While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 23

Donald Trump meets Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and trade talk representatives in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump meets Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and trade talk representatives in the Oval Office.PHOTO: AFP

Trump, Xi may meet in March to iron out US-China trade deal

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he expects to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping sometime in March to work out the final points of a trade deal, and continues to be open to extending the March 1 tariff hike deadline.

The latest round of US-Chinese trade talks in Washington were originally scheduled to wrap up on Friday, but have gone so well that the Chinese trade delegation has extended its trip, said Mr Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin according to pool reports.

The Chinese negotiators will continue meetings with their US counterparts through the weekend, and will now depart Washington on Sunday night or Monday instead.

"Ultimately, I think the biggest decisions and some even smaller decisions will be made by President Xi and myself. And we expect to have a meeting some point in the not too distant future and I can only say talks are going along well, but we're going to have to see what happens," Mr Trump told reporters at the Oval Office before his meeting with the Chinese trade delegation, led by Chinese vice premier Liu He.

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Trump: Decreasing troops in South Korea not on table for North Korea talks

President Donald Trump on Friday ruled out reducing US forces from South Korea as part of a deal in his upcoming summit with North Korea..

"No, it's not. That is not one of the things on the table," Trump said when asked if he would consider pulling some of the 28,500 troops from South Korea.

Trump, answering questions as he met at the White House with a senior Chinese official, said that he would not reveal his bargaining cards ahead of next week's summit in Hanoi.

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Singer R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sex abuse

R&B superstar R. Kelly was charged on Friday in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse, some involving minors.

The bombshell indictments marked a major shift in the Kelly saga, which has seen the 52-year-old for decades accused of child pornography, sex with minors, operating a sex cult and sexual battery.

Nine of the new charges against Kelly concern minors ages 13 to 16, a Cook County court official told AFP, without specifying the number of victims involved.

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Actor Jussie Smollett's character cut from Empire episodes after arrest

Actor Jussie Smollett's character is being removed from the final two episodes of Fox's hip-hop drama Empire after he was arrested and accused of staging a hoax hate crime attack on himself, show officials said on Friday.

The move came a day after the 36-year-old was charged with lying to Chicago police about the allegedly staged incident, in which he said two masked men beat him and slung a noose around his neck while yelling racist and homophobic abuse.

Smollett faces up to three years in prison if convicted in the case, which fuelled political divisions that have roiled the United States since Donald Trump's 2016 election.

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Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld cremated: Report

Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld was cremated in France on Friday, fulfilling his last wishes following his death this week at the age of 85, the magazine Closer said.

The German designer who had quipped "I'd rather die" than be buried was cremated in Nanterre, west of Paris, in the presence of Virginie Viard, who succeeds him as creative director at Chanel, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury group LVMH, Closer said on its Internet site.

A spokeswoman for the Lagerfeld fashion house had told AFP only that "his wishes will be respected".

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