While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 23 edition

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a strong sanctions bill “is essential.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a strong sanctions bill “is essential.” PHOTO: REUTERS

US lawmakers reach deal on Russia sanctions bill, creating limits for Trump

US Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on legislation that allows new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, leading congressional Democrats said on Saturday (July 22), in a bill that would limit any potential effort by President Donald Trump to try to lift sanctions against Moscow.

The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, which was passed by the Senate a month ago, was held up in the House of Representatives after Republicans proposed including North Korea sanctions in the bill.

The House is set to vote on Tuesday on a package of bills on sanctions covering Russia, Iran and North Korea, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office.


Trump talks pardons amid probes of Russia role in US election

US President Donald Trump declared on Saturday that he has “complete power to pardon,” as his administration confronts ongoing investigations of possible ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia.

In a series of early morning Twitter messages, Trump aired renewed frustration with his attorney general, the special counsel leading the Russia probe, and Republicans in Congress who are struggling to advance his legislative agenda.

But Trump’s comment about pardons, tucked into an attack on the media, raised the possibility that he was considering his options if the investigations do not turn out the way he hopes.


John Heard, actor who played "Home Alone" dad, reportedly dead at 72

Actor John Heard, best known for playing the father in the hit 90s-era “Home Alone” films, has died, according to US media. He was 72.

Entertainment website TMZ said the actor was found dead in a Palo Alto, California hotel where he was recuperating following back surgery.  Heard’s representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The veteran actor rose to fame after playing Peter McCallister – the father of mischievous Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin – in the family comedy “Home Alone” and its sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”


Football: Goalkeeper Randolph leaves West Ham for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have signed goalkeeper Darren Randolph from West Ham United on a four-year contract for a fee of five million pounds (S$8.85 million), the Championship team said on Saturday (July 22).

The Republic of Ireland international staved off competition from Spanish keeper Adrian at West Ham last season and played 22 Premier League games as the London side finished in 11th place.

But with his starting place in doubt after the arrival of Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart on a season-long loan deal, Randolph has switched to Middlesbrough, who were relegated to the second tier.


Blink-182 calls off shows after Linkin Park suicide

Rockers Blink-182 on Saturday (July 22) called off stadium shows they had planned with Linkin Park whose singer Chester Bennington hanged himself.

The bands, two of the top-selling rock acts at the turn of the century, had been set to team up for "Blinkin Park" concerts at New York's Citi Field baseball stadium Friday and two days later at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania.

A day after Linkin Park scrapped its tour in light of its frontman's suicide, Blink-182 said it would not go ahead on its own and that the shows were canceled.