While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 26 edition

Saudi Arabia presents plan to move beyond oil

Saudi Arabia outlined ambitious plans on Monday (Jan 25) to move into industries ranging from information technology to healthcare and tourism, as it sought to convince international investors it can cope with an era of cheap oil.

A meeting and presentation at a luxury Riyadh hotel was held against a backdrop of low oil prices pressuring the kingdom's currency and saddling it with an annual state budget deficit of almost US$100 billion (S$142.95 billion) - the biggest economic challenge for Riyadh in well over a decade.

Top Saudi officials said they would reduce the kingdom's dependence on oil and public sector employment. Growth and job creation would shift to the private sector, with state spending helping to jump-start industries in the initial stage.


Vietnam's progressive PM Nguyen Tan Dung set for political exit after party vote

Vietnam's Prime Minister looked set to make a political exit on Monday after the Communist Party congress accepted his withdrawal from an internal election, sources said, ruling him out of a bid for the party leadership.

Speculation has been rife in Vietnam that Premier Nguyen Tan Dung's nomination for the party's central committee on Sunday signalled he was manoeuvring to challenge the politburo's agreed candidate for party chief, the incumbent Nguyen Phu Trong.

By not running for the committee, he effectively ruled out a power bid because he would need to be a committee member to be elected to its ruling politburo and rise to the top post.


Tennis: Doubles partners at Australian Open interviewed over match-fixing report

Two players at the Australian Open said on Monday they had been interviewed by officials over reports their opponents may have deliberately lost their first round mixed-doubles fixture, fuelling fresh fears of match-fixing in tennis.

The remarks by Lukasz Kubot and Andrea Hlavackova came after the New York Times reported an online bookmaker had suspended gambling on the lowly match because of unusual betting patterns.

All players involved in the match rejected the claims of a fix.


Athletics: IAAF battles to keep sponsors amid Adidas defection report

The IAAF on Monday acknowledged a battle to convince sponsors that it is confronting doping and corruption scandals amidst reports it has already lost Adidas as a backer.

The BBC said that the German sportswear giant is to end its multi-million dollar backing of the governing body four years early because of the doping scandal that has hit track and field.

Contacted on Monday, an Adidas spokesman neither confirmed nor denied the BBC report but stressed that the company was "opposed to doping in any form".


Beach Boys' Brian Wilson plans final tour for his legendary Pet Sounds album

The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson has announced what he says will be a final tour of Pet Sounds, often called one of the most influential pop albums ever.

Wilson said on Monday he planned more than 70 shows to mark this year's 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds, starting on March 26 in Auckland, New Zealand.

The 73-year-old rocker said in a statement that the tour would mark the last time he plays Pet Sounds in its entirety, which he will do at each show.