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


Trump, Democrats hold ‘contentious’ talks, fail to end shutdown

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders failed to strike a deal in sometimes combative talks on Friday to end a partial shutdown of the US government as they fought over Trump’s request for US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion) to fund his signature wall on the Mexican border, lawmakers said.

Administration officials, led by Vice-President Mike Pence, and congressional staffers are to meet during the weekend to try to end the impasse.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats had told Trump during a meeting in the White House Situation Room to end the shutdown, which began two weeks ago.

“He resisted,” Schumer said. “In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”


Democratic lawmaker makes profanity-laced vow to impeach Trump

A Democratic congresswoman kicked off her term with an expletive-laced vow to impeach US President Donald Trump, triggering Republican outrage and testing party discipline a day after Democrats regained the House.

As a clip of Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib's animated comments circulated widely on social media, Trump on Friday tartly dismissed the threat of impeachment, while the newly elected Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared loath to reign in the congresswoman's language.

Doubling down on her outburst, Tlaib - the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress, and one of the first two Muslim women voted into the chamber - tweeted on Friday: "I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe."


Jerome Powell pledges flexible Fed policy, won't quit if Trump asks him

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank can be patient as it assesses risks to a US economy and will adjust policy quickly if needed, but made clear he would not resign if President Donald Trump asked him to step aside.

"With the muted inflation readings that we've seen, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves," Powell said on Friday, on a panel with his predecessors Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke at the American Economic Association's annual meeting in Atlanta.

The Fed chairman, responding to a question about what he would do if Trump asked him to step down, said he would not resign.


Football: One year on, Coutinho struggling to justify record move to Barca

Barcelona shelled out a club record €160 million (S$250 million) to prise Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, yet one year on from his signing, the Brazilian is struggling to get a game while his former side are thriving in his absence.

Coutinho, the third most expensive player in the world behind Paris St Germain's Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, made a flying start to his Barcelona career with 10 goals in his first five months, giving the team a more direct outlet in midfield and an extra threat with his impressive long-range shooting.

But his impact has waned. He has failed to start any of the La Liga leaders' last three league games, falling behind Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal and French forward Ousmane Dembele in the pecking order.


Sex abuse claims against singer R. Kelly re-upped in new documentary

A six-hour documentary series airing this weekend has brought American R&B star R. Kelly back into the spotlight, revisiting accusations of criminal misconduct including having sex with several minors.

The Lifetime cable network show that premiered on Thursday and will broadcast subsequent episodes on Friday and Saturday sheds new light on charges against the artist, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.

The team behind "Surviving R. Kelly" held dozens of interviews filmed with members of the singer's inner circle.