While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 4

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Trump breaks with Bannon, says former aide has ‘lost his mind’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted former White House adviser Steve Bannon as having “lost his mind” in the fallout over damaging comments Bannon made about Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, in excerpts of a new book.

Trump, who had continued to speak privately with Bannon in the months after firing him as the White House chief strategist last August, essentially cut ties with Bannon - at least for now - in a blistering statement issued after Bannon’s comments about Don Jr came to light.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said in a statement.

In excerpts of the forthcoming book, Bannon called a June 2016 meeting with a group of Russians at Trump Tower in New York arranged by the President’s son and attended by top Trump campaign officials “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.

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Study shows how alcohol may cause cancer

Alcohol damages the DNA of stem cells responsible for producing new blood, according to a mouse study which may explain the link between drinking and cancer, scientists said on Wednesday.

Health watchdogs have long warned that alcohol consumption contributes to seven types of cancer - of the mouth, throat, larynx or voice box, oesophagus or food pipe, breast, liver and bowel. What was not well understood was: how?

For the new study, published in the science journal Nature, researchers gave lab mice diluted alcohol, known chemically as ethanol. They then used chromosome and DNA analysis to examine genetic damage caused by acetaldehyde, a chemical produced when the body processes alcohol.

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Firefighters respond to fire at Clintons' home

Firefighters were called to put out a fire Wednesday at the Chappaqua, New York, home of former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, police said.

There were no known injuries caused by the blaze at 15 Old House Lane, said Sergeant Arthur Mendoza of the New Castle Police Department, adding that he could not immediately provide more details.

The local Journal News, citing radio transmissions from the emergency services, said the fire was reported at 2.50pm in a bedroom and that it was quickly extinguished. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire or whether the Clintons were home at the time.

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Violent crime rises in Germany and is attributed to refugees

Young male refugees in Germany got the blame on Wednesday for most of a two-year increase in violent crime, adding fuel to the country's political debate over migrants.

Violent crime rose by about 10 per cent in 2015 and 2016, a study showed. It attributed more than 90 per cent of that to young male refugees.

It noted, however, that migrants settling from war-torn countries such as Syria were much less likely to commit violent crimes that those from other places who were unlikely to be given asylum.

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Tennis: Thiem only seed left standing at Qatar Open

World number five Dominic Thiem eased through to the quarter finals of the Qatar Open on Wednesday to become the only seeded player left in the tournament after the first two rounds saw the seven other highest-ranked players eliminated.

Four seeds crashed out in the first round and a further three lost in the second, ensuring that the Doha tournament will have its first non-seeded finalist since Gael Monfils in 2014.

French veteran Richard Gasquet and Spain’s Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez – seeded five, seven and eight – lost on Wednesday as the surprises continued in Doha.

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