While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 4 edition

North Korean national Ri Jong Chol (centre) is surrounded by media after his arrival at Beijing airport, China, March 4, 2017.
North Korean national Ri Jong Chol (centre) is surrounded by media after his arrival at Beijing airport, China, March 4, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

North Korean suspect in murder of Kim Jong Nam says Malaysia in conspiracy to damage Pyongyang's honour

Ri Jong Chol, a suspect in the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, said in Beijing that he was a victim of a conspiracy by Malaysian authorities attempting to damage the honour of North Korea.

Ri, a North Korean, accused Malaysia of using coercion to try to extract a confession from him, he told reporters outside the North Korea embassy in Beijing on Saturday.

Kim Jong Nam was murdered on Feb 13 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, after being assaulted by two women who Malaysian police believe smeared his face with VX, a chemical classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

Ri - in Beijing en route back to North Korea after Malaysia deported him - said he was not at the airport on the day of the killing, and knew nothing about the accusation that his car was used in the case.


Trump administration considering separating women, children at US-Mexico border

Women and children crossing together illegally into the United States could be separated by US authorities under a proposal being considered by the Department of Homeland Security, according to three government officials.

Part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, said the officials, who have been briefed on the proposal.

The policy shift would allow the government to keep parents in custody while they contest deportation or wait for asylum hearings. Children would be put into protective custody.


Street artist Banksy opens Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

Secretive British street artist Banksy opened a hotel next to Israel's controversial separation wall in Bethlehem, his latest artwork in the Palestinian territories.

The 10-room Walled Off Hotel fits in with the artist's dystopian work, with rooms facing out onto the grim view of the wall, which cuts through the occupied West Bank.

Banksy's spokesmen insisted the building was not merely an artistic statement but also an active hotel, with rooms to be rented out later.


Rocker Rod Stewart apologises after outcry over 'execution' web clip

British rocker Rod Stewart apologised after he appeared to mimic a desert execution by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants, with critics saying it was disrespectful to victims of the group.

Stewart, 72, appeared in a clip posted on his wife's Internet Instagram account in which he draws his finger across the throat of a man kneeling in front of him.

It was filmed ahead of a concert he performed in Abu Dhabi. Stewart said he had been recreating fictional scenes from TV shows such as Game Of Thrones.


Beauty And The Beast gay character sparks Christian boycott calls

An evangelist preacher is calling for a boycott of the upcoming Walt Disney film Beauty And The Beast because it features a gay character, saying that the company is trying to promote an LGBT agenda to children.

Franklin Graham, the North Carolina-based son of evangelist preacher Billy Graham and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, called for the boycott in a Facebook post.

By Friday, the post had been shared more than 88,000 times, and a movie theatre in Alabama said it will not screen the film, which stars British actress Emma Watson.