While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 28

A man watches a TV news report about a suspected visit to China by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A man watches a TV news report about a suspected visit to China by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un..PHOTO: AFP

Speculation on Kim Jong Un visit to China rife as train departs

Speculation that Kim Jong Un visited Beijing on his first-ever foreign trip as North Korea's leader was rife after Japanese media reported the arrival and departure of a special train met by an honour guard.

Heightened security at possible venues for a high-level meeting, motorcades driven under police escort, and a non-denial from Chinese authorities on Tuesday also fuelled the belief that Kim had come to pay his respects to President Xi Jinping.

If confirmed, it would mark Kim's first trip abroad since coming to power in 2011 and signal an intriguing twist in a rapid diplomatic thaw that has opened the door to plans for separate summits between Kim and the presidents of South Korea and the United States.

Japan's Kyodo news agency reported the train's departure from a Beijing station on Tuesday but said it was not clear if Kim was aboard, a day after its arrival sparked rampant speculation about the mystery passenger's identity.


US, South Korea agree in principle on new trade deal, says White House

The United States and South Korea have reached agreement in principle on a new trade pact and details will be released soon, the White House said on Tuesday.

"We have come to an agreement in principle and we expect to roll out specific details on that very soon," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a briefing.

Her comments were the Trump administration's first confirmation that the two sides had reached an agreement in trade talks covering revisions to the US South Korean Trade Agreement (Korus) and a South Korean exemption from new US metals tariffs.


Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu leaves hospital after tests

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left hospital late on Tuesday following tests after suffering a high fever and a cough.

A Reuters witness saw Netanyahu’s convoy leaving the hospital, and shortly after midnight Netanyahu said on Twitter: “I am on my way home. Sure some rest and hot soup will put things right.”

“The prime minister has completed a series of tests and will be released home tonight,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said earlier, adding: “The tests showed a mild viral illness in the upper respiratory tract.”


Sailor in round-the-world race is 'lost at sea'

The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the most demanding sailing challenges in the world. A race around the globe held every three years in 65-foot yachts, it tests sailors in sometimes brutal weather conditions over eight gruelling months.

On Tuesday, the fears of every yachtsman came true, as race organisers announced that a crew member of one of the boats was presumed lost at sea.

As the racers crossed the Pacific on leg seven, between Auckland, New Zealand, and Itajai, Brazil, John Fisher, a 47-year-old Briton sailing for a Hong Kong-based team, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, was swept overboard in strong winds 2,200km west of Cape Horn.


Football: Spain thrash Argentina 6-1 as Isco grabs hat-trick

Spain sent out a warning to their World Cup rivals as Isco grabbed a hat-trick in a 6-1 thrashing of Argentina, who were missing the injured Lionel Messi, in a friendly on Tuesday.

On what was supposed to be a historic night for Argentina captain Javier Mascherano, who joined Javier Zanetti on 142 caps as his country’s record appearance holder, things quickly turned sour as Diego Costa, Thiago and Iago Aspas also found the net.

It will have made uneasy viewing for coach Jorge Sampaoli and emphasised more than ever how reliant his side are on their talisman Messi, who has been struggling with a muscle problem.