While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 26 edition

US slams Russian 'barbarism' in Syria, Moscow says peace almost impossible

The United States on Sunday called Russia's action in Syria "barbarism", not counter-terrorism, while Moscow's United Nations envoy said ending the war"is almost an impossible task now" as Syrian government forces, backed by Moscow, bombed the city of Aleppo.

The United Nations Security Council met on Sunday at the request of the United States, Britain and France to discuss the escalation of fighting in Aleppo following the announcement on Thursday of an offensive by the Syrian army to retake the city.

"What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism, it is barbarism," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the 15-member council.


Donald Trump tells Benjamin Netanyahu he'll recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Republican candidate Donald Trump pledged Sunday in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital if he is elected president.

Netanyahu met privately with Trump at his residence in Trump Tower a day before the New York billionaire faces off against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for their first presidential debate.

"Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel," his campaign said in a statement.


PM Narendra Modi says India will ratify Paris climate pact next month

India, the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter, will ratify the Paris climate change pact next month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday, bringing the deal a step closer to reality.

Modi said India will formally join the landmark accord struck in 2015 in Paris, through which countries commit to take action to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

The accord needs ratification from 55 countries that account for at least 55 percent of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.


African elephants 'suffer worst decline in 25 years'

The number of African elephants has dropped by around 111,000 in the past decade, a new report released Saturday at the Johannesburg conference on the wildlife trade said, blaming the plummeting figures on poaching.

The revelation, the worst drop in 25 years, came amid disagreement on the second day of the global meet over the best way to improve the plight of Africa's elephants, targeted for their tusks.

With Namibia and Zimbabwe, wanting to be allowed to sell ivory stockpiles accrued from natural deaths to fund community elephant conservation initiatives, Zimbabwe's Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri rejected the "imperialistic policies" of opposing countries, branding them a "clear infringement on the sovereign rights of nations".


Singapore start-up buys 49 per cent stake in Rolling Stone

Singapore-based social music startup BandLab Technologies has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Rolling Stone, which publishes the eponymous magazine.

The size of the deal was not disclosed, but this is the first time Rolling Stone is taking on an outside shareholder since it was founded 49 years ago by American Jann Wenner.

BandLab chief executive Kuok Meng Ru is no complete unknown. Backed by his father and palm oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong, the 28-year-old Cambridge graduate has been building a smaller empire of his own in the music world.