While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 16


US and China sign Phase One of trade deal

President Donald Trump signed a trade agreement on Wednesday with China that is expected to boost exports from US farmers and manufacturers and is aimed at lowering tensions in a long-running dispute between the economic powers.

Trump said during a White House ceremony that the deal is "righting the wrongs of the past."

He promoted the signing as a way of delivering economic justice for American workers and said, "We mark a sea change in international trade" with the signing.

The agreement is being described as "Phase One" of a larger negotiation focusing on other tensions in the US-China trade relationship.


US House votes to send Trump impeachment charges to Senate for trial

The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to send two formal charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate, clearing the way for only the third impeachment trial of a US president to begin in earnest next week.

Lawmakers voted 228 to 193 to give the Senate, controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, the task of putting him on trial on charges of abuse of power for asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and of obstruction of Congress for blocking testimony and documents sought by Democratic lawmakers.

The vote, which also approved a team of seven Democratic lawmakers named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve as prosecutors in the trial, was largely along party lines.


Putin unveils shake-up that could extend his influence as Cabinet quits

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes on Wednesday that would give him leeway to extend his grip on power after leaving the presidency, and picked a new prime minister after Dmitry Medvedev and his Cabinet resigned.

The dramatic moves were widely seen as preparing the ground for 2024, when Putin, now 67, is constitutionally obliged to leave the presidency after occupying the Kremlin or the prime minister's job continuously since 1999.

In a surprise development, Putin said he wanted Mikhail Mishustin, head of the tax service, to be the next prime minister. Mishustin, whose candidacy will be examined by parliament on Thursday, has a relatively low profile and had not been spoken of as a possible candidate.


Flying metal from Spanish factory blast may have killed man 2km away

A flying plate of metal may have killed a man some 2km away from the site of a huge chemical plant explosion in northeastern Spain when it was hurled out by the blast and crashed into his apartment building, local authorities said on Wednesday.

The explosion in Tarragona on Tuesday also killed a worker at the plant and injured eight others, the local authorities said.

A large metal plate is believed to have been propelled into the third floor of an apartment block 2km away by the explosion, collapsing its floor and killing a man in the apartment below, the Tarragona authorities said in a statement.


Girl buried under Pakistan avalanche for 18 hours is found alive

A 12-year-old girl was found alive on Wednesday after being buried for 18 hours when an avalanche in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir engulfed the family house.

Samina Bibi recalled screaming and shouting for help as she lay trapped in a room under the snow.

"I thought I would die there," she told Reuters from a hospital bed in Muzaffarabad, where she and dozens of other injured people were receiving treatment after being airlifted out of the avalanche area.