While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 22

The Statue of Liberty is pictured from Liberty State Park on Jan 21, 2018 in Jersey City, New Jersey. PHOTO: AFP

Statue of Liberty to reopen; shutdown keeps other parks, monuments closed

The Statue of Liberty will reopen on Monday (Jan 22) even if the US government shutdown extends into the work week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday (Jan 21), vowing to use state funds to keep the landmark monument in operation.

Dozens of other national parks and monuments were expected to remain partially or entirely closed after Congress failed to agree on a spending plan to keep the government running past a Friday midnight deadline.

In the hours leading up to the shutdown, the Trump administration worked on ways to keep hundreds of parks open without staff in an effort to avoid public anger, although it was unclear which ones would close.


German SPD votes to pursue coalition talks with Merkel

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) voted on Sunday (Jan 21) to begin formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, moving Europe's economic powerhouse one step closer to a stable government after months of political deadlock.

SPD delegates voted by 362 to 279, with one abstention, to press ahead with negotiations. The centre-left party's leaders had agreed a preliminary coalition blueprint with Merkel's conservative bloc earlier this month.

A recount was held after an initial show of hands was too close for the SPD official in charge of the count to call.


World Economic Forum President Borge Brende on key themes at Davos

Ahead of the opening of this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting, ST editor-in-chief Warren Fernandez spoke with WEF President Borge Brende to get his take on the big themes that are likely to feature in the week-long conference.

WF: Why did WEF frame this year's conference on the theme of a "share future in a fractured world"?

Brende: We are facing many common challenges globally, but we are currently not always seeing the necessary cooperation to deal with these. We are seeing increased geopolitical competition. We are seeing a global economy that is again growing quite substantially, and we believe that this is the time to make globalisation more equitable, more inclusive, more sustainable.


France drops bid to host 2025 World Expo

France has dropped its bid to host the 2025 World Expo in Paris, authorities said on Sunday (Jan 21), confirming a report in French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD).

JDD reported that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had written a letter to the organising committee to say that the bid would be dropped because of budget reasons.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed the decision in an interview with BFM TV.


Football: Pellegrino happier than compatriot Pochettino with draw

Southampton's Mauricio Pellegrino was the happier of the Premier League's two Argentine managers even though Sunday's 1-1 draw against Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur left his team in the relegation places.

Southampton had dropped to 18th position for the first time this season when Stoke City moved above them on Saturday (Jan 20).

Although one point from Sunday's game was not enough to move them any higher, Pellegrino believes it was another improved performance of the type they have shown since losing 5-2 to Spurs a month ago.


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