While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 13

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on Feb 12, 2020.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference on Feb 12, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

Coronavirus: Cases stablise, but outbreak could go any way, says WHO

The number of cases of infection with the new coronavirus in China has stabilised, but the apparent slowdown in the epidemic spread should be viewed with"extreme caution", the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

"This outbreak could still go in any direction," the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a briefing in Geneva.

At the end of a two-day meeting on science and innovation into measures to tackle the new viral outbreak, Tedros welcomed the "positive response of the research community" at short notice "to come up with concrete plans and commitment to work together".

He added that a WHO-led advance team that travelled to China earlier this week had made "good progress" on the composition and scope of its work.


Trump denies politically interfering in Roger Stone case with tweets

President Donald Trump denied meddling in his former associate Roger Stone's criminal prosecution, saying that tweets he issued about the case do not amount to political interference.

Four federal prosecutors resigned from the Stone case after the Justice Department reversed a recommendation for a seven-to-nine-year prison sentence for Stone.

He was convicted of lying to Congress and other charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.


Angela Merkel rival Friedrich Merz in bid to succeed her as German Chancellor

Friedrich Merz, a longtime rival of Angela Merkel within the ruling CDU party, is hoping to replace her as German chancellor, local media reported on Wednesday .

Merz, who wants to shift the centre-right party further to the right, is throwing his hat into the ring after Merkel's chosen successor, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, gave up her leadership ambitions on Monday in a deepening party crisis over ties between the centre and far right.

The next CDU leader will also be the party's candidate to become Chancellor at elections due by the end of 2021.


World's oldest man crowned in Japan aged 112

A 112-year-old Japanese man has been crowned the world's oldest male, claiming that smiling is the key to longevity.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, was officially given the title at his nursing home in the city, Guinness World Records said Wednesday.

The previous record holder, Masazo Nonaka, also Japanese, died last month at 112 years and 266 days.


World champion Hamilton says he feels he is on 'another level'

Lewis Hamilton has said he feels on another level ahead of the Formula One season as he attempts to equal Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven world championships.

Reigning title-holder Hamilton has spent much of the off-season in the United States but the 35-year-old British driver was back at headquarters of his Mercedes team in Northamptonshire, central England, on Wednesday.

"The feeling I have, both physically and mentally, is on another level compared to last year. That is a real positive," said Hamilton in an online message to his fans.