While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 8

US President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House ont Israel policy on Dec 6, 2017. PHOTO: WASHINGTON POST PHOTO BY JABIN BOTSFORD

Donald Trump to release medical records after questions over slurred speech

The White House described questions about President Donald Trump's slurred speech as "ridiculous" on Thursday, but committed to releasing the results of a physical examination early in the new year.

Trump appeared to struggle with some words during a live statement on Jerusalem at the White House on Wednesday, mangling familiar phrases like "God bless America".

"There were a lot of questions on that. Frankly pretty ridiculous questions," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. "The President's throat was dry nothing more than that."

Wednesday's incident came after persistent questions about his weight, mental health and whether he wears dentures.


Bitcoin soars above US$17,000, boosting worries and a worldwide frenzy

Bitcoin soared past the US$17,000 mark on Thursday, a dizzying run for a digital currency that was worth less than US$1,000 at the start of the year and was once largely the preoccupation of technologists or those looking to avoid scrutiny to launder money or buy drugs and weapons online.

The fast rise - it has gone up more than 40 per cent this week alone - is creating a buying frenzy among eager speculators around the world and helping push bitcoin into the mainstream. But it is also forcing US regulators to grapple with whether to legitimise a product that operates outside the control of any government or financial institution.

The run-up in price comes as bitcoin enthusiasts prepare to reach a new landmark. On Sunday, a bitcoin product will trade for the first time on a US financial market, making it almost as easy to bet on the virtual currency as oil, corn or the euro.


US cop jailed for 20 years in fatal shooting of black man

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A white former US cop was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorist - a case that sparked mass protests and anger over excessive use of force by police.

The death of Walter Scott in April 2015 was one of the most shocking in a series of high-profile US police shootings, often involving minorities, that have deepened tensions and added to distrust between officers and the communities they serve.

Michael Slager, who worked for the North Charleston police department, was charged with murder in state courts, proceedings that ended in a mistrial last year. But in May, he pleaded guilty to one federal charge of depriving Scott of his civil rights by using excessive force while carrying out his duties.


From Poles to Filipinos? British food industry needs post-Brexit workers

Britons who voted for Brexit in the hope of slashing immigration seem set for disappointment. In the farming and food industries at least, any exodus of Polish and Romanian workers may simply be followed by arrivals of Ukrainians and Filipinos.

From dairy farms to abattoirs, employers say not enough Britons have an appetite for milking cows before dawn or disembowelling pig carcasses - jobs often performed by workers from the poorer, eastern member states of the European Union.

With unemployment at a four-decade low of 4.3 per cent, even Brexit supporters acknowledge the industries will need some migrant workers after Britain leaves the EU in 2019, ending the automatic right of the bloc's citizens to work in the country.


Football: Ronaldo pips Messi to win Ballon d'Or for joint-record fifth time

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d'Or for world player of the year on Thursday for a joint-record fifth time, going level with eternal rival and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi as the player to have won the prize the most times.

The Real Madrid forward won the award, handed out by magazine France Football, for the second consecutive year having led his side to the La Liga title with 25 goals and a successive Champions League crown, netting 12 goals including two in the 4-1 win over Juventus in the final.

Ronaldo collected the trophy in a glitzy ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in the French capital, presented by former France player David Ginola.


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