While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 29

A view of the old town of Mosul, Iraq, which suffered enormously because of the ISIS terrorist group, on Aug 11, 2019.
A view of the old town of Mosul, Iraq, which suffered enormously because of the ISIS terrorist group, on Aug 11, 2019.PHOTO: NYTIMES

ISIS leader Baghdadi given burial at sea, afforded religious rites

The United States has given the remains of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a burial at sea and afforded him religious rites according to Islamic custom after he was killed in a US commando raid in Syria on Saturday, three officials said on Monday.

Baghdadi, an Iraqi militant who rose from obscurity to declare himself "caliph" of all Muslims as the leader of ISIS, died by detonating a suicide vest after fleeing into a dead-end tunnel as elite US special forces closed in at the weekend, according to the US government.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not disclose where the ritual was performed or how long it lasted.

Two officials said they believed his remains were delivered to the sea from an aircraft.


Boris Johnson loses election bid after EU backs Brexit delay

British MPs on Monday defeated yet another attempt by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to force an early election, just hours after the European Union agreed to postpone Brexit for up to three months.

The Conservative leader immediately announced an alternative plan to hold a snap poll that could yet see an election in early December.

Johnson suffered a major setback earlier Monday when he was forced to agree to delay Britain's departure from the European Union beyond this week's October 31 deadline.


US House will vote on Trump impeachment procedures on Oct 31

House Democrats said Monday that the House of Representatives will vote Thursday (Oct 31) to formalise procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump.

Democrats said the move would "ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward" as the inquiry continues.

Earlier, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, said that a former deputy national security adviser had "no basis in law" to skip a deposition Monday and that his failure to appear was further evidence of Trump's efforts to obstruct Congress.


Apple launches higher-end AirPods Pro with noise-cancellation

Apple announced the AirPods Pro, a higher-end version of its popular wireless headphones that add noise-cancellation, water-resistance and a new design.

The model priced at US$249 (S$339) will sell alongside the current US$159 version that launched in March, and marks the first time that Apple is segmenting its AirPods line in a significant way.

The new model includes interchangeable flexible tips to improve their fit.


Taylor Swift helps Alibaba plug world's biggest shopping spree on Singles' Day

American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift will headline Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's Singles' Day next month in Shanghai, turning her considerable star wattage on the world's largest annual online shopping spree.

By most measures the biggest recording star on the planet, Swift is the highest-profile act to feature at Alibaba Group's Nov 11 extravaganza since its inception over a decade ago.

She joins celebrities from Chinese singer G.E.M. to Japanese voice actress Kana Hanazawa in Shanghai mere months after wrapping a similar Prime Day celebration for Amazon.