While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 18 edition

US President Barack Obama is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Nov 17, 2016
US President Barack Obama is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Nov 17, 2016PHOTO: REUTERS

Obama in Berlin urges Donald Trump to ‘stand up to Russia’

US President Barack Obama, on a farewell visit to Europe, said he hoped Donald Trump would “stand up” to Russia but added he was “cautiously optimistic” about his successor in the White House.

Speaking in Berlin, Obama also praised as an “outstanding” international partner his host Angela Merkel, seen by many as a new standard bearer of liberal democracy as the world tensely awaits how Trump will reshape the global order.

In a joint news conference, Obama and Merkel stressed the need for a strong Nato, free trade and action on climate change, as Western leaders brace for potentially radical changes after Trump moves into the Oval Office in January.

Citing the Syria and Ukraine conflicts, Obama said he hoped Trump, who has voiced admiration for President Vladimir Putin, “is willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms”.


US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper resigns

US intelligence chief James Clapper, whose 2013 denial that the US collects personal communications data on millions of citizens led to the stunning Snowden spying expose, announced his resignation.

After six years as Director of National Intelligence, Clapper told a congressional hearing that he would step down on Jan 20, the day Donald Trump is to be sworn in as US president.

Coming after rumours that he might stay on for a new term, his departure will leave another major position to fill for the incoming Trump administration.


Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte says may follow Russia's withdrawal from 'useless' ICC

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he might follow Russia and withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in response to Western criticism of a rash of killings unleashed by his war on drugs.

Duterte said the ICC was "useless" and expressed frustration about the West's allegations of extrajudicial killings and failure to understand the reasons for his crackdown.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin removed Russia's signature from the founding treaty of the ICC, which it never joined. Duterte said he might consider the more drastic step of quitting a court the Philippines joined in 2011.


Armed police swoop on Dutch airport after terror tip-off

Armed military police launched a security sweep at Rotterdam airport after receiving an anonymous tip-off about a possible terror threat.

Officers carrying machine guns and wearing bulletproof vests checked and searched some cars and buses arriving at the airport.

By late on Thursday, the operation continued with military police spokesman Steven Comba telling AFP "there has been no change in the situation".


Leonardo DiCaprio delights fans at Scottish homeless restaurant

Hundreds of cheering fans greeted Leonardo DiCaprio as the Hollywood star visited an Edinburgh restaurant set up to help the homeless.

The Oscar-winning actor signed autographs for his admirers - some of whom had waited for hours - as he arrived at the Home restaurant, which opened in September as part of a broader initiative to support homeless people.

DiCaprio's visit to Home sees him follow in the footsteps of fellow actor George Clooney, who last year visited a sandwich shop run under the same Social Bite initiative.