While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 16

US President Donald Trump speaks about his recent trip to Asia in the Diplomatic Room of the White House.
US President Donald Trump speaks about his recent trip to Asia in the Diplomatic Room of the White House.PHOTO: REUTERS

Donald Trump defends Asia trip, vows 'maximum pressure' on North Korea

US President Donald Trump vowed a global campaign of “maximum pressure” on North Korea on Wednesday, warning Pyongyang will not subject the world to “nuclear blackmail”.

Lauding an almost two week trip to Asia that was long on pomp but – critics say – short on achievements, Trump said he had successfully galvanised opposition to North Korean proliferation.

“I made clear that we will not allow this twisted dictatorship to hold the world hostage to nuclear blackmail,” Trump said in a televised statement a day after returning from the marathon trip.

Trump said that he had won a commitment from Chinese leader Xi Jinping to use Beijing’s economic leverage to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.


South Korea party leader says US must not strike North Korea without Seoul's consent

US President Donald Trump should "under no circumstances" take military action against North Korea without the consent of the government in Seoul, the chairwoman of South Korea's ruling party, Choo Mi-ae, said on Wednesday.

"President Trump often emphasises that he put all options on the table," Choo told a Washington think-tank. "We want to make sure that this option of another war is not placed on the table. Under no circumstances should the US go ahead and use a military option without the consent of South Korea.

"We must seek a peaceful resolution of the matter in any manner that is available to us."


Basketball: UCLA athletes freed by China apologise for shoplifting, thank Donald Trump

Three US college basketball players detained in China for shoplifting publicly apologised on Wednesday and thanked President Donald Trump for helping secure their release.

Trump had personally asked Chinese leader Xi Jinping to intervene to free UCLA’s LiAngelo Ball – the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie star Lonzo Ball – and teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who were arrested last Tuesday in Hangzhou.

The trio were held on suspicion of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store and later freed on bail but ordered to remain in the picturesque Chinese city.


Pope gets white-and-yellow Lamborghini to auction for charity

Pope Francis received some hot new wheels on Wednesday in the form of a white-and-yellow Lamborghini - but he won't be using it on the tree-shaded roads of the Vatican gardens.

The donated Lamborghini Huracan, which normally sells for more than US$200,000 (S$270,000), was signed by the Pope outside his Vatican residence and will be auctioned by Sotheby's, with proceeds given to the pontiff to help the needy.

The Vatican said all the money would go to projects to help Christians return to rebuild their homes in Iraq's Nineveh Plains that were destroyed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants. It will also go to help female victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution and to two Italian groups which provide medical services in central Africa.


Serena Williams set to tie the knot in New Orleans: Reports

Tennis superstar Serena Williams is used to hoisting trophies, but on Thursday, it looks like she'll be carrying a wedding bouquet.

Music royalty Beyonce and Jay Z, along with actress Eva Longoria are among the A-listers reportedly convening in New Orleans for Williams' wedding to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

People and The Daily Mail, citing unnamed sources, have reported that about 250 guests will be invited to the ceremony at the Contemporary Arts Center in the Big Easy.