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

Austria's Foreign Minister and leader of Austria's centre-right People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz and his partner, Susanne Thier, arrive at a polling station to cast their votes during general elections in Vienna, Austria, on Oct 15, 2017.
Austria's Foreign Minister and leader of Austria's centre-right People's Party (OeVP) Sebastian Kurz and his partner, Susanne Thier, arrive at a polling station to cast their votes during general elections in Vienna, Austria, on Oct 15, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

Austrian ‘whizz-kid’ Sebastian Kurz projected to triumph in election, set to be Europe's youngest leader

Austria’s political “whizz-kid” Sebastian Kurz was on course Sunday (Oct 15) to become Europe’s youngest leader, potentially in coalition with the far-right after its best result in almost 20 years. 

Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (OeVP) won 31.7 per cent of the vote, followed by Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats (SPOe) on 26.9 per cent, projections that were broadly in line with preliminary results. 

Close behind was the nationalist Freedom Party (FPOe) on 26.0 per cent, twice that of their allies the Alternative for Germany (AfD) last month and close to its all-time record of 26.8 per cent in 1999 under then-leader Joerg Haider. 

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Merkel in poll setback before tough coalition talks

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives lost a closely-watched state poll Sunday (Oct 15), weakening her hand as she embarks on complex coalition talks following a disappointing showing at last month’s general election. 

Martin Schulz’s Social Democrats (SPD) came out ahead with 37 to 37.5 per cent of votes in the western state of Lower Saxony, home to scandal-tainted Volkswagen, according to estimates released by public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. 

Merkel’s CDU party clinched 35 per cent, followed by the Greens with 8 to 8.5 per cent, and the liberal and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) with 7 to 7.5 per cent.  The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), fresh from winning its first seats in the national parliament, scored 5.5 percent, giving it a presence in 14 of Germany’s 16 states. 

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Rising anti-federal sentiment in Sabah raises opposition's hope

Sitting on a rickety wooden pier on the island of Kampung Pasir Putih, an enclave of stilt houses outside Sabah's coastal capital of Kota Kinabalu, Mr Riduan Ilham refuses to be drawn into a discussion about politics, and turns his gaze towards children leaping from wooden walkways into the shallow waters.

But when the subject switched to the prospects of ruling party Umno in the next election, the odd-job labourer in his 50s said: "Umno has become lembut (Malay for soft)."

His 15-year-old nephew, Mohamed Sai, was more direct. "Maybe it is time to change clothes and vote Shafie," he quipped, a remark that forced a smile from his uncle.

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France to strip Weinstein of Legion d'Honneur: Macron 

France will strip disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of the prestigious Legion d'Honneur, President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday (Oct 15).

"I have taken steps to revoke the Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour)" from Weinstein - accused by several women of sexual harassment, groping and rape - Macron said in a televised interview.

Weinstein was made a knight of the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest award, in 2012 in recognition of the efforts by Miramax, the company he founded with his brother Bob, to boost foreign films in the United States.

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Football: Rooney rides to Everton’s rescue, Gabbiadini saves Saints 

Wayne Rooney came to Ronald Koeman’s rescue as the Everton striker’s last-gasp penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw at Brighton, while Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace gave Southampton a 2-2 draw against Newcastle on Sunday (Oct 15). 

Everton boss Koeman was on the brink of another damaging defeat after Anthony Knockaert put Brighton ahead eight minutes from full-time at the Amex Stadium. 

But Brighton captain Bruno was penalised for fouling Dominic Calvert-Lewin in stoppage-time and Rooney stepped up to score the crucial equaliser. 

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