While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 7

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the family of the top commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by an air strike in Baghdad, at his home in Teheran, on Jan 4, 2020.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the family of the top commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by an air strike in Baghdad, at his home in Teheran, on Jan 4, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

'Never threaten Iran,' Iranian President Rouhani tells Trump

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday warned his American counterpart Donald Trump to "never threaten the Iranian nation", after he issued a US strike list of 52 targets in the Islamic republic.

"Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655 Never threaten the Iranian nation," he tweeted, referring to 290 lives lost in July 1988 when a US warship shot down passenger plane Iran Air 655 in the Gulf.

Trump warned Saturday that Washington had lined up 52 targets in Iran if it attacked American personnel or assets in retaliation for a US drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran's top commander Qassem Soleimani.

He said 52 represented the number of Americans held hostage at the US embassy in Teheran for more than a year starting in late 1979.


Bolton says willing to testify in Trump impeachment trial

John Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said Monday that he was willing to testify at US President Donald Trump's impeachment trial if he was subpoenaed.

"I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify," Bolton said in a statement on his website.

The development is a dramatic turn in the impeachment proceeding, which has been stalled over Democrats' insistence on hearing from critical witnesses Trump blocked from testifying in the House inquiry into his pressure campaign on Ukraine.


Race starts to replace UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Britain's Labour Party on Monday began the formal contest to replace its leader, with centrists set to battle left-wingers in a fight for its ideological soul.

Veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn announced he would step down following last month's crushing defeat to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives.

Nominations open on Tuesday and close in a week. Voting will take place from February 21 to April 2, with the winner announced two days later.


US military tells Iraq it is preparing to 'move out': Official letter

The US military informed its counterparts in Baghdad on Monday it was preparing for “movement out of Iraq,” a day after the Iraqi parliament urged the government oust foreign troops.

The head of the US military’s Task Force Iraq, Brigadier General William Seely, sent a letter to the head of Iraq’s joint operations command, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

The letter said forces from the US-led coalition in Iraq would “be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement”.


The new IoT, or 'intelligence of things', is the major tech trend of the decade

 A new idea surrounding IoT will steer how technology will go in the new decade - instead of standing for the Internet of Things, the acronym should stand for the "intelligence of things", said Consumer Technology Association's (CTA) vice president of research Steve Koenig.

"This new IoT bears testimony to the extent that artificial intelligence (AI) is permeating every facet of our commerce and our culture.

"Now, commerce is pretty well-understood and we endorse that as we want to advance our economies around the world, but culture is really interesting to me as a researcher, because we're talking about technology's influence on human behaviour," he said.