While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 26

Workers make a North Korean and a US flag out of paper-flowers beside a street in Hanoi on Feb 25, 2019, ahead of the second US-North Korea summit.
Workers make a North Korean and a US flag out of paper-flowers beside a street in Hanoi on Feb 25, 2019, ahead of the second US-North Korea summit.PHOTO: AFP

Trump won’t rush North Korea on denuclearisation; peace deal possible

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un will hold a second summit this week with no real expectation of a final deal on ridding the North of nuclear weapons, but raised hopes on Monday (Feb 25) for an official peace on the peninsula at long last. 

The two leaders are due to meet in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Wednesday and Thursday, eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. 

At the time, Kim pledged to work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but the vague agreement has produced few concrete results.


Venezuela hit with new US sanctions after aid clashes

The United States targeted Venezuela’s government with new sanctions on Monday (Feb 25) and called on allies to freeze the assets of its state-owned oil company PDVSA after deadly violence blocked aid from reaching the crisis-hit country during the weekend. 

The United States also took its pressure campaign to the United Nations Security Council, asking that body to discuss the situation in Venezuela, diplomats said. 

The US Treasury Department’s sanctions were imposed on four Venezuelan state governors allied with the government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro, blocking any assets they control in the United States. 


EU calls Brexit delay ‘rational’ as Labour moots new referendum

The European Union opened the door Monday (Feb 25) to Britain postponing its exit from the bloc beyond the March 29 deadline, as the main opposition Labour Party said it could eventually support a second referendum. 

European Council President Donald Tusk said he had discussed the “legal and procedural context of a potential extension” when he met Sunday (Feb 24) with British Prime Minister Theresa May, on the sidelines of an EU-Arab summit in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. 

“I believe in the situation we are in, an extension would be a rational solution but Prime Minister May still believes she’s able to avoid this scenario,” Tusk told a closing summit press conference. 


Evidence for man-made global warming hits 'gold standard': Scientists

Evidence for man-made global warming has reached a "gold standard" level of certainty, adding pressure for cuts in greenhouse gases to limit rising temperatures, scientists said on Monday (Feb 25).

"Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals," the US-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years.

They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth's surface had reached a "five-sigma" level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming.


Singer R. Kelly pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges

Grammy-winning R&B star R. Kelly appeared in a Chicago courtroom on Monday (Feb 25) to plead not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted three teenage girls and a woman in alleged incidents dating back to 1998.

Kelly, who has faced years of sexual abuse allegations, turned himself in to authorities on Friday after he was charged, and was held on a US$1 million (S$1.3 million) bond at a bail hearing on Saturday.

The 52-year-old performer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, is charged under a 10-count indictment with sexually assaulting three teenagers, with each count carrying a maximum of 10 years in prison.