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

Singapore and US sign agreement to boost defence ties

Singapore and the United States on Monday agreed to boost cooperation between the militaries of the two countries across a broad range of areas, including - for the first time - cyberdefence and biosecurity.

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who is on a five-day visit to the US capital, and his US counterpart Ash Carter signed an enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement when they met at the Pentagon.

According to the Singapore Ministry of Defence, the agreement enhances links in areas like policy and transnational terrorism while laying out new areas of cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, cyberdefence, biosecurity and public communications.


Singapore calls for ambitious climate pact at Paris talks, and need to fight illegal forest fires

Singapore called for an ambitious climate pact at United Nations-led talks Paris on Monday and singled out illegal forest and land fires as being detrimental to the global fight against rising temperatures and extreme weather.

During his delivery of Singapore's National Statement at the Paris talks, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, praised the nearly 190 nations, covering about 95 per cent of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions, that have submitted their national climate action plans. These plans form the foundation of a Paris agreement.

"We must now match these pledges with a global agreement that promotes the ability to raise ambition over time and bring our world closer towards climate safety," he told delegates to the conference. The Paris talks, called COP 21, aim to seal a global deal to ease the threat from more extreme weather and rising sea levels.


Slower growth in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel: Report

Rapid growth in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels has stalled over the past two years, largely due to falling coal use in China and growing investment in green energy, a benchmark study released today showed.

The report from the Global Carbon Project, a collaboration of scientific institutions, is an annual health check on the planet and a leading analysis on carbon emissions trends.

The report said that for the second year running, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption and cement production last year grew by only 0.6 per cent, a sharp drop from the 2.4 per cent annual growth for the decade before.


Rapper Kendrick Lamar tops Grammy nods, Taylor Swift leads major categories

Rapper Kendrick Lamar on Monday led nominations for the Grammy Awards, although pop superstar Taylor Swift dominated in the most prominent categories.

Lamar - who has won wide critical acclaim for his politically charged latest album To Pimp a Butterfly - earned 11 nominations for the music industry's biggest awards, which will be announced at a Feb 15 gala in Los Angeles.

Swift and The Weeknd, the rising Canadian R&B star, followed Lamar with seven nominations each.


Puppy love: Russia's gift to France replaces slain police dog

Russia symbolically handed over a puppy to France on Monday to replace a police dog called Diesel who was killed during a raid linked to the Nov 13 Paris attacks.

Igor Zubov, a deputy interior minister, handed the male German shepherd puppy named Dobrynya to French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert at a ceremony in Moscow attended by Russian and French soldiers.

Dobrynya, who must remain in quarantine for up to three months before leaving for his new home, was named after a medieval knight who was the incarnation of "strength, valour and justice", Zubov said.