While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 11 edition

Trump attends a health-care meeting at the White House, March 10, 2017.
Trump attends a health-care meeting at the White House, March 10, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Donald Trump to ask Angela Merkel for advice on Putin, Ukraine

President Donald Trump will ask Chancellor Angela Merkel for advice on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US officials said, as the US and German leaders meet next week after sometimes pointed disagreements in recent months.

Merkel will visit the White House on Tuesday for talks with Trump and a joint news conference in what will be their first face-to-face meeting since the new US President took power on Jan 20.

They are expected to discuss Germany's level of defence spending for the Nato alliance, the Ukraine conflict, Syrian refugees, the European Union and a host of other issues, said three senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters.

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Trump regularly criticised Merkel for her open-door refugee policy, contrasting it with what he promised would be tighter controls in the United States if he won office.


Indonesian Buddhists caned under syariah for first time

Indonesia's only province to impose syariah law caned Buddhists for the first time, after two men accused of cockfighting opted for punishment under the strict Islamic regulations.

Alem Suhadi, 57, and Amel Akim, 60, both ethnic Chinese and members of the Buddhist minority, were whipped in front of dozens of local officials and residents in the city of Jantho, Aceh province.

The two men grimaced as they received nine and seven lashes respectively on their backs, a sentence that was mitigated because they had spent over a month in detention since police nabbed them for cockfighting in Aceh Besar in January.


Nepal to probe report that women are selling skin for penis enlargements

Nepal said it will investigate a report claiming poor women are being trafficked and duped into selling their skin to be used for penis and breast enlargements in the global cosmetic surgery market.

An investigation by the Indian news website Youth Ki Awaaz (Voice of the Youth) said Nepali women were selling 130 sq cm of skin tissue from their backs for US$150 (S$210) to be used in plastic surgery.

Women, Child and Social Welfare Minister Kumar Khadka told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the government was shocked after reading the report published on March 6. "We will investigate and if found to be correct, the government will make all efforts to stop this heinous crime and punish those responsible."


Football: Barcelona, Real Madrid to play Miami 'Clasico'

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid will play each other in a one-off pre-season "El Clasico" in Miami in July, organisers confirmed.

The La Liga arch-rivals will meet at the Hard Rock Stadium, the 65,000-seat home of the NFL Miami Dolphins, on July 29.

The match is part of the International Champions Cup, the annual global exhibition series which features clubs from Europe and around the world.


Formula One: British motorsport great John Surtees dead at 83

Britain's John Surtees, the only man to win both the Formula One and motorcycle grand prix world titles, has died aged 83.

Surtees, who won the 1964 Formula One title after becoming a four-time 500cc world champion, "passed away peacefully" on Friday with his wife Jane and daughters Leonora and Edwina by his side, a statement issued on behalf of the family said.

The statement added: "John was admitted to St Georges Hospital, London in February with an existing respiratory condition and after a short period in intensive care he passed away peacefully this afternoon. His wife, Jane and daughters, Leonora and Edwina were by his side."