While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 12


Trump stops short of emergency declaration in border wall fight

President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not declare a national emergency "right now" to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the US government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in US history.

The dispute has disrupted everything from air travel to tax collection and suspended pay for 800,000 government workers.

Trump's announcement came amid increased speculation that he would circumvent Congress to begin construction of his signature wall along the US-Mexico border - a move that would be sure to draw a court challenge from Democrats who say the barrier would be barbaric and ineffective.

Instead, the president urged lawmakers to provide him the US$5.7 billion (S$7.6 billion) he is seeking for border security.


Saudi asylum seeker Rahaf granted asylum in Canada

An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family saying she feared for her life has been granted asylum in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, as Thai officials confirmed the teen was en route to Toronto.

Trudeau told reporters that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had asked Canada to take in Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who grabbed international attention this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse.

"Canada is a country that understands how important it is to stand up for human rights, to stand up for women's rights around the world, and I can confirm that we have accepted the UN's request," he said.


Man, 21, charged after teen escapes three-month kidnapping ordeal

Police in Wisconsin on Friday charged a 21-year-old unemployed man with kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and murdering her parents, the morning after she escaped three months of captivity and was found by a woman walking her dog.

The teenager, missing since her parents were found shot dead in their home in October, was discovered dirty and malnourished in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 100km north of her hometown of Barron.

Her escape ended an 88-day-mystery over her disappearance that galvanised about 1,500 people - close to half the population of her hometown of 3,400 - to join in searches.


Trump touts plan to change H-1B visa programme for skilled foreign workers

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he plans changes to the H-1B programme that grants temporary visas for specialty occupations such as technology or medicine, but his administration said later he was referring to changes that were proposed last year.

"H1-B (sic) holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship," Trump said on Twitter.

"We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the US."


'I am well aware of who and what he is': R Kelly's daughter speaks out

R. Kelly's estranged daughter has spoken out about allegations against her father for the first time since an explosive documentary about the R&B singer aired on Lifetime.

Joann Kelly, who goes by Buku Abi, posted a long statement on her Instagram story: "I pray for all the families & women who have been affected by my father's actions. Trust, I have been deeply affected by all of this. However, it has been very difficult to process it all. Let alone gather all the right words to express everything I feel."

Kelly has been under a fresh round of intense scrutiny in the past week, following the airing of Surviving R. Kelly, which takes a sweeping look at allegations of sexual misconduct against the singer.