While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 21

VIDEO: REUTERS

Several dead as gunmen attack top Kabul hotel, take hostages

Gunmen attacked Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday, seizing hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces as the building in the Afghan capital caught fire and residents and staff fled.

Hotel manager Ahmad Haris Nayab, who escaped unhurt, said the attackers had got into the main part of the hotel through a kitchen and people tried to get out amid bursts of gunfire.

Several people had been killed and at least six wounded in the raid, which came days after a US embassy warning of possible attacks on hotels in Kabul, Nasrat Rahimi, an interior ministry spokesman, said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest in a long series of attacks which underlined the city’s precarious situation and the ability of militants to strike blows to undermine confidence in the Western-backed government.

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Women’s March draws thousands as Trump term enters second year

Thousands of protesters turned out across the nation for the second Women’s March on Saturday, marking the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration with rallies aimed at channeling female activism into political gains in elections this year.

The coordinated rallies in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and about 250 other cities are a reprise of the mass protests that marked the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Sister rallies were also planned in Britain, Japan and other countries.

The rallies also come during what has been seen as a pivotal year for women’s rights with the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media effort against sexual harassment and abuse that was born out of a string of scandals in Hollywood, Washington and elsewhere.

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Donald Trump tells Democrats no immigration talk until US government reopens

President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers took a tough stance on Saturday after the US Congress failed to fund federal agencies, saying they would not negotiate on immigration until Democrats help end the government shutdown.

Funding for federal agencies ran out at midnight with no agreement in Congress, meaning the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency began without a fully functioning government. Lawmakers failed to resolve an impasse over Democrats’ demands to include certain measures, including protections for young undocumented immigrants, in any short-term spending legislation.

US government workers were told to stay home or, in some cases, work without pay until new funding is approved in the first federal government shutdown since a 16-day funding lapse in October 2013.

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Football: Aguero treble gets Man City back on track as United eye Sanchez

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as Manchester City restored their 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.

City’s 30-match unbeaten run in the league came to a dramatic end with a 4-3 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield last week and their advantage at the top of the table was cut to single figures, for a few hours at least, when second-placed Manchester United beat Burnley 1-0 earlier on Saturday.

But normal service for Pep Guardiola’s men resumed in Saturday’s late kick-off, with Aguero glancing in Kevin De Bruyne’s cross in the 34th minute to open the scoring at the Etihad.

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Ed Sheeran announces engagement

Ed Sheeran has become engaged to his girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, the British singer-songwriter announced on Saturday.

"Got myself a fiance just before new year. We are very happy and in love, and our cats are chuffed as well," he told his 18 million followers on Instagram.

Sheeran, 26, is one of the best-selling artists in the world and his latest album Divide smashed Spotify records, drawing 57 million listens on the first day of its release - nearly twice the previous highest. Sheeran and Seaborn, who are childhood friends, have reportedly been dating since 2015.

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