While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 31

Outgoing White House chief John Kelly's (pictured) relationship with the president reportedly deteriorated and he is due to be replaced at the end of the year by Mick Mulvaney, who currently serves as budget director.
Outgoing White House chief John Kelly's (pictured) relationship with the president reportedly deteriorated and he is due to be replaced at the end of the year by Mick Mulvaney, who currently serves as budget director.PHOTO: AFP

White House chief John Kelly voices 'nothing but compassion' for migrants

Outgoing White House chief John Kelly said he had "nothing but compassion" for undocumented migrants crossing into the US and undercut the idea of a border wall in an interview Sunday (Dec 30) that jarred with US President Donald Trump's tough rhetoric on immigration.

Speaking as a partial government shutdown went into a ninth day due to an impasse over Trump's demands for funding for a wall at the US-Mexico border, Kelly told the Los Angeles Times: "To be honest, it's not a wall."

"The president still says 'wall.' Oftentimes frankly he'll say 'barrier' or 'fencing,' now he's tended toward steel slats," Kelly said.

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Graham says Trump committed to smart Syria withdrawal

Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham said President Donald Trump reassured him about his plan to withdraw US troops from Syria and his commitment to defeating Islamic State during a White House meeting on Sunday.



Senior Republican senator Lindsey Graham said Trump was "frustrated" by the limited options available in Syria. PHOTO: AFP
 

“We talked about Syria. He told me some things I didn’t know that made me feel a lot better about where we’re headed in Syria,” Graham told reporters outside the White House after the meeting.

“We still have some differences but I will tell you that the president is thinking long and hard about Syria – how to withdraw our forces but at the same time achieve our national security interests.”

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4 killed in eastern DR Congo province: Tshisekedi campaign



A man holds his voter card at a symbolic polling station on Dec 30, 2018. PHOTO: AFP
 

Four people including a police officer and an electoral official were killed Sunday in eastern South-Kivu province as the DR Congo voted in presidential elections, the campaign of opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi said.

The officer and official were killed along with two civilians during clashes at a polling station in the Walungu area, campaign director Vital Kamerhe told AFP.  He said the violence broke out after the electoral official was accused of trying to rig the vote in favour of Emmanuel Ramazini Shadary, the candidate championed by President Joseph Kabila in power for 17 years.

“An agitated crowd started fighting with police. An officer was killed, which we deeply regret,” said Kamerhe, a former president of the National Assembly who is from South-Kivu.

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Football: Five things we learnt from the Premier League weekend



Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (right) scores his team's third goal past Arsenal's German goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on Dec 29, 2018. PHOTO: AFP
 

Liverpool took another significant step towards a first top-flight title in 29 years by thrashing Arsenal 5-1 to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League, thanks also to Tottenham's collapse at home to Wolves.

Manchester City are once again Liverpool's closest challengers ahead of a blockbuster clash between the two on Thursday as the champions recovered from back-to-back defeats to beat Southampton 3-1.

Manchester United's revival since Jose Mourinho's sacking continued with Paul Pogba again scoring twice to beat Bournemouth 4-1, but United remain eight points off the top four after Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0.

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Football: Dinnage turns her back on Premier League chief exec role



It was planned that Susanna Dinnage, currently the global president of Discovery's Animal Planet brand, would take over from Scudamore, in charge for 19 years, early in 2019. PHOTO: AFP
 

Susanna Dinnage has shocked English football by deciding she no longer wants to be the chief executive of the Premier League despite previously accepting the post.

Dinnage, a television executive, was announced as the successor to the long-serving Richard Scudamore in November, with her appointment hailed as a major step forward for women in sports administration.

It was planned that Dinnage, currently the global president of Discovery's Animal Planet brand, would take over from Scudamore, in charge for 19 years, early in 2019.

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