While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 25 edition

John Kerry speaks to Philippines counterpart after separation comment by Duterte

 US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Philippines counterpart over the weekend, emphasising strong and stable ties between the allies after comments by the Philippines president raised questions about bilateral relations, the State Department said on Monday (Oct 24).

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry expressed concern about the tone of remarks by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has sharply criticiz\sed President Barack Obama and talked about a separation from the United States.

Kirby said the phone call on Sunday 9Oct 23) led Kerry to feel the United States and the Philippines "can work through this."


May rejects talk of "hard Brexit", says UK's options not binary

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday (Oct 24) it was not accurate to suggest that Britain was headed for a "hard Brexit" because it does not face a binary choice between curbing immigration and getting a good trade deal with the EU.

When an opposition Labour lawmaker suggested to May she had been "talking up" a so-called hard Brexit, in which Britain leaves the EU's lucrative single market in order to impose controls on immigration, she said: "There is no suggestion of that whatsoever." "We are going to be ambitious for what we obtain for the United Kingdom and that means a good trade deal as well as control of immigration," she told parliament.

Asked by another lawmaker about a report in the Sunday Times that the government was considering halving the headline rate of corporation tax if the EU refuses to agree a post-Brexit free trade deal, May told him he "shouldn't believe everything he reads in newspapers."


Four killed in India-Pakistan cross border firing: officials

Two children and another civilian were killed along with a soldier in firing across the border between India and Pakistan, officials from both sides said on Monday, as tensions soar between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan's military said an 18-month-old girl and another civilian were killed on its side of the border in "unprovoked firing" by the Indian army.

"Due to Indian unprovoked firing last night a civilian, Muhammad Latif of village Janglora, and a minor Haniya, age one and a half, embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while seven civilians were injured," a military statement said.


Drop Russia from UN rights council: NGOs

More than 80 human rights and aid organisations on Monday urged United Nations (UN) member states to drop Russia from the Human Rights Council over its military campaign in Syria.

Human Rights Watch, CARE International and Refugees International were among the signatories of the appeal launched ahead of elections to fill 14 seats at the 47-nation council on Friday.

Russia, Hungary and Croatia will be running for two seats representing the Eastern European group at the council, which is tasked with addressing rights violations worldwide.


Pregnancy raises stroke risk in younger, not older women: Study

Doctors have long warned women that getting pregnant later in life can raise the risk of stroke, but a study on Monday (Oct 24) suggested that actually, only young women face this increasing risk.

The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology compared stroke rates among pregnant and non-pregnant women of different age groups.

Previous studies have focused on the rate of stroke among pregnant women of different ages - finding stroke is more common among older women - but have not included a non-pregnant, aged-matched control group for comparison.