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

North Korea had written to council members last month to urge them to block the US request for the meeting that shines a spotlight on Pyongyang's dismal record.
North Korea had written to council members last month to urge them to block the US request for the meeting that shines a spotlight on Pyongyang's dismal record.PHOTO: AFP

US scraps UN meeting on North Korea human rights

The United States has dropped a bid to hold a UN Security Council meeting on North Korea's human rights record after failing to garner enough support for the talks, diplomats said Friday.

The decision to scrap the meeting held every year since 2014 also comes as the United States is seeking a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea had written to council members last month to urge them to block the US request for the meeting that shines a spotlight on Pyongyang's dismal record.

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Britain's Ted Baker says CEO Kelvin to go on leave during investigation

Ted Baker's CEO and founder Ray Kelvin is to take a voluntary leave of absence while allegations about his conduct are investigated, the British fashion retailer said on Friday.

The move follows an online campaign claiming to represent over 200 employees which called on the company to end "forced hugging" and "a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged."

Ted Baker said this week that an independent committee of non-executive directors had been appointed to ensure the views and concerns mentioned in the petition were considered and appropriate responses taken.

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Donald Trump picks former US Attorney General Barr to return to head Justice

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he had chosen former US Attorney General William Barr to once again lead the Justice Department, a role that would put him in charge of the federal probe into Russian election interference.

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would take over from Matthew Whitaker, who has been serving in an acting capacity since Trump forced out Jeffrey Sessions a month ago.

Whitaker had been Sessions’ chief of staff.

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Merkel’s Favoured Candidate Wins CDU Party Race: Germany Update

Angela Merkel’s long departure from politics begins as her Christian Democratic party meets in Hamburg to pick a new leader for the first time in 18 years. The outcome will have significant implications for Germany and Europe.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer won the vote to succeed Merkel as head of Germany’s ruling CDU party. The 56-year-old Merkel acolyte defeated Friedrich Merz in the second round of voting after Health Minister Jens Spahn was eliminated.

Kramp-Karrenbauer gained enough support from Spahn’s backers to get 517 votes to Merz’s 482.

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Huawei exec faces US fraud charges linked to Iran, court hears

Chinese telecom giant Huawei's chief financial officer faces US fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking business dealings with Iran, a Canadian court heard Friday, a week after she was detained on an American extradition request.

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada's Pacific coast city of Vancouver on December 1 while changing planes during a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico - ratcheting tensions between the United States and China just as the countries' leaders agreed a truce in their trade war.

A Canadian government lawyer asked the court to deny her bail, saying she has been accused of "conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions" and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison.

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