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


Trump cancels trip to Davos gathering as shutdown grinds on

President Donald Trump said he will scrap his trip to the Davos annual gathering of global financial elites later this month because of the government shutdown.

"Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland," Trump said in a tweet on Thursday (Jan 10).

The US delegation to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland is to include Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Secretary Robert Lighthizer, among other top administration officials.

The partial US government shutdown is in its 20th day, with no sign of an agreement.


In Cairo, Mike Pompeo blasts Obama's Middle East policies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday (Jan 10) accused Barack Obama of sowing chaos by abandoning the Middle East to Islamist militants and Iranian influence in a blistering critique of the former president's policies even as Pompeo's boss, President Donald Trump, moves to pull American troops out of Syria.

In a speech at the American University in Cairo, Pompeo dispensed with a US diplomatic tradition of avoiding public airing abroad of domestic disputes by blasting Obama at the site of a landmark 2009 speech by Trump's predecessor aimed at improving relations with the Islamic world.

Pompeo presented America as "a force for good in the Middle East" and suggested Obama saw the United States as "a force for what ails the Middle East."


After meeting Britain's May, Japan's Abe says world does not want no-deal Brexit

Japan's Shinzo Abe said on Thursday (Jan 10) that the world did not want to see a disorderly Brexit and that he fully supported British Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal from the European Union now facing defeat in parliament.

Some of Japan's leading companies in Britain have warned that a no-deal Brexit could be a disaster.

After meeting May in London, Abe said it was scenario no one wanted to see.


Duchess Meghan takes royal roles at British charities for women and animals

Meghan Markle, wife of Britain's Prince Harry, announced on Thursday (Jan 10) she would become patron of four organisations to champion causes close to her heart, including the National Theatre and charities supporting women and animal welfare.

Queen Elizabeth, 92, has passed on her patronages of the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, which she has held for decades, to Meghan, who married the queen's grandson last year.

Known as the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan will also become the patron of Smart Works, a charity helping long-term unemployed women, and animal welfare charity Mayhew.


Lady Gaga apologises for R. Kelly collaboration

Pop diva Lady Gaga apologised on Thursday for a 2013 musical collaboration with R&B star R. Kelly - who has been accused of having sex with children - and said she plans to pull the song from circulation.

"I'm sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner," she posted on Twitter.

"I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with him again," Lady Gaga wrote.