While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 9

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses the UN Security Council meeting on Dec 8, 2017.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses the UN Security Council meeting on Dec 8, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Isolated US defends Donald Trump on Jerusalem at the UN

The United States stood alone on Friday as one after another fellow UN Security Council member criticised its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The debate unfolded at a largely symbolic emergency meeting of the council – no vote on a resolution was planned, as the US has veto power – two days after President Donald Trump reversed two decades of US policy on the holy city.

The meeting was convened by no fewer than eight of the 14 non-US members of the council. This seemed a vivid show of the discord triggered by Trump’s announcement, which included plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nikolay Mladenov, warned that the US decision could lead to a spiral of violence among the Palestinians and others angered by what Trump has done.

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Bitcoin drops after dramatic gains ahead of futures launch

Bitcoin lost almost a fifth of its value in 10 hours on Friday, having surged more than 40 per cent in the preceding 48 hours, sparking fears the market may be heading for a price collapse.

In a hectic day on Thursday, bitcoin leapt from below US$16,000 to US$19,500 in less than an hour on the US-based GDAX, one of the biggest exchanges globally, while it was still changing hands at about US$15,900 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp. Some market watchers attributed the lurch higher to the coming launch of bitcoin futures on major exchanges.

Having then climbed to US$16,666 on Bitstamp at around 2am GMT on Friday (10am Singapore time), it tumbled to US$13,482 by around 1200 GMT – a slide of more than 19 per cent. It was last down 8.2 per cent at US$15,232.32 on BitStamp.

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US has begun fully implementing Trump travel ban, says State Dept

The US State Department said it began fully implementing President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries on Friday, four days after the Supreme Court ruled the order could be enforced while legal appeals continue.

Trump's order, which calls for "enhancing vetting capabilities" at US embassies and consulates overseas, directs the departments of State and Homeland Security to restrict the entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries - Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen - as well as from Venezuela and North Korea.

The State Department said in a statement on Friday that no visas would be revoked under the new vetting procedures. It said the restrictions were not intended to be permanent and could be lifted as "countries work with the US government to ensure the safety of Americans".

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Donald Trump calls out Clinton, Bush and Obama on Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump rewound the tape on Friday to show how three predecessors - Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama - made promises on Jerusalem that they later backtracked on.

"I fulfilled my campaign promise - others didn't!" he boasted on Twitter, posting a video montage of his predecessors to prove his point.

During their respective campaigns, both Clinton and Bush said they favoured moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, then changed their minds once in office.

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Pacquiao says he is in talks to fight McGregor

Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said on Friday he has opened talks to fight mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor in April when he takes a break from his legislative duties.

"If we can negotiate it, I have no problem. It is OK with both of us," Pacquiao said when asked about reports he was seeking a match with McGregor who lost a megabucks boxing match in August against the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather.

Asked if he had already approached McGregor's handlers for such a fight, Pacquiao told AFP, "initially, but we have not yet had any follow-up conversations."

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