While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 14

US President Donald Trump again defended his decision to kill Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike, on Jan 13, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

Killing Soleimani 'legitimate,' Trump had authority: US attorney-general Barr

US President Donald Trump clearly had authority to kill Qassem Soleimani, US Attorney General William Barr said on Monday, adding that the White House consulted with his department before the strike on the Iranian commander.

Barr told reporters that Soleimani was a "legitimate military target" and the strike was a "legitimate act of self-defence."

Since the Jan 3 strike that killed Soleimani, critics have questioned the Trump administration's assertion that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack against the United States, the timing of the strike, coordination within the administration and Trump's decision not to notify Congress, which holds the power to declare war, of his plans.

Earlier on Monday, Trump brushed aside many concerns, in a tweet saying it "doesn't really matter" if a threat was impending.


Queen Elizabeth agrees Prince Harry and Meghan can exit senior royal roles

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has reluctantly agreed to her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's wish for a more independent future after the British royal family held crisis talks on Monday to resolve a widening rift among the Windsors.

Harry and his American actress wife will now begin a "period of transition" that will see them split their time between Britain and Canada as they also seek a lifestyle less encumbered by royal duties and to end their reliance on public funding.

It comes after what the 93-year-old queen described as "very constructive discussions" between herself, Harry, his elder brother Prince William and his father and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, at the monarch's rural Sandringham estate in eastern England.


Democrat Cory Booker drops out of 2020 US presidential race

US Senator Cory Booker, an African-American candidate who had bemoaned the increasing lack of diversity in the Democratic presidential field, ended his White House campaign on Monday, saying he lacked the money to extend his bid.

His departure from the race came one day before the latest Democratic presidential debate in Iowa, where six candidates, all white, have qualified for the stage.

Only one black candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, remains in what had once been the most diverse field of presidential contenders in history.


US to de-list China as currency manipulator

The United States on Monday will formally retract its accusation that China manipulates its currency to gain unfair trade advantages, according to a media report.

The news emerges two days before Beijing and Washington are due to sign a partial trade deal, marking an end to nearly two years of trade conflict.

It would also undo the major escalation from August by US President Donald Trump, who made good on a campaign pledge to brand Beijing a currency manipulator.


Joker aces Oscar 2020 nominations but The Farewell is shown the door

Joker, the movie based on the comic-book villain, bagged 11 Oscar nominations on Monday, the most that any film garnered.

While the origin story of the anti-hero was expected to do well at the roll call, few expected a haul of this size.

It gained nods in the predicted categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Director for Todd Phillips, but also made its mark in other categories, such as in Cinematography, Original Score and Film Editing.


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