While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 26

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Trump signs US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights

US President Donald Trump on Monday (March 25) signed a proclamation recognising Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, a border area seized from Syria in 1967.

"This was a long time in the making," Trump said alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House.

US recognition for Israeli control over the territory breaks with decades of international consensus.


Macron under fire for lecturing elderly woman hurt at protest

France's Emmanuel Macron drew fire Monday (March 25) after criticising an elderly "yellow vest" protester who was badly injured during a demonstration in Nice at the weekend.

Genevieve Legay, a 73-year-old anti-capitalism activist and grandmother, suffered a fractured skull on Saturday after riot police charged anti-government demonstrators in the Riviera city of Nice. PHOTO: REUTERS

Macron has repeatedly been accused of lacking empathy and harbouring an arrogant, dismissive attitude towards ordinary people who complain about having difficulties making ends meet.

Last year he famously told an unemployed gardener, who complained about not finding work after sending out hundreds of applications, that he only had to "cross the road" to find a job.


France, China sign 15 commercial deals, including with Airbus, EDF

French President Emmanuel Macron (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a press conference after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on March 25, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

France signed 15 business contracts with China worth billions of euros on Monday, including a 300-plane order with Airbus and a 1 billion euro contract for EDF to build an offshore wind farm in China, the French presidency said.

The order from China for Airbus planes was the most lucrative of the deals unveiled in Paris, with a French presidency official saying it was worth about 30 billion euros (S$45.83 billion).

France's Fives and China National Building Materials Group signed a 1 billion euro deal to cooperate on energy savings in developing countries. Shipping line CMA CGM and China State Shipbulding Corporation signed a 1.2 billion euro deal to build 10 container ships.


Trump critic Michael Avenatti arrested in Nike extortion scam: Prosecutors

Lawyer Michael Avenatti offered to accept a US$22.5 million payment to resolve any claims the client might have, and to "buy Avenatti's silence." PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against US President Donald Trump, was arrested on Monday (March 25) and charged with trying to extort more than US$20 million (S$27 million) from Nike Inc, federal prosecutors said.

The US Attorney's offices in New York and Los Angeles separately filed charges against Avenatti, with the California case accusing him of embezzling a client's money to cover his own debts, as well as using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans from a bank.

New York prosecutors said Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator met with Nike's attorneys on March 19 and tried to extort the company into paying them between US$15 million and US$25 million and an additional US$1.5 million to a client of Avenatti's by threatening to make public allegations against the company.


Brazil judge orders release of ex-president Michel Temer

Ex-president Michel Temer is the second ex-president of the Latin American country to be caught up in a sprawling, years-long anti-corruption probe called Car Wash that has claimed scores of political and corporate scalps. PHOTO: AFP

A Brazilian judge on Monday (March 25) ordered the immediate release of ex-president Michel Temer, days after the former leader was detained on allegations of being the leader of a "criminal organisation."

Temer, who was arrested Thursday in Sao Paulo and transferred to Rio de Janeiro, is the second ex-president of the Latin American country to be caught up in a sprawling, years-long anti-corruption probe called Car Wash that has claimed scores of political and corporate scalps.

The preventative detention of the 78-year-old predecessor of the current far-right President Jair Bolsonaro had no legal justification, judge Antonio Ivan Athie said in the ruling.


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