While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 6 edition

James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan 5, 2017.
James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan 5, 2017.PHOTO: NYTIMES

US spy chiefs see ‘multi-faceted’ Russian bid to disrupt election

US spy chiefs said Thursday (Jan 5) that the hacking of Democratic Party computers was just one part of a multi-faceted campaign by Russia to disrupt the American presidential election.

In a closely-watched Senate hearing, top intelligence officials presented a united front as they reiterated their conclusion that Moscow interfered with last year’s campaign and that its cyber-meddling poses a “major threat” to the United States – findings that President-elect Donald Trump has so far refused to accept.

“This was a multi-faceted campaign. So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate hearing.

While Trump continues to question the evidence of Russian meddling, Clapper, National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers and Marcel Lettre, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, told the committee they are convinced that Moscow is aggressively targeting the United States in offensive cyberspace activities.


Suspected Kurdish militants kill two in car bombing in Turkey’s Izmir

Cars burn after explosion while police try to help injured people near courthouse in Izmir, Turkey, on Jan 5, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

Suspected Kurdish militants clashed with police and detonated a car bomb in western Turkey on Thursday (Jan 5) after their vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint, killing a police officer and a court employee, officials said.

The explosion and gunfire outside the main courthouse in Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, highlighted the country’s deteriorating security after a gunman killed 39 people in a New Year’s Day mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub.

“Based on the preparation, the weapons, the bombs and ammunition seized, it is understood that a big atrocity was being planned,” Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak told reporters.


Donald Trump: Toyota faces big tax if it builds Corolla cars for US in Mexico

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stand outside a Toyota car dealer before a campaign event on Oct 15, 2016 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. PHOTO: AFP

US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday (Jan 5) targeted Toyota Motor Corp, threatening to impose a hefty fee on the Japanese automaker it if builds its Corolla cars for the US market at a plant in Mexico.

"Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax," Trump said in a post on Twitter.

Toyota, which announced its plan to build the Mexican facility in April 2015, had no immediate comment.


Unlucky polar bears beset by toxins too

A polar bear walks on the frozen tundra on the edge of Hudson Bay, waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze-over, outside Churchill, Mantioba, Canada. PHOTO: AFP

Polar bears just can't catch a break.

Already struggling to cope with climate change, the giant Arctic carnivores also face a chemical poisoning risk 100 times above levels considered safe for adult bears, according to a study released Thursday (Jan 5).

For bear cubs feeding on contaminated milk, that risk is 1,000-fold greater, researchers reported in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.


Tennis: Djokovic and Murray through in Doha as oldies bow out

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, during the ATP Qatar Open tennis competition in Doha on Jan 2, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Ageless Czech Radek Stepanek’s run at the Qatar Open was ended by defending champion Novak Djokovic on Thursday (Jan 5) and fellow veteran Ivo Karlovic also bowed out at the quarter-final stage.

World number one Andy Murray, bidding for a third Doha title, joined Djokovic in the semi-final with a hard-earned victory over Spain’s Nicolas Almagro, his 27th consecutive win.

Stepanek, at 38 the oldest player to reach an ATP quarter-final since Jimmy Connors in 1995, was no match for a clinical Djokovic, who made light of the breezy conditions with a straightforward 6-3 6-3 victory.