While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 23

US President Donald Trump speaks about the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on May 22, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

US House's Nancy Pelosi: Trump is engaged in 'cover-up'

As Democrats in the US Congress debated possibly impeaching Republican President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday (May 22), about an hour before a White House meeting with him, that Trump is engaged in a "cover-up."

The president is stonewalling multiple congressional investigations by ignoring subpoenas, refusing to allow current and former advisers to testify, and not handing over documents, steps that have aggravated a confrontation with Congress.

"No one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up," Pelosi told reporters after a morning meeting of House of Representatives Democrats.


Iran youth will witness demise of Israel, 'American civilisation': Khamenei

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during his meeting with a group of University students in Tehran, Iran, May 22, 2019. PHOTO: HANDOUT

Iran's youth will witness the demise of Israel and American civilisation, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday (May 22) in comments published on his official website.

"You young people should be assured that you will witness the demise of the enemies of humanity, meaning the degenerate American civilisation, and the demise of Israel," Khamenei said in a meeting with students.


Botswana, country with most elephants, lifts ban on hunting

A herd of elephants leaves a drinking spot in the Mababe area, Botswana. PHOTO: REUTERS

Botswana, which has the world's biggest population of elephants, lifted its suspension on hunting, a move that is likely to spark further debate on a politically charged issue in the southern African nation.

The government would ensure that "reinstatement of hunting is done in an orderly and ethical manner" and in accordance with the law and regulations, the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in emailed statement Wednesday (May 22).

The number of elephants in Botswana has almost tripled to 160,000 since 1991, according to the government, increasing conflict between farmers and the animals, which at times destroy crops and kill villagers while also damaging ecosystems by tearing down trees. While hunting would not meaningfully reduce the number of elephants, income from the sport, could benefit communities in areas where the animals live. The average elephant hunt costs US$45,000 (S$62,060) in neighbouring countries where the practice is legal.


Italian fashion house Prada joins fur-free chorus

The Prada boutique in New Bond Street, London during last year's Christmas season. The fashion house announced it will stop using fur, starting with its Spring-Summer 2020 collection. PHOTO: REUTERS

Italy's Prada will stop using animal fur in its products from the 2020 women's spring-summer collections to be presented in September, the luxury group said on Wednesday (May 22).

The decision is part of a wider trend among fashion brands to champion ethical and sustainable policies in a bid to win over environmentally-savvy younger customers.

In September, London Fashion Week declared itself fur-free for the first time, just a few days after a similar announcement from Britain's Burberry.


Amid land crunch, Washington state legalises use of human remains to nurture soil

It saves space, cuts emissions and feeds plants - now human composting may go mainstream after Washington became the first US state to legalise the transformation of human remains to nurturing soil.

The bill passed by wide margins and was signed into law on Tuesday (March 21) by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, a presidential candidate running on a climate ticket.

Its backers say "natural organic reduction" is an eco-friendly alternative to burial or cremation, and has obvious benefits in urban areas with dwindling land availability.


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