While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 17

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (centre) leaves the Swedish government building Rosenbad in central Stockholm on March 16, 2018.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (centre) leaves the Swedish government building Rosenbad in central Stockholm on March 16, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Top officials scramble to make Trump-Kim summit a reality

Senior officials staged a flurry of calls and top-level meetings on Friday as they scrambled to make a proposed nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a reality.

There was no immediate breakthrough, but North Korea’s foreign minister was to remain in Stockholm into Saturday for further talks with Swedish leaders, as the Scandinavian intermediary strives to pave the way for talks that could end a threat of nuclear war.

From Washington, Trump called his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae In, whose government last week passed an apparent summit invitation to Trump from Kim. Trump accepted on the spot and triggered a race to set a credible agenda for what could be a historic breakthrough.

At the same time, foreign ministers Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea and Taro Kono of Japan were in Washington for talks at an under-staffed US State Department, left in turmoil by Trump’s abrupt and brutal Twitter-sacking of former secretary of state Rex Tillerson.


Trump signs US-Taiwan travel Bill that China has opposed

President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation that would allow US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts, a move certain to anger China, which views Taiwan as a wayward province.

The Bill, which is non-binding, would have gone into effect on Saturday morning, even if Trump had not signed it, said the White House.

The move adds to strains between the two countries over trade, as Trump has enacted tariffs and called for China to reduce its trade imbalance with the United States, even while Washington has leaned on Beijing to help resolve tensions with North Korea.


Eight injured in Georgia ski chair lift crush

At least eight tourists, including a pregnant woman from Sweden, were injured on Friday when a chair lift ran out of control in the Georgian ski resort of Gudauri, officials said.

Video of the accident showed skiers being flung out of their chairs as they turned a bend as other resort visitors screamed in terror.

An emergency stop led to the chairs sliding back at high speed, Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili told journalists, adding that the incident was "allegedly caused by an electricity outage".


Academy of Motion Pictures chief accused of sexual misconduct

The president of the Academy of Motion Pictures, the organisation that hands out the Oscars, has been accused of sexual misconduct, Hollywood trade publications reported on Friday.

Citing unnamed sources, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported that the Academy had received three claims of sexual harassment against John Bailey on Wednesday and began an investigation. They did not give details.

Friday's reports came two weeks after the annual Oscar ceremony, where the sexual misconduct scandal that has rocked Hollywood was a key topic and where some of the actresses who have spoken out about it were given a platform.


Life Of Pi star Irrfan Khan reveals struggle with rare illness

Bollywood star Irrfan Khan, known internationally for his roles in blockbusters Life Of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire, shocked fans on Friday by revealing he has a rare tumour.

In a statement addressing speculation by fans and the media over his health, Khan said he has been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour.

The disease affects the body's hormonal messaging system and studies suggest it afflicts just 35 in 100,000 people.