While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 7

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At least two dead, over 200 injured in Taiwan quake

A 6.4-magnitude quake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured, the government said, after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside.

A hotel and a residential block were the worst hit by the quake in the port city of Hualien, according to the national fire agency.

Five more buildings including a hospital had also been damaged, the agency added, with televison footage showing roads strewn with rubble, cracks along highways and damaged buildings tilted at angles.

The worst-hit Marshal Hotel partly crumpled into the ground, leaving it slanting on its side, as rescuers on cranes attempted to free people from its upper floors.


SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket towards Mars

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The world's most powerful rocket, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, blasted off on Tuesday on its highly anticipated maiden test flight, carrying chief executive Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster to an orbit near Mars.

Screams and cheers erupted at Cape Canaveral, Florida as the massive rocket fired its 27 engines and rumbled into the blue sky over the same Nasa launchpad that served as a base for the US missions to Moon four decades ago.

"Wow, did you guys see that? That was awesome," said SpaceX commentator Lauren Lyons as applause thundered through mission control.


Donald Trump calls for government shutdown to force immigration deal

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President Donald Trump said he would welcome another government shutdown if Democrats refuse to meet his demands for an immigration overhaul, just as lawmakers close in on a deal to avoid another halt in federal operations.

"If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown," Trump said to law enforcement officials who met with him at the White House to discuss MS-13, a predominantly Latino gang whose members include undocumented immigrants. "We'll do a shutdown, and it's worth it for our country. I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of."

US immigration law, Trump said, contains "loopholes where killers are allowed to come into this country and continue to kill."


US stocks close with solid gains after volatile session, Dow up 2.3%

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US stocks posted sharp gains in another wild trading session on Tuesday, as indexes rebounded from the biggest one-day drops for the S&P 500 and the Dow in more than six years that stalled the market's record run.

Stocks swung from negative to positive after indexes started the session 2 per cent lower, underscoring a return of volatility to a market that until recently was marked by an absence of major shifts.

The Dow had a more than 1,100-point difference between its high and low on Tuesday.


New Star Wars films on way from Game Of Thrones creators, Disney says

Disney on Tuesday announced another new series of Star Wars movies, this time from the creators of the hit HBO television series Game Of Thrones.

The Walt Disney Co said in a statement that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would write and produce the new series, which will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently announced trilogy being developed by director Rian Johnson. No release dates or plot details were given.

Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement that Benioff and Weiss' "command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting."


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