While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Feb 22

Coronavirus: US warns against cruise ship travel in Asia

Americans should avoid travelling by cruise liner within Asia because the vessels act as amplifiers of the novel coronavirus, a senior US official said on Friday, adding that future evacuations of ship passengers were not guaranteed.

The warning came as the number of confirmed cases of people on US soil who have been infected with the pathogen rose to 34, 21 of them repatriated from abroad.

More than 300 Americans were flown back from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japanese coast earlier this week, and there have also been several flights bringing home citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December.

Ian Brownlee, a senior State Department official, said in a briefing that the government had “advised all US citizens to reconsider travel by cruise ship to, or within Asia.”


Malaysia’s Dr Mahathir to stay as PM till after Apec

Malaysia’s ruling pact Pakatan Harapan (PH) has unanimously agreed to maintain Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as premier until the 94-year-old leader decides to step aside.

“We have discussed extensively the coalition’s future. There were two opinions, but in the end, it was all left to me. I said the transition is after Apec. No time, no date, no nothing. It’s up to me,” Dr Mahathir told reporters close to midnight on Friday after the PH presidential council meeting.

Dr Mahathir’s words affirmed his own earlier statement that he would hand over power to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in November, which Malaysia is hosting.


Feuding EU fails to plug Brexit hole in new budget

European Union leaders fell out on Friday over their next long-term budget after fraught talks over a gaping Brexit hole in their joint coffers, with poorer countries demanding more aid and their “frugal” peers determined to rein in spending.

Brexit has left the EU short of some €75 billion (S$113 billion) and the 27 remaining EU countries failed to agree on the overall size of the bloc’s 2021-27 budget or how to spend it.

“We have to acknowledge that the differences are too big still to find agreement,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after two days of talks in the EU’s hub, Brussels.


Prince Harry and wife Meghan will stop using ‘Sussex Royal’ brand

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have decided not to use the word “royal” in their branding after they start a new life in Canada following their decision to step back from royal duties.

The decision follows weeks of talks between the couple and the British royal family about how they will present themselves to the world in the future.

The couple agreed last month with Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, that they would no longer work as royals after their surprise announcement that they wanted to carve out a “progressive new role” which they hope to finance themselves.


Giorgio Armani says fashion marketing ‘raping’ women

Giorgio Armani accused the fashion industry on Friday (Feb 21) of “raping” women with short-lived trends and sex-driven marketing as he presented his Emporio Armani line at Milan Fashion Week.

“I think it’s time for me to say what I think. Women keep getting raped by designers, by us,” Armani, 85, told reporters on the sidelines of the show for the line aimed at younger customers.

“If a lady walks on the street and sees an ad with a woman with her boobs and a**e in plain sight and she wants to be like that too, that’s a way of raping her,” Armani said. “You can rape a woman in many ways, either by throwing her in the basement or by suggesting that she dresses in a certain way.”


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