While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 22

Donald and Melania Trump arrive for a National Defence Authorisation Act signing ceremony in Maryland, Dec 20, 2019. PHOTO: NYTIMES

China criticises US defence Bill as interference in its affairs

Beijing on Saturday slammed a new US defence Bill, which includes measures to strengthen Washington's ties with Taiwan and support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters, saying it "blatantly interfered" in China's internal affairs.

The tough-worded statement by China's top lawmaking body comes a day after President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Donald Trump that US comments and actions regarding Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet were harming ties between the two economic giants.

Beijing and Washington have agreed to a temporary truce in their bruising trade war, with a phase-one deal that has rolled back tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods.

But China has come under strong criticism in Congress, including from Trump's Republican party, over its attempt to clamp down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.


At least 21 dead in bus crash in eastern Guatemala

A trailer truck collided with a passenger bus in eastern Guatemala early Saturday, killing at least 21 people and leaving a dozen wounded, according to the national disaster agency.

It said nine of the dead were minors.

Initial reports indicate that the trailer truck was speeding when it collided with the bus on a curve.


Berlin police evacuate Christmas market that was attacked in 2016

Berlin police gave the all-clear on Saturday (Dec 21) after earlier evacuating a Christmas market that was the scene of a fatal attack three years ago to investigate a possible suspicious object, which they did not find.

Tunisian Anis Amri ploughed a truck into the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in 2016, killing 12 people.

Daily newspaper Bild quoted a police spokesman as saying that the two men were stopped after leaving the square at a conspicuously fast pace and that, on taking their names, officers believed one was the subject of an arrest warrant. The police cleared the square as a precaution.


'Healthy' Boeing Starliner spacecraft on track to land in New Mexico, says Nasa

The Boeing Starliner spacecraft that failed to hit the right orbit to reach the International Space Station is "healthy," in a stable orbit and expected to land in New Mexico on Sunday morning, Nasa said on Saturday.

The Boeing CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule was successfully launched from Florida on Friday, but an automated timer error prevented the spacecraft from attaining the correct orbit for it to rendezvous and dock with the space station.

Nasa and Boeing officials said in a Saturday conference call that they are still investigating the causes of the failure - and that the spacecraft's challenges were not over.


Football: Liverpool win Club World Cup as Firmino sinks Flamengo

An extra-time goal from Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a 1-0 victory over Brazil's Flamengo to win the Club World Cup at the Khalifa International stadium on Saturday.

It is the first time Liverpool have won the competition, which features each continent's champions, and they became only the second English team to lift the trophy after Manchester United in 2008.

Brazilian Firmino drilled home the winner in the ninth minute of extra time to secure victory for Juergen Klopp's European champions and Premier League leaders.


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