While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 24


Judge sets US$1 million bail for singer R. Kelly on sexual assault charges

Grammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly, who has faced years of sexual abuse allegations, was granted a US$1 million (S$1.3 million) bond on Saturday on charges that he sexually assaulted three teenagers and a woman, as prosecutors offered new details on the case.

In Cook County court, prosecutor Jennifer Gonzalez said Kelly met one of the teenaged victims during his trial on child pornography charges in 2008 when she sought his autograph after a day in court. Kelly was acquitted of those charges.

He met another victim at her 16th birthday party, Gonzalez said, and had sex with her at his recording studio. A third charge is based on a videotape that purportedly shows Kelly and a 14-year-old girl engaged in sexual acts.

The fourth victim was Kelly's hairdresser, according to prosecutors, who said Kelly tried to force her to have oral sex before ejaculating on her shirt. DNA testing linked the sample to Kelly, prosecutors said.


Fiery skirmishes erupt as opposition's Juan Guaido tries to bring Venezuela aid

Venezuelan security forces fought bitter battles along its borders on Saturday, clashing with opposition supporters trying to bring aid shipments meant to undermine President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

It is unclear how long this push will last. But Maduro appeared to keep the upper hand on Saturday, managing to avoid mass bloodshed, keeping the military loyal and blocking the aid.

Near a remote Brazil crossing, four people were reported killed amid clashes with government forces.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's train arrives in China: Reports

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's armoured train arrived in China late on Saturday ahead of his highly anticipated second summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam, according to media reports.

The train arrived in the border city of Dandong after 9pm local time, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency and the specialist outlet NK News, though it was not known whether Kim was on on board.

The train's crossing into China follows days of speculation over Kim's travel plans, which remain shrouded in secrecy, as his team gathered in Hanoi ahead of the talks expected next Wednesday and Thursday.


Star of Mexican film Roma prompts raw discussion of race, class

The Oscar-nominated film Roma, which chronicles the life of a young housekeeper in 1970s Mexico, has put an uneasy focus on the nation's sharp class, ethnic and racial divisions, leading to mixed reactions to the indigenous woman cast in the starring role.

Yalitza Aparicio, who is nominated in the Best Actress category in Sunday's Academy Awards, has appeared on the cover of Vogue, attracted over a million Instagram followers and been celebrated with a towering mural in her likeness over a humble district in Mexico City.

But reactions to Aparicio's leap to fame after her powerful portrayal of a young domestic worker for a middle-class family in Roma, which is directed by Alfonso Cuaron and nominated for 10 Oscars, have also exposed how deeply prejudice is ingrained.


Football: 'Decisive' Messi downs Sevilla with 50th career hat-trick

Lionel Messi scored his 50th career hat-trick to fire Barcelona to a 4-2 win at Sevilla on Saturday after the champions had twice fallen behind, giving the Catalans a 10-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Sevilla, who have only won once in the league in 2019, took the lead midway through the first half through veteran winger Jesus Navas but were soon pegged back by an unstoppable volley from Messi.

It was his 44th hat-trick for Barca, with 32 coming in La Liga, eight in the Champions League, three in the Copa del Rey and one in the Spanish Super Cup. He has also struck six trebles for Argentina.