While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 8

Author Michael Wolff is seen on the set of NBC's Today show prior to an interview about his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House in New York City, US on Jan 5, 2018.
Author Michael Wolff is seen on the set of NBC's Today show prior to an interview about his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House in New York City, US on Jan 5, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

Trump assails 'Fake Book' as allies hail 'political genius'

President Donald Trump on Sunday (Jan 7) assailed as a “Fake Book” an explosive behind-the-scenes account that questions his fitness for office, as allies lined up to defend the US leader, with one dubbing him a “political genius.”

The White House has been pushing back hard against the unflattering portrayal of the president in Fire and Fury, a supposed tell-all book by Michael Wolff that extensively quotes former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon. 
 
Bannon, facing intense fire from the White House, issued a statement Sunday expressing “unwavering” support for the president.
 

North Korea must stop nuke testing before any talks with US: Haley

North Korea must stop conducting nuclear tests before the United States would enter into any talks with the isolated Pyongyang regime, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday (Jan 7).
 
"They have to stop testing. They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons. Those things have to happen," she said Sunday, one day after President Donald Trump indicated he would be open to speaking directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
 
"This is going to be phases. This isn't going to happen overnight, as we've seen, but it's a dangerous situation," Haley said on ABC's This Week.
 

Iran bans English in primary schools after leaders' warning 

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a Western "cultural invasion".
 
"Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations," Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television late on Saturday (Jan 6).
 
"This is because the assumption is that, in primary education, the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid," Navid-Adham said, adding that non-curriculum English classes may also be blocked.
 

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At least 23 killed in explosion in Syria's Idlib: War monitor

An explosion in Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib killed at least 23 people and injured tens more, including civilians, a war monitor reported on Sunday (Jan 7). 
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion targeted the headquarters of a minor rebel faction in Idlib.  The nature of the attack was not immediately clear.
 
The monitor said there were conflicting accounts, attributing the explosion that shook the Thalatheen district of the city to either a car bomb or a drone attack. 
 

Football: Newport stun Leeds, West Ham survive FA Cup test

Lowly Newport County came from behind to send Championship side Leeds United crashing out of the FA Cup on Sunday (Jan 7) but Premier League West Ham stayed alive with a goalless draw at Shrewsbury. 
 
Elsewhere, Tottenham scored three goals in just eight second-half minutes to see off the challenge of League One side AFC Wimbledon while Arsenal took on Nottingham Forest. 
 
In the early kick-off, on-loan forward Shawn McCoulsky headed in a dramatic 89th-minute winner for Welsh club Newport to seal a 2-1 victory against 1972 Cup winners Leeds and send the crowd at Rodney Parade wild.