While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 24

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WHO says 'bit too early' to declare Wuhan coronavirus a global emergency

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday it was "a bit too early" to declare a new coronavirus a global health emergency as China put millions of people on lockdown amid an outbreak that has killed 18 people and infected more than 630.

Health officials fear the transmission rate could accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Chinese New Year, which begins on Saturday.

"It is a bit too early to consider that this is a public health emergency of international concern," WHO Emergency Committee panel chairman Didier Houssin said in Geneva.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organisation's Emergency Committee of 16 independent experts had been divided in its conclusion. "Make no mistake, though, this is an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one," he said.


Sentosa hotel sanitises rooms where virus patient, companions stayed

All the rooms at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Hotel where Singapore's first Wuhan virus confirmed case and his travelling companions stayed in have been sanitised and sealed off.

Four staff members that came into contact with the infected patient have also been told to stay at home since Wednesday, the hotel said on Thursday night.

Shangri-La Group's executive vice-president of operations in South-east Asia and Australasia Josef Dolp said that all four are currently well and have so far not displayed any symptoms of the virus.


Palace denies Prince Charles snubbed US Vice-President Mike Pence

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Buckingham Palace dismissed suggestions that Prince Charles deliberately ignored US Vice-President Mike Pence at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday, saying the two had a "warm and friendly chat" before the event.

A video, which was circulating widely on social media, shows the prince chatting with various dignitaries at the ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre in Jerusalem.

Charles, 71, then approaches Pence, briefly looks at him, but moves on without shaking the US vice-president's hand and greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


US to limit visas for pregnant women to curb 'birth tourism'

The United States said on Thursday it would no longer issue temporary visitor visas to pregnant women seeking to enter the country for so-called "birth tourism."

In announcing the rule change, which takes effect on Friday, the White House said foreigners were using the visas "to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil."

"The integrity of American citizenship must be protected," it said in a statement.


Actress Annabella Sciorra on alleged Weinstein rape: 'I couldn't fight anymore'

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Actress Annabella Sciorra testified on Thursday (Jan 23) that Harvey Weinstein pinned her hands behind her head and violently raped her more than 25 years ago, becoming the first accuser to take the stand against the former Hollywood producer in his sexual assault trial.

"He had intercourse with me as I tried to fight, but I couldn't fight anymore because he had my hands locked," she told the New York jury of seven men and five women. Weinstein, sitting at the defence table, appeared mostly to be looking down.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann.


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