While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 25

Trump speaks after competing measures to end the partial US government shutdown fell short in the Senate.
Trump speaks after competing measures to end the partial US government shutdown fell short in the Senate.PHOTO: REUTERS

Bills to re-open government fail in US Senate, temporary solution eyed

Two measures to end the partial US government shutdown - one backed by Republicans and one by Democrats - fell short in the Senate as lawmakers explored other potential compromises to end a month-long impasse with the White House.

A Bill backed by Republican President Donald Trump to end the shutdown by funding the wall he wants to build on the US-Mexico border and a separate Bill supported by Democrats to re-open shuttered agencies without such funding did not get the votes required to advance in the 100-member chamber.

Several Republican senators voted with Democrats on their measure to temporarily re-open government agencies without money for Trump's wall. They included freshman Senator Mitt Romney, his party's 2012 presidential nominee.

But in the hours before the votes, signs emerged that lawmakers may consider new ideas for ending the 34-day shutdown, which was triggered by Trump's demand for money to fund his long-promised wall.


George Soros calls China's Xi Jinping 'most dangerous' foe of free societies

MBillionaire investor George Soros said Chinese President Xi Jinping was "the most dangerous enemy" of free societies for presiding over a high-tech surveillance regime.

"China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced," he said, noting concerns too about Vladimir Putin's Russia.

"This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent of open societies," Soros told a dinner audience on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen subpoenaed to testify in Senate: Media

President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was subpoenaed to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Russia investigation, one day after he postponed a House appearance saying he had been threatened by Trump.

Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis gave no date, but according to reports the committee wants him to appear in early February. It was not clear if the testimony will be public or behind closed doors.

On Wednesday, Davis announced that Cohen was putting off voluntary testimony before the House Oversight Committee scheduled for Feb 7, alleging that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani had threatened Cohen and his family.


Former Scottish leader Alex Salmond charged with attempted rape

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, a figurehead of Scotland's independence movement, denied committing any crimes after he appeared in court charged with multiple sex offences including two counts of attempted rape.

Scottish prosecutors said Salmond, 64, had also been charged with nine counts of sexual assault, two counts of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace.

"I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever," Salmond, widely credited with helping push support for secession to record levels, told reporters outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court following a five-minute hearing which media and public were not allowed to attend.


Football: British rescuers end search for missing plane carrying Cardiff's Sala

Rescuers ended their search for the plane carrying Premier League soccer player Emiliano Sala, which disappeared over the English Channel three days ago, after saying there was little chance anyone aboard had survived.

Sala, Cardiff City's new signing, and the plane's pilot, David Ibbotson, have been missing since Monday night.

Rescuers have scoured over 4,000 sq km but have found no trace of the aircraft or those on board.