While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 11


Donald Trump calls for stronger US libel laws

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to rewrite US libel law, after an explosive book portrayed him as out of his depth in the White House.

“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws,” Trump said after a meeting of his Cabinet on his first year in office and plans for the year ahead.

Trump said the laws should be changed so that “when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts”. 

The 71-year-old president has been infuriated by the publication of Fire And Fury, an incendiary tell-all book by author Michael Wolff about the inner workings of the White House. Trump’s statements – in the context of a meeting with ministers about his agenda – are likely to raise concerns about curbs on free speech. 


US Democratic lawmakers urge wearing black to Trump speech

Several Democratic US congresswomen will wear black to President Donald Trump's upcoming State of the Union Address in solidarity with the "MeToo" movement opposing sexual harassment, a female lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Democrat Jackie Speier tweeted that she and other Democratic women in the House of Representatives were calling on lawmakers from both parties "to wear black to this year's #SOTU in solidarity w/ survivors of sexual harassment/violence in Hollywood, politics, the military, academia, etc."

Trump is scheduled to deliver his first State of the Union Speech on Jan 30 before a joint session of Congress, an opportunity for him to explain his priorities for the coming year.

Many A-list actresses dressed in black at the recent Golden Globes awards ceremony as a sartorial protest against sexual harassment.


Amsterdam to curb Airbnb rentals at 30 days a year

Amsterdam has announced it will impose a new 30-day curb on renting out private homes via websites like Airbnb from next year, seeking to stem a deluge of tourists flocking to its famous canals.

The current 60-day limit per year will now be halved "to stem the negative influence of holiday home rentals," the city council's executive said in a statement.

The Dutch capital is now flooded with 17 million tourists a year, attributed to the city's ease of access and a highly successful marketing campaign. Residents have complained of rowdy crowds of tourists and late-night disturbances.


Tennis: Serena Williams says motherhood may make her better player

Look out, women's tennis. Serena Williams isn't quite back on tour, but she says she wants more Grand Slam titles and may be an even better player after becoming a mother.

In an interview with Vogue magazine, Williams also recounts the harrowing medical ordeal she went through after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, on Sept 1.

Williams, 36, played an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi in late December but pulled out of this month's Australian Open, saying she was "super close" but not yet playing at the level needed to compete.


James Franco says misconduct allegations are 'not accurate', addresses Golden Globes controversy

What started as a lighthearted interview between Stephen Colbert and James Franco turned serious on CBS' The Late Show, as the actor denied accusations of misconduct that surfaced this week on social media.

After Franco appeared on Sunday night at the Golden Globe Awards, where he won best actor in a comedy for his role in The Disaster Artist, actress Ally Sheedy posted a series of tweets. "James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business," she wrote.

"OK, first of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy. I directed her in a play off-Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her. I have no idea why she was upset. She took the tweet down. I don't know. I can't speak for her. I don't know," Franco told Colbert.