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


US suspending security aid to Pakistan

The US is suspending security assistance to Pakistan as the Trump administration escalates pressure on the government in Islamabad to prevent terrorist groups from finding safe harbour in the country.

The action announced on Thursday (Jan 4) is in addition to a decision disclosed earlier this week in which the National Security Council said the US will continue to withhold US$255 million (S$330 million) in military aid to Pakistan as the White House reviews that nation’s “level of cooperation” in fighting terrorism.

“This is something that should not come as a surprise to Pakistan,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Thursday. “They aren’t taking the steps that they need to take to fight terrorism.”

President Donald Trump foreshadowed the move in a New Year’s Day tweet in which he said the US has “foolishly” given more than US$33 billion in aid to the country and received only “lies and deceit” in return.


Mark Zuckerberg makes 'fixing' Facebook a personal goal

Known for annual personal goals ranging from killing his own food to learning Mandarin, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg's stated mission for this year is to "fix" the social network.

"The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do," Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook page.

His list of targets at the social network included abuse and hate; interference by nation states, and, making sure visiting Facebook was time well spent.


People are leaving dogs to freeze to death in the bitter cold

Police in the US charged a woman on Thursday with animal cruelty in connection with a grim scene reported by a neighbour on New Year's Day: A dog chained to a small shelter outside a home - and frozen solid.

The incident was one of several similar deaths reported in recent days as bitter cold grips the eastern United States, prompting animal rescue organisations and local authorities to issue warnings about giving pets shelter.

Several of the deaths occurred in Ohio. In Toledo, a dog was found frozen to death on a front porch. Three other frozen dogs were discovered over two days in Franklin County.


Dow ends above 25,000

The Dow industrials broke above the 25,000 level for the first time on Thursday and other major indexes hit closing record highs again, propelled by strong global economic data that extended the new year’s rally for the stock market.

The 30-member blue-chip index crossed five 1,000-point marks in 2017 on the back of US President Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda and solid corporate earnings.

It took less than a year for the Dow to add a 5,000-point milestone, which is the fastest since the index was created in May 1896.


Game Of Thrones won't return until 2019

In what is disappointing news for Game Of Thrones fans, HBO confirmed on Thursday that the show will not return for its eighth and final season until 2019.

Though shooting began in October and the final season will have only six episodes, compared to 10 in the first six seasons and seven last year, there had been indications that the fantasy epic wouldn't come back in 2018.

Actors and others who work on the show have suggested that Season 8's episodes - and thus the length of the shoot - will be the longest Game Of Thrones has ever had.