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

Barack Obama lands in Vietnam to boost security, trade ties

US President Barack Obama landed in Vietnam late Sunday (May 22) for a landmark visit capping two decades of rapprochement between the former wartime foes, as both countries look to push trade and check Beijing's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Air Force One touched down in Hanoi just after 9.30 pm (10.30pm Singapore time) for the beginning of a three-day trip in which Obama will meet Vietnam's communist leadership and stress improving relations with the dynamic and rapidly emerging nation.

For many Americans, Vietnam remains a painful byword for slaughter and folly since hostilities in the decade-long ruinous war between the two nations finally ended in 1975.


Erdogan ally takes over as Turkish PM, vowing stronger presidency

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed Binali Yildirim, a close ally for two decades and a co-founder of the ruling AK Party, as his new prime minister on Sunday (May 22), taking a big step towards the stronger presidential powers he has long sought.

In a speech to AKP delegates who earlier elected him party leader at a special congress, Yildirim, transport minister for most of the past decade and a half, left no doubt that he would prioritise the policies closest to Erdogan’s heart.

“Erdogan is a man of purpose, a man of the people, a tireless defender of the great Turkey,” he said. “We have said with pride, heads held high, we are comrades of Erdogan ... Your passion is our passion, your cause our cause, your path our path.”


Greek parliament approves controversial new bailout measures

Greek lawmakers on Sunday (May 22) adopted another batch of controversial spending cuts and tax hikes ahead of a crunch Eurogroup meeting expected to unlock much-needed bailout funds for the debt-ridden country.

The 7,000-page bill that raises the sales tax cap and introduces a contingency mechanism to slash spending further in case of budget overruns was passed thanks to the Syriza-led coalition government’s slim majority in parliament, according to an AFP count.

All 153 of the government coalition’s MPs voted in favour, while outside the parliament building in Athens more than 10,000 people protested against a recent string of unpopular reforms.


Britain's Ken Loach wins Cannes gold with moving austerity tale

British director Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or top prize at Cannes Sunday (May 22) for the second time in a decade with his moving drama "I, Daniel Blake" about the shame of poverty in austerity-hit Europe.

The award marked a major upset at the world's top film festival in favour of the left-wing director, who turns 80 this year and is known for shining a light on the downtrodden.

He beat out runaway favourites including the rapturously received German comedy "Toni Erdmann" by Maren Ade, one of three women directors in competition, and US indie legend Jim Jarmusch's "Paterson" starring Adam Driver as a poetry-writing bus driver. Both left empty-handed.


Football: Vardy atones for Kane miss as England edge Turkey

Jamie Vardy spared Harry Kane's blushes with a late winner as England edged Turkey 2-1 in their first Euro 2016 warm-up match at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on Sunday (May 22).

Kane opened the scoring in the third minute, but then clipped the post with a 72nd-minute penalty, won by Vardy, after Hakan Calhanoglu had equalised to score Turkey's first goal against England in the teams' 11th meeting.

Vardy rode to the rescue in the 83rd minute, the Leicester City hitman slamming home his third England goal from close range to end Turkey's unbeaten run at 13 matches and enhance his claim to a spot in manager Roy Hodgson's starting XI in France.