While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 16 edition

With free trade, US faces stark decision on Asia - is it in or out? - Minister Shanmugam

Are you in or out?

That, said Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, is the stark prospect facing the United States as American lawmakers continue to struggle to push through key trade legislation that would pave the way for completion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington at the start of a working visit to the US, Mr Shanmugam made some of his strongest statements yet calling for the US government to support the 12-nation Pacific Rim free trade deal.

He warned that US influence in an increasingly important region economically would fade if the TPP stalls.


Another Bush - Jeb - announces that he is running for president of the US

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has officially confirmed his bid for the White House, putting months of speculation to an end.

His announcement on Monday, at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College, in Florida, where he was a two-term governor, focused on fixing the problems in Washington, creating 19 million new jobs for Americans, and making education a priority.

"Our country is on a very bad course," said Mr Bush. "The question is what are we doing to do about. I for me is what am I going to do about it, and I've decided I'm a candidate for president of the United States of America."


International Energy Agency warns of 4.3C temperature jump from climate change

The International Energy Agency on Monday warned temperatures could jump by as much as 4.3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century and urged countries to improve their pledges on reducing emissions.

In a report ahead of a climate change conference in Paris this year, the IEA said more should be done to reach the goal of keeping the increase in average global temperature below 2C.

Current pledges "will have a positive impact on future energy trends but will fall short of the major course correction required to meet the 2C goal", said the report, which was presented in London.


US F-15s, guided bombs, drones targeted extremist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar

The United States deployed two F-15 fighter jets equipped with guided bombs, along with spotter drones, to try to kill one-eyed Islamist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said the F-15E Strike Eagles were armed with precision 230-kg bombs as they attacked a target in eastern Libya.

Libya's internationally-recognised government confirmed the death of the Al-Qaeda-linked fighter, who allegedly masterminded the siege of an Algerian gas plant in which 38 hostages died.


Syrian Kurdish forces seize control of border post from ISIS: AFP

Syrian Kurdish fighters seized control Monday of a key crossing on the Turkish border from ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), an AFP photographer reported.

Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) took up positions on the Syrian part of the Akcakale-Tal Abyad border post, which lies on ISIS's main supply route to its de facto capital of Raqa, the photographer said.

The Kurdish fighters had advanced on Tal Abyad in a two-pronged offensive from east and west.