicting news reports that the White House was planning to replace the top US diplomat.

"The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon - FAKE NEWS!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. "He is not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!"

Tillerson had earlier called reports that the White House wanted him to resign “laughable.”


Potassium cyanide killed war criminal Slobodan Praljak, say Dutch prosecutors

Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak likely died from heart failure after swallowing potassium cyanide, Dutch prosecutors said on Friday, two days after he committed suicide in front of UN judges.

“The preliminary results of the toxicological test showed that Mister Praljak had a concentration of potassium cyanide in his blood,” the Dutch prosecution said in a statement in English.

“This has resulted in a failure of the heart, which is pointed out as the suspected cause of death.”


German police secure nail-filled package found near Potsdam Christmas market

German police on Friday secured a device full of wires and nails found near an outdoor Christmas market in the city of Potsdam, but could not establish whether it had contained explosives.

Germany is on high alert for militant attacks, nearly a year after a Tunisian Islamist rammed a hijacked truck into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 11 people as well as the driver.

Police evacuated a large area of Potsdam’s old town centre on Friday, including parts of the market, and closed stores while they investigated the package, which had been delivered to a pharmacy.


World Cup draw: Favourites spared tough groups in Russia

The favourites to win next year’s World Cup in Russia were given navigable paths to the last 16 with the coaches of Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Spain having reason to feel reasonably optimistic after Friday’s draw.

Even hosts Russia, the lowest-ranked of the 32 nations taking part, breathed a sigh of relief after learning they will open the 21st edition of the tournament against Saudi Arabia before tackling Egypt and Uruguay in Group A.

Holders Germany will open their bid for a fifth title against dark horses Mexico, with Sweden, conquerors of Italy in last month’s playoffs, and South Korea also in Group F.