While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 4

In a photo taken on Jan 24, 2020, passengers exit customs and screening areas as they arrive at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Coronavirus: US announces 5 new confirmed cases

The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention on Monday announced another five confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus from China, including a second case of transmission within the United States, as the country works to try to limit the outbreak.

"We expect to see more cases of person-to-person spread," Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Centre for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases, said during a conference call with reporters.

The new cases include one in Massachusetts and four more in California. Four of the five patients had recently travelled to Wuhan in central China, where the outbreak originated.

One of the patients in California was a close household contact of a person who was infected in China. It marked the second instance of person-to-person spread of the virus in the United States after such a case was announced last week in Illinois.


China seeks US flexibility on trade targets as coronavirus spreads

Chinese officials are hoping the US will agree to some flexibility on pledges in their phase one trade deal, people familiar with the situation said, as Beijing tries to contain a health crisis that threatens to slow domestic growth with repercussions around the world.

The agreement sealed Jan 15 is supposed to take effect in mid-February. It has a clause that states the US and China will consult "in the event that a natural disaster or other unforeseeable event" delays either from complying with the agreement.

It's unclear whether China has formally requested such a consultation yet, but the people familiar with the matter said the plan is to ask for it at some point.


Britain to introduce emergency law to prevent early release of convicted terrorists

Britain will introduce emergency legislation to prevent convicted terrorists automatically being released from prison half way through their sentence, justice minister Robert Buckland said on Monday.

On Sunday, an Islamist attacker stabbed two people in London days after he was set free half way through his prison term.

The government had already set out plans for tougher sentences for convicted terrorists after another former convict killed two people and wounded three near London Bridge in November.


Mona Lisa made of Rubik's Cubes goes on sale in Paris

An image of the Mona Lisa made of 330 Rubik's Cubes is going on sale in Paris, just down the road from Leonardo da Vinci's original.

The 2005 work by French urban artist Invader is expected to fetch up to 150,000 euros (S$227,000) at the modern art auction, organisers Artcurial said on Monday.

It uses the plastic puzzles' squares to create a mosaic of the Mona Lisa and her famous smile in garish colours.


Victoria's Secret faces new sexual misconduct allegations

New allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced at Victoria's Secret as the brand tries to remake its image after years of scandal and slumping sales.

Female models and executives were bullied and harassed for decades at the lingerie chain, evidence of an "entrenched culture of misogyny," according to a New York Times investigation published this weekend.

The revelations come days after reports that L Brands Inc, owner of the troubled retailer as well as Bath & Body Works, was in talks to break up the company and that longtime Chief Executive Officer Les Wexner could step down.


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