While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 30 edition

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) talks to US President Barack Obama (right) during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in China.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) talks to US President Barack Obama (right) during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in China.PHOTO: EPA

Obama orders sanctions on Russia over vote hacking, expels intelligence agents

The United States fired back at Moscow for meddling in the presidential election, imposing tough sanctions on Russia’s top two intelligence agencies, expelling 35 agents and shutting down two Russian compounds on US soil.

President Barack Obama had all but accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering an audacious cyber hack that many Democrats believe damaged Hillary Clinton’s chances in November’s closely fought election with Republican foe Donald Trump.

In response, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the move by US would harm relations between Moscow and Washington. Dmitry Peskov said Putin would order an “appropriate”retaliation to the sanctions.

The US intelligence community has concluded that a hack-and-release of Democratic Party and Clinton staff e-mails was designed to put Trump – a political neophyte who has praised Putin – into the Oval Office.


Ang Mo Kio Town Council general manager under CPIB probe

The general manager and secretary of Ang Mo Kio Town Council has been removed from his duties and is under investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Mr Victor Wong, who works for CPG Facilities Management, the managing agent of the town council, was asked to go on leave by his company after the town council received a complaint about him in September, town council chairman Ang Hin Kee told The Straits Times.

He added that the case had been referred to the CPIB and Mr Wong was removed from his positions at the town council last month.


Tennis: Serena Williams announces engagement to Reddit co-founder

Tennis superstar Serena Williams announced she is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, breaking the news with a poem on her verified Reddit account.

Williams, 35, and Ohanian, 33, did not reveal a wedding date in the postings, listed under the Reddit tag ‘isaidyes’.

“I came home A little late, /Someone had a bag packed for me, /And a carriage awaited, /Destination: Rome, /To escort me to my very own “charming” /Back to where our stars first collided, /And now it was full circle At the same table we first met by chance, /This time he made it not by chance /But by choice, /Down on one knee He said 4 words /And r/isaidyes,” Williams posted on her account.


Brother of murdered beauty pageant star JonBenet Ramsey sues CBS for $1 billion

The older brother of murdered JonBenet Ramsey is suing television channel CBS and others for US$750 million (S$1 billion), saying his reputation was ruined after a TV series concluded that he killed the child beauty pageant star.

Burke Ramsey, 29, claims in the lawsuit that the network, its production company and the experts interviewed in the series on the unsolved murder of six-year-old JonBenet conspired to defame him for publicity and profit.

JonBenet was found dead at age six in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado, the day after Christmas in 1996. She died from a blow to the head and strangulation.


Sharing of 'lost' George Michael song sparks debate over late star's unreleased material

The sharing of a "lost" George Michael song by the late star's partner Fadi Fawaz has triggered a debate over whether the singer’s unofficial material should be released.

Fawaz tweeted a link (later deleted) to an unreleased song by his late boyfriendcalled This Kind Of Love, from Michael’s unreleased album Trojan Souls - written with Sir Elton John in the 1990s but never officially finished.

Some fans immediately asked for the song to get an official release. But others, including Michael’s Wham! collaborator Andrew Ridgeley, have urged fans to enjoy the material Michael authorised in his lifetime.