While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 12 edition

Stars past and present bid farewell to Nancy Reagan

Hollywood stars and political powerbrokers past and present gathered for the funeral of former first lady Nancy Reagan, who is to be buried beside her husband at the Reagan presidential library.

Reagan died on Sunday of heart failure at the age of 94 at her home in the Bel Air suburb of Los Angeles, 12 years after Ronald Reagan, the 40th US president.

The Reagans were former actors and many of the 1980s Hollywood glitterati, including 1980s sex symbol Bo Derek, Oscar winner Anjelica Huston, Magnum PI actor Tom Selleck and the A-Team’s Mr T, were expected among around 1,000 guests.


Big audience for panel with Dalai Lama despite Beijing protest

The Dalai Lama took part in a panel of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Geneva, addressing a full auditorium about Chinese repression in his native Tibet despite Beijing having urged people to shun the event.

China wrote this week to diplomats and UN officials calling on them not to attend the panel at Geneva's Graduate Institute, saying it opposed the exiled Tibetan spritual leader's appearance at all venues due to his "separatist activities".

"One part of the human brain usually develops common sense. Some of these (Chinese) hardliners, that part of brain is missing," the crimson-robed Dalai Lama, 80, told the audience of students and diplomats.


North Korea defector reveals late leader's fears over libido and diabetes

As North Korea grappled with a massive famine in the 1990s, scientists were working at an elite institute to find ways to boost then leader Kim Jong-il's longevity - and his libido, a defector said on Friday.

In the early 1990s, scientists were sent to Denmark to find ways to improve the tenderness of North Korea's beef which Kim thought was too tough, said biologist Kim Hyeongsoo, who worked at the centre for six years.

Scientists were also tasked with developing aphrodisiacs using ingredients including the genitalia of male lions and seals as well as traditional medicinal herbs, Kim said. They were also tasked with replicating the leader's favourite western brand of cigarette - Rothmans - with tobacco imported from Africa.


Football: Newcastle United name Rafa Benitez as manager

Newcastle United have put their faith in Rafa Benitez, hoping the Spaniard will keep them in the Premier League after they won only six of 28 league games under the sacked Steve McClaren.

McClaren, who had been head coach for the last nine months, was dismissed only hours before the club announced Benitez was taking over on an initial three-year deal.

Media reports said there was also an opt-out clause if Newcastle are relegated this season.


Football: Guardiola still 'giving 100 per cent' to Bayern despite move

Pep Guardiola insisted he was "giving 100 per cent to Bayern Munich until the last day", after again having his commitment questioned following a mysterious meeting with Manchester City's sporting director in Amsterdam on Monday.

The Spaniard will leave Munich at the end of the season to join up with City, and is aiming to exit Bavaria on a high note by helping Bayern become the first team to win four consecutive Bundesliga titles.

"All who know me know that for the last three years I have concentrated fully and dedicated my work to Bayern from my first day here until the last," the 45-year-old said.