While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 23

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (right) said he had come to an arrangement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to keep the government open for the next few weeks. PHOTO: REUTERS

US senators strike deal to end 3-day government shutdown

US senators struck a deal on Monday (Jan 22) to lift a three-day government shutdown and try to end a fight between Democrats and President Donald Trump's Republicans over immigration and border security.

Legislation to renew federal funding to the government cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate and was expected soon to pass votes in the Senate and House of Representatives, allowing government to re-open through Feb 8.

Tens of thousands of federal workers had begun closing down operations for lack of funding on Monday, the first weekday since the shutdown, but essential services such as security and defense operations had continued.


Belgium lowers threat level, deeming attacks less likely

Belgium lowered its national threat level on Monday (Jan 22), saying Islamic State's defeats in Iraq and Syria meant an attack was less likely almost two years after bombings killed 32 people in Brussels.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said the country had reduced the threat level to two from three on a four-tier scale. The move indicates the threat has fallen to "medium" from "serious", meaning an attack is now considered unlikely, rather than probable.

"But level two after the attacks is not the same as level two was before the attacks," Prime Minister Charles Michel told a news conference.


Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan urges Davos set to fight sexism

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Monday (Jan 22) urged the economic elite to break down barriers of discrimination against women as they gathered for the Davos forum.

The 52-year-old star of Indian blockbuster movies such as Chennai Express and My Name is Khan appeared at a celebrity gala ahead of the official start on Tuesday (Jan 23) of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

He received an award for his charitable work for victims of acid attacks.


Facebook acknowledges social media's risks to democracy

Facebook acknowledged Monday (Jan 22) that widespread use of social media can be harmful to democracy, while pledging to work to minimise these risks.

The world's biggest social network's comments were the latest response to persistent criticism for its role in allowing the spread of misinformation, reinforcing "filter bubbles" and facilitating harassment of dissidents and activists.

"Now, we're as determined as ever to fight the negative influences and ensure that our platform is unquestionably a source for democratic good," said Katie Harbath, Facebook's head of global politics and government outreach, in a statement.


Football: Alexis Sanchez signs for Manchester United

Manchester United on Monday (Jan 22) confirmed the signing of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading in the opposite direction.

"I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world," said 29-year-old Chile international forward Sanchez.

"I have spent three-and-a-half wonderful years at Arsenal and I bring with me very positive memories of that great club and its fans.


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