While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 20 edition

Cuban President Raul Castro (right) waves during Pope Francis' (left) welcome ceremony in Havana.
Cuban President Raul Castro (right) waves during Pope Francis' (left) welcome ceremony in Havana.AFP

Pope arrives in Havana with call for further US-Cuba thaw

Pope Francis on Saturday urged the United States and Cuba to pursue their nascent reconciliation as he arrived in Havana on the first leg of a high-profile trip that will also take him to America.

Cuban President Raul Castro was at Jose Marti airport to greet the Argentine pontiff, whose white skullcap blew off in a tropical wind as he exited his Alitalia plane.

But Francis barely skipped a beat, blessing a group of children who greeted him with flowers and then – highlighting his role in brokering the Cold War foes’ historic rapprochement – calling on Castro and US President Barack Obama not to falter on the road to closer ties.


10,000 migrants pour into Austria as crisis deepens

Austria was bracing for an influx of 10,000 migrants on Saturday, as Europe's increasingly divided countries stepped up efforts to push the wave of desperate humanity on to their neighbours.

In the latest chapter in the EU's escalating refugee crisis, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia tussled over how to cope with the massive inflow of people passing through on their way to new lives in northern and western Europe.

The European Union, meanwhile, sketched out plans to boost aid to encourage Syrians in Turkey to stay put rather than join the exodus.


Formula One: Sebastian Vettel ends Lewis Hamilton's pole-winning streak in Singapore

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel denied Lewis Hamilton a record-equalling eighth straight pole position as he dominated qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday.

The four-time world champion clocked 1min 43.885sec on the demanding street circuit to front the grid for the first time in nearly two years, with Mercedes’ Hamilton down in fifth.

Vettel was nearly half-a-second faster than second-placed Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing third in the other Ferrari.


Rugby: Gutsy Japan snatch shock win against South Africa

Japan pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history on Saturday, defeating two-time World Cup champions South Africa 34-32 in a ferocious encounter.

Replacement Karne Hesketh raced in at the corner in the 84th minute to snatch victory from a pulsating contest in the Pool B opener.

Ferocious tacking from Japan kept them within two points of the Springboks at halftime after driving mauls brought tries for South Africa's Francois Louw and Bismarck du Plessis, with Michael Leitch touching down for Japan.


First Beatles contract sold at US auction

The first recording contract signed by The Beatles, which set the career course for the legendary band, was sold at a New York auction Saturday for a hammer price of US$75,000 (S$105,000).

The future Fab Four signed the six-page contract in 1961 in Germany, where the band's small club shows in Hamburg resulted in their first recorded single, My Bonnie, a modern version of a children's song.

The song - under the band name "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers" because the producer doubted "The Beatles" would work in the German market - never became a hit but drew enough requests back in the band's hometown of Liverpool that it caught the attention of local record store owner and future manager Brian Epstein.