While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 26 edition

Francois Fillon attends a rally as he campaigns in Paris, on Nov 25, 2016.
Francois Fillon attends a rally as he campaigns in Paris, on Nov 25, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

Fillon seen as favourite to beat Juppe for conservative nomination

Former prime minister Francois Fillon looked to be in a strong position to claim his centre-right party’s nomination to contest next year’s French presidential election as he and rival Alain Juppe held final rallies of the primary campaign.

In an impassioned speech to supporters in Paris, Fillon, 62, struck a strong patriotic note, vowing to halt “the decline of France” under the ruling Socialists by sticking to what he said was a realistic programme that included ending the 35-hour working week and making big savings by slashing public spending.

Juppe, 71, also a former prime minister, defended his more moderate policies, telling supporters: “I’m not going to engage in any grandstanding against our public service. I want to manage, not demonise, it.”

A new survey issued on Friday night saw Fillon as clear favourite, winning Sunday’s vote with 61 per cent against Juppe’s 39 per cent.


Donald Trump builds a wall in Scotland, sends residents the bill

President-elect Donald J. Trump has already built a wall — not on the border with Mexico, but on the border of his exclusive golf course in northeastern Scotland, blocking the sea view of local residents who refused to sell their homes. And then he sent them the bill.

David and Moira Milne had already been threatened with legal action by Trump’s lawyers, who claimed a corner of their garage belonged to him, when they came home from work one day to find his staff building a fence around their garden.

Two rows of grown trees went up next, blocking the view. Their water and electricity lines were temporarily cut. And then a bill for about US$3,500 (S$5,000) arrived in the mail, which, Milne said, went straight into the trash.

As many Americans are trying to figure out what kind of president they have just elected, the people of Balmedie, a small village outside the once oil-rich city of Aberdeen, say they have a pretty good idea.


Vladimir Putin presents Russian passport to Hollywood actor Steven Seagal

Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to US actor Steven Seagal and said he hoped it would serve as a symbol of how the fractious ties between Moscow and Washington are starting to improve.

At a Kremlin ceremony where Seagal signed his new passport in front of Putin, the Russian leader said: “I want to congratulate you and express the hope that this is another, albeit small, gesture and it might be a sign of the gradual normalisation of relations between our countries.”

Putin, a fan of the kind of martial arts that Seagal often practises in his Hollywood action movies, signed an order at the start of this month to grant Russian citizenship to Seagal.


Phone numbers of stars, public stored on huge searchable databases - BBC

The cellphone numbers of politicians, celebrities and sports stars, as well as members of the public, are being stored by apps in huge searchable databases, according to a BBC report.

A search by the British broadcaster found the numbers of former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the Olympic diver Tom Daley and the music producer Pete Waterman.

However, it is not possible to search for a person's name and obtain their phone number. These databases have been compiled by phone apps that promise to block spam calls and let people "reverse-look up" calls from numbers they do not recognise.


Formula One: Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi practice

Lewis Hamilton landed an early psychological blow ahead of Formula One’s Abu Dhabi title showdown by lapping faster than Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg in both practice sessions.

The Briton, 12 points behind the championship favourite going into the final race, lapped the Yas Marina circuit with a quickest time of one minute 42.869 seconds in the early afternoon, when he also had a harmless spin.

The triple world champion then clocked 1:40.861 in the floodlit evening practice.

Rosberg, who need only finish in the top three on Sunday to be sure of his first championship, was second in both sessions – 0.374 slower in the first and 0.079 off in the second.