While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Jan 8

US insists no plans to pull out of Iraq

The United States has no plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq, the White House and Pentagon insisted on Tuesday, as Iraq premier Adel Abdel Mahdi said he had received a US letter signalling a pullout.

President Donald Trump said withdrawing the more than 5,000 US troops in Iraq would be the “worst thing” for that country.

Defence Secretary Mark Esper underscored that US policy has not changed, dismissing as a mere “draft” the unsigned letter from a US general to Iraq’s government saying Washington would redeploy troops “in due deference to the sovereignty” of the country.

“Our policy has not changed. We are not leaving Iraq,” Esper told reporters.”There is no signed letter, to the best of my knowledge.”


Judge threatens to jail Harvey Weinstein for texting in court

Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial took a dramatic turn on Tuesday as the judge threatened to revoke his bail and jail the former film producer after catching him using his cellphone just as jury selection got under way.

“Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting and violating a court order?” state Judge James Burke asked the 67-year-old defendant, visibly angry.

“I’m not looking for apologies; I’m looking for compliance,” Burke said.


Ivanka Trump faces backlash as keynote speaker at tech conference

Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to US President Donald Trump, is facing a backlash for her lack of tech qualifications from industry officials ahead of her speech at a big annual technology industry show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Ivanka Trump will deliver the keynote speech at 2pm PT (6am on Wednesday, Singapore time) at CES on “The Path to the Future of Work”, which will address technology’s role in creating and enabling the workforce of the future.

The conference organisers have defended inviting Trump saying she leads the White House’s efforts on job creation and economic growth through workforce development, skills training and entrepreneurship.


Liverpool’s Sadio Mane named African Footballer of the Year

Sadio Mane was named African Footballer of the Year for 2019 on Tuesday after winning the Champions League with Liverpool and leading Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Mane, 27, wins the award for the first time after finishing runner-up to his Liverpool team mate Mohamed Salah of Egypt in 2017 and 2018. He was third in 2016.

He is only the second Senegalese to win the award after El Hadji Diouf, who was the winner in 2001 and after joining Liverpool in 2002.


Dark drama Joker leads Bafta nominations with 11 nods

Joker, a dark origins story about the comic book villain, led nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards on Tuesday, but Britain’s top movie honours drew criticism over the lack of diversity in the acting categories.

Netflix film The Irishman, a star-studded gangster drama directed by Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which won the best comedy/musical Golden Globe on Sunday, got 10 nominations each.

Also fresh from its triumph at the Golden Globes – where it picked up best drama and best director for Sam Mendes – immersive World War I drama 1917 received nine nominations.


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