While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 30

Tom Price at a White House meeting with experts on the US opioid crisis, Sept. 28, 2017.
Tom Price at a White House meeting with experts on the US opioid crisis, Sept. 28, 2017.PHOTO: NYTIMES

Donald Trump’s health secretary Tom Price resigns over use of private jets

President Donald Trump’s embattled health minister was forced to leave the US administration, amid a scandal over his use of costly private jets for government travel.

“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The announcement came less than an hour after Trump told reporters that Price had not offered to resign, but that his fate would be decided later on Friday.

For days, Price has battled to keep a position he has held for less than eight months. In all, Price has flown on 26 separate trips this year on private aircraft, totalling some US$400,000 (S$543,000), according to Politico.


Mum jailed after leaving kids to go on European jaunt

An Iowa mother who left her four young children alone to go on a 10-day European trip was jailed on child endangerment charges, authorities said.

Erin Lee Macke, 30, travelled from Johnston, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines, to Germany on Sept 20 without arranging child care for her children, two aged 12 and the others six and seven, Johnson police said.

The children also had access to a gun in the house.


Donald Trump says has had four meetings in Fed chair search, will decide in 2-3 weeks

US President Donald Trump indicated he would select his nominee to be the next Federal Reserve chairman within weeks, after meeting potential candidates.

Trump said he would decide who chairs the US central bank, after interviewing Kevin Warsh, Jerome Powell and two other candidates.

The US leader has to decide whether to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chairman when her four-year term is up in February.


China's harsh words mask a trade boom with South Korea

Forget geopolitics: Leo Li, a 33-year-old language teacher in China, wants his essence of South Korean snail slime.

Beijing is angry at Seoul for embracing a US missile defence system intended to stop potential launches by North Korea. The South Korean conglomerate that donated a golf course to house the system has been forced to sell its Chinese stores. Chinese drivers have stopped buying Hyundais and Kias. And fewer Chinese tourists are visiting South Korea.

But Li's enthusiasm for South Korean snail products helps explain a development that might surprise some people watching the relationship between China and South Korea deteriorate: Trade between the two countries is steadily rising.


Golf: US thwart Internationals Presidents Cup fightback

The United States grabbed two early victories at the Presidents Cup, dimming International team hopes of a fourball fightback.

Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman - two Presidents Cup rookies - thumped Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri 6 & 5 to seize the first point of the day for the United States.

Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas then delivered a stinging 3 & 2 victory over the International powerhouse duo of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.