While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 22 edition

US, China to North Korea: Stop nuclear weapons programme.VIDEO: REUTERS

In high-level talks, US asks China to do more to rein in North Korea

The United States pressed China to exert more diplomatic and economic pressure to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes during a round of high-level talks in Washington, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

The meeting of top US and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs was held a day after President Donald Trump said Chinese efforts to use its leverage with Pyongyang had failed, raising fresh doubts about his administration’s strategy for countering the threat from North Korea.

The death of American university student Otto Warmbier this week, after his release from 17 months of imprisonment in North Korea, has further complicated Trump’s approach to North Korea, which aides have called his top national security priority.

“We reiterated to China that they have a diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region,” Tillerson told reporters at a joint news conference with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

But Tillerson also announced that Trump plans to make a state visit to China later this year, signalling that the president seeks improved relations with Beijing despite his frustrations over North Korea.


Brussels station attacker was secretive loner

The first details about the man shot dead as he tried to bomb Brussels’ Central Station highlight the shadowy new challenge to security services across Europe – the lone-wolf militant.

The 36-year-old Moroccan who part-detonated a suitcase packed with nails and gas bottles on Tuesday appeared to have acted alone, was virtually unknown in his home area and had never been identified by police as a threat.

Belgian authorities have identified the Brussels attacker only as OZ. A Belgian security source told Reuters he was Oussama Zariouh.


Queen’s hat: An ‘anti-Brexit’ message?

Queen Elizabeth II’s choice of headgear for a speech setting out how the government will implement Brexit raised more than a few eyebrows, causing some to draw comparisons to the European Union’s flag.

Twitter users posted pictures of the Queen’s blue hat decorated with flowers with yellow centres alongside an image of the blue flag of the EU, with the yellow stars representing its member states.

“Clearly the EU still inspires some in the UK,” tweeted Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit spokesman, while opposition Labour MP Paul Flynn jokingly referred to it as an “anti-Brexit hat”.


Tennis: Ex-Wimbledon champ Boris Becker shocked by bankruptcy

Former German tennis star Boris Becker said he was “surprised and disappointed” after being declared bankrupt by a court in London for failing to pay a “substantial” long-standing debt.

Lawyers for the three-time former Wimbledon champion pleaded with a Bankruptcy Court registrar to allow Becker a “last chance” to pay off the debt which dates back to 2015.

But Registrar Christine Derrett, who recalled watching Becker play on Centre Court, ruled there was a lack of credible evidence the outstanding payment would be forthcoming and refused to adjourn the case.


Kim Kardashian said to have hired surrogate for third baby

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s family may be growing, according to reports that the celebrity couple have hired a surrogate to carry their third child after a doctor advised the reality star against another high-risk pregnancy.

People Magazine and E! News, citing unidentified sources, said the couple had hired a surrogate, and TMZ.com said they had agreed to pay the surrogate more than US$113,000 (S$157,000) to carry a child.

It was not clear whether the surrogate was already pregnant. Kardashian’s representative did not respond to a request for comment.