While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 17


Donald Trump tax overhaul adopted by US House, debate shifts to Senate

House Republicans delivered a first-step victory  to President Donald Trump by passing a landmark tax overhaul, but the debate now shifts to the Senate, where a narrower path to success awaits.

Trump had rallied his party footsoldiers barely an hour earlier in the US Capitol, leaning on them to advance the sweeping tax cuts for corporations and individuals as he seeks to lock down a first major legislative win by year’s end.

The House of Representatives voted 227 to 205 to pass the legislation, after Trump addressed Republican members in person and urged them to get the measure over the finish line.

“This is one of the most historic and biggest things that we will ever do,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the chamber as debate concluded on the measure.


Ex-wife of former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi told to repay $95 million in alimony

Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi won an appeal against paying his ex-wife alimony, as a court told Veronica Lario to repay cheques totalling some €60 million (S$95 million).

The Milan court decided in favour of the 81-year-old billionaire, who had insisted Lario was wealthy enough to support herself with her portfolio of €16 million, family jewels and publishing house, Italian media reported.

The four-time premier had been paying the mother of three of his children €1.4 million in alimony as part of a divorce settlement. The payments date back to 2014.


Woman accuses US Senator Al Franken of unwanted groping, kiss

A radio broadcaster accused US Senator Al Franken of touching her breasts while she slept and forcing a kiss on her in 2006 when he was still a comedian and the two were preparing to perform before US troops in the Middle East.

Anchor Leeann Tweeden related her experience in a first-person account on the website of Los Angeles station KABC amid outrage over numerous reports of sexual misconduct by powerful men from Hollywood to Capitol Hill.

Franken, a Democrat, issued an apology. The Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders called on the Ethics Committee to review the allegations and Franken said he would cooperate.


Elephant lovers outraged by Trump move on trophy-hunting

Conservation groups decried US President Donald Trump's decision to allow trophy hunters who kill elephants in two African countries to bring home the endangered animals' tusks or other body parts as trophies.

The move triggered protests from conservation groups and a frenzy on social media from opponents who posted pictures of Trump sons Donald Jr and Eric, who are avid hunters, posing with the cut-off tail of a slain elephant and other dead wild animals on Twitter.

"I'm shocked and outraged," Elly Pepper, a deputy director of the National Resources Defence Counsel, said in a phone interview. "I expect nothing less from our President, and if he thinks this is going to go down without a fight, he's wrong."


Coldplay tops US$500 million on third richest tour in history

Coldplay generated more than US$500 million (S$678 million) on the rockers' just completed global tour, the band's promoters said on Thursday, making it the third highest-grossing in history.

The English band played the 114th and final show of its A Head Full Of Dreams tour on Wednesday night in Buenos Aires, completing a haul of US$523 million in ticket sales, Live Nation announced.

Only two other acts have ever amassed more: Irish rockers U2, who grossed US$784 million on their elaborate, in-the-round "360" tour from 2009 to 2011, and The Rolling Stones, who grossed slightly above Coldplay with their A Bigger Bang shows a decade ago.