While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 13

Donald Trump (above) has threatened to slap tariffs on nearly all goods the US buys from China. PHOTO: AFP

US proposed new round of trade talks with China, sources say

The US government has proposed another round of trade talks with Beijing to avoid further escalation in Donald Trump's trade war with China, the president's top economic adviser said.

US equities rose on expectations the development could ease growing tensions.

Senior officials led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently extended the invitation to counterparts in China, said three people familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One of the people said the talks, if agreed to by the Chinese, are likely to take place in Washington.


Pope Francis summons bishops for summit to discuss clergy sex abuse

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Alarmed by sexual abuse scandals in a number of countries, Pope Francis is summoning senior bishops to a meeting early next year to discuss the prevention of abuse by Roman Catholic clerics and the protection of children, the Vatican announced.

The extraordinary meeting, scheduled for Feb 21-24 at the Vatican, marks the most concrete step the pontiff has taken in response to a series of abuse cases that have roiled the church and thrown Francis' papacy into crisis.

The latest cases have highlighted failures by church authorities to punish alleged abusers, and the Vatican in recent weeks has been dealing with allegations that many in its hierarchy - including Francis - ignored the sexual misconduct of a now-resigned US cardinal, Theodore McCarrick.


Death of home button as Apple launches new Face ID-only iPhones

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Apple sounded the death knell of the home button with the launch of three new iPhones during a media event held in Steve Jobs Theater at the tech giant's campus Apple Park.

The new iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr all feature full-screen design without the home button that was present since the first iPhone launched 11 years ago.

Instead, all the new iPhones will only use face recognition technology, or Face ID, for user authentication. It is a bold move by Apple, considering many iPhone users are still very used to the touch button, or Touch ID's fingerprint authentication.


Usain Bolt toasts zero-gravity with champagne

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Usain Bolt sprinted through thin air and sipped champagne floating on his back as he enjoyed near zero-gravity conditions in the back of an aircraft performing stomach-lurching parabola dives.

The eight-time Olympic champion grinned as he experienced weightlessness in a modified plane normally used for scientific research - but on this occasion to showcase a champagne bottle that will allow astronauts to drink bubbles in space.

The bottle was designed by champagne-maker Mumm. In time, the company hopes to capitalise on the advent of space tourism.


Cardi B, Drake lead American Music Award nominations

Rappers Cardi B and Drake led nominations for the American Music Awards with eight apiece in a line-up that included Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran but snubbed Kanye West and made Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Rihanna also-rans.

Late musician XXXTentacion, 20, who was shot dead in an apparent robbery in Florida in June, earned two nods, including best new artist and best soul/R&B album for his debut release, 17.

The fan-voted American Music Award nominations also included five nods for Cuban-born singer Camila Cabello, including new artist and best female artist, four for Bruno Mars, and six for hip-hop star Post Malone.


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