While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 5, 2017

British prime minister Theresa May (left) and president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, before a meeting at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, on Dec 4, 2017. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Britain and EU fail to reach Brexit deal

Britain and the EU failed to strike a Brexit divorce deal during talks in Brussels on Monday (Dec 4) but said they were "confident" of reaching an accord later this week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker fell short of a breakthrough, despite encouraging progress on the thorny issue of the Irish border.

The EU says Britain must make sufficient progress on key divorce issues - Ireland, Britain's financial bill for leaving the bloc, and the rights of EU nationals in Britain - to allow the opening of trade and transition talks at a summit on Dec 15.

"Despite our best efforts and the significant progress we and our teams have made in the past days on the remaining withdrawal issues, it was not possible to reach a complete agreement today," Juncker said at a joint news conference with May.


Portugal's Centeno picked as new Eurogroup chief

Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno was picked as the new head of the Eurogroup on Monday (Dec 4), with the key job of chaperoning much needed reforms across the single currency bloc.

The little known former central banker will replace outgoing Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem in January, and beat out his counterparts from Luxembourg, Slovakia and Latvia to win one of Europe's most coveted jobs.

"Centeno, the minister for finance of Portugal, has been elected as the new Eurogroup president," the European Council of ministers said in a tweet after the vote.


Trump endorses accused child molester Moore for Senate

US President Donald Trump on Monday (Dec 4) officially endorsed the candidacy of embattled Republican Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women including one who was 14 at the time.

Trump had previously characterised the allegations against Moore as "very troubling" before changing tack and warning voters in Moore's home state of Alabama that a victory for his Democratic rival Doug Jones "would be a disaster!"

On Monday, he telephoned the 70-year-old Christian conservative to offer his formal backing ahead of the Dec 12 special election in the right-leaning southern state, the White House said.


Trouble mounts for Sanofi dengue vaccine over safety concerns

The World Health Organization said on Monday (Dec 4) it hopes to review safety data on Sanofi's dengue vaccine this month, while the Philippines ordered an investigation of its now suspended massive immunisation programme after the French drugmaker said it could actually worsen the disease in some cases.

The safety fears involve possible increased risk to people who had not previously been exposed to the dengue virus prior to vaccination with Dengvaxia.

Sanofi attempted to allay concerns, saying in a statement that "the vast majority of those vaccinated to date live in high endemic settings and, therefore, will have had a prior dengue infection before vaccination."


Football: Mourinho not risking Zlatan ahead of City clash

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he will not risk Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their Champions League match against CSKA Moscow as he keeps one eye on the derby with Manchester City on Sunday (Dec 10).

Ibrahimovic recently returned from a long-term knee injury but Mourinho confirmed that the experienced Swedish striker will miss the game against the Russian side at Old Trafford.

United require only a point from the match to be sure of qualifying for the knockout stage of the European Cup as winners of Group A.


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