While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 15

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Becoming bolder, Trump defends right to interfere in criminal cases

US President Donald Trump on Friday said he has "the legal right" to interfere in criminal cases, capping a tumultuous week that raised questions about whether he is eroding the independence of the US legal system.

Trump's criticism of the judge, jury and prosecutors in the criminal case of his longtime adviser Roger Stone prompted an unusual rebuke from Attorney-General William Barr, his top law enforcement official and has spurred new demands for investigation from the Democrats who unsuccessfully tried to remove the Republican president from office.

It is the latest in a string of aggressive actions by Trump since the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of impeachment charges last week.

Trump has transferred or fired government officials who testified about his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a potential political rival in November's presidential election.


WHO says joint China mission to start coronavirus investigations this weekend

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A World Health Organisation-led mission to China will start its outbreak investigation this weekend and will focus on how the new coronavirus is spreading and the severity of the disease, the WHO's director-general said on Friday.

The joint team, composed of 12 international members and their 12 Chinese counterparts, will seek more details on how, where and when the more than 1,700 health workers infected so far contracted the new virus, WHO officials said.

"We expect the full team to touch down over the weekend," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told reporters in Geneva.


Fifteen children killed in Haiti orphanage fire

Fire swept through an unlicensed orphanage outside Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince, killing 15 children, a judge told AFP on Friday.

The building - which had not been authorised to operate as an orphanage since 2013 - housed about 66 children, said magistrate Raymonde Jean Antoine.

Two children died in the blaze and 13 others died at a hospital as a result of smoke inhalation, said Judge Antoine.


Nancy Pelosi agrees with Trump on threat posed by China's Huawei

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed President Donald Trump's assessment of the threat posed by countries using Huawei Technologies equipment to build 5G networks, a rare moment of bipartisan agreement after the bitter fight over impeachment.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Pelosi warned European allies that it would be dangerous to allow a company with connections to the Chinese government to build global information networks, echoing some of the points the administration has been trying to drive home with American partners.

"Nations cannot cede telecommunications infrastructure to China for financial expediency," Pelosi said. Speaking about Chinese President Xi Jinping, she said such an "ill-conceived concession will only embolden Xi as he undermines democratic values, human rights, economic independence and national security."


Football: Guardiola's future in doubt after Man City hit with Uefa ban

Pep Guardiola faces a huge test of his loyalty to Manchester City after his club were hit with a stunning two-year suspension from Uefa competitions on Friday.

City have been banned from the Champions League and Europa League for the next two seasons and fined €30 million (S$45 million) after Uefa found them guilty of committing "serious breaches" of financial regulations.

The Premier League champions overstated sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016, according to European football's governing body.


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