While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 27

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Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive in historic decision

Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive from next June, state media said, in a historic decision that makes the Gulf kingdom the last country in the world to permit women behind the wheel.

The longstanding driving ban was seen globally as a symbol of repression of women in the ultra-conservative kingdom and comes after a years-long resistance from female activists.

The decision, which risks riling religious conservatives, is part of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform drive aimed at adapting to a post-oil era and improving its battered global reputation due to its harsh human rights record.

Conservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled according to syariah law, have justified the ban over the years, including one who claimed that driving harmed women's ovaries.


Vivian Balakrishnan warns against isolation, urges more open, rules-based world order

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Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, delivered three key messages at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) - the importance of a rules based world order, open global architecture, and inclusive economic growth.

A rules-based multilateral world order was particularly essential for small states to have a sense of predictability, security and the chance to secure the peace and advance the interests of our citizens, he told The Straits Times, at the conclusion of his trip to New York for the UNGA.

Dr Balakrishnan lodged Singapore's instrument of ratification for the Minamata treaty with the UN, and also registered a treaty that Indonesia and Singapore entered into earlier this year delimiting their maritime boundaries.


Republicans fail again to kill off Obamacare in US Senate

A Republican attempt to dismantle Obamacare fell apart in the US Senate for the second time in two months in a serious defeat for President Donald Trump's domestic agenda.

The party was unable to win enough support from its own senators for a Bill to repeal the 2010 health-care law and decided not to put it to a vote, several Republicans said.

"We basically ran out of time," said Senator Ron Johnson, a co-sponsor of the measure with Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, who told reporters the party would target health care again after trying to reform the US tax code.


Football: De Bruyne and Sterling strike as City sink Shakhtar

Kevin De Bruyne's perfectly-struck 48th minute goal and a late Raheem Sterling effort gave Manchester City a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League Group F game to make it two wins out of two for Pep Guardiola's side.

But City's Argentine striker Sergio Aguero missed a chance to equal the club's all-time scoring record when he had a 72nd minute penalty saved by Andriy Pyatov. The miss left him one goal behind Eric Brook's record of 177 goals in all competitions.

The Premier League leaders now top Group F on six points with Shakhtar and Napoli both on three points.


Twitter aims to boost appeal with new 280-character tweet limit

Twitter announced a test project allowing tweets to be expanded to 280 characters - double the existing limit - in the latest effort to boost flagging growth at the social network.

San Francisco-based Twitter said the new limit, a major shift for the messaging platform known for its 140-character tweets, aims to address "a major cause of frustration" for many users.

Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter US President Donald Trump.


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