While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 1 edition

Hollande's woes grow as French PM breaks ranks

PARIS(AFP) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, fed up or finally sensing his opportunity, has turned on President Francois Hollande six months from elections in which his Socialist party faces crushing defeat.

The trigger for Valls, unfailingly loyal to Hollande since taking office in March 2014, was a bombshell book on the president published earlier this month whose contents continue to reverberate.

In "A President Shouldn't Say That", written by two political journalists after a series of interviews, Hollande is quoted criticising judges, the national football team and even his own government's policies.


Zika causes infertility, lasting harm to testes in mice: US study

CHICAGO (REUTERS) - A study of mice infected with Zika showed the virus caused lasting damage to key cells in the male reproductive system, resulting in shrunken testicles, lower levels of sex hormones and reduced fertility, American researchers said on Monday.

So far, the findings are only in mice, but the result is worrisome enough to warrant further study because of possible implications for people, said Dr Michael Diamond of Washington University in St. Louis, whose research was published in the journal Nature. "It has to be corroborated," Dr Diamond, a professor of pathology, immunology and molecular microbiology, said in a telephone interview.

Much of the global effort to fight Zika has focused on protecting pregnant women from infection because of the grave implications for their unborn children.


Extra RM 20 charge on Singapore cars entering Malaysia in force as of midnight on Nov 1

SINGAPORE - Singapore-registered cars entering Malaysia will incur additional charges which came into effect on Tuesday (Nov 1).

As of 12.01am Tuesday, those driving Singapore-registered cars to enter Malaysia at the two land checkpoints including the Second Link will have to pay a new RM20 (S$6.60) levy, called a road charge.

When The Straits times visited the Johor Baru immigration checkpoint at 1am on Tuesday morning, the road charge was already in effect. Signs were prominently posted at various places at the checkpoint reminding visitors about the road charge.


Kerry says 'embarrassing' US election has made job harder

LONDON (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he had found parts of this year's race for the White House "downright embarrassing", adding it had made his job more difficult.

"I must tell you bluntly. This election has been difficult for our country's perception abroad," he told students at an event with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan during a visit to Britain.

"There are moments when it is downright embarrassing. There are times when it steps out of any norm that I've known - and I ran for president in 2004.


Football: Bumper Madrid deal banks Bale over 115 million euros

MADRID (AFP) - Gareth Bale's new six-year Real Madrid contract will see the Welshman reportedly rake in well in excess of 115 million euros (S$175 million) as the Spanish giants bet on Bale to lead another glorious era at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale, who has won two Champions League titles in three years in Spain, solidifies his position as one of the highest earners in football along with the likes of Real team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The flying winger, 27, is set to take home as much as £350,000 (S$596,000) a week after tax, according to British media, though figures vary wildly.