While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 4

US President Donald Trump, seated with adviser Jared Kushner (left) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (centre), at a meeting at the White House in Washington, US, on Sept 5, 2018.
US President Donald Trump, seated with adviser Jared Kushner (left) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (centre), at a meeting at the White House in Washington, US, on Sept 5, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

China made more than US$1.2 trillion trade commitments: Mnuchin

China has made more than US$1.2 trillion (S$1.6 trillion) in additional trade commitments as part of a deal reached by US President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jingping and Beijing has vowed to take immediate steps on those promises.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on new tariffs during talks in Argentina on Saturday (Dec 1), declaring a truce following months of escalating tensions on trade and other issues.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Monday (Dec 3) there was a clear shift in tone at Buenos Aires from past discussions with Chinese officials, as Xi offered a clear commitment to open China's markets to US companies.


Trump calls for his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen to be jailed 

US President Donald Trump called Monday (Dec 3) for "a long prison term" after his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen admitted lying to Congress about pursuing a real estate deal with Russia on Trump's behalf during the 2016 election campaign.

He also repeated his accusation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller - who is investigating possible collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign - is forcing witnesses to make up lies damaging to the president.

"You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term?" the president said on Twitter.


Soros-founded school says forced out of Hungary on "dark day for Europe"

The Central European University (CEU), founded by billionaire George Soros, said on Monday (Dec 3) it had been forced out of Hungary in "an arbitrary eviction" that violated academic freedom, and it confirmed plans to open a new campus in Austria.

CEU's statement is the culmination of a years-long struggle between Hungarian-born but US-based Soros, who promotes liberal causes through his charities, and the nationalist, anti-immigrant government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

For nearly three decades CEU has been a gateway to the West for thousands of students from ex-communist eastern Europe, offering US-accredited degree programmes in an academic climate that celebrates free thought.


Verizon, Samsung to release 5G smartphones in US in 2019

Verizon Communications Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Monday (Dec 3) confirmed long-held industry expectations they would seek to steal a march on Apple Inc by launching US 5G smartphones in the first half of 2019.

The two companies said in a statement they would unveil a prototype, using Qualcomm Inc's modem chips, at the chipmaker's annual Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii this week.

While Verizon is leading the charge to trial 5G in some cities next year, industry analysts say the higher-speed networks are unlikely to be widely available until the middle of the next decade.


Football: Modric wins 2018 Ballon d'Or, breaks Messi-Ronaldo dominance

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was named winner of the 2018 Ballon d'Or on Monday (Dec 3), breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's and Lionel Messi's decade-long hold on the prestigious award.

Modric, 33, helped Real Madrid win a third successive Champions League title in May and also captained Croatia to their first World Cup final, being named player of the tournament despite his side losing 4-2 to France.

The award, voted for by journalists and organised by French magazine France Football, has been dominated by Messi and Ronaldo since 2008.