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

Graduates listen to a speech at the NUS Commencement ceremony on 7 July, 2016.
Graduates listen to a speech at the NUS Commencement ceremony on 7 July, 2016.ST FILE PHOTO

NUS ranked top university in Asia for second year in a row: Times Higher Education magazine

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has been ranked the top university in Asia by the London-based Times Higher Education magazine for the second year in a row.

It beat second-place Peking University and third-place Tsinghua University - both in China - in the latest Asia University Rankings 2017, published online early on Thursday morning (March 16).

Singapore's Nanyang Technological University was in fourth place, followed by the University of Hong Kong in fifth.

The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings is a ranking of Asia's best 300 universities from 24 countries, including Japan, South Korea, India and Israel.


Exit poll gives Dutch PM Rutte big lead over far-right Geert Wilders

The Netherlands’ centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte roundly saw off a challenge by the anti-Islam, anti-EU Geert Wilders in an election, exit polls said, a huge relief to other EU governments facing a wave of nationalism.

Rutte’s VVD Party was projected to win 31 of parliament’s 150 seats, down from 41 at the last vote in 2012, but ahead of Wilders who tied in second place with two other parties at 19 each, according to the polls by national broadcaster NOS based on interviews with voters.

At 81 per cent, turnout was the highest in 30 years in an election that was a test of whether the Dutch wanted to end decades of liberalism and choose a nationalist, nativist path by voting for Wilders and his promise to “de-Islamicise” the Netherlands.


US charges Russian spies, hackers in massive Yahoo hack

The US charged two Russian intelligence agents and two criminal hackers with masterminding the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, marking the first time the US government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber offences.

The charges came amid a swirl of controversies relating to alleged Kremlin-backed hacking of the 2016 US presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and associates of US President Donald Trump, and uncertainty about whether Trump is willing to respond forcefully to aggression from Moscow in cyberspace and elsewhere.

The 47-count Justice Department indictment includes charges of conspiracy, computer fraud and abuse, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, wire fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identify theft. It paints a picture of the Russian security services working hand-in-hand with cyber criminals, who helped spies further their intelligence goals in exchange for using the same exploits to make money.


Angelina Jolie appeals for commitment to 'imperfect' UN

UN refugee agency special envoy Angelina Jolie made an impassioned plea for internationalism in the face of wars driving people from their homes and a "rising tide of nationalism masquerading as patriotism".

The Hollywood actress, speaking at the United Nations in Geneva, called for a renewed commitment to the "imperfect" world body and to diplomacy to settle conflicts.

"A lot of the fear we observe today of refugees, of foreigners, is produced by ignorance, often fuelling politicians as well," she said in response to a question.


Emma Watson to sue over hacked photos, says publicist

Beauty And The Beast star Emma Watson is taking legal action after dozens of private pictures of her trying on clothes were stolen and posted online, her publicist said.

"Photos from a clothes fitting Emma had with a stylist a couple of years ago have been stolen," the 26-year-old British actress's spokesman told AFP. "They are not nude photographs. Lawyers have been instructed and we are not commenting further."

Media reports said the pictures were shared on the so-called "dark web" - an encrypted part of the Internet not easily accessible by users lacking specialist knowledge.