While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 1

US President Donald Trump speaks to China's Vice-Premier Liu.
US President Donald Trump speaks to China's Vice-Premier Liu.PHOTO: AFP

'Tremendous' progress in US-China trade talks: Trump

President Donald Trump hailed "tremendous progress" in US-China trade negotiations, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that their relations were at a "critical" stage, with one month left to settle their tariff dispute.

"You will be going early February with your group to China," Trump said in the White House to negotiators after they spent a second day of talks with Chinese counterparts.

In a letter from Xi to Trump that was read out by the Chinese delegation, Xi said relations were at a "critical" stage and that he hoped "our two sides will continue to work with mutual respect".

The Chinese delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He was in Washington for the complex talks on resolving a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.


Frustrated Trump says a wall 'is a WALL!'

Donald Trump's frustration over his campaign to fence off the US-Mexican border spilled into linguistic territory when the president declared himself fed up with people dancing around what to call his dreamed-of barrier.

"Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!" Trump tweeted.

In other tweets, he signalled that he's in no mood to compromise as Congress debates on providing construction funds. "The Wall is getting done one way or the other!" he vowed.


Venezuela’s Juan Guaido says police agents visited his home

Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, said that agents from a feared special police unit had called at his home, a sign of increasing pressure on the opposition leader trying to replace socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The police had asked for his wife, who was at home with their 20-month old daughter while he was out at an event, said Guaido.

"I will hold you responsible for any threat to my baby," Guaido said at the end of a public event in Caracas.


Two French police get seven years for rape of Canadian tourist

A French court sentenced two police officers to seven years in prison for the rape of a Canadian tourist at the Paris police headquarters.

The men, Nicolas Redouane, 49, and Antoine Quirin, 40, had denied raping 39-year-old Emily Spanton, saying the sex was consensual.

But the court was "convinced by the victim's steadfast statements" that she was raped and "by scientific and technical" evidence, its president Stephane Duchemin said.


Video shows two 'people of interest' in alleged assault against Empire actor

Chicago police are asking the public for help in locating two "people of interest" caught on surveillance footage just before the alleged assault against Jussie Smollett, a black, openly gay actor best known for his work in Fox's Empire.

Police released images showing two figures, both wearing what appear to be dark jackets, walking along a snowy street between 1.30am and 1.45am local time on Tuesday, nearby where Smollett, 35, alleged he was attacked less than an hour later.

Smollett reported that he was assaulted by two people carrying a noose and an unidentified "chemical substance" in what police are calling a "possible racially charged assault and battery."